Some theories of quantum mechanical phenomena endorse wave function realism, according to which the physical space we inhabit is very different from the physical space we appear to inhabit. In this paper I explore an argument against wave function realism that appeals to a type of simplicity that, although often overlooked, plays a crucial role in scientific theory choice. The type of simplicity in question is simplicity of fit between the way a theory says the world is and the way (...) the world appears to be. This argument can be understood as one way of spelling out the so-called “incredulous stare objection” that is sometimes leveled against surprising metaphysical theories. (shrink)
I argue against the common and influential view that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic. The problem with this view, I claim, is not that it conflicts with some antecedently plausible metaphysics of chance or that it fails to capture our everyday use of ‘chance’ and related terms, but rather that it is unstable. Any reason for adopting the position that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic is also a reason for adopting (...) a much stronger, and far less attractive, position. I suggest an alternative account, according to which chances are probabilities that play a certain explanatory role: they are probabilities that explain associated frequencies. (shrink)
I present an argument for the view that laws ground their instances. I then outline two important consequences that follow if we accept the conclusion of this argument. First, the claim that laws ground their instances threatens to undermine a prominent recent attempt to make sense of the explanatory power of Humean laws by distinguishing between metaphysical and scientific explanation. And second, the claim that laws ground their instances gives rise to a novel argument against the view that grounding relations (...) are metaphysically necessary. (shrink)
Temporal ersatzism is the view that past entities exist, but are not concrete. The view is analogous to modal ersatzism, according to which merely possible worlds exist, but are not concrete. The goal of this paper is to give the reader a sense of the scope of available temporal ersatzist views, the ways in which the analogy with modal ersatzism may be helpful in characterizing and defending those views, and the sorts of considerations that are relevant when evaluating particular versions (...) of temporal ersatzism. (shrink)
The ability to imagine hypothetical events in one’s personal future is thought to involve a number of constituent cognitive processes. We investigated the extent to which individual differences in working memory capacity contribute to facets of episodic future thought. College students completed simple and complex measures of working memory and were cued to recall autobiographical memories and imagine future autobiographical events consisting of varying levels of specificity . Consistent with previous findings, future thought was related to analogous measures of autobiographical (...) memory, likely reflecting overlapping cognitive factors supporting both past and future thought. Additionally, after controlling for autobiographical memory, residual working memory variance independently predicted future episodic specificity. We suggest that when imagining future events, working memory contributes to the construction of a single, coherent, future event depiction, but not to the retrieval or elaboration of event details. (shrink)
In this critical notice of Kment's _Modality and Explanatory Reasoning_, we focus on Kment’s arguments for impossible worlds and on a key part of his discussion of the interactions between modality and explanation – the analogy that he draws between scientific and metaphysical explanation.
I argue against the common and influential view that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic. The problem with this view, I claim, is not that it conflicts with some antecedently plausible metaphysics of chance or that it fails to capture our everyday use of ‘chance’ and related terms, but rather that it is unstable. Any reason for adopting the position that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic is also a reason for adopting (...) a much stronger, and far less attractive, position. I suggest an alternative account, according to which chances are probabilities that play a certain explanatory role: they are probabilities that explain associated frequencies. 1 Introduction2 A Paradigm Case3 The Incompatibilist’s Criterion4 Against the Incompatibilist’s Criterion5 The Explanatory Criterion6 Conclusion. (shrink)
A series of recent arguments purport to show that most counterfactuals of the form if A had happened then C would have happened are not true. These arguments pose a challenge to those of us who think that counterfactual discourse is a useful part of ordinary conversation, of philosophical reasoning, and of scientific inquiry. Either we find a way to revise the semantics for counterfactuals in order to avoid these arguments, or we find a way to ensure that the relevant (...) counterfactuals, while not true, are still assertible. I argue that regardless of which of these two strategies we choose, the natural ways of implementing these strategies all share a surprising consequence: they commit us to a particular metaphysical view about chance. (shrink)
Why are humans so clever? This book explores the idea that this cleverness has evolved through the increasing complexity of social groups. It brings together contributions from leaders in the field, examining social intelligence in different animal species and exploring its development, evolution and the brain systems upon which it depends.
