Informational theories of semantic content have been recently gaining prominence in the debate on the notion of mental representation. In this paper we examine new-wave informational theories which have a special focus on cognitive science. In particular, we argue that these theories face four important difficulties: they do not fully solve the problem of error, fall prey to the wrong distality attribution problem, have serious difficulties accounting for ambiguous and redundant representations and fail to deliver a metasemantic theory of representation. (...) Furthermore, we argue that these difficulties derive from their exclusive reliance on the notion of information, so we suggest that pure informational accounts should be complemented with functional approaches. (shrink)
In this essay we discuss recent attempts to analyse the notion of representation, as it is employed in cognitive science, in purely informational terms. In particular, we argue that recent informational theories cannot accommodate the existence of metarepresentations. Since metarepresentations play a central role in the explanation of many cognitive abilities, this is a serious shortcoming of these proposals.
Faith in reason, reason in faith -- The nature of God, the God of nature -- Torah from heaven -- Divine providence -- The oral Torah and rabbinic tradition -- Religion and superstition -- Israel and humanity -- Conversion to Judaism -- Eternal Torah, changing times -- Faith and reason.
This essay is an analytical extension of Roland Barthes’ structural analysis of an excerpt from the Old Testament (Genesis 32: 22–32), known as “The Struggle with the Angel”. It thus continues the search for “the third meaning” of this enigmatic passage. In this essay, “The Struggle with the Angel” is undertaken in the phenomenological (xenological) register which situates it in the liminal sphere at the crossing of disclosure and concealment. Subsequent semiotic analyses of three visual renditions of Genesis (...) 32: 22–32, Rembrandt’s “Jacob’s Struggle with the Angel”, Sir Jacob Epstein’s “Jacob and the Angel”, and Marc Chagall’s “Jacob Wrestling with the Angel”, show the “third meaning” of the passage to be predicated on the foundational relation between naming and facing, pointing to the understanding of “The Struggle” as the face-to-face relationship of love and responsibility grounded in ethics. (shrink)
I presented an earlier version of this paper to the Law and Philosophy Discussion Group in Los Angeles, whose members I would like to thank for their comments. In addition, I would also like to thank the following people for reading and providing written or verbal commentary on earlier drafts: Robert Mams, Rogers Albritton, G. A. Cohen, David Copp, Matthew Hanser, Craig Ihara, Brian Lee, Marc Lange, Derk Pereboom, Carol Voeller, and the Editors of Philosophy & Public Affairs. I (...) owe special thanks to Timothy Hall and Seana Shiffnn for their insightful and helpful comments. (shrink)
Marc Hauser puts forth the theory that humans have evolved a universal moral instinct, unconsciously propelling us to deliver judgments of right and wrong independent of gender, education, and religion. Combining his cutting-edge research with the latest findings in cognitive psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, economics, and anthropology, Hauser explores the startling implications of his provocative theory vis-à-vis contemporary bioethics, religion, the law, and our everyday lives.
Counterfactuals all the way down? Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9437-9 Authors Jim Woodward, History and Philosophy of Science, 1017 Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA Barry Loewer, Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA John W. Carroll, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8103, USA Marc Lange, Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB#3125—Caldwell Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3125, USA Journal Metascience (...) Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796 Journal Volume Volume 20 Journal Issue Volume 20, Number 1. (shrink)
Our ability to acknowledge and recognise our own identity - our 'self' - is a characteristic doubtless unique to humans. Where does this feeling come from? How does the combination of neurophysiological processes coupled with our interaction with the outside world construct this coherent identity? We know that our social interactions contribute via the eyes, ears etc. However, our self is not only influenced by our senses. It is also influenced by the actions we perform and those we see others (...) perform. Our brain anticipates the effects of our own actions and simulates the actions of others. In this way, we become able to understand ourselves and to understand the actions and emotions of others. -/- This book is the first to describe the new field of 'Motor Cognition' - one to which the author's contribution has been seminal. Though motor actions have long been studied by neuroscientists and physiologists, it is only recently that scientists have considered the role of actions in building the self. How consciousness of action is part of self-consciousness, how one's own actions determine the sense of being an agent, how actions performed by others impact on ourselves for understanding others, differentiating ourselves from them and learning from them: these questions are raised and discussed throughout the book, drawing on experimental, clinical, and theoretical bases. -/- The advent of new neuroscience techniques, like neuroimaging and direct electrical brain stimulation, together with a renewal of behavioral methods in cognitive psychology, provide new insights into this area. Mental imagery of action, self-recognition, consciousness of actions, imitation can be objectively studied using these new tools. The results of these investigations shed light on clinical disorders in neurology, psychiatry and in neuro-development. -/- This is a major new work that will lay down the foundations for the field of motor cognition. (shrink)
