Although we are enthusiastic about a Darwinian approach to culture, we argue that the overview presented in the target article does not sufficiently emphasize the crucial explanatory role that psychology plays in the study of culture. We use a number of examples to illustrate the variety of ways by which appeal to psychological factors can help explain cultural phenomena. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Humans interpret others. We are able to anticipate both the actions and intentional states of other agents. We do not do so perfectly, but since we are complex and flexible creatures even limited success needs explanation. For some years now SteveStich (frequently in collaboration with Shaun Nichols) has been both participant in, and observer of, debates about the foundation of these capacities (Stich and Nichols 1992; Stich and Nichols 1995). As a commentator on this debate, (...)Stich (with Nichols) gave explicit and fair-minded sketches of the cognitive architectures presupposed by the various theories of mindreading. As a participant, Stich has mostly been a defender of the theory-theory, the view that normal human agents have an internally represented theory of other agents and they use that theory in interpreting other agents. The main recent rival to this position, simulationism, claims that agents use their own decision-making mechanisms as a model of those of other agents, and derive their predictions by modelling others in something like the way aeronautical engineers derive predictions from the use of scale models in wind-tunnels. Stich has been sceptical about this alternative, for on his view simulation theory makes mistaken predictions about both the development of interpretive competence and about the pattern of interpretive success and failure. (shrink)
In this defense of Reliabilism, I argue that there has been 'selection for' accurate indexical beliefs. I offer empirical evidence and examples to suggest that SteveStich's defense of the opposite claim in The Fragmentation of Reason is misguided.
SteveStich used to be an eliminativist. As far as I can tell, he renounced eliminativism about the time that he moved from the west to the east pole.1 Stich was right to reject eliminativism, though I am not convinced that he rejected it for the right reasons. Stich 1983 contains a comprehensive attack on representational content, a central feature of both folk psychology and the Representational Theory of Mind, the leading philosophical construal of scientific psychology. (...)Stich’s current position on the role of content in psychological explanation is not entirely clear. One of my aims in this chapter is simply to invite Stich to clarify his views on representational content; the question that forms the title of this chapter is therefore addressed directly to Stich. I begin by sketching his original anti-content argument. I then trace some later developments in his thinking about content. I argue that content does play an important role in scientific psychology, for precisely the reasons that Stich identified in his original argument against content. I conclude with some general remarks on eliminativism. (shrink)
I argue that Stich's Syntactic Theory of Mind (STM) and a naturalistic narrow content functionalism run on a Language of Though story have the same exact structure. I elaborate on the argument that narrow content functionalism is either irremediably holistic in a rather destructive sense, or else doesn't have the resources for individuating contents interpersonally. So I show that, contrary to his own advertisement, Stich's STM has exactly the same problems (like holism, vagueness, observer-relativity, etc.) that he claims (...) plague content-based psychologies. So STM can't be any better than the Representational Theory of Mind (RTM) in its prospects for forming the foundations of a scientifically respectable psychology, whether or not RTM has the problems that Stich claims it does. (shrink)
Many philosophical naturalists eschew analysis in favor of discovering metaphysical truths from the a posteriori, contending that analysis does not lead to philosophical insight. A countercurrent to this approach seeks to reconcile a certain account of conceptual analysis with philosophical naturalism; prominent and influential proponents of this methodology include the late David Lewis, Frank Jackson, Michael Smith, Philip Pettit, and David Armstrong. Naturalistic analysis is a tool for locating in the scientifically given world objects and properties we quantify over in (...) everyday discourse. This collection gathers work from a range of prominent philosophers who are working within this tradition, offering important new work as well as critical evaluations of the methodology. Its centerpiece is an important posthumous paper by David Lewis, "Ramseyan Humility," published here for the first time. The contributors first address issues of philosophy of mind, semantics, and the new methodology's a priori character, then turn to matters of metaphysics, and finally consider problems regarding normativity. Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism is one of the first efforts to apply this approach to such a wide range of philosophical issues. _Contributors: _David Braddon-Mitchell, Mark Colyvan, Frank Jackson, Justine Kingsbury, Fred Kroon, David Lewis, Dustin Locke, Kelby Mason, Jonathan McKeown-Green, Peter Menzies, Robert Nola, Daniel Nolan, Philip Pettit, Huw Price, Denis Robinson, SteveStich, Daniel Stoljar The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket. (shrink)
