Sharing a public language facilitates particularly efficient forms of joint perception and action by giving interlocutors refined tools for directing attention and aligning conceptual models and action. We hypothesized that interlocutors who flexibly align their linguistic practices and converge on a shared language will improve their cooperative performance on joint tasks. To test this prediction, we employed a novel experimental design, in which pairs of participants cooperated linguistically to solve a perceptual task. We found that dyad members generally showed a (...) high propensity to adapt to each other’s linguistic practices. However, although general linguistic alignment did not have a positive effect on performance, the alignment of particular task-relevant vocabularies strongly correlated with collective performance. In other words, the more dyad members selectively aligned linguistic tools fit for the task, the better they performed. Our work thus uncovers the interplay between social dynamics and sensitivity to task affordances in successful cooperation. (shrink)
In a range of contexts, individuals arrive at collective decisions by sharing confidence in their judgements. This tendency to evaluate the reliability of information by the confidence with which it is expressed has been termed the ‘confidence heuristic’. We tested two ways of implementing the confidence heuristic in the context of a collective perceptual decision-making task: either directly, by opting for the judgement made with higher confidence, or indirectly, by opting for the faster judgement, exploiting an inverse correlation between confidence (...) and reaction time. We found that the success of these heuristics depends on how similar individuals are in terms of the reliability of their judgements and, more importantly, that for dissimilar individuals such heuristics are dramatically inferior to interaction. Interaction allows individuals to alleviate, but not fully resolve, differences in the reliability of their judgements. We discuss the implications of these findings for models of confidence and collective decision-making. (shrink)
This is a true cross-cultural anthology which presents philosophers from different cultures in dialogue with one another. The text includes selections from both traditional and contemporary Western and non-Western philosophy: African American, Latin American, and feminist philosophers as well as Asian, African, Native American, and Islamic philosophers. The reader is organized by topic, and highlights the similarities and differences between Western and Non-Western philosophers -- it arranges selections so that authors speak to one another across cultures. Chapter introductions and section (...) introductions within chapters guide students. The second edition includes new sections on non-Western epistemology, the question of life after death, Rawls and criticism, and understanding others' experience and points of view. (shrink)
In this timely and wide-ranging study, Karsten Stueber argues that empathy is epistemically central for our folk-psychological understanding of other agents--that it is something we cannot do without in order to gain understanding of other minds. Setting his argument in the context of contemporary philosophy of mind and the interdisciplinary debate about the nature of our mindreading abilities, Stueber counters objections raised by some in the philosophy of social science and argues that it is time to rehabilitate the empathy (...) thesis.Empathy, regarded at the beginning of the twentieth century as the fundamental method of gaining knowledge of other minds, has suffered a century of philosophical neglect. Stueber addresses the plausible philosophical misgivings about empathy that have been responsible for its failure to gain widespread philosophical acceptance.Crucial in this context is his defense of the assumption, very much contested in contemporary philosophy of mind, that the notion of rational agency is at the core of folk psychology. Stueber then discusses the contemporary debate between simulation theorists--who defend various forms of the empathy thesis--and theory theorists. In distinguishing between basic and reenactive empathy, he provides a new interpretive framework for the investigation into our mindreading capacities. Finally, he considers epistemic objections to empathy raised by the philosophy of social science that have been insufficiently discussed in contemporary debates. Empathy theorists, Stueber writes, should be prepared to admit that, although empathy can be regarded as the central default mode for understanding other agents, there are certain limitations in its ability to make sense of other agents; and there are supplemental theoretical strategies available to overcome these limitations. (shrink)
In this paper, new evidence is presented for the assumption that the reason-relation reading of indicative conditionals ('if A, then C') reflects a conventional implicature. In four experiments, it is investigated whether relevance effects found for the probability assessment of indicative conditionals (Skovgaard-Olsen, Singmann, and Klauer, 2016a) can be classified as being produced by a) a conversational implicature, b) a (probabilistic) presupposition failure, or c) a conventional implicature. After considering several alternative hypotheses and the accumulating evidence from other studies (...) as well, we conclude that the evidence is most consistent with the Relevance Effect being the outcome of a conventional implicature. This finding indicates that the reason-relation reading is part of the semantic content of indicative conditionals, albeit not part of their primary truth-conditional content. (shrink)
