This essay explores whether, and how, genealogy might remain critical within anti-foundationalist philosophical contexts. While adherents of genealogy often presume that genealogy simply is inherently critical in any context, adherents of historicized forms of anti-foundationalist philosophy might rightly wonder whether genealogy can continue to serve any critical purpose whatsoever. Is genealogy a form of historical inquiry that can be done away with once a shift has been made towards historicized forms of anti-foundationalist philosophy? Why continue to do genealogies once certain (...) generalizeable insights have been learned from genealogy? This essay argues that there remains a critical role for genealogy, understood as a particular form of historical inquiry, within anti-foundationalist modes of reasoning. By exploring this critical role for genealogy, our understanding of anti-foundationalist modes of reasoning is enriched, and some clarity is gained into the philosophical foundations of genealogical critique. (shrink)
Tyler Burge presents an original study of the most primitive ways in which individuals represent the physical world. By reflecting on the science of perception and related psychological and biological sciences, he gives an account of constitutive conditions for perceiving the physical world, and thus aims to locate origins of representational mind.
Various writers in the Western liberal and libertarian tradition have challenged the argument that enforcement of law and protection of property rights are public goods that must be provided by governments. Many of these writers argue explicitly for the provision of law enforcement services through private market relations.
Psychopaths routinely disregard social norms by engaging in selfish, antisocial, often violent behavior. Commonly characterized as mentally disordered, recent evidence suggests that psychopaths are executing a well-functioning, if unscrupulous strategy that historically increased reproductive success at the expense of others. Natural selection ought to have favored strategies that spared close kin from harm, however, because actions affecting the fitness of genetic relatives contribute to an individual’s inclusive fitness. Conversely, there is evidence that mental disorders can disrupt psychological mechanisms designed to (...) protect relatives. Thus, mental disorder and adaptation accounts of psychopathy generate opposing hypotheses: psychopathy should be associated with an increase in the victimization of kin in the former account but not in the latter. Contrary to the mental disorder hypothesis, we show here in a sample of 289 violent offenders that variation in psychopathy predicts a decrease in the genetic relatedness of victims to offenders; that is, psychopathy predicts an increased likelihood of harming non-relatives. Because nepotistic inhibition in violence may be caused by dispersal or kin discrimination, we examined the effects of psychopathy on (1) the dispersal of offenders and their kin and (2) sexual assault frequency (as a window on kin discrimination). Although psychopathy was negatively associated with coresidence with kin and positively associated with the commission of sexual assault, it remained negatively associated with the genetic relatedness of victims to offenders after removing cases of offenders who had coresided with kin and cases of sexual assault from the analyses. These results stand in contrast to models positing psychopathy as a pathology, and provide support for the hypothesis that psychopathy reflects an evolutionary strategy largely favoring the exploitation of non-relatives. (shrink)
Introduction -- Descartes : purging the mind of childish ways -- Locke and Leibniz : understanding children -- Locke : children's language and the fate of changelings -- Leibniz : against infant damnation -- Wolff : the inferiority of childhood -- Baumgarten : childhood and the analogue of reason.
Henrich et al.'s nice cross-cultural experiments would benefit from models that specify the decision rules that humans use and the specific developmental pathways that allow cooperative norms to be internalized. Such models could help researchers to design further experiments to examine human social adaptations. We must also test whether the “same” experiments measure similar constructs in each culture, using additional methods and measures.
Tyler Burge presents a collection of his seminal essays on Gottlob Frege (1848-1925), who has a strong claim to be seen as the founder of modern analytic philosophy, and whose work remains at the centre of philosophical debate today. Truth, Thought, Reason gathers some of Burge's most influential work from the last twenty-five years, and also features important new material, including a substantial introduction and postscripts to four of the ten papers. It will be an essential resource for any (...) historian of modern philosophy, and for anyone working on philosophy of language, epistemology, or philosophical logic. (shrink)
In a recent study, we found a negative association between psychopathy and violence against genetic relatives. We interpreted this result as a form of nepotism and argued that it failed to support the hypothesis that psychopathy is a mental disorder, suggesting instead that it supports the hypothesis that psychopathy is an evolved life history strategy. This interpretation and subsequent arguments have been challenged in a number of ways. Here, we identify several misunderstandings regarding the harmful dysfunction definition of mental disorder (...) as it applies to psychopathy and regarding the meaning of nepotism. Furthermore, we examine the evidence provided by our critics that psychopathy is associated with other disorders, and we offer a comment on their alternative model of psychopathy. We conclude that there remains little evidence that psychopathy is the product of dysfunctional mechanisms. (shrink)
In Burge 2005, Tyler Burge reads disjunctivism as the denial that there are explanatorily relevant states in common between veridical perceptions and corresponding illusions. He rejects the position as plainly inconsistent with what is known about perception. I describe a disjunctive approach to perceptual experience that is immune to Burge's attack. The main positive moral concerns how to think about fallibility.
