Unjustly forgotten, Laird’s “value and obligation”, I shall argue, is of great relevance to contemporary moral philosophy. To this aim, I will explore three main theses of Laird’s paper which are as follows: (T1) We can’t understand judgments of value and obligation in terms of mere feelings and desires. (T2) Desire must be guided by cognition of some value. (T3) Judgments of rightness and obligation must be grounded in judgments of value.
The Conferences of John Cassian constitute one of the more noteworthy contributions to early monastic literature. While it reveals decidedly Eastern influences, particularly Evagrius, it is a western contribution completed by the early decades of the fifth century. Among these recollections of what the Eastern fathers taught about the monastic life, Conferences Nine and Ten figure among the most important.4For in these two Conferences Cassian gives both his teaching on the nature and mystery of contemplative prayer and the method or (...) practice by which the monk is disposed unceasingly to this grace; moreover, it is also where one finds Cassian's commentary on the Our Father. This is a very interesting coincidence: the former is characterized by silence, the later by words. The question as to the possible relationship between the two suggests itself for further consideration. (shrink)
We describe a dual-process theory of how individuals estimate the probabilities of unique events, such as Hillary Clinton becoming U.S. President. It postulates that uncertainty is a guide to improbability. In its computer implementation, an intuitive system 1 simulates evidence in mental models and forms analog non-numerical representations of the magnitude of degrees of belief. This system has minimal computational power and combines evidence using a small repertoire of primitive operations. It resolves the uncertainty of divergent evidence for single events, (...) for conjunctions of events, and for inclusive disjunctions of events, by taking a primitive average of non-numerical probabilities. It computes conditional probabilities in a tractable way, treating the given event as evidence that may be relevant to the probability of the dependent event. A deliberative system 2 maps the resulting representations into numerical probabilities. With access to working memory, it carries out arithmetical operations in combining numerical estimates. Experiments corroborated the theory's predictions. Participants concurred in estimates of real possibilities. They violated the complete joint probability distribution in the predicted ways, when they made estimates about conjunctions: P, P, P, disjunctions: P, P, P, and conditional probabilities P, P, P. They were faster to estimate the probabilities of compound propositions when they had already estimated the probabilities of each of their components. We discuss the implications of these results for theories of probabilistic reasoning. (shrink)
The essence of Hume’s eighteenth-century philosophy was that all the sciences were ‘dependent on the science of man’, and that the foundations of any such science need to rest on experience and observation. This title, first published in 1932, examines in detail how Hume interpreted ‘the science of man’ and how he applied his experimental methodology to humankind’s understanding, passions, social duties, economic activities, religious beliefs and secular history throughout his career. Particular attention is paid to the English, French and (...) Latin sources that shaped Hume’s theories. This is a full and fascinating title, of particular relevance to students with an interest in the philosophy of Hume specifically, as well as the philosophy of human nature and the methodologies applied to its study more generally. (shrink)
The essence of Hume’s eighteenth-century philosophy was that all the sciences were ‘dependent on the science of man’, and that the foundations of any such science need to rest on experience and observation. This title, first published in 1932, examines in detail how Hume interpreted ‘the science of man’ and how he applied his experimental methodology to humankind’s understanding, passions, social duties, economic activities, religious beliefs and secular history throughout his career. Particular attention is paid to the English, French and (...) Latin sources that shaped Hume’s theories. This is a full and fascinating title, of particular relevance to students with an interest in the philosophy of Hume specifically, as well as the philosophy of human nature and the methodologies applied to its study more generally_. _. (shrink)
Some philosophers argue that the principles of human reasoning are impeccable, and that mistakes are no more than momentary lapses in “information processing”. This article makes a case to the contrary. It shows that human reasoners commit systematic fallacies. The theory of mental models predicts these errors. It postulates that individuals construct mental models of the possibilities to which the premises of an inference refer. But, their models usually represent what is true in a possibility, not what is false. This (...) procedure reduces the load on working memory, and for the most part it yields valid inferences. However, as a computer program implementing the theory revealed, it leads to fallacious conclusions for certain inferences—those for which it is crucial to represent what is false in a possibility. Experiments demonstrate the variety of these fallacies and contrast them with control problems, which reasoners tend to get right. The fallacies can be compelling illusions, and they occur in reasoning based on sentential connectives such as “if” and “or”, quantifiers such as “all the artists” and “some of the artists”, on deontic relations such as “permitted” and “obligated”, and causal relations such as “causes” and “allows”. After we have reviewed the principal results, we consider the potential for alternative accounts to explain these illusory inferences. And we show how the illusions illuminate the nature of human rationality. (shrink)
William James’s theory of emotion has been controversial since its inception, and a basic analysis of Cannon’s critique is provided. Research on the impact of facial expressions, expressive behaviors, and visceral responses on emotional feelings are each reviewed. A good deal of evidence supports James’s theory that these types of bodily feedback, along with perceptions of situational cues, are each important parts of emotional feelings. Extensions to James’s theory are also reviewed, including evidence of individual differences in the effect of (...) bodily responses on emotional experience. (shrink)
Good reasoning can lead to success; bad reasoning can lead to catastrophe. Yet, it's not obvious how we reason, and why we make mistakes. This new book by one of the pioneers of the field, Philip Johnson-Laird, looks at the mental processes that underlie our reasoning. It provides the most accessible account yet of the science of reasoning.