More than a decade of research has found strong evidence for P(if A, then C) = P(C|A) (“the Equation”). We argue, however, that this hypothesis provides an overly simplified picture due to its inability to account for relevance. We manipulated relevance in the evaluation of the probability and acceptability of indicative conditionals and found that relevance moderates the effect of P(C|A). This corroborates the Default and Penalty Hypothesis put forward in this paper. Finally, the probability and acceptability of concessive conditionals (...) (“Even if A, then still C”) were investigated and it was found that the Equation provides a better account of concessive conditionals than of indicatives across relevance manipulations. (shrink)
Suppose that two competing norms, N1 and N2, can be identified such that a given person’s response can be interpreted as correct according to N1 but incorrect according to N2. Which of these two norms, if any, should one use to interpret such a response? In this paper we seek to address this fundamental problem by studying individual variation in the interpretation of conditionals by establishing individual profiles of the participants based on their case judgments and reflective attitudes. To investigate (...) the participants’ reflective attitudes we introduce a new experimental paradigm called the Scorekeeping Task. As a case study, we identify the participants who follow the Suppositional Theory of conditionals (N1) versus Inferentialism (N2) and investigate to what extent internally consistent competence models can be reconstructed for the participants on this basis. After extensive empirical investigations, an apparent reasoning error with and-to-if inferences was found in one of these two groups. The implications of this case study for debates on the proper role of normative considerations in psychology are discussed. (shrink)
This paper examines precursors and consequents of perceived relevance of a proposition A for a proposition C. In Experiment 1, we test Spohn's assumption that ∆P = P − P is a good predictor of ratings of perceived relevance and reason relations, and we examine whether it is a better predictor than the difference measure − P). In Experiment 2, we examine the effects of relevance on probabilistic coherence in Cruz, Baratgin, Oaksford, and Over's uncertain “and-to-if” inferences. The results suggest (...) that ∆P predicts perceived relevance and reason relations better than the difference measure and that participants are either less probabilistically coherent in “and-to-if” inferences than initially assumed or that they do not follow P = P. Results are discussed in light of recent results suggesting that the Equation may not hold under conditions of irrelevance or negative relevance. (shrink)
In this study we investigate the influence of reason-relation readings of indicative conditionals and ‘and’/‘but’/‘therefore’ sentences on various cognitive assessments. According to the Frege-Grice tradition, a dissociation is expected. Specifically, differences in the reason-relation reading of these sentences should affect participants’ evaluations of their acceptability but not of their truth value. In two experiments we tested this assumption by introducing a relevance manipulation into the truth-table task as well as in other tasks assessing the participants’ acceptability and probability evaluations. Across (...) the two experiments a strong dissociation was found. The reason-relation reading of all four sentences strongly affected their probability and acceptability evaluations, but hardly affected their respective truth evaluations. Implications of this result for recent work on indicative conditionals are discussed. (shrink)
Ranking theory is a formal epistemology that has been developed in over 600 pages in Spohn's recent book The Laws of Belief, which aims to provide a normative account of the dynamics of beliefs that presents an alternative to current probabilistic approaches. It has long been received in the AI community, but it has not yet found application in experimental psychology. The purpose of this paper is to derive clear, quantitative predictions by exploiting a parallel between ranking theory and a (...) statistical model called logistic regression. This approach is illustrated by the development of a model for the conditional inference task using Spohn's ranking theoretic approach to conditionals. (shrink)
The aim is to motivate theoretically a relevance approach to conditionals in a comparative discussion of the main alternatives. In particular, it will be argued that a relevance approach to conditionals is better motivated than the suppositional theory currently enjoying wide endorsement. In the course of this discussion, an argument will be presented for why failures of the epistemic relevance of the antecedent for the consequent should be counted as genuine semantic defects. Furthermore, strategies for dealing with compositionality and the (...) perceived objective purport of indicative conditionals will be put forward. (shrink)
