It has often been suggested that people's ordinary understanding of morality involves a belief in objective moral truths and a rejection of moral relativism. The results of six studies call this claim into question. Participants did offer apparently objectivist moral intuitions when considering individuals from their own culture, but they offered increasingly relativist intuitions considering individuals from increasingly different cultures or ways of life. The authors hypothesize that people do not have a fixed commitment to moral objectivism but instead tend (...) to adopt different views depending on the degree to which they consider radically different perspectives on moral questions. (shrink)
Skepticism about the epistemic value of intuition in theoretical and philosophical inquiry has recently been bolstered by empirical research suggesting that people’s concrete-case intuitions are vulnerable to irrational biases (e.g., the order effect). What is more, skeptics argue that we have no way to ‘‘calibrate” our intuitions against these biases and no way of anticipating intuitional instability. This paper challenges the skeptical position, introducing data from two studies that suggest not only that people’s concrete-case intuitions are often stable, but also (...) that people have introspective awareness of this stability, providing a promising means by which to assess the epistemic value of our intuitions. (shrink)
Introductory students regularly endorse naïve skepticism—unsupported or uncritical doubt about the existence and universality of truth—for a variety of reasons. Though some of the reasons for students’ skepticism can be traced back to the student—for example, a desire to avoid engaging with controversial material or a desire to avoid offense—naïve skepticism is also the result of how introductory courses are taught, deemphasizing truth to promote students’ abilities to develop basic disciplinary skills. While this strategy has a number of pedagogical benefits, (...) it prevents students in early stages of intellectual development from understanding truth as a threshold concept. Using philosophy as a case study, I argue that we can make progress against naïve skepticism by clearly discussing how metadisciplinary aims differ at the disciplinary and course levels in a way that is meaningful, reinforced, and accessible. (shrink)
It has been claimed that the attempt to analyze know-how in terms of propositional knowledge over-intellectualizes the mind. Exploiting the methods of so-called “experimental philosophy”, we show that the charge of over-intellectualization is baseless. Contra neo-Ryleans, who analyze know-how in terms of ability, the concrete-case judgments of ordinary folk are most consistent with the view that there exists a set of correct necessary and sufficient conditions for know-how that does not invoke ability, but rather a certain sort of propositional knowledge. (...) To the extent that one’s considered judgments agree with those of the folk (or to the extent that one is unwilling to contravene widespread judgments), this constitutes a strong prima facie case against neo-Ryleanism. (shrink)
Introduction A brief look at the competing present-day interpretations of Hume's philosophy will leave the uninitiated reader completely baffled. On the one hand , Hume is seen as a philosopher who attempted to analyse concepts with ...
It has often been suggested that people’s ordinary folk understanding of morality involves a rejection of moral relativism and a belief in objective moral truths. The results of six studies call this claim into question. Participants did offer apparently objectivist intuitions when confronted with questions about individuals from their own culture, but they offered increasingly relativist intuitions as they were confronted with questions about individuals from increasingly different cultures or ways of life. In light of these data, the authors hypothesize (...) that people do not have a fixed commitment to moral objectivism but instead tend to adopt different views depending on the degree to which they consider radically different perspectives on moral questions. [NOTE: This is a reprint of Sarkissian et al 2011]. (shrink)
Recent scholarship (Goodwin & Darley, 2008) on the meta-ethical debate between objectivism and relativism has found people to be mixed: they are objectivists about some issues, but relativists about others. The studies discussed here sought to explore this further. Study 1 explored whether giving people the ability to identify moral issues for themselves would reveal them to be more globally objectivist. Study 2 explored people's meta-ethical commitments more deeply, asking them to provide verbal explanations for their judgments. This revealed that (...) while people think they are relativists, this may not always be the case. The explanations people gave were sometimes rated by outside (blind) coders as being objective, even when given a relativist response. Nonetheless, people remained meta-ethical pluralists. Why this might be is discussed. (shrink)
Abstract: Recent experimental research on the 'Knobe effect' suggests, somewhat surprisingly, that there is a bi-directional relation between attributions of intentional action and evaluative considerations. We defend a novel account of this phenomenon that exploits two factors: (i) an intuitive asymmetry in judgments of responsibility (e.g. praise/blame) and (ii) the fact that intentionality commonly connects the evaluative status of actions to the responsibility of actors. We present the results of several new studies that provide empirical evidence in support of this (...) account while disconfirming various currently prominent alternative accounts. We end by discussing some implications of this account for folk psychology. (shrink)
