For several centuries, the Russians have been famous for the number of transactions they conduct through unofficial channels. This book, the first sustained attempt to explain and analyze Russian society's reliance on unofficial "give-and-take," focuses especially on two key practices: bribery (the use of public office for private gain) and blat (the informal exchange of favors). It brings together specialists from a wide range of disciplines.
Discussions of the nature of time, and of various issues related to time, have always featured prominently in philosophy, but they have been especially important since the beginning of the 20th Century. This article contains a brief overview of some of the main topics in the philosophy of time — Fatalism; Reductionism and Platonism with respect to time; the topology of time; McTaggart's arguments; The A Theory and The B Theory; Presentism, Eternalism, and The Growing Universe Theory; time travel; and (...) the 3D/4D controversy — together with some suggestions for further reading on each topic, and a bibliography. (shrink)
The success of the Bayesian approach to perception suggests probabilistic perceptual representations. But if perceptual representation is probabilistic, why doesn't normal conscious perception reflect the full probability distributions that the probabilistic point of view endorses? For example, neurons in MT/V5 that respond to the direction of motion are broadly tuned: a patch of cortex that is tuned to vertical motion also responds to horizontal motion, but when we see vertical motion, foveally, in good conditions, it does not look at all (...) horizontal. This article argues that the best Bayesian approach to this problem does not require probabilistic representation. (shrink)
Some people think that pastness, presentness and futurity (and their metric variants, such as being two days past) are genuine propeties of times and events. These putative properties are sometimes called “A properties” and the philosopers who believe in them are often called “A Theorists.” Other philosophers don’t believe in the reality of A properties, but instead say that talk that appears to be about such properties is really about “B relations” – two-place temporal relations like earlier than, simultaneous with, (...) and later than (together with their metric variants, like two days earlier than). The latter philosophers are often called “B Theorists,” and the debate between A Theorists and B Theorists has dominated the philosophy of time since 1908.1 The two views can be put this way. The A Theory: There are genuine, irreducible A properties; talk that appears to be about A properties is not analyzable in terms of B relations. (shrink)
Targeted killing has become a staple tactic in the “war in terror”. Since the beginning of the second Intifada, Israel is estimated to have killed over four hundred Palestinians in targeted strikes, while the US has killed over two thousand in Pakistan alone since 2004. These statistics include the deaths of innocent bystanders caught in the wrong place at the wrong time—“collateral damage”—as well as the deaths of the terrorists themselves. Be that as it may, the American and Israeli publics (...) have largely settled into an acceptance of the targeted killings carried out in their name.In Anna Goppel’s Killing Terrorists: A Moral and Legal Analysis, even the staunchest defender of targeted killing will find good reason to reconsider. The book does not bother developing an absolute, in-principle objection to targeted killing; it concedes to advocates of the practice that there are conceivable circumstances under which it might be justified. But these circumstances are shown to b .. (shrink)
This is not your typical book about the A-theory/B-theory controversy in metaphysics. Peter Ludlow attempts something that few philosophers have tried in the last thirty years: he actually argues from linguistic premises for metaphysical conclusions. The relevant linguistic premises have to do with the nature of language, a general theory of semantics, the proper analysis of tense, and various technical theses involving the treatment of temporal indexicals and temporal anaphora. The metaphysical conclusions that Ludlow argues for from these linguistic premises (...) are some of the main claims normally associated with the A-theory in the philosophy of time, namely, that tense is a genuine feature of the world – and that the instantiation of these properties does not somehow reduce to the instantiation of two-place, temporal relations like earlier than, simultaneous with, later than, etc.), that temporal becoming is intrinsic to all events, and that only the present is real. The overall plan of the book is as follows. First Ludlow spends four chapters defending a cluster of related claims about language and semantics in general and, in particular, the semantics for temporal indexicals and temporal anaphora. (Ludlow says that none of this material is original – he attributes most of it to Davidson, Chomsky, Evans, and Higginbotham – but it seems to me that a fair portion of what goes into this part of the book (including, especially. (shrink)
