This paper addresses the relationship between humans and nature as it relates to the ability of human societies to solve large-scale environmental problems. We assert that humans are not unique in their relationship with nature; all species have the ability to externalize their being into the world thus creating environmental problems. We also argue that human consciousness and rationality do not provide ready answers to these problems. Unless we better understand the pretheoretical and pragmatic nature of human consciousness, rational/scientific attempts (...) to deal with large-scale environmental problems will fail. We use a framework derived from Schutzian phenomenology to explain how human consciousness both provides the motivation for creating environmental problems and also impedes any real solutions. Thus, we explore a dialectic of human consciousness that has profound implications for discussions about the ability of humans to solve environmental problems. (shrink)
How the Body Shapes the Mind is an interdisciplinary work that addresses philosophical questions by appealing to evidence found in experimental psychology, neuroscience, studies of pathologies, and developmental psychology. There is a growing consensus across these disciplines that the contribution of embodiment to cognition is inescapable. Because this insight has been developed across a variety of disciplines, however, there is still a need to develop a common vocabulary that is capable of integrating discussions of brain mechanisms in neuroscience, behavioural expressions (...) in psychology, design concerns in artificial intelligence and robotics, and debates about embodied experience in the phenomenology and philosophy of mind. Shaun Gallagher's book aims to contribute to the formulation of that common vocabulary and to develop a conceptual framework that will avoid both the overly reductionistic approaches that explain everything in terms of bottom-up neuronal mechanisms, and inflationistic approaches that explain everything in terms of Cartesian, top-down cognitive states. Gallagher pursues two basic sets of questions. The first set consists of questions about the phenomenal aspects of the structure of experience, and specifically the relatively regular and constant features that we find in the content of our experience. If throughout conscious experience there is a constant reference to one's own body, even if this is a recessive or marginal awareness, then that reference constitutes a structural feature of the phenomenal field of consciousness, part of a framework that is likely to determine or influence all other aspects of experience. The second set of questions concerns aspects of the structure of experience that are more hidden, those that may be more difficult to get at because they happen before we know it. They do not normally enter into the content of experience in an explicit way, and are often inaccessible to reflective consciousness. To what extent, and in what ways, are consciousness and cognitive processes, which include experiences related to perception, memory, imagination, belief, judgement, and so forth, shaped or structured by the fact that they are embodied in this way? (shrink)
The everyday capacity to understand the mind, or 'mindreading', plays an enormous role in our ordinary lives. Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich provide a detailed and integrated account of the intricate web of mental components underlying this fascinating and multifarious skill. The imagination, they argue, is essential to understanding others, and there are special cognitive mechanisms for understanding oneself. The account that emerges has broad implications for longstanding philosophical debates over the status of folk psychology. Mindreading is another trailblazing (...) volume in the prestigious interdisciplinary Oxford Cognitive Science series. (shrink)
Shaun Gallagher presents a ground-breaking interdisciplinary account of action. He shows that in order to understand human agency and the aspects of mind that are associated with it, we need to grasp the crucial role of context or circumstance in action, and the normative constraints of social and cultural practices.
Sentimental Rules is an ambitious and highly interdisciplinary work, which proposes and defends a new theory about the nature and evolution of moral judgment. In it, philosopher Shaun Nichols develops the theory that emotions play a critical role in both the psychological and the cultural underpinnings of basic moral judgment. Nichols argues that our norms prohibiting the harming of others are fundamentally associated with our emotional responses to those harms, and that such 'sentimental rules' enjoy an advantage in cultural (...) evolution, which partly explains the success of certain moral norms. This has sweeping and exciting implications for philosophical ethics. Nichols builds on an explosion of recent intriguing experimental work in psychology on our capacity for moral judgment and shows how this empirical work has broad import for enduring philosophical problems. The result is an account that illuminates fundamental questions about the character of moral emotions and the role of sentiment and reason in how we make our moral judgments. This work should appeal widely across philosophy and the other disciplines that comprise cognitive science. (shrink)
Enactivist Interventions is an interdisciplinary work that explores how theories of embodied cognition illuminate many aspects of the mind, including perception, affect, and action. Gallagher argues that the brain is not secluded from the world or isolated in its own processes, but rather is dynamically connected with body and environment.