The paper develops a conception of epistemic warrant as applied to perceptual belief, called "entitlement", that does not require the warranted individual to be capable of understanding the warrant. The conception is situated within an account of animal perception and unsophisticated perceptual belief. It characterizes entitlement as fulfillment of an epistemic norm that is apriori associated with a certain representational function that can be known apriori to be a function of perception. The paper connects anti-individualism, a thesis about the nature (...) of mental states, and perceptual entitlement. It presents an argument that explains the objectivity and validity of perceptual entitlement partly in terms of the nature of perceptual states–hence the nature of perceptual beliefs, which are constitutively associated with perceptual states. The paper discusses ways that an individual can be entitled to perceptual belief through its connection to perception, and ways that entitlement to perceptual belief can be undermined. (shrink)
Consequentialism is thought to be in significant conflict with animal rights theory because it does not regard activities such as confinement, killing, and exploitation as in principle morally wrong. Proponents of the “Logic of the Larder” argue that consequentialism results in an implausibly pro-exploitation stance, permitting us to eat farmed animals with positive well- being to ensure future such animals exist. Proponents of the “Logic of the Logger” argue that consequentialism results in an implausibly anti-conservationist stance, permitting us to exterminate (...) wild animals with negative well-being to ensure future such animals do not exist. We argue that this conflict is overstated. Once we have properly accounted for indirect effects, such as the role that our policies play in shaping moral attitudes and behavior and the importance of accepting policies that are robust against deviation, we can see that consequentialism may converge with animal rights theory significantly, even if not entirely. (shrink)
This essay is a long one. It is not meant to be read in a single sitting. Its structure is as follows. In section I, I explicate perceptual anti-individualism. Section II centers on the two aspects of the representational content of perceptual states. Sections III and IV concern the nature of the empirical psychology of vision, and its bearing on the individuation of perceptual states. Section V shows how what is known from empirical psychology undermines disjunctivism and hence certain further (...) views that entail it, including naive realism. In Section VI, I raise a further point against disjunctivism. Section VII indicates how general reflection on perceptual perspective and epistemic ability supports the constraints from empirical psychology. It also explains how reflection on veridicality conditions, psychological explanation, and cognitive ability conspire to force recognition of the two kinds of representation mentioned in the preceding paragraph. In the Appendix, I criticize attempts to support disjunctivism. (shrink)
A central preoccupation of philosophy in the twentieth century was to determine constitutive conditions under which accurate (objective) empirical representation of the macrophysical environment is possible. A view that dominated attitudes on this project maintained that an individual cannot empirically represent a physical subject matter as having specific physical characteristics unless the individual can represent some constitutive conditions under which such representation is possible. The version of this view that dominated the century's second half maintained that objective empirical representation of (...) the physical environment requires the individual to be able to supplement this representation with representation of general constitutive features of objectivity. This essay criticizes instances of this version in P. F. Strawson and Quine. It maintains that all versions of the position postulate conditions on objective empirical representation that are more intellectual than are warranted. Such views leave it doubtful that animals and human infants perceptually represent elements in the physical environment. By appeal to common sense and to empirical perceptual psychology, this essay argues that unaided perception yields objective representation of the macrophysical environment. It does so in prelinguistic animals, even in animals that almost surely lack propositional attitudes. The essay concludes with explications of nondeflationary conceptions of representation and perception. It distinguishes nonperceptual sensing from perceptual representation and explicates perceptual representation as a type of objective sensory representation. Objectivity is marked by perceptual constancies. Representation is marked by a nontrivial role for veridicality conditions in explanations of the relevant states. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Technorati What's this? (shrink)
In Burge [Disjunctivism and perceptual psychology. Philosophical Topics 33: 1–78, 2005], I criticized several versions of disjunctivism. McDowell defends his version against my criticisms in McDowell [Tyler Burge on disjunctivism. Philosophical Explorations 13: 243–55, 2010]. He claims that my general characterization fails to apply to his view. I show that this claim fails because it overlooks two elements in my characterization. I elaborate and extend my criticisms of his disjunctivism. I criticize his positions on infallibility and indefeasibility, and reinforce (...) my earlier charges that his views on perception and epistemology are hyper-intellectualized. The central point in my rejection of his disjunctivism concerns his claim that the science of perceptual psychology is irrelevant to his disjunctivist classification of perceptual states. I hold that this claim shows lack of familiarity with the science and serious misunderstanding of it. The basic deficiency in McDowell's disjunctivism is that it, like other versions, is incompatible with well-established scientific knowledge. (shrink)
Among psychologists, it is widely thought that infants well under age 3, monkeys, apes, birds, and dogs have been shown to have rudimentary capacities for representing and attributing mental states or relations. I believe this view to be mistaken. It rests on overinterpreting experiments. It also often rests on assuming that one must choose between taking these individuals to be mentalists and taking them to be behaviorists. This assumption underestimates a powerful nonmentalistic, nonbehavioristic explanatory scheme that centers on attributing action (...) with targets and on causation of action by interlocking, internal conative, and sensory states. Neither action with targets, nor conative states, nor sensing entails mentality. The scheme can attribute conative states and relations, efficiency, sensory states and relations, sensory retention, sensory anticipation, affect, and appreciation of individual differences. The scheme can ground explanations of false belief tests that do not require infants or nonhuman animals to use language. After the scheme is explained and applied, it is contrasted with other, superficially similar schemes proposed in the literature---for example, those of Gergely and Csibra, Wellman and Gopnik, Perner and Roessler, Flavell, and Apperly and Butterfill. Better methods for testing are briefly discussed. (shrink)
Argument for Epiphenomenalism [I]: (A) Mental event-tokens are identical with physical event-tokens. (B) The causal powers of a physical event are determined only by its physical properties; and (C) mental properties are not reducible to physical properties.
