I offer a critical exposition and reconstruction of Michael Oakeshott's views on natural science. The principal aim is to enrich Oakeshott's modal schema by throwing light on it in terms of its internal consistency and by bringing to bear on it recent developments in philosophy in general and the philosophy of science in particular. The discussion brings out the special place reserved for philosophy, the crucial tenet of the separateness of these modes seen as Leibnizian monads as well as the (...) special status allowed to science. It considers the possibility of combining one moment of philosophical thinking, namely ethics, with science in the midst of such modal separateness. I first offer a general introduction of how to approach Oakeshott's views on science. The next section stresses philosophy and its relation to science. This is followed by an elaboration of what the modes of experience are meant to be and how science is placed among them. An examination of Oakeshott's more particular views on science concludes the essay. (shrink)
This paper places certain religious ideas of Eastern Christianity about our relationship to nature critically against techno-scientific thinking and practice. Specifically, the two focal issues of the discussion are the concept of religious sin, on the one hand, and the peculiarly modern fusion of science and technology, resulting in the novel phenomenon of techno-science, on the other. Two corresponding theses are advanced: that of sin as an epistemic, and not as a moral, error, and that of the “Eucharistic” viz., celebratory (...) relation with God. The paper then proceeds to trace significant parallels that may be discerned between the Orthodox theological view and Heidegger’s position on technology, and metaphysics more generally, culminating in the suggestion that the way out of the ‘danger’ of technology as techno-science must be found in art or religion. (shrink)
Ron Mallon explores how thinking and talking about kinds of person can bring those kinds into being. He considers what normative implications this social constructionism has for our understanding of our practices of representing human kinds, like race, gender, and sexual orientation, and for our own agency.
While the notion of the mind as information-processor--a kind of computational system--is widely accepted, many scientists and philosophers have assumed that this account of cognition shows that the mind's operations are characterizable independent of their relationship to the external world. Existential Cognition challenges the internalist view of mind, arguing that intelligence, thought, and action cannot be understood in isolation, but only in interaction with the outside world. Arguing that the mind is essentially embedded in the external world, Ron McClamrock provides (...) a schema that allows cognitive scientists to address such long-standing problems in artificial intelligence as the "frame" problem and the issue of "bounded" rationality. Extending this schema to cover progress in other studies of behavior, including language, vision, and action, McClamrock reinterprets the importance of the organism/environment distinction. McClamrock also considers the broader philosophical question of the place of mind in the world, particularly with regard to questions of intentionality, subjectivity, and phenomenology. With implications for philosophy, cognitive and computer science, AI, and psychology, this book synthesizes state-of-the-art work in philosophy and cognitive science on how the mind interacts with the world to produce thoughts, ideas, and actions. (shrink)
It is common in various quarters of philosophy to derive philosophically significant conclusions from theories of reference. In this paper, we argue that philosophers should give up on such 'arguments from reference.' Intuitions play a central role in establishing theories of reference, and recent cross-cultural work suggests that intuitions about reference vary across cultures and between individuals within a culture (Machery et al. 2004). We argue that accommodating this variation within a theory of reference undermines arguments from reference.