_The Phenomenological Mind_ is the first book to properly introduce fundamental questions about the mind from the perspective of phenomenology. Key questions and topics covered include: • what is phenomenology? • naturalizing phenomenology and the cognitive sciences • phenomenology and consciousness • consciousness and self-consciousness • time and consciousness • intentionality • the embodied mind • action • knowledge of other minds • situated and extended minds • phenomenology and personal identity. This second edition includes a new preface, and revised (...) and improved chapters. Also included are helpful features such as chapter summaries, guides to further reading, and a glossary, making _The Phenomenological Mind_ an ideal introduction to key concepts in phenomenology, cognitive science and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
The Phenomenological Mind is the first book to properly introduce fundamental questions about the mind from the perspective of phenomenology. Key questions and topics covered include: What is phenomenology? naturalizing phenomenology and the empirical cognitive sciences phenomenology and consciousness consciousness and self-consciousness, including perception and action time and consciousness, including William James intentionality the embodied mind action knowledge of other minds situated and extended minds phenomenology and personal identity Interesting and important examples are used throughout, including phantom limb syndrome, blindsight (...) and self-disorders in schizophrenia, making The Phenomenological Mind an ideal introduction to key concepts in phenomenology, cognitive science and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
This essay explains some basic concepts about BDSM, and it responds to two important objections to it. The first is the psychological objection—that BDSM practitioners suffer from mental disorders—and the second is the ethical objection—that BDSM practitioners have morally compromised desires because of the kinds of activities they desire to participate in, especially ones that involve roles that dip into tortured oppressive histories (e.g., "rape" scenes, "master-and-slave" scenes). The paper argues that both objections fail, and, more specifically focusing on the (...) ethical objection, argues that BDSM desires are psychologically, conceptually, and phenomenologically different from their seeming counterpart real-life desires that are truly ethically defective. Finally, the paper argues that BDSM practitioners, in having to always understand, explore, and justify their desires (especially to a majority that is hostile to them), have an interesting chance to lead rich, flourishing lives. (shrink)
This volume presents new essays on the propositional imagination by leading researchers. The propositional imagination---the mental capacity we exploit when we imagine that everyone is colour-blind or that Hamlet is a procrastinator---plays an essential role in philosophical theorizing, engaging with fiction, and indeed in everyday life. Yet only recently has there been a systematic attempt to give a cognitive account of the propositional imagination. These thirteen essays, specially written for the volume, capitalize on this recent work, extending the theoretical picture (...) of the imagination and exploring the philosophical implications of cognitive accounts of the imagination. The book also investigates broader philosophical issues surrounding the propositional imagination. The first section addresses the nature of the imagination, its role in emotion production, and its sophistication manifestation in childhood. The essays in the second section focus on the nature of pretence and how pretence is implicated in adult communication. The third section addresses the problem of 'imaginative resistance', the striking fact that when we encounter morally repugnant assertions in fiction, we seem to resist imagining them and accepting them as fictionally true. In the final section, contributors explore the relation between imagining, conceiving, and judgements of possibility and impossibility. The Architecture of the Imagination will be an essential resource for the growing number of philosophers and psychologists studying the nature of the imagination and on its role in philosophy, aesthetics, and everyday life. (shrink)
Philosophical theorizing is often, either tacitly or explicitly, guided by intuitions about cases. Theories that accord with our intuitions are generally considered to be prima facie better than those that do not. However, recent empirical work has suggested that philosophically significant intuitions are variable and unstable in a number of ways. This variability of intuitions has led naturalistically inclined philosophers to disparage the practice of relying on intuitions for doing philosophy in general (e.g. Stich & Weinberg 2001) and for doing (...) moral philosophy in particular (Appiah 2008; Doris & Stich 2005; Horowitz 1998; Nadelhoffer & Feltz 2008; Sinnott Armstrong 2008). In this paper, we will draw on naturalistic considerations to offer some solace to philosophers who rely on intuitions. We wouldn’t call this a defense of intuitions, exactly, since we are sympathetic with much of the naturalists’ critique. But we want to introduce into the debate some neglected naturalistic reasons to be optimistic about intuitions, focusing especially on ethical intuitions. (shrink)
