This paper provides a method for characterizing space events using the framework of conceptual spaces. We focus specifically on estimating and ranking the likelihood of collisions between space objects. The objective is to design an approach for anticipatory decision support for space operators who can take preventive actions on the basis of assessments of relative risk. To make this possible our approach draws on the fusion of both hard and soft data within a single decision support framework. Contextual data is (...) also taken into account, for example data about space weather effects, by drawing on the Space Domain Ontologies, a large system of ontologies designed to support all aspects of space situational awareness. The framework is coupled with a mathematical programming scheme that frames a mathematically optimal approach for decision support, providing a quantitative basis for ranking potential for collision across multiple satellite pairs. The goal is to provide the broadest possible information foundation for critical assessments of collision likelihood. (shrink)
Learning a novel environment involves integrating first-person perceptual and motoric experiences with developing knowledge about the overall structure of the surroundings. The present experiments provide insights into the parallel development of these egocentric and allocentric memories by intentionally conflicting body- and world-centered frames of reference during learning, and measuring outcomes via online and offline measures. Results of two experiments demonstrate faster learning and increased memory flexibility following route perspective reading (Experiment 1) and virtual navigation (Experiment 2) when participants begin exploring (...) the environment on a northward (vs. any other direction) allocentric heading. We suggest that learning advantages due to aligning body-centered (left/right/forward/back) with world-centered (NSEW) reference frames are indicative of three features of spatial memory development and representation. First, memories for egocentric and allocentric information develop in parallel during novel environment learning. Second, cognitive maps have a preferred orientation relative to world-centered coordinates. Finally, this preferred orientation corresponds to traditional orientation of physical maps (i.e., north is upward), suggesting strong associations between daily perceptual and motor experiences and the manner in which we preferentially represent spatial knowledge. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to critique the primary arguments given by Paul Bloom and Jesse Prinz against empathy, and to argue instead that empathy is best understood as a virtue that plays an important but complicated role in the moral life. That it is a virtue does not mean that it always functions well, and empathy sometimes contributes to behavior that is partial and unfair. In some of their writings, both Bloom and Prinz endorse the view that empathy (...) is a fixed trait, but there is little reason to think this, and the studies that they cite do not support this view. Further, a number of recent studies suggest the opposite: our empathic reactions are malleable and subject to environmental effects and learning. Although our capacities for cognitive and emotional empathy are clearly not sufficient for being moral, I argue that they are functionally necessary traits that, like other virtues, must be cultivated correctly. (shrink)
Abstract In this article, which is the first of two to examine the ideas of R. S. Peters on moral education, consideration is given to his justificatory arguments found in Ethics and Education. Here he employs presupposition arguments to show to what anyone engaging in moral discourse is committed. The result is a group of procedural principles which are recommended to be employed in moral education. This article is an attempt to examine the presupposition arguments Peters employs, to comment on (...) the procedural principles he believes are presupposed, and to consider the strength of the presupposition argument. My conclusion is that Peters's arguments fail to establish the conclusion he arrives at, and that any gains from the form of argument he uses are hollow. (shrink)
My topic lies on conceptual terrain that is quite familiar to philosophers. For others, a bit of background may be in order. In light of what has filtered down from quantum mechanics, few philosophers today believe that the universe is causally deterministic. That is, to use Peter van Inwagen's succinct definition of “determinism,” few philosophers believe that “there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.” Even so, partly for obvious historical reasons, philosophers continue to argue about whether free (...) will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism. Compatibilists argue for compatibility, and incompatibilists argue against it. Some incompatibilists maintain that free will and moral responsibility are illusions. But most are libertarians, libertarianism being the conjunction of incompatibilism and the thesis that at least some human beings are possessed of free will and moral responsibility. (shrink)