This paper concerns how motor actions are neurally represented and coded. Action planning and motor preparation can be studied using a specific type of representational activity, motor imagery. A close functional equivalence between motor imagery and motor preparation is suggested by the positive effects of imagining movements on motor learning, the similarity between the neural structures involved, and the similar physiological correlates observed in both imaging and preparing. The content of motor representations can be inferred from motor images at a (...) macroscopic level, based on global aspects of the action and the motor rules and constraints which predict the spatial path and kinematics of movements. A more microscopic neural account calls for a representation of object-oriented action. Object attributes are processed in different neural pathways depending on the kind of task the subject is performing. During object-oriented action, a pragmatic representation is activated in which object affordances are transformed into specific motor schemas. Animal as well as human clinical data implicate the posterior parietal and premotor cortical areas in schema instantiation. A mechanism is proposed that is able to encode the desired goal of the action and is applicable to different levels of representational organization. (shrink)
In this interview, Cynthia Hammond sits down with Marc Lafrance in order to discuss the 30-year sketching practice that led to her exhibition, Drawings for a Thicker Skin, in 2012. In this practice, Hammond made small, quick drawings of the clothes she would need for trips or key professional events. As she explains, the drawings were not just essential to knowing what to pack; they were essential to being able to pack. While she never conceived of the practice as (...) art, when invited to exhibit the drawings she found a way to relate this idiosyncratic and private practice to a larger set of ontological concerns. Clothing as a second skin is the key idea here, as Hammond and Lafrance explore what it means to navigate identity, idealized self-image, professional ‘passing’ and the skin ego. (shrink)
Scientists have long counseled against interpreting animal behavior in terms of human emotions, warning that such anthropomorphizing limits our ability to understand animals as they really are. Yet what are we to make of a female gorilla in a German zoo who spent days mourning the death of her baby? Or a wild female elephant who cared for a younger one after she was injured by a rambunctious teenage male? Or a rat who refused to push a lever for food (...) when he saw that doing so caused another rat to be shocked? Aren’t these clear signs that animals have recognizable emotions and moral intelligence? With _Wild Justice_ Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce unequivocally answer yes. Marrying years of behavioral and cognitive research with compelling and moving anecdotes, Bekoff and Pierce reveal that animals exhibit a broad repertoire of moral behaviors, including fairness, empathy, trust, and reciprocity. Underlying these behaviors is a complex and nuanced range of emotions, backed by a high degree of intelligence and surprising behavioral flexibility. Animals, in short, are incredibly adept social beings, relying on rules of conduct to navigate intricate social networks that are essential to their survival. Ultimately, Bekoff and Pierce draw the astonishing conclusion that there is no moral gap between humans and other species: morality is an evolved trait that we unquestionably share with other social mammals. Sure to be controversial, _Wild Justice_ offers not just cutting-edge science, but a provocative call to rethink our relationship with—and our responsibilities toward—our fellow animals. (shrink)
To what extent do moral judgments depend on conscious reasoning from explicitly understood principles? We address this question by investigating one particular moral principle, the principle of the double effect. Using web-based technology, we collected a large data set on individuals' responses to a series of moral dilemmas, asking when harm to innocent others is permissible. Each moral dilemma presented a choice between action and inaction, both resulting in lives saved and lives lost. Results showed that: (1) patterns of moral (...) judgments were consistent with the principle of double effect and showed little variation across differences in gender, age, educational level, ethnicity, religion or national affiliation (within the limited range of our sample population) and (2) a majority of subjects failed to provide justifications that could account for their judgments. These results indicate that the principle of the double effect may be operative in our moral judgments but not open to conscious introspection. We discuss these results in light of current psychological theories of moral cognition, emphasizing the need to consider the unconscious appraisal system that mentally represents the causal and intentional properties of human action. (shrink)
Unlike explanation in science, explanation in mathematics has received relatively scant attention from philosophers. Whereas there are canonical examples of scientific explanations, there are few examples that have become widely accepted as exhibiting the distinction between mathematical proofs that explain why some mathematical theorem holds and proofs that merely prove that the theorem holds without revealing the reason why it holds. This essay offers some examples of proofs that mathematicians have considered explanatory, and it argues that these examples suggest a (...) particular account of explanation in mathematics. The essay compares its account to Steiner's and Kitcher's. Among the topics that arise are proofs that exploit symmetries, mathematical coincidences, brute-force proofs, simplicity in mathematics, merely clever proofs, and proofs that unify what other proofs treat as separate cases. (shrink)