This paper, in opposition to the standard theories of social cognition found in psychology and cognitive science, defends the idea that direct perception plays an important role in social cognition. The two dominant theories, theory theory and simulation theory , both posit something more than a perceptual element as necessary for our ability to understand others, i.e., to “mindread” or “mentalize.” In contrast, certain phenomenological approaches depend heavily on the concept of perception and the idea that we have a direct (...) perceptual grasp of the other person’s intentions, feelings, etc. This paper explains precisely what the notion of direct perception means, offers evidence from developmental studies, and proposes a non-simulationist interpretation of the neuroscience of mirror systems. (shrink)
Williams (1970) argues that our intuitions about personal identity vary depending on how a given thought experiment is framed. Some frames lead us to think that persistence of self requires persistence of one's psychological characteristics; other frames lead us to think that the self persists even after the loss of one's distinctive psychological characteristics. The current paper takes an empirical approach to these issues. We find that framing does affect whether or not people judge that persistence of psychological characteristics is (...) required for persistence of self. Open-ended, abstract questions about what is required for survival tend to elicit responses that appeal to the importance of psychological characteristics. This emphasis on psychological characteristics is largely preserved even when participants are exposed to a concrete case that yields conflicting intuitions over whether memory must be preserved in order for a person to persist. Insofar as our philosophical theory of personal identity should be based on our intuitions, the results provide some support for the view that psychological characteristics really are critical for persistence of self. (shrink)
Philosophical hermeneutics, understood as the theory of nterpretation, investigates some questions that are also asked in the cognitive sciences. The nature of human understanding, the way that we gain and organize knowledge, the role played by language and memory in these considerations, the relations between conscious and unconscious knowledge, and how we understand other persons, are all good examples of issues that form the intersection of hermeneutics and the cognitive sciences. Although hermeneutics is most often contrasted with the natural sciences, (...) there are some clear ways in which hermeneutics can contribute to the cognitive sciences and vice versa. (shrink)
Placeholder essentialism is the view that there is a causal essence that holds category members together, though we may not know what the essence is. Sometimes the placeholder can be filled in by scientific essences, such as when we acquire scientific knowledge that the atomic weight of gold is 79. We challenge the view that placeholders are elaborated by scientific essences. On our view, if placeholders are elaborated, they are elaborated Aristotelian essences, a telos. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments (...) used by traditional essentialists—involving superficial change (study 1), transformation of insides (study 2), acquired traits (study 3) and inferences about offspring (study 4)—we find support for the view that essences are elaborated by a telos. And we find evidence (study 5) that teleological essences may generate category judgments. (shrink)
Shaun Nichols offers a naturalistic, psychological account of the origins of the problem of free will. He argues that our belief in indeterminist choice is grounded in faulty inference and therefore unjustified, goes on to suggest that there is no single answer to whether free will exists, and promotes a pragmatic approach to prescriptive issues.
This article addresses questions about the sense of agency and its distinction from the sense of ownership in the context of understanding schizophrenic thought insertion. In contrast to “standard” approaches that identify problems with the sense of agency as central to thought insertion, two recent proposals argue that it is more correct to think that the problem concerns the subject’s sense of ownership. This view involves a “more demanding” concept of the sense of ownership that, I will argue, ultimately depends (...) on the sense of agency. In this regard, the sense of agency still appears to be the originating problem. (shrink)
An empirical study of people's intuitions about freedom of the will. We show that people tend to have compatiblist intuitions when they think about the problem in a more concrete, emotional way but that they tend to have incompatiblist intuitions when they think about the problem in a more abstract, cognitive way.
