In this book, Michael Arbib, a researcher in artificial intelligence and brain theory, joins forces with Mary Hesse, a philosopher of science, to present an integrated account of how humans 'construct' reality through interaction with the social and physical world around them. The book is a major expansion of the Gifford Lectures delivered by the authors at the University of Edinburgh in the autumn of 1983. The authors reconcile a theory of the individual's construction of reality as a network (...) of schemas 'in the head' with an account of the social construction of language, science, ideology and religion to provide an integrated schema-theoretic view of human knowledge. The authors still find scope for lively debate, particularly in their discussion of free will and of the reality of God. The book integrates an accessible exposition of background information with a cumulative marshalling of evidence to address fundamental questions concerning human action in the world and the nature of ultimate reality. (shrink)
Here, we argue that any neurobiological theory based on an experience/function division cannot be empirically confirmed or falsified and is thus outside the scope of science. A ‘perfect experiment’ illustrates this point, highlighting the unbreachable boundaries of the scientific study of consciousness. We describe a more nuanced notion of cognitive access that captures personal experience without positing the existence of inaccessible conscious states. Finally, we discuss the criteria necessary for forming and testing a falsifiable theory of consciousness.
Bishop and Trout here present a unique and provocative new approach to epistemology. Their approach aims to liberate epistemology from the scholastic debates of standard analytic epistemology, and treat it as a branch of the philosophy of science. The approach is novel in its use of cost-benefit analysis to guide people facing real reasoning problems and in its framework for resolving normative disputes in psychology. Based on empirical data, Bishop and Trout show how people can improve their reasoning by relying (...) on Statistical Prediction Rules. They then develop and articulate the positive core of the book. Their view, Strategic Reliabilism, claims that epistemic excellence consists in the efficient allocation of cognitive resources to reliable reasoning strategies, applied to significant problems. The last third of the book develops the implications of this view for standard analytic epistemology; for resolving normative disputes in psychology; and for offering practical, concrete advice on how this theory can improve real people's reasoning. This is a truly distinctive and controversial work that spans many disciplines and will speak to an unusually diverse group, including people in epistemology, philosophy of science, decision theory, cognitive and clinical psychology, and ethics and public policy. (shrink)
The article analyzes the neural and functional grounding of language skills as well as their emergence in hominid evolution, hypothesizing stages leading from abilities known to exist in monkeys and apes and presumed to exist in our hominid ancestors right through to modern spoken and signed languages. The starting point is the observation that both premotor area F5 in monkeys and Broca's area in humans contain a “mirror system” active for both execution and observation of manual actions, and that F5 (...) and Broca's area are homologous brain regions. This grounded the mirror system hypothesis of Rizzolatti and Arbib (1998) which offers the mirror system for grasping as a key neural “missing link” between the abilities of our nonhuman ancestors of 20 million years ago and modern human language, with manual gestures rather than a system for vocal communication providing the initial seed for this evolutionary process. The present article, however, goes “beyond the mirror” to offer hypotheses on evolutionary changes within and outside the mirror systems which may have occurred to equip Homo sapiens with a language-ready brain. Crucial to the early stages of this progression is the mirror system for grasping and its extension to permit imitation. Imitation is seen as evolving via a so-called simple system such as that found in chimpanzees (which allows imitation of complex “object-oriented” sequences but only as the result of extensive practice) to a so-called complex system found in humans (which allows rapid imitation even of complex sequences, under appropriate conditions) which supports pantomime. This is hypothesized to have provided the substrate for the development of protosign, a combinatorially open repertoire of manual gestures, which then provides the scaffolding for the emergence of protospeech (which thus owes little to nonhuman vocalizations), with protosign and protospeech then developing in an expanding spiral. It is argued that these stages involve biological evolution of both brain and body. By contrast, it is argued that the progression from protosign and protospeech to languages with full-blown syntax and compositional semantics was a historical phenomenon in the development of Homo sapiens, involving few if any further biological changes. Key Words: gestures; hominids; language evolution; mirror system; neurolinguistics; primates; protolanguage; sign language; speech; vocalization. (shrink)
Coalescent argumentation is a normative ideal that involves the joining together of two disparate claims through recognition and exploration of opposing positions. By uncovering the crucial connection between a claim and the attitudes, beliefs, feelings, values and needs to which it is connected dispute partners are able to identify points of agreement and disagreement. These points can then be utilized to effect coalescence, a joining or merging of divergent positions, by forming the basis for a mutual investigation of non-conflictual options (...) that might otherwise have remained unconsidered. The essay proceeds by defining and discussing ‘argument’, ‘position’ and ‘understanding’. These notions are then brought together to outline the concept of coalescent reasoning. (shrink)