The question of whether biologists should continue to use the Linnaean hierarchy has been a hotly debated issue. Invented before the introduction of evolutionary theory, Linnaeus's system of classifying organisms is based on outdated theoretical assumptions, and is thought to be unable to provide accurate biological classifications. Marc Ereshefsky argues that biologists should abandon the Linnaean system and adopt an alternative that is more in line with evolutionary theory. He traces the evolution of the Linnaean hierarchy from its introduction (...) to the present. He illustrates how the continued use of this system hampers our ability to classify the organic world, and then goes on to make specific recommendations for a post-Linnaean method of classification. Accessible to a wide range of readers by providing introductory chapters to the philosophy of classification and the taxonomy of biology, the book will interest both scholars and students of biology and the philosophy of science. (shrink)
: To what extent do moral judgments depend on conscious reasoning from explicitly understood principles? We address this question by investigating one particular moral principle, the principle of the double effect. Using web-based technology, we collected a large data set on individuals’ responses to a series of moral dilemmas, asking when harm to innocent others is permissible. Each moral dilemma presented a choice between action and inaction, both resulting in lives saved and lives lost. Results showed that: patterns of moral (...) judgments were consistent with the principle of double effect and showed little variation across differences in gender, age, educational level, ethnicity, religion or national affiliation and a majority of subjects failed to provide justifications that could account for their judgments. These results indicate that the principle of the double effect may be operative in our moral judgments but not open to conscious introspection. We discuss these results in light of current psychological theories of moral cognition, emphasizing the need to consider the unconscious appraisal system that mentally represents the causal and intentional properties of human action. (shrink)
Conflicts of interest are rampant in the American medical community. Today it is not uncommon for doctors to refer patients to clinics or labs in which they have a financial interest (40% of physicians in Florida invest in medical centers); for hospitals to offer incentives to physicians who refer patients (a practice that can lead to unnecessary hospitalization); or for drug companies to provide lucrative give-aways to entice doctors to use their "brand name" drugs (which are much more expensive than (...) generic drugs). In Medicine, Money and Morals, Marc A. Rodwin draws on his own experience as a health lawyer--and his research in health ethics, law, and policy--to reveal how financial conflicts of interest can and do negatively affect the quality of patient care. He shows that the problem has become worse over the last century and provides many actual examples of how doctors' decisions are influenced by financial considerations. We learn how two California physicians, for example, resumed referrals to Pasadena General Hospital only after the hospital started paying $70 per patient (their referrals grew from 14 in one month to 82 in the next). As Rodwin writes, incentives such as this can inhibit a doctor from taking action when a hospital fails to provide proper service, and may also lead to the unnecessary hospitalization of patients. We also learn of a Wyeth-Ayerst Labs promotion in which physicians who started patients on INDERAL (a drug for high blood pressure, angina, and migraines) received 1000 mileage points on American Airlines for each patient (studies show that promotions such as this have a direct effect on a doctor's choice of drug). Rodwin reveals why the medical community has failed to regulate conflicts of interest: peer review has little authority, state licensing boards are usually ignorant of abuses, and the AMA code of ethics has historically been recommended rather than required. He examines what can be learned from the way society has coped with the conflicts of interest of other professionals --lawyers, government officials, and businessmen--all of which are held to higher standards of accountability than doctors. And he recommends that efforts be made to prohibit and regulate certain kinds of activity (such as kickbacks and self-referrals), to monitor and regulate conduct, and to provide penalties for improper conduct. Our failure to face physicians' conflicts of interest has distorted the way medicine is practiced, compromised the loyalty of doctors to patients, and harmed society, the integrity of the medical profession, and patients. For those concerned with the quality of health care or medical ethics, Medicine, Money and Morals is a provocative look into the current health care crisis and a powerful prescription for change. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the problem of selfidentification in the domain of action. We claim that this problem can arise not just for the self as object, but also for the self as subject in the ascription of agency. We discuss and evaluate some proposals concerning the mechanisms involved in selfidentification and in agencyascription, and their possible impairments in pathological cases. We argue in favor of a simulation hypothesis that claims that actions, whether overt or covert, are centrally simulated (...) by the neural network, and that this simulation provides the basis for action recognition and attribution. (shrink)
