Personality Psychology: Current Status and Prospects For the Future I want to consider the current status and future of the field of personality psychology, often basing my observations on my own research and theoretical interests. Let me begin by summarizing what I have to say in terms of three points of emphasis: First, the field of personality can be viewed in terms of three disciplines—trait, social cognitive, and psychodynamic—each associated with its own empirical procedures and observations. That is, each is (...) associated with its own form of personality data but all represent relevant data. Second, there is a need in the field for a dynamic systems perspective, one that emphasizes the interplay among the parts of the personality system in the course of the person's ongoing transactions with the physical and interpersonal environment. Third, in the future personality psychologists increasingly will have to integrate findings from biopsychology and neuroscience into their theories and research questions. This raises the question of how they can create bridges across levels of analysis and avoid the problem of reductionism. In other words, there is the issue of how personality psychologists will address the mind-body problem. (shrink)
A philosophical essay under this title faces severe rhetorical challenges. New accounts of the good life regularly and rapidly turn out to be variations of old ones, subject to a predictable range of decisive objections. Attempts to meet those objections with improved accounts regularly and rapidly lead to a familiar impasse — that while a life of contemplation, or epicurean contentment, or stoic indifference, or religious ecstasy, or creative rebellion, or self-actualization, or many another thing might count as a good (...) life, none of them can plausibly be identified with the good life, or the best life. Given the long history of that impasse, it seems futile to offer yet another candidate for the genus “good life” as if that candidate might be new, or philosophically defensible. And given the weariness, irony, and self-deprecation expected of a philosopher in such an impasse, it is difficult for any substantive proposal on this topic to avoid seeming pretentious. (shrink)
Howard Brody expresses concern that citing the “two cases that put futility on the map,” namely Helga Wanglie and Baby K, may be providing ammunition to the opponents of the concept of medical futility. He in fact joins well-known opponents of the concept of medical futility in arguing that it is one thing for the physician to say whether a particular intervention will promote an identified goal, quite another to say whether a goal is worth pursuing. In the latter instance, (...) physicians are laying themselves open “to the criticism of taking on basic value judgments that are more appropriately left to patients and their surrogates.” Brody states that in both the Wanglie and Baby K cases, the “basic value judgments” had to do with the worthiness of maintaining unconscious life via medical technology. He classifies this as “a question of professional integrity—but not a question of futility,” adding that “more than semantics hinges on this distinction.” The “more than semantics” factor is a pragmatic, even political one. Failure to make this distinction renders physicians “that much more suspect and less trustworthy in the public debate.”. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, D. Wade Hands reviewed Charles Taylor's two-volume work, Philosophical Papers. Hands predicts that Taylor's work will have no impact on the philosophy of economics. This may indeed turn out to be the case; but if so, it will only be because the profession is not listening. Of course, it is typical of the profession to be more interested in exporting its product than in learning from other disciplines. This is exemplified in Hands's use (...) of the term “philosophy of economics” – philosophy is the handmaiden of the highly successful enterprise of economics. But this journal is called Economics and Philosophy, which means that a conversation requiring an openness and attentiveness is called for between economics and philosophy. (shrink)
There is much more said in the Critique of Pure Reason about the relationship between God and purposiveness than what is found in Kant's analysis of the physico-theological argument. The ‘Wise Author of Nature’ is central to his analysis of regulative principles in the ‘Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic’ and also appears in the ‘Canon’, first with regards to the Highest Good and then again in relation to our theoretical use of purposiveness. This paper will begin with a brief discussion (...) of the physico-theological argument before moving on to the Appendix and the Canon. Finally, it will consider some changes to the role of the Wise Author in the Critique of Judgement. (shrink)
T. H. Marshall, a British sociologist, gave a series of lectures in 1949 under the title “Citizenship and Social Class.” To many American intellectuals, his analysis still offers a persuasive account of the origins of the welfare state in the West. But Marshall spoke in the early postwar era, when the case for expanded social benefits seemed unassailable. Today's politics are more conservative. In every Western country the welfare state is under review. Yet Marshall's conception can still help define the (...) issues in social policy and the way forward. (shrink)