Although our subjective impression is of a richly detailed visual world, numerous empirical results suggest that the amount of visual information observers can perceive and remember at any given moment is limited. How can our subjective impressions be reconciled with these objective observations? Here, we answer this question by arguing that, although we see more than the handful of objects, claimed by prominent models of visual attention and working memory, we still see far less than we think we do. Taken (...) together, we argue that these considerations resolve the apparent conflict between our subjective impressions and empirical data on visual capacity, while also illuminating the nature of the representations underlying perceptual experience. (shrink)
Largely due to the popular allegation that contemporary science has uncovered indeterminism in the deepest known levels of physical reality, the debate as to whether humans have moral freedom, the sort of freedom on which moral responsibility depends, has put aside to some extent the traditional worry over whether determinism is true. As I argue in this paper, however, there are powerful proofs for both chronological determinism and necessitarianism, forms of determinism that pose the most penetrative threat to human moral (...) freedom. My ultimate hope is to show that, despite the robust case against human moral freedom that can be made without even relying on them, chronological determinism and necessitarianism should be regarded with renewed urgency. (shrink)
This article was conceived as a sequel to “The Humean Theory of Motivation.” The paper addresses various challenges to the standard account of the explanation of intentional action in terms of desire and means-end belief, challenges that didn’t occur to me when I wrote “The Humean Theory of Motivation.” I begin by suggesting that the attraction of the standard account lies in the way in which it allows us to unify a vast array of otherwise diverse types of action explanation. (...) I go on to consider a range of other challenges to the standard account of the explanation of action: Rosalind Hursthouse’s challenge based on the possibility of what she calls “arational” actions (Hursthouse 1991); Michael Stocker’s challenge based on the idea that some explanations of action are nonteleological (Stocker 1981); Mark Platts’s challenge based on the idea that our evaluative beliefs can sometimes explain our actions all by themselves (Platts 1981); a voluntarist challenge based on the possibility of explaining actions by the exercise of self-control; and a challenge from Jonathan Dancy based on the idea that reasons can themselves sometimes explain actions all by themselves (Dancy 1994). (shrink)
This article is concerned with developing a philosophical approach to a number of significant changes to academic publishing, and specifically the global journal knowledge system wrought by a range of new digital technologies that herald the third age of the journal as an electronic, interactive and mixed-media form of scientific communication. The paper emerges from an Editors' Collective, a small New Zealand-based organisation comprised of editors and reviewers of academic journals mostly in the fields of education and philosophy. The paper (...) is the result of a collective writing process. (shrink)
The generality problem is widely considered to be a devastating objection to reliabilist theories of justification. My goal in this paper is to argue that a version of the generality problem applies to all plausible theories of justification. Assume that any plausible theory must allow for the possibility of reflective justification—S's belief, B, is justified on the basis of S's knowledge that she arrived at B as a result of a highly (but not perfectly) reliable way of reasoning, R. The (...) generality problem applies to all cases of reflective justification: Given that is the product of a process-token that is an instance of indefinitely many belief-forming process-types (or BFPTs), why is the reliability of R, rather than the reliability of one of the indefinitely many other BFPTs, relevant to B's justificatory status? This form of the generality problem is restricted because it applies only to cases of reflective justification. But unless it is solved, the generality problem haunts all plausible theories of justification, not just reliabilist ones. (shrink)
Are thought experiments nothing but arguments? I argue that it is not possible to make sense of the historical trajectory of certain thought experiments if one takes them to be arguments. Einstein and Bohr disagreed about the outcome of the clock-in-the-box thought experiment, and so they reconstructed it using different arguments. This is to be expected whenever scientists disagree about a thought experiment's outcome. Since any such episode consists of two arguments but just one thought experiment, the thought experiment cannot (...) be the arguments. (shrink)
Human need and related concepts such as basic needs have long been part of the implicit conceptual foundation for social work theory, practice, and research. However, while the published literature in social work has long stressed social justice, and has incorporated discussion of human rights, human need has long been both a neglected and contested concept. In recent years, the explicit use of human needs theory has begun to have a significant influence on the literature in social work.
Science and philosophy study well-being with different but complementary methods. Marry these methods and a new picture emerges: To have well-being is to be "stuck" in a positive cycle of emotions, attitudes, traits and success. This book unites the scientific and philosophical worldviews into a powerful new theory of well-being.
