Many activities in Cognitive Science involve complex computer models and simulations of both theoretical and real entities. Artificial Intelligence and the study of artificial neural nets in particular, are seen as major contributors in the quest for understanding the human mind. Computational models serve as objects of experimentation, and results from these virtual experiments are tacitly included in the framework of empirical science. Cognitive functions, like learning to speak, or discovering syntactical structures in language, have been modeled and these models (...) are the basis for many claims about human cognitive capacities. Artificial neural nets (ANNs) have had some successes in the field of Artificial Intelligence, but the results from experiments with simple ANNs may have little value in explaining cognitive functions. The problem seems to be in relating cognitive concepts that belong in the `top-down' approach to models grounded in the `bottom-up' connectionist methodology. Merging the two fundamentally different paradigms within a single model can obfuscate what is really modeled. When the tools (simple artificial neural networks) to solve the problems (explaining aspects of higher cognitive functions) are mismatched, models with little value in terms of explaining functions of the human mind are produced. The ability to learn functions from data-points makes ANNs very attractive analytical tools. These tools can be developed into valuable models, if the data is adequate and a meaningful interpretation of the data is possible. The problem is, that with appropriate data and labels that fit the desired level of description, almost any function can be modeled. It is my argument that small networks offer a universal framework for modeling any conceivable cognitive theory, so that neurological possibility can be demonstrated easily with relatively simple models. However, a model demonstrating the possibility of implementation of a cognitive function using a distributed methodology, does not necessarily add support to any claims or assumptions that the cognitive function in question, is neurologically plausible. (shrink)
This work investigates some of the issues and consequences for the field of artificial intelligence and cognitive science, which are related to the perceived limits of computation with current digital equipment. The Church -Turing thesis and the specific properties of Turing machines are examined and some of the philosophical 'in principle' objections, such as the application of Gödel's incompleteness theorem, are discussed. It is argued that the misinterpretation of the Church-Turing thesis has led to unfounded assumptions about the limitations of (...) computing machines in general. Modern digital computers, which are based on the von Neuman architecture, can typically be programmed so that they interact effectively with the real word. It is argued that digital computing machines are supersets of Turing machines, if they are, for example, programmed to interact with the real world. Moreover, computing is not restricted to the domain of discrete state machines. Analog computers and real or simulated neural nets exhibit properties that may not be accommodated in a definition of computing, which is based on Turing machines. Consequently, some of the philosophical 'in principle' objections to artificial intelligence may not apply in reference to engineering efforts in artificial intelligence. (shrink)
Peter Anstey presents a thorough and innovative study of John Locke's views on the method and content of natural philosophy. Focusing on Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding, but also drawing extensively from his other writings and manuscript remains, Anstey argues that Locke was an advocate of the Experimental Philosophy: the new approach to natural philosophy championed by Robert Boyle and the early Royal Society who were opposed to speculative philosophy. On the question of method, Anstey shows how Locke's pessimism (...) about the prospects for a demonstrative science of nature led him, in the Essay, to promote Francis Bacon's method of natural history, and to downplay the value of hypotheses and analogical reasoning in science. But, according to Anstey, Locke never abandoned the ideal of a demonstrative natural philosophy, for he believed that if we could discover the primary qualities of the tiny corpuscles that constitute material bodies, we could then establish a kind of corpuscular metric that would allow us a genuine science of nature. It was only after the publication of the Essay, however, that Locke came to realize that Newton's Principia provided a model for the role of demonstrative reasoning in science based on principles established upon observation, and this led him to make significant revisions to his views in the 1690s. On the content of Locke's natural philosophy, it is argued that even though Locke adhered to the Experimental Philosophy, he was not averse to speculation about the corpuscular nature of matter. Anstey takes us into new terrain and new interpretations of Locke's thought in his explorations of his mercurialist transmutational chymistry, his theory of generation by seminal principles, and his conventionalism about species. (shrink)
R. S. Peters on Education and Ethics reissues seven titles from Peters' life's work. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the books are concerned with the philosophy of education and ethics. Topics include moral education and learning, authority and responsibility, psychology and ethical development and ideas on motivation amongst others. The books discuss more traditional theories and philosophical thinkers as well as exploring later ideas in a way which makes the subjects they discuss still relevant today.
