Adaptive decision making and veridical decision making are based on different mechanisms. Veridical decision making is based on the identification of the correct response, which is intrinsic to the external situation and is actor-independent. Adaptive decision making is actor-centered and is guided by the actor's priorities. The prefrontal cortex is particularly critical for adaptive decision making and less so for veridical decision making. However, most experimental procedures used in cognitive psychology and neuropsychology focus on veridical decision making and ignore adaptive (...) decision making. Innovative experimental procedures are required to characterize the contribution of the prefrontal cortex to adaptive decision making. We have designed a prototype for such procedures, the Cognitive Bias Task, and present the novel findings generated by this task. (shrink)
Faced with the choice between creating a risk of harm and taking a precaution against that risk, should I take the precaution? Does the proper analysis of this trade-off require a maximizing, utilitarian approach? If not, how does one properly analyze the trade-off? These questions are important, for we often are uncertain about the effects of our actions. Accordingly, we often must consider whether our actions create an unreasonable risk of injury — that is, whether our actions are negligent.
In the extended mind literature, one sometimes finds the claim that there is no neural correlate of consciousness. Instead, there is a biological or ecological correlate of consciousness. Consciousness, it is claimed, supervenes on an entire organism in action. Alva Noë is one of the leading proponents of such a view. This paper resists Noë's view. First, it challenges the evidence he offers from neuroplasticity. Second, it presses a problem with paralysis. Third, it draws attention to a challenge from the (...) existence of metamers and visual illusions. (shrink)
The Oxford English Dictionary says that a rite is ‘a formal procedure or act in a religious or other solemn observance’. The word comes into English through the French rite from the Latin ritus . Its original meaning escapes etymologists; and this is a mixed blessing, for we neither can nor must attempt a retrieval of its hidden roots. We are told by respectable etymologists that the word is associated from earliest times with Latin religious usage, but that even in (...) the early Latin it was already extended to ‘custom, usage, manner or way’ of a non-religious sort. [Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary .] So, too, in modern languages the terms ‘rite’ and ‘ritual’ have specifically religious meaning, but they are also used in social and cultural settings that we would not call religious. What first strikes us about the terms ’ and ‘ritual’ is an emphasis upon a certain formality, upon a regular and stable way in which an action or set of actions is to be performed. A ritual is more than a formalism, however, since there are formalisms that are not rites, such as the logical rules for making a valid argument. Moreover, the term is frequently associated with the terms ‘myth’, ‘symbol’ and ‘faith’. These, too, are primarily religious, but are also extended to non-religious contexts. Indeed, there seems to be a network of such terms whose usage touches upon some extraordinary quality in things. Like them, the term ‘ritual’ shares both a wide variety of meanings and a certain hint of impropriety. The variety of ritual forms is notorious, ranging from the most sacred religious liturgies to the absurdities of a fraternity initiation; and the impropriety of the term breaks out whenever we brand a certain action ‘ritualistic’, just as we sometimes refer slightingly to an assertion, saying it is ‘mythical’, ‘merely symbolic’ or ‘credulous’. (shrink)
Since something cannot be conscious without being a conscious subject, a complete physicalist explanation of consciousness must resolve an issue first raised by Thomas Nagel, namely to explain why a particular mass of atoms that comprises my body gives rise to me as conscious subject, rather than someone else. In this essay, I describe a thought-experiment that suggests that physicalism lacks the resources to address Nagel's question and seems to pose a counter-example to any form of non-reductive physicalism relying on (...) the mind–body supervenience thesis, which would include William Hasker's emergent dualism. Since the particular thought-experiment does not pose any problems for classical substance dualism and since the problem, as I call it, of explaining subjectivity is the central problem of mind, I conclude that CSD is better supported than any form of non-reductive physicalism. (shrink)
One version of the free-will argument relies on the claim that, other things being equal, a world in which free beings exist is morally preferable to a world in which free beings do not exist . I argue that this version of the free-will argument cannot support a theodicy that should alleviate the doubts about God's existence to which the problems of evil give rise. In particular, I argue that the value thesis has no foundation in common intuitions about morality. (...) Without some sort of intuitive support, the value thesis lacks the resources to serve as the foundation for a theodicy that addresses the powerful intuition, which affects believers and non-believers alike, that a perfect God would not allow so much evil. (shrink)
