This article shows a clear sense in which general relativity allows for a type of ‘machine’ that can bring about a spacetime structure suitable for the implementation of ‘supertasks’. 1Introduction2Preliminaries3Malament–Hogarth Spacetimes4Machines5Malament–Hogarth Machines6Conclusion.
A true Turing machine (TM) requires an infinitely long paper tape. Thus a TM can be housed in the infinite world of Newtonian spacetime (the spacetime of common sense), but not necessarily in our world, because our world-at least according to our best spacetime theory, general relativity-may be finite. All the same, one can argue for the "existence" of a TM on the basis that there is no such housing problem in some other relativistic worlds that are similar ("close") to (...) our world. But curiously enough-and this is the main point of this paper-some of these close worlds have a special spacetime structure that allows TMs to perform certain Turing unsolvable tasks. For example, in one kind of spacetime a TM can be used to solve first-order predicate logic and the halting problem. And in a more complicated spacetime, TMs can be used to decide arithmetic. These new computers serve to show that Church's thesis is a thoroughly contingent claim. Moreover, since these new computers share the fundamental properties of a TM in ordinary operation (e.g. intuitive, finitely programmed, limited in computational capability), a computability theory based on these non-Turing computers is no less worthy of investigation than orthodox computability theory. Some ideas about this new mathematical theory are given. (shrink)
Presented here is a new result concerning the computational power of so-called SADn computers, a class of Turing-machine-based computers that can perform some non-Turing computable feats by utilising the geometry of a particular kind of general relativistic spacetime. It is shown that SADn can decide n-quantifier arithmetic but not (n+1)-quantifier arithmetic, a result that reveals how neatly the SADn family maps into the Kleene arithmetical hierarchy. Introduction Axiomatising computers The power of SAD computers Remarks regarding the concept of computability.
Direct Social Perception (DSP) is the idea that we can non-inferentially perceive others’ mental states. In this paper, I argue that the standard way of framing DSP leaves the debate at an impasse. I suggest two alternative interpretations of the idea that we see others’ mental states: others’ mental states are represented in the content of our perception, and we have basic perceptual beliefs about others’ mental states. I argue that the latter interpretation of DSP is more promising and examine (...) the kinds of mental states that plausibly could satisfy this version of DSP. (shrink)
"[A] lucid discussion of race that does not sell out the black experience." —Tommy Lott, author of The Invention of Race Revealing Whiteness explores how white privilege operates as an unseen, invisible, and unquestioned norm in society today. In this personal and selfsearching book, Shannon Sullivan interrogates her own whiteness and how being white has affected her. By looking closely at the subtleties of white domination, she issues a call for other white people to own up to their unspoken (...) privilege and confront environments that condone or perpetuate it. Sullivan’s theorizing about race and privilege draws on American pragmatism, psychology, race theory, and feminist thought. As it articulates a way to live beyond the barriers that white privilege has created, this book offers readers a clear and honest confrontation with a trenchant and vexing concern. (shrink)
This study examines the role of corporate philanthropy in the management of reputation risk and shareholder value of the top 100 ASX listed Australian firms for the 3 years 2011–2013. The results of this study demonstrate the business case for corporate philanthropy and hence encourage corporate philanthropy by showing increasing firms’ investment in corporate giving as a percentage of profit before tax, increases the likelihood of an increase in shareholder value. However, the proviso is that firms must also manage their (...) reputation risk at the same time. There is a negative association between corporate giving and shareholder value which is mitigated by firms’ management of reputation. The economic significance of this result is that for every cent in the dollar the firm spends on corporate giving, Tobin’s Q will decrease by 0.413 %. In contrast, if the firm increase their reputation by 1 point then Tobin’s Q will increase by 0.267 %. Consequently, the interaction of corporate giving and reputation risk management is positively associated with shareholder value. These results are robust while controlling for potential endogeneity and reverse causality. This paper assists both academics and practitioners by demonstrating that the benefits of corporate philanthropy extend beyond a gesture to improve reputation or an attempt to increase financial performance, to a direct collaboration between all the factors where the benefits far outweigh the costs. (shrink)
New technologies from artificial intelligence to drones, and biomedical enhancement make the future of the human family increasingly hard to predict and protect. This book explores how the philosophical tradition of virtue ethics can help us to cultivate the moral wisdom we need to live wisely and well with emerging technologies.
