Political liberalism, conceived of as a response to the diversity of conceptions of the good in multicultural societies, aims to put forward a proposal for how to organize political institutions that is acceptable to a wide range of citizens. It does so by remaining neutral between reasonable conceptions of the good while giving all citizens a fair opportunity to access the offices and positions which enable them to pursue their own conception of the good. Public educational institutions are at the (...) center of the state’s attempt to foster both of these commitments. I argue that recent empirical research on the role that non-cognitivedispositions (such as assertiveness) play in enabling students to have access to two important primary goods – opportunities for higher education and desirable jobs – creates a distinctive challenge for a liberal egalitarian education in remaining neutral with respect to conceptions of the good while promoting equal opportunity. (shrink)
This paper makes an attempt at the conceptual foundation of descriptive ethical theories in terms of evolutionary anthropology. It suggests, first, that what human social actors tend to accept to be morally valid and legitimate ultimately rests upon empirical authority relations and, second, that this acceptance follows an evolved pattern of hierarchical behaviour control in the social animal species. The analysis starts with a brief review of Thomas Hobbes'' moral philosophy, with special emphasis on Hobbes'' authoritarian view of moral validity (...) and of the common political origins and ultimate basis of legitimacy of moral and legal systems. Hobbes'' philosophical conceptions are then put into the context of Max Weber''s influential empirical theory of legitimacy, especially charismatic revelation and authority as the ultimate source of all moral, legal and religious obligations. Weber''s concept of charismatic authority is given a biobehavioural interpretation in terms of ritualised status signals indicating an individual''s superior physical and emotional dispositions to control the social actions of others. Various conclusions are drawn concerning the concept of moral validity and its possible evolutionary interpretations. (shrink)
The function and legitimacy of values in decision making is a critically important issue in the contemporary analysis of science. It is particularly relevant for some of the more application-oriented areas of science, specifically decision-oriented science in the field of regulation of technological risks. Our main objective in this paper is to assess the diversity of roles that non-cognitive values related to decision making can adopt in the kinds of scientific activity that underlie risk regulation. We start out, first, (...) by analyzing the issue of values with the help of a framework taken from the wider philosophical debate on science and values. Second, we study the principal conceptualizations used by scholars who have applied them to numerous case studies. Third, we appraise the links between those conceptualizations and learning processes in decision-oriented science. In this, we recur to the concept of methodological learning, i.e., learning about the best methodologies for generating knowledge that is useful for science-based regulatory decisions. The main result of our analysis is that non-cognitive values can contribute to methodological improvements in science in three principal ways: as basis for critical analysis, for contextualizing methodologies, and for establishing the burden of proof. (shrink)
Cognitive theories claim, whereas non-cognitive theories deny, that cognitive access is constitutive of phenomenology. Evidence in favor of non-cognitive theories has recently been collected by Block and is based on the high capacity of participants in partial-report experiments compared to the capacity of the working memory. In reply, defenders of cognitive theories have searched for alternative interpretations of such results that make visual awareness compatible with the capacity of the working memory; and so the conclusions of such experiments (...) remain controversial. Instead of entering the debate between alternative interpretations of partial-report experiments, this paper offers an alternative line of research that could settle the discussion between cognitive and non-cognitive theories of consciousness. Here I relate the neural correlates of cognitive access to empirical research into the neurophysiology of dreams; cognitive access seems to depend on the activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. However, that area is strongly deactivated during sleep; a period when we entertain conscious experiences: dreams. This approach also avoids the classic objection that consciousness should be inextricably tied to reportability or it would fall outside the realm of science. (shrink)