This study modelled associations between gender, ruminative cognitive style, alcohol use, and the time course of negative affect over the course of 43,111 random assessments in the natural environment. Participants completed 49 days of experience sampling over 1.3 years. The data indicated that rumination at baseline was positively associated with alcohol dependence symptoms at baseline as well as higher negative affect over the course of the study. Consistent with negative reinforcement models, drinking served to decrease the persistence of negative affect (...) from moment to moment. However, this ameliorative effect of drinking was evident only among women, suggesting an increased risk for negative reinforcement driven drinking behaviour. In addition, rumination appeared to counteract the desired effects of alcohol on mood among women. This suggests that women who ruminate more may be motivated to consume larger amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effects. Overall, the results indicate that ruminative cognitive style and the persistence of negative affect from moment to moment may reflect an individual vulnerability for the development of alcohol use disorder especially among women. (shrink)
Recruiting adolescents into smoking cessation studies is challenging, particularly given institutional review board (IRB) requirements for research conducted with adolescents. This article provides a brief review of the federal regulations that apply to research conducted with adolescents, and describes researchers' experiences of seeking IRB approval for youth cessation research. Twenty-one researchers provided information. The most frequently reported difficulty involved obtaining parental consent. Solutions to commonly reported problems with obtaining IRB approval are also identified. Waivers of parental consent can facilitate recruitment (...) of youths into studies; however, researchers must ensure that their protocols comply with federal regulations when requesting a waiver. (shrink)
Presentism is the view that only presently existing things exist. Actualism is the view that only actually existing things exist. Although these views have much in common, the position we take with respect to one of them is not usually thought to constrain the position that we may take toward the other. In this paper I argue that this standard attitude deserves further scrutiny. In particular, I argue that the considerations that motivate one common objection to presentism—the grounding objection—threaten to (...) give rise to an analogous grounding objection to actualism. Those who are moved by grounding considerations to give up presentism should either be moved by analogous considerations to give up actualism as well or be prepared to undertake quite a bit of further work in order to defend their position. (shrink)
Actualism is the view that only actually existing things exist. Presentism is the view that only presently existing things exist. In this paper, I argue that being an actualist without also being a presentist is not as easy as many philosophers seem to think. A common objection to presentism is that there is an unavoidable conflict between presentism and relativity theory. But actualists who do not wish to be presentists cannot point to this relativity objection alone to support their position. (...) Unless they have some antecedent reason for thinking that actualism is more plausible than presentism, anyone who is moved by the relativity objection to give up presentism should be moved by a related objection to give up actualism as well. If there is a reason to be an actualist without also being a presentist, it must go beyond the relativity objection to presentism. (shrink)
Social scientists have long examined the changing role of the individual, and the influence of individualism in social and economic arrangements as well as behavioral decisions. With respect to co-operative behavior among farmers, however, the ideology of individualism has been little theorized in terms of its relationship to the longstanding virtue of independence. This paper explores this relationship by combining analysis of historical literature on the agricultural cooperative movement with the accounts of contemporary English farmers. I show that the virtue (...) of independence is deployed to justify a variety of cooperative and non-cooperative practices and that, despite apparently alternative interpretations, independence is most often conflated with individualistic premises. That conflation, I argue, leads farmers to see their neighbors as natural competitors: as those from whom which independence must be sought. This has the effect of masking the structural dependencies which farmers face and limits the alternatives available to them to realize a view of independence that is maintained, rather than opposed, by interdependent collective action. Thus perceived, individualism is an ideological doctrine that succeeds by appealing to the virtue of independence, while simultaneously denying its actual realization. (shrink)