Ethical evaluation of deep brain stimulation as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease is complicated by results that can be described as involving changes in the patient’s identity. The risk of becoming another person following surgery is alarming for patients, caregivers and clinicians alike. It is one of the most urgent conceptual and ethical problems facing deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease at this time. In our paper we take issue with this problem on two accounts. First, we elucidate what is (...) meant by “becoming another person” from a conceptual point of view. After critically discussing two broad approaches we concentrate on the notion of “individual identity” which centers on the idea of “core attitudes”. Subsequently we discuss several approaches to determine what distinguishes core attitudes from those that are more peripheral. We argue for a “foundational-function model” highlighting the importance of specific dependency relations between these attitudes. Our second aim is to comment on the possibility to empirically measure changes in individual identity and argue that many of the instruments now commonly used in selecting and monitoring DBS-patients are inappropriate for this purpose. Future research in this area is advised combining a conceptual and an empirical approach as a basis of sound ethical appraisal. (shrink)
In this paper, a critical discussion is made of the role of entailments in the so-called New Paradigm of psychology of reasoning based on Bayesian models of rationality (Elqayam & Over, 2013). It is argued that assessments of probabilistic coherence cannot stand on their own, but that they need to be integrated with empirical studies of intuitive entailment judgments. This need is motivated not just by the requirements of probability theory itself, but also by a need to enhance the interdisciplinary (...) integration of the psychology of reasoning with formal semantics in linguistics. The constructive goal of the paper is to introduce a new experimental paradigm, called the Dialogical Entailment task, to supplement current trends in the psychology of reasoning towards investigating knowledge-rich, social reasoning under uncertainty (Oaksford and Chater, 2019). As a case study, this experimental paradigm is applied to reasoning with conditionals and negation operators (e.g. CEM, wide and narrow negation). As part of the investigation, participants’ entailment judgments are evaluated against their probability evaluations to assess participants’ cross-task consistency over two experimental sessions. (shrink)
This book examines the complex and varied ways in which fictions relate to the real world, and offers a precise account of how imaginative works of literature can use fictional content to explore matters of universal human interest. While rejecting the traditional view that literature is important for the truths that it imparts, the authors also reject attempts to cut literature off altogether from real human concerns. Their detailed account of fictionality, mimesis, and cognitive value, founded on the methods of (...) analytical philosophy, restores to literature its distinctive status among cultural practices. The authors also explore metaphysical and skeptical views, prevalent in modern thought, according to which the world itself is a kind of fiction, and truth no more than a social construct. They identify different conceptions of fiction in science, logic, epistemology, and make-believe, and thereby challenge the idea that discourse per se is fictional and that different modes of discourse are at root indistinguishable. They offer rigorous analyses of the roles of narrative, imagination, metaphor, and "making" in human thought processes. Both in their methods and in their conclusions, Lamarque and Olsen aim to restore rigor and clarity to debates about the values of literature, and to provide new, philosophically sound foundations for a genuine change of direction in literary theorizing. (shrink)
Despite its linguistic roots in ancient Greek, the concept of empathy is of recent intellectual heritage. Yet its history has been varied and colorful, a fact that is also mirrored in the multiplicity of definitions associated with the empathy concept in a number of different scientific and non-scientific discourses. In its philosophical heyday at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, empathy had been hailed as the primary means for gaining knowledge of other minds and as the method (...) uniquely suited for the human sciences, only to be almost entirely neglected philosophically for the rest of the century. Only recently have philosophers become again interested in empathy in light of the debate about our folk psychological mindreading capacities. In the second half of the last century, the task of addressing empathy was mainly left to psychologists who thematized it as a psychological phenomenon and process to be studied by the method of the empirical sciences. Particularly, it has been studied by social psychologists as a phenomenon assumed to be causally involved in creating prosocial attitudes and behavior. Nevertheless, within psychology it is at times difficult to find agreement of how exactly one should understand empathy; a fact of which psychologists themselves have become increasingly aware. The purpose of this entry is to clarify the concept of empathy by surveying its history in various philosophical and psychological discussions and by indicating why empathy was and should be regarded to be of such central importance in understanding human agency in ordinary contexts, in the human sciences and for the constitution of ourselves as social and moral agents. (shrink)