The effectiveness of decision rules depends on characteristics of both rules and environments. A theoretical analysis of environments specifies the relative predictive accuracies of the “take-the-best” heuristic and other simple strategies for choices between two outcomes based on binary cues. We identify three factors: how cues are weighted; characteristics of choice sets; and error. In the absence of error and for cases involving from three to five binary cues, TTB is effective across many environments. However, hybrids of equal weights and (...) TTB models are more effective as environments become more compensatory. As error in the environment increases, the predictive ability of all models is systematically degraded. Indeed, using the datasets of Gigerenzer et al., TTB and similar models do not predict much better than a naïve model that exploits dominance. Finally, we emphasize that the results reported here are conditional on binary cues. (shrink)
In our everyday social interactions, we try to make sense of what people are thinking, why they act as they do, and what they are likely to do next. This process is called mindreading. Mindreading, Shannon Spaulding argues in this book, is central to our ability to understand and interact with others. Philosophers and cognitive scientists have converged on the idea that mindreading involves theorizing about and simulating others’ mental states. She argues that this view of mindreading is limiting (...) and outdated. Most contemporary views of mindreading vastly underrepresent the diversity and complexity of mindreading. She articulates a new theory of mindreading that takes into account cutting edge philosophical and empirical research on in-group/out-group dynamics, social biases, and how our goals and the situational context influence how we interpret others’ behavior. -/- Spaulding's resulting theory of mindreading provides a more accurate, comprehensive, and perhaps pessimistic view of our abilities to understand others, with important epistemological and ethical implications. Deciding who is trustworthy, knowledgeable, and competent are epistemically and ethically fraught judgments: her new theory of mindreading sheds light on how these judgments are made and the conditions under which they are unreliable. -/- This book will be of great interest to students of philosophy of psychology, philosophy of mind, applied epistemology, cognitive science and moral psychology, as well as those interested in conceptual issues in psychology. (shrink)
The demands of?representative design? set a high methodological standard. Both experimental participants and the situations with which they are faced should be representative of the populations to which researchers claim to generalize results. Failure to observe the latter has led to notable experimental failures in psychology from which economics could learn. It also raises questions about the meaning of testing economic theories in?abstract? environments. Logically, abstract tests can only be generalized to?abstract realities? and these may or may not have anything (...) to do with the?empirical realities? experienced by economic actors. (shrink)
Recently, philosophers and psychologists defending the embodied cognition research program have offered arguments against mindreading as a general model of our social understanding. The embodied cognition arguments are of two kinds: those that challenge the developmental picture of mindreading and those that challenge the alleged ubiquity of mindreading. Together, these two kinds of arguments, if successful, would present a serious challenge to the standard account of human social understanding. In this paper, I examine the strongest of these embodied cognition arguments (...) and argue that mindreading approaches can withstand the best of these arguments from embodied cognition. (shrink)
Direct Perception is the view that we can see others' mental states, i.e. that we perceive others' mental states with the same immediacy and directness that we perceive ordinary objects in the world. I evaluate Direct Perception by considering whether we can see intentions, a particularly promising candidate for Direct Perception. I argue that the view equivocates on the notion of intention. Disambiguating the Direct Perception claim reveals a troubling dilemma for the view: either it is banal or highly implausible.
