Professor Flew interprets my book Freedom and Liberation as a defence of a sort of radical authoritarianism disguised as a theory of freedom. He supposes me to be looking for a ‘Guardian élite’, a group of ‘new philosopher kings who will … create, and impose their own values upon, what Gibbs wants to honour as “a free society”’. In the title of his lecture Flew suggests that the message of the book might accurately be summed up in the Orwellian (...) slogan ‘Freedom is Slavery’. (shrink)
This book explores how people's subjective, felt experiences of their bodies in action provide part of the fundamental grounding for human cognition and language. Cognition is what occurs when the body engages the physical and cultural world and must be studied in terms of the dynamical interactions between people and the environment. Human language and thought emerge from recurring patterns of embodied activity that constrain ongoing intelligent behavior. We must not assume cognition to be purely internal, symbolic, computational, and disembodied, (...) but seek out the gross and detailed ways that language and thought are inextricably shaped by embodied action. Embodiment and Cognitive Science describes the abundance of empirical evidence from many disciplines, including work on perception, concepts, imagery and reasoning, language and communication, cognitive development, and emotions and consciousness, that support the idea that the mind is embodied. (shrink)
How do people decide what to say in context? Many theories of pragmatics assume that people have specialized knowledge that drives them to utter certain words in different situations. But these theories are mostly unable to explain both the regularity and variability in people’s speech behaviors. Our purpose in this article is to advance a view of pragmatics based on complexity theory, which specifically explains the pragmatic choices speakers make in conversations. The concept of self-organized criticality sheds light on how (...) a history of utterances and subtle details of a situation surrounding a conversation may directly specify language behavior. Under this view, pragmatic choice in discourse does not reflect the output of any dedicated pragmatic module but arises from a complex coordination or coupling between speakers and their varying communicative tasks. (shrink)
Ranging over philosophy, literary theory, social theory, and historiography, this is an ambitious and provocative work that holds profound lessons for how we think about ethics and how we seek to live responsibly.
In the world of research, compliance with research regulations is not the same as ethics, but it is closely related. One could say that compliance is how most societies with advanced research programs operationalize many ethical obligations. This paper reports on the development of the How I Think about Research questionnaire, which is an adaptation of the How I Think questionnaire that examines the use of cognitive distortions to justify antisocial behaviors. Such an adaptation was justified based on a review (...) of the literature on mechanisms of moral disengagement and self-serving biases, which are used by individuals with normal personalities in a variety of contexts, including research. The HIT-Res adapts all items to refer to matters of research compliance and integrity rather than antisocial behaviors. The HIT-Res was administered as part of a battery of tests to 300 researchers and trainees funded by the US National Institutes of Health. The HIT-Res demonstrated excellent reliability. Construct validity was established by the correlation of the HIT-Res with measures of moral disengagement, cynicism, and professional decision-making in research. The HIT-Res will enrich the set of assessment tools available to instructors in the responsible conduct of research and to researchers who seek to understand the factors that influence research integrity. (shrink)
Power and authority in terms of the Ten Commandments (TCs) are discussed. The paper reviews the TCs in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The treatment and basis for power and authority in each religion are clarified. Implications of power and authority using the perspective of the TCs are provided. The paper suggests that in today's business environment people tend to be selective in identifying only with certain elements of the TCs that fit their interest and that the TCs should be viewed (...) as general moral guidelines. (shrink)
This paper reports four experiments designed to examine the role that recurring bodily experiences have in motivating people's understandings of different senses of the polysemous word stand. Different patterns of recurring bodily experiences, called image schemas, emerge throughout sensorimotor activity and from our perceptual understanding of actions and events in the real world. The present claim is that each use of stand is motivated by a complex pattern of different image schemas. Experiment 1 revealed five major image schemas that are (...) primarily to people's bodily experiences of standing. Experiment 2 looked at people's judgements of similarity for different uses of stand. Experiment 3 first examined people's intuitions about the relative importance of five image schemas for different senses of stand. We then attempted to predict the pattern of data from Experiment 2 using the image schema profiles obtained for the different senses of stand in Experiment 3. Finally,-Experiment 4 considered an alternative hypothesis for people's judgements of similarity for different uses of stand. The data from these studies generally suggest that people tacitly believe there are significant connections between their recurring bodily experiences and the various meanings of the polysemous word stand. We argue that theories of psychological semantics should account not only for the organization of polysemous words in the mental lexicon, but must also be capable of explaining why different senses of a word make sense to people in the way they do. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that attempts to distinguish between categories of 'dyslexia' and 'poor reader' or 'reading disabled' are scientifically unsupportable, arbitrary and thus potentially discriminatory. We do not seek to veto scientific curiosity in examining underlying factors in reading disability, for seeking greater understanding of the relationship between visual symbols and spoken language is crucial. However, while stressing the potential of genetics and neuroscience for guiding assessment and educational practice at some stage in the future, we argue that (...) there is a mistaken belief that current knowledge in these fields is sufficient to justify a category of dyslexia as a subset of those who encounter reading difficulties. The implications of this debate for large-scale intervention are outlined. (shrink)
The essay examines the impact of thought insertion on typical conceptions of self-consciousness. Stephens and Graham have recently argued that thought insertion is compatible with the inseparability thesis, which maintains that with regard to self-consciousness subjectivity is a proper part of introspection--introspection and subjectivity are inseparable. They argue that thought insertion is an error of agency and not an error of subjectivity. The essay contends that even if they are correct in their interpretation that thought insertion is an error of (...) agency rather than subjectivity, which is unlikely, they are incorrect to maintain that it is not also an error of subjectivity. Evidence is put forth to indicate that thought insertion is, at best, a mistake of agency and subjectivity. It is concluded that thought insertion is incompatible with the inseparability thesis, and a new inseparability thesis is thereby postulated. (shrink)