The debate between A-theory and B-theory in the philosophy of time is a persistent one. It is not always clear, however, what the terms of this debate are. A-theorists are often lumped with a miscellaneous collection of heterodox doctrines: the view that only the present exists, that time ﬂows relentlessly, or that presentness is a property (Williams 1996); that time passes, tense is unanalysable, or that earlier than and later than are deﬁned in terms of pastness, presentness, and futurity (Bigelow (...) 1991); or that events or facts (as opposed to language) are “tensed” (Mellor 1993). B-theorists then argue that the A-theory is incoherent, using variants on J.M.E. McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time (McTaggart 1927, ch. 33). (shrink)
Though largely unknown today, “Ned Buntline” was one of the most influential authors of 19th-century America. He published over 170 novels, edited multiple popular and political publications, and helped pioneer the seafaring adventure, city mystery and Western genres. It was his pirate tales that Tom Sawyer constantly reenacted, his “Bowery B’hoys” that came to define the distinctive slang and swagger of urban American characters, and his novels and plays that turned an unknown scout into Buffalo Bill, King of the Border (...) Men. But before “Ned Buntline” became a mainstay of the popular press, he had been on his way to becoming one of the nation’s highbrow literary elites. He was praised by the leading critics, edited an important literary journal, and his stories appeared in the era’s most prestigious publications. This study examines how and why “Ned Buntline” moved from prestigious to popular authorship and argues that the transformation was precipitated by one very specific event: in 1846, Edward Z. C. Judson was lynched. A close examination of Judson’s life, writing, and the coverage of him in the newspapers of the day demonstrates that the same issues that led to his lynching also led to his rebirth as a new kind of American author. (shrink)
Positions taken in the current debate over free will can be seen as responses to the following conditional: -/- If every action is caused solely by another event and a cause necessitates its effect, then there is no action to which there is an alternative (C). -/- The Libertarian, who believes that alternatives are a requirement of free will, responds by denying the right conjunct of C’s antecedent, maintaining that some actions are caused, either mediately or immediately, by events whose (...) effects could be different, even if they were to recur under identical circumstances. We have here a denial of Laplacian Determinism (LD), according to which the condition of the world at any instant makes only one state possible at any other instant. One prominent defender of this view, Robert Kane, holds that unless an agent’s neural mechanisms operated indeterministicly in forming her character she is not responsible for its manifestations. This requirement is entailed by the principle of “ultimate responsibility” (UR) according to which an act is freely willed only if (a) its agent is personally responsible for its performance in the sense of having caused it to occur by voluntarily doing something that was avoidable and (b) there is no sufficient condition for its performance for which its agent is not personally responsible. The orthodox Compatibilist, adducing counterexamples to UR, argues that even if C and its antecedent are true, free will is possible. Ned Markosian has provided the Compatibilist with yet another response to UR-based objections to her view, wedding it to the notion of agent causation: here the deterministic causing of an act by its agent is necessary and sufficient for its being “morally free.” I criticize this view as inconsistent with the agent causalist's belief that moral responsibility precludes causation of a choice by any power other than the chooser himself: he being its efficient cause. (shrink)
We propose a critique of normativism, deﬁned as the idea that human thinking reﬂects a normative system against which it should be measured and judged. We analyze the methodological problems associated with normativism, proposing that it invites the controversial “is-ought” inference, much contested in the philosophical literature. This problem is triggered when there are competing normative accounts (the arbitration problem), as empirical evidence can help arbitrate between descriptive theories, but not between normative systems. Drawing on linguistics as a model, we (...) propose that a clear distinction between normative systems and competence theories is essential, arguing that equating them invites an “is-ought” inference: to wit, supporting normative “ought” theories with empirical “is” evidence. We analyze in detail two research programmes with normativist features – Oaksford and Chater’s rational analysis and Stanovich and West’s individual differences approach – demonstrating how, in each case, equating norm and competence leads to an is-ought inference. Normativism triggers a host of research biases in the psychology of reasoning and decision making: focusing on untrained participants and novel problems, analyzing psychological processes in terms of their normative correlates, and neglecting philosophically signiﬁcant paradigms when they do not supply clear standards for normative judgement. For example, in a dual-process framework, normativism can lead to a fallacious “ought-is” inference, in which normative responses are taken as diagnostic of analytic reasoning. We propose that little can be gained from normativism that cannot be achieved by descriptivist computational-level analysis, illustrating our position with Hypothetical Thinking Theory and the theory of the suppositional conditional. We conclude that descriptivism is a viable option, and that theories of higher mental processing would be better off freed from normative considerations. (shrink)
