Dennett and Kinsbourne argue that metacontrast backward visual masking provides a clear illustration that ‘there is really only a verbal difference’ between two versions of the Cartesian Theater model of the mind. This alleged lack of a distinction is both the crucial premise of their main argument against the Cartesian Theater and a motivator for accepting their own Multiple Drafts model. I argue that metacontrast reveals a difference between the two versions of the Cartesian Theater that meets criteria found in (...) for determining such a difference. This difference undermines the soundness of their argument against the Cartesian Theater, and exerts pressure on Dennett and Kinsbourne to offer a more detailed articulation of their model. Introduction Brief Explanation of Metacontrast Backward Visual Masking The Stalinesque and Orwellian Models of Metacontrast 3.1 Criteria for determining a difference A Difference That Makes a Difference 4.1 Skeptical hypothesis objection Other Objections and Replies 5.1 Straw person objection 5.2 Corroborative issues objection Conclusion. (shrink)
Any theoretician constructing a serious model of consciousness should carefully assess the details of empirical data generated in the neurosciences and psychology. A failure to account for those details may cast doubt on the adequacy of that model. This paper presents a case in point. Dennett and Kinsbourne's (Dennett, D., & Kinsbourne, M. (1992). Time and the observer: The where and when of consciousness in the brain. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 15, 183-243) assault on the materialist version of the Cartesian (...) Theater model of the mind relies significantly on the superiority of their Multiple Drafts model of consciousness as an explanation of the phenomenon of metacontrast. However, their description of metacontrast is, in important ways, inadequate. The result is that their explanation of how the Multiple Drafts model handles this phenomenon fails to account for the actual data. In this paper I offer a more complete description of metacontrast, show how Dennett and Kinsbourne's explanation fails, and argue that there are good theoretical reasons for choosing the so-called Stalinesque model over the so-called Orwellian model. (shrink)
Is time travel just a confusing plot device deployed by science fiction authors and Hollywood filmmakers to amaze and amuse? Or might empirical data prompt a scientific hypothesis of time travel? Structured on a fascinating dialogue involving ...
According to Steven Weinberg, it is the goal of elementary particle physics to search for the final laws of physics, i.e. a simple set of principles from which everything we know about physics can be derived. The main criterion that guides the search for such a set of principles is, according to the author, the sense of inevitability of physical theories, which Weinberg conflates with the idea of beauty. The theoretical physicists’ task is, in this sense, to look for (...) constraining principles, such as symmetries and renormalizability, that increase the sense of inevitability of physical laws. It is the goal of this paper to discuss Weinberg’s arguments in favor of reductionism, as well as his conception of final theory and the associated concept of “inevitability.”. (shrink)
Future work is needed to establish that pure short-term memory is a coherent individual difference attribute that is separable from traditional compound short-term memory measures. Psychometric support for latent pure short-term memory capacity will provide an important starting point for future fine-grained analyses of the intrinsic factors that influence individual differences in math skills.
The physics and metaphysics of identity and individuality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9463-7 Authors Don Howard, Department of Philosophy and Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Elena Castellani, Department of Philosophy, University of Florence, Via Bolognese 52, 50139 (...) Florence, Italy Laura Crosilla, Department of Pure Mathematics, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Décio Krause, Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88040-900 Campus Trindade, Florianópolis, SC Brazil Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
First, I briefly recapitulate the main points of Rosen’s article, namely, that the word “Being” does not adequately signify the paradoxical unification of subject and object and that the Klein bottle can serve as a more appropriate sign -vehicle than the word. I then propose to apply his insight more widely; however, in order to do that, it is first necessary to identify infra- and exostructures of language, including culture, category structure, logic, metaphor, semantics, syntax, concept, and sign vehicles, that (...) preserve the status quo and keep subject and object disjunct. After analyzing those infra/exostructures, I engage a complementary process of integrating them, coagula, in order to spark ideas for innovating ways in which more of those facets of language can embrace paradox. (shrink)
In a recent article Steven Cowan defended the claim that female subordination and male authority are merely functional differences. Drawing insights from Natural Law, I argue that complementarianism typically speaks of these as proper functions of male and female designs, thus making men and women metaphysically unequal in being. Furthermore, I maintain that the function "serving as a means to an end" is less valuable than the function "having the authority to direct the end." Hence, Cowan fails to defeat (...) the objection that the claim that women are equal to men in being, but subordinate in role is incoherent. (shrink)
Otávio Bueno* * and Steven French.** ** Applying Mathematics: Immersion, Inference, Interpretation. Oxford University Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-0-19-881504-4 978-0-19-185286-2. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198815044. 001.0001. Pp. xvii + 257.
