The problem of imaginative resistance holds interest for aestheticians, literary theorists, ethicists, philosophers of mind, and epistemologists. We present a somewhat opinionated overview of the philosophical discussion to date. We begin by introducing the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. We then review existing responses to the problem, giving special attention to recent research directions. Finally, we consider the philosophical significance that imaginative resistance has—or, at least, is alleged to have—for issues in moral psychology, theories of cognitive architecture, and modal epistemology.
The capacity to represent things to ourselves as possible plays a crucial role both in everyday thinking and in philosophical reasoning; this volume offers much-needed philosophical illumination of conceivability, possibility, and the relations between them.
I introduce and argue for the importance of a cognitive state that I call alief. An alief is, to a reasonable approximation, an innate or habitual propensity to respond to an apparent stimulus in a particular way. Recognizing the role that alief plays in our cognitive repertoire provides a framework for understanding reactions that are governed by nonconscious or automatic mechanisms, which in turn brings into proper relief the role played by reactions that are subject to conscious regulation and deliberate (...) control. (shrink)
This book offers a novel analysis of the widely-used but ill-understood technique of thought experiment. The author argues that the powers and limits of this methodology can be traced to the fact that when the contemplation of an imaginary scenario brings us to new knowledge, it does so by forcing us to make sense of exceptional cases.
The Human Animal is an extended defense of what its author calls the Biological Approach to personal identity: that you and I are human animals, and that the identity conditions under which we endure are those which apply to us as biological organisms. The somewhat surprising corollary of this view is that no sort of psychological continuity is either necessary or sufficient for a human animal—and thus for us—to persist through time. In challenging the hegemony of Psychological Approaches to personal (...) identity, Olson offers a number of inventive and original arguments which are certain to evoke discussion and debate. (shrink)
Towards Justice and Virtue is Onora O’Neill’s most developed account thus far of her distinctive approach to moral and political philosophy. Readers who are already familiar with O’Neill’s articles and her two previous books will appreciate the way it brings together in one sustained and rigorous argument the various themes which have occupied her attention over the years. Those who are new to O’Neill’s work will find in it a lucid, accessible, and provocative challenge to contemporary ethical theories.
Self-tracking devices point to a future in which individuals will be more involved in the management of their health and will generate data that will benefit clinical decision making and research. They have thus attracted enthusiasm from medical and public health professionals as key players in the move toward participatory and personalized healthcare. Critics, however, have begun to articulate a number of broader societal and ethical concerns regarding self-tracking, foregrounding their disciplining, and disempowering effects. This paper has two aims: first, (...) to analyze some of the key promises and concerns that inform this polarized debate. I argue that far from being solely about health outcomes, this debate is very much about fundamental values that are at stake in the move toward personalized healthcare, namely, the values of autonomy, solidarity, and authenticity. The second aim is to provide a framework within which an alternative approach to self-tracking for health can be developed. I suggest that a practice-based approach, which studies how values are enacted in specific practices, can open the way for a new set of theoretical questions. In the last part of the paper, I sketch out how this can work by describing various enactments of autonomy, solidarity, and authenticity among self-trackers in the Quantified Self community. These examples show that shifting attention to practices can render visible alternative and sometimes unexpected enactments of values. Insofar as these may challenge both the promises and concerns in the debate on self-tracking for health, they can lay the groundwork for new conceptual interventions in future research. (shrink)
In the last few years there has been an explosion of philosophical interest in perception; after decades of neglect, it is now one of the most fertile areas for new work. Perceptual Experience presents new work by fifteen of the world's leading philosophers. All papers are written specially for this volume, and they cover a broad range of topics dealing with sensation and representation, consciousness and awareness, and the connections between perception and knowledge and between perception and action. This will (...) be the book on the philosophy of perception, a fascinating resource for philosophers and psychologists. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to expand the diet of examples considered in philosophical discussions of imagination and pretense, and to offer some preliminary observations about what we might learn about the nature of imagination as a result. The article presents a number of cases involving imaginative contagion: cases where merely imagining or pretending that P has effects that we would expect only perceiving or believing that P to have. Examples are offered that involve visual imagery, motor imagery, fictional (...) emotions, and social priming. It is suggested that imaginative contagion is a more prevalent phenomenon than has typically been recognized. (shrink)
There is a puzzle in the very notion of passive motivation ("passion" or "inclination"). To be motivated is not simply to be moved from the outside. Motivation is in some sense self-movement. But how can an agent be passive with respect to her own motivation? How is passive motivation possible? In this paper I defend the ancient view that inclination stems from a motivational source independent of reason, a motivational source that is both agential and nonrational.