In its most basic form, Simple Reliabilism states that: a belief is justified iff it is formed as the result of a reliable belief-forming process. But so-called New Evil Demon (NED) cases have been given as counterexamples. A common response has been to complicate reliabilism from its simplest form to accommodate the basic reliabilist position, while at the same time granting the force of NED intuitions. But what if despite initial appearances, Simple Reliabilism, without qualification, is compatible with the NED (...) intuition? What we can call the Dispositionalist Response to the New Evil Demon problem is fascinating because it contends just that: Simple Reliabilism is fully compatible with the NED intuition. It is claimed that all we need to do to recognize their compatibility is appreciate that reliability is a dispositional property. In this paper I shall critically evaluate the Dispositionalist proposal. (shrink)
In “Sideways Music”, Ned Markosian presents the aesthetic value variance of sideways music as a case against what the Spacetime Thesis—the thesis that time is one of four similar dimensions that make up spacetime. Critics have already raised worries about the premises of his argument. In this paper, I focus on Markosian’s assumed aesthetic realism. I argue that there is a version of aesthetic realism—a version that admits aesthetic value gluts—that is consistent with both the Spacetime Thesis and the aesthetic (...) variance of sideways music. If this is right, then sideways music may simply be a non-issue for proponents of the Spacetime Thesis. (shrink)
Scientiﬁc concepts are deﬁned by metaphors. These metaphors determine what atten- tion is and what count as adequate explanations of the phenomenon. The authors analyze these metaphors within 3 types of attention theories: (a) --cause-- theories, in which attention is presumed to modulate information processing (e.g., attention as a spotlight; attention as a limited resource); (b) --effect-- theories, in which attention is considered to be a by-product of information processing (e.g., the competition meta- phor); and (c) hybrid theories that combine (...) cause and effect aspects (e.g., biased- competition models). The present analysis reveals the crucial role of metaphors in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and the efforts of scientists to ﬁnd a resolution to the classic problem of cause versus effect interpretations. (shrink)
Our world is a world of change. Children are born and grow into adults. Material possessions rust and decay with age and ultimately perish. Yet scepticism about change is as old as philosophy itself. Heraclitus, for example, argued that nothing could survive the replacement of parts, so that it is impossible to step into the same river twice. Zeno argued that motion is paradoxical, so that nothing can alter its location. Parmenides and his followers went even further, arguing that the (...) very concept of qualitative change is inconsistent. Change in any respect is impossible, they argued, as change requires difference and nothing differs from itself. Few today would accept the Eleatic conclusion that change is impossible. But the topic of change continues to be a source of much debate, as it brings together various issues that are central to metaphysics, language, and logic – including identity, persistence, time, tense, and temporal logic. Author Recommends Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Problem of Change.' Philosophy Compass 1 (2006): 1–10. This article presents the problem of change and provides a brief survey of potential solutions. Haslanger, Sally. 'Persistence Through Time.' The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics . Eds. M. Loux and D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. This article presents the problem of change and provides a detailed survey of potential solutions. Heller, Mark. 'Things Change.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 695–704. This article presents, explains, and defends the temporal parts solution to the problem of change. Hinchliff, Mark. 'The Puzzle of Change.' Philosophical Perspectives 10 (1996): 119–36. This article presents, explains, and defends the presentist solution to the problem of change. Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 413–19. This article presents, explains, and defends the relationist solution to the problem of change. Sider, Theodore. Four-Dimensionalism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. This book provides an introduction to various issues related to the problem of change, including the nature of time, tense, and persistence. Chapter 5 presents, explains, and defends the stage-view solution to the problem of change. Online Materials Change. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/change/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on change, by Chris Mortensen. Time. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on time, by Ned Markosian. Temporal Parts. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/temporal-parts/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on temporal parts, by Katherine Hawley. Material Constitution. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/material-constitution/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on material constitution, by Ryan Wasserman. Persistence Bibliography. URL: http://tedsider.org/teaching/pp_bibliography.pdf A bibliography on change and related issues, by Theodore Sider. Sample Syllabus Books on Syllabus Rea, Michael. Material Constitution: A Reader . Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997. Sider, Theodore. Four-Dimensionalism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. 2008. Metaphysics: The Big Questions . 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Week 1: Time and Tense Four-Dimensionalism , chapters 1 and 2. Markosian, Ned. 'A Defence of Presentism.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Volume 1. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004: 47–82. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 116-123. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 124-129. Week 2: Time and Persistence Four-Dimensionalism , chapter 3. McGrath, Matthew. 'Temporal Parts.' Philosophy Compass 2 (2007): 730–48. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 265-267. Hawthorne, J, Scala, M., and Wasserman, R. 'Recombination, Humean Supervenience, and Causal Constraints: An Argument for Temporal Parts?' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 1. Ed. D. Zimmerman, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004: 301-318. Week 3: Change and Presentism In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 141-149. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 267-269. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 269-281. Week 4: Change and Temporal Parts Four-Dimensionalism , pp. 92–8. Heller, Mark. 'Things Change.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 695–704. Lombard, Lawrence. 'The Doctrine of Temporal Parts and the "No Change" Objection.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1994): 365–72. Week 5: Change, Relationism, and Adverbialism Hawley, Katherine. 'Why Temporary Properties are not Relations between Physical Objects and Times.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (1998): 211–16. Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 413–19. Lewis, David. 'Tensing the Copula.' Mind 111 (2002): 1–13. Caplan, Ben. 'Why so Tense about the Copula?' Mind 114 (2007): 703–8. Week 6: Change and Tropes Ehring, Douglas. 'Lewis, Temporary Intrinsics and Momentary Tropes.' Analysis 57 (1997): 254–8. MacBride, Fraser. 'Four New Ways to Change Your Shape.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (2001): 81–9. Simons, Peter. 'On Being Spread Out in Time: Temporal Parts and the Problem of Change.' Existence and Explanation . Eds. W. Spohn, B.C. van Fraassen, and B. Skyrms. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1991: 131-147. Weeks 7 and 8: Special Topic – Material Change Four-Dimensionalism , chapter 5. Selections from Material Constitution: A Reader. Week 9: Special Topic – Change of Position In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 186-195. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 195-215. Week 10: Special topic – Changing the Past In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 224-235. van Iwagen, Peter. 'Changing the Past.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 5 . Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 1-22. Hudson, H. and Wasserman, R. 'Van Inwagen on Time Travel and Changing the Past.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 5. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 41-49. (shrink)
Scientiﬁc concepts are deﬁned by metaphors. These metaphors determine what attention is and what count as adequate explanations of the phenomenon. The authors analyze these metaphors within 3 types of attention theories: (a) “cause” theories, in which attention is presumed to modulate information processing (e.g., attention as a spotlight; attention as a limited resource); (b) “effect” theories, in which attention is considered to be a by-product of information processing (e.g., the competition metaphor); and (c) hybrid theories that combine cause and (...) effect aspects (e.g., biasedcompetition models). The present analysis reveals the crucial role of metaphors in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and the efforts of scientists to ﬁnd a resolution to the classic problem of cause versus effect interpretations. (shrink)