To be truly provocative and outrageous the superior philosophical sophistry will commonly possess four somewhat adventitious features. I shall rate it as classic if it has all four. First, and least adventitiously, the argument will be crisp and initially seductive. Second, by the standard the sophistry sets direct rebuttal will be laborious and diffuse. Third, the recipe for the latter will prescribe that we pick out some hitherto unarticulated logical principle such that if the principle be true then the sophistical (...) argument must be invalid, and then, on the strength of that consequence assume the principle to be true. Consequently and fourth, as an antidote parody is supreme. With a persuasive absence of fuss and bias we can turn the tables if we show that, if the sophistical argument were really valid, then some structurally similar argument would prove just as consummately far too much. In short, from the rhetorical point of view at least, Gaunilo is more lethal than Kant. Even if the similarity is defective, the sophist will lose some of his adventitious and insufferable poise, if he ventures to show why. (shrink)
Kenneth F. Schaffner compares the practice of biological and medical research and shows how traditional topics in philosophy of science--such as the nature of theories and of explanation--can illuminate the life sciences. While Schaffner pays some attention to the conceptual questions of evolutionary biology, his chief focus is on the examples that immunology, human genetics, neuroscience, and internal medicine provide for examinations of the way scientists develop, examine, test, and apply theories. Although traditional philosophy of science has regarded scientific (...) discovery--the questions of creativity in science--as a subject for psychological rather than philosophical study, Schaffner argues that recent work in cognitive science and artificial intelligence enables researchers to rationally analyze the nature of discovery. As a philosopher of science who holds an M.D., he has examined biomedical work from the inside and uses detailed examples from the entire range of the life sciences to support the semantic approach to scientific theories, addressing whether there are "laws" in the life sciences as there are in the physical sciences. Schaffner's novel use of philosophical tools to deal with scientific research in all of its complexity provides a distinctive angle on basic questions of scientific evaluation and explanation. (shrink)
Groups behave in a variety of ways. To show that this behavior amounts to action, it would be best to fit it into a general account of action. However, nearly every account from the philosophy of action requires the agent to have mental states such as beliefs, desires, and intentions. Unfortunately, theorists are divided over whether groups can instantiate these states—typically depending on whether or not they are willing to accept functionalism about the mind. But we can avoid this debate. (...) I show how a more general view of action captures what is central to action without mentioning mental states, and I argue that a group’s members can fulfill the role in group action that mental states play in our actions. Group behavior is explicable in terms of reasons, regardless of whether the group itself cognizes those reasons. After discussing the kind of reasons at issue and arguing that groups can act in light of them without minds, I assess how this account bears on the question of group responsibility. (shrink)
Ever since the Proslogion was first circulated , critics have been bemused by St Anselm's brazen attempt to establish a matter of fact, namely, God's existence, from the simple analysis of a term or concept. Yet every critic who has proposed to ‘write the obituary’ of the Ontological Argument has found it to be remarkably resilient . At the risk of adding to a record of failures, I want to venture a new method for attacking this durable argument. Neither the (...) common version of Anselm's argument from Chapter II of the Proslogion nor the previously unrecognized modal version uncovered by Norman Malcolm from Pros , III can possibly get under way without Anselm's celebrated assertion that God is that than which no greater can be conceived. (shrink)
Kant famously declares that “although all our cognition commences with experience, … it does not on that account all arise from experience”. This marks Kant’s disagreement with empiricism, and his contention that human knowledge and experience require both sensation and the use of certain a priori concepts, the Categories. However, this is only the surface of Kant’s much deeper, though neglected view about the nature of reason and judgment. Kant holds that even our a priori concepts are acquired, not from (...) sensation, but “originally,” because our mind has a fundamental capacity to judge that, upon sensory stimulation, generates the Categories through its basic logical functions of judgment. This “epigenesis” of reason and our fundamental capacity to judge that drives it is the topic of Longuenesse’s fascinating book, and the source of her title. (shrink)
In this engaging study, the authors put casuistry into its historical context, tracing the origin of moral reasoning in antiquity, its peak during the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, and its subsequent fall into disrepute from the mid-seventeenth century.