Mirror neurons are widely regarded as an important key to social cognition. Despite such wide agreement, there is very little consensus on how or why they are important. The goal of this paper is to clearly explicate the exact role mirror neurons play in social cognition. I aim to answer two questions about the relationship between mirroring and social cognition: What kind of social understanding is involved with mirroring? How is mirroring related to that understanding? I argue that philosophical and (...) empirical considerations lead us to accord a fairly minimal role for mirror neurons in social cognition. (shrink)
Imagination seems to play an epistemic role in philosophical and scientific thought experiments, mindreading, and ordinary practical deliberations insofar as it generates new knowledge of contingent facts about the world. However, it also seems that imagination is limited to creative generation of ideas. Sometimes we imagine fanciful ideas that depart freely from reality. The conjunction of these claims is what I call the puzzle of knowledge through imagination. This chapter aims to resolve this puzzle. I argue that imagination has an (...) epistemic role to play, but it is limited to the context of discovery. Imagination generates ideas, but other cognitive capacities must be employed to evaluate these ideas in order for them to count as knowledge. Consideration of the Simulation Theory's so-called "threat of collapse” provides further evidence that imagination does not, on its own, yield new knowledge of contingent facts, and it suggests a way to supplement imagination in order to get such knowledge. (shrink)
This paper explores the ambiguous impact of new information and communications technologies on the cultivation of moral skills in human beings. Just as twentieth century advances in machine automation resulted in the economic devaluation of practical knowledge and skillsets historically cultivated by machinists, artisans, and other highly trained workers , while also driving the cultivation of new skills in a variety of engineering and white collar occupations, ICTs are also recognized as potential causes of a complex pattern of economic deskilling, (...) reskilling, and upskilling. In this paper, I adapt the conceptual apparatus of sociological debates over economic deskilling to illuminate a different potential for technological deskilling/upskilling, namely the ability of ICTs to contribute to the moral deskilling of human users, a potential that exists alongside rich but currently underrealized possibilities for moral reskilling and/or upskilling. I flesh out this general hypothesis by means of examples involving automated weapons technology, new media practices, and social robotics. I conclude that since moral skills are essential prerequisites for the effective development of practical wisdom and virtuous character, and since market and cultural forces are not presently aligned to bring about the more salutary of the ambiguous potentials presented here, the future shape of these developments warrants our close attention—and perhaps active intervention. (shrink)
Most people think of themselves as pretty good at understanding others’ beliefs, desires, emotions, and intentions. Accurate mindreading is an impressive cognitive feat, and for this reason the philosophical literature on mindreading has focused exclusively on explaining such successes. However, as it turns out, we regularly make mindreading mistakes. Understanding when and how mind misreading occurs is crucial for a complete account of mindreading. In this paper, I examine the conditions under which mind misreading occurs. I argue that these patterns (...) of mind misreading shed light on the limits of mindreading, reveal new perspectives on how mindreading works, and have implications for social epistemology. (shrink)
Disagreeing with others about how to interpret a social interaction is a common occurrence. We often find ourselves offering divergent interpretations of others’ motives, intentions, beliefs, and emotions. Remarkably, philosophical accounts of how we understand others do not explain, or even attempt to explain such disagreements. I argue these disparities in social interpretation stem, in large part, from the effect of social categorization and our goals in social interactions, phenomena long studied by social psychologists. I argue we ought to expand (...) our accounts of how we understand others in order to accommodate these data and explain how such profound disagreements arise amongst informed, rational, well-meaning individuals. (shrink)
This paper argues in favor of more widespread and systematic applications of a virtue-based normative framework to questions about the ethical impact of information technologies, and social networking technologies in particular. The first stage of the argument identifies several distinctive features of virtue ethics that make it uniquely suited to the domain of IT ethics, while remaining complementary to other normative approaches. I also note its potential to reconcile a number of significant methodological conflicts and debates in the existing literature, (...) including tensions between phenomenological and constructivist perspectives. Finally, I claim that a virtue-based perspective is needed to correct for a strong utilitarian bias in the research methodologies of existing empirical studies on the social and ethical impact of IT. The second part of the paper offers an abbreviated demonstration of the merits of virtue ethics by showing how it might usefully illuminate the moral dimension of emerging social networking technologies. I focus here on the potential impact of such technologies on three virtues typically honed in communicative practices: patience, honesty and empathy. (shrink)
Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in theories of mindreading. New discoveries in neuroscience have revitalized the languishing debate. The discovery of so-called mirror neurons has revived interest particularly in the Simulation Theory (ST) of mindreading. Both ST proponents and theorists studying mirror neurons have argued that mirror neurons are strong evidence in favor of ST over Theory Theory (TT). In this paper I argue against the prevailing view that mirror neurons are evidence for the ST of mindreading. (...) My view is that on an appropriate construal of their function, mirror neurons do not operate like simulation theorists claim. In fact, mirror neurons are more appropriately understood as one element in an information-rich mindreading process. As such, mirror neurons fit in better with some sort of TT account of mindreading. I offer a positive account, the Model TT, which better explains the role of mirror neurons in social cognition. (shrink)
"Radically reorienting, challenging, provocative, this book moves progressive philosophy, feminist and queer theory, critical discussions of race and racism forward. Prophetically, it calls for an interrogation of all our oppositional theory and politics, offering new and alternative visions." —bell hooks In Queering Freedom, Shannon Winnubst examines contemporary categories of difference—sexuality, race, gender, class, and nationality—and how they operate within the politics of domination. Drawing on the work of Georges Bataille, Michel Foucault, and others, Winnubst engages feminist theory, race theory, (...) and queer theory as she sheds light on blind spots that have characterized thinking about freedom. Winnubst turns away from the language of rights, identity politics, and liberation toward bodies and experiences to calibrate normative ideas of time and space. Her views operate at the very limits of freedom, which contain individuals within strict boundaries that they are forbidden to cross. Winnubst develops strategies of "queering freedom" to undo the more subtle spatial and temporal norms and shatter structures of domination. This thoughtful and provocative work challenges the cornerstones of contemporary philosophies about the body and its politics. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that Tait’s axiomatic conception of mathematics implies that it is in principle impossible to be justified in believing a mathematical statement without being justified in believing that statement to be provable. I will then show that there are possible courses of experience which would justify acceptance of a mathematical statement without justifying belief that this statement is provable.
In the early twenty-first century, we stand on the threshold of welcoming robots into domains of human activity that will expand their presence in our lives dramatically. One provocative new frontier in robotics, motivated by a convergence of demographic, economic, cultural, and institutional pressures, is the development of “carebots”—robots intended to assist or replace human caregivers in the practice of caring for vulnerable persons such as the elderly, young, sick, or disabled. I argue here that existing philosophical reflections on the (...) ethical implications of carebots neglect a critical dimension of the issue: namely, the potential moral value of caregiving practices for caregivers. This value, I argue, gives rise to considerations that must be weighed alongside consideration of the likely impact of carebots on care recipients. Focusing on the goods internal to caring practices, I then examine the potential impact of carebots on caregivers by means of three complementary ethical approaches: virtue ethics, care ethics, and the capabilities approach. Each of these, I argue, sheds new light on the contexts in which carebots might deprive potential caregivers of important moral goods central to caring practices, as well as those contexts in which carebots might help caregivers sustain or even enrich those practices, and their attendant goods. (shrink)
Despite of its formal precision and its great many applications, Shannon’s theory still offers an active terrain of debate when the interpretation of its main concepts is the task at issue. In this article we try to analyze certain points that still remain obscure or matter of discussion, and whose elucidation contribute to the assessment of the different interpretative proposals about the concept of information. In particular, we argue for a pluralist position, according to which the different views about (...) information are no longer rival, but different interpretations of a single formal concept. (shrink)