The concepts of time and identity seem at once unproblematic and frustratingly difficult. Time is an intricate part of our experience -- it would seem that the passage of time is a prerequisite for having any experience at all -- and yet recalcitrant questions about time remain. Is time real? Does time flow? Do past and future moments exist? Philosophers face similarly stubborn questions about identity, particularly about the persistence of identical entities through change. Indeed, questions about the metaphysics of (...) persistence take on many of the complexities inherent in philosophical considerations of time. This volume of original essays brings together these two essentially related concepts in a way not reflected in the available literature, making it required reading for philosophers working in metaphysics and students interested in these topics. The contributors, distinguished authors and rising scholars, first consider the nature of time and then turn to the relation of identity, focusing on the metaphysical connections between the two, with a special emphasis on personal identity. The volume concludes with essays on the metaphysics of death, issues in which time and identity play a significant role. This groundbreaking collection offers both cutting-edge epistemological analysis and historical perspectives on contemporary topics. Contributors:_ _Harriet Baber, Lynne Rudder Baker, Ben Bradley, John W. Carroll, Reinaldo Elugardo, Geoffrey Gorham, Mark Hinchliff, Jenann Ismael, Barbara Levenbook, Andrew Light, Lawrence B. Lombard, Ned Markosian, Harold Noonan, John Perry, Harry S. Silverstein, Matthew H. Slater, Robert J. Stainton, Neil A. Tognazzini The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket. (shrink)
The logic B+ is Routley and Meyer’s basic positive logic. Wedeﬁne the logics BK+ and BK′+ by adding to B+ the K rule and to BK+the characteristic S4 axiom, respectively. These logics are endowed witha relatively strong non-constructive negation. We prove that all the logicsdeﬁned lack the K axiom and the standard paradoxes of consistency.
There are two concepts of consciousness that are easy to confuse with one another, access-consciousness and phenomenal consciousness. However, just as the concepts of water and H 2 O are different concepts of the same thing, so the two concepts of consciousness may come to the same thing in the brain. The focus of this paper is on the problems that arise when these two concepts of consciousness are conflated. I will argue that John Searle's reasoning about the function of (...) consciousness goes wrong because he conflates the two senses. And Francis Crick and Christof Koch fall afoul of the ambiguity in arguing that visual area V1 is not part of the neural correlate of consciousness. Crick and Koch's work raises issues that suggest that these two concepts of consciousness may have different neural correlates – despite Crick and Koch's implicit rejection of this idea. (shrink)
The explanatory gap . Consciousness is a mystery. No one has ever given an account, even a highly speculative, hypothetical, and incomplete account of how a physical thing could have phenomenal states. Suppose that consciousness is identical to a property of the brain, say activity in the pyramidal cells of layer 5 of the cortex involving reverberatory circuits from cortical layer 6 to the thalamus and back to layers 4 and 6,as Crick and Koch have suggested for visual consciousness. .) (...) Still, that identity itself calls out for explanation! Proponents of an explanatory gap disagree about whether the gap is permanent. Some say that we are like the scientifically naive person who is told that matter = energy, but does not have the concepts required to make sense of the idea. If we can acquire these concepts, the gap is closable. Others say the gap is uncloseable because of our cognitive limitations. Still others say that the gap is a consequence of the fundamental nature of consciousness. (shrink)
According to standard, pre-philosophical intuitions, there are many composite objects in the physical universe. There is, for example, my bicycle, which is composed of various parts - wheels, handlebars, molecules, atoms, etc. Recently, a growing body of philosophical literature has concerned itself with questions about the nature of composition.1 The main question that has been raised about composition is, roughly, this: Under what circumstances do some things compose, or add up to, or form, a single object? It turns out that (...) it is surprisingly difficult to give a satisfactory answer to this question that accords with standard, pre-philosophical intuitions about the universe's composite objects. In fact, the three rival views in response to this question that have received the most support in the literature are (i) that there are no objects composed of two or more parts (which means that there are no stars, chairs, humans, or bicycles);2 (ii) that the only objects composed of two or more parts are living organisms (which still means no stars. (shrink)
∗ Apologies to Mark Hinchliff for stealing the title of his dissertation. (See Hinchliff, A Defense of Presentism. As it turns out, however, the version of Presentism defended here is different from the version defended by Hinchliff. See Section 3.1 below.).