‘Fake news’ has become an increasingly common refrain in public discourse, though the term itself has several uses, at least one of which constitutes Frankfurtian bullshit. After examining what sorts of fake news appeals do and do not count as bullshit, I discuss strategies for overcoming our openness to such bullshit. I do so by drawing a parallel between openness to bullshit and naïve skepticism—one’s willingness to reject the concept of truth on unsupported or ill-considered grounds—and suggest that this parallel (...) indicates three principles for how we ought to combat our openness to fake news and other bullshit. First, the root causes of bullshit openness are not monolithic; we should adopt anti-bullshit strategies in recognition of this fact. Second, our efforts to overcome bullshit openness should be collaborative efforts to create an environment that allows for sustained interrogation of our bullshit openness, rather than a confrontational provision of contrary evidence, despite the fact that such strategies are more time-intensive. Third, social media is unlikely to be a fertile ground on which we will make meaningful progress in the fight against bullshit because of the inherent nature of social media platforms as spaces for short, declarative, confrontational claims. (shrink)
Lay persons may have intuitions about morality's objectivity. What do these intuitions look like? And what are their causes and consequences? In recent years, an increasing number of scholars have begun to investigate these questions empirically. This article presents and assesses the resulting area of research as well as its potential philosophical implications. First, we introduce the methods of empirical research on folk moral objectivism. Second, we provide an overview of the findings that have so far been made. Third, we (...) raise a number of methodological worries that cast doubt upon these findings. And fourth, we discuss ways in which lay persons' intuitions aboutmoral objectivity may bear on philosophical claims. (shrink)
The book is a defence of scientific realism. Its primary aim is to argue that it is possible to establish scientific realism without Inference to the Best Explanation. The idea that plays the central role in the book is an "Eddington-inference". Arthur Eddington once considered a hypothetical ichthyologist who concluded from the fact that his net contained no fish smaller than the holes in his net that there were in the sea no fish smaller than the holes in his net. (...) Although Eddington himself defended the inference, the author of the present volume argues on probabilistic grounds that it is likely such an inference is flawed. He generalises the argument to develop a probabilistic justification for scientific realist claims about the existence of unobservable entities. (shrink)
_ Source: _Page Count 32 In this paper we first set the stage with a brief overview of the tangled history of humility in theology and philosophy—beginning with its treatment in the Bible and ending with the more recent work that has been done in contemporary philosophy. Our two-fold goal at this early stage of the paper is to explore some of the different accounts of humility that have traditionally been developed and highlight some of the key debates in the (...) current literature. Next, we present the findings from several studies we recently conducted in an effort to explore people’s intuitions and beliefs about humility as well as their experiences with being humble. Finally, we discuss the relevance of our findings to the ongoing philosophical debates about humility—suggesting that while some varieties of humility are problematic, other varieties of humility are certainly worth wanting. (shrink)
Many metaethicists agree that as ordinary people experience morality as a realm of objective truths, we have a prima facie reason to believe that it actually is such a realm. Recently, worries have been raised about the validity of the extant psychological research on this argument’s empirical hypothesis. Our aim is to advance this research, taking these worries into account. First, we propose a new experimental design for measuring folk intuitions about moral objectivity that may serve as an inspiration for (...) future studies. Then we report and discuss the results of a survey that was based on this design. In our study, most of our participants denied the existence of objective truths about most or all moral issues. In particular, many of them had the intuition that whether moral sentences are true depends both on their own moral beliefs and on the dominant moral beliefs within their culture. This finding suggests that the realist presumptive argument may have to be rejected and that instead anti-realism may have a presumption in its favor. (shrink)
A philosopher once wrote the following words:If I examine the PTOLOMAIC and COPERNICAN systems, I endeavour only, by my enquiries, to know the real situation of the planets; that is, in other words, I endeavour to give them, in my conception, the same relations, that they bear towards each other in the heavens. To this operation of the mind, therefore, there seems to be always a real, though often an unknown standard, in the nature of things; nor is truth or (...) falsehood variable by the various apprehensions of mankind. Though all human race should for ever conclude, that the sun moves, and the earth remains at rest, the sun stirs not an inch from his place for all these reasonings; and such conclusions are eternally false and erroneous. (shrink)
Ascriptions of objectivity carry significant weight. But they can also cause confusion because wildly different ideas of what it means to be objective are common. Faced with this, some philosophers have argued that objectivity should be eliminated. I will argue, against one such position, that objectivity can be useful even though it is plural. I will then propose a contextualist approach for dealing with objectivity as a way of rescuing what is useful about objectivity while acknowledging its plurality.
