Basic liberty, according to Rawls's first principle of justice, is not to be sacrificed for other values such as wealth. And, according to his second principle of justice, the material well-being of the worst-off members of society is not to be sacrificed to benefit better-off members of society. These trade-offs would be unjust, according to Rawls, no matter how small the sacrifice or how large the offsetting benefit. A decision-maker conforming to Rawls's theory, who is unwilling to sacrifice some values (...) in favor of others, has lexical preferences. Lexical preferences, however, are not encountered in studies of consumer demand for market goods. Since goods trade off within the range of choices studied in demand theory, it seems to economists that political values ought to trade off as well. (shrink)
Robert Rupert argues against the view that human cognitive processes comprise elements beyond the boundary of the organism, developing a systems-based conception in place of this extended view. He also argues for a conciliatory understanding of the relation between the computational approach to cognition and the embedded and embodied views.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to severe shortages of many essential goods and services, from hand sanitizers and N-95 masks to ICU beds and ventilators. Although rationing is not unprecedented, never before has the American public been faced with the prospect of having to ration medical goods and services on this scale.
This paper evaluates the Natural-Kinds Argument for cognitive extension, which purports to show that the kinds presupposed by our best cognitive science have instances external to human organism. Various interpretations of the argument are articulated and evaluated, using the overarching categories of memory and cognition as test cases. Particular emphasis is placed on criteria for the scientific legitimacy of generic kinds, that is, kinds characterized in very broad terms rather than in terms of their fine-grained causal roles. Given the current (...) state of cognitive science, I conclude that we have no reason to think memory or cognition are generic natural kinds that can ground an argument for cognitive extension. (shrink)
Stolorow and his collaborators' post-Cartesian psychoanalytic perspective – intersubjective-systems theory – is a phenomenological contextualism that illuminates worlds of emotional experience as they take form within relational contexts. After outlining the evolution and basic ideas of this framework, Stolorow shows both how post-Cartesian psychoanalysis finds enrichment and philosophical support in Heidegger's analysis of human existence, and how Heidegger's existential philosophy, in turn, can be enriched and expanded by an encounter with post-Cartesian psychoanalysis. In doing so, he creates an important psychological (...) bridge between post-Cartesian psychoanalysis and existential philosophy in the phenomenology of emotional trauma. (shrink)
This paper engages critically with anti-representationalist arguments pressed by prominent enactivists and their allies. The arguments in question are meant to show that the “as-such” and “job-description” problems constitute insurmountable challenges to causal-informational theories of mental content. In response to these challenges, a positive account of what makes a physical or computational structure a mental representation is proposed; the positive account is inspired partly by Dretske’s views about content and partly by the role of mental representations in contemporary cognitive scientific (...) modeling. (shrink)
We seek to change the conversation about brain death by highlighting the distinction between brain death as a biological concept versus brain death as a legal status. The fact that brain death does not cohere with any biologically plausible definition of death has been known for decades. Nevertheless, this fact has not threatened the acceptance of brain death as a legal status that permits individuals to be treated as if they are dead. The similarities between “legally dead” and “legally blind” (...) demonstrate how we may legitimately choose bright-line legal definitions that do not cohere with biological reality. Not only does this distinction bring conceptual coherence to the conversation about brain death, but it has practical implications as well. Once brain death is recognized as a social construction not grounded in biological reality, we create the possibility of changing the social construction in ways that may better serve both organ donors and recipients alike. (shrink)
The concept of brain death has become deeply ingrained in our health care system. It serves as the justification for the removal of vital organs like the heart and liver from patients who still have circulation and respiration while these organs maintain viability. On close examination, however, the concept is seen as incoherent and counterintuitive to our understandings of death. In order to abandon the concept of brain death and yet retain our practices in organ transplantation, we need to either (...) change the definition of death or no longer maintain a commitment to the dead donor rule, which is an implicit prohibition against removing vital organs from individuals before they are declared dead. After exploring these two options, the author argues that while new definitions of death are problematic, alternatives to the dead donor rule are both ethically justifiable and potentially palatable to the public. Even so, the author concludes that neither of these approaches is likely to be adopted and that resolution will most probably come when technological advances in immunology simply make the concept of brain death obsolete. (shrink)
In this paper, I claim that extant empirical data do not support a radically embodied understanding of the mind but, instead, suggest (along with a variety of other results) a massively representational view. According to this massively representational view, the brain is rife with representations that possess overlapping and redundant content, and many of these represent other mental representations or derive their content from them. Moreover, many behavioral phenomena associated with attention and consciousness are best explained by the coordinated activity (...) of units with redundant content. I finish by arguing that this massively representational picture challenges the reliability of a priori theorizing about consciousness. (shrink)
This entry addresses the question of group minds, by focusing specifically on empirical arguments for group cognition and group cognitive states. Two kinds of positive argument are presented and critically evaluated: the argument from individually unintended effects and the argument from functional similarity. A general argument against group cognition – which appeals to Occam’s razor – is also discussed. In the end, much turns on the identification of a mark of the cognitive; proposed marks are briefly surveyed in the final (...) section. (shrink)
