This paper consists of two parts. In the first, we discuss the neuropsychological correlates of belief in a 'paranormal' or magical causation of coincidences. In particular, we review experimental evidence demonstrating that believers in ESP and kindred forms of paranormal phenomena differ from disbelievers with respect to indices of sequential response production and semantic-associative processing. Not only do believers judge artificial coincidences as more 'meaningful' than disbelievers, they also more strongly suppress coincidental productions (i.e. repetitions) in their generation of random (...) sequences. These findings illuminate the cognitive mechanisms underlying the formation and maintenance of paranormal beliefs for which the right cerebral hemisphere is hypothesized to play a central role. These same right hemispheric semantic-associative processing characteristics are centrally implicated in the creative thought process as well as the genesis of delusional (pathological) beliefs (e.g. ideas of reference). (shrink)
Understanding spoken words involves a rapid mapping from speech to conceptual representations. One distributed feature-based conceptual account assumes that the statistical characteristics of concepts’ features—the number of concepts they occur in and likelihood of co-occurrence —determine conceptual activation. To test these claims, we investigated the role of distinctiveness/sharedness and correlational strength in speech-to-meaning mapping, using a lexical decision task and computational simulations. Responses were faster for concepts with higher sharedness, suggesting that shared features are facilitatory in tasks like lexical decision (...) that require access to them. Correlational strength facilitated responses for slower participants, suggesting a time-sensitive co-occurrence-driven settling mechanism. The computational simulation showed similar effects, with early effects of shared features and later effects of correlational strength. These results support a general-to-specific account of conceptual processing, whereby early activation of shared features is followed by the gradual emergence of a specific target representation. (shrink)
Affect misattribution occurs when affective cues color subsequent unrelated evaluations. Research suggests that affect misattribution decreases when one is aware that affective cues are unrelated to the evaluation at hand. We propose that affect misattribution may even occur when one is aware that affective cues are irrelevant, as long as the source of these cues seems ambiguous. When source ambiguity exists, affective cues may freely influence upcoming unrelated evaluations. We examined this using an adapted affect misattribution procedure where pleasant and (...) unpleasant responses served as affective cues that could influence later evaluations of unrelated targets. These affective cues were either perceived as reflecting a single source , or as reflecting two sources suggesting source ambiguity. Results show that misattribution of affect decreased when participants perceived affective cues as representing one source rather than two. (shrink)
We propose the SIMS model can be strengthened by detailing the dynamic interaction between sensorimotor activation and contextual conceptual information. Rapidly activated evaluations and contextual knowledge can guide and constrain embodied simulations. In addition, we stress the potential importance of extending the SIMS model to dynamic social interactions that go beyond the passive observer.
Recent research suggests that one can have the feeling of being the cause of an action’s outcome, even in the absence of a prior intention to act. That is, experienced self-agency over behavior increases when outcome representations are primed outside of awareness, prior to executing the action and observing the resulting outcome. Based on the notion that behavior can be represented at different levels, we propose that priming outcome representations is more likely to augment self-agency experiences when the primed representation (...) corresponds with a person’s behavior representation level. Three experiments, using different priming and self-agency tasks, both measuring and manipulating the level of behavior representation, confirmed this idea. Priming high level outcome representations enhanced experienced self-agency over behavior more strongly when behavior was represented at a higher level, rather than a lower level. Thus, priming effects on self-agency experiences critically depend on behavior representation level. (shrink)
Experiences of having caused a certain outcome may arise from motor predictions based on action–outcome probabilities and causal inferences based on pre-activated outcome representations. However, when and how both indicators combine to affect such self-agency experiences is still unclear. Based on previous research on prediction and inference effects on self-agency, we propose that their contribution crucially depends on whether people have knowledge about the causal relation between actions and outcomes that is relevant to subsequent self-agency experiences. Therefore, we manipulated causal (...) knowledge that was either relevant or irrelevant by varying the probability of co-occurrence of specific actions and outcomes. Afterwards, we measured self-agency experiences in an action–outcome task where outcomes were primed or not. Results showed that motor prediction only affected self-agency when relevant actions and outcomes were learned to be causally related. Interestingly, however, inference effects also occurred when no relevant causal knowledge was acquired. (shrink)
