Since its introduction, multivariate pattern analysis, or ‘neural decoding’, has transformed the field of cognitive neuroscience. Underlying its influence is a crucial inference, which we call the decoder’s dictum: if information can be decoded from patterns of neural activity, then this provides strong evidence about what information those patterns represent. Although the dictum is a widely held and well-motivated principle in decoding research, it has received scant philosophical attention. We critically evaluate the dictum, arguing that it is false: decodability is (...) a poor guide for revealing the content of neural representations. However, we also suggest how the dictum can be improved on, in order to better justify inferences about neural representation using MVPA. 1Introduction 2A Brief Primer on Neural Decoding: Methods, Application, and Interpretation 2.1What is multivariate pattern analysis? 2.2The informational benefits of multivariate pattern analysis 3Why the Decoder’s Dictum Is False 3.1We don’t know what information is decoded 3.2The theoretical basis for the dictum 3.3Undermining the theoretical basis 4Objections and Replies 4.1Does anyone really believe the dictum? 4.2Good decoding is not enough 4.3Predicting behaviour is not enough 5Moving beyond the Dictum 6Conclusion. (shrink)
Since its introduction, multivariate pattern analysis, or ‘neural decoding’, has transformed the field of cognitive neuroscience. Underlying its influence is a crucial inference, which we call the decoder’s dictum: if information can be decoded from patterns of neural activity, then this provides strong evidence about what information those patterns represent. Although the dictum is a widely held and well-motivated principle in decoding research, it has received scant philosophical attention. We critically evaluate the dictum, arguing that it is false: decodability is (...) a poor guide for revealing the content of neural representations. However, we also suggest how the dictum can be improved on, in order to better justify inferences about neural representation using MVPA. (shrink)
This volume offers the first English language collection of academic essays on the post-Holocaust thought of Jean Améry, a Jewish-Austrian-Belgian essayist, journalist and literary author. Comprehensive in scope and multi-disciplinary in orientation, contributors explore central aspects of Améry's philosophical and ethical position, including dignity, responsibility, resentment, and forgiveness.
ABSTRACTNegative feedback has paradoxical features to it. This form of feedback can have informational value under some circumstances, but it can also threaten the ego, potentially upsetting behaviour as a result. To investigate possible consequences of the latter type, two experiments presented positive or negative feedback within a sequence-prediction task that could not be solved. Following feedback, participants had to control their behaviours as effectively as possible in a motor control task. Relative to positive feedback, negative feedback undermined control in (...) a manner suggesting emotional upset. These reactions lasted for at least three seconds and were especially pronounced among people reporting that they typically lose control in the context of their negative emotions. The findings document a novel form of behavioural dysregulation that occurs in response to negative feedback while also highlighting the utility of motor control perspectives on self... (shrink)
In his new book, "The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe," Robert J. Richards argues that Charles Darwin's true evolutionary roots lie in the German Romantic biology that flourished around the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is argued that Richards is quite wrong in this claim and that Darwin's roots are in the British society within which he was born, educated, and lived.
Interest in philosophy of management continues to grow. Growth of the philosophy of management might result from the consideration of man's potential as viewed by two different men, an industrialist and a philosopher. James Finney Lincoln was president and board chairman of The Lincoln Electric Company for 37 years. During that time, and for 14 previous years when he was the firm's general manager, he developed a philosophy basic to a practice of business management that gained national and international attention. (...) Wilhelm von Humboldt was a very gifted person with many accomplishments including those as a Prussian statesman, a humanist, and a linguistics scholar. A comparison of both men's philosophies reveals the following: In each view man's potentiality was approached by the dynamic, on-going process of developing his latent abilities or powers. Both views stressed freedom as being critical to the development of man's latent abilities or powers. For Lincoln the individual must gain satisfaction from the recognition of developing his latent abilities. For Humboldt the individual must enjoy the 'freedom of developing himself.' Lincoln warned against custom as being a barrier to development since it places man in situations which are without variation, forcing him merely to follow precedent. Humboldt, in addition to freedom, stated that "a variety of situations" is essential for development. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
In this essay I elaborate a particular, and particularly important, morality: the morality of human rights. Next, I ask the ground-of-normativity question about the morality of human rights and go on to elaborate a religious response. Then, after explaining why one might be skeptical that there is a plausible secular response to the ground-of-normativity question, I comment critically on John Finnis's secular response. Finally, I consider what difference it makes if there is no plausible secular response to the ground-of-normativity question.
