What do we see? We are visually conscious of colors and shapes, but are we also visually conscious of complex properties such as being John Malkovich? In this book, Susanna Siegel develops a framework for understanding the contents of visual experience, and argues that these contents involve all sorts of complex properties. Siegel starts by analyzing the notion of the contents of experience, and by arguing that theorists of all stripes should accept that experiences have contents. She then (...) introduces a method for discovering the contents of experience: the method of phenomenal contrast. This method relies only minimally on introspection, and allows rigorous support for claims about experience. She then applies the method to make the case that we are conscious of many kinds of properties, of all sorts of causal properties, and of many other complex properties. She goes on to use the method to help analyze difficult questions about our consciousness of objects and their role in the contents of experience, and to reconceptualize the distinction between perception and sensation. Siegel's results are important for many areas of philosophy, including the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and the philosophy of science. They are also important for the psychology and cognitive neuroscience of vision. (shrink)
In 1905 two different etiologic agents for syphilis were proposed in Berlin, one, the Cytorrhyctes luis, by John Siegel, the other, Spirochaete pallida, by Fritz Schaudinn. Both scientists were pupils of Franz Eilhard Schulze, and were outsiders to the Berlin medical establishment. Both belonged to the same thought collective, used the same thought style, and started from the same supposition that the etiologic agent of syphilis must be a protist. Both used the same morphological approach, the same microscopes and (...) the same stains. Both presented their findings in the same societies, used the same rhetoric, published in the same journals, used the same arguments to criticise each other's shortcomings. Both were backed by powerful institutions and enlisted the support of prestigious patrons. Within half a year, the scientific community at large had in its overwhelming majority accepted Schaudinn's results and rejected those of Siegel. Social forces thus cannot be shown to have played any role in deciding the issue. Ludwik Fleck's suggestion that 'appropriate influence' and a 'proper measure of publicity throughout the thought collective' would have been sufficient for Siegel's ideas to win the day is untenable. (shrink)
Patient advocacy organizations provide patient- and caregiver-oriented education, advocacy, and support services. PAOs are formally organized nonprofit groups that concern themselves with medical conditions or potential medical conditions and have a mission and take actions that seek to help people affected by those medical conditions or to help their families. Examples of PAOs include the American Cancer Society, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the American Heart Association. These organizations advocate for, and provide services to, millions of people with (...) physical and mental conditions — such as cancer, mental illness, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease — via their outreach, meetings, counseling, websites, and published materials. A PAO usually seeks to raise public awareness of a disease’s symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options and promotes research to cure or to prevent that disease. (shrink)
Patient advocacy organizations (PAOs) advocate for increased research funding and policy changes and provide services to patients and their families. Given their credibility and political clout, PAOs are often successful in changing policies, increasing research funding, and increasing public awareness of medical conditions and the problems of their constituents. In order to advance their missions, PAOs accept funding, frequently from pharmaceutical firms. Industry funding can help PAOs advance their goals but can also create conflicts of interest (COI). Research indicates that (...) bias may occur, even among well-meaning professionals, when people and organizations have financial COI. Industry funding may therefore influence PAOs to act in ways that favor the interests of their donors, which may increase the risk of harm to patients. This article extends the analysis developed in the Institute of Medicine report, Conflicts of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice, and applies the analysis to understand PAOs and their relationships with industry. It argues that the preferred goal of institutional COI policies should not be to promote trust, but to promote trustworthiness and appropriately placed trust. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that it's possible that the contents of some visual experiences are influenced by the subject's prior beliefs, hopes, suspicions, desires, fears or other mental states, and that this possibility places constraints on the theory of perceptual justification that 'dogmatism' or 'phenomenal conservativism' cannot respect.
In Educating Reason, Harvey Siegel presented the case regarding rationality and critical thinking as fundamental education ideals. In Rationality Redeemed? , a collection of essays written since that time, he develops this view, responds to major criticisms raised against it, and engages those critics in dialogue. In developing his ideas and responding to critics, Siegel addresses main currents in contemporary thought, including feminism, postmodernism and multiculturalism.