De dicto moral motivation is typically characterized by the agent’s conceiving of her goal in thin normative terms such as to do what is right. I argue that lacking an effective de dicto moral motivation would put the agent in a bad position for responding in the morally-best manner in a certain type of situations. Two central features of the relevant type of situations are the appropriateness of the agent’s uncertainty concerning her underived moral values, and the practical, moral importance (...) of resolving this uncertainty. I argue that in some situations that are marked by these two features the most virtuous response is deciding to conduct a deep moral inquiry for a de dicto moral purpose. In such situations lacking an effective de dicto moral motivation would amount to a moral shortcoming. I show the implications for Michael Smith’s argument against Motivational Judgment Externalism and for Brian Weatherson’s argument against avoiding moral recklessness: both arguments rely on a depreciating view of de dicto moral motivation, and both fail; or so I argue. (shrink)
Social constructionism about race is a common view, but there remain questions about what exactly constitutes constructed race. Some hold that our concepts and conceptual practices construct race, and some hold that the causal consequences of these concepts and conceptual practices also play a role. But there is a third option, which is that the causal effects of our concepts and conceptual practices constitute race, but not the concepts and conceptual practices themselves. This paper reconsiders an argument for the reality (...) of race that grows out of the role of racial kinds in social scientific generalizations. It then uses recent work on the correlation of racial attitudes with behaviors to raise questions about the sufficiency, and perhaps also the necessity, of our concepts and conceptual practices in constituting constructed race, thus understood. (shrink)
Recent work by Joshua Knobe has established that people are far more likely to describe bad but foreseen side effects as intentionally performed than good but foreseen side effects (this is sometimes called the 'Knobe effect' or the 'side-effect effect.' Edouard Machery has proposed a novel explanation for this asymmetry: it results from construing the bad side effect as a cost that must be incurred to receive a benefit. In this paper, I argue that Machery's 'trade-off hypothesis' is wrong. I (...) do this by reproducing the asymmetry between judgments about good and bad side effects in cases that cannot plausibly be construed as trade-offs. (shrink)
Philosophers of evolutionary biology favor the so-called etiological concept of function according to which the function of a trait is its evolutionary purpose, defined as the effect for which that trait was favored by natural selection. We term this the selected effect (SE) analysis of function. An alternative account of function was introduced by Robert Cummins in a non-evolutionary and non-purposive context. Cummins''s account has received attention but little support from philosophers of biology. This paper will show that a similar (...) non-purposive concept of function, which we term causal role (CR) function, is crucial to certain research programs in evolutionary biology, and that philosophical criticisms of Cummins''s concept are ineffective in this scientific context. Specifically, we demonstrate that CR functions are a vital and ineliminable part of research in comparative and functional anatomy, and that biological categories used by anatomists are not defined by the application of SE functional analysis. Causal role functions are non-historically defined, but may themselves be used in an historical analysis. Furthermore, we show that a philosophical insistence on the primary of SE functions places practicing biologists in an untenable position, as such functions can rarely be demonstrated (in contrast to CR functions). Biologists who study the form and function of organismal design recognize that it is virtually impossible to identify the past action of selection on any particular structure retrospectively, a requirement for recognizing SE functions. (shrink)
Williams, Ron As I consider the list of previous AHOY recipients since the inaugural award in 1983, I can only say that this is an immeasurable honour. It means much to me because, for almost ten years now, Humanism has been there for my family. In 2005-2006, when separation of church and state school issues first crept into our lives, the Humanist Society of Queensland was to appear as the only beacon of secularist activism upon the deep northern horizon. So (...) in 2006 Andrea and I joined the HSQ. (shrink)
One influential view is that at least some putatively natural human kinds are actually social constructions, understood as some real kind of thing that is produced or sustained by our social and conceptual practices. Category constructionists share two commitments: they hold that human category terms like “race” and “sex” and “homosexuality” and “perversion” actually refer to constructed categories, and they hold that these categories are widely but mistakenly taken to be natural kinds. But it is far from clear that these (...) two commitments are consistent. The sort of mismatch between belief and underlying nature constructionists’ suppose is often taken to indicate a failure of reference. Reliance on a causal-historical account of reference allows the preservation of reference, but unfortunately, constructionists' appropriation of causal historical accounts of reference is beset by difficulties that do not attend natural kind theorists’ appeals to such accounts. Here, I set out these difficulties, but argue that they can be answered, allowing terms for apparently natural human kinds refer to some sort of social construction about which there is massive error. (shrink)