Underdetermination arguments support the conclusion that no amount of empirical data can uniquely determine theory choice. The full content of a theory outreaches those elements of it (the observational elements) that can be shown to be true (or in agreement with actual observations).2 A number of strategies have been developed to minimize the threat such arguments pose to our aspirations to scientific knowledge. I want to focus on one such strategy: the invocation of additional criteria drawn from a pool of (...) cognitive or theoretical values, such as simplicity or generality, to bolster judgements about the worth of models, theories, and hypotheses. What is the status of such criteria? Larry Laudan, in Science and Values, argued that cognitive values could not be treated as self-validating, beyond justification, but are embedded in a three-way reticulational system containing theories, methods, and aims or values, which are involved in mutually supportive relationships (Laudan, 1984). My interest in this paper is not the purportedly self-validating nature of cognitive values, but their cognitive nature. Although Laudan rejects the idea that what he calls cognitive values are exempt from rational criticism and disagreement, he does seem to think that the reticulational system he identifies is independent of non-cognitive considerations. It is this cognitive/non-cognitive distinction that I wish to query in this paper. Let me begin by summarizing those of my own views about inquiry in which this worry about the distinction arises. (shrink)
In the debate about values in science, it is a time-honored tradition to distinguish between the normative question of whether non-cognitive values should play a role in science and the descriptive question of whether they in fact do so or not.1 Among philosophers of science, it is now an accepted view that the descriptive question has been settled. That is, it is no longer disputed that non-cognitive values play a role in science. Hence, all that is left to (...) do on the descriptive front is to describe these values and their roles in more detail. In the words of Longino: “We should stop asking whether social values play a role in science and ask which values and whose values play a role and how” (2004, p. .. (shrink)
LeDoux (1996) has identified a sub-cortical neural circuit that mediates fear responses in rats. The existence of this neural circuit has been used to support the claim that emotion is a non-cognitive process. In this paper I argue that this sub-cortical circuit cannot have a role in the explanation of emotions in humans. This worry is raised by looking at the properties of this neural pathway, which does not have the capacity to respond to the types of stimuli that (...) are generally taken to trigger emotion responses. In particular, the neurons in this pathway cannot represent the stimulus as a complete object or event, rather they represent the simple information that is encoded at the periphery. If it is assumed that an object or event in the world is what, even in simple cases, causes an emotion, then this sub-cortical pathway has limited use in a theory of emotion. (shrink)
Leibniz was a Lutheran. Yet, upon consideration of certain aspects of his philosophical theology, one might suspect that he was a Lutheran more in name than in intellectual practice. Clearly Leibniz was influenced by the Catholic tradition; this is beyond doubt. However, the extent to which Leibniz was influenced by his own Lutheran tradition—indeed, by Martin Luther himself—has yet to be satisfactorily explored. In this essay, the views of Luther and Leibniz on the non-cognitive component of faith are considered (...) in some detail. According to Luther, the only non-cognitive aspect of faith worth favoring is trust (fiducia), since it is trust in God’s promise of mercy that warrants justification for the sinner. Leibniz, for his part, sides with the Thomistic tradition in emphasizing love (caritas) as the non-cognitive element of faith par excellence. I argue that Leibniz falls into a trap forewarned by Luther himself, even if Leibniz had systematic metaphysical reasons for his disagreement. (shrink)
Educational success is often synonymous with attainment of academic qualifications. However for some students, simply continuing to attend school rather than dropping out may represent an important attainment, and completion of secondary school significantly reduces chances of subsequent chronic poverty. The longitudinal US NELS dataset was assessed to examine predictors of dropout. Results supported a differentiated perspective of student outcomes whereby dropout before Grade 12 was predicted far less by prior academic achievement in Grade 8 than academic achievement in Grade (...) 12, and to a greater extent by non‐cognitive measures such as daily school preparation, planning and subjective peer perception. Cognitive ability measures are known to correlate well with academic achievement but “non‐cognitive abilities” may have an important role in the prediction of persistence, especially among marginalised students. (shrink)
Amy Coplan argues that recent work in the philosophy of the emotions suggests that film is more effective that literature in inducing non-cognitive affect. Derek Matravers replies to this, and suggests reasons for scepticism.
(1985). How Accurately can Primary School Teachers Predict the Scores of their Pupils in Standardised Tests of Attainment? A Study of some non‐Cognitive Factors that Influence Specific Judgements. Educational Studies: Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 41-60.
Upshot: All my commentators have focused, with varying emphasis, on issues related to: (a) cognitive vs. non-cognitive knowledge, (b) the role of the social environment, and (c) ethical responsibility. These issues are addressed in this response.