Non‐Humean theories of natural necessity invoke modally‐laden primitives to explain why nature exhibits lawlike regularities. However, they vary in the primitives they posit and in their subsequent accounts of laws of nature and related phenomena (including natural properties, natural kinds, causation, counterfactuals, and the like). This article provides a taxonomy of non‐Humean theories, discusses influential arguments for and against them, and describes some ways in which differences in goals and methods can motivate different versions of non‐Humeanism (and, for that matter, (...) Humeanism). In short, this article provides an introduction to non‐Humeanism concerning the metaphysics of laws of nature and natural necessity. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to offer a formal criterion for physical computation that allows us to objectively distinguish between competing computational interpretations of a physical system. The criterion construes a computational interpretation as an ordered pair of functions mapping (1) states of a physical system to states of an abstract machine, and (2) inputs to this machine to interventions in this physical system. This interpretation must ensure that counterfactuals true of the abstract machine have appropriate counterparts which are (...) true of the physical system. The criterion proposes that rival interpretations be assessed on the basis of simplicity. Simplicity is construed as the Kolmogorov complexity of the interpretation. This approach is closely related to the notion of algorithmic information distance and draws on earlier work on real patterns. (shrink)
I want to reflect on some functions of memory and their relations to traditional issues about personal identity. I try to elicit ways in which having memory, with its presupposition of agent identity over time, is integral to being a person, indeed to having a representational mind.
Cognition Through Understanding presents a selection of Tyler Burge's essays that use epistemology to illumine powers of mind. The essays focus on epistemic warrants that differ from those warrants commonly discussed in epistemology--those for ordinary empirical beliefs and for logical and mathematical beliefs. The essays center on four types of cognition warranted through understanding--self-knowledge, interlocution, reasoning, and reflection. Burge argues that by reflecting on warrants for these types of cognition, one better understands cognitive powers that are distinctive of persons, (...) and of human beings. The collection presents three previously unpublished independent essays, in addition to substantial, retrospective commentary. The retrospective commentary invites the reader to make connections that were not fully in mind when the essays were written. (shrink)
You’re imagining, in the course of a different game of make-believe, that you’re a bank robber. You don’t believe that you’re a bank robber. You are moved to point your finger, gun-wise, at the person pretending to be the bank teller and say, “Stick ‘em up! This is a robbery!”.
Marie was 15 when her abdominal pain began. After two years of negative work-ups, countless visits to gastroenterologists, and over 70 days of high school missed, she found herself readmitted to the hospital. “Refractory abdominal pain” was her ostensible diagnosis; “troubled teen” who was “going to be difficult” was embedded in the emergency department’s sign-out. When the medical team arrived to meet Marie, she was huddled in the corner of her hospital bed, silent and withdrawn. Her intern noted the numerous (...) scars cutting across her forearms as she felt for her radial pulses. Marie squirmed in pain when the intern palpated her abdomen.The ED’s work-up had been negative for abdominal pathology. When the... (shrink)
In this paper I aim to show why pediatric suffering must be understood as a judgment or evaluation, rather than a mental state. To accomplish this task, first I analyze the various ways that the label of suffering is used in pediatric practice. Out of this analysis emerge what I call the twin poles of pediatric suffering. At one pole sits the belief that infants and children with severe cognitive impairment cannot suffer because they are nonverbal or lack subjective life (...) experience. At the other pole exists the idea that once child suffering reaches some threshold it is ethical to eliminate the sufferer. Concerningly, at both poles, any particular child vanishes from view. Second, in an attempt to identify a theory of suffering inclusive of children, I examine two prominent so-called experiential accounts of suffering. I find them both wanting on account of their absurd entailments and their flawed assumptions regarding the subjective experiences of people who cannot communicate expressively. Finally, I extend arguments found in Alastair MacIntyre’s Dependent Rational Animals to argue that child suffering can be understood only as a set of absences—absences of conditions such as love, warmth, and freedom from pain. An evaluation of these absences reveals the exquisite dependency of children. It also discloses why pediatric suffering is necessarily a social and political event. Unlike adults, children will never be either the authors or the mitigators of their own suffering. Rather, children must rely wholly on others in order to resist suffering, grow, and flourish. (shrink)