In my review of Steven French's The structure of the world. Metaphysics & Representation. OUP, Oxford, 2014 I argue that the author is forced to navigate between the Scilla of Tegmark’s Pitagoreanism (2008) and the Carybdis of “blobobjectivism” (Horgan and Potrč 2008), namely the claim that the whole physical universe is a single concrete structurally complex but partless cosmos (a “blob”).
Steven Pinker's "Enlightenment NOW" is in many ways a terrific book, from which I have learnt much. But it is also deeply flawed. Science and reason are at the heart of the book, but the conceptions that Steven Pinker defends are damagingly irrational. And these defective conceptions of science and reason, as a result of being associated with the Enlightenment Programme for the past two or three centuries, have been responsible, in part, for the genesis of the global (...) problems we now suffer from, and our current inability to deal with them properly. There is not a glimmering of an awareness of any of this in Pinker’s book. This flaw in Enlightenment NOW is serious indeed. (shrink)
Patrick Todd has recently fashioned a novel argument for incompatibilism, the Moral-Standing Zygote Argument. Todd considers much-discussed cases in which a manipulator causes an agent in a deterministic scenario to act morally wrongly from compatibilist-friendly conditions for freedom and moral responsibility. The manipulator, Todd contends, does not have the standing to blame the manipulated agent, and the best explanation for this is that incompatibilism is true. This is why the manipulated agent is not blameworthy. In this paper, (...) I counter Todd on behalf of the compatibilist, arguing that the best explanation for the manipulator's lack of moral standing to blame is due to the manipulator's intending to cause the manipulated agent to do wrong. (shrink)
I answer Alvin Plantinga's challenge to provide a ‘proper’ de jure objection to religious belief. What I call the ‘sophisticates’ evidential objection' concludes that sophisticated Christians lack epistemic justification for believing central Christian propositions. The SEO utilizes a theory of epistemic justification in the spirit of the evidentialism of Richard Feldman and Earl Conee. I defend philosophical interest in the SEO against objections from Reformed epistemology, by addressing Plantinga's criteria for a proper de jure objection, his anti-evidentialist arguments, and the (...) relevance of ‘impulsional evidence’. I argue that no result from Plantinga-style Reformed epistemology precludes the reasons I offer in favour of giving the SEO its due philosophical attention. (shrink)
As an emerging discipline, neuroeconomics faces considerable methodological and practical challenges. In this paper, I suggest that these challenges can be understood by exploring the similarities and dissimilarities between the emergence of neuroeconomics and the emergence of cognitive and computational neuroscience two decades ago. From these parallels, I suggest the major challenge facing theory formation in the neural and behavioural sciences is that of being under-constrained by data, making a detailed understanding of physical implementation necessary for theory construction in neuroeconomics. (...) Rather than following a top-down strategy, neuroeconomists should be pragmatic in the use of available data from animal models, information regarding neural pathways and projections, computational models of neural function, functional imaging and behavioural data. By providing convergent evidence across multiple levels of organization, neuroeconomics will have its most promising prospects of success. (shrink)
This paper responds to criticism presented by Steven Bland of my naturalistic approach to epistemic relativism. In my view, the central argument for epistemic relativism derives from the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. This opens relativism to an anti-sceptical response. I combine Roderick Chisholm’s particularist response to the problem of the criterion with a reliabilist conception of epistemic warrant. A distinction is made between epistemic norms which provide genuine warrant and those which do not. On the basis of this (...) distinction, we may reject the relativist claim that all epistemic norms have equal standing. I consider three points made by Bland against my position. These relate to epistemic pluralism, the relevance of evolution to epistemic pluralism, and empirical evidence as a basic source of knowledge. (shrink)