Considerable debate in philosophy of psychology has recently focussed upon two central themes. One concerns the ontological status of propositional attitudes like beliefs and desires, the other on the proper computational account of cognitive architecture. In the ontological debate, the two most prominent positions are eliminativism, which claims that commonsense psychology is false because there are no such things as beliefs and desires; and versions of intentional realism, which counters that beliefs and desires actually do exist in the mind/brain. In (...) the cognitive architecture debate, there are again two outstanding views: classical cognitivism, which holds that cognition is something closely akin to symbol manipulation; and parallel distributed processing, which roughly maintains that cognition is the distributed activation of several simple, non-symbolic processing units. Furthermore, in spite of their different topics, the two debates have been linked by a number of authors who suggest that where you stand in the cognitive architecture debate should help determine where you stand in the debate over prepositional attitudes. So, for example, writers like Jerry Fodor have used the plausibility of classical cognitivism to defend a realist interpretation of propositional attitudes, while writers like SteveStich and myself have argued that certain forms of connectionism support eliminativism. (shrink)
Stich and Nisbett offer an analysis of the concept of a justified inference rule, building upon the efforts of Goodman. They fault Goodman's view on the grounds that it is incompatible with some recent psychological research on reasoning. We criticize their proposal by arguing that it is subject to much the same objections as those they raise against other accounts.
In chapter 2 of The Fragmentation of Reason, Stephen Stich argues that certain passages of Quine’s Word and Object are the source of what he calls the conceptual argument. That argument claims there is a conceptual connection between intentionality and rationality: intentionality requires rationality. Stich rejects the idea that intentionality requires either perfect or fixed bridgehead rationality, but he concedes that it requires minimal rationality. After explaining Stich’s position and a criticism of it offered by John Biro (...) and Kirk Ludwig, I sketch an alternative to the conceptual argument. This alternative claims that rationality requires psychological plausibility and/or smoothness of communication, not rationality. (shrink)
Today the use of English is dominant, and even epistemologists in the " use English, using " But why, and to what extent can this be justified? As the first volume ever to be dedicated solely to this topic, the papers collected here will contribute to this important topic and in epistemology in general.
In Steve Jobs and Philosophy, sixteen philosophers take a close look at the inspiring yet often baffling world of Steve Jobs. What can we learn about business ethics from the example of Jobs? What are the major virtues of a creative innovator? How could Jobs successfully defy and challenge conventional business practices? How did Jobs combine values and attitudes previously believed to be unmixable? What does it really mean to “think different”? Can entrepreneurs be made or are they (...) just born? If Jobs didn’t make any major inventions, just what was his contribution? How is Jobs’s life illuminated by Buddhism? How does a counter-culture transform mainstream culture? What does Jobs teach us about the notions of simplicity and functionality in design? How do Jobs’s achievements alter the way we think about technology in relation to human life? (shrink)
When the policies and activities of one country or generation harm both other nations and later generations, they constitute serious injustices. Recognizing the broad threat posed by anthropogenic climate change, advocates for an international climate policy development process have expressly aimed to mitigate this pressing contemporary environmental threat in a manner that promotes justice. Yet, while making justice a primary objective of global climate policy has been the movement's noblest aspiration, it remains an onerous challenge for policymakers. -/- Atmospheric Justice (...) is the first single-authored work of political theory that addresses this pressing challenge via the conceptual frameworks of justice, equality, and responsibility. Throughout this incisive study, Steve Vanderheiden points toward ways to achieve environmental justice by exploring how climate change raises issues of both international and intergenerational justice. In addition, he considers how the design of a global climate regime might take these aims into account. Engaging with the principles of renowned political philosopher John Rawls, he expands on them by factoring in the needs of future generations. Vanderheiden also demonstrates how political theory can contribute to reaching a better understanding of the proper human response to climate change. By showing how climate policy offers insights into resolving contemporary controversies within political theory, he illustrates the ways in which applying normative theory to policy allows us to better understand both. -/- Thoroughly researched and persuasively argued, Atmospheric Justice makes an important step toward providing us with a set of carefully elaborated first principles for achieving environmental justice. (shrink)
Through a collection of original essays from leading philosophical scholars, _Stich and His Critics_ provides a thorough assessment of the key themes in the career of philosopher Stephen Stich. Provides a collection of original essays from some of the world's most distinguished philosophers Explores some of philosophy's most hotly-debated contemporary topics, including mental representation, theory of mind, nativism, moral philosophy, and naturalized epistemology.