This book is a definitive reference source for the growing, increasingly more important, and interdisciplinary field of computational cognitive modeling, that is, computational psychology. It combines breadth of coverage with definitive statements by leading scientists in this field. Research in computational cognitive modeling explores the essence of cognition through developing detailed, process-based understanding by specifying computational mechanisms, structures, and processes. Computational models provide both conceptual clarity and precision at the same time. This book substantiates this approach through overviews and many (...) examples. (shrink)
Recent historiography of 19th century biology supports the revision of two traditional doctrines about the history of biology. First, the most important and widespread biological debate around the time of Darwin was not evolution versus creation, but biological functionalism versus structuralism. Second, the idealist and typological structuralist theories of the time were not particularly anti-evolutionary. Typological theories provided argumentation and evidence that was crucial to the refutation of Natural Theological creationism. The contrast between functionalist and structuralist approaches to biology continues (...) today, and the historical misunderstanding of 19th century typological biology may be one of its effects. This historical case can shed light on current controversies regarding the relevance of developmental biology to evolution. (shrink)
Is a Health Care Ethics possible? Against sceptical and relativist doubts Kantian deontology may advance a challenging alternative affirming the possibility of such an ethics on the condition that deontology be adopted as a total programme or complete vision. Kantian deontology is enlisted to move us from an ethics of two-person informal care to one of institutions. It justifies this affirmative answer by occupying a commanding meta-ethical stand. Such a total programme comprises, on the one hand, a dual-aspect strategy incorporating (...) the macro- (institutional) and micro- (person-to-person) levels while, on the other, it integrates consistently within moral epistemology a meta-ethics with lower-ground moral theories. The article describes the issues to be dealt with and the problems which have to be solved on the way to a unifying theory of that kind (Sections I-III) and indicates elements of Kantian moral philosophy which may serve as building blocks (Section IV). Among these are not only Kant’s ideas concerning the moral acting of persons and his ideas concerning civil society and state but also his ideas concerning morality, schematism and religion. (shrink)
How should deontological theories that prohibit actions of type K — such as intentionally killing an innocent person — deal with cases of uncertainty as to whether a particular action is of type K? Frank Jackson and Michael Smith, who raise this problem in their paper "Absolutist Moral Theories and Uncertainty" (2006), focus on a case where a skier is about to cause the death of ten innocent people — we don’t know for sure whether on purpose or not — (...) by causing an avalanche; and we can only save the people by shooting the skier. One possible deontological attitude towards such uncertainty is what Jackson and Smith call the threshold view, according to which whether or not the deontological constraint applies depends on our degree of (justified) certainty meets a given threshold. Jackson and Smith argue against the threshold view that it leads to implausible paradoxical moral dilemmas in a special kind of case. In this response, we show that the threshold view can avoid these implausible moral dilemmas, as long as the relevant deontological constraint is grounded in individualistic patient-based considerations, such as what an individual person is entitled to object to. (shrink)
What can be learned from a small scale study of managerial work in a highly marginal and under-researched working community? This article uses the ‘goods–virtues–practices–institutions’ framework to examine the managerial work of owner–directors of traditional circuses. Inspired by MacIntyre’s arguments for the necessity of a narrative understanding of the virtues, interviews explored how British and Irish circus directors accounted for their working lives. A purposive sample was used to select subjects who had owned and managed traditional touring circuses for at (...) least 15 years, a period in which the economic and reputational fortunes of traditional circuses have suffered badly. This sample enabled the research to examine the self-understanding of people who had, at least on the face of it, exhibited the virtue of constancy. The research contributes to our understanding of the role of the virtues in organizations by presenting evidence of an intimate relationship between the virtue of constancy and a ‘calling’ work orientation. This enhances our understanding of the virtues that are required if management is exercised as a domain-related practice. (shrink)
In recent years, there has been a flurry of work on the metaphysics of race. While it is now widely accepted that races do not share robust, bio-behavioral essences, opinions differ over what, if anything, race is. Recent work has been divided between three apparently quite different answers. A variety of theorists argue for racial skepticism, the view that races do not exist at all.[iv] A second group defends racial constructionism, holding that races are in some way socially constructed.[v],[vi] And (...) a third group maintains racial population naturalism, the view that races may exist as biologically salient populations albeit ones that do not have the biologically determined social significance once imputed to them.[vii] The three groups thus seem to disagree fundamentally upon the metaphysical character of race. (shrink)
The so-called "adaptationism" of mainstream evolutionary biology has been criticized from a variety of sources. One, which has received relatively little philosophical attention, is developmental biology. Developmental constraints are said to be neglected by adaptationists. This paper explores the divergent methodological and explanatory interests that separate mainstream evolutionary biology from its embryological and developmental critics. It will focus on the concept of constraint itself; even this central concept is understood differently by the two sides of the dispute.