David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature presents the most important account of skepticism in the history of modern philosophy. In this lucid and thorough introduction to the work, John P. Wright examines the development of Hume's ideas in the Treatise, their relation to eighteenth-century theories of the imagination and passions, and the reception they received when Hume published the Treatise. He explains Hume's arguments concerning the inability of reason to establish the basic beliefs which underlie science and morals, as (...) well as his arguments showing why we are nevertheless psychologically compelled to accept such beliefs. The book will be a valuable guide for those seeking to understand the nature of modern skepticism and its connection with the founding of the human sciences during the Enlightenment. (shrink)
The sceptical positions philosophers have adopted with respect to neuroimaging data are based on detailed evaluations of subtraction, which is one of many data analysis techniques used with neuroimaging data. These positions are undermined when the epistemic implications of the use of a diversity of data analysis techniques are taken into account. I argue that different data analysis techniques reveal different patterns in the data. Through the use of multiple data analysis techniques, researchers can produce results that are locally robust. (...) Thus, the epistemology of neuroimaging must take into consideration the details of the different data analysis techniques that are used to evaluate neuroimaging data, and the specific theoretical aims those techniques are deployed towards. _1_ Introduction _2_ Scepticism about Neuroimaging _3_ Data Analysis and Evidence _4_ Deconvolution and Pattern Classification Analysis _4.1_ Deconvolution analysis _4.2_ Region of interest selection _4.3_ Pattern classification analysis _5_ The Strength of Multiple Analyses _6_ Conclusion. (shrink)
Skepticism about the epistemic value of intuition in theoretical and philosophical inquiry fueled by the empirical discovery of irrational bias (e.g., the order effect) in people's judgments has recently been challenged by research suggesting that people can introspectively track intuitional instability. The two studies reported here build upon this, the first by demonstrating that people are able to introspectively track instability that was experimentally induced by introducing conflicting expert opinion about certain cases, and the second by demonstrating that it was (...) the presence of instability?not merely the presence of conflicting information?that resulted in changes in the relevant attitudinal states (i.e., confidence and belief strength). The paper closes with the suggestion that perhaps the best explanation for these (and other) findings may be that intuitional instability is not actually ?intuitional.? (shrink)
Re-consent in research, the asking for a new consent if there is a change in protocol or to confirm the expectations of participants in case of change, is an under-explored issue. There is little clarity as to what changes should trigger re-consent and what impact a re-consent exercise has on participants and the research project. This article examines applicable policy statements and literature for the prevailing arguments for and against re-consent in relation to longitudinal cohort studies, tissue banks and biobanks. (...) Examples of re-consent exercises are presented, triggers and non-triggers for re-consent discussed and the conflicting attitudes of commentators, participants and researchers highlighted. We acknowledge current practice and argue for a greater emphasis on ‘responsive autonomy,’ that goes beyond a one-time consent and encourages greater communication between the parties involved. A balance is needed between respecting participants' wishes on how they want their data and samples used and enabling effective research to proceed. (shrink)
As John Rawls makes clear in A Theory of Justice, there is a popular and influential strand of political thought for which brute luck – that is, being lucky in the so-called “lottery of life” – ought to have no place in a theory of distributive justice. Yet the debate about luck, desert, and fairness in contemporary political philosophy has recently been rekindled by a handful of philosophers who claim that desert should play a bigger role in theories of distributive (...) justice. In the present paper, we present the results of our attempts to fill in some of the missing empirical details of this debate. Our findings provide some preliminary evidence that, contrary to what most contemporary political philosophers have assumed, people are not as worried by natural luck as previously thought. Instead, people’s worries seem to be focused exclusively on inequalities generated by social luck. (shrink)
Psyche and Soma is a multi-disciplinary exploration of the history of understanding of the human mind or soul and its relationship to the body, through the course of more than two thousand years. Thirteen specially commissioned chapters, each written by a recognized expert, discuss such figures as the doctors Hippocrates and Galen, the theologians St Paul, Augustine, and Aquinas, and philosophers from Plato to Leibniz.
