Reliablemisrepresentation is getting things wrong in the same way all the time. In Mendelovici 2013, I argue that tracking theories of mental representation cannot allow for certain kinds of reliablemisrepresentation, and that this is a problem for those views. Artiga 2013 defends teleosemantics from this argument. He agrees with Mendelovici 2013 that teleosemantics cannot account for clean cases of reliablemisrepresentation, but argues that this is not a problem for the views. This (...) paper clarifies and improves the argument in Mendelovici 2013 and response to Artiga's arguments. Tracking theories, teleosemantics included, really do need to allow for clean cases of reliablemisrepresentation. (shrink)
It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them.
Mendelovici (forthcoming) has recently argued that (1) tracking theories of mental representation (including teleosemantics) are incompatible with the possibility of reliablemisrepresentation and that (2) this is an important difficulty for them. Furthermore, she argues that this problem commits teleosemantics to an unjustified a priori rejection of color eliminativism. In this paper I argue that (1) teleosemantics can accommodate most cases of reliablemisrepresentation, (2) those cases the theory fails to account for are not objectionable and (...) (3) teleosemantics is not committed to any problematic view on the color realism-antirealism debate. (shrink)
This paper argues that olfactory experiences represent their objects as having primitive olfactory properties, which they do not in fact have. Olfactory experiences misrepresent, but since they tend to misrepresent in the same way on multiple occasions, they reliably misrepresent. The reliability of olfactory experiences helps explain how they can be useful and lead to true and justified beliefs about putatively smelly objects.
Conscious mental states are states we are in some way aware of. I compare higher-order theories of consciousness, which explain consciousness by appeal to such higher-order awareness (HOA), and first-order theories, which do not, and I argue that higher-order theories have substantial explanatory advantages. The higher-order nature of our awareness of our conscious states suggests an analogy with the metacognition that figures in the regulation of psychological processes and behaviour. I argue that, although both consciousness and metacognition involve higher-order psychological (...) states, they have little more in common. One thing they do share is the possibility of misrepresentation; just as metacognitive processing can misrepresent one’s cognitive states and abilities, so the HOA in virtue of which one’s mental states are conscious can, and sometimes does, misdescribe those states. A striking difference between the two, however, has to do with utility for psychological processing. Metacognition has considerable benefit for psychological processing; in contrast, it is unlikely that there is much, if any, utility to mental states’ being conscious over and above the utility those states have when they are not conscious. (shrink)
We can witness the recent surge of interest in the interaction between cognitive science, philosophy of science, and aesthetics on the problem of representation. This naturally leads us to rethinking the achievements of Goodman’s monumental book Languages of Art. For, there is no doubt that no one else contributed more than Goodman to throw a light on the cognitive function of art. Ironically, it could be also Goodman who has been the stumbling block for a unified theory of representation. In (...) this paper, I shall contrast the ways how differently misrepresentation has been treated in cognitive science, aesthetics, and philosophy of science. And I shall show that it is Goodman’s unnecessary separation of resemblance and representation in art that made such a difference. As a conclusion, I will indicate some of the most promising projects toward the unified theory of representation the revolt against Goodman’s rejection of resemblance theories might promise to us. (shrink)
There once was an ugly duckling. Except he wasn’t a duckling at all, and once he realized his error he lived happily ever after. And there you have an early primer from the animal literature on the issue of misrepresentation -- perhaps one of the few on this topic to have a happy ending. Philosophers interested in misrepresentation have turned their attention to a different fairy tale animal: the frog. No one gets kissed in this story and the (...) controversial issue of self-recognition is avoided. There are simply some scientifically established facts about ways to get a frog to stick out its tongue. (Who would want to kiss a frog under those conditions, anyway?) Some frogs, it seems, are fairly indiscriminate about sticking out their tongues. Not just flies, but a whole slew of other things will go down the hatch if propelled at just the right velocity and range through a frog’s visual field, provoking a tongue-flicking response. Fortunately for us all, frogs seem to be a bit more discriminating about whom they will kiss. At first sight, the frog’s tongue-flicking response seems like an ideal starting point for those who wish to promote evolutionary or "teleological" theories of intentional content. The signals passed from the frog’s retina to the frog’s brain were undoubtedly honed by the deaths of untold millions of insects snagged by countless generations of amphibians. Those amphibian ancestors whose eyes generated signals that were more 1 reliable guides to the location of food in the environment did better at propagating their genes, all other things being equal, than their cohorts whose eye to brain signals were less reliable. The teleosemanticist identifies the content of frogs’ intracranial signals in terms of the environmental conditions that historically corresponded to successful tongue-flicking, namely the presence of frog food -- typically flies -- in tongue-flicking range. And their descendants live happily ever after. But this would not be a fairy tale unless there were something to pose a credible threat to this happy ending.. (shrink)
