We review recent anticipatory looking and violation-of-expectancy studies suggesting that infants and young preschoolers have spontaneous (implicit) understanding of mind despite their known problems until later in life on elicited (explicit) tests of false-belief reasoning. Straightforwardly differentiating spontaneous and elicited expressions of complex mental state understanding in relation to an implicit-explicit knowledge framework may be challenging; early action predictions may be based on behavior rules that are complementary to the mentalistic attributions under consideration. We discuss that the way forward for (...) diagnosing early mentalism is to analyze whether young candidate mind-readers’ visual orienting cohere across different belief-formation by belief-use combinations. Adopting this formal cognitive analysis, we conclude that whilst some studies come tantalizingly close to sign-posting mentalism in infants and young children’s spontaneous responses, the bulk of evidence for early mentalism grades into behaviorism. (shrink)
Our motor system can generate representations which carry information about the goals of another agent's actions. However, it is not known whether motor representations play a deeper role in social understanding, and, in particular, whether they enable tracking others' beliefs. Here we show that, for adult observers, reliably manifesting an ability to track another's false belief critically depends on representing the agent's potential actions motorically. One signature of motor representations is that they can be disrupted by constraints on an observed (...) agent's action capacities. We therefore used a `mummification' technique to manipulate whether the agent in a visual ball-detection task was free to act or whether he was visibly constrained from acting. Adults' reaction times reliably reflected the agent's beliefs only when the agent was free to act on the ball and not when the agent was visibly constrained from acting. Furthermore, it was the agent's constrained action capabilities, rather than any perceptual novelty, that determined whether adult observers' reaction times reliably reflected the agent's beliefs. These findings signal that our motor system may underpin more of social cognition than previously imagined, and, in particular, that motor representations may underpin automatic false-belief tracking. (shrink)
Anticipatory looking on mindreading tasks can indicate our expectation of an agent's action. The challenge is that social situations are often more complex, involving instances where we need to track an agent's false belief to successfully identify the outcome to which an action is directed. If motor processes can guide how action goals are understood, it is conceivable— where that kind of goal ascription occurs in false-belief tasks— for motor representations to account for someone's belief-like state. Testing adults in a (...) real-time interactive helping scenario, we discovered that participants' early mediolateral motor activity foreshadowed the agent's belief-based action preparation. These results suggest fast belief-tracking can modulate motor representations generated in the course of one's interaction with an agent. While adults' leaning, and anticipatory looking, revealed the contribution of fast false-belief tracking, participants did not correct the agent's mistake in their final helping action. These discoveries suggest that adults may not necessarily use another's belief during overt social interaction or find reflecting on another's belief as being normatively relevant to one's own choice of action. Our interactive task design offers a promising way to investigate how motor and mindreading processes may be variously integrated. (shrink)
In many democracies, voter turnout is low and getting lower. If the people choose not to govern themselves, should they be forced to do so? For Jason Brennan, compulsory voting is unjust and a petty violation of citizens' liberty. The median non-voter is less informed and rational, as well as more biased, than the median voter. According to Lisa Hill, compulsory voting is a reasonable imposition on personal liberty. Hill points to the discernible benefits of compulsory voting and argues (...) that high turnout elections are more democratically legitimate. The authors - both well-known for their work on voting and civic engagement - debate questions such as: • Do citizens have a duty to vote, and is it an enforceable duty? • Does compulsory voting violate citizens' liberty? If so, is this sufficient grounds to oppose it? Or is it a justifiable violation? Might it instead promote liberty on the whole? • Is low turnout a problem or a blessing? (shrink)
Just because one has the right to vote does not mean just any vote is right. Citizens should not vote badly. This duty to avoid voting badly is grounded in a general duty not to engage in collectively harmful activities when the personal cost of restraint is low. Good governance is a public good. Bad governance is a public bad. We should not be contributing to public bads when the beneﬁt to ourselves is low. Many democratic theorists agree that we (...) shouldn’t vote badly, but that’s because they think we should vote well. This demands too much of citizens. (shrink)
In this century a number of events could extinguish humanity. The probability of these events may be very low, but the expected value of preventing them could be high, as it represents the value of all future human lives. We review the challenges to studying human extinction risks and, by way of example, estimate the cost effectiveness of preventing extinction-level asteroid impacts.