This essay presents the conditional probability of co-contribution account of the individuation of cognitive systems (CPC) and argues that CPC provides an attractive basis for a theory of the cognitive self. I proceed in a largely indirect way, by emphasizing empirical challenges faced by an approach that relies entirely on predictive processing (PP) mechanisms to ground a theory of the cognitive self. Given the challenges faced by PP-based approaches, we should prefer a theory of the cognitive self of the sort (...) CPC offers, one that accommodates variety in the kinds of mechanism that, when integrated, constitute a cognitive system (and thus the cognitive self), to a theory according to which the cognitive self is composed of essentially one kind of thing, for instance, prediction-error minimization mechanisms. The final section focuses on one of the core functions of the cognitive self: to engage in conscious reasoning. It is argued that the phenomenon of conscious, deliberate reasoning poses an apparently insoluble problem for a PP-based view, one that seems to rest on a deep structural limitation of predictive-processing models. In a nutshell, conscious reasoning is a single-stream phenomenon, but, in order for PP to apply, two streams of activity must be involved, a prediction stream and an input stream. Thus, with regard to the question of the nature of the self, PP-based views must yield to an alternative approach, regardless of whether proponents of the predictive processing, as a comprehensive theory of cognition, can handle the various empirical challenges canvassed in preceding sections. (shrink)
The recent literature on mental causation has not been kind to nonreductive, materialist functionalism (‘functionalism’, hereafter, except where that term is otherwise qualified). The exclusion problem2 has done much of the damage, but the epiphenomenalist threat has taken other forms. Functionalism also faces what I will call the ‘problem of metaphysically necessary effects’ (Block, 1990, pp. 157-60, Antony and Levine, 1997, pp. 91-92, Pereboom, 2002, p. 515, Millikan, 1999, p. 47, Jackson, 1998, pp. 660-61). Functionalist mental properties are individuated partly (...) by their relation to the very effects those properties’ instantiations are thought to cause. Consequently, functionalist causal generalizations would seem to have the following problematical structure: The state of being, among other things, a cause of e (under such-andsuch conditions) causes e (under those conditions).3 The connection asserted lacks the contingency one would expect of a causal generalization. Mental states of the kind in question are, by metaphysical necessity, causes of e; any state that does not cause e is thereby a different kind of state. Yet, a mental state’s being the sort of state it is must play some causal role if functionalism is to account for mental causation.4 In what follows, I first articulate more fully the problem of metaphysically necessary effects. I then criticize three functionalist attempts to solve the problem directly. Given the failure of functionalist efforts to meet the problem head-on, I consider less direct strategies: these involve formulating functionalism or its causal claims in such a way that they appear not to generate the problem of metaphysically necessary effects. I argue against these indirect solutions, in each case concluding either that the problem still arises or that avoiding it requires the adoption of an unorthodox form of functionalism (itself a surprising result). In the final.. (shrink)
A theory of cognitive systems individuation is presented and defended. The approach has some affinity with Leonard Talmy's Overlapping Systems Model of Cognitive Organization, and the paper's first section explores aspects of Talmy's view that are shared by the view developed herein. According to the view on offer -- the conditional probability of co-contribution account (CPC) -- a cognitive system is a collection of mechanisms that contribute, in overlapping subsets, to a wide variety of forms of intelligent behavior. Central to (...) this approach is the idea of an integrated system. A formal characterization of integration is laid out in the form of a conditional-probabilitybased measure of the clustering of causal contributors to the production of intelligent behavior. I relate the view to the debate over extended and embodied cognition and respond to objections that have been raised in print by Andy Clark, Colin Klein, and Felipe de Brigard. (shrink)
The concept of brain death was recently described as being “at once well settled and persistently unresolved.” Every day, in the United States and around the world, physicians diagnose patients as brain dead, and then proceed to transplant organs from these patients into others in need. Yet as well settled as this practice has become, brain death continues to be the focus of controversy, with two journals in bioethics dedicating major sections to the topic within the last two years.By way (...) of background, the Uniform Determination of Death Act states that “[a]n individual who has sustained either: irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.” In other words, death can be defined by either cardiorespiratory or neurological criteria, with “brain death” representing the loss of all brain function. This standard, or closely related variants, has become the accepted approach throughout the United States and in many parts of the world. (shrink)
Causal theories of mental content (CTs) ground certain aspects of a concept's meaning in the causal relations a concept bears to what it represents. Section 1 explains the problems CTs are meant to solve and introduces terminology commonly used to discuss these problems. Section 2 specifies criteria that any acceptable CT must satisfy. Sections 3, 4, and 5 critically survey various CTs, including those proposed by Fred Dretske, Jerry Fodor, Ruth Garrett Millikan, David Papineau, Dennis Stampe, Dan Ryder, and the (...) author himself. The final section considers general objections to the causal approach. (shrink)
In Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension (Clark, 2008), Andy Clark bolsters his case for the extended mind thesis and casts a critical eye on some related views for which he has less enthusiasm. To these ends, the book canvasses a wide range of empirical results concerning the subtle manner in which the human organism and its environment interact in the production of intelligent behavior. This fascinating research notwithstanding, Supersizing does little to assuage my skepticism about the hypotheses (...) of extended cognition and extended mind. In particular, Supersizing fails to make the case for the extended view as a revolutionary thesis in the theoretical foundations of cognitive science. (shrink)
Scharff’s study of Heidegger’s earlier lectures and their debt to Dilthey’s phenomenology allow one to recognize the Diltheyan influences that pervade Being and Time, undistracted by Husserl’s super-Cartesianism.
