Some hold that W.K. Clifford's arguments are inconsistent, appealing to the disvalue of likely consequences of nonevidential belief-formation, while also insisting that the consequences are irrelevant to the wrongness of so believing. My thesis is that Clifford's arguments are consistent; one simply needs to be clear on the role consequences play in the "Ethics of Belief" (and, for that matter, in William James's "The Will to Believe"). The consequences of particular episodes of nonevidential belief-formation are, as Clifford insists, irrelevant to (...) the epistemic, and so moral, status of believing. The moral matter is that adopting a policy of nonevidential belief-formation constitutes commitment to antithetical principles, viz. (i) our antecedent moral obligation to minimize the risk of harming ourselves and others and (ii) the flagrant disregard for (i) entailed by employing a policy of risk, i.e. nonevidentialism. Clifford's arguments should be read as demonstrating that a nonevidentialist approach to belief-management constitutes the kind of risk that, in fact, is at odds with this antecedent moral obligation - hence the discussion of likely consequences, despite his claims that they are irrelevant to the moral status of the beliefs yielding them. They are irrelevant to the moral status of nonevidentialism but not irrelevant to the fact of risk. The moral impermissibility of nonevidentialism inheres in the inconsistency of it and our antecedent moral obligations, not in the value or disvalue of the particular consequences of that belief-management style. (shrink)
While C. I. Lewis’s most celebrated logical innovation is by no means neglected, strict implication features in Rosenthal’s discussion in a fashion parallel, one comes to understand, to its role in his broader philosophical efforts, viz., as one component of a much more ambitious philosophical enterprise. Were one pressed to apply a label to Lewis’s broader project, “epistemological” is perhaps the most fitting term, with his accomplishments in logic paving the way to this broader effort. As with Lewis, Rosenthal sets (...) for herself an ambitious project. She offers a meticulous explication of Lewis’s philosophical development, ranging from his logical investigations to his treatment of a priori knowledge, and, eventually, to a pragmatic understanding of moral imperatives. But always in her sights is the promise of a bridge between traditions, one might say, in which Lewis’s work is relevant both to analysts and to continentalists . Similarly, but more narrowly, Rosenthal’s Lewis manages to plaster over many of the cracks in the work of other classical pragmatists. For example, in response to James’s apparent commitment to the notion of degrees of truth whereby new systems of thought are judged. (shrink)
In cognitive science, the concept of dissociation has been central to the functional individuation and decomposition of cognitive systems. Setting aside debates about the legitimacy of inferring the existence of dissociable systems from ‘behavioural’ dissociation data, the main idea behind the dissociation approach is that two cognitive systems are dissociable, and thus viewed as distinct, if each can be damaged, or impaired, without affecting the other system’s functions. In this article, I propose a notion of functional independence that does not (...) require dissociability, and describe an approach to the functional decomposition and modelling of cognitive systems that complements the dissociation approach. I show that highly integrated cognitive and neurocognitive systems can be decomposed into non-dissociable but functionally independent components, and argue that this approach can provide a general account of cognitive specialization in terms of a stable structure–function relationship. 1 Introduction2 Functional Independence without Dissociability3 FI Systems and Cognitive Architecture4 FI Systems and Cognitive Specialization. (shrink)
Amongst philosophers and cognitive scientists, modularity remains a popular choice for an architecture of the human mind, primarily because of the supposed explanatory value of this approach. Modular architectures can vary both with respect to the strength of the notion of modularity and the scope of the modularity of mind. We propose a dilemma for modular architectures, no matter how these architectures vary along these two dimensions. First, if a modular architecture commits to the informational encapsulation of modules, as it (...) is the case for modularity theories of perception, then modules are on this account impenetrable. However, we argue that there are genuine cases of the cognitive penetrability of perception and that these cases challenge any strong, encapsulated modular architecture of perception. Second, many recent massive modularity theories weaken the strength of the notion of module, while broadening the scope of modularity. These theories do not require any robust informational encapsulation, and thus avoid the incompatibility with cognitive penetrability. However, the weakened commitment to informational encapsulation greatly weakens the explanatory force of the theory and, ultimately, is conceptually at odds with the core of modularity. (shrink)
Much of cognitive science is committed to the modular approach to the study of cognition. The core of this approach consists of a pair of assumptions - the anatomical and the functional modularity assumptions - which motivate two kinds of inference: the anatomical and the functional modularity inferences. The legitimacy of both of these inferences has been strongly challenged, a situation that has had surprisingly little impact on most theorizing in the field. Following the introduction of an important, yet rarely (...) made, distinction between two functional concepts - the distinction between cognitive working and cognitive role - this paper analyses these kinds of inference, and refocuses the attention on new aspects of their main limitations. It is argued that both the anatomical and functional modularity inferences can, and do, operate in three distinct modes in contemporary cognitive science, and that seeing this is essential to understanding both the power and the limitations of these methodological tools. (shrink)
In this article, we discuss the modularity of the emotions. In a general methodological section, we discuss the empirical basis for the postulation of modularity. Then we discuss how certain modules -- the emotions in particular -- decompose into distinct anatomical and functional parts.
Everybody assumes (1) that musical performances are sonic events and (2) that their expressive properties are sonic properties. This paper discusses recent findings in the psychology of music perception that show that visual information combines with auditory information in the perception of musical expression. The findings show at the very least that arguments are needed for (1) and (2). If music expresses what we think it does, then its expressive properties may be visual as well as sonic; and if its (...) expressive properties are purely sonic, then music expresses less than we think it does. And if the expressive properties of music are visual as well as sonic, then music is not what we think it is—it is not purely sonic. (shrink)
Neural reuse theories suggest that, in the course of evolution, a brain structure may acquire or lose a number of cognitive uses while maintaining its cognitive workings (or low-level operations) fixed. This, in turn, suggests that homologous structures may have very different cognitive uses, while sharing the same workings. And this, essentially, is homology thinking applied to brain function.
Avec l’entrée en vigueur de l’Énoncé de politique des trois conseils, la surveillance éthique continue fait maintenant partie intégrante du processus d’évaluation éthique sur la scène universitaire canadienne. Pourtant, malgré l’acceptation de ce concept, les chercheurs et les institutions se questionnent sur sa portée et sa mise en application. Dans cette perspective, cet article porte un regard sur les racines et les variantes du concept, les efforts de rationalisation dont il a fait l’objet en contexte américain d’où il a émergé (...) et sur le contexte de son entrée sur la scène canadienne. (shrink)