American universities rely upon a large workforce of adjunct faculty—contract workers who receive low pay, no benefits, and no job security. Many news sources, magazines, and activists claim that adjuncts are exploited and should receive better pay and treatment. This paper never affirms nor denies that adjuncts are exploited. Instead, we show that any attempt to provide a significantly better deal faces unpleasant constraints and trade-offs. “Adjunct justice” would cost universities somewhere between an additional $15–50 billion per year. At most, (...) universities can provide justice for a minority of adjuncts at the expense of the majority, as well as at the expense of poor students. Universities may indeed be exploiting adjuncts, but they cannot rectify this mistake without significant moral costs. (shrink)
Randomized control trials are the gold standard for estimating causal effects, but often use samples that are non-representative of the actual population of interest. We propose a reweighting method for estimating population average treatment effects in settings with noncompliance. Simulations show the proposed compliance-adjusted population estimator outperforms its unadjusted counterpart when compliance is relatively low and can be predicted by observed covariates. We apply the method to evaluate the effect of Medicaid coverage on health care use for a target population (...) of adults who may benefit from expansions to the Medicaid program. We draw RCT data from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, where less than one-third of those randomly selected to receive Medicaid benefits actually enrolled. (shrink)
Callous unemotional (CU) traits (i.e., a lack of empathy/remorse and poverty of emotion) that co-occur with childhood antisocial behaviour are believed to be the developmental precursor to psychopathy in adulthood. An increasing volume of evidence supports two distinct variants of CU traits/psychopathy, known as primary and secondary. Primary variants are thought to show core deficits in emotional reactivity (e.g., attenuated autonomic activity), whereas secondary variants present with high levels of anxiety and this may be reflected in increased emotional sensitivity to (...) negative stimuli. -/- Aims: The current study is the first of its kind to examine the role of anxiety in modulating emotional processing as indexed by heart rate (HR) in incarcerated boys with CU traits. -/- Methods: HR was recorded continuously while 205 adolescents (aged 14 to 18 years) completed an emotional pictures dot-probe task. The task consisted of four blocks of 18 trials, beginning with a 500 ms central fixation cross, a 250 ms picture pair presentation (i.e., neutral, positive, negative valence), followed by a probe appearing in either the top or bottom picture location until response, and lastly a 2000 ms inter-trial interval recovery period. Four groups were formed on the basis of median-split scores on the Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale and the Inventory of Callous Unemotional Traits, reflecting a primary variant (high CU/low anxiety), secondary variant (high CU/high anxiety), and two nonpsychopathic groups (low CU/high anxiety and low CU/low anxiety). -/- Results: The HR data indicated relative HR deceleration during the picture-probe period, regardless of group. Additionally, compared to all other groups, HR deceleration was greatest for the high CU/high anxiety secondary group and smallest for the high CU/low anxiety primary group during negative stimuli. Conclusions: This result is thought to reflect differences between CU/psychopathy variants in attentional orienting to distressing stimuli, consistent with theory. (shrink)
Despite projected devastating impacts on human communities, the US still lacks comprehensive national policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This vacuum has provided the space for a surge of promising sustainability and climate action planning efforts at the state and local level. Meanwhile, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (2015) Out of Reach Report, ‘there is no state in the US where a minimum wage worker working full time can afford a one-bedroom apartment at the fair market (...) rent’. We are calling for a reimagining of local climate action planning that encourages policies and programs designed to reduce GHG emissions from the built environment while explicitly and comprehensively addressing the affordability component. With equitable local climate action planning, we can address both environmental and social justice issues. (shrink)