It is well known that most is not ﬁrst-order deﬁnable, and that the proof is in Barwise and Cooper’s 1981 paper. Actually, Barwise and Cooper present two theorems that bear on the issue. Their theorem C12 says that, for any pair of one-place predicates A and B, there is no sentence of classical predicate logic that is true iﬀ ‘Most A are B’ is. (I assume that ‘Most A are B’ means that more than half of the A’s are B, (...) but the only thing that matters is that most is proportional.) Barwise and Cooper’s C13 states that the foregoing result remains valid when classical logic is enriched with a unary quantiﬁer Q so deﬁned that Qx(Ax) is true iﬀ more than half of the entities in the domain of quantiﬁcation are A’s. (shrink)
David Lewis's influential work on the epistemology and metaphysics of objective chance has convinced many philosophers of the central importance of the following two claims: First, it is a serious cost of reductionist positions about chance (such as that occupied by Lewis) that they are, apparently, forced to modify the Principal Principle--the central principle relating objective chance to rational subjective probability--in order to avoid contradiction. Second, it is a perhaps more serious cost of the rival non-reductionist position that, unlike reductionism, (...) it can give no coherent explanation for why the Principal Principle should hold. I argue that both of these claims are fundamentally mistaken. (shrink)
Causation is at once familiar and mysterious. Neither common sense nor extensive philosophical debate has led us to anything like agreement on the correct analysis of the concept of causation, or an account of the metaphysical nature of the causal relation. Causation: A User's Guide cuts a clear path through this confusing but vital landscape. L. A. Paul and Ned Hall guide the reader through the most important philosophical treatments of causation, negotiating the terrain by taking a set of examples (...) as landmarks. They clarify the central themes of the debate about causation, and cover questions about causation involving omissions or absences, preemption and other species of redundant causation, and the possibility that causation is not transitive. Along the way, Paul and Hall examine several contemporary proposals for analyzing the nature of causation and assess their merits and overall methodological cogency.The book is designed to be of value both to trained specialists and those coming to the problem of causation for the first time. It provides the reader with a broad and sophisticated view of the metaphysics of the causal relation. (shrink)
Consciousness is a mongrel concept: there are a number of very different "consciousnesses." Phenomenal consciousness is experience; the phenomenally conscious aspect of a state is what it is like to be in that state. The mark of access-consciousness, by contrast, is availability for use in reasoning and rationally guiding speech and action. These concepts are often partly or totally conflated, with bad results. This target article uses as an example a form of reasoning about a function of "consciousness" based on (...) the phenomenon of blindsight. Some information about stimuli in the blind field is represented in the brains of blindsight patients, as shown by their correct "guesses," but they cannot harness this information in the service of action, and this is said to show that a function of phenomenal consciousness is somehow to enable information represented in the brain to guide action. But stimuli in the blind field are BOTH access-unconscious and phenomenally unconscious. The fallacy is: an obvious function of the machinery of access-consciousness is illicitly transferred to phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)
When do several objects compose a further object? The last twenty years have seen a great deal of discussion of this question. According to the most popular view on the market, there is a physical object composed of your brain and Jeremy Bentham’s body. According to the second-most popular view on the market, there are no such objects as human brains or human bodies, and there are also no atoms, rocks, tables, or stars. And according to the third-ranked view, there (...) are human bodies, but still no brains, atoms, rocks, tables, or stars. Although it’s pleasant to have so many crazy-sounding views around, I think it would also be nice to have a commonsense option available. The aim of this paper is to offer such an option. The approach I offer begins by considering a mereological question other than the standard one that has been the focus of most discussions in the literature. I try to show that the road to mereological sanity begins with giving the most straightforward and commonsensical answer to this other question, and then extending that answer to further questions about the mereology of physical objects. On the approach I am recommending, it turns out that all of the mereological properties and relations of physical objects are determined by their spatial properties and relations. (shrink)
Structural equations have become increasingly popular in recent years as tools for understanding causation. But standard structural equations approaches to causation face deep problems. The most philosophically interesting of these consists in their failure to incorporate a distinction between default states of an object or system, and deviations therefrom. Exploring this problem, and how to fix it, helps to illuminate the central role this distinction plays in our causal thinking.