Miller analyzes the relationship between consent and autonomy by offering three pictures. For autonomy, Miller distinguishes between procedural, substantive, and weak substantive autonomy. The corresponding views of consent are what Miller has termed as consensual minimalism, consensual idealism, and consensual realism. The requirements of sexual consent under consensual minimalism are a voluntary informed agreement. However, feminist critiques reveal the inadequacies of this simple position. Consensual idealism, which corresponds with substantive autonomy, offers a robust picture where consent and autonomy must be (...) based on non-oppression. However, this view is considered too ideal and it ignores context. Weak substantive autonomy takes into account the context in the sexual domain. Correspondingly, consensual realism takes into account the context and still fulfills the requirements of consent. (shrink)
According to recent accounts of the imagination, mental mechanisms that can take input from both imagining and from believing will process imagination-based inputs (pretense representations) and isomorphic beliefs in much the same way. That is, such a mechanism should produce similar outputs whether its input is the belief that p or the pretense representation that p. Unfortunately, there seem to be clear counterexamples to this hypothesis, for in many cases, imagining that p and believing that p have quite different psychological (...) consequences. This paper sets out some central problem cases and argues that the cases might be accommodated by adverting to the role of desires concerning real and imaginary situations. (shrink)
Is it lawful for a doctor to give a patient life-shortening pain relief? Can treatment be lawfully provided to a child under 16 on the basis of her consent alone? Is it lawful to remove food and water provided by tube to a patient in a vegetative state? Is a woman's refusal of a caesarean section recommended for the benefit of the fetus legally decisive? These questions were central to the four focal cases revisited in this book. This book revisits (...) nine landmark cases. For each, a new leading judgment is attributed to an imagined judge, Athena, who operates within the constraints of the legal system of England and Wales. Her judgments accord with an innovative legal theory, referred to as 'modified law as integrity', and are linked as a line of precedent. The result is a re-spinning of extant judicial threads into a web of legal principles with a greater claim to coherence and defensibility than those in the original cases. The book will be of great interest to scholars and students of medical law, criminal law, bioethics, legal theory and moral philosophy. (shrink)
Memory of past episodes provides a sense of personal identity — the sense that I am the same person as someone in the past. We present a neurological case study of a patient who has accurate memories of scenes from his past, but for whom the memories lack the sense of mineness. On the basis of this case study, we propose that the sense of identity derives from two components, one delivering the content of the memory and the other generating (...) the sense of mineness. We argue that this new model of the sense of identity has implications for debates about quasi-memory. In addition, articulating the components of the sense of identity promises to bear on the extent to which this sense of identity provides evidence of personal identity. (shrink)
Although philosophical approaches to the self are diverse, several of them are relevant to cognitive science. First, the notion of a 'minimal self', a self devoid of temporal extension, is clarified by distinguishing between a sense of agency and a sense of ownership for action. To the extent that these senses are subject to failure in pathologies like schizophrenia, a neuropsychological model of schizophrenia may help to clarify the nature of the minimal self and its neurological underpinnings. Second, there is (...) good evidence to suggest that although certain aspects of the minimal self are primitive and embodied, other aspects may be accessed only in reflective consciousness. Employing a modified concept of the minimal self, it may be possible to construct a robotic form of non-conscious self-reference that depends on an interaction between the robotic body and its environment. In contrast to the minimal self, the narrative self involves continuity over time and is directly relevant to discussions of memory and personal identity. There is growing consensus among philosophers and cognitive scientists about the importance of narrative and its relation to episodic memory and left-hemisphere functions. There are, however, at least two different views of how the narrative self is structured. On one model it is nothing more than an abstract point. On a more extended view, proposed here, the self is a rich amalgam of narratives that allows for the equivocations, contradictions, and self-deceptions of personal life. Even in this case, however, neurocognitive models contribute to our understanding of how narrative identity is structured. (shrink)
In this paper, we investigate the role of intention and joint attention in joint actions. Depending on the shared intentions the agents have, we distinguish between joint path-goal actions and joint final-goal actions. We propose an instrumental account of basic joint action analogous to a concept of basic action and argue that intentional joint attention is a basic joint action. Furthermore, we discuss the functional role of intentional joint attention for successful cooperation in complex joint actions. Anika Fiebich is PhD (...) student in Philosophy at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. Shaun Gallagher is Lilian and Morrie Moss Professor of Philosophy at the University of Memphis, USA. (shrink)