In the mid-seventeenth century a movement of self-styled experimental philosophers emerged in Britain. Originating in the discipline of natural philosophy amongst Fellows of the fledgling Royal Society of London, it soon spread to medicine and by the eighteenth century had impacted moral and political philosophy and even aesthetics. Early modern experimental philosophers gave epistemic priority to observation and experiment over theorising and speculation. They decried the use of hypotheses and system-building without recourse to experiment and, in some quarters, developed a (...) philosophy of experiment. The movement spread to the Netherlands and France in the early eighteenth century and later impacted Germany. Its important role in early modern philosophy was subsequently eclipsed by the widespread adoption of the Kantian historiography of modern philosophy, which emphasised the distinction between rationalism and empiricism and had no place for the historical phenomenon of early modern experimental philosophy. The re-emergence of interest in early modern experimental philosophy roughly coincided with the development of contemporary x-phi and there are some important similarities between the two. (shrink)
This study investigated the extent to which people interpret real-life moral dilemmas in terms of an internal moral orientation, as Gilligan (1982, 1988) has suggested, or in terms of the content of the dilemma, as Wark and Krebs (1996, 1997) have reported. Thirty women and 30 men listed the issues they saw in descriptions of real-life prosocial, antisocial and social pressure types of moral dilemma. Results revealed that Gilligan's model underestimates the influence of dilemma content. Moral dilemmas differed in (...) the extent to which they were viewed in terms of the same issues by different participants. There was relatively little within-person consistency in moral orientation. There were four gender differences. Compared to men, women rated social pressure dilemmas as involving more care-orientated issues, and prosocial dilemmas as more significant. Compared to women, men viewed all dilemmas as involving more justice-based issues, and reported experiencing more antisocial dilemmas. (shrink)
I Once gave a series of talks to a group of psychoanalysts who had trained together and was rather struck by the statement made by one of them that, psychologically speaking, ‘reason’ means saying ‘No’ to oneself. Plato, of course, introduced the concept of ‘reason’ in a similar way in The Republic with the case of the thirsty man who is checked in the satisfaction of his thirst by reflection on the outcome of drinking. But Plato was also so impressed (...) by man's ability to construct mathematical systems by reasoning that he called it the divine element of the soul. And what has this ability to do with that of saying ‘No’ to oneself? And what have either of these abilities to do with the disposition to be impartial which is intimately connected with our notion of a reasonable man, or with what David Hume called a ‘wonderful and unintelligible instinct’ in our souls by means of which men are able to make inferences from past to future? It must readily be admitted that there are few surface similarities between the uses of ‘reason’ in these contexts. No obvious features protrude which might be fastened on as logically necessary conditions for the use of the term ‘reason’. But beneath the surface there may be lurking common notions that are, or can be, of importance in our lives. To make them explicit is to give structure and substance to what is often called ‘the life of reason’ and to show that this is not inconsistent with a life of passion as is often thought. This seems eminently worth attempting at a time when many people seem hostile to reason. For those who demand instant gratification, who adopt some existentialist stance, who cultivate violence or mystical experience, or who merely do what others do, are all, in various ways, resisting the claims of reason on them. And what they are resisting is not just the demand that they should reflect and calculate; it is also the influence of passions and sentiments that underlie a form of life. (shrink)
