Mason and Capitanio (2012) offer an explanation of how basic emotions emerge in organisms that departs from the traditional nature–nurture dichotomy; however, they limit their definition of basic emotions to the development of functional states that are species-typical. It is argued that if Mason and Capitanio take these ideas a step further, they would be able to explain the development of basic emotions in a more complex way, one that would involve understanding how the exchange between the organism and the (...) environment takes place in a specific context that gives meaning to these exchanges. (shrink)
Recent research has relied on trolley-type sacrificial moral dilemmas to study utilitarian versus nonutili- tarian modes of moral decision-making. This research has generated important insights into people’s attitudes toward instrumental harm—that is, the sacrifice of an individual to save a greater number. But this approach also has serious limitations. Most notably, it ignores the positive, altruistic core of utilitarianism, which is characterized by impartial concern for the well-being of everyone, whether near or far. Here, we develop, refine, and validate a (...) new scale—the Oxford Utilitarianism Scale—to dissociate individual differences in the ‘negative’ (permissive attitude toward instrumental harm) and ‘positive’ (impartial concern for the greater good) dimensions of utilitarian thinking as manifested in the general population. We show that these are two independent dimensions of proto-utilitarian tendencies in the lay population, each exhibiting a distinct psychological profile. Empathic concern, identification with the whole of humanity, and concern for future generations were positively associated with impartial beneficence but negatively associated with instrumental harm; and although instrumental harm was associated with subclinical psychopathy, impartial beneficence was associated with higher religiosity. Importantly, although these two dimensions were independent in the lay population, they were closely associated in a sample of moral philosophers. Acknowledging this dissociation between the instrumental harm and impartial beneficence components of utilitarian thinking in ordinary people can clarify existing debates about the nature of moral psychology and its relation to moral philosophy as well as generate fruitful avenues for further research. (shrink)
This paper presents a counterfactual account of what a mechanism is. Mechanisms consist of parts, the behavior of which conforms to generalizations that are invariant under interventions, and which are modular in the sense that it is possible in principle to change the behavior of one part independently of the others. Each of these features can be captured by the truth of certain counterfactuals.
Here is a simple counterexample to David Lewis’s causal influence account of causation, one that is especially illuminating due to its connection to what Lewis himself writes: it is a variant of his trumping example.
Machamer, Darden, and Craver argue that causal explanations explain effects by describing the operations of the mechanisms which produce them. One of this paper’s aims is to take advantage of neglected resources of Mechanism to rethink the traditional idea that actual or counterfactual natural regularities are essential to the distinction between causal and non-causal co-occurrences, and that generalizations describing natural regularities are essential components of causal explanations. I think that causal productivity and regularity are by no means the same thing, (...) and that the Regularists are mistaken about the roles generalizations play in causal explanation. Humean, logical empiricist, and other Regularist accounts of causal explanation have had the unfortunate effect of distracting philosophers’ from important non-explanatory scientific uses of laws and lesser generalizations which purport to describe natural regularities. My second aim is to characterize some of these uses, illustrating them with examples from neuroscientific research. (shrink)
Using Jim Woodward's Counterfactual Dependency account as an example, I argue that causal claims about indeterministic systems cannot be satisfactorily analysed as including counterfactual conditionals among their truth conditions because the counterfactuals such accounts must appeal to need not have truth values. Where this happens, counterfactual analyses transform true causal claims into expressions which are not true.