Societies with a higher level of income inequality tend to have lower levels of intergenerational income mobility. Known as the Great Gatsby Curve, this negative relationship in part derives from greater intergenerational economic heritance among the poor. Societies with higher rates of relative poverty will have a higher level of income inequality, but they will also tend to have lower intergenerational mobility due to the reduced capacity of low-income persons to become upwardly mobile. Reviewing relevant research in psychology, we describe (...) how poverty is associated with decreased psychological resources that compromise the competitiveness of low-income persons for superior attainment in the educational system and for greater productivity in the labor market. Economic deprivation in itself thus leads to a “vicious circle” of disadvantage that diminishes intergenerational mobility even without the existence of any culture of poverty or monopolistic institutions in the economy. (shrink)
SummaryThis study assessed the strength of the association between socioeconomic status and low birth weight and preterm birth in Southwestern Ontario. Utilizing perinatal and neonatal databases at the London Health Science Centre, maternal postal codes were entered into a Geographic Information System to determine home neighbourhoods. Neighbourhoods were defined by dissemination areas. Median household income for each DA was extracted from the latest Canadian Census and linked to each mother. All singleton infants born between February 2009 and February 2014 were (...) included. Of 26,654 live singleton births, 6.4% were LBW and 9.7% were PTB. Top risk factors for LBW were: maternal amphetamine use, chronic hypertension and maternal marijuana use ; previously diagnosed diabetes, maternal narcotic use and insulin-controlled gestational diabetes predicted PTB. Overall, SES had little impact on adverse birth outcomes, although low maternal education increased the likelihood of a LBW neonate. (shrink)
The relationship between religiosity and ethical behavior at work has remained elusive. In fact, inconsistent results in observed magnitudes and direction led Hood et al. (The psychology of religion: An empirical approach, 1996 ) to describe the relationship between religiosity and ethics as “something of a roller coaster ride.” Weaver and Agle (Acad Manage Rev 27(1):77–97, 2002 ) utilizing social structural versions of symbolic interactionism theory reasoned that we should not expect religion to affect ethical outcomes for all religious individuals; (...) rather, such a relationship likely depends on specific religious attitudes including religious motivation orientation (intrinsic RMO vs. extrinsic RMO), perceived sacred qualities of work (job sanctification), and views of God (VOG, loving vs. punishing). We examined the effects of these three religious attitudes on participants’ judgments of 29 ethically questionable vignettes. Consistent with symbolic interactionism theory, intrinsic RMO and having a loving view of God were both negatively related to endorsing ethically questionable vignettes, whereas extrinsic RMO was positively related to endorsing the vignettes. Unexpectedly, job sanctification was positively related to endorsing the vignettes. However, both intrinsic and extrinsic RMO moderated this relationship such that sanctifying one’s job was related to ethical judgments only for those who were: (a) low in intrinsic RMO or (b) high in extrinsic RMO. We reasoned based on symbolic interactionism theory that intrinsically motivated participants, in contrast to extrinsically motivated participants, may have utilized their religious beliefs as a guiding framework in making ethical judgments. (shrink)
In this article, we analyze the practices of requesting participation in telephone survey interviews. Recent conversation analytic work on requests has focused on the interactional functions of request formats and their relationship to abstractly defined institutional and ordinary contexts. We add to this line of inquiry by demonstrating that the design features of the requests in our collection are largely shaped by and responsive to specific details of the sequences of talk in which they are embedded. We identify two types (...) of request formats – high contingency and low contingency – and show that requests are built in such a way that addresses features of the local sequential environment. High contingency requests that present the recipient with the option of doing the interview ‘now’ or doing it ‘later’ recognize that when an interview is done may be a contingent issue and as such are produced with greater frequency in discouraging interactional environments, whereas requests that embed the single option of doing an interview ‘now’ presume a lack of contingencies and are produced less frequently in discouraging environments. (shrink)
Purpose: To determine the relative value that patients place on consent for procedures in the emergency department (ED) and to define a set of procedures that fall in the realm of implied consent. Methods: A questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample 134 of 174 patients who were seen in the ED of a Midwestern teaching hospital. The questionnaire asked how much time they believed was necessary to give consent for various procedures. Procedures ranged from simple (venipuncture) to complex (procedural (...) sedation). Results: Participants valued a simple blood draw at a low mean of 1.02 minutes of extra time and a lumbar puncture at a high mean of 7.78 minutes. Of all participants 52% and 48% noted a time-value of ?0? time on blood draw and intravenous line starts, respectively, indicating that they desire no additional consent for these procedures. Conclusion: Defining a set of ED procedures covered under implied consent will be difficult because many patients value formal consent for even the simplest procedure. (shrink)