In discussions of perception and its relation to knowledge, it is common to distinguish what one comes to believe on the basis of perception from the distinctively perceptual basis of one's belief. The distinction can be drawn in terms of propositional contents: there are the contents that a perceiver comes to believe on the basis of her perception, on the one hand; and there are the contents properly attributed to perception itself, on the other. Consider the content.
There is an important division in the human mind between perception and reasoning. We reason from information that we have already, but perception is a means of taking in new information. Susanna Siegel argues that these two aspects of the mind become deeply intertwined when beliefs, fears, desires, or prejudice influence what we perceive.
In this paper I offer a theory of what makes certain influences on visual experiences by prior mental states (including desires, beliefs, moods, and fears) reduce the justificatory force of those experiences. The main idea is that experiences, like beliefs, can have rationally assessable etiologies, and when those etiologies are irrational, the experiences are epistemically downgraded.
An overview of the epistemology of perception, covering the nature of justification, immediate justification, the relationship between the metaphysics of perceptual experience and its rational role, the rational role of attention, and cognitive penetrability. The published version will contain a smaller bibliography, due to space constraints in the volume.
To make a business case for corporate sustainability, firms must be able to sell their sustainable products. The influence that firm engagement with non-governmental organizations may have on consumer adoption of sustainable products has been neglected in previous research. We address this by embedding corporate sustainability in a cosmopolitan framework that connects firms, consumers, and civil society organizations based on the understanding of responsibility for global humanity that underlies both the sustainability and cosmopolitanism concepts. We hypothesize that firms’ sustainability engagement (...) and their NGO engagement influence consumer adoption of sustainable products. Empirically, we investigate the adoption of sustainable Eco-circle products made from recycled fibers marketed by Li Ning, a China-based global sportswear brand. We apply a stepwise regression approach to test our hypotheses with paper-and-pencil survey data from 217 Chinese consumers. We find adoption to be positively associated with consumers’ sustainability attitude but not with firms’ sustainability engagement. For firm–NGO engagement, these relationships are reversed: Adoption is positively associated with firm–NGO engagement, but not with consumers’ related attitude. Our results present a picture of the Chinese context in which there is a business case for corporate sustainability if firms’ words about sustainable product strategies are supported by signals from civil society about firm deeds. The results imply that in a Chinese context, firms need to be particularly aware of the role of NGOs when hoping to be rewarded for sustainability. (shrink)
Can perceptual experiences be states of uncertainty? We might expect them to be, if the perceptual processes from which they're generated, as well as the behaviors they help produce, take account of probabilistic information. Yet it has long been presumed that perceptual experiences purport to tell us about our environment, without hedging or qualifying. Against this long-standing view, I argue that perceptual experiences may well occasionally be states of uncertainty, but that they are never probabilistically structured. I criticize a powerful (...) line of reasoning that we should expect perceptual experience to be probabilistic, given their interfaces with unconscious probabilistic information, with behavior responsive to it, and with credences. (shrink)
Includes a summary of my book *The Rationality of Perception* (Oxford, 2017) and replies to commentaries on it by Endre Begby, Harmen Ghijsen, and Katia Samoilova. These commentaries and my summary and replies will be published soon in Analysis Reviews. Begby focuses on my analysis of the epistemic features of the interface between individual minds and their cultural milieu (discussed in chapter 10 of *The Rationality of Perception*), Ghijsen focuses on the notion of inference and reliabilism (chapters 5 and 6), (...) and Samoilova focuses on the relationship between epistemic charge (chapter 3) and shifts in the amount of justification needed for knowledge. (shrink)
I discuss the roles of journalism in aspirational democracies, and argue that they generate set of pressures on attention that apply to people by virtue of the type of society they live in. These pressures, I argue, generate a problem of democratic attention: for journalism to play its roles in democracy, the attentional demands must be met, but there are numerous obstacles to meeting them. I propose a principle of salience to guide the selection and framing of news stories that (...) I argue may help address the puzzle: the public-as-protagonist principle. -/- . (shrink)
This paper makes the case that when wishful thinking ill-founds belief, the belief depends on the desire in ways can be recapitulated at the level of perceptual experience. The relevant kinds of desires include motivations, hopes, preferences, and goals. I distinguish between two modes of dependence of belief on desire in wishful thinking: selective or inquiry-related, and responsive or evidence-related. I offers a theory of basing on which beliefs are badly-based on desires, due to patterns of dependence that can found (...) in the relationship between experiences and desires as well. This conclusion brings us a large part of the way to the conclusion that like beliefs, experiences can be ill-founded by depending on a desire. (shrink)
Siegel defends "Limited Intentionism", a theory of what secures the semantic reference of uses of bare demonstratives ("this", "that" and their plurals). According to Limited Intentionism, demonstrative reference is fixed by perceptually anchored intentions on the part of the speaker.