The main goal of this paper is to investigate what explanatory resources Robert Brandom’s distinction between acknowledged and consequential commitments affords in relation to the problem of logical omniscience. With this distinction the importance of the doxastic perspective under consideration for the relationship between logic and norms of reasoning is emphasized, and it becomes possible to handle a number of problematic cases discussed in the literature without thereby incurring a commitment to revisionism about logic. One such case in particular is (...) the preface paradox, which will receive an extensive treatment. As we shall see, the problem of logical omniscience not only arises within theories based on deductive logic; but also within the recent paradigm shift in psychology of reasoning. So dealing with this problem is important not only for philosophical purposes but also from a psychological perspective. (shrink)
In Euripides' Hippolytus , Phaedra, wife of Theseus, king of Athens, falls in love with the unsuspecting Hippolytus, Theseus' son by the amazon Antiope. Phaedra's passion is the work of the goddess Aphrodite, who wants to revenge herself on Hippolytus because he has rejected her and devoted himself to the chaste Artemis. Through Paedra's nurse Hippolytus is made aware of her love and invited to her bed. He emphatically rejects her offer and violently abuses Phaedra and her nurse. To save (...) her honour Phaedra commits suicide and leaves a note accusing Hippolytus of raping her. Theseus, confronted on his return from an expedition with the suicide and the note, banishes Hippolytus and prays to his father, the seagod Poseidon, to fulfil one of the three wishes he has granted him and kill Hippolytus. Leaving Troezen, Hippolytus is killed when his horses are frightened by a monster thrown on shore by Poseidon from a giant wave. Theseus is brought to realize his mistake by the goddess Artemis who appears to him and reveals the truth. The play ends with the reconciliation of Theseus and the dying Hippolytus. This, in bare outline, is what happens in the play. It is what might be called its subject. The play is about these events and characters. Now it is also possible to give another type of description of Euripides' play. For the play does not merely have a subject but also a theme. While it is straightforward and unproblematic to give a description of the subject of the play a statement of its theme presents difficulties. The subject is, in an obvious sense, given for any competent speaker of the language in which the work is written. The theme, on the other hand, emerges from the subject in conjunction with other features of the work, and it emerges through the reader's constructive labour. There is no theme for the reader who is unwilling or unable to engage in this constructive labour. (shrink)
Both early and later forms of Buddhism developed a set of arguments to demonstrate that the self is an illusion. This article begins with a brief review of some of the arguments but then proceeds to show that these arguments are not themselves sufficient to dispel the illusion. It analyzes three ways in which the illusion of self manifests itself – as wish fulfillment, as a cognitive illusion, and as a phenomenal illusion. With respect to this last, the article reviews (...) some recent developments in cognitive neuropsychology and neuroscience to discuss the way in which the phenomenal illusion of self is encoded within our brain processes. This article also considers the way in which the illusion of self is constructed through social interaction, by episodic memory, and by narrative construction. Finally, it focuses on how the illusion of self developed as an evolutionary necessity to make it possible for the human organism to navigate physical and social reality; and that it continues to be useful today. This poses a dilemma for the Buddhist soteriological project of extinguishing the illusion of self. Specifically, while it is possible to develop a non-self perspective though the continued practice of vipassanā, it is not possible to maintain it consistently. The article concludes that even fully enlightened individuals must sometimes oscillate between a non-self perspective and a self-perspective and suggests an analogy between this oscillation and what occurs in the Kanizsa square illusion. (shrink)
It has become something of a consensus among philosophers of history that historians, in contrast to natural scientists, explain in a narrative fashion. Unfortunately, philosophers of history have not said much about how it is that narratives have explanatory power. they do, however, maintain that a narrative’s explanatory power is sui generis and independent of our empathetic or reenactive capacities and of our knowledge of law-like generalizations. In this article I will show that this consensus is mistaken at least in (...) respect to explanatory strategies used to account for rational agency using the “folk-psychological” framework of intentions, beliefs, desires, and the like. philosophers distinguish insufficiently among different aspects and different types of information needed for a historian to persuasively account for an agent’s behavior in particular circumstances. If one keeps these aspects apart it will become apparent exactly how one should understand the epistemic contribution of empathy, generalizations, and narrative for the explanation of action. (shrink)
This article will defend the centrality of empathy and simulation for our understanding of individual agency within the conceptual framework of folk psychology. It will situate this defense in the context of recent developments in the theory of mind debate. Moreover, the article will critically discuss narrativist conceptions of social cognition that conceive of themselves as alternatives to both simulation and theory theory.
