This paper describes a cross-cultural research project on the relation between how people conceptualize nature and how they act in it. Mental models of nature differ dramatically among and within populations living in the same area and engaged in more or less the same activities. This has novel implications for environmental decision making and management, including dealing with commons problems. Our research also offers a distinct perspective on models of culture, and a unified approach to the study of culture and (...) cognition. We argue that cultural transmission and formation does not consist primarily in shared rules or norms, but in complex distributions of causally-connected representations across minds in interaction with the environment. The cultural stability and diversity of these representations often derives from rich, biologically-prepared mental mechanisms that limit variation to readily transmissible psychological forms. This framework addresses a series of methodological issues, such as the limitations of conceiving culture to be a well-defined system or bounded entity, an independent variable, or an internalized component of minds. (shrink)
In a pioneering book, Philosophy of Microbiology, Maureen O’Malley argues for the philosophical importance of microbes through an examination of their impact on ecosystems, evolution, biological classification, collaborative behavior, and multicellular organisms. She identifies many understudied conceptual issues in the study of microbes. If philosophers follow her lead, the philosophy of biology will be expanded and enriched.
Carey's book on conceptual change and the accompanying argument that children's biology initially is organized in terms of naïve psychology has sparked a great detail of research and debate. This body of research on children's biology has, however, been almost exclusively been based on urban, majority culture children in the US or in other industrialized nations. The development of folkbiological knowledge may depend on cultural and experiential background. If this is the case, then urban majority culture children may prove to (...) be the exception rather than the rule, because plants and animals do not play a significant role in their everyday life. Urban majority culture children, rural majority culture children, and rural Native American children were given a property projection task based on Carey's original paradigm. Each group produced a unique profile of development. Only urban children showed evidence for early anthropocentrism, suggesting that the co-mingling of psychology and biology may be a product of an impoverished experience with nature. In comparison to urban majority culture children even the youngest rural children generalized in terms of biological affinity. In addition, all ages of Native American children and the older rural majority culture children gave clear evidence of ecological reasoning. These results show that both culture and expertise play a role in the development of folkbiological thought. (shrink)
Anthropological inquiry suggests that all societies classify animals and plants in similar ways. Paradoxically, in the same cultures that have seen large advances in biological science, citizenry's practical knowledge of nature has dramatically diminished. Here we describe historical, cross-cultural and developmental research on how people ordinarily conceptualize organic nature, concentrating on cognitive consequences associated with knowledge devolution. We show that results on psychological studies of categorization and reasoning from “standard populations” fail to generalize to humanity at large. Usual populations have (...) impoverished experience with nature, which yields misleading results about knowledge acquisition and the ontogenetic relationship between folkbiology and folkpsychology. We also show that groups living in the same habitat can manifest strikingly distinct behaviors, cognitions and social relations relative to it. This has novel implications for environmental decision making and management, including commons problems. (shrink)
Languages vary in their semantic partitioning of the world. This has led to speculation that language might shape basic cognitive processes. Spatial cognition has been an area of research in which linguistic relativity – the effect of language on thought – has both been proposed and rejected. Prior studies have been inconclusive, lacking experimental rigor or appropriate research design. Lacking detailed ethnographic knowledge as well as failing to pay attention to intralanguage variations, these studies often fall short of defining an (...) appropriate concept of language, culture, and cognition. Our study constitutes the first research exploring (1) individuals speaking different languages yet living (for generations) in the same immediate environment and (2) systematic intralanguage variation. Results show that language does not shape spatial cognition and plays at best the secondary role of foregrounding alternative possibilities for encoding spatial arrangements. (shrink)
