Three experiments examined the role of response criteria in a masked semantic priming paradigm using an exclusion task. Experiment 1 used on-line prime-report and exclusion instructions in which participants were told to avoid completing a word stem with a word related to a prime flashed for 0, 38 or 212 ms. Semantic priming was significant in the items analysis, but was moderated by peoples’ ability to report the prime in the participant analysis. Prime-report thresholds in Experiment 2 were made more (...) liberal by instructing participants to guess on every trial. Prime-report increased from Experiment 1 as exclusion failures were eliminated. Experiment 3 clarified the relationship between awareness and prime identification using an on-line measure of confidence and different liberal prime report instructions. The current findings suggest that the ability to act upon and report information in a masked prime is determined by a variable response criterion, which can be manipulated as an independent variable. (shrink)
Whither the philosophy of intuition?Herman Cappelen’s Philosophy Without Intuitions (PWI) is a novel study in philosophical sociology—or, as Cappelen at one point suggests, “intellectual anthropology” (96).All undated references are to Cappelen (2012). Its target is the thesis that intuition is central, in the descriptive sense that contemporary analytic philosophers rely on intuitions for evidence—or, more generally, positive epistemic status. Cappelen labels the target thesis Centrality.If Centrality is true, then especially urgent are two questions in the rapidly growing field that is (...) the philosophy of intuition:[Q1] What are intuitions?[Q2] Can intuitions serve as evidence?There are of course others, but in chapter one Cappelen singles out these two as The Burning Questions about intuition. He then summarizes the overall upshot of PWI as follows:In this book I argue that Centrality, on any reasonable interpretation, is false. If you share that view, the Burning Questions will no lo .. (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)
Intuition is sometimes derided as an abstruse or esoteric phenomenon akin to crystal-ball gazing. Such derision appears to be fuelled primarily by the suggestion, evidently endorsed by traditional rationalists such as Plato and Descartes, that intuition is a kind of direct, immediate apprehension akin to perception. This paper suggests that although the perceptual analogy has often been dismissed as encouraging a theoretically useless metaphor, a quasi-perceptualist view of intuition may enable rationalists to begin to meet the challenge of supplying a (...) theoretically satisfying treatment of their favoured epistemic source. It is argued, first, that intuitions and perceptual experiences are at a certain level of abstraction the same type of mental state, presentations, which are distinct from beliefs, hunches, inclinations, attractions, and seemings. The notion of a presentation is given a positive explication, which identifies its characteristic features, accounts for several of its substantive psychological roles, and systematically locates it in a threefold division among types of contentful states. Subsequently, it is argued that presentations, intuitive no less than sensory, are by their nature poised to play a distinctive epistemic role. Specifically, in the case of intuition, we encounter an intellectual state that is so structured as to provide justification without requiring justification in turn—something which may, thus, be thought of as ‘given’. (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)
Conceptualism is the thesis that, for any perceptual experience E, (i) E has a Fregean proposition as its content and (ii) a subject of E must possess a concept for each item represented by E. We advance a framework within which conceptualism may be defended against its most serious objections (e.g., Richard Heck's argument from nonveridical experience). The framework is of independent interest for the philosophy of mind and epistemology given its implications for debates regarding transparency, relationalism and representationalism, demonstrative (...) thought, phenomenal character, and the speckled hen objection to modest foundationalism. (shrink)
Perhaps it is a pity that the Theory of Knowledge and the Theory of Conduct have fallen into separate compartments. (It certainly was not so in Socrates’ time, as his interest in the relation between eidos and technê bears witness.) If we studied them together, perhaps we might have a better understanding of both. H.H. Price, Thinking and Representation..
Some things we can know just by thinking about them: for example, that identity is transitive, that Gettier’s Smith does not know that the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pockets, that the ratio between two and six holds also between one and three, that it is wrong to wantonly torture innocent sentient beings, and various other things that simply strikeus, intuitively, as true when we consider them. The question is how : how can we (...) know things just by thinking about them? (shrink)
Perceiving things to be a certain way may in some cases lead directly to action that is intelligent. This phenomenon has not often been discussed, though it is of broad philosophical interest. It also raises a difficult question: how can perception produce intelligent action? After clarifying the question—which I call the question of “practical perception”—and explaining what is required for an adequate answer, I critically examine two candidate answers drawn from work on related topics: the first, inspired by Hubert Dreyfus's (...) phenomenological analysis of absorbed coping, focuses on awareness of situational features; the other, suggested by Gilbert Ryle's classic treatment of knowledge-how, focuses on possession of behavioral dispositions. I argue that neither approach is adequate. Subsequently, I develop and defend an alternative answer that emphasizes the agent's conceptual understanding. (shrink)
Knowledge how to do things is a pervasive and central element of everyday life. Yet it raises many difficult questions that must be answered by philosophers and cognitive scientists aspiring to understand human cognition and agency. What is the connection between knowing how and knowing that? Is knowledge how simply a type of ability or disposition to act? Is there an irreducibly practical form of knowledge? What is the role of the intellect in intelligent action? This volume contains fifteen state (...) of the art essays by leading figures in philosophy and linguistics that amplify and sharpen the debate between "intellectualists" and "anti-intellectualists" about mind and action, highlighting the conceptual, empirical, and linguistic issues that motivate and sustain the conflict. The essays also explore various ways in which this debate informs central areas of ethics, philosophy of action, epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Knowing How covers a broad range of topics dealing with tacit and procedural knowledge, the psychology of skill, expertise, intelligence and intelligent action, the nature of ability, the syntax and semantics of embedded questions, the mind-body problem, phenomenal character, epistemic injustice, moral knowledge, the epistemology of logic, linguistic competence, the connection between knowledge and understanding, and the relation between theory and practice. This is the book on knowing how--an invaluable resource for philosophers, linguists, psychologists, and others concerned with knowledge, mind, and action. (shrink)
The notion of a non-sensory mental state or event that plays a prominent role in coming to understand, an epistemic achievement distinct from mere knowledge, featured prominently in historical writings on philosophy, and philosophical methodology. It is, however, completely absent from contemporary discussions of the subject. This paper argues that intuition plays an epistemic role in understanding, including philosophical understanding, and offers an explanation of how intuition manages to play this role, if and when it does. It is argued, subsequently, (...) that this role is autonomous, in the sense that a source of understanding cannot be reduced to a source of justification, evidence, or reason. Finally, it is noted that such autonomy implies that popular forms of skepticism about intuition do not impugn intuition’s epistemic significance with respect to its status as a source of understanding. (shrink)
An overview of philosophical work on the distinction between knowledge how and knowledge that, focusing on what it means to say that they are 'distinct', and on what is at stake in the debate between intellectualists and anti-intellectualists about knowledge how.