While social epistemologists have recently begun addressing questions about whether groups can possess beliefs or knowledge, little has yet been said about whether groups can properly be said to possess understanding. Here I want to make some progress on this question by considering two possible accounts of group understanding, modeled on accounts of group belief and knowledge: a deflationary account, according to which a group understands just in case most or all of its members understand, and an inflationary account, according (...) to which a group’s understanding does not depend solely on whether its members understand. I argue that both accounts face problems. The deflationary account has two such problems: aggregation problems that are familiar from discussions of group belief, and the problem of different bases, wherein members possess understanding for different but consistent reasons. The inflationary account faces what I call the problem of distributed grasping: while it is widely accepted that understanding requires a kind of “grasping”, it is hard to make sense of how this requirement could be met at the group level while not necessarily being met by any individual member. Despite its problems, I make a case for the inflationary account. This will require addressing the problem of distributed grasping: to do this, I propose a different way of thinking about the grasping relation at the group level, such that it is constituted by a dependency relationship between members. (shrink)
Much has been written about what corporations owe society and whether it is appropriate to hold them responsible. In contrast, little has been written about whether anything is owed to corporations apart from what is owed to their members. And when this question has been addressed, the answer has always been that corporations are not worthy of any distinct moral consideration. This is even claimed by proponents of corporate agency. In this paper, I argue that proponents of corporate agency should (...) recognize corporations as worthy of moral consideration. Though particular views of moral status are often taken for granted in the literature, corporations can satisfy many views of moral status given the capacities often ascribed to them. They can even meet the conditions of the views assumed. I conclude by suggesting that recognizing the moral status of corporations may not be as drastic or harmful as we might imagine. (shrink)
Behaving presents an overview of the recent history and methodology of behavioral genetics and psychiatric genetics, informed by a philosophical perspective. Kenneth F. Schaffner addresses a wide range of issues, including genetic reductionism and determinism, "free will," and quantitative and molecular genetics. The latter covers newer genome-wide association studies that have produced a paradigm shift in the subject, and generated the problem of "missing heritability." Schaffner also presents cases involving pro and con arguments for genetic testing for IQ and (...) for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Schaffner examines the nature-nurture controversy and Developmental Systems Theory using C. elegans or "worm" studies as a test case, concluding that genes are special and provide powerful tools, including "deep homology," for investigating behavior. He offers a novel account of biological knowledge emphasizing the importance of models, mechanisms, pathways, and networks, which clarifies how partial reductions provide explanations of traits and disorders. The book also includes examinations of personality genetics and of schizophrenia and its etiology, alongside interviews with prominent researchers in the area, and discusses debates about psychosis that led to changes in the DSM-5 in 2013.Schaffner concludes by discussing additional philosophical implications of the genetic analyses in the book, some major worries about "free will," and arguments pro and con about why genes and DNA are so special. Though genes are special, newer perspectives presented in this book will be needed for progress in behavioral genetics- perspectives that situate genes in complex multilevel prototypic pathways and networks. With a mix of optimism and pessimism about the state of the field and the subject, Schaffner's book will be of interest to scholars in the history and philosophy of science, medicine, and psychiatry. (shrink)
This book marks Kenneth Burke's breakthrough in criticism from the literary and aesthetic into social theory and the philosophy of history. In this volume we find Burke's first entry into what he calls his theory of Dramatism and here also is an important section on the nature of ritual.
What is the nature of law and what is the best way to discover it? This book argues that law is best understood in terms of the social functions it performs wherever it is found in human society. In order to support this claim, law is explained as a kind of institution and as a kind of artefact. To say that it is an institution is to say that it is designed for creating and conferring special statuses to people so (...) as to alter their rights and responsibilities toward each other. To say that it is an artefact is to say that it is a tool of human creation that is designed to signal its usability to people who interact with it. This picture of law's nature is marshalled to critique theories of law that see it mainly as a product of reason or morality, understanding those theories via their conceptions of law's function. It is also used to argue against those legal positivists who see law's functions as relatively minor aspects of its nature. -/- This method of conceptualizing law's nature helps us to explain how the law, understood as social facts, can make normative demands upon us. It also recommends a methodology for understanding law that combines elements of conceptual analysis with empirical research for uncovering the purposes to which diverse peoples put their legal activities. (shrink)
Throughout his literary career Walker Percy read and studied the philosophical thought of Charles Sanders Peirce in an attempt to re-present in language the world as Percy knew it. Beginning in 1984 and ending in 1990, the year of his death, Percy corresponded with Kenneth Laine Ketner about the "semiotic" of Peirce. Their letters - honest, instructive, and often filled with down-home humor - record an epistolary friendship of two men both passionately interested in Peirce's theory of signs. This (...) volume of letters provides a rich philosophical perspective for better understanding the fiction and nonfiction of Walker Percy. (shrink)