This essay explores the universal cognitive bases of biological taxonomy and taxonomic inference using cross-cultural experimental work with urbanized Americans and forest-dwelling Maya Indians. A universal, essentialist appreciation of generic species appears as the causal foundation for the taxonomic arrangement of biodiversity, and for inference about the distribution of causally-related properties that underlie biodiversity. Universal folkbiological taxonomy is domain-specific: its structure does not spontaneously or invariably arise in other cognitive domains, like substances, artifacts or persons. It is plausibly an innately-determined (...) evolutionary adaptation to relevant and recurrent aspects of ancestral hominid environments, such as the need to recognize, locate, react to, and profit from many ambient species. Folkbiological concepts are special players in cultural evolution, whose native stability attaches to more variable and difficult-to-learn representational forms, thus enhancing the latter's prospects for regularity and recurrence in transmission within and across cultures. This includes knowledge that cumulatively enriches (folk expertise), overrides (religious belief) or otherwise transcends (science) the commonsense ontology prescribed by folkbiology. Finally, the studies summarized here indicate that results gathered from “standard populations” in regard to biological categorization and reasoning more often than not fail to generalize in straightforward ways to humanity at large. This suggests the need for much more serious attention to cross-cultural research on basic cognitive processes. (shrink)
Is helping those whose subsistence needs are not meet a matter of charity or an obligation? What role should ordinary citizens of developed nations play? In a globalized world, the causes, connections, and responsibilities become complicated. Agriculture subsidies that keep food prices low for many in relatively rich countries may, for example, negatively impact poor farmers in developing countries. Students in Ethics/Philosophy 352 report on their project examining whether, and to what extent, a true obligation to aid exists.
Subjects and Simulations presents essays focused on suffering and sublimity, representation and subjectivity, and the relation of truth and appearance through engagement with the legacies of Jean Baudrillard and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe.
This book taps the best American thinkers to answer the essential American question: How do we sustain our experiment in government of, by, and for the people? Authored by an extraordinary and politically diverse roster of public officials, scholars, and educators, these chapters describe our nation's civic education problem, assess its causes, offer an agenda for reform, and explain the high stakes at risk if we fail.
The thought of G.W.F. Hegel has had a deep and lasting influence on a wide range philosophical, political, religious, aesthetic, cultural, and scientific movements. But, despite the far-reaching importance of Hegel's thought, there is often a great deal of confusion about what he actually said or believed.G. W. F. Hegel: Key Concepts provides an accessible introduction to both Hegel's thought and Hegel-inspired philosophy in general, demonstrating how his concepts were understood, adopted, and critically transformed by later thinkers. The first section (...) of the book covers the principal philosophical themes in Hegel's system: epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethical theory, political philosophy, philosophy of nature, philosophy of art, philosophy of religion, philosophy of history, and theory of the history of philosophy. The second section covers the main post-Hegelian movements in philosophy: Marxism, existentialism, pragmatism, analytic philosophy, hermeneutics, and French post-structuralism.The breadth and depth of G. W. F. Hegel: Key Concepts makes it an invaluable introduction for philosophical beginners and a useful reference source for more advanced scholars and researchers. (shrink)
This article addresses a pertinent challenge to Scandinavian realism which follows from the widespread perception that the fundamental philosophical premises on which the movement relies, are no longer tenable. Focusing on Alf Ross’s version of Scandinavian realism which has often been at the centre of critical attention, the author argues that Ross’s theory can survive the fall of logical positivism through an exercise of philosophical reconstruction. More specifically, he claims that it is possible to dismount Ross’s realist (...) legal theory almost intact from its commitments to logical positivism and embed it into an alternative naturalist philosophical program that is currently very strong in contemporary philosophy. In so doing, the author applies a narrow Quinean conception of naturalism, also known as replacement naturalism, which differs from a broader inclusive conception which has been applied by other scholars in the field but which leaves the philosophical crisis of Scandinavian realism unsolved. (shrink)