This new introduction by Shaun Gallagher gives students and philosophers not only an excellent concise overview of the state of the field and contemporary debates, but a novel way of addressing the subject by looking at the ways in which phenomenology is useful to the disciplines it applies to. Gallagher retrieves the central insights made by the classic phenomenological philosophers (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, and others), updates some of these insights in innovative ways, and shows how they directly relate (...) to ongoing debates in philosophy and psychology. Accounts of phenomenological methods, and the concepts of intentionality, temporality, embodiment, action, self, and our ability to understand other people are integrated into a coherent contemporary statement that shows why phenomenology is still an active and vital philosophical approach. Each chapter begins with a discussion of the classic analyses and then goes on to show their relevance to contemporary debates in philosophy about embodied, enactive and extended approaches to our understanding of human experience. Along the way Gallagher introduces some novel interpretations that suggest how phenomenology can both inform and be informed by the terms of these debates. (shrink)
Natural/social kind essentialism is the view that natural kind categories, both living and non-living natural kinds, as well as social kinds (e.g., race, gender), are essentialized. On this view, artifactual kinds are not essentialized. Our view—teleological essentialism—is that a broad range of categories are essentialized in terms of teleology, including artifacts. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments typically used to provide evidence of essentialist thinking—involving superficial change (study 1), transformation of insides (study 2) and inferences about offspring (study 3)—we find (...) support for the view that a broad range of categories—living natural kinds, non-living natural kinds and artifactual kinds—are essentialized in terms of teleology. Study 4 tests a unique prediction of teleological essentialism and also provides evidence that people make inferences about purposes which in turn guide categorization judgments. (shrink)
In this paper we propose to argue for two claims. The first is that a sizeable group of epistemological projects – a group which includes much of what has been done in epistemology in the analytic tradition – would be seriously undermined if one or more of a cluster of empirical hypotheses about epistemic intuitions turns out to be true. The basis for this claim will be set out in Section 2. The second claim is that, while the jury is (...) still out, there is now a substantial body of evidence suggesting that some of those empirical hypotheses are true. Much of this evidence derives from an ongoing series of experimental studies of epistemic intuitions that we have been conducting. A preliminary report on these studies will be presented in Section 3. In light of these studies, we think it is incumbent on those who pursue the epistemological projects in question to either explain why the truth of the hypotheses does not undermine their projects, or to say why, in light of the evidence we will present, they nonetheless assume that the hypotheses are false. In Section 4, which is devoted to Objections and Replies, we’ll consider some of the ways in which defenders of the projects we are criticizing might reply to our challenge. Our goal, in all of this, is not to offer a conclusive argument demonstrating that the epistemological projects we will be criticizing are untenable. Rather, our aim is to shift the burden of argument. (shrink)
It used to be a commonplace that the discipline of philosophy was deeply concerned with questions about the human condition. Philosophers thought about human beings and how their minds worked. They took an interest in reason and passion, culture and innate ideas, the origins of people’s moral and religious beliefs. On this traditional conception, it wasn’t particularly important to keep philosophy clearly distinct from psychology, history, or political science. Philosophers were concerned, in a very general way, with questions about how..
The idea that incompatibilism is intuitive is one of the key motivators for incompatibilism. Not surprisingly, then philosophers who defend incompatibilism often claim that incompatibilism is the natural, commonsense view about free will and moral responsibility (e.g., Pereboom 2001, Kane Journal of Philosophy 96:217–240 1999, Strawson 1986). And a number of recent studies find that people give apparently incompatibilist responses in vignette studies. When participants are presented with a description of a causal deterministic universe, they tend to deny that people (...) are morally responsible in that universe. Although this suggests that people are intuitive incompatibilists, Eddy Nahmias and Dylan Murray, in a recent series of important papers, have developed an important challenge to this interpretation. They argue that people confuse determinism with bypassing, the idea that one’s mental states lack causal efficacy. Murray and Nahmias present new experiments that seem to confirm the bypassing hypothesis. In this paper, we use structural equation modeling to re-examine the issue. We find support instead for an incompatibilist explanation of the bypassing results, i.e., incompatibilist judgments seem to cause bypassing judgments. We hypothesize that this phenomenon occurs because people think of decisions as essentially indeterministic; thus, when confronted with a description of determinism they tend to think that decisions do not even occur. We provide evidence for this in three subsequent studies which show that many participants deny that people make decisions in a deterministic universe; by contrast, most participants tend to allow that people add numbers in a deterministic universe. Together, these studies suggest that bypassing results don’t reflect a confusion, but rather the depth of the incompatibilist intuition. (shrink)