One problem faced by resemblance views of depiction is posed by the misrepresentation. Another is to specify the respect in which pictures resemble their objects. To isolate the first, I discuss resemblance in the context of sculpture, where the solution to the second is, prima facie, obvious. The point of appealing to resemblance is to explain how the representation has the content it does. In the case of misrepresenting sculptures, this means appealing to resemblance, not between the sculpture and (...) the object represented as it actually is, but between the former and the latter as it is represented as being. Anxiety that this move empties the view of content can be met by framing carefully the questions that resemblance views should seek to answer. (shrink)
In Reconstructing Reason and Representation, Murray Clarke offers a detailed study of the philosophical implications of evolutionary psychology. In doing so, he offers new solutions to key problems in epistemology and philosophy of mind, including misrepresentation and rationality. He proposes a naturalistic approach to reason and representation that is informed by evolutionary psychology, and, expanding on the massive modularity thesis advanced in work by Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, argues for a modular, adapticist account of misrepresentation and knowledge. (...) Just as the reliability of representation can be defended on the basis of an account of the proper function of cognitive modularity, misrepresentation can be explained through an appeal to the "gap theory," by noting the divergence between the proper and actual domains of cognitive modules in a massively modular mind.Clarke argues for an externalist, modular reliabilism by suggesting that evolution has equipped us with generally reliable inferential systems even if they do not always produce true beliefs. He argues that reliable deductive and inductive inference occurs only when cognitive modules deal with actual domains that are sufficiently similar to their proper domains. This psychologically informed, naturalized adapticism leads to the suggestion that knowledge is a set of natural kinds housed in the modules of a massively modular mind. Typically, the proper function of these cognitive modules is to provide us with truths that enable us to satisfy our basic biological needs. Beyond reasoning modules, other cognitive modules discussed include the ability to orient ourselves in space, and our abilities with language, numbers, object reasoning, and social understanding. Clarke also defends Cosmides and Tooby's massive modularity hypothesis against such critics as Jerry Fodor by demonstrating that these critics consistently misrepresent Cosmides and Tooby's position. (shrink)
In Knowledge and the Flow of Information, Fred Dretske explains representational content by appealing to natural indication: a mental representation has its content in virtue of being a reliable natural indicator of a particular type of state of the world. His account fails for several reasons, not the least of which is that it cannot account for misrepresentation. Recognizing this, Dretske adds a twist in his more recent work on representational content (sketched in 'Misrepresentation' and elaborated in (...) Explaining Behavior): a mental representation acquires its semantic content when the fact that it naturally indicates some type of state of the world acquires explanatory relevance. This shift in emphasis from natural indication to function (and, so, to behaviour) is intended to address the disjunction problem. Whether or not it succeeds (I argue that it does not), new problems emerge as a direct result of the shift to emphasis on behaviour. First, although Dretske appeals to appropriate response behaviours for particular types of representations, it is not at all clear that such behaviours exist. Second, Dretske's theory cannot account for representations that never figure in the behaviour of the organism of which they are a part. In response to these problems, I suggest two possible routes to recovery: one, an appeal to implicit beliefs (or dispositions); and, two, an appeal to compositionality. Although it seems clear that Dretske must enlist one of these options if he is to formulate a successful causal naturalist theory of representational content, given his theoretical commitments, neither option is readily available to him. (shrink)
Susan Haack criticises the US courts' use of Karl Popper's epistemology in discriminating acceptable scientific testimony. She claims that acceptable testimony should be reliable and that Popper's epistemology is useless in discriminating reliability. She says that Popper's views have been found acceptable only because they have been misunderstood and she indicates an alternative epistemology which she says can discriminate reliable theories. However, her account of Popper's views is a gross and gratuitous misrepresentation. Her alternative epistemology cannot do (...) what she claims for it. The courts should not be concerned with reliability and, insofar as they use the term 'reliability,' it should be construed in a procedural rather than a substantive sense. Since Popper's epistemology gives something like a characterisation of science at its best, the courts should continue to invoke Popper's theories in their discrimination of acceptable testimony. (shrink)
During contractual negotiations, one party may lead the other into error, thus causing loss or damage. If misrepresentation is shown, the aggrieved party may therefore claim for damages or rescission. In the English law, it was for many years unclear whether a finding of misrepresentation required proof of deliberate, intentional fraud, or whether it could be analysed as a simple failure of consensus, in which case it would be sufficient to show negligence. According to the traditional rule, the (...) misleading declaration had to be factually false, and concern an existing state of affairs or a verifiable past event. However, expressions of personal opinion or of future intention can mislead, although they cannot sensibly be considered as true or false. Further, in practice, many literally true sentences are liable to give false impressions. Such statements may be ambiguous or only partly true. Like linguists and ethical philosophers, the judges are confronted with recursive problems of understanding and re-interpretation. Citations from a number of celebrated English cases are given to show that in spite of significant developments, no legal rules or principles can satisfactorily account for intuitions concerning intentional behaviour and morality. (shrink)