Exploring the construct of social-responsibility orientation across three Asian and two Western societies, we show evidence that top-level executives in these societies hold fundamentally different beliefs about their responsibilities toward different stakeholders, with concomitant implications for their understanding and enactment of responsible leadership. We further find that these variations are more closely aligned with institutional factors than with cultural variables, suggesting a need to clarify the connection between culture and institutions on the one hand and culture and social-responsibility orientations on (...) the other. (shrink)
Epistemic responsibility involves at least two central ideas. (V) To be epistemically responsible is to display the virtue(s) epistemic internalists take to be central to justification (e.g., coherence, having good reasons, fitting the evidence). (C) In normal (non-skeptical)circumstances and in thelong run, epistemic responsibility is strongly positively correlated with reliability. Sections 1 and 2 review evidence showing that for a wide range of real-world problems, the most reliable, tractable reasoning strategies audaciously flout the internalist''s epistemic virtues. In Section 3, I (...) argue that these results force us to give up either (V), our current conception of what it is to be epistemically responsible, or (C) the responsibility-reliability connection. I will argue that we should relinquish (V). This is likely to reshape our epistemic practices. It will force us to alter our epistemic judgments about certain instances of reasoning, to endorse some counterintuitive epistemic prescriptions, and to rethink what it is for cognitive agents to be epistemically responsible. (shrink)
The generality problem is widely considered to be a devastating objection to reliabilist theories of justification. My goal in this paper is to argue that a version of the generality problem applies to all plausible theories of justification. Assume that any plausible theory must allow for the possibility of reflective justification—S’s belief, B, is justified on the basis of S’s knowledge that she arrived at B as a result of a highly reliable way of reasoning, R. The generality problem applies (...) to all cases of reflective justification: Given that B is the product of a process-token that is an instance of indefinitely many belief-forming process-types, why is the reliability of R, rather than the reliability of one of the indefinitely many other BFPTs, relevant to B’s justificatory status? This form of the generality problem is restricted because it applies only to cases of reflective justification. But unless it is solved, the generality problem haunts all plausible theories of justification, not just reliabilist ones. (shrink)
This essay begins with a critique of the Critical-Logical model dominant in contemporary argumentation theory. The concerns raised stem primarily from considerations brought by several feminist thinkers including Carol Gilligan, Karen Warren, Deborah Tannen and, most especially, Andrea Nye. It is argued that, in light of these considerations, and concerns of essentialism or non-essentialism notwithstanding, that the Critical-Logical model is liable to dis-enfranchise a significant part of the population with regard to modes and styles of reasoning. The solution is found (...) in coalescent reasoning, an approach to argumentation that focuses on finding agreement rather than emphasizing disagreement and criticism. (shrink)
Background Interest in biobanking for collection of specimens for non-communicable diseases research has grown in recent times. This paper explores the perspectives of Nigerians on donation of specimen for the biobanking research. Methods We conducted 16 Focus Group Discussions (FGD) with individuals from different ethnic, age and socio-economic groups in Kano (North), Enugu (Southeast), Oyo States (Southwest) and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (Central) of Nigeria. We used topic guides and prompt statements to explore the knowledge and understanding of interviewees (...) to general issues about biobanking of biospecimens, their use and specifically about role of biobanking in non-communicable diseases research. Results A total of 123 individuals participated in 16 focus group discussions in 2011. Our participants had limited knowledge of the concept of biobanking but accepted it once they were educated about it and saw it as a worthwhile venture. Half of our study participants supported use of broad consent, a quarter supported restricted consent while the remaining quarter were in favour of tiered consent. Most discussants support shipment of their samples to other countries for further research, but they prefer those collaborations to be done only with competent, ethical researchers and they would like to receive feedback about such projects. The majority preferred health care as a benefit from participation, particularly for any unexpected condition that may be discovered during the course of the research instead of financial compensation. Participants emphasized the need to ensure that donated samples were not used for research that contradicts their religious beliefs. Conclusions Our study demonstrates that our participants accepted biobanking once they understand it but there were different attitudes to elements of biobanking such as type of consent. Our study highlights the need to carefully document population attitudes to elements of modern scientific research and the consenting process. (shrink)
The main stream of formal and informal logic as well as more recent work in discourse analysis provides a way of understanding certain arguments that particularly lend themselves to rational analysis. I argue, however, that these, and allied modes of analysis, be seen as heuristic models and not as the only proper mode of argument. This article introduces three other modes of argumen tation that emphasize distinct aspects of human communication, but that, at the same time, must be considered for (...) the full understanding of argumentation. These modes are (1) the emotional, which relates to the realm of feelings, (2) the visceral, which stems from the area of the physical, and (3) the kisceral, which covers the intuitive and non-sensory arenas. At its most extreme the view holds that arguments may be given (almost) wholly within one mode and not be at all susceptible to those methods of argument analysis previously used. A more cautious statement allows that any interactive argument will (possibly) contain elements from various modes, and that to attempt to reduce these all to the rational is prejudiced reductionism. (shrink)
