In this paper I argue that (at least many) philosophical thought experiments are unreliable. But I argue that this notion of unreliability has to be understood relative to the goal of thought experiments as knowledge producing. And relative to that goal many thought experiments in science are just as unreliable. But in fact thought experiments in science play a varied role and I will suggest that knowledge production is a goal only under quite limited circumstances. I defend the view that (...) these circumstances can (sometimes) arise in philosophy as well. (shrink)
The field of neuroimaging has reached a watershed. Brain imaging research has been the source of many advances in cognitive neuroscience and cognitive science over the last decade, but recent critiques and emerging trends are raising foundational issues of methodology, measurement, and theory. Indeed, concerns over interpretation of brain maps have created serious controversies in social neuroscience, and, more important, point to a larger set of issues that lie at the heart of the entire brain mapping enterprise. In this volume, (...) leading scholars -- neuroimagers and philosophers of mind -- reexamine these central issues and explore current controversies that have arisen in cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, computer science, and signal processing. The contributors address both statistical and dynamical analysis and modeling of neuroimaging data and interpretation, discussing localization, modularity, and neuroimagers' tacit assumptions about how these two phenomena are related; controversies over correlation of fMRI data and social attributions ; and the standard inferential design approach in neuroimaging. Finally, the contributors take a more philosophical perspective, considering the nature of measurement in brain imaging, and offer a framework for novel neuroimaging data structures. Contributors: William Bechtel, Bharat Biswal, Matthew Brett, Martin Bunzl, Max Coltheart, Karl J. Friston, Joy J. Geng, Clark Glymour, Kalanit Grill-Spector, Stephen José Hanson, Trevor Harley, Gilbert Harman, James V. Haxby, Rik N. Henson, Nancy Kanwisher, Colin Klein, Richard Loosemore, Sébastien Meriaux, Chris Mole, Jeanette A. Mumford, Russell A. Poldrack, Jean-Baptiste Poline, Richard C. Richardson, Alexis Roche, Adina L. Roskies, Pia Rotshtein, Rebecca Saxe, Philipp Sterzer, Bertrand Thirion, Edward Vul The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket. (shrink)
When it comes to climate change, the greatest difficulty we face is that we do not know the likely degree of change or its cost, which means that environmental policy decisions have to be made under uncertainty. This book offers an accessible philosophical treatment of the broad range of ethical and policy challenges posed by climate change uncertainty. Drawing on both the philosophy of science and ethics, Martin Bunzl shows how tackling climate change revolves around weighing up our interests now (...) against those of future generations, which requires that we examine our assumptions about the value of present costs versus future benefits. In an engaging, conversational style, Bunzl looks at questions such as our responsibility towards non-human life, the interests of the developing and developed worlds, and how the circumstances of poverty shape the perception of risk, ultimate developing and defending a view of humanity and its place in the world that makes sense of our duty to Nature without treating it as a rights bearer. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of environmental studies, philosophy, politics and sociology as well as policy makers. (shrink)
In Real History , Martin Bunzl brilliantly succeeds in bringing together two schools of thought at the forefront of the philosophy of history: that of realism and objectivity. He shows us how the realism debate is inhabited by philosophers, whereas the objectivity argument lies in the hands of historians. In his lucid and direct style, Bunzl proposes a synthesis between these two parallel traditions. We see that what historians say they are doing is not necessarily what they are actually doing. (...) Bunzl draws on recent work (from the likes of Foucault to Rorty) to develop a new model for the philosophy of history; a model which essentially calls for the collapse of the realism/objectivity dichotomy. Martin Bunzl clearly merges the two parallel debates of history and philosophy. He draws on relevant discussions ranging from post-structuralism, to the philosophy of science, to notions of realism and objectivity, to debates about the history of women. (shrink)
Recent attempts to fix the direction of causal priority without reference to the direction of temporal priority have begun with an analysis of the causal relation itself. I offer a method, based on causal modelling theory, designed to determine the direction of causal priority while remaining as agnostic as possible about the nature of the causal relation.
If "slavery" is defined broadly to include bonded child labor and forced prostitution, there are upward of 25 million slaves in the world today. Individuals and groups are freeing some slaves by buying them from their enslavers. But slave redemption is as controversial today as it was in pre-Civil War America. In Buying Freedom, Kwame Anthony Appiah and Martin Bunzl bring together economists, anthropologists, historians, and philosophers for the first comprehensive examination of the practical and ethical implications of slave redemption. (...) While recognizing the obvious virtue of the desire to buy the freedom of slaves, the contributors ask difficult and troubling questions: Does redeeming slaves actually increase the demand for--and so the number of--slaves? And what about cases where it is far from clear that redemption will improve the material condition, or increase the real freedom, of a slave? Buying Freedom includes essays by the editors and by Dean Karlan and Alan Krueger, Carol Ann Rogers and Kenneth Swinnerton, Arnab Basu and Nancy Chau, Stanley Engerman, Jonathan Conning and Michael Kevane, Jok Madut Jok, Ann McDougall, Lisa Cook, Margaret Kellow, John Stauffer, and Howard McGary. (shrink)
It is sometimes claimed that evolutionary game theory provides a basis fordoing without rationality. The author defends the thesis that on any plausibleconstrual of the assumptions underlying evolutionary game theory, it cannotprovide a plausible basis for deviations from rationality. But on any plausibleconstrual of rationality, evolutionary game theory cannot provide an alternativethat coincides with the outcomes dictated by considerations of rationality,either. Key Words: evolutionary game theory game theory rationality Skyrms.
In a series of important papers, A. Fine has developed and defended the view that the proper reading of scientific practice is neither realist nor antirealist. Instead, he argues that realism and antirealism both add something extra to a core position which is neither. In this discussion I reexamine his claim in the light of some criticisms. Fine's position contains an important insight, but to draw that point out requires shifting the way in which Fine poses the argument. I do (...) so by examining an argument by H. Stein. (shrink)
What are the prospects for a realist account of meaning that is not in the head? This paper uses some case studies to demonstrate the difficulty that any such account faces is how to rule out letting an account of meaning in the head in through the back door. As illustrated, one way a cognitivist account can come back into the picture is by no way of appeals to ‘reasonableness’. Another is by way of questions of what is termed the‘reach’of (...) meaning. (shrink)
In this book Martin Bunzl considers the prospects for a general and comprehensive account of explanation, given the variety of interests that prompt explanations in science. Bunzl argues that any successful account of explanation must deal with two very different contexts - one static and one dynamic. Traditionally, theories of explanation have been built for the former of these two contexts. That is to say, they are designed to show how it is that a 'finished' body of scientific knowledge can (...) be put to explanatory use. But finished sciences are few and far between. Real 'explanation' also occurs in a dynamical context in which questions are asked and answers are given as theories are in the process of being constructed. Here, Bunzl argues that attending to explanation produced under these dynamic circumstances undermines prominent features of the theory of explanation produced in the traditional static context. (shrink)
For Ruth Millikan, convention consists of patterns that are produced by reproduction which proliferate due partly to weight of precedent. The authors argue that on Millikans account, a lot more is going to count as conventional than seems reasonable on any plausible account of convention. Moreover, at least some things that the authors think ought to be counted as conventions are going to get left out. Key Words: conventions rules Ruth Millikan David Lewis.