This paper argues that, contrary to the claims of Alan Chalmers, Boyle understood his experimental work to be intimately related to his mechanical philosophy. Its central claim is that the mechanical philosophy has a heuristic structure that motivates and gives direction to Boyle's experimental programme. Boyle was able to delimit the scope of possible explanations of any phenomenon by positing both that all qualities are ultimately reducible to a select group of mechanical qualities and that all explanations of natural phenomena (...) are to be in terms of the operations of machines and are to appeal only to qualities that are already familiar. This is illustrated by his investigations into the Torricellian experiment. Boyle's explanation of the elevation of the mercurial cylinder by appeal to the spring of the air was an intermediate mechanical explanation. Boyle was convinced that the spring of the air was ultimately reducible to the mechanical qualities. This in turn had implications for his research into the cause of respiration. In a move that was both parsimonious and consistent with the broad requirements of the mechanical philosophy, Boyle was able to solve the problem of the cause of the inflow of air into the lungs by appeal to his research in pneumatics. This application of a mechanical explanation in pneumatics to physiology is just what one would expect if the mechanical philosophy was as universal as Boyle claimed it to be. Therefore, far from Boyle's experiments having a life of their own, they were clearly directed by and understood in terms of the mechanical philosophy.Keywords: Air-pump; Boyle; Chalmers; Experiment; Explanation; Mechanism. (shrink)
This paper argues that, while Locke’s unstable usage of the term ‘mind’ prevents us from claiming that he had a theory of mind, it can still be said that he made a contribution to the philosophy of mind in its contemporary sense. After establishing that it was the term ‘soul’ that predominated in early modern British philosophy, the paper turns to Locke’s three central notions of the soul, the understanding, and the person. It is argued that there are two stages (...) to the development of Locke’s view of the soul: a first philosophical stage and a later theological stage. The first stage is characterized by the application of the material/immaterial distinction. The second stage rejects the utility of this distinction. The two stages are not, however, incompatible, for the bridge between them is found in Locke’s conceptions of the understanding and personhood. While the latter theological stage was, in the end, of the greatest concern to Locke, it is in the earlier philosophical stage that we find his real contribution to what we now call the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
This collection presents the first sustained examination of the nature and status of the idea of principles in early modern thought. Principles are almost ubiquitous in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: the term appears in famous book titles, such as Newton’s _Principia_; the notion plays a central role in the thought of many leading philosophers, such as Leibniz’s Principle of Sufficient Reason; and many of the great discoveries of the period, such as the Law of Gravitational Attraction, were described as (...) principles. Ranging from mathematics and law to chemistry, from natural and moral philosophy to natural theology, and covering some of the leading thinkers of the period, this volume presents ten compelling new essays that illustrate the centrality and importance of the idea of principles in early modern thought. It contains chapters by leading scholars in the field, including the Leibniz scholar Daniel Garber and the historian of chemistry William R. Newman, as well as exciting, emerging scholars, such as the Newton scholar Kirsten Walsh and a leading expert on experimental philosophy, Alberto Vanzo. _The Idea of Principles in Early Modern Thought_ charts the terrain of one of the period’s central concepts for the first time, and opens up new lines for further research. (shrink)
This paper argues that the construction of natural histories, as advocated by Francis Bacon, played a central role in John Locke's conception of method in natural philosophy. It presents new evidence in support of John Yolton's claim that "the emphasis upon compiling natural histories of bodies ... was the chief aspect of the Royal Society's programme that attracted Locke, and from which we need to understand his science of nature". Locke's exposure to the natural philosophy of Robert Boyle, the medical (...) philosophy of Thomas Sydenham, his interest in travel literature and his conception of the division of the sciences are examined. From this survey, a cumulative case is presented which establishes, independently of an in-depth exegesis of his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, the central role for Locke of the construction of natural histories in natural philosophy. (shrink)
In this article I examine Skinner's objections to mentalism. I conclude that his only valid objections concern the "specious explanations" that mentalism might afford ? explanations that are incomplete, circular, or faulty in other ways. Unfortunately, the mere adoption of behavioristic terminology does not solve that problem. It camouflages the nature of "private events," while providing no protection from specious explanations. I argue that covert states and events are causally effective, and may be sufficiently different in their nature to deserve (...) a name other than "behavior."To call such events"mental"does not force a dualistic metaphysics: Such a distinction can be easily assimilated by an "emergent behaviorism." Emergent behaviorism would make explicit use of theories. It would be inductive and pragmatic, and would evaluate hypothetical constructs in terms of their utility in clarifying and solving the outstanding problems of the discipline. (shrink)
