This paper considers three package deals combining views in philosophy of mind, meta-philosophy, and experimental philosophy. The most familiar of these packages gives center-stage to pumping intuitions about fanciful cases, but that package involves problematic commitments both to a controversial descriptivist theory of reference and to intuitions that “negative” experimental philosophers have shown to be suspiciously variable and context-sensitive. In light of these difficulties, it would be good for future-minded experimental philosophers to align themselves with a different package deal. This (...) paper suggests two alternatives. Experimentalists might help fans of “naturalized” approaches discover what natural kinds have been playing an appropriate role in causing us to use concepts as we do. Or, better still, experimentalists might instead help pragmatists and teleo-semanticists discover how our concept usage regularly yields beneficial outcomes, so that we can then craft philosophical analyses that will.. (shrink)
A number of authors have suggested that a conditional analysis of dispositions must take roughly the following form: Thing X is disposed to produce response R to stimulus S just in case, if X were exposed to S and surrounding circumstances were auspicious, then X would produce R. The great challenge is cashing out the relevant notion of ‘auspicious circumstances’. I give a general argument which entails that all existing conditional analyses fail, and that there is no satisfactory way to (...) define ‘auspicious circumstances’ just in terms of S, R, and X. Instead, I argue that the auspicious circumstances C for the manifestation of a disposition constitute a third irreducible element of that disposition, and that to pick out (or to ‘individuate’) that disposition one must specify C along with S and R. This enables a new conditional analysis of dispositions that gives intuitively satisfying answers in cases that pose problems for other approaches. (shrink)
This paper contributes to an ongoing debate regarding the cognitive processes involved when one person predicts a target person's behavior and/or attributes a mental state to that target person. According to simulation theory, a person typically performs these tasks by employing some part of her brain as a simulation of what is going on in a corresponding part of the brain of the target person. I propose a general intuitive analysis of what 'simulation' means. Simulation is a particular way of (...) using one process to acquire knowledge about another process. What distinguishes simulation from other ways of acquiring knowledge is that simulation requires, for its non-accidental success, that the simulating process reflect significant aspects of the simulated process. This conceptual work is of independent philosophical interest, but it also enables me to argue for two conclusions that are of great significance to the debate about mental simulation theory. First, I argue that, in order to stake a non-trivial claim, simulation theory must hold that mental simulation involves what I call concretely similar processes. Second, I argue for the surprising conclusion that a significant class of cases that simulation theorists have claimed as intuitive cases of simulation do not actually involve simulation, after all. I close by sketching an alternative account that might handle these problematic cases. (shrink)
Mental internalists hold that an individuals mental features at a given time supervene upon what is in that individuals head at that time. While many people reject mental internalism about content and justification, mental internalism is commonly accepted regarding such other mental features as rationality, emotion-types, propositional-attitude-types, moral character, and phenomenology. I construct a counter-example to mental internalism regarding all these features. My counter-example involves two creatures: a human and an alien from Pulse World. These creatures environments, behavioral dispositions and (...) histories are such that it is intuitively clear that they are mentally quite different, even while they are, for a moment, exactly alike with respect to whats in their heads. I offer positive reasons for thinking that the case I describe is indeed possible. I then consider ways in which mental internalists might attempt to account for this case, but conclude that the only plausible option is to reject mental internalism and to adopt a particular externalist alternative a history-oriented version of teleo-functionalism. (shrink)
considers what I call free-floating chances—objective chances that obtain at a given time despite the fact that their values are not determined by the laws of nature together with the full history of non-chancy facts up to that time. I offer an intuitive example of this phenomenon, and use it to argue that free-floating chances are indeed possible. Their possibility violates three quite widely held principles about chances: the lawful magnitude principle, the principle that chances evolve by conditionalization and a (...) version of David Lewis' principal principle. I argue that we should reject common formulations of each of these principles, though I offer revised understandings of each which retain much of the intuitive attractiveness of the originals and are consistent with the possibility of free-floating chances. I conclude by arguing that, while considerations of free-floating chances are important, they will not sustain the extravagant conclusions Lange attempts to draw from them. Introduction First- and Higher-Order Chances Free-Floating Chances Support for the Intuitive Assessment Three Principles Violated What to do? COND as a Default Hypothesis A More Principled Principal Principle Conclusion. (shrink)
This paper defends Pragmatic Conceptual Analysis , a proposed empirical methodology for explicating philosophical concepts. This methodology attributes to our shared concepts whatever application conditions they would need to have in order best to continue delivering benefits in the ways they have regularly delivered benefits in the past. In the first stage of my argument I argue that Pragmatic Conceptual Analysis has what I call normative authority : we have practical and epistemic reason to adopt the explications that it delivers (...) even if we think doing so requires stipulative revisions in the meanings of our concepts. I then use this normative authority to argue that Pragmatic Conceptual Analysis also has what I call descriptive authority : when we understand concept-meaning in the way we ought to understand it (in the way licensed by the normative authority of Pragmatic Conceptual Analysis) we see that, rather than being revisionary, Pragmatic Conceptual Analysis is a semantically conservative tool that uncovers (what we should think of as being) the meanings our concepts already have. (shrink)
I. Introduction. II. Ratiocination vs. Cognition. III. Emotions as Modes of Cognition. IV. Four Competing Proposals. V. The Impact of Emotion on Cognition. VI. The Kinematics of Ratiocination. VII. Competing Cognitive Theories. VIII. Why think Emotions are Beliefs? IX. The Intentionality of Emotions. X. The Kinematics of Emotions. XI. A Unified Account of the Emotions. XII. The Rationality of Emotions.
The goal of this paper is to answer the following question: When we have mental states that represent certain things as being colored, what properties are our mental states representing these things as having?
I develop and defend a version of what I call Disposition-Based Decision Theory (or DBDT). I point out important problems in David Gauthier’s (1985, 1986) formulation of DBDT, and carefully develop a more defensible formulation. I then compare my version of DBDT to the currently most widely accepted decision theory, Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Traditional intuition-based arguments fail to give us any strong reason to prefer either theory over the other, but I propose an alternative strategy for resolving this debate. (...) I argue that we should embrace DBDT because it does better than CDT at the work that we, as a matter of empirical fact, commonly call upon a notion of rationality to do. (shrink)
Searle's Chinese Room argument is a general argument that proves that machines do not have mental states in virtue of their programming. I claim that the argument expresses powerful but mistaken intuitions about understanding and the first person point of view. A distinction is drawn between a competence sense and a performance sense of ‘understanding texts’. It is argued that the Chinese Room intuition looks for a special experience (performance) of comprehension, whereas artificial intelligence is attempting to explain the knowledge (...) (competence) required to understand texts. Moreover, a dilemma is sketched for the argument: either Searle hasn't identified the appropriate subject of understanding or he may understand after all. Finally, I question the underlying assumption that the general definition of mental states requires a projectable‐by‐us first person point of view. (shrink)