Counterfactuals all the way down? Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9437-9 Authors Jim Woodward, History and Philosophy of Science, 1017 Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA Barry Loewer, Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA John W. Carroll, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8103, USA Marc Lange, Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB#3125—Caldwell Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3125, USA Journal Metascience Online (...) ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796 Journal Volume Volume 20 Journal Issue Volume 20, Number 1. (shrink)
Recent research has begun treating the perennial philosophical question, “what makes a person the same over time?” as an empirical question. A long tradition in philosophy holds that psychological continuity and connectedness of memories are at the heart of personal identity. More recent experimental work, following Strohminger & Nichols (2014), has suggested that persistence of moral character, more than memories, is perceived as essential for personal identity. While there is a growing body of evidence supporting these findings, a critique by (...) Starmans & Bloom (2018) suggests that this research program conflates personal identity with mere similarity. To address this criticism, we explore how loss of someone’s morality or memories influence perceptions of identity change, and perceptions of moral duties towards the target of the change. We present participants with a classic ‘body switch’ thought experiment and after assessing perceptions of identity persistence, we present a moral dilemma, asking participants to imagine that one of the patients must die (Study 1) or be left alone in a care home for the rest of their life (Study 2). Our results highlight the importance of the continuity of moral character, suggesting lay intuitions are tracking (something like) personal identity, not just mere similarity. (shrink)
Liberal philosopher James Mill has been understood as being unambiguously antifeminist. However, Terence Ball, supposedly informed by a feminist perspective, has argued for a new interpretation. Ball has reconceptualized Mill as a feminist and the sole source of the feminism of his son, suggesting a revision of the received wisdom about their relationship to the development of nineteenth century feminist thought. This paper takes issue with Ball's “new interpretation” and its presumed feminist basis.
This paper suggests and discusses an answer to the following question: What distinguishes causal from non-causal or coincidental co-occurrences? The answer derives from Elizabeth Anscombe’s idea that causality is a highly abstract concept whose meaning derives from our understanding of specific causally productive activities, and from her rejection of the assumption that causality can be informatively understood in terms of actual or counterfactual regularities.Keywords: Elizabeth Anscombe; Causality; Explanation; Inhibition.
In this essay, Jim Garrison explores the emerging scholarship establishing a Hegelian continuity in John Dewey’s thought from his earliest publications to the work published in the last decade of his life. The primary goals of this study are, first, to introduce this new scholarship to philosophers of education and, second, to extend this analysis to new domains, including Dewey’s theory of inquiry, universals, and creative action. Ultimately, Garrison’s analysis also refutes the traditional account that claims that William James converted (...) Dewey from Hegelian idealism, after which Charles Sanders Peirce inspired him to rebuild his instrumentalism along radically different lines. (shrink)
Donald Davidson finds folk-psychological explanations anomalous due to the open-ended and constitutive conception of rationality which they employ, and yet monist because they invoke an ontology of only physical events. An eliminative materialist who thinks that the beliefs and desires of folk-psychology are mere pre-scientific fictions cannot accept these claims, but he could accept anomalous monism construed as an analysis, merely, of the ideological and ontological presumptions of folk-psychology. Of course, eliminative materialism is itself only a guess, a marker for (...) material explanations we do not have, but it is made plausible by, inter alia, whatever difficulties we have in interpreting intentional folk-explanations realistically. And surely anomalous monism does require further explanation if it is to be accepted realistically and not dismissed as an analysis of a folk-idiom which is to be construed instrumentally at best. Some further explanation is needed of how beliefs, desires, etc. can form rational patterns which have ‘no echo in physical theory’ and yet those beliefs, desires etc. be physical events. To this end I propose to graft on to anomalous monism a modest version of functionalism. (shrink)
Scientists obtain a great deal of the evidence they use by observingnatural and experimentally generated objects and effects. Much of thestandard philosophical literature on this subject comes from20th century logical positivists and empiricists, theirfollowers, and critics who embraced their issues and accepted some oftheir assumptions even as they objected to specific views. Theirdiscussions of observational evidence tend to focus on epistemologicalquestions about its role in theory testing. This entry follows theirlead even though observational evidence also plays important andphilosophically interesting roles (...) in other areas including scientificdiscovery and the application of scientific theories to practicalproblems. (shrink)