I had a strange dream, or half-waking vision, not long ago. I found myself at the top of a mountain in the mist, feeling very pleased with myself, not just for having climbed the mountain, but for having achieved my life's ambition, to find a way of answering moral questions rationally. But as I was preening myself on this achievement, the mist began to clear, and I saw that I was surrounded on the mountain top by the graves of all (...) those other philosophers, great and small, who had had the same ambition, and thought they had achieved it. And I have come to see, reflecting on my dream, that, ever since, the hard-working philosophical worms have been nibbling away at their systems and showing that the achievement was an illusion. True, their skeletons, indigestible to worms, remained, and were surprisingly similar to one another. But I was led to think again about what one can, and what one cannot, achieve in this direction. (shrink)
The present studies examined whether implied tactile properties during language comprehension influence subsequent direct tactile perception, and the specificity of any such effects. Participants read sentences that implicitly conveyed information regarding tactile properties (e.g., Grace tried on a pair of thick corduroy pants while shopping) that were either related or unrelated to fabrics and varied in implied texture (smooth, medium, rough). After reading each sentence, participants then performed an unrelated rating task during which they felt and rated the texture of (...) a presented fabric. Results demonstrated that the texture properties implied in sentences influence direct tactile perception. Specifically, after reading about a smooth or rough texture, subsequent fabric ratings became notably smoother or rougher, respectively. However, we also show that there was some specificity to these effects: Fabric-related sentences elicited more specific and interactive effects on subsequent ratings. Together, we demonstrate that under certain circumstances, language comprehension can prime tactile representations and affect direct tactile perception. Results are discussed with regard to the nature and scope of multimodal mental simulation during reading. (shrink)
This presentation discusses a notion encountered across disciplines, and in different facets of human activity: autonomous activity. We engage it in an interdisciplinary way. We start by considering the reactions and behaviors of biological entities to biotechnological intervention. An attempt is made to characterize the degree of freedom of embryos & clones, which show openness to different outcomes when the epigenetic developmental landscape is factored in. We then consider the claim made in programming and artificial intelligence that automata could show (...) self-directed behavior as to the determination of their step-wise decisions on courses of action. This question remains largely open and calls for some important qualifications. We try to make sense of the presence of claims of freedom in agency, first in common sense, then by ascribing developmental plasticity in biology and biotechnology, and in the mapping of programmed systems in the presence of environmental cues and self-referenced circuits as well as environmental coupling. This is the occasion to recall attempts at working out a logical and methodological approach to the openness of concepts that are still to be found, and assess whether they can operate the structuring intelligibility of a yet undeveloped or underdeveloped field of study, where a “bisociation" and a unification of knowledge might be possible. (shrink)
Recognizing gaps in our present understanding of leader apologies, this investigation examines how followers appraise leader apologies and how these perceptions impact work-related outcomes. Results indicate that followers who viewed their leader as trustworthy or caring before a leader wrongdoing were more likely to perceive their leader’s apology to be sincere, as compared to followers who previously doubted their leader’s trustworthiness and caring. Attributions of apology sincerity affected follower reactions, with followers perceiving sincere apologies reporting greater trust in leadership, satisfaction (...) with supervision, leader–member exchange quality, affective organizational commitment, and forgiveness than those reporting insincere or no apologies. A mediation model was supported, showing that attributions of apology sincerity fostered perceptions of humility, which enhanced perceptions of transformational leadership, and consequently garnered more positive follower reactions. (shrink)