We examined Confucian moral philosophy, primarily the Analects, to determine how Confucian ethics could help managers regulate their own behavior (self-regulation) to maintain an ethical standard of practice. We found that some Confucian virtues relevant to self-regulation are common to Western concepts of management ethics such as benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, and trustworthiness. Some are relatively unique, such as ritual propriety and filial piety. We identify seven Confucian principles and discuss how they apply to achieving ethical self-regulation in management. In addition, (...) we examined some of the unique Confucian practices to achieve self-regulation including ritual and music. We balanced the framework by exploring the potential problems in applying Confucian principles to develop ethical self-regulation including whistle blowing. Confucian moral philosophy offers an indigenous Chinese theoretical framework for developing ethical self-regulation in managers. This is relevant for managers and those who relate to managers in Confucian-oriented societies, such as China, Korea, Japan, and Singapore. We recommend further research to examine if the application of the Confucian practices outlined here actually work in regulating the ethical behavior of managers in modern organizations. (shrink)
This paper argues that the English philosopher John Locke, who has normally been thought to have had only an amateurish interest in botany, was far more involved in the botanical science of his day than has previously been known. Through the presentation of new evidence deriving from Locke’s own herbarium, his manuscript notes, journal and correspondence, it is established that Locke made a modest contribution to early modern botany. It is shown that Locke had close and ongoing relations with the (...) Bobarts, keepers of the Oxford Botanic Garden, and that Locke distributed seeds and plant parts to other botanists, seeds of which the progeny almost certainly ended up in the most important herbaria of the period. Furthermore, it is claimed that the depth of Locke’s interest in and practice of botany has a direct bearing on our understanding of his views on the correct method of natural philosophy and on the interpretation of his well known discussion of the nature of species in Book III of his Essay concerning human understanding. (shrink)
This paper presents a comprehensive study of Robert Boyle’s writings on seminal principles or seeds. It examines the role of seeds in Boyle’s account of creation, the generation of plants and animals, spontaneous generation, the generation of minerals and disease. By an examination of all of Boyle’s major extant discussions of seeds it is argued that there were discernible changes in Boyle’s views over time. As the years progressed Boyle became more sceptical about the role of seminal principles in the (...) generation of minerals and he came to reject the spontaneous generation of insects and animals from putrefying matter. It is also argued that Boyle’s notion of a generative or ‘plastick’ principle creates a tension within his mechanical philosophy. He appeals to a plastick power in order to explain those phenomena of generation that are beyond the explanatory resources of the corpuscular hypothesis. However, when pressed to explain the nature of this power he either hints, somewhat paradoxically, that it too can be explained mechanically or admits his nescience. (shrink)
We argue that two types of context are central to grounding the semantics for the mass/count distinction. We combine and develop the accounts of Rothstein and Landman, which emphasize overlap at a context. We also adopt some parts of Chierchia’s account which uses precisifying contexts. We unite these strands in a two-dimensional semantics that covers a wide range of the puzzling variation data in mass/count lexicalization. Most importantly, it predicts where we should expect to find such variation for some classes (...) of nouns but not for others, and also explains why. (shrink)
Layers in Husserl's Phenomenology situates Husserl firmly within the trajectory of later Continental thought and contributes to the recent reconsideration of Husserl as a legitimate precursor to the thought of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Derrida.
The volume is an excellent introduction to experimental natural philosophy and to moral and political philosophy in English-speaking countries in the seventeenth century, but the reader should be aware that other historically significant and philosophically interesting arguments from the period are not addressed.