The aim of this paper is to show that Kim’s ‚supervenience argument’ is at best inconclusive and so fails to provide an adequate challenge to nonreductive physicalism. I shall argue, first, that Kim’s argument rests on assumptions that the nonreductive physicalist is entitled to regard as question-begging; second, that even if those assumptions are granted, it is not clear that irreducible mental causes fail to␣satisfy them; and, third, that since the argument has the overall structure of a reductio, which of (...) its various premises one performs the reductio on remains open to debate in an interesting way. I shall finally suggest that the issue of reductive vs. nonreductive physicalism is best contested not in the arena of mental causation but in that in which the issues pertaining to theory and property reduction are currently being debated. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim’s views on mental causation and the exclusion argument are evaluated systematically. Particular attention is paid to different theories of causation. It is argued that the exclusion argument and its premises do not cohere well with any systematic view of causation.
__WINNER OF THE 2004 LAKATOS AWARD!__ _Thought in a Hostile World_ is an exploration of the evolution of cognition, especially human cognition, by one of today's foremost philosophers of biology and of mind. Featuresan exploration of the evolution of human cognition. Written by one of today’s foremost philosophers of mind and language. Presents a set of analytic tools for thinking about cognition and its evolution. Offers a critique of nativist, modular versions of evolutionary psychology, rejecting the example of language as (...) a model for thinking about human cognitive capacities. Applies to the areas of cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and evolutionary psychology. (shrink)
Kim :1099–1112, 2013) defends a logicist theory of numbers. According to him, numbers are adverbial entities, similar to those denoted by “frequently” and “at 100 mph”. He even introduces new adverbs for numbers: “1-wise”, “2-wise”, and so on. For example, “Fs exist 2-wise” means that there are two Fs. Kim claims that, because we can derive Dedekind–Peano axioms from his definition of numbers as adverbial entities, it is a new form of logicism. In this paper, I will, however, argue that (...) his theory is vulnerable to an analogue of the so-called Bad Company objection to neo-Fregeanism. This means that we cannot be sure that numbers are actually given to us by Kim’s definition; for, we don’t know whether it is indeed a good definition. So, unless Kim, or somebody else, provides a demarcation criterion between good and bad adverbial definitions, Kim’s theory will remain incomplete. (shrink)
Although informed consent is important in clinical research, questions persist regarding when it is necessary, what it requires, and how it should be obtained. The standard view in research ethics is that the function of informed consent is to respect individual autonomy. However, consent processes are multidimensional and serve other ethical functions as well. These functions deserve particular attention when barriers to consent exist. We argue that consent serves seven ethically important and conceptually distinct functions. The first four functions pertain (...) principally to individual participants: providing transparency; allowing control and authorization; promoting concordance with participants' values; and protecting and promoting welfare interests. Three other functions are systemic or policy focused: promoting trust; satisfying regulatory requirements; and promoting integrity in research. Reframing consent around these functions can guide approaches to consent that are context sensitive and that maximize achievable goals. (shrink)
In "Mind in a Physical World", Jaegwon Kim has recently extended his ongoing critique of 'non-reductive materialist' positions in philosophy of mind by arguing that Nagel's model of reduction is the wrong paradigm in terms of which to contest the issue of psychophysical reduction, and that an altogether different model of scientific reduction -- a functional model of reduction -- is needed. In this paper I argue, first, that Kim's conception of the Nagelian model is substantially impoverished and potentially misleading; (...) second, that his own functional model is problematic in several respects; and, third, that the basic idea underlying his functional model can well be accommodated within a properly reinterpreted Nagelian model. I conclude with some reflections on the issue of psychophysical reduction. (shrink)
An analysis and rebuttal of Jaegwon Kim's reasons for taking nonreductive physicalism to entail the causal irrelevance of mental features to physical phenomena, particularly the behaviour of human bodies.