The overall goal of the approach developed in this paper is to estimate the likelihood of a given kinetic kill scenario between hostile spacebased adversaries using the mathematical framework of Complex Conceptual Spaces Single Observation. Conceptual spaces are a cognitive model that provide a method for systematically and automatically mimicking human decision making. For accurate decisions to be made, the fusion of both hard and soft data into a single decision framework is required. This presents several challenges to this data (...) fusion framework. The first is the challenge involved in handling multiple complex terminologies, which is addressed by drawing on a set of Space Domain Ontologies. Another challenge is the complex combinatorics involved when considering all possible feature combinations. This can be mitigated by using integer linear programming optimization that is outlined by the Complex Conceptual Spaces Single Observation mathematical model framework. A third challenge is the complicated physics that is involved in a spacecraft collision that must be addressed to obtain a better understanding of threat assessment. Overcoming these various challenges allows for a quantitative ranking for the potential of a kinetic kill collision across multiple spacecraft pairs. In addition to overcoming these challenges this paper will break down threat assessment into four domains and identify a ranking of threat both for each individual domain and for the four domains combined. Simulation results are shown to verify the developed concepts. (shrink)
Context: Francisco Varela and Humberto Maturana worked closely together for several short episodes and wrote joint publications during the 1970s and 1980s. After that their respective paths in life diverged. Problem: What is the common ground and what are the differences between these two authors with respect to their lives and aims? Method: The author reconstructs their common history in the form of personal reflections and conversations with Varela. Results: The personal reflections reveal the intellectual path Maturana took to develop (...) his way of thinking, in particular his fascination with explanatory processes and the phenomenon of life. The conversations with Varela portray him as a man of great “cognitive autonomy,” whose career started with the intention to study “psychism in the universe.” For Varela it seemed possible, through meditation, to reach transcendental reality as something that exists externally to the living of human beings and that can be known as such. Maturana, by contrast, claims that there is no way to refer to such a universal truth. Rather, human beings generate all the worlds they live in. Implications: While the two men collaborated in both teaching and writing, they eventually created two different constructivist approaches driven by a different set of questions. Constructivist content: Both Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela have decisively contributed to constructivist approaches. (shrink)
The words “free will” have uses in ordinary talk as in “free will offering” and, most commonly, in the expression “of my own free will.” We all know what states of affairs make this expression applicable, and its standard use is defined by this application. Yet philosophers discuss, or used to discuss, whether the will is free, libertarians saying that it is and determinists denying this. Are they, or were they, asking whether anyone ever acts of his own free will? (...) If so, the question asked was absurd. (shrink)
Mr Olding's recent attack on my exposition of the argument from design gives me an opportunity to defend the central theses of my original article. My article pointed out that there were arguments from design of two types—those which take as their premisses regularities of copresence and those which take as their premisses regularities of succession. I sought to defend an argument of the second type. One merit of such an argument is that there is no doubt about the truth (...) of its premisses. Almost all objects in the world behave in a highly regular way describable by scientific laws. Further, any scientific explanation of such a regularity must invoke some more general regularity. The most general regularities of all are, as such, scientifically inexplicable. The question arises whether there is a possible explanation of another kind which can be provided for them, and whether their occurrence gives any or much support to that explanation. I urged that we do explain some phenomena by explanation of an entirely different kind from the scientific. We explain states of affairs by the action of agents who bring them about intentionally of their own choice. Regularities of succession, as well as other phenomena may be explained in this way. Explanation of this kind I will term intentional explanation. Intentional explanation of some phenomenon E consists in adducing an agent A who brought E about of his own choice and a further end G which, he believed, would be forwarded by the production of E. (shrink)
Two essays in literary philosophy, separated by thirty-five years. Both are concerned in a general way with the mind-body problem, and contain many interesting and original philosophical ideas—though the reader unfamiliar with the late physicists's other philosophical writings will be surprised to find them wholly unconnected with his scientific work.—R. H. T.
The live-action comedies Hotel for Dogs and Marley and Me illustrate the prominent American stereotypes of canines as surrogate children and models of human behavior. Both adopt a human perspective on nonhuman animals, particularly dogs. An ethic of caring goes awry, to become pampering and permissiveness, and precludes empathetic training that would help dogs to prosper as canines in a human world.
