There are at least twelve major virtues of good theories: evidential accuracy, causal adequacy, explanatory depth, internal consistency, internal coherence, universal coherence, beauty, simplicity, unification, durability, fruitfulness, and applicability. These virtues are best classified into four classes: evidential, coherential, aesthetic, and diachronic. Each virtue class contains at least three virtues that sequentially follow a repeating pattern of progressive disclosure and expansion. Systematizing the theoretical virtues in this manner clarifies each virtue and suggests how they might have a coordinated and cumulative (...) role in theory formation and evaluation across the disciplines—with allowance for discipline specific modification. An informal and flexible logic of theory choice is in the making here. Evidential accuracy, according to my systematization, is not a largely isolated trait of good theories, as some have made it out to be. Rather, it bears multifaceted relationships, constituting significant epistemic entanglements, with other theoretical virtues. (shrink)
This book puts forward a much-needed reappraisal of Immanuel Kant's conception of and response to skepticism, as set forth principally in the Critique of Pure Reason. It is widely recognized that Kant's theoretical philosophy aims to answer skepticism and reform metaphysics--Michael Forster makes the controversial argument that those aims are closely linked. He distinguishes among three types of skepticism: "veil of perception" skepticism, which concerns the external world; Humean skepticism, which concerns the existence of a priori concepts and synthetic (...) a priori knowledge; and Pyrrhonian skepticism, which concerns the equal balance of opposing arguments. Forster overturns conventional views by showing how the first of these types was of little importance for Kant, but how the second and third held very special importance for him, namely because of their bearing on the fate of metaphysics. He argues that Kant undertook his reform of metaphysics primarily in order to render it defensible against these types of skepticism. Finally, in a critical appraisal of Kant's project, Forster argues that, despite its strengths, it ultimately fails, for reasons that carry interesting broader philosophical lessons. These reasons include inadequate self-reflection and an underestimation of the resources of Pyrrhonian skepticism. (shrink)
What is the nature of a conceptual scheme? Are there alternative conceptual schemes? If so, are some more justifiable or correct than others? The later Wittgenstein already addresses these fundamental philosophical questions under the general rubric of "grammar" and the question of its "arbitrariness"--and does so with great subtlety. This book explores Wittgenstein's views on these questions. Part I interprets his conception of grammar as a generalized version of Kant's transcendental idealist solution to a puzzle about necessity. It also seeks (...) to reconcile Wittgenstein's seemingly inconsistent answers to the question of whether or not grammar is arbitrary by showing that he believed grammar to be arbitrary in one sense and non-arbitrary in another. Part II focuses on an especially central and contested feature of Wittgenstein's account: a thesis of the diversity of grammars. The author discusses this thesis in connection with the nature of formal logic, the limits of language, and the conditions of semantic understanding or access. Strongly argued and cleary written, this book will appeal not only to philosophers but also to students of the human sciences, for whom Wittgenstein's work holds great relevance. (shrink)
New brain-computer interface and neuroimaging techniques are making differentiation less ambiguous and more accurate between unresponsive wakefulness syndrome patients and patients with higher cognitive function and awareness. As research into these areas continues to progress, new ethical issues will face physicians of patients suffering from total locked-in syndrome, characterized by complete loss of voluntary muscle control, with retention of cognitive function and awareness detectable only with neuroimaging and brain-computer interfaces. Physicians, researchers, ethicists and hospital ethics committees should be aware of (...) and prepared to handle ethical issues unique to these totally locked-in patients. Several thought experiments are discussed, to highlight potential ethical dilemmas surrounding surrogate decision-making, autonomy, end-of-life care, and pediatric care, which will be unique to total LIS patients. These, along with other ethical problems especially relevant to total LIS patients, merit further discussion among physicians, researchers, ethicists and hospital ethics committees, to facilitate consensus regarding these issues, and improve patient care. (shrink)