In their essay 'Living Well', Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano argue that to live a meaningful life all we must do is find personal satisfaction and enjoyment. They argue against other philosophers who claim that 'objectively valuable' activities are what make a life meaningful. There are two problems with what they argue in the essay. The first relates to a particular criticism they make of some of those philosophers taking the contrary view, in regards to the difficulty those (...) philosophers have in deeming what is and is not of objective value. The second is more specifically to do with Cahn's and Vitrano's rejection of the idea that objectively valuable activities are what make a life meaningful, worthwhile. But both problems result from their introducing morality as relevant to what makes a life meaningful or not. (shrink)
Review of: R. Steven Turner, In the Eye's Mind: Vision and the Helmholtz-Hering Controversy. xiv + 338 pp., frontis., illus., figs., tables, bibl., index. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994.
The prisoner 's dilemma game has acquired large literatures in several disciplines. It is surprising, therefore, that a good definition of the game is hard to find. Typically an author relates a story about captured criminals or military rivals, provides a particular payoff matrix and asserts that the PD is characterized, or illustrated, by that matrix. In the few cases in which characterizing conditions are given, the conditions, and the motivations for them, do not always agree with each other or (...) with the paradigm examples elsewhere. In this paper we describe several varieties of PD's. In particular, we suggest there are two distinctions among PD's with philosophical significance, the pure/impure and the utilitarian/nonutilitarian distinctions. In the first section, we explain and characterize the two distinctions. In the second, we discuss an issue of moral philosophy that illustrates the significance of the former. (shrink)
Some philosophers such as Ninian Smart have claimed that mystics from different religious traditions may sometimes have the same experience , while nevertheless giving different and tradition-bound descriptive reports of that experience. In two important essays, Steven Katz has challenged such a claim. Mystics from different religious traditions do not have the same experience.
Steven Crowell’s book is a welcome addition to the literature in phenomenology as well as a demonstration of the importance of phenomenology for those working in other areas of contemporary philosophy, especially those areas of Anglo-American philosophy concerned with normativity, meaning and the philosophy of action. Through a series of thirteen independent but thematically linked essays, he offers a novel account of the importance of normativity to phenomenology, a carefully argued re-thinking of the Husserlian and early Heideggerian accounts of (...) intentionality in light of this account, and ample considerations of the relevance of this reading—and of the classical phenomenological tradition more generally—for broader issues of contemporary philosophical concern.Part I lays out Crowell’s conception of phenomenology as transcendental philosophy in the Kantian tradition and explains his special emphasis on meaning and normativity. He takes as his starting point a very broad conception o .. (shrink)
In seinem neuen Buch vertieft Steven Crowell seine Auffassung der Phänomenologie als Transzendentalphilosophie, die es mit dem normativen Raum des Sinnes (space of meaning) zu tun habe (vgl. Crowell 2001). Sowohl Husserl als auch Heidegger führen aus seiner Sicht innerhalb der Phänomenologie die kantische Tradition der Transzendentalphilosophie weiter, indem sie der Frage nach den „transzendentalen Bedingungen der Konstitution oder Enthüllung des Sinnes“ (S. 1) nachgehen.Vgl. auch den von Steven Crowell mit herausgegebenen Band Transcendental Heidegger (2007). Da der Sinn (...) aber Crowell zufolge Normativität impliziert, hat die von ihm vertretene phänomenologische Transzendentalphilosophie einen neukantianischen Zug (vgl. S. 10). Von den vier Teilen des Buches befassen sich die ersten beiden im Wesentlichen mit Husserl, während der dritte und vierte Teil auf Heidegger eingehen. Dieser Aufbau begründet sich dadurch, dass Crowell anstatt des Bruches vielmehr die Kontinuität zwischen Husserl. (shrink)