According to the traditional view of the causal structure of a coincidence, the several parts of a coincidence are produced by independent causes. I argue that the traditional view is mistaken; even the several parts of a coincidence may have a common cause. This has important implications for how we think about the relationship between causation and causal explanation—and in particular, for why coincidences cannot be explained.
Antibiotic resistance poses an urgent public health risk. High rates of ABR have been noted in all regions of the globe by the World Health Organization. ABR develops when bacteria are exposed to antibiotics either during treatments in humans or animals or through environmental sources contaminated with antibiotic residues. Spread beyond those administered antibiotics occurs through direct contact with the infected or colonized person or animal, through contact or ingestion of retail meat or agricultural products contaminated with ABR organisms, or (...) through the environment. ABR bacteria spread from individuals to populations and across countries. (shrink)
In this paper I try to undermine complacency with a predominant conception of desire, for the sake of refocusing attention on a philosophical problem. The predominant conception holds that to have a desire is to occupy an evaluative outlook, a perspective from which the agent 'sees' the world in practically salient terms. I argue that it is not clear what this theory is a theory of, because the concept of desire at its center is deeply ambiguous. Understood as a theory (...) of desire in what I call the "placeholder" sense, the evaluative outlook theory is at bottom a theory of action explanation. So construed, its claim is relatively uncontroversial, and falls far short of being a full theory of action explanation. Understood as a theory of desire in what I call the "substantive" sense, it does not even go so far as to acknowledge the central problem such a theory has to answer. That problem is how we can be passive (in a particular sense) with respect to our own motivation. (shrink)
The “paradox of fictional emotions” involves a trio of claims that are jointly inconsistent but individually plausible. Resolution of the paradox thus requires that we deny at least one of these plausible claims. The paradox has been formulated in various ways, but for the purposes of this chapter, we will focus on the following three claims, which we will refer to respectively as the Response Condition, the Belief Condition and the Coordination Condition.
In recent years, all major consumer technology corporations have moved into the domain of health research. This ‘Googlization of health research’ begs the question of how the common good will be served in this research. As critical data scholars contend, such phenomena must be situated within the political economy of digital capitalism in order to foreground the question of public interest and the common good. Here, trends like GHR are framed within a double, incommensurable logic, where private gain and economic (...) value are pitted against public good and societal value. While helpful for highlighting the exploitative potential of digital capitalism, this framing is limiting, insofar as it acknowledges only one conception of the common good. This article uses the analytical framework of modes of justification developed by Boltanksi and Thévenot to identify a plurality of orders of worth and conceptualizations of the common good at work in GHR. Not just the ‘civic’ and ‘market’ orders, but also an ‘industrial’, a ‘project’, and what I call a ‘vitalist’ order. Using promotional material of GHR initiatives and preliminary interviews with participants in GHR projects, I ask what moral orientations guide different actors in GHR. Engaging seriously with these different conceptions of the common good is paramount. First, in order to critically evaluate them and explicate what is at stake in the move towards GHR, and ultimately, in order to develop viable governance solutions that ensure strong ‘civic’ components. (shrink)
I propose that paradigmatic cases of self-deception satisfy the following conditions: (a) the person who is self-deceived about not-P pretends (in the sense of makes-believe or imagines or fantasizes) that not-P is the case, often while believing that P is the case and not believing that not-P is the case; (b) the pretense that not-P largely plays the role normally played by belief in terms of (i) introspective vivacity and (ii) motivation of action in a wide range of circumstances. Understanding (...) self-deception in this way is highly natural. And it provides a non-paradoxical characterization of the phenomenon that explains both its distinctive patterns of instability and its ordinary association with irrationality. Why, then, has this diagnosis been overlooked? I suggest that the oversight is due to a failure to recognize the philosophical significance of a crucial fact about the human mind, namely, the degree to which attitudes other than belief often play a central role in our mental and practical lives, both by "influenc[ing our]... passions and imagination," and by "governing.. .our actions.". (shrink)
It is a commonplace that contemplation of an imaginary particular may have cognitive and motivational effects that differ from those evoked by an abstract description of an otherwise similar state of affairs. In his Treatise on Human Nature, Hume ( 1978) writes forcefully of this.