Escalation of commitment causes people to continue a failing course of action. We study the role of construal level in such escalation of commitment. Consistent with the widely held view of construal level as a primed effect, we employed a commonly used prime for manipulating this construct in a laboratory experiment. Our findings revealed that the prime failed to produce statistically significant differences in construal level, which was measured using the Behavior Identification Form. Furthermore, there was no effect of the (...) prime on escalation of commitment, or on constructs that have previously been linked to construal level such as the perceived importance of feasibility considerations relative to desirability considerations, and the number of pros and cons that subjects can think of.Interestingly, however, subjects’ actual construal level scores on the BIF were found to significantly affect escalation. Specifically, our findings show that people with a low construal level are less willing to continue a failing project. This relation is mediated by the perceived importance of the feasibility of the project relative to its desirability. For people with a low construal level, the perceived importance of feasibility relative to desirability is higher, which in turn makes escalation of commitment less likely.Our findings are consistent with prior research suggesting that priming construal level may not always be effective. Thus, while construal level has typically been regarded as a state-like variable that can be primed, in this study, we show that construal level may also be considered as a trait. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article responds to the contributors to this special issue. I clarify my views on critical theory, capitalism, morality, sociality, secularity, subjectivity, and childhood. I close with some general remarks about the necessity for a hermeneutical approach to social, ethical, and political questions.
The widely touted discovery of mirror neurons has generated intense scientific interest in the neurobiology of intersubjectivity. Social neuroscientists have claimed that mirror neurons, located in brain regions associated with motor action, facial recognition, and somatosensory processing, allow us to automatically grasp other people's intentions and emotions. Despite controversies, mirror neuron research is animating materialist, affective, and embodied accounts of intersubjectivity. My view is that mirror neurons raise issues that are directly relevant to feminism and cultural studies, but interventions are (...) needed for the work to be compatible with nonreductionist critical thought. In this article I critique the dominant neuroscientific account of mirror neurons, called embodied simulation theory. I draw from feminist epistemologies as well as alternative interpretations of mirror neurons in cognitive science and philosophy of mind to consider mirroring as situated, embodied perception. (shrink)
Algorithms silently structure our lives. Algorithms can determine whether someone is hired, promoted, offered a loan, or provided housing as well as determine which political ads and news articles consumers see. Yet, the responsibility for algorithms in these important decisions is not clear. This article identifies whether developers have a responsibility for their algorithms later in use, what those firms are responsible for, and the normative grounding for that responsibility. I conceptualize algorithms as value-laden, rather than neutral, in that algorithms (...) create moral consequences, reinforce or undercut ethical principles, and enable or diminish stakeholder rights and dignity. In addition, algorithms are an important actor in ethical decisions and influence the delegation of roles and responsibilities within these decisions. As such, firms should be responsible not only for the value-laden-ness of an algorithm but also for designing who-does-what within the algorithmic decision. As such, firms developing algorithms are accountable for designing how large a role individual will be permitted to take in the subsequent algorithmic decision. Counter to current arguments, I find that if an algorithm is designed to preclude individuals from taking responsibility within a decision, then the designer of the algorithm should be held accountable for the ethical implications of the algorithm in use. (shrink)
Elizabeth Taylor: The Queen and I is a remarkable collection of Gianni Bozzacchi’s photographs of Elizabeth Taylor, most of them previously unpublished, capturing her as a film star, a woman, and a personal friend.