Lawrence, Carmen Why should we protect our heritage? In the broadest sense our heritage is what we inherit; it's what we value of that inheritance and what we decide to keep and protect for future generations. Heritage is both global enough to encompass our shock at the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan and as local as our own sepia-tinted family photographs. Everything which our predecessors have bequeathed, both tangible and intangible, may be called heritage - landscapes, (...) structures, objects, traditions, stories and language. (shrink)
Objective: To estimate the level of complementary feeding pattern among children aged between 6 to 23 months and to identify the determinants in individual, household and community level in Bangladesh. Methods: From secondary data of Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey 2011 was used in this study. A total of 2,373 children aged between 6 to 23 months were selected. To estimate the level of CFP “dimension index” was used and the score of the index was used as dependent variables. Statistical analyses (...) and tests were guided by the nature of the variables. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the significant determinants of CFP. Results: The overall level of CFP among children aged between 6 to 23 months was low. More than 95% of the children experienced either no or inadequate CFP. The mean levels of CFP as well as percentages of no or inadequate CFP were significantly lower among children of the youngest age group, uneducated parents, unemployed/laborer fathers, socio-economically poor families, food insecure families and rural areas. No weekly exposure to mass media also revealed significant associations with CFP. However, only few variables remained significant for adequate CFP in the multivariable logistic regression analysis. Adequate CFP was significantly lower among the children aged between 6 to 23 months, children of illiterate fathers and socio-economically middle-class families as compared to their reference categories. Conclusion: Inappropriate and inadequate CFP may cause serious health hazards among children of 6 to 23 months in Bangladesh. It is ethical to take effective interventions and strategies by the government and other concerned stakeholders to improve the overall situation of CFP in Bangladesh. (shrink)
Objective: To estimate the level of complementary feeding pattern among children aged between 6 to 23 months and to identify the determinants in individual, household and community level in Bangladesh. Methods: From secondary data of Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey 2011 was used in this study. A total of 2,373 children aged between 6 to 23 months were selected. To estimate the level of CFP dimension index and the “score of the index” was used as dependent variables. Statistical analyses and tests (...) were guided by the nature of the variables. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the significant determinants of CFP. Results: The overall level of CFP among children aged between 6 to 23 months was low. More than 95% of the children experienced inadequate CFP level. The mean levels of CFP as well as percentages of no or inadequate CFP were significantly lower among children of the youngest age group, uneducated parents, unemployed/laborer fathers, socio-economically poor families, food insecure families and rural areas. However, only few variables remained significant for adequate CFP in the multivariable logistic regression analysis. Adequate CFP was significantly lower among the children aged between 6 to 23 months, children of illiterate fathers and socio-economically middle-class families as compared to their reference categories. Conclusion: Inappropriate and inadequate CFP may cause serious health hazards among children of 6 to 23 months in Bangladesh. It is ethical to take effective interventions and strategies by the government and other concerned stakeholders to improve the overall situation of CFP in Bangladesh. (shrink)
A line of research within embodied cognition seeks to show that an organism’s body is a determinant of its conceptual capacities. Comparison of this claim of body determinism to linguistic determinism bears interesting results. Just as Slobin’s (1996) idea of thinking for speaking challenges the main thesis of linguistic determinism, so too the possibility of thinking for acting raises difficulties for the proponent of body determinism. However, recent studies suggest that the body may, after all, have a determining role in (...) cognitive processes of sentence comprehension. (shrink)
Embodied cognition often challenges standard cognitive science. In this outstanding introduction, Lawrence Shapiro sets out the central themes and debates surrounding embodied cognition, explaining and assessing the work of many of the key figures in the field, including George Lakoff, Alva Noë, Andy Clark, and Arthur Glenberg. Beginning with an outline of the theoretical and methodological commitments of standard cognitive science, Shapiro then examines philosophical and empirical arguments surrounding the traditional perspective. He introduces topics such as dynamic systems theory, (...) ecological psychology, robotics, and connectionism, before addressing core issues in philosophy of mind such as mental representation and extended cognition. Including helpful chapter summaries and annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, _Embodied Cognition_ is essential reading for all students of philosophy of mind, psychology, and cognitive science. (shrink)