This article explores the role of financial markets for sustainable development. More specifically, the authors ask to what extent financial markets foster and facilitate more sustainable business practices. The authors highlight that their current role is rather modest and conclude that, on the old paths, a paradoxical situation exists. On one hand, financial market participants increasingly integrate environmental, social, and governance criteria into their investment decisions, whereas on the other hand, in terms of organizational reality, there seems to be no (...) real shift toward more sustainable business practices. The authors identify two main challenges within the field of sustainable investments that are relevant for entering new avenues that may help overcome this situation. First, a reorientation toward a long-term paradigm for sustainable investments is important. Second, ESG data must become more trustworthy. From a theoretical point of view, the authors finally highlight the potential market consequences when ESG investment criteria are used. (shrink)
There has been some theoretical and empirical debate that the positive relationship between corporate social performance (CSP) and firm financial performance (FFP) is spurious and in fact caused by a third factor, namely large firm size. This study examines this question by integrating three meta-analyses of more than two decades of research on (1) CSP and FFP, (2) firm size and CSP, and (3) firm size and FFP into one path-analytic model. The present study does not confirm size as a (...) third factor which would confound the relationship between CSP and FFP. That is, even if firm size is controlled for across studies (comprising, on average, over 15 000 observations), CSP and FFP remain positively correlated, showing a "true-score" corrected path coefficient p of 0.37. (shrink)
Franz Rosenzweig : the other side of the West -- Dissimilation -- Hegel taken literally -- Utopia and redemption -- Walter Benjamin : the three models of history -- Metaphors of origin : ideas, names, stars -- The esthetic model -- The angel of history -- Gershem Scholem : the secret history -- The paradoxes of messianism -- Kafka, Freud, and the crisis of tradition -- Language and secularization.
In this paper, I aim to show that agency-based accounts of moral status are more plausible than many have previously thought. I do this by developing a novel account of moral status that takes agency, understood as the capacity for intentional action, to be the necessary and sufficient condition for the possession of moral status. This account also suggests that the capacities required for sentience entail the possession of agency, and the capacities required for agency, entail the possession of sentience. (...) Thus on this account sentient beings possess agency and agents possess sentience. If this is correct, it will show that an Agency Account of moral status can offer a plausible defence of the moral status of all sentient beings, something that previous Agency Accounts have not succeeded in doing. What is more, this account could establish that all sentient animals are not just moral status holders per se, but that they are owed pro tanto obligations regarding continued existence and liberty, similar in kind, though not always in strength, to those owed to humans. (shrink)
The question of what drives corporate social performance has become a vital concern for many managers and researchers of large corporations. This study addresses this question by adopting a multilevel, multistakeholder, and multimethod approach to theorize and estimate the relative influence of macro, meso, and micro factors on CSP. Applying three different methods of variance decomposition analysis to an international sample of 2060 large public companies over a time span of 5 years, our results show that firm-level factors explain the (...) largest proportion of variance in aggregate CSP as well as CSP oriented toward communities, the natural environment, and employees. These results support our hypotheses according to which CSP is not primarily driven by macrolevel or mesolevel factors, except for shareholder-oriented CSP, which is relatively more influenced by country-level factors. As a whole, our findings also point to the value of subdividing CSP into its stakeholder-specific components as this disaggregation allows for a more careful examination of distinct drivers of distinct aspects of CSP. (shrink)
Donald Davidson's work has been of seminal importance in the development of analytic philosophy and his views on the nature of language, mind and action remain the starting point for many of the central debates in the analytic tradition. His ideas, however, are complex, often technical, and interconnected in ways that can make them difficult to understand. This introduction to Davidson's philosophy examines the full range of his writings to provide a clear succinct overview of his ideas. This book begins (...) with an account of the assumptions and structure of Davidson's philosophy of language, introducing his compositionalism, extensionalism and commitment to a Tarski-style theory of truth as the model for theories of meaning. It goes on to show how that philosophical framework is to be applied and how it challenges the traditional picture. Marc Joseph examines Davidson's influential work on action theory and events and discusses the commonly made charge that his theory of action and mind leaves the mental as a mere 'epiphenomenon' of the physical. The final section explores Davidson's philosophy of mind, some of its consequences for traditional views of subjectivity and objectivity and, more generally, the relation between minded beings and the physical and mental world they occupy. (shrink)
