Two long-standing arguments in cognitive science invoke the assumption that holistic inference is computationally infeasible. The first is Fodor’s skeptical argument toward computational modeling of ordinary inductive reasoning. The second advocates modular computational mechanisms of the kind posited by Cosmides, Tooby and Sperber. Based on advances in machine learning related to Bayes nets, as well as investigations into the structure of scientific and ordinary information, I maintain neither argument establishes its architectural conclusion. Similar considerations also undermine Fodor’s decades-long diagnosis of (...) artificial intelligence research as confounded by an inability to circumscribe the amount of information relevant to inferential processes. This diagnosis is particularly inapposite with respect to Bayes nets, since one of their strengths as machine learning systems has been their capacity to reason probabilistically about large data sets whose size overwhelms the capacities of individual human reasoners. A general moral follows from these criticisms: Insights into artificial and human cognitive systems are likely to be cultivated by focusing greater attention on the structure and density of connections among items of information that are available to them. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that a principal argument in favor of the existence of non-conceptual content fails. That is, I do not accept that considerations regarding the richness of our perceptual experiences support the existence of NCC. I argue instead that the existence of NCC is empirically motivated. Here is an outline of the paper. First, I set out the distinction between conceptual content and NCC as we understand it. Second, I consider the richness argument, and argue that it (...) fails. I argue in particular that RA are either self-defeating or confl ict with reasonably established accounts of early perceptual processing. Third, I tackle a residual phenomenological puzzle and offer a solution to it. Fourth, I argue that the existence of NCC enjoys empirical support. I argue in particular that states associated with early stages of visual perceptual processing have NCC. (shrink)
Michael Oakeshott reflected on the character of religious experience in various writings throughout his life. In Experience and Its Modes (1933) he analyzed science as a distinctive "mode," or account of experience as a whole, identifying those assumptions necessary for science to achieve its coherent account of experience in contrast to other modes of experience whose quests for coherence depend on different assumptions. Religious experience, he thought, was integral to the practical mode. The latter experiences the world as interminable tension (...) between what is and what ought to be. The question, Is there a conflict between science and religion? is, in Oakeshott's approach, the question, Is there a conflict between the scientific mode of experience and the practical mode? Insofar as we tend to treat every question as a practical one, these questions seem to make sense. But Oakeshott's analysis leads to the view that scientific experience and religious experience are categorically different accounts of experience abstracted from the whole of experience. They are voices of experience that may speak to each other, but they are not ordered hierarchically. Nor can either absorb the other without insoluble contradictions. (shrink)
This volume brings together a diverse range of perspectives reflecting the international appeal and multi-disciplinary interest that Oakeshott now attracts. The essays offer a variety of approaches to Oakeshott’s thought — testament to the abiding depth, originality, suggestiveness and complexity of his writings. The essays include contributions from well-known Oakeshott scholars along with ample representation from a new generation. As a collection these essays challenge Oakeshott’s reputation as merely a ‘critic of social planning’.Contributors include Josiah Lee Auspitz, Debra Candreva, Wendell (...) John Coats Jr., Douglas DenUyl, George Feaver, Paul Franco, Richard Friedman, Timothy Fuller, Robert Grant, Eric S. Kos, Leslie Marsh, Kenneth Minogue, Terry Nardin, Keith Sutherland, Martyn Thompson and Gerhard Wolmarans. (shrink)
Does confirmation holism imply meaning holism? A plausible and novel argument, all of whose premises enjoy significant support among contemporary philosophers, links the two theses. This article presents this argument and diagnoses it with a weakness. The weakness illustrates a general difficulty with drawing morals for the nature of ordinary thought and language from claims about the nature of science. The diagnosis is instructive: It suggests more fruitful relations between theories of scientific theory confirmation and semantic theories of our everyday (...) thoughts and statements. (shrink)
This essay analyzes the relationship between rights and the rule of law through the investigation of the jurisprudence of three significant figures in the liberal tradition: Ronald Dworkin, Michael Oakeshott, and John Finnis. Dworkin’s approach, which attempts to defend natural rights and to contribute to improving the general communal welfare, is shown to result in a strong role for judges to navigate between protecting rights and the common good where the rule of law is put in the service of social (...) evolution. Oakeshott’s ideal of civil association is explored as an example of a non-instrumental practice. Here the rule of law and political authority contribute to a mode of association that does not coerce or subordinate individuals’ self-chosen purposes to a communal one. Attempting to navigate between normative concerns and the proceduralism of a rule of law, Finnis’ natural law approach is shown to respect the universal human desire to flourish and the individual nature of that search embodied in our modern political vocabulary of rights. Law provides the necessary conditions for human flourishing and thus is both the symbolic and the real realm where we ceaselessly attempt to reconcile individual demands and collective needs in light of our limitations and views of the human good. (shrink)
The tension ia liberal political theory between religious commitment and poIitical citizenship is examined first within the framework or Rousseau’s political theory, and secondly within the context of Hegel’s account of the stale. I conclude with some reflections upon the tension as it occurs among contemporary political theorists.
Lang, B. Philosophy and the manners of art.--Hofstadter, A. Freedom, enownment, and philosophy.--Mehta, J. L. A stranger from Asia.--Fox, D. A. A passage past India.--Rucker, D. Philosophy and the constitution of Emerson's world.--Schneider, H. W. The pragmatic movement in historical perspective.--Barnes, H. E. Reflections on myth and magic.--Cauvel, J. The imperious presence of theater.--Seay, A. Musical conservatism in the fourteenth century.--Hochman, W. R. The enduring fascination of war.--Davenport, M. M. J. Glenn Gray and the promise of wisdom.