When philosophers speak of the inconclusiveness of arguments for the existence of God, they often do so as if they were talking about a matter of principle—as if it were in principle impossible to prove God's existence, that every proof was in principle inconclusive. Of course, rebutals of the cosmological, ontological, and teleological arguments are usually designed to show that these types of arguments are in principle inconclusive. But one supposes that religious experience arguments are not all in such difficulties. (...) That is, one supposes, for example, that an encounter with the deity would provide a proof of his existence which is at least as conclusive as proofs for the existence of an ‘external world’. And thus it would be false to maintain in an unqualified way that ‘Reason cannot prove the existence of God’. The most one would be able to say would be that at present , or in terms of the currently available evidence, no one can prove God's existence. Further, whether or not sufficient evidence has ever been available in the past would be seen as an historical question— a matter of contingencies, not logical possibilities. (shrink)
In recent years, a particular doctrine about forms of life has come to be associated with Wittgenstein's name by followers and critics of his philosophy alike. It is not a doctrine which Wittgenstein espoused or even, given his understanding of philosophy, one which he could have accepted; nor is it worthy of acceptance on its own merits. I shall here outline the standard interpretation of Wittgenstein's remarks on forms of life, consider the textual basis for such a reading of Wittgenstein, (...) present a more consistent reading of the texts, place the problem of forms of life within a wider philosophical context, and show the ways in which it is indeed possible to say that a form of life is wrong. In the process, I shall note some important similarities between Wittgenstein's actual position, Quine's analysis of scientific knowledge, and Hans-Georg Gadamer's claims about the fusion of horizons. (shrink)
The first edition of Blindsight, written by Lawrence Weiskrantz was an important and highly cited account of studies of the phenomenon - Blindsight. The updated edition retains the original text of the first edition, but brings the book up to date with developments in this area in the past decade.
Prior to the twentieth century, theories of knowledge were inherently perceptual. Since then, developments in logic, statis- tics, and programming languages have inspired amodal theories that rest on principles fundamentally different from those underlying perception. In addition, perceptual approaches have become widely viewed as untenable because they are assumed to implement record- ing systems, not conceptual systems. A perceptual theory of knowledge is developed here in the context of current cognitive science and neuroscience. During perceptual experience, association areas in the (...) brain capture bottom-up patterns of activation in sensory-motor areas. Later, in a top-down manner, association areas partially reactivate sensory-motor areas to implement perceptual symbols. The stor- age and reactivation of perceptual symbols operates at the level of perceptual components – not at the level of holistic perceptual expe- riences. Through the use of selective attention, schematic representations of perceptual components are extracted from experience and stored in memory (e.g., individual memories of green, purr, hot). As memories of the same component become organized around a com- mon frame, they implement a simulator that produces limitless simulations of the component (e.g., simulations of purr). Not only do such simulators develop for aspects of sensory experience, they also develop for aspects of proprioception (e.g., lift, run) and introspec- tion (e.g., compare, memory, happy, hungry). Once established, these simulators implement a basic conceptual system that represents types, supports categorization, and produces categorical inferences. These simulators further support productivity, propositions, and ab- stract concepts, thereby implementing a fully functional conceptual system. Productivity results from integrating simulators combinato- rially and recursively to produce complex simulations. Propositions result from binding simulators to perceived individuals to represent type-token relations. Abstract concepts are grounded in complex simulations of combined physical and introspective events. Thus, a per- ceptual theory of knowledge can implement a fully functional conceptual system while avoiding problems associated with amodal sym- bol systems. Implications for cognition, neuroscience, evolution, development, and artificial intelligence are explored. (shrink)
Statistical mechanics is one of the crucial fundamental theories of physics, and in his new book Lawrence Sklar, one of the pre-eminent philosophers of physics, offers a comprehensive, non-technical introduction to that theory and to attempts to understand its foundational elements. Among the topics treated in detail are: probability and statistical explanation, the basic issues in both equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, the role of cosmology, the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics, and the alleged foundation of the very (...) notion of time asymmetry in the entropic asymmetry of systems in time. The book emphasises the interaction of scientific and philosophical modes of reasoning, and in this way will interest all philosophers of science as well as those in physics and chemistry concerned with philosophical questions. The book could also be read by an informed general reader interested in the foundations of modern science. (shrink)