Imaginative resistance refers to cases in which one’s otherwise flexible imaginative capacity is constrained by an unwillingness or inability to imaginatively engage with a given claim. In three studies, we explored which specific imaginative demands engender resistance when imagining morally deviant worlds and whether individual differences in emotion predict the degree of this resistance. In Study 1 (N = 176), participants resisted the notion that harmful actions could be morally acceptable in the world of a narrative regardless of the author’s (...) claims about these actions but did not resist imagining that a perpetrator of harm could believe their actions to be morally acceptable. In Study 2 (N = 167) we replicated the findings of Study 1 and showed that imaginative resistance is greatest among participants who experience more negative affect in response to imagining harm and are lower in either trait anxiety or trait psychopathy. In Study 3 (N = 210) we show that this is the case even when the harms assessed include both low-severity (i.e., emotional harm) and high-severity (i.e., killing) cases. Thus, people’s moral beliefs constrain their ability to imagine hypothetical moral alternatives, although this ability systematically varies on the basis of stable individual differences in emotion. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIt is proposed that experts are able to integrate prior contextual knowledge with emergent visual information to make complex predictive judgments about the world around them, often under heightened levels of uncertainty and extreme time constraints. However, limited knowledge exists about the impact of anxiety on the use of such contextual priors when forming our decisions. We provide a novel insight into the combined impact of contextual priors and anxiety on anticipation in soccer. Altogether, 12 expert soccer players were required (...) to predict the actions of an oncoming opponent while viewing life-sized video simulations of 2-versus-2 defensive scenarios. Performance effectiveness and processing efficiency were measured under four conditions: no contextual priors about the action tendencies of the opponent and low anxiety ; no CP and high anxiety ; CP and LA; CP and HA. The provision of contextual priors did not affect processing efficiency, but it improved performance effectiveness... (shrink)
Background: Individuals with psychopathic traits demonstrate an attenuated emotional response to aversive stimuli. However, recent evidence suggests heterogeneity in emotional reactivity among individuals with psychopathic or callous-unemotional (CU) traits, the emotional detachment dimension of psychopathy. We hypothesize that primary variants of psychopathy will respond with blunted affect to negatively valenced stimuli, whereas individuals marked with histories of childhood trauma/maltreatment exposure, known as secondary variants, will display heightened emotional reactivity. To test this hypothesis, the present study examined fear-potentiated startle between psychopathy (...) variants while viewing aversive, pleasant, and neutral scenes. Method: 238 incarcerated adolescent (M age = 16.8, SD = 1.11 years) boys completed a picture-startle paradigm and self-report questionnaires assessing CU traits, antisocial-aggressive behavior, and maltreatment. Results: Latent profile analyses identified four classes; primary variants (high CU traits, high aggression, low maltreatment; n = 46), secondary variants (high CU traits, high aggression, high maltreatment; n = 42), and two nonpsychopathic groups differentiated on maltreatment experience (n = 148). Findings from an ANOVA comparing identified groups on startle amplitude difference scores (i.e., aversive-neutral) suggested a main effect for group, F(3,196)=8.91, p<.001, η2 = .12. Primary variants of juvenile psychopathy displayed reduced startle potentiation to aversive images (threat and victim scenes), whereas secondary variants distinguished by high levels of childhood maltreatment did not. Conclusions: Findings add to a rapidly growing body of literature supporting the possibility of multiple developmental pathways to psychopathy (i.e., equifinality), and extend it by finding support for divergent potential biomarkers between primary and secondary psychopathy variants. (shrink)