In this dissertation I outline a theory of non-cognitive ethics--a theory of how ethics is possible in response to feeling rather than to concepts--that is drawn from the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas and the aesthetic thought of Immanuel Kant. In general I argue that in the work of Levinas we can find a description of non-cognitive ethics in which community and subjectivity are still meaningful, and that Kant's third Critique can contribute to this project by providing some (...) of the transcendental conditions for such an ethics. ;I begin with a discussion of the general nature of Levinas's ethical project, and the three principal axes of that thought: the singular Other before whom we are obligated, the community of others to which we also belong, and the nature of the subject that must respond to both. Next, I focus on the contribution that Kant's third Critique can make to a Levinasian theory of non-cognitive ethics. After arguing that this contribution is rooted in a general affiliation between Kant's approach to aesthetics and Levinas's approach to ethics, I address three particular connections between Levinasian ethics and the third Critique. These connections involve the sublime and the fact of obligation, the beautiful and non-purposive communities, and finally orientation and ethical subjectivity. (shrink)
In the literature on dynamical models in cognitive science, two issues have recently caused controversy. First, what is the relation between dynamical and mechanistic models? I will argue that dynamical models can be upgraded to be mechanistic as well, and that there are mechanistic and non-mechanistic dynamical models. Second, there is the issue of explanatory power. Since it is uncontested the mechanistic models can explain, I will focus on the non-mechanistic variety of dynamical models. It is often claimed by proponents (...) of mechanistic explanations that such models do not really explain cognitive phenomena . I will argue against this view. Although I agree that the three arguments usually offered to vindicate the explanatory power of non-mechanistic dynamical models are not enough, I consider a fourth argument, namely that such models provide understanding. The Voss strong anticipation model is used to illustrate this. (shrink)
I offer a new theory of faultless disagreement, according to which truth is absolute (non-relative) but can still be non-objective. What's relative is truth-aptness: a sentence like ‘Vegemite is tasty’ (V) can be truth-accessible and bivalent in one context but not in another. Within a context in which V fails to be bivalent, we can affirm that there is no issue of truth or falsity about V, still disputants, affirming and denying V, were not at fault, since, in their context (...) of assertion V was bivalent. This theory requires a theory of assertion that is a form of cognitive expressivism. (shrink)
Embodied and extended cognition is a relatively new paradigm within cognitive science that challenges the basic tenet of classical cognitive science, viz. cognition consists in building and manipulating internal representations. Some of the pioneers of embodied cognitive science have claimed that this new way of conceptualizing cognition puts pressure on epistemological and ontological realism. In this paper I will argue that such anti-realist conclusions do not follow from the basic assumptions of radical embodied cognitive science. Furthermore I will show that (...) one can develop a form of realism that reflects rather than just accommodates the core principles of non-representationalist embodied cognitive science. (shrink)
Most scholars of emotions concede that although cognitive evaluations are essential for emotion, they are not sufficient for it, and that other elements, such as bodily feelings, physiological sensations and behavioral expressions are also required. However, only a few discuss how these diverse aspects of emotion are related in order to form the unity of emotion. In this essay I examine the co-presence and the causal views, and I argue that neither view can account for the unity of emotions. In (...) particular, both views face the problem of fortuitous connection, and, as a result, they fail to identify and distinguish an emotion from other mental states. Consequently, they fail to account for our first person authority over our emotions. I finally argue that only an internal, conceptual relation between the cognitive/evaluative and affective/physiological aspects of emotion can avoid such problems, and suggest that the Aristotelian distinction of form and matter can provide such internal relation. (shrink)
We extend recent information-theoretic phase transition approaches to evolutionary and cognitive process via the Rate Distortion and Joint Asymptotic Equipartition Theorems, in the circumstance of interaction with a highly structured environment. This suggests that learning plateaus in cognitive systems and punctuated equilibria in evolutionary process are formally analogous, even though evolution is not cognitive. Extending arguments by Adami et al. (2000), we argue that 'adaptation' is the process by which a distorted genetic image of a coherently structured environment is imposed (...) upon a species. (shrink)
Sellars and Dewey each isolated and critiqued different aspects of the atomistic epistemology of the logical positivists: Dewey labeled his target "Sensationalistic Empiricism", and Sellars labeled his "the Myth of the Given." The main theme of this paper will be the similarity and differences in their responses to this kind of philosophy, and how both responses can be clarified and strengthened by considering recent discoveries in Cognitive Neuroscience. What we have recently learned about neural architecture accounts for a distinction between (...) knowledge and experience that is a recurrent theme in both Sellars and Dewey. Dewey, however, made a sharper break from the positivists by seeing all experience as shaped by skills and abilities which were designed to acheive certain goals and were colored by emotions. The connectionist architecture used in Cognitive Neuroscience supports this view, as does the psychological research of J.J. Gibson. Once we consider the ways in which connectionist cognitive abilities differ from linguistic ones, Sellars' distinction between thoughts and sensations, and Dewey's distinction between knowledge and experience, can both be plausibly accounted for. (shrink)