In "Knowledge and the Flow of Information," Fred Dretske explains representational content by appealing to natural indication: a mental representation has its content in virtue of being a reliable natural indicator of a particular type of state of the world. His account fails for several reasons, not the least of which is that it cannot account for misrepresentation. Recognizing this, Dretske adds a twist in his more recent work on representational content : a mental representation acquires its semantic (...) content when the fact that it naturally indicates some type of state of the world acquires explanatory relevance. This shift in emphasis from natural indication to function is intended to address the disjunction problem. Whether or not it succeeds, new problems emerge as a direct result of the shift to emphasis on behaviour. First, although Dretske appeals to appropriate response behaviours for particular types of representations, it is not at all clear that such behaviours exist. Second, Dretske's theory cannot account for representations that never figure in the behaviour of the organism of which they are a part. In response to these problems, I suggest two possible routes to recovery: one, an appeal to implicit beliefs ; and, two, an appeal to compositionality. Although it seems clear that Dretske must enlist one of these options if he is to formulate a successful causal naturalist theory of representational content, given his theoretical commitments, neither option is readily available to him. (shrink)
In this paper, we consider how certain longstanding philosophical questions about mental representation may be answered on the assumption that cognitive and perceptual systems implement hierarchical generative models, such as those discussed within the prediction error minimization framework. We build on existing treatments of representation via structural resemblance, such as those in Gładziejewski :559–582, 2016) and Gładziejewski and Miłkowski, to argue for a representationalist interpretation of the PEM framework. We further motivate the proposed approach to content by arguing that it (...) is consistent with approaches implicit in theories of unsupervised learning in neural networks. In the course of this discussion, we argue that the structural representation proposal, properly understood, has more in common with functional-role than with causal/informational or teleosemantic theories. In the remainder of the paper, we describe the PEM framework for approximate Bayesian inference in some detail, and discuss how structural representations might arise within the proposed Bayesian hierarchies. After explicating the notion of variational inference, we define a subjectively accessible measure of misrepresentation for hierarchical Bayesian networks by appeal to the Kullbach–Leibler divergence between posterior generative and approximate recognition densities, and discuss a related measure of objective misrepresentation in terms of correspondence with the facts. (shrink)
Why believe in the findings of science? John Ziman argues that scientific knowledge is not uniformly reliable, but rather like a map representing a country we cannot visit. He shows how science has many elements, including alongside its experiments and formulae the language and logic, patterns and preconceptions, facts and fantasies used to illustrate and express its findings. These elements are variously combined by scientists in their explanations of the material world as it lies outside our everyday experience. John (...) Ziman’s book offers at once a valuably clear account and a radically challenging investigation of the credibility of scientific knowledge, searching widely across a range of disciplines for evidence about the perceptions, paradigms and analogies on which all our understanding depends. (shrink)
Are philosophers’ intuitions more reliable than philosophical novices’? Are we entitled to assume the superiority of philosophers’ intuitions just as we assume that experts in other domains have more reliable intuitions than novices? Ryberg raises some doubts and his arguments promise to undermine the expertise defence of intuition-use in philosophy once and for all. In this paper, I raise a number of objections to these arguments. I argue that philosophers receive sufficient feedback about the quality of their intuitions (...) and that philosophers’ experience in philosophy plausibly affects their intuitions. Consequently, the type of argument Ryberg offers fails to undermine the expertise defence of intuition-use in philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that existing ‘self-representational’ theories of phenomenal consciousness do not adequately address the problem of higher-order misrepresentation. Drawing a page from the phenomenal concepts literature, a novel self-representational account is introduced that does. This is the quotational theory of phenomenal consciousness, according to which the higher-order component of a conscious state is constituted by the quotational component of a quotational phenomenal concept. According to the quotational theory of consciousness, phenomenal concepts help to account for (...) the very nature of phenomenally conscious states. Thus, the paper integrates two largely distinct explanatory projects in the field of consciousness studies: (i) the project of explaining how we think about our phenomenally conscious states, and (ii) the project of explaining what phenomenally conscious states are in the first place. (shrink)
Drawing on work by philosophers CAJ Coady and David Coady on the epistemology of rumours, I develop a theory which exploits the distinction between rumouring and rumour-mongering for the purpose of explaining why we should treat rumours as a species of justified belief. -/- Whilst it is true that rumour-mongering, the act of passing on a rumour maliciously, presents a pathology of the normally reliable transmission of rumours, I will argue that rumours themselves have a generally reliable transmission (...) process, that of rumouring, and should be considered to be examples of warranted beliefs. -/- My argument will also touch on the association of rumours with another class of beliefs that are usually considered to be suspect, conspiracy theories. I will argue that whilst rumours are reliable (as a mechanism for the transmission of justified beliefs) the analysis of the transmission of conspiracy theories requires us to realise they are different to rumours in some important respects. (shrink)