If you are like most people, you’re not sure what Postmodernism is. And if this were like most books on the subject, it probably wouldn’t tell you. Besides what a few grumpy critics claim, Postmodernism is not a bunch of meaningless intellectual mind games. On the contrary, it is a reaction to the most profound spiritual and philosophical crises of our time–the failure of the Enlightenment. Jim Powell takes the position that Postmodernism is a series of “maps” that help people (...) find their way through a changing world. Postmodernism For Beginners features the thoughts of Foucault on power and knowledge, Jameson on mapping the postmodern, Baudrillard on the media, Harvey on time-space compression, Derrida on deconstruction and Deleuze and Guattari on rhizomes. The book also discusses postmodern artifacts such as Madonna, cyberpunk sci-fi, Buddhist ecology and teledildonics. (shrink)
The conclusion of this paper will be that e-sports are not sports. I begin by offering a stipulation and a definition. I stipulate that what I have in mind, when thinking about the concept of sport, is ‘Olympic’ sport. And I define an Olympic Sport as an institutionalised, rule-governed contest of human physical skill. The justification for the stipulation lies partly in that it is uncontroversial. Whatever else people might think of as sport, no-one denies that Olympic Sport is sport. (...) This seeks to ensure that those who might wish to dispute my conclusion might stay with the argument at least for as long as possible. Secondly, the justification for the stipulation lies partly in its normativity—I have chosen an Olympic conception of sport just because it seems to me to offer some kind of desirable version of what sport is and might become. Thirdly, I give examples which show how prominent promoters of e-sports agree with my stipulation, as evidenced by their strenuous attempts to comply with it i... (shrink)
The paper describes four dialogue systems, developed in the tradition of Charles Hamblin. The first system provides an answer for Achilles in Lewis Carroll's parable, the second an analysis of the fallacy of begging the question, the third a non-psychologistic account of conversational implicature, and the fourth an analysis of equivocation and of objections to it. Each avoids combinatorial explosions, and is intended for real-time operation.
This article argues for a task-based approach to identifying and individuating cognitive systems. The agent-based extended cognition approach faces a problem of cognitive bloat and has difficulty accommodating both sub-individual cognitive systems ("scaling down") and some supra-individual cognitive systems ("scaling up"). The standard distributed cognition approach can accommodate a wider variety of supra-individual systems but likewise has difficulties with sub-individual systems and faces the problem of cognitive bloat. We develop a task-based variant of distributed cognition designed to scale up and (...) down smoothly while providing a principled means of avoiding cognitive bloat. The advantages of the task-based approach are illustrated by means of two parallel case studies: re-representation in the human visual system and in a biomedical engineering laboratory. (shrink)
Do fetuses have a right to life in virtue of the fact that they are potential adult human beings? I take the claim that the fetus is a potential adult human being to come to this: if the fetus grows normally there will be an adult human animal that was once the fetus. Does this fact ground a claim to our care and protection? A great deal hangs on the answer to this question. The actual mental and physical capacities of (...) a human fetus are inferior to those of adult creatures generally thought to lack a serious right to life, and the mere fact that a fetus belongs to our species in particular seems morally irrelevant. Consequently, a strong fetal claim to protection rises or falls with the appeal to the fetus's potentiality, for nothing else can justify it. (shrink)
Recent developments in ethics and postmodemist epistemology have set the stage for a reconceptualization of environmental ethics. In this paper, I sketch a path for postmodemism which makes use of certain notions current in contemporary environmentalism. At the center of my thought is the idea of place: (1) place as the context of our lives and the setting in which ethical deliberation takes place; and (2)the epistemological function of place in the construction of our understandings of self, community, and world. (...) Central to these themes, in tum, are the related notions of myth, narrative, storied residence, and ethical vernacular. (shrink)
l examine the degree to which the so-called “deep ecology” movement embodies a feminist sensibility. In part one I take a brief look at the ambivalent attitude of “eco-feminism” toward deep ecology. In part two I show that this ambivalence sterns largely from the fact that deep ecology assimilates feminist insights to a basically masculine ethical orientation. In part three I discuss some of the ways in which deepecology theory might change if it adopted a fundamentally feminist ethical orientation.