The relationship between knowledge, belief, and ethics is an inaugural theme in philosophy; more recently, under the title “ethics of belief” philosophers have worked to develop the appropriate methodology for studying the nexus of epistemology, ethics, and psychology. The title “ethics of belief” comes from a 19th-century paper written by British philosopher and mathematician W.K. Clifford. Clifford argues that we are morally responsible for our beliefs because each belief that we form creates the cognitive circumstances for related beliefs to follow, (...) and we inevitably influence each other through those beliefs. This study argues that recent cognitive research supports Cliffordian insights regarding patterns of belief formation and social influence. From the confirmation offered by such research, it follows that informational accuracy holds serious ethical significance in public discourse. Although scientific and epistemological matters are not always thought to be linked to normative morality, this study builds on Clifford's initial insights to show their linkage is fundamental to inquiry itself. In turn, Clifford's ethical and epistemic outline can inform a framework grounded in “public reason” under which seemingly opposed science communication strategies are philosophically united. With public discourse on climate change as the key example, empirically informed and grounded strategies for science communication in the public sphere are considered. (shrink)
The scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change is firmly established yet climate change denialism, a species of what I call pseudoskepticism, is on the rise in industrial nations most responsible for climate change. Such denialism suggests the need for a robust ethics of inquiry and public discourse. In this paper I argue: (1) that ethical obligations of inquiry extend to every voting citizen insofar as citizens are bound together as a political body. (2) It is morally condemnable for public officials (...) to put forward assertions contrary to scientific consensus when such consensus is decisive for public policy and legislation. (3) It is imperative upon educators, journalists, politicians and all those with greater access to the public forum to condemn, factually and ethically, pseudoskeptical assertions made in the public realm without equivocation. (shrink)
Shapiro tests these hypotheses against two rivals, the mental constraint thesis and the embodied mind thesis. Collecting evidence from a variety of sources (e.g., neuroscience, evolutionary theory, and embodied cognition) he concludes that the multiple realizability thesis, accepted by most philosophers as a virtual truism, is much less obvious than commonly assumed, and that there is even stronger reason to give up the separability thesis. In contrast to views of mind that tempt us to see the mind as simply being (...) resident in a brain or body, Shapiro argues for a far more encompassing integration of mind, brain, and body than philosophers have supposed. (publisher, edited). (shrink)
Explaining Chaos provides both a succinct and accurate introduction to the physics and mathematics of chaotic dynamical systems along with a number of pertinent philosophical commentaries on the scientific results. The book provides the clearest and most sensible treatment of chaos theory from a philosophical perspective available in the literature.
The tendency to reciprocate – to return good for good and evil for evil – is a potent force in human life, and the concept of reciprocity is closely connected to fundamental notions of ‘justice’, ‘obligation’ or ‘duty’, ‘gratitude’ and ‘equality’. In _Reciprocity_, first published in 1986,_ _Lawrence Becker presents a sustained argument about reciprocity, beginning with the strategy for developing a moral theory of the virtues. He considers the concept of reciprocity in detail, contending that it is a basic (...) virtue that provides the basis for parental authority, obligations to future generations, and obedience to law. Throughout the first two parts of the book, Becker intersperses short pieces of his own narrative fiction to enrich reflection on the philosophical arguments. The final part is devoted to extensive bibliographical essays, ranging over anthropology, psychology, political theory and law, as well as the relevant ethics and political philosophy. (shrink)
Stereotypes are false or misleading generalizations about groups held in a manner that renders them largely, though not entirely, immune to counterevidence. In doing so, stereotypes powerfully shape the stereotyper's perception of stereotyped groups, seeing the stereotypic characteristics when they are not present, failing to see the contrary of those characteristics when they are, and generally homogenizing the group. A stereotyper associates a certain characteristic with the stereotyped group?for example Blacks with being athletic?but may do so with a form of (...) cognitive investment in that association that does not rise to the level of a belief in the generalization that Blacks are athletic. (shrink)
I propose that primary conscious awareness arises from synchronized activity in dendrites of neurons in dorsal thalamic nuclei, mediated particularly by inhibitory interactions with thalamic reticular neurons. In support, I offer four evidential pillars: consciousness is restricted to the results of cortical computations; thalamus is the common locus of action of brain injury in vegetative state and of general anesthetics; the anatomy and physiology of the thalamus imply a central role in consciousness; neural synchronization is a neural correlate of consciousness.