An organizing theme of the dissertation is the issue of how to make philosophical theories useful for scientific purposes. An argument for the contention is presented that it doesn’t suffice merely to theoretically motivate one’s theories, and make them compatible with existing data, but that philosophers having this aim should ideally contribute to identifying unique and hard to vary predictions of their theories. This methodological recommendation is applied to the ranking-theoretic approach to conditionals, which emphasizes the epistemic relevance and the (...) expression of reason relations as part of the semantics of the natural language conditional. As a first step, this approach is theoretically motivated in a comparative discussion of other alternatives in psychology of reasoning, like the suppositional theory of conditionals, and novel approaches to the problems of compositionality and accounting for the objective purport of indicative conditionals are presented. In a second step, a formal model is formulated, which allows us to derive quantitative predictions from the ranking-theoretic approach, and it is investigated which novel avenues of empirical research that this model opens up for. Finally, a treatment is given of the problem of logical omniscience as it concerns the issue of whether ranking theory (and other similar approaches) makes too idealized assumptions about rationality to allow for interesting applications in psychology of reasoning. Building on the work of Robert Brandom, a novel solution to this problem is presented, which both opens up for new perspectives in psychology of reasoning and appears to be capable of satisfying a range of constraints on bridge principles between logic and norms of reasoning, which would otherwise stand in a tension. (shrink)
This article will defend the centrality of empathy and simulation for our understanding of individual agency within the conceptual framework of folk psychology. It will situate this defense in the context of recent developments in the theory of mind debate. Moreover, the article will critically discuss narrativist conceptions of social cognition that conceive of themselves as alternatives to both simulation and theory theory.
This essay develops a new account of the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. Imaginative resistance is best conceived of as a limited phenomenon. It occurs when we try to engage imaginatively with different moral worlds that are insufficiently articulated so that they do not allow us either to quarantine our imaginative engagement from our normal moral attitudes or to agree with the expressed moral judgment from the perspective of moral deliberation. Imaginative resistance thus reveals the central epistemic importance that empathy plays (...) for our understanding of rational agents in a context where we try to make sense of the moral appropriateness of their reasons for acting. Reflecting on the phenomenon of imaginative resistance allows us to recognize important features of the relationship between imaginative perspective taking and ordinary moral deliberation. (shrink)
Abstract This essay will argue systematically and from a historical perspective that there is something to be said for the traditional claim that the human and natural sciences are distinct epistemic practices. Yet, in light of recent developments in contemporary philosophy of science, one has to be rather careful in utilizing the distinction between understanding and explanation for this purpose. One can only recognize the epistemic distinctiveness of the human sciences by recognizing the epistemic centrality of reenactive empathy for our (...) understanding of rational agency, that is, by emphasizing the psychological component in the concept of understanding that nineteenth-century philosophers like Droysen, in contrast to twentieth-century hermeneutic philosophers, still acknowledged. In addition, the essay will show in detail that merely pointing to the fact that narratives have a cognitive function in the domain of the human sciences, as is common among philosophers of history, does not provide us with a sufficient demarcation criterion for distinguishing between the human and natural sciences. (shrink)
The essays in this collection are concerned with the philosophical problems that arise in connection with the understanding and evaluation of literature - such problems as the relationship between the work and the author (authorial intention), between the work and the world (reference and truth), the definition of a literary work, and the nature of literary theory itself. Professor Olsen attacks many of the orthodoxies of modern literary theory, in particular the enterprise to build a comprehensive systematic literary theory. (...) His own work is informed by a consistent perspective: the assumption that literature is a social institution governed by conventions, and that answers to problems of interpretation and appreciation can be found only through an analysis of these conventions. This is an important book for scholars and students of literary theory and philosophy, especially for those who see an ever-increasing cross-fertilization between the two disciplines. (shrink)