By carefully examining one of the most famous thought experiments in the history of science—that by which Galileo is said to have refuted the Aristotelian theory that heavier bodies fall faster than lighter ones—I attempt to show that thought experiments play a distinctive role in scientific inquiry. Reasoning about particular entities within the context of an imaginary scenario can lead to rationally justified concluusions that—given the same initial information—would not be rationally justifiable on the basis of a straightforward argument.
In this paper I defend Kant’s Incorporation Thesis, which holds that we must “incorporate” our incentives into our maxims if we are to act on them. I see this as a thesis about what is necessary for a human being to make the transition from ‘having a desire’ to ‘acting on it’. As such, I consider the widely held view that ‘having a desire’ involves being focused on the world, and not on ourselves or on the desire. I try to (...) show how this view is connected with a denial of any deep distinction between reason and inclination. I then argue for an alternative view of what ‘having a desire’ involves, one according to which it involves being focused both on the world and on ourselves. I show how this view fits naturally with the Kantian distinction between reason and inclination, accounts for independent intuitions about ‘having a desire’, and supports the Incorporation Thesis. I then make some further suggestions about how we might conceive of the object of incorporation. (shrink)
Contemplating imaginary scenarios that evoke certain sorts of quasi‐sensory intuitions may bring us to new beliefs about contingent features of the natural world. These beliefs may be produced quasi‐observationally; the presence of a mental image may play a crucial cognitive role in the formation of the belief in question. And this albeit fallible quasi‐observational belief‐forming mechanism may, in certain contexts, be sufficiently reliable to count as a source of justification. This sheds light on the central puzzle surrounding scientific thought experiment, (...) which is how contemplation of an imaginary scenario can lead to new knowledge about contingent features of the natural world. (shrink)
Liberal defences of nationalism have become prevalent since the mid-1980 s. Curiously, they have largely neglected the fact that nationalism is primarily about land. Should liberals throw up their hands in despair when confronting conflicting claims stemming from incommensurable national narratives and holy texts? Should they dismiss conflicting demands that stem solely from particular cultures, religions and mythologies in favour of a supposedly neutral set of guidelines? Does history matter? Should ancient injustices interest us today? Should we care who reached (...) the territory first and who were its prior inhabitants? Should principles of utility play a part in resolving territorial disputes? Was John Locke right to argue that the utilisation of land counts in favour of its acquisition? And should Western style settlement projects work in favour or against a nation s territorial demands? When and how should principles of equality and equal distribution come into play? Territorial Rights examines the generic types of territorial claims customarily put forward by national groups as justification for their territorial demands, within the framework of what has come to be known as liberal nationalism . The final outcome is a multifarious theory on the ethics of territorial boundaries that supplies a workable set of guidelines for evaluating territorial disputes from a liberal-national perspective, and offers a common ground for discussion (including disagreement) and for the mediation of claims. (shrink)
A task of any moral theory is to account for both the rigidity and the flexibility of moral rules. Utilitarianism faces the problem of building rigidity into a framework that tends towards objectionable flexibility. Kantianism faces the problem of building flexibility into a framework that tends towards objectionable rigidity. I offer an argument on this front on behalf of Kantians. I show how Kantians can maintain that actions are right and wrong "in themselves," while still maintaining that such actions can (...) be corrupted under certain "nonideal" circumstances. (shrink)
