We argue that dynamical and mathematical models in systems and cognitive neuro- science explain (rather than redescribe) a phenomenon only if there is a plausible mapping between elements in the model and elements in the mechanism for the phe- nomenon. We demonstrate how this model-to-mechanism-mapping constraint, when satisfied, endows a model with explanatory force with respect to the phenomenon to be explained. Several paradigmatic models including the Haken-Kelso-Bunz model of bimanual coordination and the difference-of-Gaussians model of visual receptive fields are (...) explored. (shrink)
Lewis et al. (2011) attempted to restore the reputation of Samuel George Morton, a 19th century physician who reported on the skull sizes of different folk-races. Whereas Gould (1978) claimed that Morton’s conclusions were invalid because they reflected unconscious bias, Lewis et al. alleged that Morton’s findings were, in fact, supported, and Gould’s analysis biased. We take strong exception to Lewis et al.’s thesis that Morton was “right.” We maintain that Gould was right to reject Morton’s analysis as inappropriate and (...) misleading, but wrong to believe that a more appropriate analysis was available. Lewis et al. fail to recognize that there is, given the dataset available, no appropriate way to answer any of the plausibly interesting questions about the “populations” in question (which in many cases are not populations in any biologically meaningful sense). We challenge the premise shared by both Gould and Lewis et al. that Morton’s confused data can be used to draw any meaningful conclusions. This, we argue, reveals the importance of properly focusing on the questions asked, rather than more narrowly on the data gathered. (shrink)
It is illegitimate to read any ontology about "race" off of biological theory or data. Indeed, the technical meaning of "genetic variation" is fluid, and there is no single theoretical agreed-upon criterion for defining and distinguishing populations (or groups or clusters) given a particular set of genetic variation data. Thus, by analyzing three formal senses of "genetic variation"—diversity, differentiation, and heterozygosity—we argue that the use of biological theory for making epistemic claims about "race" can only seem plausible when it relies (...) on the user’s own assumptions about race; the move from biological measures to claims about “race” inevitably amounts to a pernicious reification. We also excavate assumptions in the history of the technical discourse over the concept of "race" (e.g., Livingstone's and Dobzhansky's 1962 exchange, Edwards' 2003 response to Lewontin 1972, as well as contemporary discussions of cladistic "race", and "races" as clusters). We show that claims about the existence (or non-existence) of "race" are underdetermined by biological facts, methods, and theories. Biological theory does not force the concept of "race" upon us; our social discourse, social ontology, and social expectations do. We become prisoners of our abstractions at our own hands, and at our own expense. (shrink)
The central aim of this paper is to shed light on the nature of explanation in computational neuroscience. I argue that computational models in this domain possess explanatory force to the extent that they describe the mechanisms responsible for producing a given phenomenon—paralleling how other mechanistic models explain. Conceiving computational explanation as a species of mechanistic explanation affords an important distinction between computational models that play genuine explanatory roles and those that merely provide accurate descriptions or predictions of phenomena. It (...) also serves to clarify the pattern of model refinement and elaboration undertaken by computational neuroscientists. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes three concepts of "race": bio-genomic cluster/race, biological race, and social race. We map out realism, antirealism, and conventionalism about each of these, in three important historical episodes: Frank Livingstone and Theodosius Dobzhansky in 1962, A.W.F. Edwards' 2003 response to Lewontin (1972), and contemporary discourse. Semantics is especially crucial to the first episode, while normativity is central to the second. Upon inspection, each episode also reveals a variety of commitments to the metaphysics of race. We conclude by interrogating (...) the relevance of these scientific discussions for political positions and a post-racial future. (shrink)
Abstract While agreeing that dynamical models play a major role in cognitive science, we reject Stepp, Chemero, and Turvey's contention that they constitute an alternative to mechanistic explanations. We review several problems dynamical models face as putative explanations when they are not grounded in mechanisms. Further, we argue that the opposition of dynamical models and mechanisms is a false one and that those dynamical models that characterize the operations of mechanisms overcome these problems. By briefly considering examples involving the generation (...) of action potentials and circadian rhythms, we show how decomposing a mechanism and modeling its dynamics are complementary endeavors. (shrink)