Abstract Stephen P. Stich rejects the de dicto?de re belief state and ascription distinction. He proposes an analysis by which belief sentences imply univocal doxastic predicates expressing functionally similar states of belief subjects and counterfactual third person belief ascribers, concluding that the apparent opacity of de dicto belief sentences is better explained by the unsystematic contextually?sensitive similarity vaguenesses of belief ascriptions. But Stick's reduction appeals to contexts of background beliefs which themselves unavoidably exhibit ramified de dicto?de re ambiguity. The (...) distinction is presupposed rather than eliminated by Stick's method, which effectively blocks the extensional reduction of belief state opacity. (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)
In this paper I consider Stich's principle of autonomy argument (From Folk Psychology To Cognitive Science) as an argument that computationalism is an incorrect approach to explanation and prediction in cognitive science. After considering the principle of autonomy argument in light of several computational systems and psychological examples, I conclude that the argument is unsound. I formulate my reasons for rejecting Stich's argument as unsound into the conjunction argument. Finally, I argue that the conjunction argument is sound, and (...) that its soundness adds additional plausibility to computationalism as an explanatory schema in cognitive science. (shrink)
From Descartes to Popper, philosophers have criticized and tried to improve the strategies of reasoning invoked in science and in everyday life. In recent years leading cognitive psychologists have painted a detailed, controversial, and highly critical portrait of common sense reasoning. Stephen Stich begins with a spirited defense of this work and a critique of those writers who argue that widespread irrationality is a biological or conceptual impossibility.Stich then explores the nature of rationality and irrationality: What is it (...) that distinguishes good reasoning from bad? He rejects the most widely accepted approaches to this question approaches which unpack rationality by appeal to truth, to reflective equilibrium or conceptual analysis. The alternative he defends grows out of the pragmatic tradition in which reasoning is viewed as a cognitive tool. Stich's version of pragmatism leads to a radical epistemic relativism and he argues that the widespread abhorrence of relativism is ill founded. (shrink)
In this article, we posit that a cross-scale perspective is valuable for studies of organizational resilience. Existing research in our field primarily focuses on the resilience of organizations, that is, the factors that enhance or detract from an organization’s viability in the face of threat. While this organization level focus makes important contributions to theory, organizational resilience is also intrinsically dependent upon the resilience of broader social-ecological systems in which the firm is embedded. Moreover, long-term organizational resilience cannot be well (...) managed without an understanding of the feedback effects across nested systems. For instance, a narrow focus on optimizing organizational resilience from one firm’s perspective may come at the expense of social-ecological functioning and ultimately undermine managers’ efforts at long-term organizational survival. We suggest that insights from natural science may help organizational scholars to examine cross-scale resilience and conceptualize organizational actions within and across temporal and spatial dynamics. We develop propositions taking a complex adaptive systems perspective to identify issues related to focal scale, slow variables and feedback, and diversity and redundancy. We illustrate our theoretical argument using an example of Unilever and palm oil production in Borneo. (shrink)
Recently psychologists and experimental philosophers have reported findings showing that in some cases ordinary people's moral intuitions are affected by factors of dubious relevance to the truth of the content of the intuition. Some defend the use of intuition as evidence in ethics by arguing that philosophers are the experts in this area, and philosophers' moral intuitions are both different from those of ordinary people and more reliable. We conducted two experiments indicating that philosophers and non-philosophers do indeed sometimes have (...) different moral intuitions, but challenging the notion that philosophers have better or more reliable intuitions. (shrink)
In this book, Stich unravels - or deconstructs - the doctrine called "eliminativism". Eliminativism claims that beliefs, desires, and many other mental states we use to describe the mind do not exist, but are fiction posits of a badly mistaken theory of "folk psychology". Stich makes a u-turn in his book, opening up new and controversial positions.