Public health and service delivery programmes, interventions and policies are typically developed and implemented for the primary purpose of effecting change rather than generating knowledge. Nonetheless, evaluations of these programmes may produce valuable learning that helps determine effectiveness and costs as well as informing design and implementation of future programmes. Such studies might be termed ‘opportunistic evaluations’, since they are responsive to emergent opportunities rather than being studies of interventions that are initiated or designed by researchers. However, current ethical guidance (...) and registration procedures make little allowance for scenarios where researchers have played no role in the development or implementation of a programme, but nevertheless plan to conduct a prospective evaluation. We explore the limitations of the guidance and procedures with respect to opportunistic evaluations, providing a number of examples. We propose that one key missing distinction in current guidance is moral responsibility: researchers can only be held accountable for those aspects of a study over which they have control. We argue that requiring researchers to justify an intervention, programme or policy that would occur regardless of their involvement prevents or hinders research in the public interest without providing any further protections to research participants. We recommend that trial consent and ethics procedures allow for a clear separation of responsibilities for the intervention and the evaluation. (shrink)
[ https://plus.google.com/108060242686103906748/posts/cwvdB6mK3J6 ] The phenomenal description on own thoughts regard me to describe Coleridge, along with William Wordsworth, was instrumental in initiating a poetic revolution in the early nineteenth century which is known as the Romantic Movement. Coleridge invokes the Divine Spirit that blows upon the wild Harp of Time. Time is like the stringed musical instrument on which the Spirit produces sweet harmonious melodies. Coleridge is perhaps best known for his haunting ballad Rime of Ancient Mariner, the dream-like Kubla (...) Khan and the unfinished Christabel, but he wrote several other smaller poems, quite remarkable for their imaginative power. (Edited with own analysis)…[http://philpapers.org/profile/112741] http://www.academia.edu/18834746/LITERATURE_I_DO-_THE_ROMANTICS_AND_SUBJECTIVITY_SAMUEL_TAYLOR_COLER IDGE. (shrink)
In cases where the claims of different groups of people compete, the Relevance View occupies a middle ground between aggregation and nonaggregation. It allows weaker claims to aggregate to outweigh a stronger claim just when the competing claims, compared pairwise, are sufficiently close in strength. The view has strong intuitive appeal when applied to simple binary choices, but I argue that attempts to extend it to nonbinary choices have been unsuccessful. I propose a new extension of the Relevance View to (...) nonbinary choices based on a “binary contrastive” account of the moral reasons that obtain in the cases of interest. (shrink)
While research on meaningfulnesss in life is becoming increasingly popular in analytic philosophy, there is still a dearth of literature on the topic of meaninglessness. This is surprising, given that a better understanding of the nature of meaninglessness may help to illuminate features of meaningfulness previously unobserved or misunderstood. Additionally, the topic of meaninglessness is interesting in its own right - independent of what it can tell us about meaningfulness. In my dissertation, I construct and defend my own conception of (...) meaninglessness. -/- I adopt Thaddeus Metz's (2013) analysis of meaninglessness presented in his new book, Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study. For Metz, meaninglessness is not the absence of meaningfulness but a positively bad state to be in - one that can detract from the overall meaningfulness of a life. I distinguish between the following: negative meaning (i.e., meaninglessness as a dis-value), positive meaning (i.e., meaningfulness), and lives that lack positive meaning. I defend a conception of negative meaning. In contrast, most conceptions of meaninglessness are conceptions of lives where positive meaning is absent. Philosophers defending these conceptions have yet to acknowledge the existence of negative meaning. I explain why conceptions of meaninglessness (as the absence of positive meaning) are inadequate and I provide support for the existence of negative meaning. (shrink)
Newton’s earliest publications contained scandalous epistemological claims: not only did he aim for certainty; he also claimed success. Some commentators argue that Newton ultimately gave up claims of certainty in favor of a high degree of probability. I argue that no such shift occurred. I examine the evidence of a probabilistic shift: a passage from query 23/31 of the Opticks and rule 4 of the Principia. Neither passage supports a probabilistic approach to natural philosophy. The aim of certainty, then, was (...) an enduring feature of Newton’s methodology. (shrink)