Completeness is an important but misunderstood norm of explanation. It has recently been argued that mechanistic accounts of scientific explanation are committed to the thesis that models are complete only if they describe everything about a mechanism and, as a corollary, that incomplete models are always improved by adding more details. If so, mechanistic accounts are at odds with the obvious and important role of abstraction in scientific modelling. We respond to this characterization of the mechanist’s views about abstraction and (...) articulate norms of completeness for mechanistic explanations that have no such unwanted implications. (shrink)
Is Bayesian decision theory a panacea for many of the problems in epistemology and the philosophy of science, or is it philosophical snake-oil? For years a debate had been waged amongst specialists regarding the import and legitimacy of this body of theory. Mark Kaplan had written the first accessible and non-technical book to address this controversy. Introducing a new variant on Bayesian decision theory the author offers a compelling case that, while no panacea, decision theory does in fact have the (...) most profound consequences for the way in which philosophers think about inquiry, criticism and rational belief. The new variant on Bayesian theory is presented in such a way that a non-specialist will be able to understand it. The book also offers new solutions to some classic paradoxes. It focuses on the intuitive motivations of the Bayesian approach to epistemology and addresses the philosophical worries to which it has given rise. (shrink)
Making Sense of Evolution explores contemporary evolutionary biology, focusing on the elements of theories—selection, adaptation, and species—that are complex and open to multiple possible interpretations, many of which are incompatible with one another and with other accepted practices in the discipline. Particular experimental methods, for example, may demand one understanding of “selection,” while the application of the same concept to another area of evolutionary biology could necessitate a very different definition.
All eyes are turned towards genomic data and models as the source of knowledge about whether human races exist or not. Will genomic science make the final decision about whether racial realism (e.g., racial population naturalism) or anti-realism (e.g., racial skepticism) is correct? We think not. We believe that the results of even our best and most impressive genomic technologies underdetermine whether bio-genomic races exist, or not. First, different sub-disciplines of biology interested in population structure employ distinct concepts, aims, measures, (...) and models, producing cross-cutting categorizations of population subdivisions rather than a single, universal bio-genomic concept of "race." Second, within each sub-discipline (e.g., conservation biology, phylogenetics), genomic results are consistent with, and map multiply to, racial realism and anti-realism. Indeed, racial ontologies are constructed conventionally, rather than discovered. We thus defend a /constructivist conventionalism/ about bio-genomic racial ontology. Choices and conventions must always be made in identifying particular kinds of groups. Political agendas, social programs, and moral questions premised on the existence of naturalistic race must accept that no scientifically grounded racial ontology is forthcoming, and adjust presumptions, practices, and projects accordingly. (shrink)
Advocates of extended cognition argue that the boundaries of cognition span brain, body, and environment. Critics maintain that cognitive processes are confined to a boundary centered on the individual. All participants to this debate require a criterion for distinguishing what is internal to cognition from what is external. Yet none of the available proposals are completely successful. I offer a new account, the mutual manipulability account, according to which cognitive boundaries are determined by relationships of mutual manipulability between the properties (...) and activities of putative components and the overall behavior of the cognitive mechanism in which they figure. Among its main advantages, this criterion is capable of (a) distinguishing components of cognition from causal background conditions and lower-level correlates, and (b) showing how the core hypothesis of extended cognition can serve as a legitimate empirical hypothesis amenable to experimental test and confirmation. Conceiving the debate in these terms transforms the current clash over extended cognition into a substantive empirical debate resolvable on the basis of evidence from cognitive science and neuroscience. (shrink)
Biological research on race has often been seen as motivated by or lending credence to underlying racist attitudes; in part for this reason, recently philosophers and biologists have gone through great pains to essentially deny the existence of biological human races. We argue that human races, in the biological sense of local populations adapted to particular environments, do in fact exist; such races are best understood through the common ecological concept of ecotypes. However, human ecotypic races do not in general (...) correspond with 'folk' racial categories, largely because many similar ecotypes have multiple independent origins. Consequently, while human natural races exist, they have little or nothing in common with 'folk' races. (shrink)