Recent work by Joshua Knobe indicates that people’s intuition about whether an action was intentional depends on whether the outcome is good or bad. This paper argues that part of the explanation for this effect is that there are stable individual differences in how ‘intentional’ is interpreted. That is, in Knobe’s cases, different people interpret the term in different ways. This interpretive diversity of ‘intentional’ opens up a new avenue to help explain Knobe’s results. Furthermore, the paper argues that the (...) use of intuitions in philosophy is complicated by fact that there are robust individual differences in intuitions about matters of philosophical concern. (shrink)
We argue that theory-of-mind (ToM) approaches, such as “theory theory” and “simulation theory”, are both problematic and not needed. They account for neither our primary and pervasive way of engaging with others nor the true basis of our folk psychological understanding, even when narrowly construed. Developmental evidence shows that young infants are capable of grasping the purposeful intentions of others through the perception of bodily movements, gestures, facial expressions etc. Trevarthen’s notion of primary intersubjectivity can provide a theoretical framework for (...) understanding these capabilities and his notion of secondary intersubjectivity shows the importance of pragmatic contexts for infants starting around one year of age. The recent neuroscience of resonance systems (i.e., mirror neurons, shared representations) also supports this view. These ideas are worked out in the context of an embodied “Interaction Theory” of social cognition. Still, for more sophisticated intersubjective interactions in older children and adults, one might argue that some form of ToM is required. This thought is defused by appeal to narrative competency and the Narrative Practice Hypothesis (or NPH). We propose that repeated encounters with narratives of a distinctive kind is the normal route through which children acquire an understanding of the forms and norms that enable them to make sense of actions in terms of reasons. A potential objection to this hypothesis is that it presupposes ToM abilities. Interaction Theory is deployed once again to answer this by providing an alternative approach to understanding basic narrative competency and its development. (shrink)
Recent work in folk metaethics finds a correlation between perceived consensus about a moral claim and meta-ethical judgments about whether the claim is universally or only relatively true. We argue that consensus can provide evidence for meta-normative claims, such as whether a claim is universally true. We then report several experiments indicating that people use consensus to make inferences about whether a claim is universally true. This suggests that people's beliefs about relativism and universalism are partly guided by evidence-based reasoning. (...) In a final study, we show that the rejection of universalism does not generate a simple subjectivism but is associated with a more moderate relativism on which highly atypical positions are regarded as mistaken. (shrink)
Throughout the 20th century, an enormous amount of intellectual fuel was spent debating the merits of a class of skeptical arguments which purport to show that knowledge of the external world is not possible. These arguments, whose origins can be traced back to Descartes, played an important role in the work of some of the leading philosophers of the 20th century, including Russell, Moore and Wittgenstein, and they continue to engage the interest of contemporary philosophers. (e.g., Cohen 1999, DeRose 1995, (...) Hill 1996, Klein 1981, Lewis 1996, McGinn 1993, Nozick 1981, Schiffer 1996, Unger 1975, Williams 1996) Typically, these arguments make use of one or more premises which the philosophers proposing them take to be intuitively obvious. Beyond an appeal to intuition, little or no defense is offered, and in many cases it is hard to see what else could be said in support of these premises. A number of authors have suggested that the intuitions undergirding these skeptical arguments are universal – shared by everyone (or almost everyone) who thinks reflectively about knowledge. In this paper we will offer some evidence indicating that they are far from universal. Rather, the evidence suggests that many of the intuitions epistemologists invoke vary with the cultural background, socioeconomic status and educational background of the person offering the intuition. And this, we will argue, is bad news for the skeptical arguments that rely on those intuitions. The evidence may also be bad news for skepticism itself – not because it shows that skepticism is false, but rather because, if we accept one prominent account of the link between epistemic intuitions and epistemic concepts, it indicates that skepticism may be much less interesting and much less worrisome than philosophers have taken it to be. (shrink)
The new interdisciplinary field of experimental philosophy has emerged as the methods of psychological science have been brought to bear on traditional philosophical issues. Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy is the place to go to see outstanding new work in the field, by both philosophers and psychologists.