The publication of a new intellectual biography of George Cheyne provides a "propitious" occasion for "a thoroughly skeptical review" of the question which has long exercised Hume scholars, whether Cheyne was the intended recipient of David Hume's fascinating pre-Treatise Letter to a Physician, the letter which describes his own hypochondriacal physical and mental symptoms and gives an account of his early philosophical development. Hume's nineteenth-century biographer, John Hill Burton, argued that Hume was probably writing to Cheyne, while Ernest Mossner claimed (...) to definitively refute that hypothesis in an article entitled "Hume's Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot," published in 1944. Anita Guerrini's intellectual biography does not discuss Cheyne as a possible recipient of Hume's letter, but she does present a well-rounded picture of this interesting eighteenth-century physician from which we can judge his appropriateness as its addressee. In the following discussion I will make use of the biographical material found in this new biography of Cheyne, as well as other sources, to show that Mossner's arguments are less than definitive, and that it would be wrong to dismiss the possibility that the letter was sent to George Cheyne. This is a possibility that, for reasons that I will make clear, makes good biographical and philosophical sense. At the same time, it is important to keep a proper suspense of judgment as Burton did, for the evidence that the letter was either intended for or actually sent to Cheyne is not definitive. (shrink)
This paper considers the role of physicaleducation researchers within current publicconcerns about body shape and weight. UsingUlrich Beck's notion of `risk' it examines howcertainty about children, obesity, exercise andhealth is produced in the contexts of `expert'knowledge and recontextualised in the academicand professional physical education literature.It is argued that the unquestioning acceptanceof the obesity discourses in physical educationhelps to construct anxieties about the body,which are detrimental to students and silencesalternative ways of thinking and doing physicaleducation.
Consumers do not always follow their ideological beliefs about the need to engage in environmentally friendly consumption. We propose that Commitment to Beliefs —the general tendency to follow one’s value-based beliefs—can help identify who is most likely to follow their environmental ideologies. We predicted that CTB would amplify the effect of beliefs prescribing environmental stewardship, or neglect, on corresponding intentions, behavior, and purchasing decisions. In two studies, CTB amplified the positive and negative effects of relevant EF ideologies on EF purchase (...) decisions, and consumption and conservation attitudes, intentions, as well as future behavior. In each study, only people with higher levels of CTB demonstrated the most ideologically consistent consumption and conservation intentions and behavior. These findings clarify who is most likely to align their decisions and lifestyles according to their sustainable consumption ideologies. The amplification effect of CTB, and the CTB variable itself, present new contributions to consumer behavior research and the domains of sustainable or ethical consumption in particular and offer wide-ranging potential for marketing practitioners and researchers. (shrink)
A laboratory-testable, solid-state Maxwell demon is proposed that utilizes the electric field energy of an open-gap p-n junction. Numerical results from a commercial semiconductor device simulator verify primary results from a 1-D analytic model. Present day fabrication techniques appear adequate for laboratory tests of principle.
Sunstein's characterization of moral blunders jointly indicts an intuitive process and the structure of heuristics. But intuitions need not lead to error, and the problems with moral heuristics apply also to moral principles. Accordingly, moral development may well involve more, rather than less, intuitive responsiveness. This suggests a novel trajectory for future research into the development of appropriate moral judgments.