The widespread and growing use of new social media, especially social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, invites sustained ethical reflection on emerging forms of online friendship. Social scientists and psychologists are gathering a wealth of empirical data on these trends, yet philosophical analysis of their ethical implications remains comparatively impoverished. In particular, there have been few attempts to explore how traditional ethical theories might be brought to bear upon these developments, or what insights they might offer, if any. (...) In attempting to address this lacuna in applied ethical research, this paper investigates the ethical significance of online friendship by means of an Aristotelian theory of the good life, which holds that human flourishing is chiefly realized through ‘complete’ friendships of virtue. Here, four key dimensions of ‘virtue friendship’ are examined in relation to online social media : reciprocity, empathy, self-knowledge and the shared life. Online social media support and strengthen friendship in ways that mirror these four dimensions, particularly when used to supplement rather than substitute for face-to-face interactions. However, deeper reflection on the meaning of the shared life for Aristotle raises important and troubling questions about the capacity of online social media to support complete friendships of virtue in the contemporary world, along with significant concerns about the enduring relevance of this Aristotelian ideal for the good life in the 21st century. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine the challenges socially extended minds pose for mainstream, individualistic accounts of social cognition. I argue that individualistic accounts of social cognition neglect phenomena important to social cognition that are properly emphasized by socially extended mind accounts. Although I do not think the evidence or arguments warrant replacing individualistic explanations of social cognition with socially extended explanations, I argue that we have good reason to supplement our individualistic accounts so as to include the ways in which (...) situational context affects social interactions. The result, I hope, is a more sophisticated individualism that offers a more comprehensive account of how we think and act together. (shrink)
We often have affective responses to fictional events. We feel afraid for Desdemona when Othello approaches her in a murderous rage. We feel disgust toward Iago for orchestrating this tragic event. What mental architecture could explain these affective responses? In this paper I consider the claim that the best explanation of our affective responses to fiction involves imaginative desires. Some theorists argue that accounts that do not invoke imaginative desires imply that consumers of fiction have irrational desires. I argue that (...) there are serious worries about imaginative desires that warrant skepticism about the adequacy of the account. Moreover, it is quite difficult to articulate general principles of rationality for desires, and even according to the most plausible of these possible principles, desires about fiction are not irrational. (shrink)
Extended cognition is the view that some cognitive processes extend beyond the brain. One prominent strategy of arguing against extended cognition is to offer necessary conditions on cognition and argue that the proposed extended processes fail to satisfy these conditions. I argue that this strategy is misguided and fails to refute extended cognition. I suggest a better way to evaluate the case for extended cognition that should be acceptable to all parties, captures the intuitiveness of previous objections, and avoids the (...) problems with the strategy of offering necessary conditions on cognition. I conclude that extended cognition theorists have failed to establish the truth of extended cognition. (shrink)
In his recent article On Relativity Theory and Openness of the Future (1991), Howard Stein proves not only that one can define an objective becoming relation in Minkowski spacetime, but that there is only one possible definition available if one accepts certain natural assumptions about what it is for becoming to occur and for it to be objective. Stein uses the definition supplied by his proof to refute an argument due to Rietdijk (1966, 1976), Putnam (1967) and Maxwell (1985, 1988) (...) that Minkowski spacetime leaves no room for objective becoming whatsoever. However, Stein's proof does not seem to go far enough. By considering only what events have become from the standpoint of any given event, Stein's uniqueness proof fails from the outset to allow for a more general kind of becoming whereby it is understood to occur from the standpoint of events on the particular worldlines followed by observers. This suggests that there may, after all, be more than one way to define objective becoming in Minkowski spacetime once each observer's worldline is allowed to figure in the definition. This suspicion is further aroused by two recent proposals for objective, worldline-dependent becoming due to Peacock (1992) and Muller (1992) who advocate ways of defining becoming that are not equivalent to the definition Stein's uniqueness proof delivers. Nevertheless, we show that Stein's uniqueness proofcan be extended in a natural way to cover this more general kind of becoming, provided one does not enrich standard Minkowski spacetime by privileging certain sets of worldlines over others in an unwarranted manner. Thus we aim to reinforce Stein's point that standard Minkowski spacetime does make room for objective becoming, but in essentially only one way, despite arguments and proposals to the contrary. (shrink)