It is highly likely that, to achieve full human–machine symbiosis, truly intelligent cognitive systems—human-like —may have to be developed first. Such systems should not only be capable of performing human-like thinking, reasoning, and problem solving, but also be capable of displaying human-like motivation, emotion, and personality. In this opinion article, I will argue that such systems are indeed possible and needed to achieve true and full symbiosis with humans. A computational cognitive architecture is used in this article to illustrate, in (...) a preliminary way, what can be achieved in this regard. It is shown that Clarion involves complex structures, representations, and mechanisms, and is capable of capturing human cognitive performance as well as human motivation, emotion, personality, and other relevant aspects. It is further argued that the cognitive architecture can enable and facilitate true human–machine symbiosis. (shrink)
A prominent contemporary anti-skeptical strategy, most famously articulated by Keith DeRose, aims to cage the skeptic′s doubts by contextualizing subjunctive conditional accounts of knowledge through a conversational rule of sensitivity. This strategy, I argue, courts charges of circularity by selectively invoking heavy counterfactual machinery. The reason: such invocation threatens to utilize a metric for modal comparison that is implicitly informed by judgments of epistemic sameness. This gives us reason to fear that said modal metric is selectively cherry-picked in advance to (...) support the very anti-skeptical conclusion for which the contextualist longs. (shrink)
Quantificational arguments can take scope outside of temporal adjunct clauses, in an apparent violation of locality restrictions: the sentence few secretaries cried after each executive resigned allows the quantificational NP each executive to take scope above few secretaries. I show how this scope relation is the result of local operations: the adjunct clause is a temporal generalized quantifier which takes scope over the main clause (Pratt and Francez, Linguistic and Philosophy 24(2), 187–222. ), and within the adjunct clause, the quantificational (...) argument takes scope above the implicit determiner which forms the temporal generalized quantifier. The paper explores various relations among quantificational arguments across clause boundaries, including temporal clauses that are modified internally by a temporal adverbial and temporal clauses with embedded sentential complements. (shrink)
Among race theorists, the view that race is a social construction is widespread. While the term ‘ social construction’ is sometimes intended to mean merely that race does not constitute a robust, biological natural kind, it often labels the stronger position that race is real, but not a biological kind. For example, Charles Mills writes that, ‘‘the task of those working on race is to put race in quotes, ‘race’, while still insisting that nevertheless, it exists ’’. It is to (...) ‘‘make a plausible social ontology neither essentialist, innate, nor transhistorical, but real enough for all that’’. Racial constructionism, thus conceived, is a metaphysical position that contrasts both with the view that race is an important biological kind and with the more recent claim that race does not exist. The desire for a constructionist metaphysics of race emerges against the background of a cluster of normative disputes, including. (shrink)
This exploratory study examines how managers and professionals regard the ethical and social responsibility reputations of 60 well-known Australian and International companies, and how this in turn influences their attitudes and behaviour towards these organisations. More than 350 MBA, other postgraduate business students, and participants in Australian Institute of Management (Western Australia) management education programmes were surveyed to evaluate how ethical and socially responsible they believed the 60 organisations to be. The survey sought to determine what these participants considered ‘ethical’ (...) and ‘socially responsible’ behaviour in organisations to be. The survey also examined how the participants’ beliefs influenced their attitudes and intended behaviours towards these organisations. The results of this survey indicate that many managers and professionals have clear views about the ethical and social responsibility reputations of companies. This affects their attitudes towards these organisations which in turn has an impact on their intended behaviour towards them. These findings support the view in other research studies that well-educated managers and professionals are, to some extent, taking into account the ethical and social responsibility reputations of companies when deciding whether to work for them, use their services or buy shares in their companies. (shrink)
In a series of papers Geoff Moore has applied Alasdair MacIntyre’s much cited work to generate a virtue-based business ethics. Central to this pro ject is Moore’s argument that business falls under MacIntyre’s concept of ‘practice’. This move attempts to overcome MacIntyre’s reputation for being ‘anti-business’ while maintaining his framework for evaluating social action and replaces MacIntyre’s hostility to management with a conception of managers as institutional practitioners . I argue however that this move has not been justified. Given the (...) importance MacIntyre places on the protection of practices, the result is that much of Moore’s contribution is misplaced. Business cannot name a practice but business institutions certainly do house practices. The task then is to try to understand the circumstances under which practices might flourish and those under which they might founder in a business context. This is not aided by Moore’s redescription of all businesses as practices. (shrink)
Recent work shows an important asymmetry in lay intuitions about moral dilemmas. Most people think it is permissible to divert a train so that it will kill one innocent person instead of five, but most people think that it is not permissible to push a stranger in front of a train to save five innocents. We argue that recent emotion-based explanations of this asymmetry have neglected the contribution that rules make to reasoning about moral dilemmas. In two experiments, we find (...) that participants show a parallel asymmetry about versions of the dilemmas that have minimized emotional force. In a third experiment, we find that people distinguish between whether an action violates a moral rule and whether it is, all things considered, wrong. We propose that judgments of whether an action is wrong, all things considered, implicates a complex set of psychological processes, including representations of rules, emotional responses, and assessments of costs and benefits. (shrink)