This paper replies to Peter Millican (Mind, 2009), who argues that Hume denies the possible existence of causal powers which underlie the regularities that we observe in nature. I argue that Hume's own philosophical views on causal power cannot be considered apart from his mitigated skepticism. His account of the origin of the idea of causal power, which traces it to a subjective impression, only leads to what he calls ‘Pyrrhonian scepticism’. He holds that we can only escape such excessive (...) skepticism by way of a natural judgment based on the association of ideas, which forms the basis of what he calls ‘a legitimate ground of Assent’. (shrink)
There is some complementarity of models for the origin of the electroencephalogram and neural network models for information storage in brainlike systems. From the EEG models of Freeman, of Nunez, and of the authors' group we argue that the wavelike processes revealed in the EEG exhibit linear and near-equilibrium dynamics at macroscopic scale, despite extremely nonlinear – probably chaotic – dynamics at microscopic scale. Simulations of cortical neuronal interactions at global and microscopic scales are then presented. The simulations depend on (...) anatomical and physiological estimates of synaptic densities, coupling symmetries, synaptic gain, dendritic time constants, and axonal delays. It is shown that the frequency content, wave velocities, frequency/wavenumber spectra and response to cortical activation of the electrocorticogram can be reproduced by a “lumped” simulation treating small cortical areas as single-function units. The corresponding cellular neural network simulation has properties that include those of attractor neural networks proposed by Amit and by Parisi. Within the simulations at both scales, sharp transitions occur between low and high cell firing rates. These transitions may form a basis for neural interactions across scale. To maintain overall cortical dynamics in the normal low firing-rate range, interactions between the cortex and the subcortical systems are required to prevent runaway global excitation. Thus, the interaction of cortex and subcortex via corticostriatal and related pathways may partly regulate global dynamics by a principle analogous to adiabatic control of artificial neural networks. (shrink)
The article discusses the varying conceptions of the faculty of ‘the understanding’ in 18th-century British philosophy and logic. Topics include the distinction between the understanding and the will, the traditional division of three acts of understanding and its critics, the naturalizing of human understanding, conceiving of the limits of human understanding, British innatism and the critique of empiricist conceptions of the understanding, and reconceiving the understanding and the elimination of scepticism. Authors discussed include Richard Price, James Harris, Zachary Mayne, Edward (...) Bentham, Isaac Watts, Dugald Stewart, John Norris—as well as Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Reid. (shrink)
In the newly discovered letter Hume answers Reid's charge that he held a theory of ideas derived from his predecessors and criticizes Reid's own theory of innate ideas. He defends his own theory that ideas are derived from impressions. I discuss Reid's own puzzlement that in the first _Enquiry_ Hume ascribes a natural belief in necessary connections to the vulgar without an idea--and its influence on subsequent readings of Hume as a 'regularity theorist.' I argue that it was the 'Common (...) Sense' school of philosophers following Reid, rather than Hume, who insisted that beliefs must be based on legitimate ideas. (shrink)
Many patients experience aspects of treatment and care as dehumanizing because the body is considered separate from the self and its life context. An attempt to transcend viewing persons in dualistic terms is posed by phenomenologists who focus not on “the body” as such but on what it means to be “embodied.” In this paper, we review the relevance of the phenomenology of the body for health care and report the results of comparing Sally Gadow’s phenomenological insights about body-self unity (...) with a qualitative analysis of patients’ accounts of satisfaction with the outcome of hand surgery. We illustrate the ways in which our findings were and were not congruent with Gadow’s conceptualization of embodiment and highlight aspects that are ambiguous. We conclude that the body-self dialectical relationship should be recast as a body-self-society trialectic and discuss the implications of this new conceptualization for clinical practices. (shrink)
_Feminist Interpretations of Thomas Hobbes _features the work of feminist scholars who are centrally engaged with Hobbes’s ideas and texts and who view Hobbes as an important touchstone in modern political thought. Bringing together scholars from the disciplines of philosophy, history, political theory, and English literature who embrace diverse theoretical and philosophical approaches and a range of feminist perspectives, this interdisciplinary collection aims to appeal to an audience of Hobbes scholars and nonspecialists alike. As a theorist whose trademark is a (...) compelling argument for absolute sovereignty, Hobbes may seem initially to have little to offer twenty-first-century feminist thought. Yet, as the contributors to this collection demonstrate, Hobbesian political thought provides fertile ground for feminist inquiry. Indeed, in engaging Hobbes, feminist theory engages with what is perhaps the clearest and most influential articulation of the foundational concepts and ideas associated with modernity: freedom, equality, human nature, authority, consent, coercion, political obligation, and citizenship. Aside from the editors, the contributors are Joanne Boucher, Karen Detlefsen, Karen Green, Wendy Gunther-Canada, Jane S. Jaquette, S. A. Lloyd, Su Fang Ng, Carole Pateman, Gordon Schochet, Quentin Skinner, and Susanne Sreedhar. (shrink)
Abstract In Wittgenstein: On Rules and Private Language, Saul Kripke argues for an extreme form of meaning scepticism. One influential reply to Kripke?s arguments was developed by David Lewis. The reply developed by Lewis makes use of the notion of mind-independent relations of similarity and difference. The aim of the paper is to argue that Lewis? reply is not satisfactory: the challenge to find a refutation of Kripke?s sceptical arguments remains unmet.