Strategies for effectively communicating scientific findings to the public are an important and growing area of study. Recognizing that some complex subjects require recipients of information to take a more active role in constructing an understanding, we sought to determine whether it was possible to increase subjects’ intellectual effort via “priming” methodologies. In particular, we asked whether subconsciously priming “intellectual virtues”, such as curiosity, perseverance, patience, and diligence might improve participants’ effort and performance on various cognitive tasks. In the first (...) experiment, we found no significant differences in either effort or understanding between IV-primed and neutrally-primed individuals across two different priming techniques. The second experiment measured the effect of IV-priming on intellectual effort in simpler, shorter-duration puzzles and exploration activities; here, we observed an effect, but given its low strength and short duration, we do not believe that priming of IVs is a promising strategy for science communication. (shrink)
Jason Brennan argues that people are morally obligated not to vote badly, where voting badly is voting “without sufficient reason” for harmful or unjust policies or candidates. His argument is: (1) One has an obligation not to engage in collectively harmful activities when refraining from such activities does not impose significant personal costs. (2) Voting badly is to engage in a collectively harmful activity, while abstaining imposes low personal costs. (3) Therefore, one should not vote badly. This paper shows (...) that Brennan never adequately clarifies (1) and that, on every plausible clarification, (2) is false. (shrink)
The main examples of pragmatic encroachment presented by Jason Stanley involve the idea that knowledge ascription occurs more readily in cases where stakes are low rather than high. This is the stakes hypothesis. In this paper an example is presented showing that in some cases knowledge ascription is more readily appropriate where stakes are high rather than low.
Los teóricos de la democracia dejaron de lado la pregunta de quién legalmente forma parte del "pueblo" autorizado, pregunta que atraviesa a todas las teoría de la democracia y continuamente vivifica la práctica democrática. Determinar quién constituye el pueblo es un dilema inabordable e incluso imposible de responder democráticamente; no es una pregunta que el pueblo mismo pueda decidir procedimentalmente porque la propia premisa subvierte las premisas de su resolución. Esta paradoja del mandato popular revela que el pueblo para ser (...) mejor comprendido como una demanda política, como un proceso de subjetivación, surge y se desarrolla en distintos contextos democráticos. En Estados Unidos el disputado poder para hablar en beneficio del pueblo deriva de un excedente constitutivo heredado de la era revolucionaria, a partir del hecho de que desde la Revolución el pueblo ha sido por vez primera encarnado por la representación y como exceso de cualquier forma de representación. La autoridad posrevolucionaria del vox populi deriva de esa continuamente reiterada pero nunca realizada referencia a la soberanía del pueblo a partir de la representación, legitimidad a partir de la ley, espíritu a partir de la letra, la palabra a través de la palabra. Este ensayo examina la emergencia histórica de este exceso de democracia en el período revolucionario, y cómo este habilita a una subsecuente historia de "momentos constituyentes", momentos cuando subautorizados -radicales, entidades autocreadas-, se apoderan del manto de la autoridad, cambiando las reglas de la autoridad en ese proceso. Estos pequeños dramas de reclamos de autoridad política para hablar en nombre del pueblo son felices, aun cuando explícitamente rompan con los procedimientos o reglas estatuidas para representar la voz popular. -/- Momentos constituyentes: paradojas y poder popular en los Estados Unidos de América posrevolucionarios [traducción], Revista Argentina de Ciencia Política, N°15, EUDEBA, Buenos Aires, Octubre 2012, pp. 49-74. ISSN: 0329-3092. Introducción de “Constituent Moments: Enacting the People in Postrevolutionary America”, de Jason Frank [Ed.: Duke University Press Books, enero de 2010. ISBN-10: 0822346753; ISBN-13: 978-0822346753]. (shrink)
Jason Stanley presents a startling and provocative claim about knowledge: that whether or not someone knows a proposition at a given time is in part determined by his or her practical interests, i.e. by how much is at stake for that person at that time. In defending this thesis, Stanley introduces readers to a number of strategies for resolving philosophical paradox, making the book essential not just for specialists in epistemology but for all philosophers interested in philosophical methodology. Since (...) a number of his strategies appeal to linguistic evidence, it will be of great interest to linguists as well. (shrink)
Jason Stanley's "Knowledge and Practical Interests" is a brilliant book, combining insights about knowledge with a careful examination of how recent views in epistemology fit with the best of recent linguistic semantics. Although I am largely convinced by Stanley's objections to epistemic contextualism, I will try in what follows to formulate a version that might have some prospect of escaping his powerful critique.