In recent years, multidisciplinary study has become all the rage in academic circles. Scholars have been going all out for interdisciplinarity, not only in research programs, but pedagogically in the classroom, and structurally in higher education curricula. Fewer and fewer cautionary voices are being heeded or even heard in this conversation. In this essay, I advocate a mediating position on this issue that has emerged from reflecting on my own professional work with interdisciplinary scholarship. That work includes research, scholarship, and (...) teaching in the fields of theology, religion and science, and religion and literature, as well as ten years of editorial experience with the American Journal of Theology and .. (shrink)
Jesse Prinz develops a naturalistic metaethical theory with which he purports to sidestep ‘Hume's law’ by demonstrating how, on his theory, in describing what our moral beliefs commit us to we can determine what our moral obligations are. I aim to show that Prinz does not deliver on his prescriptive promise – he does not bridge the is–ought gap in any meaningful way. Given that Prinz goes on to argue that (1) his moral psychology highlights fundamental shortcomings in ‘traditional’ (...) normative ethical theories, (2) that moral progress is possible, despite the relativistic implications of his own position, and (3) that this undermining of the is–ought gap should hold true on any naturalistic metaethical theory, the extent to which his project succeeds becomes significant. (shrink)
Jesse Prinz compares Nietzsche’s genealogy of morals to its utilitarian and materialist counterparts and gives two cheers for the Nietzschean approach.1 The project is well conceived; and—readers of this journal will not need to be convinced of this—the recognition of Nietzsche’s achievement is deserved and welcome. But when we get to “the particular go of it,”2 Prinz’s account of what Nietzsche’s achievement is, I have reservations. Though we have much to learn from his juxtaposing Nietzschean genealogy to its utilitarian (...) and materialist counterparts, we can learn more when we dig deeper and pay more attention to detail. In what follows, I will show how a better account of the relationship between history... (shrink)
Reply to criticsThe replies in this symposium are some of the most insightful contributions to contemporary metaphilosophy I have read. I wish I had seen them before I wrote Philosophy without Intuitions . It would have made it a better book. I also wish I had space to explore all the important issues raised, but unfortunately, the focus here will have to be on points of disagreement. The replies build on each other—I draw on material from the earlier replies in (...) the later ones. It is possible to read each reply in isolation, but they are best read in sequence.Socratic knowledge and its role in philosophy: Reply to WeathersonWeatherson presents one of the most interesting accounts of the role of intuitions in philosophy that I have encountered. For Weatherson, the role is limited, fragile, and elusive .One of the most interesting ideas in the paper is that “the important intuitions are the ones you bar .. (shrink)
In this response to Malt's and Prinz's commentaries, I argue that neo-empiricist hypotheses fail to threaten the argument for the elimination of ‘concept’ because they are unlikely to be true of all concepts, if they are true at all. I also defend the hypothesis that we possess bodies of knowledge retrieved by default from long-term memory, and I argue that prototypes, exemplars, and theories form genuinely distinct concepts.
We must admire the ambition of Prinz’s title question. But does he provide a convincing answer to it? Prinz’s own view of morality as “a byproduct – accidental or invented – of faculties that evolved for different purposes (1),” which appears to express a negative reply, does not receive much direct argument here. Rather, Prinz’s main aim is to try to show that the considerations he believes are typically presented by moral nativists are insufficient or inadequate to establish that morality (...) is innate. He discusses, individually, how much evidential weight the (alleged) existence of (1) universal moral norms, (2) universal moral domains, (3) fixed stages in moral development, and (4) precursors to morality among non-human animals lend to nativist claims, and, in addition, he argues that poverty-of-the-moral-stimulus arguments are as yet unconvincing. “[C]urrent evidence,” Prinz claims, “is consistent with the conclusion that children acquire moral competence through experience (22).” It is not my intention here to follow Prinz’s piecemeal criticisms of moral nativism. In their attacks on linguistic nativism (see, e.g., Cowie 1999) and now on moral nativism, empiricists typically deploy the.. (shrink)