Many philosophers working on personal identity and ethics say that personal identity is constituted by stories: narratives people tell or would tell about their lives. Most of them also say that this is personal identity in the ‘characterization sense’, that it is the notion people in ordinary contexts are interested in, and that it raises the ‘characterization question’. I argue that these claims are inconsistent. Narrativists can avoid the incompatibility in one of two ways: They can concede that their view (...) is not about the constitution but the epistemology of personal identity. Or they can say that it is not about personal identity at all. (shrink)
James Griffin has considered a form of superiority in value that is weaker than lexical priority as a possible remedy to the Repugnant Conclusion. In this article, I demonstrate that, in a context where value is additive, this weaker form collapses into the stronger form of superiority. And in a context where value is non-additive, weak superiority does not amount to a radical value difference at all. These results are applied on one of Larry Temkin's cases against transitivity. I demonstrate (...) that Temkin appeals to two conflicting notions of aggregation. I then spell out the consequences of these results for different interpretations of Griffin's suggestion regarding population ethics. None of them comes out very successful, but perhaps they nevertheless retain some interest. (shrink)
In this paper I will discuss Kims powerful explanatory exclusion argument against the causal efficacy of mental properties. Baker and Burge misconstrue Kims challenge if they understand it as being based on a purely metaphysical understanding of causation that has no grounding in an epistemological analysis of our successful scientific practices. As I will show, the emphasis on explanatory practices can only be effective in answering Kim if it is understood as being part of the dual-explanandum strategy. Furthermore, a fundamental (...) problem of the contemporary debate about mental causation consists in the fact that all sides take very different examples to be paradigmatic for the relation between psychological and neurobiological explanations. Even if we should expect some alignment in the explanatory scope of neurobiology and psychology/folk-psychology, there is no reason to expect that all mental explanations are exempted by physical explanations, since they do not in general explain the same phenomena. (shrink)
In this article I will challenge a received orthodoxy in the philosophy of social science by showing that Collingwood was right in insisting that reenactment is epistemically central for historical explanations of individual agency. Situating Collingwood within the context of the debate between simulation theory and what has come to be called “theory theory” in contemporary philosophy of mind and psychology, I will develop two systematic arguments that attempt to show the essential importance of reenactment for our understanding of rational (...) agency. I will furthermore show that Gadamer’s influential critique of the reenactment model distinguishes insufficiently between the interpretation of certain types of texts and the explanation of individual actions. In providing an account of individual agency, we are committed to a realistic understanding of our ordinary scheme of actionexplanations and have thus to recognize the centrality of reenactment. Nevertheless, Collingwood’s emphasis on reenactment is certainly one-sided. I will demonstrate its limitations even for accounting for individual agency, and show how it has to be supplemented by various theoretical considerations, by analyzing the different explanatory strategies that Christopher Browning and Daniel Goldhagen use to explain the behavior of the ordinary men in Reserve Battalion 101 during World War II. (shrink)
The volume advances research in the philosophy of technology by introducing contributors who have an acute sense of how to get beyond or reframe the epistemic, ontological and normative limitations that currently limit the fields of philosophy of technology and science and technology studies.
This is a paperback edition of what has become an important contribution to aesthetics and the theory of literature. The author analyses in detail how the reader responds to literature and how he begins to evaluate it. Mr Olsen characterizes literature as an institution and thus forges links with contemporary philosophy which sees all human action as ordered and defined by social institutions.