The work of Arthur de Gobineau has presented scholars with a number of interpretive problems concerning his status as a race theorist, his place in the history of racial thought, and the influence of his work on subsequent thinkers. This essay addresses the particularly vexing issue of the origins of Gobineau's racism from the perspective of his affiliation with French royalists in the 1840s and challenges the existing scholarship on the derivation of L'Essai sur l'inégalité des races humaines by placing (...) the Essai in the context of his international experience as a member of the French diplomatic corps. Although disillusioned with legitimist politics during the July Monarchy, Gobineau never abandoned his youthful ideological priorities. From the perspective of his royalist past, the Essai appears as part of an extended rumination on the decadence of the French aristocracy and its failure to stem the tide of revolution and bureaucratic centralization. As such, Gobineau's racism can best be understood as a royalist heresy rather than a continuation of his aristocratic elitism or a clean break with his earlier preoccupations. (shrink)
Modern law and economics received much of its impetus from Ronald Coase's analysis in ‘The Problem of Social Cost,’ and a goodly amount of that comes from the Coase theorem, which states that, absent transaction costs, externalities will be efficiently resolved through bargaining. The fact that the analysis that came to be codified in the Coase theorem was an exercise in pure fiction on Coase's part did not deter the erection of a substantial edifice of positive and normative analysis on (...) this foundation, nor, for that matter, has subsequent elaboration of Coase's intent done anything to abate the interest in the theorem and its implications. (shrink)
This article critically analyzes two leading cognitive scientists, George Lakoff and Steven Pinker, as competing secular political “theologians”. The idea of Science as savior is at the heart of the set of stories modernity tells about itself. The modern world, it is assumed, has left the age of religion and reached the age of Science. Lakoff and Pinker, who advocate opposing moral and political worldviews, make their claims on the basis of their scientific work, but it is implicit narratives (...) and ontologies that give force to their broader views about morality and politics. (shrink)
Claire Katz & Lara Trout, Emmanuel Levinas. Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers ; Thomas Bedorf, Andreas Cremonini, Verfehlte Begegnung. Levinas und Sartre als philosophische Zeitgenossen ; Samuel Moyn, Origins of the Other: Emmanuel Levinas between Revelation and Ethics ; Pascal Delhom & Alfred Hirsch, Im Angesicht der Anderen. Levinas’ Philosophie des Politischen ; Sharon Todd, Learning from the other: Levinas, psychoanalysis and ethical possibilities in education ; Michel Henry, Le bonheur de Spinoza, suivi de: Etude sur le spinozisme de (...) Michel Henry, par Jean-Michel Longneaux ; Jean-François Lavigne, Husserl et la naissance de la phénoménologie. Des Recherches logiques aux Ideen: la genèse de l’idéalisme transcendantal phénoménologique ; Denis Seron, Objet et signification ; Dan Zahavi, Sara Heinämaa and Hans Ruin, Metaphysics, Facticity, Interpretation. Phenomenology in The Nordic Countries ; Dimitri Ginev, Entre anthropologie et herméneutique ; Magdalena Mărculescu-Cojocea, Critica metafizicii la Kant şi Heidegger. Problema subiectivităţii: raţiunea între autonomie şi deconstrucţie. (shrink)
Pragmatism’s star in the field of rhetorical studies continues to rise, with more and more scholars mining the depths of figures such as Dewey, James, Addams, and beyond for rhetorically useful material. Part of the challenge comes from the complex historical context that such thinkers are embedded in; another challenge stems from pragmatism’s own commitment to praxis over the production of abstract—and all too often academic—theories divorced from the historical-material conditions of their emergence. Often, its best thinkers are those who (...) both engage in political practice and guide criticism instead of those who exclusively write scholarly books removed from the world of praxis. Steven Mailloux is one of the... (shrink)