Equality in the present age has become an idol, in much the same way as property was in the age of Locke. Many people worship it, and think that it provides the key to the proper understanding of politics, and that on it alone can a genuinely just society be reconstructed. This is a mistake. Although, like property, it is a useful concept, and although, like property, there are occasions when we want to have it in practice, it is not (...) a fundamental concept any more than property is, nor can having it vouchsafe to us the good life. In an earlier paper I argued against equality by showing that the concept of equality was confused and that many of the arguments i egalitarians adduced were either invalid or else supported conclusions I which were not really egalitarian at all. Many egalitarians, however, have complained that my arguments were not fair, because I had failed to elucidate the concept adequately, or because the position I attacked was not one that any egalitarian really wished to maintain, or because I had overlooked other arguments which were effective in establishing egalitarian conclusions, or because the positive counter-arguments of my own I put forward more as a matter of taste than of serious political commitment. In this paper, therefore, I want to elucidate the concept more fully, concede what I should to my critics, point out that, even so, their conclusions do not follow, and give further reasons not only for supposing that egalitarian arguments are invalid but for discerning positive merits in some forms of inequality. (shrink)
In response to my critics, I highlight areas of agreement and disagreement. I also argue that my view is better suited than narrativism to account for the difficulties that we encounter in trying to understand other agents. Moreover, the points brought up by Gallagher and Hutto do not succeed in showing that our understanding of an agent’s reasons for acting proceeds independently from reenactive empathy.
My argument will be that our understanding of human beings, which is what I take the Christian doctrine of man to be concerned with, will benefit considerably from an examination of two different but related clusters of human attitudes which can be found respectively under the headings ‘optimism’ and ‘pessimism’. There are many pitfalls in the way of such an enterprise, and occasionally some prejudices to be overcome. For example L. E. Loemker in the relevant articles in the Encyclopedia of (...) Philosophy concludes a fairly lengthy discussion with the rather terminal judgement. (shrink)
I think that Alzheimer's disease and all neurological disabilities of this kind, degenerative conditions, are of the most intense intellectual interest and importance … because these people are taking us to places we would rather not think about and what these people have to say—to the degree that they can say anything at all—should teach us something about what a person is, what human identity is.What could it mean in general to say that possible ways to be a person can (...) from time to time come into being or disappear?What can we learn about the experience of dementia and about ways of being human when a poet describes her forgetting? My mother, the poet Shirley Kaufman, died in 2016 at the age of 93. She had... (shrink)
Flesh of My Flesh is a collection of articles by today's most respected scientists, philosophers, bioethicists, theologians, and law professors about whether we should allow human cloning. It includes historical pieces to provide background for the current debate. Religious, philosophical, and legal points of view are all represented.
‘Mysticism means to isolate the eternal from the originated.’ This is not my definition of the word ‘mysticism’ but that of the founder of the ‘orthodox’ school of Muslim mysticism, Al-Junayd of Baghdad who flourished in the ninth century a.d . In actual fact it is not a definition of mysticism at all but of the Arabic word tawḥīd which means primarily ‘the affirmation of unity’; and that surely is an essential ingredient of any form of mysticism: it is the (...) affirmation through personal experience of unity either absolutely or in some qualified sense. (shrink)
After having read the article by A. P. Butenko entitled "Theoretical Problems of Perfecting the New Order: the Socioeconomic Nature of Socialism" [Teoreticheskie problemy sovershenstvovaniia novogo stroia: o sotsial'no-ekonomicheskoi prirode sotsializma],† I think it my duty to share with you certain thoughts.
The formation and recall of memories are fundamental aspects of life and help preserve the complex collection of experiences that provide us with a sense of identity and autonomy. Scientists have recently started to investigate pharmacological agents that inhibit or “dampen” the strength of memory formation and recall. The development of these memory-dampening agents has been investigated for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. Currently, these agents are being tested in multicenter clinical trials and will likely soon be approved for (...) the treatment of PTSD. With advancements in technology, more targeted memory-dampening techniques may be developed in the future. Accessibility to these agents will inevitably affect one's sense of identity and also one's sense of autonomy. Therefore, it is essential that the legal and ethical implications of using these agents be examined for governments and courts to appropriately address issues that may emerge. (shrink)