Some public health behavioral intervention research studies involve deception. A methodological imperative to minimize bias can be in conflict with the ethical principle of informed consent. As a case study, we examine the specific forms of deception used in three online randomized controlled trials evaluating brief alcohol interventions. We elaborate our own decision making about the use of deception in these trials, and present our ongoing findings and uncertainties. We discuss the value of the approach of pragmatism for examining these (...) kinds of ethical issues that can arise in research on public health interventions. (shrink)
Contextualists offer "high-low standards" practical cases to show that a variety of knowledge standards are in play in different ordinary contexts. These cases show nothing of the sort, I maintain. However Keith DeRose gives an ingenious argument that standards for knowledge do go up in high-stakes cases. According to the knowledge account of assertion (Kn), only knowledge warrants assertion. Kn combined with the context sensitivity of assertability yields contextualism about knowledge. But is Kn correct? I offer a rival account of (...) warranted assertion and argue that it beats Kn as a response to the "knowledge" version of Moore's Paradox. (shrink)
How best to introduce philosophical ideas? Is the best and only way by studying the history of philosophy and its rational arguments and discussions? But can literature, usually hived off from philosophy, be used instead and can this be as effective as rational argument? This paper explores these questions. First it considers a text which introduces philosophy through the analysis of literature, in particular James Joyce's 'Araby', arguing that the traditional analytic approach employed by the text, by concentrating on epistemology, (...) obscures other philosophical insights offered by Joyce. It then turns to French philosophy and literature and suggests that Sartre, Beauvoir and Camus by 'blurring' the analytic distinction between philosophy and literature have much to offer to the grasping and understanding of philosophical ideas and principles. (shrink)
In 2010, pitcher Armando Galarraga was denied a perfect game when umpire Jim Joyce called Jason Donald safe at first with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. In the numerous media discussions that followed, Joyce’s ‘blown’ call was commonly referred to as ‘mistaken’, ‘wrong’, or otherwise erroneous. However, this use of language makes some not uncontroversial ontological assumptions. It claims that the fact that a runner is safe or out has nothing to do with the ruling of the (...) umpire himself, but rather with some state of the universe that does not depend on the umpire for its existence. In this paper, I recast the problem as a version of Plato’s Euthyphro Dilemma and argue that the view implied by the above assertions is actually misguided. Instead, I hope to show that an alternative view – what I call ‘restricted umpire voluntarism’ – is actually more in line with the spirit of the game of baseball and is not as counterintuitive as it may appear.. (shrink)
Niccolò Machiavelli's seminal work, The Prince, argued that a ruler could not govern morally and be successful. Giovanni Botero disputed this argument and proposed a system for the maintenance and expansion of a state that remained moral in character. Founding an anti-Machiavellian tradition that aimed to refute Machiavelli in practice, Botero is an important figure in early modern political thought, though he remains relatively unknown. His most notable work, Della ragion di Stato, first popularised the term 'reason of (...) state' and made a significant contribution to a major political debate of the time - the perennial issue of the relationship between politics and morality - and the book became a political 'bestseller' in the late sixteenth and the seventeenth century. This translation of the 1589 volume introduces Botero to a wider Anglophone readership and extends this influential text to a modern audience of students and scholars of political thought. (shrink)
Throughout philosophical history, there has been a recurring argument to the effect that determinism, naturalism, or both are self-referentially incoherent. By accepting determinism or naturalism, one allegedly acquires a reason to reject determinism or naturalism. _The Epistemological Skyhook_ brings together, for the first time, the principal expressions of this argument, focusing primarily on the last 150 years. This book addresses the versions of this argument as presented by Arthur Lovejoy, A.E. Taylor, Kurt Gödel, C.S. Lewis, Norman Malcolm, Karl Popper, J.R. (...) Lucas, William Hasker, Thomas Nagel, Alvin Plantinga, and others, along with the objections presented by their many detractors. It concludes by presenting a new version of the argument that synthesizes the best aspects of the others while also rendering the argument immune to some of the most significant objections made to it. (shrink)
Although Richard Rorty has done much to renew interest in the philosophy of John Dewey, he nonetheless rejects two of the most important components of Dewey's philosophy, that is, his metaphysics and epistemology. Following George Santayana, Rorty accuses Dewey of trying to serve Locke and Hegel, an impossibility as Rorty rightly sees it. Rorty (1982) says that Dewey should have been Hegelian all the way (p. 85). By reconstructing a bit of Hegel's early philosophy of work, and comparing it to (...) Dewey's metaphysics and epistemology we can see that Dewey was indeed Hegelian all the way and that Rorty has constructed a false dilemma. We also gain some interesting insight into Dewey's philosophy by viewing it in terms of labor, tools and language. (shrink)