Although research on the corporate social responsibility (CSR) dimension of corporate image has notably increased in recent years, the definition and measurement of the concept for academic purposes still concern researchers. In this article, literature regarding the measurement of CSR image from a customer viewpoint is revised and areas of improvement are identified. A multistage method is implemented to develop and to validate a reliable scale based on stakeholder theory. Results demonstrate the reliability and validity of this new scale (...) for measuring customer perceptions regarding the CSR performance of their service providers. With regard to this, CSR includes corporate responsibilities towards customers, shareholders, employees and society. The scale is consistent among diverse customer cohorts with different gender, age and level of education. Furthermore, results also confirm the applicability of this new scale to structural equation modelling. (shrink)
In section 96 of Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit offers his now familiar tripartite distinction among candidates for ‘what matters’: (1) Relation R with its normal cause; (2) R with any reliable cause; (3) R with any cause. He defends option (3). This paper tries to show that there is important ambiguity in this distinction and in Parfit's defence of his position. There is something strange about Parfit's way of dividing up the territory: I argue that those who have (...) followed him in viewing the choice among (1)–(3) as the (or an) important question in thinking about ‘what matters’ are mistaken, and that they bypass what seems to be a more important, even crucial, set of options and considerations. I am less concerned with what he does say than with what he ought to say, given his intuitions and arguments, and the general framework within which he is working. And I am particularly concerned to show that whether or not I am correct about what he is doing with his tripartite distinction, it is a distinction with which we should not be particularly concerned in the analysis either of what matters or of psychological continuity. (shrink)
This paper is a critical response to Andreas Bartels’ sophisticated defense of a structural account of scientific representation. We show that, contrary to Bartels’ claim, homomorphism fails to account for the phenomenon of misrepresentation. Bartels claims that homomorphism is adequate in two respects. First, it is conceptually adequate, in the sense that it shows how representation differs from misrepresentation and non-representation. Second, if properly weakened, homomorphism is formally adequate to accommodate misrepresentation. We question both claims. First, we (...) show that homomorphism is not the right condition to distinguish representation from misrepresentation and non-representation: a “representational mechanism” actually does all the work, and it is independent of homomorphism – as of any structural condition. Second, we test the claim of formal adequacy against three typical kinds of inaccurate representation in science which, by reference to a discussion of the notorious billiard ball model, we define as abstraction, pretence, and simulation. We first point out that Bartels equivocates between homomorphism and the stronger condition of epimorphism, and that the weakened form of homomorphism that Bartels puts forward is not a morphism at all. After providing a formal setting for abstraction, pretence and simulation, we show that for each morphism there is at least one form of inaccurate representation which is not accommodated. We conclude that Bartels’ theory – while logically laying down the weakest structural requirements – is nonetheless formally inadequate in its own terms. This should shed serious doubts on the plausibility of any structural account of representation more generally. (shrink)
Synaesthesia is a heterogeneous phenomenon, even when considering one particular sub-type. The purpose of this study was to design a reliable and valid questionnaire for grapheme-colour synaesthesia that captures this heterogeneity. By the means of a large sample of 628 synaesthetes and a factor analysis, we created the Coloured Letters and Numbers questionnaire with 16 items loading on 4 different factors . These factors were externally validated with tests which are widely used in the field of synaesthesia research. The (...) questionnaire showed good test–retest reliability and construct validity . Our findings are discussed in the light of current theories and new ideas in synaesthesia research. More generally, the questionnaire is a useful tool which can be widely used in synaesthesia research to reveal the influence of individual differences on various performance measures and will be useful in generating new hypotheses. (shrink)
In _Reliable Reasoning_, Gilbert Harman and Sanjeev Kulkarni -- a philosopher and an engineer -- argue that philosophy and cognitive science can benefit from statistical learning theory, the theory that lies behind recent advances in machine learning. The philosophical problem of induction, for example, is in part about the reliability of inductive reasoning, where the reliability of a method is measured by its statistically expected percentage of errors -- a central topic in SLT. After discussing philosophical attempts to evade the (...) problem of induction, Harman and Kulkarni provide an admirably clear account of the basic framework of SLT and its implications for inductive reasoning. They explain the Vapnik-Chervonenkis dimension of a set of hypotheses and distinguish two kinds of inductive reasoning. The authors discuss various topics in machine learning, including nearest-neighbor methods, neural networks, and support vector machines. Finally, they describe transductive reasoning and suggest possible new models of human reasoning suggested by developments in SLT. (shrink)