This book criticizes the common belief that we are entitled to exploit animals for our benefit because they are not as rational as people. After discussing the moral (in)significance of reason in general, the author proceeds to develop a clear, commonsensical conception of what "animal rights" is about and why everyday morality points toward the liberation of animals as the next logical step in Western moral progress. The book evaluates criticisms of animal rights that have appeared in recent philosophical literature (...) and explains the consequences of animal liberation for our diet, science, and treatment of the environment.The issue of animal rights has become of increasing philosophical and popular importance over the past decade. Morals. Reason, and Animals is the first extensive, second-generation contribution to this debate. Focusing exclusively on the fundamental philosophical issues, Sapontzis both undermines the arguments that have been raised against animal rights and constructs a rebuttal that avoids the pitfalls encountered by earlier defenses. Author note: S. F. Sapontzis is Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Hayward. (shrink)
Can an event’s blameworthiness distort whether people see it as intentional? In controversial recent studies, people judged a behavior’s negative side effect intentional even though the agent allegedly had no desire for it to occur. Such a judgment contradicts the standard assumption that desire is a necessary condition of intentionality, and it raises concerns about assessments of intentionality in legal settings. Six studies examined whether blameworthy events distort intentionality judgments. Studies 1 through 4 show that, counter to recent claims, intentionality (...) judgments are systematically guided by variations in the agent’s desire, for moral and nonmoral actions alike. Studies 5 and 6 show that a behavior’s negative side effects are rarely seen as intentional once people are allowed to choose from multiple descriptions of the behavior. Specifically, people distinguish between “knowingly” and “intentionally” bringing about a side effect, even for immoral actions. These studies suggest that intentionality judgments are unaffected by a behavior’s blameworthiness. (shrink)
The phenomenon of anthropogenic climate change—in which weather patterns and attendant ecological disruption result from increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere through human activities—challenges several conventional assumptions regarding moral responsibility. Multifarious individual acts and choices contribute (often imperceptibly) to the causal chain that is expected to produce profound and lasting harm unless significant mitigation efforts begin soon. Attributing responsibility for such harmful consequences is complicated by what Derek Parfit terms “mistakes in moral mathematics,” or failures to correctly (...) assess the various individual contributions to collectively produced harm. Combined with the difficulties in attributingresponsibility to agents for spatially and temporally distant harmful effects and that of holding agents culpable for effects (resulting from socially-acceptable acts) about which they may be ignorant, this paper attempts to sort out several ethical problems surrounding the identification of responsible parties contributing to climate change. (shrink)
Moral judgments about an agent's behavior are enmeshed with inferences about the agent's mind. Folk psychology—the system that enables such inferences—therefore lies at the heart of moral judgment. We examine three related folk-psychological concepts that together shape people's judgments of blame: intentionality, choice, and free will. We discuss people's understanding and use of these concepts, address recent findings that challenge the autonomous role of these concepts in moral judgment, and conclude that choice is the fundamental concept of the three, defining (...) the core of folk psychology in moral judgment. (shrink)
In what ways should we include future humanoid robots, and other kinds of artificial agents, in our moral universe? We consider the Organic view, which maintains that artificial humanoid agents, based on current computational technologies, could not count as full-blooded moral agents, nor as appropriate targets of intrinsic moral concern. On this view, artificial humanoids lack certain key properties of biological organisms, which preclude them from having full moral status. Computationally controlled systems, however advanced in their cognitive or informational capacities, (...) are, it is proposed, unlikely to possess sentience and hence will fail to be able to exercise the kind of empathic rationality that is a prerequisite for being a moral agent. The organic view also argues that sentience and teleology require biologically based forms of self-organization and autonomous self-maintenance. The organic view may not be correct, but at least it needs to be taken seriously in the future development of the field of Machine Ethics. (shrink)
Samuels and Stich explore the debate over the extent to which ordinary human reasoning and decision making is rational. One prominent cluster of views, often associated with the heuristics and biases tradition in psychology, maintains that human reasoning is, in important respects, normatively problematic or irrational. Samuels and Stich start by sketching some key experimental findings from this tradition and describe a range of pessimistic claims about the rationality of ordinary people that these and related findings are sometimes (...) taken to support. Such pessimistic interpretations of the experimental findings have not gone unchallenged however: Samuels and Stich outline some of the research on reasoning that has been done by evolutionary psychologists and sketch a cluster of more optimistic theses about ordinary reasoning that such psychologists defend. Although Samuels and Stich think that the most dire pronouncements made by writers in the heuristics and biases tradition are unwarranted, they also maintain that the situation is rather more pessimistic than sometimes suggested by evolutionary psychologists. They conclude by defending this “middle way” and sketch a family of “dual processing” theories of reasoning which, they argue, offer some support for the moderate interpretation they advocate. (shrink)