Even though female food acquisition is an area of considerable interest in hunter-gatherer research, the ecological determinants of women’s economic decisions in these populations are still poorly understood. The literature on female foraging behavior indicates that there is considerable variation within and across foraging societies in the amount of time that women spend foraging and in the amount and types of food that they acquire. It is possible that this heterogeneity reflects variation in the trade-offs between time spent in food (...) acquisition and child care activities that women face in different groups of hunter-gatherers. In this paper we discuss the fitness trade-offs between food acquisition and child care that Hiwi and Ache women foragers might face. Multiple regression analyses show that in both populations the daily food acquisition of a woman’s spouse is negatively related to female foraging effort. In addition, nursing mothers spend less time foraging and acquire less food than do nonnursing women. As the number of dependents that a woman has increases, however, women also increase foraging time and the amount of food they acquire. Some interesting exceptions to these general trends are as follows: (a) differences in foraging effort between nursing and nonnursing women are less pronounced when fruits and roots are in season than in other seasons of the year; (b) foraging return rates decrease for Ache women as their numbers of dependents increase; and (c) among Ache women, the positive effect of number of dependents on foraging behavior is less pronounced when fruits are in season than at other times of the year. Lastly, in the Hiwi sample we found that postreproductive women work considerably harder than women of reproductive age in the root season but not in other seasons of the year. We discuss how ecological variation in constraints, the number of health insults to children that Hiwi and Ache mothers can avoid, and the fitness benefits they can gain from spending time in food acquisition and child care might account for differences and similarities in the foraging behaviors of subgroups of Hiwi and Ache mothers across different seasons of the year. Valid tests of the explanations we propose will require considerable effort to measure the relationship between maternal food acquisition, child care, and adverse health outcomes in offspring. (shrink)
Twenty years have passed since Gould and Lewontin published their critique of ‘the adaptationist program’ – the tendency of some evolutionary biologists to assume, rather than demonstrate, the operation of natural selection. After the ‘Spandrels paper’, evolutionists were more careful about producing just-so stories based on selection, and paid more attention to a panoply of other processes. Then came reactions against the excesses of the anti-adaptationist movement, which ranged from a complete dismissal of Gould and Lewontin’s contribution to a positive (...) call to overcome the problems. We now have an excellent opportunity for finally affirming a more balanced and pluralistic approach to the study of evolutionary biology. (shrink)
Since its introduction, multivariate pattern analysis, or ‘neural decoding’, has transformed the field of cognitive neuroscience. Underlying its influence is a crucial inference, which we call the decoder’s dictum: if information can be decoded from patterns of neural activity, then this provides strong evidence about what information those patterns represent. Although the dictum is a widely held and well-motivated principle in decoding research, it has received scant philosophical attention. We critically evaluate the dictum, arguing that it is false: decodability is (...) a poor guide for revealing the content of neural representations. However, we also suggest how the dictum can be improved on, in order to better justify inferences about neural representation using MVPA. (shrink)
We report the results of a study that examines the association between gender and individuals’ intentions to report fraudulent financial reporting using non-anonymous and anonymous reporting channels. In our experimental study, we examine whether reporting intentions in response to discovering a fraudulent financial reporting act are associated with the participants’ gender, the perpetrator’s gender, and/or the interaction between the participants’ and perpetrator’s gender. We find that female participants’ reporting intentions for an anonymous channel are higher than for male participants; the (...) fraud perpetrator’s gender and the interaction with participants’ gender were not significantly associated with anonymous channel reporting intentions. Neither of the two factors nor the interaction between the two factors was associated with reporting intentions to a non- anonymous reporting channel. Results from an additional analysis indicate that male and female participants differ in the extent to which they judge the reduction in personal costs of an anonymous reporting channel compared to a non-anonymous reporting channel and that the reduction in personal costs mediates the relationship between participant gender and anonymous reporting intentions. (shrink)