This paper discusses two perspectives, each of which recognises the importance of environmental resources in enhancing and amplifying our cognitive capacity. One is the Clark–Chalmers model, extended further by Clark and others. The other derives from niche construction models of evolution, models which emphasise the role of active agency in enhancing the adaptive fit between agent and world. In the human case, much niche construction is epistemic: making cognitive tools and assembling other informational resources that support and scaffold intelligent action. (...) I shall argue that extended mind cases are limiting cases of environmental scaffolding, and while the extended mind picture is not false, the niche construction model is a more helpful framework for understanding human action. (shrink)
Direction of fit theories usually claim that beliefs are such that they “aim at truth” or “ought to fit” the world and desires are such that they “aim at realization” or the world “ought to fit” them. This essay argues that no theory of direction of fit is correct. The two directions of fit are supposed to be determinations of one and the same determinable two-place relation, differing only in the ordering of favored terms. But there is no such determinable (...) because of ineliminable asymmetries between the way that beliefs “aim at truth” and the way that desires “aim at realization.” This essay traces the ills of direction of fit theory to a misunderstanding of Anscombe and proposes a cure that distinguishes theoretical and practical thought by appeal to a distinction between thought in the form of a state and thought in the form of an event. (shrink)
Epistemology orthodoxy is a purist one in the sense that it separates out the epistemic from the practical. What counts as evidence is independent of what we care about. Which beliefs count as justified and which count as knowledge are independent of our practical concerns. In recent years, many epistemologists have abandoned such purist views and embraced varying degrees of pragmatic encroachment on the epistemic. I survey a variety of these views and explore the main arguments that proponents of pragmatic (...) encroachment have offered in addition to the main criticisms of the pragmatic approach. (shrink)
This paper examines the idea, commonly presupposed but seldom explicitly stated in discussions of certain philosophical problems, that the objects and phenomena of the world are structured in a hierarchy of "levels", from the bottom level of microparticles to the levels of cells and biological organisms and then to the levels of creatures with mentality and social groups of such creatures. Parallel to this "layered model" of the natural world is an ordering of the sciences, with physics as our "basic" (...) science and the "special sciences" forming a ladder-like hierarchy, from chemistry to biology to psychology and the social sciences, all grounded in basic physics. Focusing on two formulations of this model, the emergentist model of C. Lloyd Morgan and the reductionist model due to Paul Oppenheim and Hilary Putnam, the paper discusses such questions as these:What makes a given level of objects "higher" or "lower" than another? What makes a given property "higher" or "lower" than another property. Are objects and properties always comparable with respect to "higher" and "lower"? Can an overarching hierarchy of entities and properties be developed that comprehends the entire natural order? The issues turn out to be quite complex, and no definitive general conclusions are reached. (shrink)
An observation of Hume’s has received a lot of attention over the last decade and a half: Although we can standardly imagine the most implausible scenarios, we encounter resistance when imagining propositions at odds with established moral (or perhaps more generally evaluative) convictions. The literature is ripe with ‘solutions’ to this so-called ‘Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance’. Few, however, question the plausibility of the empirical assumption at the heart of the puzzle. In this paper, we explore empirically whether the difficulty we (...) witness in imagining certain propositions is indeed due to claim type (evaluative v. non-evaluative) or whether it is much rather driven by mundane features of content. Our findings suggest that claim type plays but a marginal role, and that there might hence not be much of a ‘puzzle’ to be solved. (shrink)
Is Anscombean practical knowledge independent of what the agent actually does on an occasion? Failure to understand Anscombe’s answer to this question is a major obstacle to appreciating the subtlety and plausibility of her view. I argue that Anscombe’s answer is negative, and turns on the nature of mistakes in performance, and reveals a distinctive implicit metaphysics of mind and knowledge, structured by related capacities and exercises of capacities. If my interpretation is correct, then practical knowledge shares features with knowledge-how (...) and knowledge-that, but deserves its own epistemic category. (shrink)
This book is part of the growing field of practical approaches to philosophical questions relating to identity, agency and ethics, working across continental and analytical traditions. Kim Atkins explains and justifies the basis of the practical approach through an explication of the structures of human embodiment and an account of how those structures necessitate a narrative model of selfhood, understanding and ethics. She highlights how recent work on agency and autonomy implicitly draws upon conceptions of embodiment and intersubjectivity that underpin (...) the narrative view. (shrink)
In this paper I will revisit an argument that I have called “the supervenience argument”; it is sometimes called “the exclusion argument” in the literature. I want to reconsider several aspects of this argument in light of some of the criticisms and comments it has elicited, clarifying some points and offering a slightly reformulated—and improved—version of the argument. My primary aim, however, is to discuss and respond to Ned Block’s edifying and challenging critique of the argument in his “Do Causal (...) Powers Drain Away?”—in particular, his claim that the argument has the consequence that if there is no bottom microphysical level, causal powers will “drain away”, leaving us with no causation anywhere. The supervenience argument was designed to show that on a certain popular and influential view of mentality and its relationship to the physical, mental properties turn out to be epiphenomenal, that is, without causal powers of their own. (shrink)
The ontological dependence of one domain on another is compatible with the explanatory autonomy of the less basic domain. That autonomy results from the fact that the relationship between two domains can be very complex. In this paper I distinguish two different types of complexity, two ways the relationship between domains can fail to be transparent, both of which are relevant to evolutionary biology. Sometimes high level explanations preserve a certain type of causal or counterfactual information which would be lost (...) at the lower level; I argue that this is central to the proper understanding of the adaptationist program. Sometimes high level kinds are multiply realised by lower level kinds: I argue that this is central to the understanding of macroevolution. (shrink)
This paper discusses in broad terms the metaphysical projects of Sydney Shoemaker’s Physical Realization . Specifically, I examine the effectiveness of Shoemaker’s novel “subset” account of realization for defusing the problem of mental causation, and compare the “subset” account with the standard “second-order” account. Finally, I discuss the physicalist status of the metaphysical worldview presented in Shoemaker’s important new contribution to philosophy of mind and metaphysics.