Laws of nature seem to take two forms. Fundamental physics discovers laws that hold without exception, ‘strict laws’, as they are sometimes called; even if some laws of fundamental physics are irreducibly probabilistic, the probabilistic relation is thought not to waver. In the nonfundamental, or special, sciences, matters differ. Laws of such sciences as psychology and economics hold only ceteris paribus – that is, when other things are equal. Sometimes events accord with these ceteris paribus laws (c.p. laws, hereafter), but (...) sometimes the laws are not manifest, as if they have somehow been placed in abeyance: the regular relation indicative of natural law can fail in circumstances where an analogous outcome would effectively refute the assertion of strict law. Many authors have questioned the supposed distinction between strict laws and c.p. laws. The brief against it comprises various considerations: from the complaint that c.p. clauses are void of meaning to the claim that, although understood well enough, they should appear in all law-statements. These two concerns, among others, are addressed in due course, but first, I venture a positive proposal. I contend that there is an important contrast between strict laws and c.p. laws, one that rests on an independent distinction between combinatorial and noncombinatorial nomic principles.2 Instantiations of certain properties, e.g., mass and charge, nomically produce individual forces, or more generally, causal influences,3 in accordance with noncombinatorial.. (shrink)
Trauma and Human Existence effectively interweaves two themes central to emotional trauma--the first pertains to the contextuality of emotional life in general, and of the experience of emotional trauma in particular, and the second pertains to the recognition that the possibility of emotional trauma is built into the basic constitution of human existence. This volume traces how both themes interconnect, largely as they crystallize in the author’s personal experience of traumatic loss. As discussed in the book's final chapter, whether or (...) not this constitutive possibility will be brought lastingly into the foreground of our experiential world depends on the relational contexts in which we live. (shrink)
This paper presents the leading idea of my doctoral dissertation and thus has been shaped by the reactions of all the members of my thesis committee: Charles Chastain, Walter Edelberg, W. Kent Wilson, Dorothy Grover, and Charles Marks. I am especially grateful for the help of Professors Chastain, Edelberg, and Wilson; each worked closely with me at one stage or another in the development of the ideas contained in the present work. Shorter versions of this paper were presented at the (...) 47th Annual Northwest Conference on Philosophy (1995), the 1996 Mid-South Philosophy Conference, the 1997 meeting of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association, and at the University of Washington, Seattle; thanks to all audiences for their insightful comments and questions and also to my conference commentators, Eric Gampel, Jonathan Cohen, and Bruce Glymour, respectively, each of whom offered a thoughtful critique. Lastly, I extend my gratitude to anonymous referees, including two from Mind and Language, whose remarks led to significant improvements in the paper. Address for correspondence: 13416, 4th Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98168, USA E-mail: [email protected] (shrink)
This paper asks about the ways in which embodimentoriented cognitive science contributes to our understanding of phenomenal consciousness. It is first argued that central work in the field of embodied cognitive science does not solve the hard problem of consciousness head on. It is then argued that an embodied turn toward neurophenomenology makes no distinctive headway on the puzzle of consciousness; for neurophenomenology either concedes dualism in the face of the hard problem or represents only a slight methodological variation on (...) extant cognitive-scientific approaches to the easy problems of consciousness. The paper closes with the positive suggestion that embodied cognitive science supports a different approach to phenomenal consciousness, according to which the mind is massively representational, cognitive science has no use for the personal-level posits that tend to drive philosophical theorizing about consciousness and mind, and the hard problem is illusory. (shrink)
Philosophers of mind commonly draw a distinction between the personal level – the distinctive realm of conscious experience and reasoned deliberation – and the subpersonal level, the domain of mindless mechanism and brute cause and effect. Moreover, they tend to view cognitive science through the lens of this distinction. Facts about the personal level are given a priori, by introspection, or by common sense; the job of cognitive science is merely to investigate the mechanistic basis of these facts. I argue (...) that this view misrepresents the structure of cognitive-scientific enquiry. Taken at face value, cognitive science makes no commitment to the existence of a distinctive level at which persons or selves appear. Thus, in the age of cognitive science, we should not expect to find the self in an ontologically distinct realm. Instead, we should expect to locate it in cognitive-scientific models themselves. In closing, I indicate likely results of this approach. (shrink)
This book traces the early history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, showing how brutal police treatment of civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama, forced President Kennedy to send a strong civil rights bill to Congress in June of 1963. The various legislative strategies used to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress are detailed.
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