This article will discuss the difficulties of providing a plausible account of rule following in the social realm. It will show that the cognitive model of rule following is not suited for this task. Nevertheless, revealing the inadequacy of the cognitive model does not justify the wholesale dismissal of understanding human practices as rule-following practices, as social theorists like Bourdieu or Dreyfus have argued. Instead it will be shown that rule-following behavior is best understood as being based on a set (...) of complex dispositions. In this manner one is able to account for the causal explanatory role of the notion of a rule. Key Words: rules norms explanation Bourdieu Winch. (shrink)
I shall argue that the solution to the ecological crisis will require a combined political-economic and psychological-spiritual approach. Specifically, I will argue that while there is no way to avoid eco-catastrophe within the framework of capitalism, ecosocialism understood as a political-economic construct focused wholly or even primarily on the survival and flourishing of our species is not a sufficient solution and could, in its anthropocentric and productivist form, exacerbate the problem. What is needed is an understanding of ecosocialism that is (...) both biocentric and ecocentric, an ecosocialism that is sensitive to the suffering and inherent value of the members of other species as well as to the inherent value of whole ecosystems. It will require a new radically different mode of being and a radically new sensibility. I will argue that Buddhism can make a valuable contribution both to the construction of such a society and to the political praxis necessary to achieve it. (shrink)
Philosophy is a radical inquiry whose task is to interrogate the fundamental assumptions of some given activity, discipline, or set of beliefs. In doing so, philosophical inquiry must attempt to delineate a problem and to develop a method for resolving that problem. However, to be true to its intention, philosophy must be able to examine not only the object of its inquiry but also its own method of interrogation. To accomplish this task, philosophical inquiry must be able to create a (...) distance not only from the assumptions under investigation but also from its own assumptions, which is to say, that it must be able to raise questions about its own method. This self-reflexivity requires that any given philosophical investigation must be examined from an alternative vantage point. Since the assumptions which inform the inquiry are deeply imbedded within a given culture, immanent critique is insufficient. The only way to step outside the boundaries of these cultural presuppositions is to reflect on the given problem from the vantage point of another culture's philosophical tradition. Thus, I argue that philosophical inquiry is unable to go beyond certain limits without being cross-cultural philosophy. I illustrate the way in which cross-cultural philosophy does this with respect to the problem of the self by placing the Western philosophical approach to this problem in dialogue with the Indian Hindu-Buddhist narrative. (shrink)
ZusammenfassungEin Leitmotiv der medizinethischen Auseinandersetzung mit der tiefen Hirnstimulation ist die Beschäftigung mit Fragen personaler Identität. Da es sich bei personaler Identität auch um ein Problem der theoretischen Philosophie handelt, wird in diesem Aufsatz nicht nur die praktische Frage nach der ethischen Legitimation der THS durch informierte Einwilligung gestellt und ein modifiziertes Legitimationskriterium für wesensändernde THS erarbeitet. Vielmehr wird zunächst versucht, das Problem, um das es in der Debatte um THS und personaler Identität geht, besser zu verstehen.
This dissertation is devoted to empirically contrasting the Suppositional Theory of conditionals, which holds that indicative conditionals serve the purpose of engaging in hypothetical thought, and Inferentialism, which holds that indicative conditionals express reason relations. Throughout a series of experiments, probabilistic and truth-conditional variants of Inferentialism are investigated using new stimulus materials, which manipulate previously overlooked relevance conditions. These studies are some of the first published studies to directly investigate the central claims of Inferentialism empirically. In contrast, the Suppositional Theory (...) of conditionals has an impressive track record through more than a decade of intensive testing. The evidence for the Suppositional Theory encompasses three sources. Firstly, direct investigations of the probability of indicative conditionals, which substantiate “the Equation” (P(if A, then C) = P(C|A)). Secondly, the pattern of results known as “the defective truth table” effect, which corroborates the de Finetti truth table. And thirdly, indirect evidence from the uncertain and-to-if inference task. Through four studies each of these sources of evidence are scrutinized anew under the application of novel stimulus materials that factorially combine all permutations of prior and relevance levels of two conjoined sentences. The results indicate that the Equation only holds under positive relevance (P(C|A) – P(C|¬A) > 0) for indicative conditionals. In the case of irrelevance (P(C|A) – P(C|¬A) = 0), or negative relevance (P(C|A) – P(C|¬A) < 0), the strong relationship between P(if A, then C) and P(C|A) is disrupted. This finding suggests that participants tend to view natural language