A number of concerns have been raised about the possible future use of pharmaceuticals designed to enhance cognitive, affective, and motivational processes, particularly where the aim is to produce morally better decisions or behavior. In this article, we draw attention to what is arguably a more worrying possibility: that pharmaceuticals currently in widespread therapeutic use are already having unintended effects on these processes, and thus on moral decision making and morally significant behavior. We review current evidence on the moral effects (...) of three widely used drugs or drug types: propranolol, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and drugs that effect oxytocin physiology. This evidence suggests that the alterations to moral decision making and behavior caused by these agents may have important and difficult-to-evaluate consequences, at least at the population level. We argue that the moral effects of these and other widely used pharmaceuticals warrant further empirical research and ethical analysis. (shrink)
abstract Cowen and I agree that rational?expectations theory is unrealistic and that risk is difficult to quantify. However, we continue to disagree about the riskiness of consumption as opposed to investment. Since more investment might lead to a recession if investment is relatively risky, Cowen's use of rational?expectations theory to buttress the Austrian school's claim that market economies can shift toward relatively more investment without experiencing macroeconomic disruption remains suspect.
The developing infant can accomplish all important perceptual tasks that an adult can, albeit with less skill or precision. Through infant perception research, infant responses to experiences enable researchers to reveal perceptual competence, test hypotheses about processes, and infer neural mechanisms, and researchers are able to address age-old questions about perception and the origins of knowledge.In Development of Perception in Infancy: The Cradle of Knowledge Revisited, Martha E. Arterberry and Philip J. Kellman study the methods and data of scientific research (...) on infant perception, introducing and analyzing topics through philosophical, theoretical, and historical contexts. Infant perception research is placed in a philosophical context by addressing the abilities with which humans appear to be born, those that appear to emerge due to experience, and the interaction of the two. The theoretical perspective is informed by the ecological tradition, and from such a perspective the authors focus on the information available for perception, when it is used by the developing infant, the fit between infant capabilities and environmental demands, and the role of perceptual learning. Since the original publication of this book in 1998, Arterberry and Kellman address in addition the mechanisms of change, placing the basic capacities of infants at different ages and exploring what it is that infants do with this information. Significantly, the authors feature the perceptual underpinnings of social and cognitive development, and consider two examples of atypical development - congenital cataracts and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Professionals and students alike will find this book a critical resource to understanding perception, cognitive development, social development, infancy, and developmental cognitive neuroscience, as research on the origins of perception has changed forever our conceptions of how human mental life begins. (shrink)
In this paper, I critique two conceptions of mechanisms, namely those put forth by Stuart Glennan (Erkenntnis 44:49–71, 1996; Philosophy of Science 69:S342–S353, 2002) and Machamer et al. (Philosophy of Science 67:1–25, 2000). Glennan’s conception, I argue, cannot account for mechanisms involving negative causation because of its interactionist posture. MDC’s view encounters the same problem due to its reificatory conception of activities—this conception, I argue, entails an onerous commitment to ontological dualism. In the place of Glennan and MDC, I propose (...) a “modified conception” of mechanisms, which (a) obviates the problem of negative causation by reinterpreting MDC’s activities according to a “descriptivist” account, and (b) avoids MDC’s problem by postulating a monistic ontology of entities. Thus, by solving these problems, my modified conception offers a cogent, more adequate alternative to Glennan’s and MDC’s conceptions of mechanisms. (shrink)
There has been an ongoing conflict regarding whether reality is fundamentally digital or analogue. Recently, Floridi has argued that this dichotomy is misapplied. For any attempt to analyse noumenal reality independently of any level of abstraction at which the analysis is conducted is mistaken. In the pars destruens of this paper, we argue that Floridi does not establish that it is only levels of abstraction that are analogue or digital, rather than noumenal reality. In the pars construens of this paper, (...) we reject a classification of noumenal reality as a deterministic discrete computational system. We show, based on considerations from classical physics, why a deterministic computational view of the universe faces problems (e.g., a reversible computational universe cannot be strictly deterministic). (shrink)
Edward S. Casey offers a phenomenology of memory and imagination in his book Spirit and Soul, which provides a unique opportunity for thinking about the very ethereal and aqueous activity of sailing. Imagination and memory are as much a part of everyday life as most forms of mentation; but sailing, as much as it is a physical activity, is just as much a suitable analogy for engaging with these particular psychic forms. In their collaboration, memory and imagination are a means (...) for balancing the sails with the wind just as much as they provide equilibrium to the temporal expanse of conscious unification. But perhaps mostimportantly, in their spiritual and soulful employment, imagination and memory provide a place and a home for dwelling and sailing. (shrink)