Bourdieu’s thought is disturbing. Provocative. Scandalous even, at least for those who do not easily tolerate the unmitigated truth about the social. Nonetheless his ideas, among the most important and innovative of our time, are here to stay. This thought has taken form in the course of a career and through works on diverse subjects that have constructed a far-reaching analytical model of social life, which the author calls more readily an anthropology rather than a sociology. In their totality, they (...) constitute today an original and powerful proposal to explain human practices. In the face of criticisms commonly leveled at Bourdieu’s thought (notably the charge that it reduces everything to a single schematic model), it is important to identify the spirit of his enterprise. Early on, it is true, his thought drew on a few fundamental concepts—the trilogy habitus, field (champ), practice (pratique)—to which it constantly returned, and followed a clearly defined trajectory. At the same time, however, he continually reformulated, adapted, and refined his analytical model, depending on the operations to which he subjected new objects of inquiry. The regenerative and transformative force of his thought was supported by two convictions. First, that there being nothing more vain than theory for theory’s sake, it is preferable that theoretical production originate in the study of concrete and occasionally very specific cases. Second, that in order to escape stereotypical classifications, boundaries separating disciplines are best transgressed, thereby favoring new constructions of the object of inquiry. (shrink)
We address the claim that nonhuman animals do not represent unobservable states, based on studies of physical cognition by rooks and social cognition by scrub-jays. In both cases, the most parsimonious explanation for the results is counter to the reinterpretation hypothesis. We suggest that imagination and prospection can be investigated in animals and included in models of cognitive architecture.
The analogy between biological and cultural evolution is not perfect. Yet, as Mesoudi et al. show, many of the vaunted differences between cultural and genetic evolution (for example, an absence of discrete particles of cultural inheritance, and the blurred distinction between cultural replicators and cultural phenotypes) are, on closer inspection, either illusory or peripheral to the validity of the analogy. But what about horizontal transmission? We strongly agree with the authors that the potential for horizontal transmission of cultural traits does (...) not invalidate an evolutionary approach to culture. We suggest, however, that it does require a different evolutionary treatment. (Published Online November 9 2006). (shrink)
This is a review of H. Duméry’s volume Imagination et religion. Éléments de judaïsme, éléments de christianisme. The author studies biblical religion and the origins of the Christian religion, classifying and recording the imaginative element that feeds the narratives of piety: hence the rehabilitation of the myths that frame the functioning of religious representations. The author suggests that the imagination, in its deepest resources, forges the human social, has the power to invent all social roles, and causes the emergence of (...) attitudes of devotion or renunciation which are a human prerogative. (shrink)
Historically, many have seen the intelligibility of the physical universe as showing that it is somehow ultimately dependent upon conscious intelligent pre-existing being – ‘God’. Today, however, many believe that modern advances in our scientific understanding of the origins and nature of the universe, and of the conscious intelligent beings it contains, render God, as Laplace said, an ‘unnecessary hypothesis’. This article considers whether the findings of modern science do indeed diminish the plausibility of belief in a creator God. Or, (...) on the contrary, whether there are features of current scientific understanding which may reasonably be thought to support the belief that conscious intelligent being pre-existed the physical universe and caused it to be. In short: can science reasonably be thought to support the view that consciousness created the physical universe rather than that the physical universe created consciousness? (shrink)
The use of the Internet in conducting psychological research has become increasingly common over the past few decades, as Internet access has become more widespread. Although web-based work has a number of benefits, including lower cost, easy access to large samples, and strict standardization of administration, the limitations must also be considered. Among these limitations are the ethics concerns related to conducting psychological research online. These concerns include limitations in maintaining confidentiality, conducting thorough informed consent, and conducting valid assessment. Particular (...) focus is given to the limitations inherent in conducting a fully automated online study. All of these limitations are discussed in detail through both a review of existing literature and the brief review of a recent study. The recent study identified areas in which participants struggled with completing a fully automated online task. This article discusses the ethics implications of Internet research as well as offering suggestions for researchers who intend to conduct web-based research, and thoughts on future directions as psychology moves forward in web-based research and assessment. (shrink)