To imagine is to form a mental representation that does not aim at things as they actually, presently, and subjectively are. One can use imagination to represent possibilities other than the actual, to represent times other than the present, and to represent perspectives other than one’s own. Unlike perceiving and believing, imagining something does not require one to consider that something to be the case. Unlike desiring or anticipating, imagining something does not require one to wish or expect that something (...) to be the case. // -/- Imagination is involved in a wide variety of human activities, and has been explored from a wide range of philosophical perspectives. Philosophers of mind have examined imagination’s role in mindreading and in pretense. Philosophical aestheticians have examined imagination’s role in creating and in engaging with different types of artworks. Epistemologists have examined imagination’s role in theoretical thought experiments and in practical decision-making. Philosophers of language have examined imagination’s role in irony and metaphor. // -/- Because of the breadth of the topic, this entry focuses exclusively on contemporary discussions of imagination in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition. (shrink)
The utilitarian conception, which I call “action as production,” holds that action is a way of making use of the world, conceived as a causal mechanism. According to the rational intuitionist conception, which I call “action as assertion,” action is a way of acknowledging the value in the world, conceived as a realm of status. On the Kantian constructivist conception, which I call “action as participation,” action is a way of making the world, qua causal mechanism, come to count as (...) a realm of status. My rather limited aim in this paper is to identify three substantively different answers the question of how action relates an agent to the world, regarded as a context of action. (shrink)
By the age of two, children are able to engage in highly elaborate games of symbolic pretense, in which objects and actions in the actual world are taken to stand for objects and actions in a realm of make-believe. These games of pretense are marked by the presence of two central features, which I will call quarantining and mirroring (see also Leslie 1987; Perner 1991). Quarantining is manifest to the extent that events within the pretense-episode are taken to have effects (...) only within that pretense-episode (e.g. the child does not expect that ‘spilling’ ( pretend) ‘tea’1 will result in the table really being wet), or more generally, to the extent that proto-beliefs and proto-attitudes concerning the pretended state of affairs are not treated as beliefs and attitudes relevant to guiding action in the actual world. Mirroring is manifest to the extent that features of the imaginary situation that have not been explicitly stipulated are derivable via features of their real-world analogues (e.g. the child does expect that if she up-ends the teapot above the table, then the table will become wet in the pretense), or, more generally to the extent that imaginative content is taken to be governed by the same sorts of restrictions that govern believed content. (shrink)
Say that space is ‘gunky’ if every part of space has a proper part. Traditional theories of gunk, dating back to the work of Whitehead in the early part of last century, modeled space in the Boolean algebra of regular closed subsets of Euclidean space. More recently a complaint was brought against that tradition in Arntzenius and Russell : Lebesgue measure is not even finitely additive over the algebra, and there is no countably additive measure on the algebra. Arntzenius advocated (...) modeling gunk in measure algebras instead—in particular, in the algebra of Borel subsets of Euclidean space, modulo sets of Lebesgue measure zero. But while this algebra carries a natural, countably additive measure, it has some unattractive topological features. In this paper, we show how to construct a model of gunk that has both nice rudimentary measure-theoretic and topological properties. We then show that in modeling gunk in this way we can distinguish between finite dimensions, and that nothing in lost in terms of our ability to identify points as locations in space. (shrink)
According to a popular closure principle for epistemic justification, if one is justified in believing each of the premises in set Φ and one comes to believe that ψ on the basis of competently deducing ψ from Φ—while retaining justified beliefs in the premises—then one is justified in believing that ψ. This principle is prima facie compelling; it seems to capture the sense in which competent deduction is an epistemically secure means to extend belief. However, even the single-premise version of (...) this closure principle is in conflict with certain seemingly good inferences involving the epistemic possibility modal ♢. According to other compelling principles concerning competent deduction and epistemic justification, one can competently infer ¬♢φ from ¬φ in deliberation even though there are cases in which one can justifiably believe ¬φ but would be unjustified in believing ¬♢φ. Thus, as we argue, philosophers must choose between unrestricted closure for justification and the validity of these other principles. (shrink)
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