Merchant and Rockness (1994, p. 92) characterize earnings management as "probably the most important ethical issue facing the accounting profession" and provide initial evidence of the ethical judgments of various organizational members. The current study extends their work by examining the extent to which an individual''s ethically-related judgments in response to earnings management activities are associated with the individual''s role.In an experimental study, evening MBA students read three hypothetical scenarios involving a manager engaging in earnings management. The scenarios involved a (...) gain from an operating activity, a gain from an accounting activity, and a loss from an accounting activity. Before reading the cases, however, participants were randomly assigned to one of three roles: a shareholder, another manager from the company who is unfamiliar with the manager in the case, or another manager from the company who is familiar with the manager in the case. Following each case, participants made four ethically related judgments. (shrink)
The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 requires audit committees of public companies’ boards of directors to install an anonymous reporting channel to assist in deterring and detecting accounting fraud and control weaknesses. While it is generally accepted that the availability of such a reporting channel may reduce the reporting cost of the observer of a questionable act, there is concern that the addition of such a channel may decrease the overall effectiveness compared to a system employing only non-anonymous reporting options. The (...) rationale underlying this concern involves the would-be reporter’s likelihood of reporting, the seriousness with which the organization treats an anonymous report, and the organization’s ability to thoroughly follow-up the report. Thus, we explore the extent to which the availability of an anonymous reporting channel influences intended use of non-anonymous reporting channels. Further, in response to Sarbanes–Oxley and the environment of financial scandals that led to its passage, many firms are strengthening their internal audit departments, and providing them with greater independence from upper management’s direct control. Accordingly, our examination tests whether the intended use of the internal audit department as an internal reporting channel is greater when the internal audit department is of “high” versus “low” quality. Finally, the study investigates intended reporting behavior across three different cases (e.g., settings). Results show that the existence of an anonymous channel does reduce the likelihood of reporting to non-anonymous channels, that generally the internal audit department quality does not affect reporting to non-anonymous channels, and that case-setting affects the type of channel to be used. Implications from the study are discussed. (shrink)
Organizations are increasingly embedded with consultants and other non-employees who have the opportunity to engage in wrongdoing. However, research exploring the reporting intentions of employees regarding the discovery of wrongdoing by consultants is scant. It is important to examine reporting intentions in this setting given the enhanced presence of consultants in organizations and the fact that wrongdoing by consultants changes a key characteristic of the wrongdoing. Using an experimental approach, the current paper reports the results of a study examining employees (...) reporting intentions subsequent to their discovery of wrongdoing by a consultant. The results of the study indicate that perceptions about the seriousness of a wrongdoing, personal costs and personal responsibility related to reporting a wrongdoing, and moral-equity judgments are significantly associated with reporting intentions for a normal (non-anonymous) reporting channel. Only perceptions of seriousness and personal costs are significantly associated for an anonymous reporting channel. Lastly, while personal costs for the anonymous reporting channel were lower than the normal reporting channel, reporting intentions were similar across the two channels. (shrink)
Part 1 sets out the logical/semantical background to ‘On Denoting’, including an exposition of Russell's views in Principles of Mathematics, the role and justification of Frege's notorious Axiom V, and speculation about how the search for a solution to the Contradiction might have motivated a new treatment of denoting. Part 2 consists primarily of an extended analysis of Russell's views on knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description, in which I try to show that the discomfiture between Russell's semantical and (...) epistemological commitments begins as far back as 1903. I close with a non-Russellian critique of Russell's views on how we are able to make use of linguistic representations in thought and with the suggestion that a theory of comprehension is needed to supplement semantic theory. (shrink)
We prove that in theories without the tree property of the second kind (which include dependent and simple theories) forking and dividing over models are the same, and in fact over any extension base. As an application we show that dependence is equivalent to bounded non-forking assuming NTP 2.