In order to judge whether a theory is empirically adequate one must have epistemic access to reliable records of past measurement results that can be compared against the predictions of the theory. Some formulations of quantum mechanics fail to satisfy this condition. The standard theory without the collapse postulate is an example. Bell's reading of Everett's relative-state formulation is another. Furthermore, there are formulations of quantum mechanics that only satisfy this condition for a special class of observers, formulations whose (...) empirical adequacy could only be judged by an observer who records her measurement results in a special way. Bohm's theory is an example. It is possible to formulate hidden-variable theories that do not suffer from such a restriction, but these encounter other problems. (shrink)
This paper explains how middle managers might enlist ethically engaged employees into the production of reliable, sustainable CSR. An accompanying model illustrates how those managers can encounter employee engagement in CSR and channel their enthusiasm effectively. It presents factors scaffolding organizational support for employee engagement and how they relate to the intensity of that engagement. It introduces the importance of employee voice and illustrates how associated signals might be captured.
I examine Descartes's theory of cognition, taking as a starting point his account of how misperception is possible. In the Third Meditation Descartes introduces the hypothesis that there are ideas (such as the idea of cold) which seem to be of something real but which in fact represent nothing (if, for example, cold is a privation or absence of heat, rather than the presence of a positive quality). I argue, against Margaret Wilson, that Descartes does not think there are any (...) such ideas and that he introduces the hypothesis only in order to formulate an objection to his argument for the existence of God. I argue further that while he agrees with Arnauld in accepting the Aristotelian account of cognition according to which the very objects in the world that we perceive exist in the soul or its ideas objectively, he still has a satisfactory response to Arnauld's objection that since an idea can represent only what it appears to be of, all error must reside solely in our judgment. I claim that Arnauld's objection that an idea represents what it appears to be of is based on the assumption that an idea appears to be of what exists in it objectively. But Descartes makes room for the possibility of misrepresentation by distinguishing between what exists objectively in an idea and what that idea appears to be of. First, he thinks that it is at least coherent to suppose that an idea lacking objective reality could appear to be of something in virtue of its material reality. Since an idea lacking objective reality would not represent any thing that exists in the world, Descartes concedes that it would not misrepresent any actually existing thing, but it could still appear to be of some thing and in that way misrepresent the way the world is. Second, there is reason to claim that like some of his Aristotelian predecessors Descartes holds that what exists in the soul objectively can appear to be other than it is. This interpretation has the implication that Descartes's theory of ideas, in contrast to sense datum theories, is not driven by the motive of finding some entity which is exactly as it appears to serve as the object of immediate awareness. (shrink)
An account of the contents of the propositional attitudes is fundamental to the success of the cognitive sciences if, as seems correct, the cognitive sciences do presuppose propositional attitudes. Fodor has recently pointed the way towards a naturalistic explication of mental content in his Psychosemantics (1987). Fodor's theory is a version of the causal theory of meaning and thus inherits many of its virtues, including its intrinsic plausibility. Nevertheless, the proposal may suffer from two deficiencies: (1) It seems not to (...) provide an adequate explanation of misrepresentation. (2) It may also fail, as a species of empiricism, to provide a correct explication of the content of observational concepts and those non-observational concepts whose meaning is to be traced to their causal connections with observational concepts. (shrink)
It has been suggested that the difference between misremembering (Orwellian) and misrepresentation (Stalinesque) models of consciousness cannot be differentiated (Dennett, 1991). According to an Orwellian account a briefly presented stimulus is seen and then forgotten; whereas, by a Stalinesque account it is never seen. At the same time, Dennett suggested a method for assessing whether an individual is conscious of something. An experiment was conducted which used the suggested method for assessing consciousness to look at Stalinesque and Orwellian distinctions. (...) A visual illusion, illusory line motion, was presented and participants were requested to make judgments that reflected what they were aware of. The participants were able to make responses indicating that they were aware of the actual stimulus in some conditions, but only of the illusion in others. This finding supports a claim that the difference between the Orwellian and Stalinesque accounts may be empirically observable, and that both types of events may occur depending on task and stimulus parameters. (shrink)
In his recent book Warranted Christian Belief (2000), Alvin Plantinga argues that the defender of naturalistic evolution is faced with adefeater for his position: as products of naturalistic evolution, we have no way of knowing if our cognitive faculties are in fact reliably aimed at the truth. This defeater is successfully avoided by the theist in that, given theism, we can be reasonably secure that out cognitive faculties are indeed reliable. I argue that Plantinga’s argument is ultimately based on (...) a faulty comparison, that he is comparing naturalistic evolution generally to one particular model of theism. In light of this analysis, the two models either stand or fall together with respect to the defeater that Plantinga offers. (shrink)