Abstract Since their inception, distributional models of semantics have been criticized as inadequate cognitive theories of human semantic learning and representation. A principal challenge is that the representations derived by distributional models are purely symbolic and are not grounded in perception and action; this challenge has led many to favor feature-based models of semantic representation. We argue that the amount of perceptual and other semantic information that can be learned from purely distributional statistics has been underappreciated. We compare the representations (...) of three feature-based and nine distributional models using a semantic clustering task. Several distributional models demonstrated semantic clustering comparable with clustering-based on feature-based representations. Furthermore, when trained on child-directed speech, the same distributional models perform as well as sensorimotor-based feature representations of children’s lexical semantic knowledge. These results suggest that, to a large extent, information relevant for extracting semantic categories is redundantly coded in perceptual and linguistic experience. Detailed analyses of the semantic clusters of the feature-based and distributional models also reveal that the models make use of complementary cues to semantic organization from the two data streams. Rather than conceptualizing feature-based and distributional models as competing theories, we argue that future focus should be on understanding the cognitive mechanisms humans use to integrate the two sources. (shrink)
It has become very popular among philosophers to attempt to discredit, or at least set severe limits to, the thesis that there exist conceptual schemes radically different from ours. This fashion is misconceived. Philosophers have attempted to justify it in two main ways: by means of arguments which are a priorist relative to the relevant linguistic and textual evidence (and either independent of or based upon positive theories of meaning, understanding, and interpretation); and by means of arguments which are a (...) posteriorist relative to that evidence. The former approach is misconceived, not only in that its particular arguments fail, but also in principle. The latter approach, while in general the right sort of approach to adopt to the question, arrives at its conclusion only through faulty execution, through misinterpretation of the evidence. Though quite unjustified, philosophers' hostility to the thesis of radically different conceptual schemes is easily explained, namely, in terms of a number of psychologically powerful motives which it subserves. These motives cannot step in to provide the missing justification, however. Instead, they reveal such hostility in an even shadier light. (shrink)
Discrediting 'mystical' or 'psychical' interpretations of out-of-body and near-death experiences, Michael Marsh demonstrates how these phenomena are explicable in terms of brain neurophysiology and its neuropathological disturbances, and discusses the theological and philosophical implications of his hypotheses.
Johann Gottfried von Herder is one of the most important German philosophers of the eighteenth century, who had enormous influence on later thinkers such as Hegel, Schleiermacher and Nietzsche. His wide-ranging ideas were formative in the development of linguistics, hermeneutics, anthropology and bible scholarship, and even today they retain their vitality and relevance to an extraordinary degree. This volume presents a translation of Herder's most important and characteristic philosophical writings in his areas of central interest, including philosophy of language, philosophy (...) of mind, philosophy of history and political philosophy, as well as his general philosophical program. An introduction sets the writings in their historical context and examines their philosophical achievement. (shrink)
Experimental studies investigating the contribution of conscious intention to the generation of a sense of agency for one’s own actions tend to rely upon a narrow definition of intention. Often it is operationalized as the conscious sensation of wanting to move right before movement. Existing results and discussion are therefore missing crucial aspects of intentions, namely intention as the conscious sensation of wanting to move in advance of the movement. In the present experiment we used an intentional binding paradigm, in (...) which we distinguished between immediate intention, as usually investigated, and longer standing intention. The results showed that the binding effect was significantly enhanced for distal intentions compared to proximal intentions, indicating that the former leads to stronger sense of agency. Our finding provides empirical support for a crucial distinction between at least two types of intention when addressing the efficacy of conscious intentions. (shrink)
This volume constitutes the first collective critical study of German philosophy in the nineteenth century. A team of leading experts explore the influential figures associated with the period--including Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Frege--and provide fresh accounts of the philosophical movements and key debates with which they engaged.