CEO compensation has received much attention from both academics and regulators. However, academics have given scant attention to understanding judgments about CEO compensation by third parties such as investors. Our study contributes to the ethics literature on CEO compensation by examining whether judgments about CEO compensation are influenced by two aspects of a company’s tone at the top—social ties between the CEO and members of the Executive Compensation Committee and the CEO’s Reputation, particularly for financial reporting and disclosures. Although, stock (...) exchanges such as NASDAQ require ECC members to be independent, CEOs still may have social connections to the ECC. In addition, CEOs develop a reputation for the quality of their company’s financial reporting and disclosures. We expect both CEO Social Ties and CEO Reputation to impact say-on-pay judgments, and that fairness perceptions about the CEO compensation will mediate the relationship. We conduct an experiment to test our hypotheses. In this study, we employ a two by two experimental design where we manipulate CEO Social Ties with members of the ECC and CEO Reputation for the quality of financial reporting disclosures . Participants were MBA students who provided a say-on-pay judgment , and judgments about the fairness of the CEO’s compensation. Results indicate that CEO Social Ties affected participants’ say-on-pay judgments, which were fully mediated by their perceptions about fairness of the CEO’s compensation. Further, the CEO’s Reputation also affected participants’ say-on-pay judgments, which were fully mediated by their perceptions about fairness of the CEO’s compensation. Implications for research and public policy are presented. (shrink)
In the first section of the article, we examine some recent criticisms of the connectionist enterprise: first, that connectionist models are fundamentally behaviorist in nature (and, therefore, non-cognitive), and second that connectionist models are fundamentally associationist in nature (and, therefore, cognitively weak). We argue that, for a limited class of connectionist models (feed-forward, pattern-associator models), the first criticism is unavoidable. With respect to the second criticism, we propose that connectionist modelsare fundamentally associationist but that this is appropriate for building models (...) of human cognition. However, we do accept the point that there are cognitive capacities for which any purely associative model cannot provide a satisfactory account. The implication that we draw from is this is not that associationist models and mechanisms should be scrapped, but rather that they should be enhanced.In the next section of the article, we identify a set of connectionist approaches which are characterized by “active symbols” — recurrent circuits which are the basis of knowledge representation. We claim that such approaches avoid criticisms of behaviorism and are, in principle, capable of supporting full cognition. In the final section of the article, we speculate at some length about what we believe would be the characteristics of a fully realized active symbol system. This includes both potential problems and possible solutions (for example, mechanisms needed to control activity in a complex recurrent network) as well as the promise of such systems (in particular, the emergence of knowledge structures which would constitute genuine internal models). (shrink)
This paper lays the groundwork for a theory of time allocation across the life course, based on the idea that strength and skill vary as a function of age, and that return rates for different activities vary as a function of the combination of strength and skills involved in performing those tasks. We apply the model to traditional human subsistence patterns. The model predicts that young children engage most heavily in low-strength/low-skill activities, middle-aged adults in high-strength/high-skill activities, and older adults (...) in low-strength/high-skill activities. Tests among Machiguenga and Piro forager-horticulturalists of southeastern Peru show that males and females focus on low-strength/low-skill tasks early in life (domestic tasks and several forms of fishing), switch to higher-strength/higher-skill activities in their twenties and thirties (hunting, fishing, and gardening for males; fishing and gardening for females), and shift focus to high-skill activities late in life (manufacture/repair, food processing). (shrink)
The concepts of adaptive/fitness landscapes and adaptive peaks are a central part of much of contemporary evolutionary biology; the concepts are introduced in introductory texts, developed in more detail in graduate-level treatments, and are used extensively in papers published in the major journals in the field. The appeal of visualizing the process of evolution in terms of the movement of populations on such landscapes is very strong; as one becomes familiar with the metaphor, one often develops the feeling that it (...) is possible to gain deep insights into evolution by thinking about the movement of populations on landscapes consisting of adaptive valleys and peaks. But, since Wright first introduced the metaphor in 1932, the metaphor has been the subject of persistent confusion, from equivocation over just what the features of the landscape are meant to represent to how we ought to expect the landscapes to look. Recent advances—conceptual, empirical, and computational—have pointed towards the inadequacy and indeed incoherence of the landscapes as usually pictured. I argue that attempts to reform the metaphor are misguided; it is time to give up the pictorial metaphor of the landscape entirely and rely instead on the results of formal modeling, however difficult such results are to understand in ‘intuitive’ terms. (shrink)
This is a story about three of my favorite philosophers—Donnellan, Russell, and Frege—about how Donnellan’s concept of having in mind relates to ideas of the others, and especially about an aspect of Donnellan’s concept that has been insufficiently discussed: how this epistemic state can be transmitted from one person to another.