The Relevance View, exemplified by Alex Voorhoeve's Aggregate Relevant Claims, has considerable appeal. It accommodates our reluctance to aggregate weak claims in canonical cases like Life for Headaches, while permitting aggregation of claims in a range of other cases. But it has been the target of significant criticism. In an important recent paper, Patrick Tomlin argues that the view suffers from failures of internal logic, violating plausible consistency constraints and generating incoherent combinations of verdicts on cases. And in cases resembling (...) real-world healthcare allocation problems, Tomlin argues that the view offers no guidance at all. In response, I argue that the internal logic of the Relevance View is sound, and the view's core principles, suitably clarified, support a significant extension of the view beyond the simple cases to which it is typically applied. (shrink)
Using the Aristotelian virtue of friendship and concept of practical wisdom, this paper argues that engaging in political discourse with friends on social media is conducive to the pursuit of the good life because it facilitates the acquisition of the socio-political information and understanding necessary to live well. Previous work on social media, the virtues, and friendship focuses on the initiation and maintenance of the highest form of friendship online. I argue that the information necessary to live well can come (...) from non-ideal, civic friends in addition to ideal friends. In order to acquire this information successfully via social media, users should practice inclusive engagement, self-control, discretion, and audience-sensitivity in their cyber interactions. This argument is salient given the current concerns about ‘echo chambers’ or ‘filter bubbles’, in which users ignore or block out friends and news sources that support political perspectives different from one’s own. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that consumerautonomy does not count in favor of thelabeling of genetically modified foods (GMfoods) more than for the labeling of non-GMfoods. Further, reasonable considerationssupport the view that it is non-GM foods ratherthan GM foods that should be labeled.
Though “dwelling” is more commonly associated with Heidegger’s philosophy than with that of Merleau-Ponty, “being-at-home” is in fact integral to Merleau-Ponty’s thinking. I consider the notion of home as it relates to Merleau-Ponty’s more familiar notions of the “lived body” and the “level,” and, in particular, I consider how the unique intertwining of activity and passivity that characterizes our being-at-home is essential to our nature as free beings. I argue that while being-at-home is essentially an experience of passivity—i.e., one that (...) rests in the background of our experience and provides a support and structure for our life that goes largely unnoticed and that is significantly beyond our “conscious” control—being-at-home is also a way of being to which we attain . This analysis of home reveals important psychological insights into the nature of our freedom as well as into the nature of the development of our adult ways of coping and behaving. (shrink)
This article explores Lyotard’s notion of performativity through an engagement with McKenzie’s analysis of performance as a ‘formation of knowledge and power’ that has displaced the notion of discipline as the tool for social evaluation. Through conditions of ‘performance’ capitalism, education is to conform to a logic of performativity that ensures not only the efficient operation of the state in the world market, but also the continuation of a global culture of performance. I further trace Lyotard’s postmodern aesthetic of experimentation (...) through performance as an ‘event’ in an analogous attempt to track the process of cultural production in terms that acknowledge the temporality of the event so as not to reduce the artwork to a commodity, knowledge to information, and ‘performance’ to be managed. Where this has critical traction is in education, a site that deals with the intersection of politics, art, theory, philosophy and history—in short, a site where all aspects of ‘performance’ are fully realized. This article engages with the key ideas of these thinkers’ approaches to notions of performance, and assesses their relevance for an understanding of the ambiguities of ‘performance’ in contemporary education institutions. (shrink)
I argue that considerations pertaining to constitutive luck undermine historicism—the view that an agent’s history can determine whether or not she is morally responsible. The main way that historicists have motivated their view is by appealing to certain cases of manipulation. I argue, however, that since agents can be morally responsible for performing some actions from characters with respect to which they are entirely constitutively lucky, and since there is no relevant difference between these agents and agents who have been (...) manipulated into acting from a character bestowed upon them by their manipulators, we should give up historicism. After presenting this argument and defending it against some potential objections, I briefly criticize the standard structuralist alternative and propose a new structuralist position that is shaped by reflection on constitutive luck. (shrink)