The flight to reference is a widely-used strategy for resolving philosophical issues. The three steps in a flight to reference argument are: (1) offer a substantive account of the reference relation, (2) argue that a particular expression refers (or does not refer), and (3) draw a philosophical conclusion about something other than reference, like truth or ontology. It is our contention that whenever the flight to reference strategy is invoked, there is a crucial step that is left undefended, and that (...) without a defense of this step, the flight to reference is a fatally flawed strategy; it cannot succeed in resolving philosophical issues. In this paper we begin by setting out the flight to reference strategy and explaining what is wrong with arguments that invoke the strategy. We then illustrate the problem by considering arguments for and against eliminative materialism. In the final section we argue that much the same problem undermines Philip Kitcher's attempt to defend scientific realism. (shrink)
Management theory and practice are facing unprecedented challenges. The lack of sustainability, the increasing inequity, and the continuous decline in societal trust pose a threat to ‘business as usual’. Capitalism is at a crossroad and scholars, practitioners, and policy makers are called to rethink business strategy in light of major external changes. In the following, we review an alternative view of human beings that is based on a renewed Darwinian theory developed by Lawrence and Nohria. We label this alternative view (...) ‘humanistic’ and draw distinctions to current ‘economistic’ conceptions. We then develop the consequences that this humanistic view has for business organizations, examining business strategy, governance structures, leadership forms, and organizational culture. Afterward, we outline the influences of humanism on management in the past and the present, and suggest options for humanism to shape the future of management. In this manner, we will contribute to the discussion of alternative management paradigms that help solve the current crises. (shrink)
If a brain is uploaded into a computer, will consciousness continue in digital form or will it end forever when the brain is destroyed? Philosophers have long debated such dilemmas and classify them as questions about personal identity. There are currently three main theories of personal identity: biological, psychological, and closest continuer theories. None of these theories can successfully address the questions posed by the possibility of uploading. I will argue that uploading requires us to adopt a new theory of (...) identity, psychological branching identity. Psychological branching identity states that consciousness will continue as long as there is continuity in psychological structure. What differentiates this from psychological identity is that it allows identity to continue in multiple selves. According to branching identity, continuity of consciousness will continue in both the original brain and the upload after nondestructive uploading. Branching identity can also resolve long standing questions about split-brain syndrome and can provide clear predictions about identity in even the most difficult cases imagined by philosophers. (shrink)
Social work has long been concerned with the respective roles of the social work profession and the social welfare system in addressing human needs. Social workers engage in needs assessment together with client systems. They provide and advocate for the needs of clients, as well enabling and empowering clients and communities to address their needs. They also advocate for social welfare benefits and services and overall social policies that take human needs into account. However, explicit ethical content was not present (...) in earlier Codes of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Furthermore, until very recently, little published literature in peer-reviewed journals has human needs theories to guide models of social work practice or inform social work research. Universalistic assumptions about human needs have long been found within social work’s literature on human development (see Jani and Reisch 2011, under General Overviews). However, these assumptions were often inexplicit. They did not fully utilize theories of human need, which have long recognized that although human needs may be universal, they are addressed in culturally and environmentally specific manners. Also, in practice, social workers have often conflated human needs with the need for the services or benefits available at any one time. This bibliography will explore the history and evolution of the interdisciplinary body of human needs theory and research on which social work has drawn historically, with special attention to the recent surge in interest in human needs theories. In doing so, the entry will discuss a number of key debates that have arisen regarding needs, including whether they are universal or specific to particular cultures; what the relationship is between human needs, human rights, and social justice; and how to reconcile theories of human needs and of human capabilities. (shrink)
Strategic Reliabilism is a framework that yields relative epistemic evaluations of belief-producing cognitive processes. It is a theory of cognitive excellence, or more colloquially, a theory of reasoning excellence (where 'reasoning' is understood very broadly as any sort of cognitive process for coming to judgments or beliefs). First introduced in our book, Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment (henceforth EPHJ), the basic idea behind SR is that epistemically excellent reasoning is efficient reasoning that leads in a robustly reliable fashion (...) to significant, true beliefs. It differs from most contemporary epistemological theories in two ways. First, it is not a theory of justification or knowledge – a theory of epistemically worthy belief. Strategic Reliabilism is a theory of epistemically worthy ways of forming beliefs. And second, Strategic Reliabilism does not attempt to account for an epistemological property that is assumed to be faithfully reflected in the epistemic judgments and intuitions of philosophers. If SR makes recommendations that accord with our reflective epistemic judgments and intuitions, great. If not, then so much the worse for our reflective epistemic judgments and intuitions. (shrink)