Physicalism and antireductionism are the ruling orthodoxy in the philosophy of biology. But these two theses are difficult to reconcile. Merely embracing an epistemic antireductionism will not suffice, as both reductionists and antireductionists accept that given our cognitive interests and limitations, non-molecular explanations may not be improved, corrected or grounded in molecular ones. Moreover, antireductionists themselves view their claim as a metaphysical or ontological one about the existence of facts molecular biology cannot identify, express, or explain. However, this is tantamount (...) to a rejection of physicalism and so causes the antireductionist discomfort. In this paper we argue that vindicating physicalism requires a physicalistic account of the principle of natural selection, and we provide such an account. The most important pay-off to the account is that it provides for the very sort of autonomy from the physical that antireductionists need without threatening their commitment to physicalism. (shrink)
Fiona Macpherson (2012) argues that various experimental results provide strong evidence in favor of the cognitive penetration of perceptual color experience. Moreover, she proposes a mechanism for how such cognitive penetration occurs. We argue, first, that the results on which Macpherson relies do not provide strong grounds for her claim of cognitive penetrability; and, second, that, if the results do reflect cognitive penetrability, then time-course considerations raise worries for her proposed mechanism. We base our arguments in part on several of (...) our own experiments, reported herein. (shrink)
This collection brings together fourteen contributions by authors from around the globe. Each of the contributions engages with questions about how local and global bioethical issues are made to be comparable, in the hope of redressing basic needs and demands for justice. These works demonstrate the significant conceptual contributions that can be made through feminists' attention to debates in a range of interrelated fields, especially as they formulate appropriate responses to developments in medical technology, global economics, population shifts, and poverty.
J. L. Austin famously thought that facts about the circumstances in which it is ordinarily appropriate and reasonable to make claims to knowledge have a great bearing on the propriety of a philosophical account of knowledge. His major criticism of the epistemological doctrines about which he wrote was precisely that they lacked fidelity to our ordinary linguistic practices. In The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism, Barry Stroud argues that Austin was misguided: it is one thing for it to be inappropriate under (...) ordinary circumstances to deny that someone knows that P, another thing for it to be true that she knows that P. Thus, to the philosophical enterprise of determining which knowledge attributions are true, Austin’s form of criticism is beside the point. I argue that, attractive though it may be, this response to Austin badly underestimates the force of his sort of criticism. (shrink)
We attempt to improve the understanding of the notion of agene being `for a phenotypic trait or traits. Considering theimplicit functional ascription of one thing being `for another,we submit a more restrictive version of `gene for talk.Accordingly, genes are only to be thought of as being forphenotypic traits when good evidence is available that thepresence or prevalence of the gene in a population is the resultof natural selection on that particular trait, and that theassociation between that trait and the gene (...) in question isdemonstrably causal. It is therefore necessary to gatherstatistical, biochemical, historical, as well as ecologicalinformation before properly claiming that a gene is for aphenotypic trait. Instead of hampering practical use of the `genefor talk, our approach aims at stimulating much needed researchinto the functional ecology and comparative evolutionary biologyof gene action. (shrink)
Our objective is to test an optimality model of human fertility that specifies the behavioral requirements for fitness maximization in order (a) to determine whether current behavior does maximize fitness and, if not, (b) to use the specific nature of the behavioral deviations from fitness maximization towards the development of models of evolved proximate mechanisms that may have maximized fitness in the past but lead to deviations under present conditions. To test the model we use data from a representative sample (...) of 7,107 men living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, between 1990 and 1993. The model we test proposes that low fertility in modern settings maximizes number of grandchildren as a result of a trade-off between parental fertility and next generation fertility. Results do not show the optimization, although the data do reveal a trade-off between parental fertility and offspring education and income.We propose that two characteristics of modern economies have led to a period of sustained fertility reduction and to a corresponding lack of association between income and fertility. The first is the direct link between costs of investment and wage rates due to the forces of supply and demand for labor in competitive economies. The second is the increasing emphasis on cumulative knowledge, skills, and technologies in the production of resources. Together they produce historically novel conditions. These two features of modern economies may interact with evolved psychological and physiological mechanisms governing fertility and parental investment to produce behavior that maximizes the economic productivity of lineages at the expense of fitness. If cognitive processes evolved to track diminishing returns to parental investment and if physiological processes evolved to regulate fertility in response to nutritional state and patterns of breast feeding, we might expect non-adaptive responses when returns from parental investment do not diminish until extremely high levels are reached. With high economic payoffs from parental investment, people have begun to exercise cognitive regulation of fertility through contraception and family planning practices. Those cognitive processes maynot have evolved to handle fitness trade-offs between fertility and parental investment. (shrink)