A great deal of the criticism directed at Locke's theory of abstract ideas assumes that a Lockean abstract idea is a special kind of idea which by its very nature either represents many diverse particulars or represents separately things that cannot exist in separation. This interpretation of Locke has been challenged by scholars such as Kenneth Winkler and Michael Ayers who regard it as uncharitable in light of the obvious problems faced by this theory of abstraction. Winkler and Ayers (...) argue that Locke instead held that to have an abstract idea is to attend selectively to some portion of the content of a particular idea. On this view, to have an abstract idea is not to have a special kind of idea but to have an ordinary idea in a special way. Ayers argues that Locke inherited this theory from Arnauld. I argue that the case made by Ayers for the attribution of the extrinsic theory to Locke rests on a misinterpretation of Arnauld. In fact, both Locke and Arnauld regard selective attention as part of a process whereby a new kind of idea is constructed. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: -/-  JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 23:1 JANUARY 198 5 Book Reviews Kenneth Dorter. Plato's 'Phaedo': An Interpretation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982. Pp. xi + 233. $28.50. Kenneth Dorter of the University of Guelph has given us a useful and unusual study of the Phaedo, which will attract the interest of a variety of Plato's readers. He provides the careful studies of (...) the dialogue's arguments for immortality to be expected in a sound commentary, paying close attention to the text as well as to recent scholarship, and displaying a good sense of argument. What gives the book additional interest, however, are its features as an interpretation of the Phaedo. Two stand out. First, Dorter wishes to give full weight not only to the logic of the arguments but also to the dramatic details of Plato's writing, believing these to be important in disclosing Plato's intentions. Secondly, he reads the Phaedo in light of a more general understanding of Plato's philosophy, especially the nature of the soul in its cosmic as well as individual aspects. Much of this is set out in a final speculative chapter, where Dorter seeks to make intelligible Plato's developing conception of soul by means of such notions as energy and poles of consciousness. Not every reader will be persuaded; but Dorter is to be commended for an attempt to move the discussion beyond the Phaedo and Plato's own vocabulary. The study gains its coherence from Dorter's belief that Plato's view of soul cannot support the ostensible aim of the dialogue, to provide reassurance of personal immortality. Although he has no doubt that for the Platonic Socrates there is "a meaningful sense in which we may be called immortal" (94, cf. 159), Dorter's analysis must be stretched to provide that sense. In part this is a result of his assessment of the arguments. The first, from reciprocity in nature, can at most show that, given the eternal nature of the world, soul and corporeality in general must continue to exist. The argument from recollection can point only to a non-empirical element in our knowledge ; that from the soul's kinship with the divine is best seen as an analogy developed to awaken within us a sense of eternity. The final argument, though containing fallacies (157), will support the conclusion that immortal soul is imperishable as long as soul is regarded as motive force in the universe, in the first argument's sense. In none of these discussions, then, can Plato's reasoning yield up personal survival. But there is another part to Dorter's case, underlying this conclusion. For Plato the individual human being is a composite of soul and body; so even if Plato were to prove the immortality of the soul he could never establish personal survival (63-64). It is not surprising then that Dorter is left with a doctrine of immortality either reduced to a "discovery of eternity within ourselves" (77), or else dissolved into a principle of enduring cosmic energy. So in neither case does it seem meaningful for Plato to say that we are immortal: the eternal which we sense is no more us than it is anything else. Although it is of course possible that Plato did not intend this consequence of his arguments, Dorter thinks otherwise. In support he invokes literary features of the dialogue to argue that Plato operates on one level for the less sophisticated (who wish to be persuaded of personal survival) and on another for the philosophically reflective reader. Dorter treats the textual evidence for this claim with an appropriate modesty, and tries to justify Plato's apparent duplicity as an attempt to convince the weak by a 'noble lie' (95-97). Nevertheless this leads Dorter to mix together too quickly for this reader popular religion, myth, and metaphor. To the fact that Plato does not espouse the language of popular religion literally, Dorter adds his own view of myth as an imaginative appeal to emotion that can be translated without loss into rational discourse (7, 165, a95). So the accounts of the afterlife at 8oc-84 b... (shrink)
In this paper, I propose two theses, and then examine what the consequences of those theses are for discussions of reduction and emergence. The first thesis is that what have traditionally been seen as robust, reductions of one theory or one branch of science by another more fundamental one are a largely a myth. Although there are such reductions in the physical sciences, they are quite rare, and depend on special requirements. In the biological sciences, these prima facie sweeping reductions (...) fade away, like the body of the famous Cheshire cat, leaving only a smile.... The second thesis is that the "smiles" are fragmentary patchy explanations, and though patchy and fragmentary, they are very important, potentially Nobel-prize winning advances. To get the best grasp of these "smiles," I want to argue that, we need to return to the roots of discussions and analyses of scientific explanation more generally, and not focus mainly on reduction models, though three conditions based on earlier reduction models are retained in the present analysis. I briefly review the scientific explanation literature as it relates to reduction, and then offer my account of explanation. The account of scientific explanation I present is one I have discussed before, but in this paper I try to simplify it, and characterize it as involving field elements and a preferred causal model system abbreviated as FE and PCMS. In an important sense, this FE and PCMS analysis locates an "explanation" in a typical scientific research article. This FE and PCMS account is illustrated using a recent set of neurogenetic papers on two kinds of worm foraging behaviors: solitary and social feeding. One of the preferred model systems from a 2002 Nature article in this set is used to exemplify the FE and PCMS analysis, which is shown to have both reductive and nonreductive aspects. The paper closes with a brief discussion of how this FE and PCMS approach differs from and is congruent with Bickle's "ruthless reductionism" and the recently revived mechanistic philosophy of science of Machamer, Darden, and Craver. (shrink)