Steven French and Décio Krause have written what bids fair to be, for years to come, the definitive philosophical treatment of the problem of the individuality of elementary particles in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. The book begins with a long and dense argument for the view that elementary particles are most helpfully regarded as non-individuals, and it concludes with an earnest attempt to develop a formal apparatus for describing such non-individual entities better suited to the task than (...) our customary set theory. Along the way one is treated to a compendious philosophical history of quantum statistics and a well-nigh exhaustive (I’m tempted to say, “exhausting”) analytical history of philosophical responses to the quantum theory’s prima facie challenge to classical notions of particle individuality. The book is also a salvo from the headquarters artillery company of the “pro” side in the contemporary structuralism wars, and an essay in metaphysical naturalism. Whew! There are too many places where the friendly critic wants to engage the argument, and few where the authors have not already anticipated such engagement. I take this as my excuse, then, for offering not any systematic response to the whole project, but just some questions and observations about several points that caught my attention. (shrink)
The portrayal of novel neurotechnologies in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report serves to inoculate viewers from important moral considerations that are displaced by the film’s somewhat singular emphasis on the question of how to reintroduce freedom of choice into an otherwise technology driven world. This sets up a crisis mentality and presents a false dilemma regarding the appropriate use, and regulation, of neurotechnologies. On the one hand, it seems that centralized power is required to both control and effectively implement such (...) technologies and, on the other hand, individual heroic resistance is required to protect citizens from the invasions of personal privacy and state control made possible through neurotechnologies. While Minority Report, as a dystopic vision of emergent neurotechnologies, engages surface ethical issues it risks cheapening them through its rather simplistic, dichotomous analysis. Most conspicuously absent from this approach is a sense of the social matrices that work to circumscribe or augment expressions of human freedom, privacy, control and power that are all implicated in our engagement with novel neurotechnologies. Were Minority Report unique in this respect it would have little interest, but we think this type of cheapening of ethical discourse about novel technologies is common. Because science fiction film informs the social imaginary in which ethical considerations and ultimately policy decisions take place, such cheapening risks subverting pervasive and tangible ethical issues by focusing on the sensationalistic and simplistic. (shrink)
The article contests Affeldt's critique of Mulhall's "Stanley Cavell: Philosophy's Recounting of the Ordinary," by asking how deep the conflict between what Affeldt proposes as Cavell's account of Wittgenstein's notion of grammar and that of Baker and Hacker really goes. It argues that Affeldt's critique is successful against one interpretation of the claims that grammar consists of a framework of rules and that criteria function as a basis for judgment, but that other interpretations of these claims are available and appear (...) consistent with both Cavell's and Wittgenstein's positions. It concludes by suggesting that the real issue is how to combine a sense of the normativity of grammar with that of the role of the personal in grounding grammatical remarks. (shrink)
After more than a decade of reflection on obedience experiments based on a laboratory model of his own design, the social psychologist Stanley Milgram is clearly confident that the experimental results make a substantial and striking contribution towards understanding human nature: Something … dangerous is revealed: the capacity for man to abandon his humanity, indeed, the inevitability that he does so, as he merges his unique personality into larger institutional structures.
From the AI point of view, consciousness must be regarded as a collection of interacting processes rather than the unitary object of much philosophical speculation. We ask what kinds of propositions and other entities need to be designed for consciousness to be useful to an animal or a machine. We thereby assert that human consciousness is useful to human functioning and not just and epiphenomenon. Zombies in the sense of Todd Moody's article are merely the victims of Moody's prejudices. (...) To behave like humans, zombies will need what Moody might call pseudo-consciousness, but useful pseudo-consciousness will share all the observable qualities of human consciousness including what the zombie will be able to report. Robots will require a pseudo-consciousness with many of the intellectual qualities of human consciousness but will function successfully with few if any human emotional conscious qualities if that is how we choose to build them. (shrink)