Theories of reference have been central to analytic philosophy, and two views, the descriptivist view of reference and the causal-historical view of reference, have dominated the field. In this research tradition, theories of reference are assessed by consulting one’s intuitions about the reference of terms in hypothetical situations. However, recent work in cultural psychology (e.g., Nisbett et al. 2001) has shown systematic cognitive differences between East Asians and Westerners, and some work indicates that this extends to intuitions about philosophical cases (...) (Weinberg et al. 2001). In light of these findings on cultural differences, two experiments were conducted which explored intuitions about reference in Westerners and East Asians. Both experiments indicate that, for certain central cases, Westerners are more likely than East Asians to report intuitions that are consistent with the causal-historical view. These results constitute prima facie evidence that semantic intuitions vary from culture to culture, and the paper argues that this fact raises questions about the nature of the philosophical enterprise of developing a theory of reference. (shrink)
This study examined ethical attitudes and perceptions of 691 undergraduate seniors and freshmen in a college of business. Gender was found to be correlated to perceptions of "what the ethical climate should be" with female subjects showing significantly more favorable attitude towards ethical behaviors than males. Further, Seniors had a more cynical view of the current ethical climate than freshmen. Freshmen were significantly more likely than seniors to believe that good business ethics is positively related to successful business outcomes. Ethical (...) education was significantly correlated to both perceptions of "current ethical climate" as well as "what the ethical climate should be". Students who had been exposed to ethical issues in a course were more likely to believe both, that ethical behavior is, and should be, positively associated with successful business outcomes. (shrink)
This paper briefly summarizes current thinking in engineering ethics education, argues that much of that ethical instruction runs the risk of being only superficially effective, and explores some of the underlying systemic barriers within academia that contribute to this result. This is not to criticize or discourage efforts to improve ethics instruction. Rather it is to point to some more fundamental problems that still must be addressed in order to realize the full potential of enhanced ethics instruction. Issues discussed will (...) include: intellectual engagement versus emotional engagement; the gravitational pull of curricular structures; the nature of engineering faculty; and the “engineer-ization” of ethics. (shrink)
Corporate management is torn between either focusing solely on the interests of stockholders or taking into account the interests of a wide spectrum of stakeholders. Of course, there need be no conflict where taking the wider view is also consistent with maximising stockholder wealth. In this paper, we examine the extent to which a conflict actually exists by examining the relationship between a company's positive and negative corporate social responsibility activities and equity performance. In general, we find little evidence to (...) suggest that managers taking a wider stakeholder perspective will jeopardise the interest of its stockholders. However, our findings do suggest that the market is not only influenced by the independent CSR activities, but also the totality of these activities and that the facets that they value do vary over time. It seems that most recently, the market has valued most firms that satisfied minimum requirements in the areas of diversity and environmental protection but were most proactive in the area of employee-relations. (shrink)
This article explicates the interaction between implicit and explicit processes in skill learning, in contrast to the tendency of researchers to study each type in isolation. It highlights various effects of the interaction on learning (including synergy effects). The authors argue for an integrated model of skill learning that takes into account both implicit and explicit processes. Moreover, they argue for a bottom-up approach (first learning implicit knowledge and then explicit knowledge) in the integrated model. A variety of qualitative data (...) can be accounted for by the approach. A computational model, CLARION, is then used to simulate a range of quantitative data. The results demonstrate the plausibility of the model, which provides a new perspective on skill learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
This paper summarizes the results of an analysis of empirical data on ethical attitudes of professionals and managers in relation to organizational core values in the Information Technology (IT) industry. This study investigates the association between key organizational values as independent variables and the ethical attitudes of IT managers as dependent variables. The study also delves into differences among IT non-managerial professionals, mid-level managers, and upper-level managers in their ethical attitudes and perceptions. Research results indicated that IT professionals from mechanistic (...) organizations were much more likely to report – compared to those from organic organizations – that managers in their corporate environment engage in behaviors considered unethical and that successful managers were more unethical relative to unsuccessful managers. There were significant differences between the upper-level managers and the mid-level managers and between the mid-level managers and the IT non-managerial professionals on certain key ethical issues. This paper discusses the conceptual framework, hypotheses, research methodology, data analysis, implications of the findings, and suggested areas of further research. (shrink)
Synthesizing situated cognition, reinforcement learning, and hybrid connectionist modeling, a generic cognitive architecture focused on situated involvement and interaction with the world is developed in this book. The architecture notably incorporates the distinction of implicit and explicit processes.