In the New Mechanist literature, most attention has focused on the compositional explanation of processes/activities of wholes by processes/activities of their parts. These are sometimes called “constitutive mechanistic explanations.” In this paper, we defend moving beyond this focus to a Pluralism about compositional explanation by highlighting two additional species of such explanations. We illuminate both Analytic compositional explanations that explain a whole using a compositional relation to its parts, and also Standing compositional explanations that explain a property of a whole (...) using a compositional relation to the properties of its parts. We also highlight how adopting a Pluralism about compositional explanations justifies a more Pluralist view of the ontological posits of such explanations and opens up a range of new research questions. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to contribute to a more robust theory of leadership that shifts the frame of reference from leadership as exclusively facilitated through a single inspired leader to one that includes the view of leadership as an emergent and complex social phenomenon. The article begins with a review of the leader-centric approaches that dominated much of twentieth century leadership studies then moves on to present contemporary critiques of leader-centric approaches leading to an alternative perspective of leadership (...) as an emergent and complex social phenomenon. Viewing leadership as an emergent and complex social phenomenon changes our attitude regarding the roles that leaders and others play in the creation of leadership. A central theme of this article is the impact that the concept of emergence has on leadership theory. In response to this changing attitude, the article then moves to return to and reassess the ontological, epistemological and ethical grounds of leadership and concludes that there is an underlying philosophy that supports viewing leadership as an emergent social phenomenon and further suggests that recent work in virtue epistemology along with Calvin Schrag’s theory of communicative praxis and transversal rationality, can facilitate a better understanding of leadership as an emergent social phenomenon. (shrink)
This article considers claims that biology should seek general theories similar to those found in physics but argues for an alternative framework for biological theories as collections of prototypical interlevel models that can be extrapolated by analogy to different organisms. This position is exemplified in the development of the Hodgkin‐Huxley giant squid model for action potentials, which uses equations in specialized ways. This model is viewed as an “emergent unifier.” Such unifiers, which require various simplifications, involve the types of heuristics (...) discussed in Wimsatt’s writings on reduction, but with a twist. Here, the heuristics are used to generate emergent rather than reductive explanations. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, 1017 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; e‐mail: [email protected] (shrink)
Biologists seems to hold two fundamental beliefs: Organisms are organized into levels and the individuals at these levels differ in their properties. Together these suggest that there will be massive multiple realization, i.e. that many human psychological properties are multiply realized at many neurobiological levels. This paper provides some documentation in support of this suggestion.
Recent years have seen a rekindling of interest in the method of reflective equilibrium. Most of this attention has been suspicious, however. Critics have alleged that the method is nothing more than a high-minded brand of navel-gazing, that it suffers from all the classic problems of inward-looking coherence theories, and that it overestimates the usefulness of self-scrutiny. In this paper I argue that these criticisms miss their mark because they labor under crucial misconceptions about the method of reflective equilibrium. In (...) defending reflective equilibrium I put forward a handful of theses about the nature of inquiry (or, more generally, norm-governed enterprises) that form the backdrop to the method. The critics’ objections fall short, I argue, because they do not recognize reflective equilibrium’s embrace of these theses. Confronting these objections and understanding why they fail brings us to a better understanding what, exactly, the method of reflective equilibrium is. The answer I come to in the final section of the paper is that the method of reflective equilibrium is not, exactly, anything. It is a mistake to try to give a positive characterization of the view, to identify it with a concern with a particular species of data, particular procedures and methods, or even a particular conception of normative success. Instead, it should be understood as the denial of essentialism about just these matters—as a form of anti-essentialism about our epistemic inputs, methods, and goals. (shrink)
Referentialism has underappreciated consequences for our understanding of the ways in which mind, language, and world relate to one another. In exploring these consequences, this book defends a version of referentialism about names, demonstratives, and indexicals, in a manner appropriate for scholars and students in philosophy or the cognitive sciences. To demonstrate his view, Kenneth A. Taylor offers original and provocative accounts of a wide variety of semantic, pragmatic, and psychological phenomena, such as empty names, propositional attitude contexts, the (...) nature of concepts, and the ultimate source and nature of normativity. (shrink)