A GOOD CASE COULD BE MADE that Herder is the founder not only of the modern philosophy of language but also of the modern philosophy of interpretation and translation and that he has many things to say on these subjects from which we may still learn today. This essay will not attempt to make such a case, but it will be concerned with some aspects of Herder’s position that would be central to it: three fundamental principles in his philosophy of (...) language which also play fundamental roles in his theory of interpretation and translation. The essay’s aim is also threefold: first, to describe the principles in question and their roles in this theory; second, to explain their emergence in a way which helps to make clearer the nature of Herder’s contribution ; and third, to give at least a sense of their philosophical subtlety and defensibility. (shrink)
For the purpose of this article, "hermeneutics" means the theory of interpretation, i.e. the theory of achieving an understanding of texts, utterances, and so on (it does not mean a certain twentieth-century philosophical movement). Hermeneutics in this sense has a long history, reaching back at least as far as ancient Greece. However, new focus was brought to bear on it in the modern period, in the wake of the Reformation with its displacement of responsibility for interpreting the Bible from the (...) Church to individual Christians generally. This new focus on hermeneutics occurred especially in Germany.1.. (shrink)
The literature contains a disconnect between accounts of how humans learn lexical semantic representations for words. Theories generally propose that lexical semantics are learned either through perceptual experience or through exposure to regularities in language. We propose here a model to integrate these two information sources. Specifically, the model uses the global structure of memory to exploit the redundancy between language and perception in order to generate inferred perceptual representations for words with which the model has no perceptual experience. We (...) test the model on a variety of different datasets from grounded cognition experiments and demonstrate that this diverse set of results can be explained as perceptual simulation (cf. Barsalou, Simmons, Barbey, & Wilson, 2003) within a global memory model. (shrink)
In the future, human destiny may depend on our ethics. In particular, biotechnology and expansion in space can transform life, raising profound questions. Guidance may be found in Life-centered ethics, as biotic ethics that value the basic patterns of organic gene/protein life, and as panbiotic ethics that always seek to expand life. These life-centered principles can be based on scientific insights into the unique place of life in nature, and the biological unity of all life. Belonging to life then implies (...) a human purpose: to safeguard and propagate life. Expansion in space will advance this purpose but will also raise basic questions. Should we expand all life or only intelligent life? Should we aim to create populations of trillions? Should we seed other solar systems? How far can we change but still preserve the human species, and life itself? The future of all life may be in our hands, and it can depend on our guiding ethics whether life will fulfil its full potentials. Given such profound powers, life-centered ethics can best secure future generations. Our descendants may then understand nature more deeply, and seek to extend life indefinitely. In that future, our human existence can find a cosmic purpose. (shrink)
What was the source of this great flowering? Much of the credit for it has tended to go to Jacobi and Mendelssohn, who in 1785 began a famous public dispute concerning the question whether or not Lessing had been a Spinozist, as Jacobi alleged Lessing had admitted to him shortly before his death in 1781. But Jacobi and Mendelssohn were both negatively disposed towards Spinoza. In On the Doctrine of Spinoza in Letters to Mr.
This exploratory study investigated Catholic priests' knowledge and perceptions of pastoral codes of conduct and their perceptions about the processes for reporting misconduct. Overall, respondents understood that they had to breach confidentiality when parishioners divulged a threat to harm self or others or when there was an allegation of misconduct involving a colleague. Fewer respondents understood that information received in spiritual counseling or spiritual direction must be maintained confidentially. Respondents were aware that their codes of pastoral conduct offered guidance about (...) engaging in dual relationships, but most respondents included parishioners in their circles of friends. (shrink)
Herder has been sufﬁciently neglected in recent times, especially among philosophers, to need a few words of introduction. He lived 1744-1803; he was a favorite student of Kant's, and a student and friend of Hamann's; he became a mentor to the young Goethe, on whose development he exercised a profound inﬂuence; and he worked, among other things, as a philosopher, literary critic, Bible scholar, and translator. As I mentioned, Herder has been especially neglected by philosophers. This.
This study tests the effects of top management team member collectivistic values and TMT dissatisfaction with the financial situation on the environmental ethics of TMT members. We also examine the moderating effect of collectivistic values on the relationship between financial dissatisfaction and environmental ethics. Analyses of multi-level and source data show that financial dissatisfaction of the TMT negatively affects TMT members’ environmental ethics. However, TMT members’ individual collectivism can increase TMT members’ environmental ethics. Analyses also show that TMT members’ collectivism (...) moderates the relationship between financial dissatisfaction and environmental ethics across individual and team levels. (shrink)
The words in children's language learning environments are strongly predictive of cognitive development and school achievement. But how do we measure language environments and do so at the scale of the many words that children hear day in, day out? The quantity and quality of words in a child's input are typically measured in terms of total amount of talk and the lexical diversity in that talk. There are disagreements in the literature whether amount or diversity is the more critical (...) measure of the input. Here we analyze the properties of a large corpus of speech to children and simulate learning environments that differ in amount of talk per unit time, lexical diversity, and the contexts of talk. The central conclusion is that what researchers need to theoretically understand, measure, and change is not the total amount of words, or the diversity of words, but the function that relates total words to the diversity of words, and how that function changes across different contexts of talk. (shrink)