This paper is aimed at identifying how a model’s explanatory power is constructed and identified, particularly in the practice of template-based modeling (Humphreys, Philos Sci 69:1–11, 2002; Extending ourselves: computational science, empiricism, and scientific method, 2004), and what kinds of explanations models constructed in this way can provide. In particular, this paper offers an account of non-causal structural explanation that forms an alternative to causal–mechanical accounts of model explanation that are currently popular in philosophy of biology and cognitive science. Clearly, (...) defences of non-causal explanation are far from new (e.g. Batterman, Br J Philos Sci 53:21–38, 2002a; The devil in the details: asymptotic reasoning in explanation, reduction, and emergence, 2002b; Pincock, Noûs 41:253–275, 2007; Mathematics and scientific representation 2012; Rice, Noûs. doi:10.1111/nous.12042, 2013; Biol Philos 27:685–703, 2012), so the targets here are focused on a particular type of robust phenomenon and how strong invariance to interventions can block a range of causal explanations. By focusing on a common form of model construction, the paper also ties functional or computational style explanations found in cognitive science and biology more firmly with explanatory practices across model-based science in general. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga, echoing a worry of Charles Darwin which he calls 'Darwin's doubt', argues that given Darwinian evolutionary theory our beliefs are unreliable, since they are determined to be what they are by evolutionary pressures and could have had no other content. This papers surveys in turn deterministic and non-deterministic interpretations of Darwinism, and concludes that Plantinga's argument poses a problem for the former alone and not for the latter. Some parallel problems arise for the Cognitive Science of Religion, and (...) in particular for the hypothesis that many of our beliefs, including religious beliefs, are due to a Hypersensitive Agency-Detection Device, at least if this hypothesis is held in a deterministic form. In a non-deterministic form, however, its operation need not cast doubt on the rationality or reliability of the relevant beliefs. (shrink)
Cognitive dimensions of creativity: What makes the difference between creative and non-creative university students? This paper analyses the contribution of specific cognitive functions on creative performance. The main question was which cognitive variables differentiate extreme levels of creative performance and therefore can characterize highly creative college students. A sample of Portuguese university students of Fine Arts and Literature took part in this study. A battery of verbal and figural cognitive tasks, as well as two kinds of creative tasks have been (...) considered. Results showed that there were mostly the same cognitive dimensions, which differentiate extreme levels of creative performance in both text and poster productions. These results are discussed considering the relevance of the cognitive approach to explain creativity. Some practical ideas, possible to put into the educational context, are also discussed. (shrink)
In Totality and Infinity, Levinas says that the primordial expression of alterity is “though shall not commit murder”. The other expresses an infinity “stronger than murder”. In this paper I propose a reading of this passage elaborated against the backdrop of “The Temptation of Temptation” in his Talmudic Readings. I will argue, that as the law in the Talmudic elucidation of Exodus 24:7, this demand is pre-conceptual and because of this putative primordiality one is forced to “do before hearing”. -/- (...) I will also argue that, as the other’s “first word”, the demand not to murder operates in a fashion similar to natural law, which does not prescribe but rather defines the limits of the possibilities for the totalizing power of the Same. On this account, this primordial demand is constitutive of the Same and, as such, of its ontological aspirations. Finally, I will claim that as the law in the Talmudic reading, the demand does not rely on free-will but is the very condition of its possibility. (shrink)
As adults age, their performance on many psychometric tests changes systematically, a finding that is widely taken to reveal that cognitive information-processing capacities decline across adulthood. Contrary to this, we suggest that older adults'; changing performance reflects memory search demands, which escalate as experience grows. A series of simulations show how the performance patterns observed across adulthood emerge naturally in learning models as they acquire knowledge. The simulations correctly identify greater variation in the cognitive performance of older adults, and successfully (...) predict that older adults will show greater sensitivity to fine-grained differences in the properties of test stimuli than younger adults. Our results indicate that older adults'; performance on cognitive tests reflects the predictable consequences of learning on information-processing, and not cognitive decline. We consider the implications of this for our scientific and cultural understanding of aging. (shrink)
This paper shows that grounded dispositions are necessarily coextensive with disjunctive properties. It responds to several objections against this thesis, and then shows how to construct a disjunctive property necessarily coextensive with an arbitrary grounded disposition.
Comtrary to general assumption, subjective reports of immediate ordinary consciousness and non-ordinary alterations of consciousness can provide unique evidence concerning the bases of the human symbolic capacity. Evidence from classical introspectionism, the meditative traditions, and descriptions of synaesthesias suggests that thought, rests on a cross-modal synthesis or fusion of the patterns from vision, audition, and touch-kinesthesis. This would provide a holistic, non-reductionist explanation of our capacity for reflective self awareness and recombinatory creativity. The approach is consistent with Geschwind's and Luria's (...) models of neocortical operation and Jackendoff's and Yates' recent emphasis on symbolic thought as a "neutral" or "amodal" synthesis. (shrink)
In the first part I argue that normic laws are the phenomenological laws of evolutionary systems. If this is true, then intuitive human reasoning should be fit in reasoning from normic laws. In the second part I show that system P is a tool for reasoning with normic laws which satisfies two important evolutionary standards: it is probabilistically reliable, and it has rules of low complexity. In the third part I finally report results of an experimental study which demonstrate that (...) intuitive human reasoning is in well accord with basic argument patterns of system P. (shrink)