In “The Location Problem for Color Subjectivism,” Peter Ross argues against what he calls subjectivism — the view that “colors are not describable in physical terms, ... [but are] mental processes or events of visual states” (2),1 and in favor of physicalism — a view according to which colors are “physical properties of physical objects, such as reﬂectance properties” (10). He rejects an argument that has been oﬀered in support of subjectivism, and argues that, since no form of subjectivism (...) is able to account for our perception of color, we are better oﬀ adopting physicalism. (shrink)
Este artigo objetiva mapear, no interior dos livros A sociedade dos indivíduos, Norbert Elias por ele mesmo e Envolvimento e alienação, bem como na coletânea Escritos e ensaios, a discussão de Norbert Elias sobre a democratização como um processo de transformação global da sociedade. Através de análises de longa duração, ele demonstrou que os processos civilizacionais foram constituídos pelos embates em torno da desconcentração do poder. Assim, a busca por melhores formas de distribuição de recursos e de oportunidades (...) de poder estiveram, ao longo dos últimos cinco séculos, no centro dos conflitos e das tensões que produziram inúmeras mudanças e/ou expectativas de mudanças nas sociedades atuais. Ele demonstrou que não é possível compreender os processos de democratização sem se levarem em conta os diversos jogos configuracionais que vão se estabelecendo entre os muitos grupos que lutam para adentrar a arena política com o intuito de construir novas oportunidades de poder. (shrink)
Avtor zatrjuje, da imajo t. i. posredniški pojmi ključno vlogo pri urejanju in tvorbi pravnega znanja. V izhodišču povzame Rossovo razmišljanje o takšnih pojmih, ki ga nato kritizira. Ross je skušal pokazati, da v pravu obstajajo pojmi, ki nimajo nobenega pomenskega ozira, a je njihova raba kljub temu nekaj razumnega, saj imajo pri predstavitvi pravnih pravil koristno vlogo. Avtor meni, da sta obe Rossovi trditvi napačni: zmoten je njegov sklep, da posredniški pojmi nimajo nobenega pomenskega ozira, Rossova opredelitev njihove (...) vloge v pravu pa je preveč omejujoča. (shrink)
What is logical relevance? Anderson and Belnap say that the “modern classical tradition [,] stemming from Frege and Whitehead-Russell, gave no consideration whatsoever to the classical notion of relevance.” But just what is this classical notion? I argue that the relevance tradition is implicitly most deeply concerned with the containment of truth-grounds, less deeply with the containment of classes, and least of all with variable sharing in the Anderson–Belnap manner. Thus modern classical logicians such as Peirce, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, and (...) Quine are implicit relevantists on the deepest level. In showing this, I reunite two fields of logic which, strangely from the traditional point of view, have become basically separated from each other: relevance logic and diagram logic. I argue that there are two main concepts of relevance, intensional and extensional. The first is that of the relevantists, who overlook the presence of the second in modern classical logic. The second is the concept of truth-ground containment as following from in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. I show that this second concept belongs to the diagram tradition of showing that the premisses contain the conclusion by the fact that the conclusion is diagrammed in the very act of diagramming the premisses. I argue that the extensional concept is primary, with at least five usable modern classical filters or constraints and indefinitely many secondary intensional filters or constraints. For the extensional concept is the genus of deductive relevance, and the filters define species. Also following the Tractatus, deductive relevance, or full truth-ground containment, is the limit of inductive relevance, or partial truth-ground containment. Purely extensional inductive or partial relevance has its filters or species too. Thus extensional relevance is more properly a universal concept of relevance or summum genus with modern classical deductive logic, relevantist deductive logic, and inductive logic as its three main domains. (shrink)
It is a central tenet of ethical intuitionism as defended by W. D. Ross and others that moral theory should reﬂect the convictions of mature moral agents. Hence, intuitionism is plausible to the extent that it corresponds to our well-considered moral judgments. After arguing for this claim, I discuss whether intuitionists oﬀer an empirically adequate account of our moral obligations. I do this by applying recent empirical research by John Mikhail that is based on the idea of a universal (...) moral grammar to a number of claims implicit in W. D. Ross’s normative theory. I argue that the results at least partly vindicate intuitionism. (shrink)