Trust is a central element of any well-functioning democracy, and the fact that it is widely reported to be on the wane is a worrisome phenomenon of contemporary politics. It is therefore critical that political and social philosophers focus on efforts by which to rebuild trust relations. I argue that a shared public culture is up to the task of trust-building, for three reasons. First, a shared public culture gives citizens an insight into the motivations that inspire fellow citizens to (...) action. Second, a shared public culture serves to generate both positive and negative sanctions, an understanding of which helps citizens to predict how their fellow citizens will behave. Third, a shared public culture generates a sense that we belong together. There are, of course, many communities that can reasonably be interpreted as having a shared public culture, even though they are characterized by low levels of trust. This observation leads me to suggest two features that a shared public culture must have in order to facilitate the emergence of trust relations: citizens must be willing to cooperate and they must be willing to submit to common institutions that will be responsible for coordinating this large-scale cooperation. If these conditions are fulfilled, a shared public culture will serve as a reliable source of trust relations. (shrink)
Combining testimonial reports from independent and partially reliable information sources is an important epistemological problem of uncertain reasoning. Within the framework of Dempster–Shafer theory, we propose a general model of partially reliable sources, which includes several previously known results as special cases. The paper reproduces these results on the basis of a comprehensive model taxonomy. This gives a number of new insights and thereby contributes to a better understanding of this important application of reasoning with uncertain and incomplete (...) information. (shrink)
In 2006 the Government issued a White Paper in which it proposed a ban on human-animal embryo research pending greater clarity on its potential. The Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology initiated an Inquiry and concluded that such research was necessary and should be permitted immediately. The Government agreed and this is reflected in revised legislation. The Government has issued guidelines on the gathering and use of scientific advice and evidence, designed to ensure that these are “credible, reliable (...) and objective.” This article tests the Committee’s approach in the light of its remit and these, and other, relevant guidelines and concludes that it failed to meet these standards. Rather, it effectively ceded to an interest group the regulation of its own activities. The article ends by suggesting alterations to the Committee’s remit and composition designed to ensure that the public interest is better protected in future. (shrink)
This paper develops a statistical approach to the problem of primitive representation. Representation of the kind commonly attributed to litmus paper, fuel gauges and tree rings occurs when, so to speak, there is a sufficiently good correlation between two variables. The fundamental distinction between misrepresentation and non-representation is explained in terms of the notion of an informationally useful correlation. The paper further argues that the statistical approach satisfactorily resolves well known puzzles such as Fodor's disjunction problem.
Despite the long history of scientific, philosophical, and political debate around heritability studies, certain fundamental conceptual issues have not been recognized or well appreciated. The starting point is that heritability does not measure the degree of influence that genes have on a trait or provide a reliable basis for choosing which traits to investigate further with molecular genetic research. The short argument on this point revolves around two issues: the disconnect between analyzing measurements of a trait and exposing the (...) measurable genetic and environmental factors underlying the trait’s development; and the possibility of heterogeneity in these underlying factors, that is, different factors may lead to the same trait value. The idea of underlying heterogeneity is elaborated through schematic diagrams and distinguished from other senses of heterogeneity. Five conceptually distinct approaches for addressing underlying heterogeneity are identified, corresponding to distinct ways of managing the reciprocal relationship between the degree of knowledge of the dynamics through which the trait develops and the actions that can be reliably be based on what is known . This framework, which extends the interventionist notion of causality, allows the scope and limitations of heritability studies to be clarified in greater detail. It can also inform critical appreciation of newer methods of analysis of genetic and environmental factors. The issues discussed in this article do not centre on empirical data or technical detail and should be accessible to non-specialists as well as challenging active researchers. (shrink)
In education there is a concern that science teachers misrepresent the nature of science to students. An assumption that is implicit in this concern is that science teachers should be teaching the philosophy of science as it is understood by philosophers. This paper argues that both philosophers and science teachers misrepresent science when they engage in their respective disciplines, and it is evident the two misrepresentations are of different types. In philosophy, the misrepresentation is of a philosophical-epistemological nature where (...) advocates of particular views maintain that advocates of other views misinterpret the nature of science. In education, the misrepresentation is of a cognitive, teaching nature where teachers'' practical interpretations are not congruent with philosophers'' interpretations of science. The discrepancy that exists between the two misrepresentations is due to the intentions of the two disciplines, and assuming that science teachers should teach a philosophically coherent interpretation of the nature of science is an over-simplification of the problem. The concepts of espoused theories and theories-in-use are used to link the two interpretations of science and provide suggestions for future research that may help clarify misrepresentations of science in science education. (shrink)