This exploratory study examines how managers and professionals regard the ethical and social responsibility reputations of 60 well-known Australian and International companies, and how this in turn influences their attitudes and behaviour towards these organisations. More than 350 MBA, other postgraduate business students, and participants in Australian Institute of Management management education programmes were surveyed to evaluate how ethical and socially responsible they believed the 60 organisations to be. The survey sought to determine what these participants considered 'ethical' and 'socially (...) responsible' behaviour in organisations to be. The survey also examined how the participants' beliefs influenced their attitudes and intended behaviours towards these organisations. The results of this survey indicate that many managers and professionals have clear views about the ethical and social responsibility reputations of companies. This affects their attitudes towards these organisations which in turn has an impact on their intended behaviour towards them. These findings support the view in other research studies that well-educated managers and professionals are, to some extent, taking into account the ethical and social responsibility reputations of companies when deciding whether to work for them, use their services or buy shares in their companies. (shrink)
Controversies over the innateness of cognitive processes, mechanisms, and structures play a persistent role in driving research in philosophy as well as the cognitive sciences, but the appropriate way to understand the category of the innate remains subject to dispute. One venerable approach in philosophy and cognitive science merely contrasts innate features with those that are learned. In fact, Jerry Fodor has recently suggested that this remains our best handle on innateness.
Recent work proclaims a dominant role for automatic, intuitive, and emotional processes in producing ordinary moral judgment, despite the fact that we have little direct evidence about moral judgment “in the wild.” Indirect support comes via an assumption of dual-process theory: that conscious, reasoning processes are resource intensive. We argue that reasoning that employs consciously available moral rules undermines this assumption, but this has not been appreciated because of a failure to distinguish between explanation and justification. We conclude that it (...) remains unclear what sorts of cognitive processes are dominant in ordinary moral judgments. (shrink)
the _algorithmic_, and the _implementational_; Zenon Pylyshyn (1984) calls them the _semantic_, the _syntactic_, and the _physical_; and textbooks in cognitive psychology sometimes call them the levels of _content_, _form_, and _medium_ (e.g. Glass, Holyoak, and Santa 1979).
Not all research in machine consciousness aims to instantiate phenomenal states in artefacts. For example, one can use artefacts that do not themselves have phenomenal states, merely to simulate or model organisms that do. Nevertheless, one might refer to all of these pursuits -- instantiating, simulating or modelling phenomenal states in an artefact -- as 'synthetic phenomenality'. But there is another way in which artificial agents (be they simulated or real) may play a crucial role in understanding or creating consciousness: (...) 'synthetic phenomenology'. Explanations involving specific experiential events require a means of specifying the contents of experience; not all of them can be specified linguistically. One alternative, at least for the case of visual experience, is to use depictions that either evoke or refer to the content of the experience. Practical considerations concerning the generation and integration of such depictions argue in favour of a synthetic approach: the generation of depictions through the use of an embodied, perceiving and acting agent, either virtual or real. Synthetic phenomenology, then, is the attempt to use the states, interactions and capacities of an artificial agent for the purpose of specifying the contents of conscious experience. This paper takes the first steps toward seeing how one might use a robot to specify the non- conceptual content of the visual experience of an (hypothetical) organism that the robot models. (shrink)
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