Emergence requires that the ultimate physical micro-entities have “micro-latent” causal powers, which manifest themselves only when the entities are combined in ways that are “emergence-engendering,” in addition to the “micro-manifest” powers that account for their behavior in other circumstances. Subjects of emergent properties will have emergent micro-structural properties, specified partly in terms of these micro-latent powers, each of which will be determined by a micro-structural property specified only in terms of the micro-manifest powers of the constituents and the way they (...) are related. If the determiner and the determined properties are distinct, this determination is the basis of the supervenience of emergent properties on non-emergent physical properties. If not, emergence does not involve such supervenience. Either way, there is no problem with diachronic downward causation. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the adaptive fit between human cultures and their environment is persuasive evidence that some form of evolutionary mechanism has been important in driving human cultural change. I distinguish three mechanisms of cultural evolution: niche construction leading to cultural group selection; the vertical flow of cultural information from parents to their children, and the replication and spread of memes. I further argue that both cultural group selection and the vertical flow of cultural information have been (...) important. More conjecturally, I identify a potential role for meme-based cultural evolution in the explanation of the ‘human revolution’ of the last 100 000 or so years, and defuse an important objection to that explanation. Introduction Cultural groups The cultural invention of adaptive complexes Niche construction models Dual inheritance Memes Memes or minds? Conclusion. (shrink)
If contemporary analytic philosophy can be said to have a philosophical ideology, it undoubtedly is naturalism. Naturalism is often invoked as a motivating ground for many philosophical projects, and “naturalization” programs abound everywhere, in theory of knowledge, philosophy of mind, theory of meaning, metaphysics, and ethics. But what is naturalism, and where does it come from? This paper examines the naturalism debate in midtwentieth-century America as a proximate source of contemporary naturalism. Views of philosophers like Roy Wood Sellars, John Dewey, (...) John Herman Randall, Sydney Hook, and Ernest Nagel are cited, and some of the central tenets of naturalism, such as an adherence to “scientific method” as the sole source of knowledge and the causal/ explanatory closure of the natural world, are explored. The paper ends with a brief discussion of how certain naturalistic constraints lead to some of the problems currently debated in metaethics and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
In the last few years, nativist, modular views of moral cognition have been influential. This paper shares the view that normative cognition develops robustly, and is probably an adaptation. But it develops an alternative view of the developmental basis of moral cognition, based on the idea that adults scaffold moral development by organising the learning environment of the next generation. In addition, I argue that the modular nativist picture has no plausible account of the role of explicit moral judgement, and (...) that no persuasive version of the ‘poverty of the stimulus' applies to moral cognition. (shrink)
Research on ethical dilemmas in health care has become increasingly salient during the last two decades resulting in confusion about the concept of moral distress. The aim of the present paper is to provide an overview and a comparative analysis of the theoretical understandings of moral distress and related concepts. The focus is on five concepts: moral distress, moral stress, stress of conscience, moral sensitivity and ethical climate. It is suggested that moral distress connects mainly to a psychological perspective; stress (...) of conscience more to a theological–philosophical standpoint; and moral stress mostly to a physiological perspective. Further analysis indicates that these thoughts can be linked to the concepts of moral sensitivity and ethical climate through a relationship to moral agency. Moral agency comprises a moral awareness of moral problems and moral responsibility for others. It is suggested that moral distress may serve as a positive catalyst in exercising moral agency. An interdisciplinary approach in research and practice broadens our understanding of moral distress and its impact on health care personnel and patient care. (shrink)
Loewer has argued that the nonreductive physicalist should respond to the exclusion problem by endorsing the overdetermination entailed by their view. Kim’s argument against this reply is based on the premise that mental causation must be a productive relation in order to sustain human agency. In this paper, I challenge the premise that mental causation is a productive relation by appealing to the underlying double prevention structure of the physiological mechanisms of human action. Since the causal pathways from an agent’s (...) mental events to bodily movement involves an absence, mental causation is not productive. This places Kim in a troublesome dilemma in his debate with Loewer: either surrender mental causation or deny that causation is a productive relation. With the support offered for productive mental causation undermined, responses to the exclusion problem based on accepting overdetermination remain viable options for the nonreductive physicalist. (shrink)