Are persons substances or modes? Two currently dominant views may be characterized as giving the following rival answers to this question. According to the first view, persons are just biological substances. According to the second, persons are psychological modes of substances which, as far as human beings are concerned, happen to be biological substances, but which could in principle be non-biological. There is, however, also a third possible answer, and this is that persons are psychological substances. Such a view is (...) inevitably associated with the name of Descartes, and this helps to explain its current unpopularity, since substantial dualism of his sort is now widely rejected as ‘unscientific’. But one may, as I hope to show, espouse the view that persons are psychological substances without endorsing Cartesianism. This is because one may reject certain features of Descartes's conception of substance. Consequently, one may also espouse a version of substantial dualism which is distinctly non-Cartesian. One may hold that a person, being a psychological substance, is an entity distinct from the biological substance that is his or her body, and yet still be prepared to ascribe corporeal characteristics to this psychological substance. By this account, a human person is to be thought of neither as a non-corporeal mental substance, nor as the product of a mysterious ‘union’ between such a substance and a physical, biological substance. This is not to deny that the mind—body problem is a serious and difficult one, but it is to imply that there is a version of substantial dualism which does not involve regarding the ‘mind’ as a distinct substance in its own right. (shrink)
Philosophers have long been tempted by the idea that objects and properties are abstractions from the facts. But how is this abstraction supposed to go? If the objects and properties aren't 'already' there, how do the facts give rise to them? Jason Turner develops and defends a novel answer to this question: The facts are arranged in a quasi-geometric 'logical space', and objects and properties arise from different quasi-geometric structures in this space.
Incompatibilists believe free will is impossible if determinism is true, and they often claim that this view is supported by ordinary intuitions. We challenge the claim that incompatibilism is intuitive to most laypersons and discuss the significance of this challenge to the free will debate. After explaining why incompatibilists should want their view to accord with pre theoretical intuitions. we suggest that determining whether incompatibilism is infact intuitive calls for empirical testing. We then present the results of our studies, which (...) put significant pressure on the claim that incompatibilism is intuitive. Finally, we consider and respond to several potential objections to our approach. (shrink)
Why does the problem of free will seem so intractable? I surmise that in large measure it does so because the free will debate, at least in its modern form, is conducted in terms of a mistaken approach to causality in general. At the heart of this approach is the assumption that all causation is fundamentally event causation. Of course, it is well-known that some philosophers of action want to invoke in addition an irreducible notion of agent causation, applicable only (...) in the sphere of intelligent agency. But such a view is generally dismissed as incompatible with the naturalism that has now become orthodoxy amongst mainstream analytical philosophers of mind. What I want to argue is that substances, not events, are the primary relata of causal relations and that agent causation should properly be conceived of as a species of substance causation. I shall try to show that by thus reconceiving the nature of causation and of agency, the problem of free will can be made more tractable. I shall also argue for a contention that may seem even less plausible at first sight, namely, that such a view of agency is perfectly compatible with a volitionist theory of action. (shrink)
"As the child of refugees of World War II Europe and a renowned philosopher and scholar of propaganda, Jason Stanley has a deep understanding of how democratic societies can be vulnerable to fascism: Nations don't have to be fascist to suffer from fascist politics. In fact, fascism's roots have been present in the United States for more than a century. Alarmed by the pervasive rise of fascist tactics both at home and around the globe, Stanley focuses here on the (...) structures that unite them, laying out and analyzing the ten pillars of fascist politics--the language and beliefs that separate people into an 'us' and a 'them.' He knits together reflections on history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory with stories from contemporary Hungary, Poland, India, Myanmar, and the United States, among other nations. He makes clear the immense danger of underestimating the cumulative power of these tactics, which include exploiting a mythic version of a nation's past; propaganda that twists the language of democratic ideals against themselves; anti-intellectualism directed against universities and experts; law and order politics predicated on the assumption that members of minority groups are criminals; and fierce attacks on labor groups and welfare. These mechanisms all build on one another, creating and reinforcing divisions and shaping a society vulnerable to the appeals of authoritarian leadership. By uncovering disturbing patterns that are as prevalent today as ever, Stanley reveals that the stuff of politics--charged by rhetoric and myth--can quickly become policy and reality. Only by recognizing fascists politics, he argues, may we resist its most harmful effects and return to democratic ideals."--Jacket. (shrink)
Ontological Pluralism is the view that there are different modes, ways, or kinds of being. In this paper, I characterize the view more fully (drawing on some recent work by Kris McDaniel) and then defend the view against a number of arguments. (All of the arguments I can think of against it, anyway.).