A prominent version of mathematical structuralism holds that mathematical objects are at bottom nothing but "positions in structures," purely relational entities without any sort of nature independent of the structure to which they belong. Such an ontology is often presented as a response to Benacerraf's "multiple reductions" problem, or motivated on hermeneutic grounds, as a faithful representation of the discourse and practice of mathematics. In this paper I argue that there are serious difficulties with this kind of view: its proponents (...) rely on a distinction between "essential" and "nonessential" features of mathematical objects, and there's no good way to articulate this distinction which is compatible with basic structuralist commitments. But all is not lost. For I further argue that the insights motivating structuralism (or at least those worth preserving) can be preserved without formulating the view in ontologically committal terms. (shrink)
Institutional theory rests on a rejection of reductionism. Instead of reducing higher-order phenomena to aggregates of behavior, institutional theory reverses this causal imagery. It attributes the behavior of organizations and nation-states to contextual factors, notably organizational fields, national institutional systems, or the emerging global polity, Institutionalists, particularly within sociology, also emphasize specifically cultural mechanisms for these higher-order effects. This article develops the methodological foundations for these claims. It surveys and elaborates research designs for documenting higher-order effects and for differentiating the (...) cultural mechanisms of institutional influence. It also presents new strategies for assessing multiple logics and the coherence of institutional orders, moving beyond adoption and diffusion studies to analyze the dynamic and contested processes of institutionalization and institutional change. (shrink)
Is argumentation essentially adversarial? The concept of a devil's advocate—a cooperative arguer who assumes the role of an opponent for the sake of the argument—serves as a lens to bring into clearer focus the ways that adversarial arguers can be virtuous and adversariality itself can contribute to argumentation's goals. It also shows the different ways arguments can be adversarial and the different ways that argumentation can be said to be "essentially" adversarial.
According to one widely held view, a belief is fully justified only if it holds up against the strongest available counterarguments, and we can be appropriately confident that it does hold up only if there is free and open critical discussion of those beliefs between us and our epistemic peers. In this paper I argue that this common picture of ideal rational group inquiry interacts with epistemic problems concerning reasonable disagreement in a way that makes those problems particularly difficult to (...) resolve. By focusing on this idealized context, we get a clearer picture of the epistemic principles at issue. In the end, I argue that the best way to resolve the resulting epistemic conflicts is by appeal to the underdetermination of theory by evidence together with a principle of epistemic conservatism. (shrink)
This paper shows how Aquinas gradually developed his view on angelic speech. His major texts are summarized and compared to those of contemporaries (sections II-III). Next the texts are analyzed, focusing on three issues: the notion of ‘word’ (section IV), the role of the will (section V), and the need of signification (section VI). With regard to each of these topics, Aquinas’ thought evolved, first by juxtaposing and later by integrating Augustinian and Aristotelian viewpoints. Aquinas reaches his mature position in (...) the Summa Theologiae by radically reinterpretating the meaning of ‘word’ and denying that angelic speech has a semiotic structure. (shrink)
Sparrow argues that military robots capable of making their own decisions would be independent enough to allow us denial for their actions, yet too unlike us to be the targets of meaningful blame or praise—thereby fostering what Matthias has dubbed “the responsibility gap.” We agree with Sparrow that someone must be held responsible for all actions taken in a military conflict. That said, we think Sparrow overlooks the possibility of what we term “blank check” responsibility: A person of sufficiently high (...) standing could accept responsibility for the actions of autonomous robotic devices—even if that person could not be causally linked to those actions besides this prior agreement. The basic intuition behind our proposal is that humans can impute relations even when no other form of contact can be established. The missed alternative we want to highlight, then, would consist in an exchange: Social prestige in the occupation of a given office would come at the price of signing away part of one's freedoms to a contingent and unpredictable future guided by another agency. (shrink)
Previous research in the social responsibility/social performance area has failed to systematically address the institutional determinants of social responsibility and its various manifestations in terms of social performance. This paper examines the relationship between the configuration of institutional structures at various levels and the necessary and sufficient conditions for the concept of social responsibility to manifest in the practice of stakeholder management. In particular we hypothesize that smaller, closely held firms in profitable niches are in the optimum position to practice (...) stakeholder management, assuming the management of these firms is predisposed to do so. (shrink)