This paper presents and evaluates Jaegwon Kim’s recent argument against substance dualism. The argument runs as follows. Causal interaction between two entities requires pairing relations. Pairing relations are spatial relations, such as distance and orientation. Souls are supposedly nonspatial, immaterial substances. So it is hard to see how souls could enter into paired causal relations with material substances. I show that Kim’s argument against dualism fails. I conclude by sketching a way the substance dualist could meet Kim’s central challenge of (...) explaining how souls and bodies are uniquely paired, allowing for them to enter into specific causal relationships, forming a singular soul–body unit. (shrink)
This paper evaluates and criticises the developmental systems conception of evolution and develops instead an extension of the gene's eye conception of evolution. We argue (i) Dawkin's attempt to segregate developmental and evolutionary issues about genes is unsatisfactory. On plausible views of development it is arbitrary to single out genes as the units of selection. (ii) The genotype does not carry information about the phenotype in any way that distinguishes the role of the genes in development from that other factors. (...) (iii) There is no simple and general causal criterion which distinguishes the role of genes in development and evolution. (iv) There is, however, an important sense in which genes but not every other developmental factor represent the phenotype. (v) The idea that genes represent features of the phenotype forces us to recognise that genes are not the only, or almost the only, replicators. Many mechanisms of replication are involved in both development and evolution. (vi) A conception of evolutionary history which recognises both genetic and non-genetic replicators, lineages of replicators and interactors has advantages over both the radical rejection of the replicator/interactor distinction and the conservative restriction of replication to genetic replication. (shrink)
In some recent articles, Jaegwon Kim has argued that non-reductive physicalism is a myth: when it comes to the mind-body problem, the only serious options are reductionism, eliminativism, and dualism. And when it comes to reductionism, Kim is inclined to regard a functionalist theory of the mind as the best available option—mostly because it offers the best explanation of mind-body supervenience. In this paper, I will discuss Kim’s views about functionalism. They may be contended on two general grounds. First, some (...) functionalists will object to being classified as reductionists. Second, Kim argues for a version (or a reading) of functionalism, conceptualized functionalism, that makes it rather similar to the “old” mind-body identity theory it was designed to replace. Moreover, Kim’s conceptualized functionalism turns out to be a somewhat surprising brand of reductionism—a reductionism with some eliminativist cut-outs and, possibly, some dualist leftovers. At the end of the paper I propose a construal of the more standard version of functionalism that obviates Kim’s argument for switching-over to his conceptualized version. (shrink)
Two concepts of supervenience, "strong supervenience" and "weak supervenience," are characterized and contrasted, And their major properties established. Supervenience as commonly characterized by philosophers is shown to correspond to weak supervenience, Whereas the intended concept is often the stronger relation. Strong supervenience is applied to explicate the notion of "supervenient causation," and it is argued that macro-Causal relations can be understood as cases of supervenient causation, And that causal relations involving psychological events, Too, Can be so understood.
The essays collected in this volume address a range of issues that arise when the focus of philosophical reflection on identity is shifted from metaphysical to practical and evaluative concerns. They also explore the usefulness of the notion of narrative for articulating and responding to these issues. The chapters, written by an outstanding roster of international scholars, address a range of complex philosophical issues concerning the relationship between practical and metaphysical identity, the embodied dimensions of the first-personal perspective, the kind (...) of reflexive agency involved in the self-constitution of one’s practical identity, the relationship between practical identity and normativity, and the temporal dimensions of identity and selfhood. In addressing these issues, contributors engage with debates in the literatures on personal identity, phenomenology, moral psychology, action theory, normative ethical theory, and feminist philosophy. (shrink)