In Biro and Siegel we argued that a theory of argumentation mustfully engage the normativity of judgments about arguments, and we developedsuch a theory. In this paper we further develop and defend our theory.
I argue that inference can tolerate forms of self-ignorance and that these cases of inference undermine canonical models of inference on which inferrers have to appreciate (or purport to appreciate) the support provided by the premises for the conclusion. I propose an alternative model of inference that belongs to a family of rational responses in which the subject cannot pinpoint exactly what she is responding to or why, where this kind of self-ignorance does nothing to undermine the intelligence of the (...) response. (shrink)
Early formulations of disjunctivism about perception refused to give any positive account of the nature of hallucination, beyond the uncontroversial fact that they can in some sense seem to the same to the subject as veridical perceptions. Recently, some disjunctivists have attempt to account for hallucination in purely epistemic terms, by developing detailed account of what it is for a hallucinaton to be indiscriminable from a veridical perception. In this paper I argue that the prospects for purely epistemic treatments of (...) hallucinations are dim, and that this undermines the case for disjunctivism. (shrink)
This article discusses the current ‘popularity’ of trauma research in the Humanities and examines the ethics and politics of trauma theory, as exemplified in the writings of Caruth and Felman and Laub.Written from a position informed by Laplanchian and object relations psychoanalytic theory, it begins by examining and offering a critique of trauma theory's model of subjectivity, and its relations with theories of referentiality and representation, history and testimony. Next, it proposes that although trauma theory's subject matter—the sufferings of others—makes (...) critique difficult, the theory's politics, its exclusions and inclusions, and its unconscious drives and desires are as deserving of attention as those of any other theory. Arguing that the political and cultural contexts within which this theory has risen to prominence have remained largely unexamined, the article concludes by proposing that trauma theory needs to act as a brake against rather than as a vehicle for cultural and political Manicheanism. (shrink)
My contribution to the first round of a tetralog with Bill Brewer, Anil Gupta, and John McDowell. Each of us has written a response to the writings of the other three philosophers on the topic "Empirical Reason". My initial contribution focuses on what we know a priori about perception. In the second round, we will each respond to the each writer's first-round contributions.
I argue that there are phenomenological constraints on what it is to see an object, and that these are overlooked by some theories that offer allegedly sufficient causal and counterfactual conditions on object-seeing.
In two recent papers, I criticized Ronald N. Giere's and Larry Laudan's arguments for 'naturalizing' the philosophy of science (Siegel 1989, 1990). Both Giere and Laudan replied to my criticisms (Giere 1989, Laudan 1990b). The key issue arising in both interchanges is these naturalists' embrace of instrumental conceptions of rationality, and their concomitant rejection of non-instrumental conceptions of that key normative notion. In this reply I argue that their accounts of science's rationality as exclusively instrumental fail, and consequently that (...) their cases for 'normatively naturalizing' the philosophy of science fail as well. (shrink)
Reichenbach's well-known distinction between the context of discovery and the context of justification has recently come under attack from several quarters. In this paper I attempt to reconsider the distinction and evaluate various recent criticisms of it. These criticisms fall into two main groups: those which directly challenge Reichenbach's distinction; and those which (I argue) indirectly but no less seriously challenge that distinction by rejecting the related distinction between psychology and epistemology, and defending the "naturalizing" of epistemology. I argue that (...) these recent criticisms fail, and that the distinction remains an important conceptual tool necessary for an adequate understanding of the way in which scientific claims purport to appropriately portray our natural environment. (shrink)