Causal selection is the cognitive process through which one or more elements in a complex causal structure are singled out as actual causes of a certain effect. In this paper, we report on an experiment in which we investigated the role of moral and temporal factors in causal selection. Our results are as follows. First, when presented with a temporal chain in which two human agents perform the same action one after the other, subjects tend to judge the later agent (...) to be the actual cause. Second, the impact of temporal location on causal selection is almost canceled out if the later agent did not violate a norm while the former did. We argue that this is due to the impact that judgments of norm violation have on causal selection—even if the violated norm has nothing to do with the obtaining effect. Third, moral judgments about the effect influence causal selection even in the case in which agents could not have foreseen the effect and did not intend to bring it about. We discuss our findings in connection to recent theories of the role of moral judgment in causal reasoning, on the one hand, and to probabilistic models of temporal location, on the other. (shrink)
Nagel’s official model of theory-reduction and the way it is represented in the literature are shown to be incompatible with the careful remarks on the notion of reduction Nagel gave while developing his model. Based on these remarks, an alternative model is outlined which does not face some of the problems the official model faces. Taking the context in which Nagel developed his model into account, it is shown that the way Nagel shaped his model and, thus, its well-known deficiencies, (...) are best conceived of as a mere by-product of his philosophical background. (shrink)
This volume investigates the notion of reduction. Building on the idea that philosophers employ the term ‘reduction’ to reconcile diversity and directionality with unity, without relying on elimination, the book offers a powerful explication of an “ontological” notion of reduction the extension of which is (primarily) formed by properties, kinds, individuals, or processes. It argues that related notions of reduction, such as theory-reduction and functional reduction, should be defined in terms of this explication. Thereby, the book offers a coherent framework, (...) which sheds light on the history of the various reduction debates in the philosophy of science and in the philosophy of mind, and on related topics such as reduction and unification, the notion of a scientific level, and physicalism. (shrink)
The paper offers an account of the structure of information provided by models that relevantly deviate from reality. It is argued that accounts of scientific modeling according to which a model’s epistemic and pragmatic relevance stems from the alleged fact that models give access to possibilities fail. First, it seems that there are models that do not give access to possibilities, for what they describe is impossible. Secondly, it appears that having access to a possibility is epistemically and pragmatically idle. (...) Based on these observations, an alternative is developed. (shrink)
Assume that water reduces to H2O. If so water is identical to H2O. At the same time, if water reduces to H2O then H2O does not reduce to water–the reduction relation is asymmetric. This generates a puzzle–if water just is H2O it is hard to see how we can account for the asymmetry of the reduction relation. The paper proposes a solution to this puzzle. It is argued that the reduction predicate generates intensional contexts and that in order to account (...) for the asymmetry, we should develop conditions on the meanings of expressions that flank the reduction predicate in true reduction statements. Finally, it is argued that if we adopt this interpretation, we can illuminate the epistemological difference between reduced and reducing item commonly referred to in the literature. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that a particular assertion-based account of lying, which rests on Stalnaker’s theory of assertions, proposed by Andreas Stokke, is both too broad and too narrow. I tentatively conclude that the account fails because lying does not necessarily involve a conversational purpose.
Criticizing Gallagher’s view on direct perception, I develop a basic model of social perception. According to the Cartesians another person’s intentions are not directly accessible to an observer. According to the cognitivist Cartesians conscious processes are necessary for social understanding. According to the Anti-Cartesians social perception is direct. Since both of these latter approaches face serious problems, I will argue in favor of an alternative: anti-cognitivist Cartesianism. Distinguishing between an active- and a passive part of the perceptual system we can (...) describe the situation as follows: Some functionally individuated parts of our nervous system generate percepts that correspond to the properties that causally trigger the system, whilst others form percepts of properties that do not causally trigger the system. The model is basic in that it merely helps clarifying some of the fundamental concepts we need in order to describe empirical findings. (shrink)
Recently, a time-honored assumption has resurfaced in some parts of the free will debate: if past divine beliefs or past truths about what we do depend on what we do, then these beliefs and truths are, in a sense, up to us; hence, we are able to act otherwise, despite the existence of past truths or past divine beliefs about our future actions. In this paper, I introduce and discuss a novel incompatibilist argument that rests on. This argument is interesting (...) in itself, for it is independent of a number of assumptions about the nature of God that have played an essential role in the classical defense of incompatibilism about divine foreknowledge and human free will. Moreover, the argument enables us to identify a difficulty compatibilists encounter when employing to block incompatibilism. (shrink)
The present paper argues that there is a structural difference between classical cases involving knowledge-undermining environmental luck, and cases where a subject acquires understanding in the presence of environmental luck. This difference appears to bear on arguments against the reductionist thesis that understanding is a special form of knowledge.
In this paper, a cognate of the problem of divine foreknowledge is introduced: the problem of the prophet’s foreknowledge. The latter cannot be solved referring to Ockhamism—the doctrine that divine foreknowledge could, at least in principle, be compatible with human freedom because God’s beliefs about future actions are merely soft facts, rather than hard facts about the past. Under the assumption that if Ockhamism can solve the problem of divine foreknowledge then it should also yield a solution to the problem (...) of the prophet’s foreknowledge, it is concluded that Ockhamism fails. (shrink)
In this paper, the relation between identity-based reduction and one specific sort of reductive explanation is considered. The notion of identity-based reduction is spelled out and its role in the reduction debate is sketched. An argument offered by Jaegwon Kim, which is supposed to show that identity-based reduction and reductive explanation are incompatible, is critically examined. From the discussion of this argument, some important consequences about the notion of reduction are pointed out.
Social functions and functional explanations play a prominent role not only in our everyday reasoning but also in classical as well as contemporary social theory and empirical social research. This volume explores metaphysical, normative, and methodological perspectives on social functions and functional explanations in the social sciences. It aims to push the philosophical debate on social functions forward along new investigative lines by including up-to-date discussions of the metaphysics of social functions, questions concerning the nature of functional explanations within the (...) social domain, and various applications of functionalist theorising. As such, this is one of the first collections to exclusively address a variety of philosophical questions concerning the nature and relevance of social functions. (shrink)
In order to do justice to the intuition that medical treatments as such do not form proper instances of bio-enhancement, as the notion is employed in the ethical debate, we should construe bio-enhancements as interventions, which do not aim at states that, other things being equal, ought to obtain. In the light of this clarification, we come to see that cases of moral enhancement are not covered by the notion of bio-enhancement, properly construed.
In this paper I argue that an important notion of reduction depends on a four-place relation holding between expressions, concepts, properties, and events or states of affairs. I define this notion and argue against alternative accounts that are based on syntactic features of theories. Whilst these latter attempts fail to deliver a satisfactory explanation of why a certain theory or a certain expression reduces to another, the former can give a complete explanation of why, say, ‛human pain’ reduces to ‛C-fiber (...) stimulation’ or why the mind reduces to the physical. I briefly sketch the difference between the semantic approach that I favor, which is based on a particular notion of hyper-intensions, and classical model-theoretic versions of reduction. (shrink)
Based on the discussion of a novel version of the Barn County scenario, the paper argues for a new explication of knowledge undermining luck. In passing, an as yet undetected form of benign luck is identified.