Responsible Research and Innovation provides a framework for judging the ethical qualities of innovation processes, however guidance for researchers on how to implement such practices is limited. Exploring RRI in the context of nanotechnology, this paper examines how the dispersed and interdisciplinary nature of the nanotechnology field somewhat hampers the abilities of individual researchers to control the innovation process. The ad-hoc nature of the field of nanotechnology, with its fluid boundaries and elusive membership, has thus far failed to establish a (...) strong collective agent, such as a professional organization, through which researchers could collectively steer technological development in light of social and environmental needs. In this case, individual researchers cannot innovate responsibly purely by themselves, but there is also no structural framework to ensure that responsible development of nanotechnologies takes place. We argue that, in such a case, individual researchers have a duty to collectivize. In short, researchers in situations where it is challenging for individual agents to achieve the goals of RRI are compelled to develop organizations to facilitate RRI. In this paper we establish and discuss the criteria under which individual researchers have this duty to collectivize. (shrink)
Can phenomenological evidence play a decisive role in accepting or rejecting social cognition theories? Is it the case that a theory of social cognition ought to explain and be empirically supported by our phenomenological experience? There is serious disagreement about the answers to these questions. This paper aims to determine the methodological role of phenomenology in social cognition debates. The following three features are characteristic of evidence capable of playing a substantial methodological role: novelty, reliability, and relevance. I argue that (...) phenomenological evidence lacks all three criteria and, consequently, should not play a substantial role in debates about social cognition. (shrink)
What factors in the organizational culture of an ethically exemplary corporation are responsible for encouraging ethical decision making? This question was analyzed through an exploratory case study of a top pharmaceutical company that is a global leader in ethics. The participating organization is renowned in public opinion polls of ethics, credibility, and trust. This research explored organizational culture, communication in issues management and public relations, management theory, and deontological or utilitarian moral philosophy as factors that might encourage ethical analysis. Our (...) understanding of organiza tional ethics is enhanced by elucidating factors the case revealed as encouraging ethical analysisan organizational culture that emphasizes the importance of ethics, Theory Y management, a symmetrical worldview valuing innovation and dialogue, a counseling role for issues management or public relations in the dominant coalition, rewarding ethical behavior, ethical analysis using moral philosophy, consistency between individual values and organizational philosophy, and ethics training. These factors, and perhaps others as yet unidentified, worked together to create an environment that encouraged ethical decision making at the exemplar organization. (shrink)
While gender and race often are considered socially constructed, this book argues that they are physiologically constituted through the biopsychosocial effects of sexism and racism. This means that to be fully successful, critical philosophy of race and feminist philosophy need to examine not only the financial, legal, political and other forms of racist and sexism oppression, but also their physiological operations. Examining a complex tangle of affects, emotions, knowledge, and privilege, The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression develops an understanding (...) of the human body whose unconscious habits are biological. On this account, affect and emotion are thoroughly somatic, not something "mental" or extra-biological layered on top of the body. They also are interpersonal, social, and can be transactionally transmitted between people.Ranging from the stomach and the gut to the hips and the heart, from autoimmune diseases to epigenetic markers, Sullivan demonstrates the gastrointestinal effects of sexual abuse that disproportionately affect women, often manifesting as IBS, Crohn's disease, or similar functional disorders. She also explores the transgenerational effects of racism via epigenetic changes in African American women, who experience much higher pre-term birth rates than white women do, and she reveals the unjust benefits for heart health experienced by white people as a result of their racial privilege. Finally, developing the notion of a physiological therapy that doesn't prioritize bringing unconscious habits to conscious awareness, Sullivan closes with a double-barreled approach for both working for institutional change and transforming biologically unconscious habits. The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression skillfully combines feminist and critical philosophy of race with the biological and health sciences. The result is a critical physiology of race and gender that offers new strategies for fighting male and white privilege. (shrink)