Several disciplines within the cognitive sciences have advanced the idea that people comprehend the actions of others, including the linguistic meanings they communicate, through embodied simulations where they imaginatively recreate the actions they observe or hear about. This claim has important consequences for theories of mind and meaning, such as that people’s use and interpretation of language emerges as a kind of bodily activity that is an essential part of ordinary cognition. Daniel Weiskopf presents several arguments against the idea that (...) experiential simulations play a major role in immediate language use and meaning. We offer several rebuttals to Weiskopf, in which we critique his interpretation of simulation theory, present additional psycholinguistic evidence supportive of the simulation perspective, and suggest that a more traditional theory of linguistic meaning and processing has little psychological and empirical validity.Keywords: Language; Comprehension; Embodied cognition; Embodied simulation; Linguistic meaning, Psycholinguistics. (shrink)
There is a distinction between merely having the right belief, and further basing that belief on the right reasons. Any adequate epistemology needs to be able to accommodate the basing relation that marks this distinction. However, trouble arises for Bayesianism. I argue that when we combine Bayesianism with the standard approaches to the basing relation, we get the result that no agent forms their credences in the right way; indeed, no agent even gets close. This is a serious problem, for (...) it prevents us from making epistemic distinctions between agents that are doing a reasonably good job at forming their credences and those that are forming them in clearly bad ways. I argue that if this result holds, then we have a problem for Bayesianism. However, I show how the Bayesian can avoid this problem by rejecting the standard approaches to the basing relation. By drawing on recent work on the basing relation, we can develop an account of the relation that allows us to avoid the result that no agent comes close to forming their credences in the right way. The Bayesian can successfully accommodate the basing relation. (shrink)
The current debate on “free agency” seems to highlight the romantic aspects of free agent and considers it a genuine response to changing economic conditions (e.g., high-unemployment rate, importance of knowledge in the labor market, the eclipse of organizational loyalty, and self pride). Little attention, if any, has been given to the religious root of the free agency concept and its persistent existence across history. In this paper, the current discourse on free agency and the conditions that have led to (...) its emergence are briefly discussed. The paper focuses on the theological perspectives of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam on the concept. Implications for management and business organizations are provided. (shrink)
Causal essentialists hold that a property essentially bears its causal and nomic relations. Further, as many causal essentialists have noted, the main motivations for causal essentialism also motivate holding that properties are individuated in terms of their causal and nomic relations. This amounts to a kind of identity of indiscernibles thesis; properties that are indiscernible with respect to their causal and nomic relations are identical. This can be compared with the more well-known identity of indiscernibles thesis, according to which particulars (...) that are qualitatively indiscernible are identical. Robert Adams has developed a well-known objection to this thesis by considering a series of possibilities involving nearly qualitatively indiscernible particulars that naturally leads to a possibility involving qualitatively indiscernible particulars. I argue that we can construct parallel cases involving a series of possibilities involving properties that are nearly indiscernible with respect to their causal and nomic relations that naturally lead to possibilities involving properties that are indiscernible with respect to their causal and nomic relations. The same features that make Adams’ argument forceful also carry over to my cases, giving us a powerful objection to the causal essentialist identity of indiscernibles thesis. (shrink)
:This paper explores a form of corporeal copying which it terms mimetic communication, and explores the way it is not limited to human communication but can and does operates across species. Focusing on the way movement and vision can be seen to be at work in this kind of mimetic communication, the paper argues that it constitutes an important form of affective knowledge about both human and non-human others. Taking the work of early twentieth-century documentary ﬁlmmaker Jean Painlevé, who worked (...) extensively with marine creatures, as a case in point, it explores the way in which certain technologies – in this case, cinema – can make use of mimesis as a communicational strategy which comprises the key feature of an aesthetic practice. It examines the implications of this for the way we conceive of affective spectatorship in cinema and for the way we understand our relations with animals, especially as we seek to study them. (shrink)
In the second chapter of Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill writes: It is quite compatible with the principle of utility to recognise the fact, that some kinds of pleasure are more desirable and more valuable than others. It would be absurd that while, in estimating all other things, quality is considered as well as quantity, the estimation of pleasures should be supposed to depend on quantity alone.
This paper examines the discourses and practices of pedigree livestock breeding, focusing on beef cattle and sheep in the UK, concentrating on an under-examined aspect of this—the deselection and rejection of some animals from future breeding populations. In the context of exploring how animals are valued and represented in different ways in relation to particular agricultural knowledge-practices, it focuses on deselecting particular animals from breeding populations, drawing attention to shifts in such knowledge-practices related to the emergence of “genetic” techniques in (...) livestock breeding which are arguably displacing “traditional” visual and experiential knowledge’s of livestock animals. The paper situates this discussion in the analytical framework provided by Foucault’s conception of “biopower,” exploring how interventions in livestock populations aimed at the fostering of domestic animal life are necessarily also associated with the imperative that certain animals must die and not contribute to the future reproduction of their breed. The “geneticization” of livestock breeding produces new articulations of this process associated with different understandings of animal life and the possibilities of different modes of intervention in livestock populations. Genetic techniques increasingly quantify and rationalize processes of selection and deselection, and affect how animals are perceived and valued both as groups and as individuals. The paper concludes by emphasizing that the valuation of livestock animals is contested, and that the entanglement of “traditional” and “genetic” modes of valuation means that there are multiple layers of valuation and (de)selection involved in breeding knowledge-practices. (shrink)