Consider the following situation. It is the first day of school, and the new third-grade students file into the classroom to be shown to their seats for the coming year. As they enter, the third-grade teacher notices one small boy who is particularly unkempt. He looks to be in desperate need of bathing, and his clothes are dirty, torn and tight-fitting. During recess, the teacher pulls aside the boy's previous teacher and asks about his wretched condition. The other teacher informs (...) her that he always looks that way, even though the boy's family is quite wealthy. The reason he appears as he does, she continues, is that the family observes an odd practice according to which the children do not receive many important things – food, clothing, bathing, even shelter – unless they specifically request them. Since the boy, like many third-graders, has little interest in bathing and clean clothes, he just never asks for them. (shrink)
The idea that immoral behaviour can sometimes be admirable, and that moral behaviour can sometimes be less than admirable, has led several of its supporters to infer that moral considerations are not always overriding, contrary to what has been traditionally maintained. In this paper I shall challenge this inference. My purpose in doing so is to expose and acknowledge something that has been inadequately appreciated, namely, the moral aspect of nonmoral goods and evils. I hope thereby to show that, even (...) if immorality can be admirable, this poses no threat to morality. (shrink)
In Darwin’s Black Box, Michael J. Behe argues that, because certain biochemical systems are both irreducibly complex and very complex, it is extremely unlikely that they evolved gradually by Darwinian mechanisms, and so extremely likely that they were intelligently designed. I begin this paper by explaining Behe’s argument and defending it against the very common but clearly mistaken charge that it is just a rehash of William Paley’s design argument. Then I critically discuss a number of more serious objections (...) to the argument. I conclude that, while Behe successfully rules out some Darwinian paths to the biochemical systems he discusses, others remain open. Thus, his argument against Darwinian gradualism (and ipso facto his argument for intelligent design) is at best incomplete. (shrink)
Michael J. Zimmerman offers a conceptual analysis of the moral ‘ought’ that focuses on moral decision-making under uncertainty. His central case, originally presented by Frank Jackson, concerns a doctor who must choose among three treatments for a minor ailment. Her evidence suggests that drug B will partially cure her patient, that one of either drug A or C would cure him completely, but that the other drug would kill him. Accepting the intuition that the doctor ought to choose drug (...) B, Zimmerman argues that moral obligation consists in performing the action that is ‘prospectively best,’ that is ‘that which, from the moral point of view, it is most reasonable for the agent to choose’ given the evidence available to her at the time .Zimmerman defends his Prospective View of moral obligation against two main competitors in the long, first chapter of the book. According to the Objective View, a person ought to choose what is, in fact, the best option. The doctor ought to give her patient whichever drug will actually cure him. The fact that the doctor cannot know whether this is drug …. (shrink)
The Free Will Defence has been attacked as being unsound, implausible and, more recently, irrelevant. The first section of the paper returns to a discussion on the relevance of the Free Will Defence, arguing that the case for its irrelevance is inextricably impaled on the horns of a dilemma. In the second section it is shown that Free Will Theodicy, even in a form extended to include natural evil, need not be as implausible as it is sometimes portrayed for it (...) demands no more than that good, on the whole, outweighs evil, on the whole. Finally, some tempting objections to the strategy employed in this argument are considered and rejected, both on the grounds that they are untenable in themselves and on the paradoxical ground that, if valid, the objections would appear to rule out any creation. (shrink)
Michael J. Sandel: The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 183-185 DOI 10.1007/s12376-009-0018-4 Authors Ilhan Ilkilic, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz Medical Center Institute for History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine Am Pulverturm 13 55131 Mainz Germany Rainer Brömer, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz Medical Center Institute for History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine Am Pulverturm 13 55131 Mainz Germany Journal Medicine Studies Online ISSN 1876-4541 Print ISSN 1876-4533 Journal (...) Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 2. (shrink)
Hoppmann, Michael J.: Argumentative Verteidigung. Grundlegung zu einer modernen Statuslehre. [Argumentative Advocacy. Foundations of a Modern Stasis Theory.] Content Type Journal Article Pages 525-526 DOI 10.1007/s10503-010-9192-5 Authors Matthias Plötz, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Journal Argumentation Online ISSN 1572-8374 Print ISSN 0920-427X Journal Volume Volume 24 Journal Issue Volume 24, Number 4.
A perfect being is a being which possesses all perfections essentially. A perfect being is essentially omniscient, essentially omnipotent, essentially perfectly good, and necessarily existing. In his excellent book “The Metaphysics of Perfect Beings” Michael J. Almeida investigates the following tough questions about perfect beings: What would a perfect being create? Which moral requirements would a perfect being (have to) fulfill when deciding what to create? Is there a minimum or a maximum amount of evil a perfect being would (...) allow to occur? Could a perfect being permit any instance of pointless and undeserved suffering of creatures? Does a perfect being have some freedom to choose what to create? Could a perfect being be just in sending some people eternally to heaven and some people eternally to hell? Almeida applies modern theories about vagueness, infinite values, possible world semantics and many universes to these questions. In this way Almeida investigates these questions in more detail and depth than they have been before and substantially advances the discussion of these issues. (shrink)
In 2006, Michael Zimmerman published an underappreciated paper on the nature of moral obligation in which he argued that our moral obligations depend, not on the facts or our beliefs, but on the evidence available to us. Two years later, he published a lengthy book in which he argued more thoroughly for the same conclusion. In this book, Zimmerman returns to the central question of those works to respond to objections that have been brought against the views he presented (...) therein. This new book is the most thorough defense of what has come to be known as the Prospective View of moral obligation and as such is a must-read for those working in normative ethics narrowly construed. (shrink)
Philosophy, that most misunderstood of intellectual pursuits, is often mocked; and no part of philosophy is as often mocked as metaphysics. The image of the ‘speculative metaphysician’ dreaming up abstract pictures of the world has been held up for ridicule by poets, playwrights, novelists, journalists as well as by other philosophers. The Logical Positivists in the first half of the 20th Century rejected all metaphysical speculations as ‘meaningless’ since they could not be verified by scientific experiment; in the later part (...) of the century, Wittgenstein criticised systematic metaphysics as being a kind of intellectual disease resulting from our reading false pictures of the world into the grammar of our language. The common suspicion underlying many of these attacks is that ultimately, all metaphysics is a kind of nonsense, and that metaphysicians don’t really know what they are talking about. This suspicion is not new. Nicolas-Sébastien Chamfort commented in 1796, ‘I am tempted to say of metaphysicians what Scaliger used to say of the Basques: they are said to understand one another, but I don’t believe a word of it.’ Some contemporary philosophers may agree. (shrink)