RESUMEN El artículo responde algunas críticas planteadas por Ignacio Ávila a mi interpretación de la epistemología davidsoniana. Presento argumentos en contra de: a) que sea necesario distinguir entre representaciones epistemológicamente “peligrosas”e “inofensivas”; b) que el empirismo mínimo sea un tipo de realismo directo; c) que mi uso de la expresión “evidencia distal” y el interés por la teoría de la correspondencia sean asuntos ajenos a Davidson. Finalmente, sostengo que la triangulación es un elemento fundamental de la epistemología davidsoniana, pues permite (...) sortear la ansiedad realista manteniéndose en una postura no representacionalista. ABSTRACT In this article, I respond to some of Ignacio Ávila's criticisms of my interpretation of Davidson’s epistemology. I argue against: a) the need to distinguish between epistemologically “dangerous” and “harmless” representations; b) the idea that minimal empiricism is a kind of direct realism; and c) the claim that my usage of the expression “distal evidence” and interest in the theory of correspondence are issues that do not pertain to Davidson. Finally, I claim that triangulation is a key element in Davidsonian epistemology since it allows us to deal with the realist anxiety while maintaining a non-representationalist viewpoint. (shrink)
Logical guarantees of validity must be understood as subject to the proviso that no equivocation is committed. But we do not have a formal theory of equivocation. This paper attempts to formulate rules for responding to equivocal arguments in the context of dialogue. What occurs when one distinguishes meanings of an equivocal expression turns out to be rather different from definition.
Empiricists claim that in accepting a scientific theory one should not commit oneself to claims about things that are not observable in the sense of registering on human perceptual systems (according to Van Fraassen’s constructive empiricism) or experimental equipment (according to what I call liberal empiricism ). They also claim scientific theories should be accepted or rejected on the basis of how well they save the phenomena in the sense delivering unified descriptions of natural regularities among things that meet their (...) conditions for observability. I argue that empiricism is both unfaithful to real world scientific practice, and epistemically imprudent, if not incoherent. To illuminate scientific practice and save regularity phenomena one must commit oneself to claims about causal mechanisms that can be detected from data, but do not register directly on human perceptual systems or experimental equipment. I conclude by suggesting that empiricists should relax their standards for acceptable beliefs. (shrink)
This paper notes how Jim influenced my own use of Foucault and also focuses on two of James Marshall's New Zealand oriented texts. In the first, Discipline and Punishment in New Zealand Education he provides a Foucauldian genealogy of New Zealand approaches to both punishment and discipline, in particular corporal punishment. The second, his 1996 book co‐written with Michael Peters, Individualism and Community: Education and Social Policy in the Postmodern Condition, analyses political philosophy and social and educational policy as New (...) Zealand changed from being a welfare state since the 1930s to a neoliberal one since the mid 1980s. Foucauldian understandings about power, bio‐power, governmentality, autonomy and subjectivity are brought to bear in their analysis. (shrink)
Standard philosophical discussions of theory-ladeness assume that observational evidence consists of perceptual outputs (or reports of such outputs) that are sentential or propositional in structure. Theory-ladeness is conceptualized as having to do with logical or semantical relationships between such outputs or reports and background theories held by observers. Using the recent debate between Fodor and Churchland as a point of departure, we propose an alternative picture in which much of what serves as evidence in science is not perceptual outputs or (...) reports of such outputs and is not sentential in structure. (shrink)
This paper argues that there are no people. If identity isn't what matters in survival, psychological connectedness isn't what matters either. Further, fissioning cases do not support the claim that connectedness is what matters. I consider Peter Unger's view that what matters is a continuous physical realization of a core psychology. I conclude that if identity isn't what matters in survival, nothing matters. This conclusion is deployed to argue that there are no people. Objections to Eliminativism are considered, especially that (...) morality cannot survive the loss of persons. (shrink)
An ethics-based epistemology is necessary for environmental philosophy—a sharply different approach from the epistemology-based ethics that the field has inherited, mostly implicitly, from mainstream ethics. In this paper, we try to uncover this inherited epistemology and point toward an alternative. In section two, we outline a general contrast between an ethics-based epistemology and an epistemology-based ethics. In section three, we examine the relationship between ethics and epistemology in an ethics-based epistemology, drawing extensively on examples from indigenous cultures. We briefly explore (...) several striking implications of an ethics-based epistemology in sections four and five. (shrink)
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