People believe that perception is reliable and that what they perceive reflects objective reality. On this view, we perceive a red circle because there is something out there that is a red circle. It is also commonly believed that perceptual reliability is threatened if what we see is allowed to be influenced by what we know or expect. I argue that although human perception is often highly consistent and stable, it is difficult to evaluate its reliability because when it (...) comes to perception, it is unclear how one could establish a fact of the matter. An alternative to thinking of perception as being in the business of truth, is thinking of it as being in the business of transducing sensory energy into a form useful for guiding adaptive behavior. On this position, perception ought to be richly influenced by some types of knowledge insofar as this knowledge can aid in the construction of useful representations from sensory input. (shrink)
We propose to extend a reliabilist perspective from epistemology to the very concept of rational justification. Rationality is defined as a cognitive virtue contextually relative to an information domain, to the mean performance of a cognitive community, and to normal conditions of information gathering. This proposal answers to the skeptical position derived from the evidence of the cognitive fallacies and, on the other hand, is consistent with the ecological approach to the cognitive biases. Rationality is conceived naturalistically as a control (...) system of the flow of information: reliabilism is the approach that qualifies this system as virtuous. There can be specific-domain devices selected by evolution, although the constraints of the very flow of information can be also represented, even with imperfect means of formalization, and then rationality becomes reflective. Reliable rationality is postulated in conclusion as a more philosophically abstract concept than maximal, minimal or bounded rationality. (shrink)
In this paper, we defend a representational approach to at least some kinds of non-human psychopathology. Mentally-ill non-human minds, in particular in delusions, obsessive-compulsive disorders and similar cognitive states, are traditionally understood in purely behavioral terms. In contrast, we argue that non-human mental psychopathology should be at least sometimes not only ascribed contentful mental representation but also understood as really having these states. To defend this view, we appeal to the interactivist account of mental representation, which is a kind of (...) a constructive approach to meaning. We follow Mark Bickhard in assuming that only an organism – either human or non-human – capable of detecting its own misrepresentations is representational. However, under his autonomy-based account of biological function these minds are incapable of misrepresentations because these minds are, ex hypothesi, unable to detect error in such representations. To solve this problem, we argue that adding a historical dimension – as in Millikan’s view on mental representations – to Bickhard’s account of function makes mental misrepresentation of mentally-ill minds possible. Using Bickhard’s dynamic account of function, it is possible to explain why delusions and other mental disorders can be seen as locally functional. However, an etiological dimension can further explain why misrepresentations seem to be globally dysfunctional. Even if representational or biosemiotic hypotheses about non-human psychopathology are difficult to confirm empirically, we defend the view that they can enrich our understanding of the causes and development of such pathologies, and may constitute a new progressive research programme. (shrink)
Recently, the possibility of misrepresentation has resurfaced in the debate between higher-order thought theorists and their opponents. One new element in the debate has been the rare cases of Charles Bonnet syndrome , proposed as empirical evidence for misrepresentation as posited by the higher-order theories. In this article I will spell out the argument supposedly underlying the claim that the RCB cases are genuine empirical evidence of misrepresentation. I will then proceed to show that this argument relies (...) on a hidden premise. With this premise exposed the argument cannot support the notion of misrepresentation posited by higher-order theories. (shrink)
Wager has argued that synaesthesia provides material for a counterexample to representational theories of the phenomenal character of experience. He gives a series of three cases based on synaesthesia; he requires the second and third cases to bolster the doubtfulness of the first. Here I further endorse the problematic nature of the first case and then show why the other two cases do not save his argument. I claim that whenever synaesthesia is a credible possibility its phenomenal character can be (...) understood in terms of misrepresentation. (shrink)
Numerous accounting and economics research studies employ an experimental research method requiring student participants to make representations about an individual characteristic (e.g., ability, cost) that provides a basis for payment of cash rewards. In response, many participants intentionally misrepresent the nature of that characteristic to receive a greater reward. Typically, such studies are deemed to be either exempt from review by institutional review boards (IRBs) or subject only to an expedited review. Moreover, investigators seldom debrief participants, purportedly to avoid contamination (...) of the participant pool. The authors question the ethics of inducing strategic misrepresentation and rewarding fraudulent behavior without appropriate debriefing. A theoretical framework of cognitive ethical development indicates that such research methods can be harmful to student participants. Furthermore, principles of operant conditioning suggest that the rewards reinforce fraudulent behavior. It is recommended that research studies inducing strategic misrepresentation should not be exempt from IRB review and should be required to include desensitization procedures for debriefing participants. (shrink)
The mechanism proposed by Del Giudice by which adult attachment style is adapted to the extrinsic risk in the local environment via attachment style during the early years does not fulfill important criteria of an adaptation. The proposed mechanism is neither specific, nor developmentally reliable, nor effective. Therefore, it should not be considered an adaptation.