conditionals as defective under irrelevance and negative relevance (Chapter 2). Furthermore, most of the participants turn out only to be probabilistically coherent above chance levels for the uncertain and-to-if inference in the positive relevance condition, when applying the Equation (Chapter 3). Finally, the results on the truth table task indicate that the de Finetti truth table is at most descriptive for about a third of the participants (Chapter 4). Conversely, strong evidence for a probabilistic implementation of Inferentialism could be obtained from assessments of P(if A, then C) across relevance levels (Chapter 2) and the participants’ performance on the uncertain-and-to-if inference task (Chapter 3). Yet the results from the truth table task suggest that these findings could not be extended to truth-conditional Inferentialism (Chapter 4). On the contrary, strong dissociations could be found between the presence of an effect of the reason relation reading on the probability and acceptability evaluations of indicative conditionals (and connate sentences), and the lack of an effect of the reason relation reading on the truth evaluation of the same sentences. A bird’s eye view on these surprising results is taken in the final chapter and it is discussed which perspectives these results open up for future research. (shrink)
Embodied cognition postulates a bi-directional link between the human body and its cognitive functions. Whether this holds for higher cognitive functions such as problem solving is unknown. We predicted that arm movement manipulations performed by the participants could affect the problem-solving solutions. We tested this prediction in quantitative reasoning tasks that allowed two solutions to each problem. In two studies with healthy adults, we found an effect of problem-congruent movements on problem solutions. Consistent with embodied cognition, sensorimotor information gained via (...) right or left arm movements affects the solution in different types of problem-solving tasks. (shrink)
Foucault's theory of power and subjectification challenges common concepts of freedom in social philosophy and expands them through the concept of 'freedom as critique': Freedom can be defined as the capability to critically reflect one's own subjectification, and the conditions of possibility for this critical capacity lie in political and social institutions. The article develops this concept through a critical discussion of the standard response by Foucault interpreters to the standard objection that Foucault's thinking obscures freedom. The standard response interprets (...) Fou-cault's later works, especially The Subject and Power, as a solution to the problem of freedom. It is mistaken, because it conflates different concepts of freedom that are present in Foucault's work. By differentiating these concepts, this paper proposes a new institutionalist approach to solve the problem of freedom that breaks with the partly anarchist underpinnings of Foucault scholarship: As freedom as critique is not given, but itself a result of subjectification, it entails a demand for 'modal robustness' and must therefore be institutionalized. This approach helps to draw out the consequences of Foucault's thinking on freedom for postfoundationalist democratic theory and the general social-philosophical discussion on freedom. (shrink)
1. Introduction: Naturalism and Psychological Explanations To a large extent, contemporary philosophical debate takes place within a framework of naturalistic assumptions. From the perspective of the history of philosophy, naturalism is the legacy of positivism without its empiricist epistemology and empiricist conception of meaning and cognitive significance. Systematically, it is best to characterize naturalism as the philosophical articulation of the underlying presuppositions of a reductive scientific research program that was rather successful in the last few centuries and, equally important, promises (...) to be so in the future particularly in the biological sciences and the neurosciences. It seems as if the secrets of human life and behavior and the mysteries of the mind will be cracked on the molecular level of the genes or the brain, or at least so we are told. Viewed in this manner it is understandable why philosophical naturalism tends to be committed to monism, both as a metaphysical or ontological claim and as a methodological position in the philosophy of social science. Naturalists are inclined to adopt a physicalist ontology that rejects free floating Cartesian substances and they view higher order macroscopic facts and properties as being dependent or supervenient on basic micro-physical facts. Naturalists, furthermore, expect that any scientific explanation of higher order properties has to provide an account of why and how these lower order facts give rise to higher order ones. These ontological and epistemic commitments also underpin a position of methodological monism in regard to the social sciences and the explanation of human agency. If the above ontological picture is correct then there is no reason to expect that the structure of the sciences dealing with higher order properties on the social level should fundamentally differ in their methodology from the natural sciences. In both domains of investigation, scientists will develop and make explanatory use of comprehensive and empirically well supported theories with adequate predictive powers that describe.... (shrink)