An experiment was conducted to investigate the relative contributions of syntactic form and content to conditional reasoning. The content domain chosen was that of causation. Conditional statements that described causal relationships were embedded in simple arguments whose entailments are governed by the rules -of truth-functional logic. The causal statements differed in terms of the number of alternative causes and disabling conditions that characterized the causal relationship. Subjects were required to judge whether or not each argument’s conclusion could be accepted. Judgments (...) were found to vary systematically with the number of alternative causes and disabling conditions. Conclusions of arguments based on conditionals with few alternative causes or disabling conditions were found to be more accept-able than conclusions based on those with many. (shrink)
Despite its short historical moment in the sun, behaviorism has become something akin to a theoria non grata, a position that dare not be explicitly endorsed. The reasons for this are complex, of course, and they include sociological factors which we cannot consider here, but to put it briefly: many have doubted the ambition to establish law-like relationships between mental states and behavior that dispense with any sort of mentalistic or intentional idiom, judging that explanations of intelligent behavior require reference (...) to qualia and/or mental events. Today, when behaviorism is discussed at all, it is usually in a negative manner, either as an attempt to discredit an opponent’s view via a reductio, or by enabling a position to distinguish its identity and positive claims by reference to what it is (allegedly) not. -/- In this paper, however, we argue that the ghost of behaviorism is present in influential, contemporary work in the field of embodied and enactive cognition, and even in aspects of the phenomenological tradition that these theorists draw on. Rather than take this to be a problem for these views as some have, we argue that once the behaviorist dimensions are clarified and distinguished from the straw-man version of the view, it is in fact an asset, one which will help with task of setting forth a scientifically reputable version of enactivism and/or philosophical behaviorism that is nonetheless not brain-centric but behavior-centric. While this is a bit like “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” strategy, as Shaun Gallagher notes (2019), with the shared enemy of behaviorism and enactivism being classical Cartesian views and/or orthodox cognitivism in its various guises, the task of this paper is to render this alliance philosophically plausible. -/- Doi: 10.1007/s11229-019-02432-1. (shrink)
In their update to Intentionality All-Stars, Hutto and Satne claim that there is currently no satisfactory account for a naturalised conception of content. From this the pair suggest that we need to consider whether content is present in all aspects of intelligence, that is, whether it is content all the way down. Yet if we do not have an acceptable theory of content such a question seems out of place. It seems more appropriate to question whether content itself is the (...) problematic assumption. This paper will explore this question, with the analysis hinging on whether those trying to naturalise content are facing a tough challenge as Haugeland has suggested, or whether it is a genuine dilemma as Hutto has suggested elsewhere. If those attempting to naturalise content are facing a genuine dilemma, a dilemma in which the non-existence of content is one of the horns, then it would seem that the issue is not at what stage you posit content, but whether you should posit content at all. This also has the added benefit of shifting the debate to a more global discussion, that is, the best way to explain intelligence, period. (shrink)
Newton claims to have proven the heterogeneity of light through his experimentum crucis. However, Olaf Müller has worked out in detail Goethe’s idea that one could likewise prove the heterogeneity of darkness by inverting Newton’s famous experiment. Müller concludes that this invalidates Newton’s claim of proof. Yet this conclusion only holds if the heterogeneity of light and the heterogeneity of darkness is logically incompatible. This paper shows that this is not the case. Instead, in Quine’s terms, we have two (...) logically compatible theories based on mutually irreducible theoretical terms. From a Quinean point of view, this does no harm to the provability of the corresponding statements. (shrink)
Since Plato’s massive critique of the Sophists rhetoric’s ill repute runs through the history of western philosophy denunciating methods of rhetoric as in large part dishonest persuasion strategies which are at most marginally interested in dealing with truths. This judgement falls way too short insofar as it distorts the historically grown stock labeled “rhetoric” not only in the Aristotelian work. With reference to Olaf Müller’s philosophical book addressing the “controversy” between Goethe and Newton about the nature of light, I (...) will study the different rhetorical models and methods used by Newton and Goethe and also Müller himself. It becomes apparent that even works attempting to decide who was right in the long run do far more than trying to evoke true “representations” of facts or truths in the reader. The specific use of language patterns provides deeper insight into an author’s mindset towards the subject area discussed in his work and generally speaking the investigation of the rhetoric of science and philosophy leads to a better understanding of different epistemic cultures both in philosophy and science. (shrink)
American weird fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft and British science fiction writer Olaf Stapledon are antithetical in many ways, from their educational experiences to their politics, yet both imagined alien societies as utopias whose order, stability, and destiny are predicated on the eugenically altered physiologies of their citizens. While Stapledon’s focus on eugenics as a key means for achieving planetary utopia during the interwar period is well known, Lovecraft’s worldview is generally understood to be dysgenic and dystopian in its (...) obsession with perceived threats of racial degeneration and cultural decadence. Nevertheless, Lovecraft’s most extensive and sympathetic depiction of an... (shrink)
The “father of skyscrapers” and “father of modernist architecture” Louis Henry Sullivan (1856–1924) wrote that “[a]ll things in nature have a shape, … a form, an outward semblance, that tells us what they are, that distinguishes them from ourselves and from each other,” adding “Form follows from function.” But structure shapes function too.The biological world offers a myriad of examples where this is apparent. One such example, perhaps not the most intuitive, is the brain: a network with a complex architecture (...) made of billions of neurons connected by trillions of synapses that shape such functions as movement, perception, imagination, volition, emotion, reasoning, and so on. Olaf Sporns’s Discovering the Human Connectome is an enthusiastic and honest journey through the forms, structures, and network architecture that can ground our understanding of how brains work, and how they produce cognition and behavior.In his previous book, Networks of the Brain, Sporns documented the encounter .. (shrink)
Este libro, resultado de un esfuerzo compartido por diversas instituciones, investigadores y editores, encabezados por el Grupo de Investigación E Pluribus Unum? Ethnic Identities in Transnational Integration Processes in the Americas de la Universidad de Bielefeld, trata un tema central para el futuro de nuestras mestizas sociedades latinoamericanas: la necesaria construcción -en el presente que vivimos- de la interculturalidad en nuestra América Latina. Esto en el nuevo contexto donde los ..