At least since the French moralists—Montaigne, Pascal, La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyère—it has been a commonplace that people can fool themselves as well as others about their beliefs and motivations. In this article, I consider some mechanisms of transmutation and misrepresentation , and their impact on behavior. I argue that deception and self-deception are not merely ex post rationalizations of behavior whose real motive and explanation are found elsewhere, but that they have independent causal and explanatory power. If people, that (...) is, did not fool themselves or others about why they do what they do they would act differently. The reason is that deception and self-deception take place under constraints that prevent us from offering totally opportunistic or self-serving rationalizations of what we do. There is a consistency constraint that is induced by the costs of being seen as offering inconsistent justifications for one's behavior, and an imperfection constraint diat is induced by the costs of being seen as offering justifications that are too blatantly self-serving. (shrink)
Reliable Reasoning is a simple, accessible, beautifully explained introduction to Vapnik and Chervonenkis’s statistical learning theory. It includes a modest discussion of the application of the theory to the philosophy of induction; the purpose of these remarks is to say something more. 27.
At least since the French moralists—Montaigne, Pascal, La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyère—it has been a commonplace that people can fool themselves as well as others about their beliefs and motivations. In this article, I consider some mechanisms of transmutation and misrepresentation, and their impact on behavior. I argue that deception and self-deception are not merely ex post rationalizations of behavior whose real motive and explanation are found elsewhere, but that they have independent causal and explanatory power. If people, that is, (...) did not fool themselves or others about why they do what they do they would act differently. The reason is that deception and self-deception take place under constraints that prevent us from offering totally opportunistic or self-serving rationalizations of what we do. There is a consistency constraint that is induced by the costs of being seen as offering inconsistent justifications for one's behavior, and an imperfection constraint diat is induced by the costs of being seen as offering justifications that are too blatantly self-serving. (shrink)
BackgroundMany medical emergency practices are regulated by written procedures that normally provide reliable guidelines for action. In some cases, however, the consequences of following rule-based instructions can have unintended negative consequences. The article discusses a case - described on a type level - where the consequences of following a rule formulation could have been fatal.Case presentationA weak and elderly patient has cardiac arrest, and a Do Not Resuscitate clause is written in the patient’s medical record. Paramedics at the scene (...) cannot see that the patient’s general appearance match conditions which would indicate the DNR clause, so they start cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the patient survives. This turns out to be a crucial decision. The DNR clause is from an earlier bout with serious disease from which the patient has recovered, against all odds, and someone has forgotten to remove the clause from the medical record.AnalysisIn order to be able to interpret the validity of written guidelines, paramedics and other health workers need to develop personal skills that transcend the ability simply to follow written instructions. Within traditional virtue ethics, personal judgment is conceived of as crucial for being able to make ‘good’ autonomous decisions. Virtue ethical analyses, decision-making abilities and non-technical communication skills are important as conceptual tools when health workers need to make difficult clinical decisions.ConclusionThe case study accentuates the significance of prudent judgment in medical practice. In the case described, the consequence of trusting the written advance directive could have been fatal, but the point is general: for the purpose of achieving excellent organizational performance, it is insufficient for health workers to rely uncritically on rules and procedures. Even the clearest rule formulations must be interpreted contextually in order to determine ethically correct behavior and avoid potential negative consequences that are not in the patient’s best interests. (shrink)
In his recent book Warranted Christian Belief, Alvin Plantinga argues that the defender of naturalistic evolution is faced with adefeater for his position: as products of naturalistic evolution, we have no way of knowing if our cognitive faculties are in fact reliably aimed at the truth. This defeater is successfully avoided by the theist in that, given theism, we can be reasonably secure that out cognitive faculties are indeed reliable. I argue that Plantinga’s argument is ultimately based on a (...) faulty comparison, that he is comparing naturalistic evolution generally to one particular model of theism. In light of this analysis, the two models either stand or fall together with respect to the defeater that Plantinga offers. (shrink)