Historically, philosophers of biology have tended to sidestep the problem of development by focusing primarily on evolutionary biology and, more recently, on molecular biology and genetics. Quite often too, development has been misunderstood as simply, or even primarily, a matter of gene activation and regulation. Nowadays a growing number of philosophers of science are focusing their analyses on the complexities of development, and in Embryology, Epigenesis and Evolution Jason Scott Robert explores the nature of development against current trends in (...) biological theory and practice and looks at the interrelations between development and evolution , an area of resurgent biological interest. Clearly written, this book should be of interest to students and professionals in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of biology. (shrink)
Historically, philosophers of biology have tended to sidestep the problem of development by focusing primarily on evolutionary biology and, more recently, on molecular biology and genetics. Quite often too, development has been misunderstood as simply, or even primarily, a matter of gene activation and regulation. Nowadays a growing number of philosophers of science are focusing their analyses on the complexities of development, and in Embryology, Epigenesis and Evolution Jason Scott Robert explores the nature of development against current trends in (...) biological theory and practice and looks at the interrelations between development and evolution, an area of resurgent biological interest. Clearly written, this book should be of interest to students and professionals in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of biology. (shrink)
Hume's famous discussion of miracles in the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is curious both on account of the arguments he does deploy and on account of the arguments he does not deploy, but might have been expected to. The first and second parts of this paper will be devoted to examining, respectively, these two objects of curiosity. The second part I regard as the more important, because I shall there try to show that the fact that Hume does not deploy (...) an argument that he might have been expected to deploy in fact reflects a weakness in the view of natural laws that has come to be associated with Hume's name. I shall argue, in fact, that it is a symptom of the defectiveness of the ‘Humean’ view of natural laws that on that view it is only too easy to rule out the possibility of a miracle ever occurring. In the third part of the paper, I shall show how another view of laws can overcome this problem. (shrink)
This article examines two questions about scientists’ search for knowledge. First, which search strategies generate discoveries effectively? Second, is it advantageous to diversify search strategies? We argue pace Weisberg and Muldoon, “Epistemic Landscapes and the Division of Cognitive Labor”, that, on the first question, a search strategy that deliberately seeks novel research approaches need not be optimal. On the second question, we argue they have not shown epistemic reasons exist for the division of cognitive labor, identifying the errors that led (...) to their conclusions. Furthermore, we generalize the epistemic landscape model, showing that one should be skeptical about the benefits of social learning in epistemically complex environments. (shrink)
This paper examines Aristotle’s account of the individuation of causal powers, which dominated much of scholastic thought about powers, and argues that John Buridan rejected it. It contends that Buridan criticizes Aristotle’s account on two counts. First, he attacks Aristotle’s view that we ought to individuate powers by appeal to their respective activities. Second, Buridan objects to Aristotle’s “single-track” account, which correlates one type of power with only one type of activity. Against this, it is argued, Buridan adopts a multi-track (...) approach, according to which a single power type may be correlated with many different types of activities. The paper claims that the basic idea of Buridan’s multi-track view is still defensible today, and can be viewed as a viable alternative to the contemporary single-track account of power individuation defended, for instance, by Jonathan Lowe. (shrink)