Experiences—visual, emotional, or otherwise—play a role in providing us with justification to believe claims about the world. Some accounts of how experiences provide justification emphasize the role of the experiences’ distinctive phenomenology, i.e. ‘what it is like’ to have the experience. Other accounts emphasize the justificatory role to the experiences’ etiology. A number of authors have used cases of cognitively penetrated visual experience to raise an epistemic challenge for theories of perceptual justification that emphasize the justificatory role of phenomenology rather (...) than etiology. Proponents of the challenge argue that cognitively penetrated visual experiences can fail to provide the usual justification because they have improper etiologies. However, extant arguments for the challenge’s key claims are subject to formidable objections. In this paper, I present the challenge’s key claims, raise objections to previous attempts to establish them, and then offer a novel argument in support of the challenge. My argument relies on an analogy between cognitively penetrated visual and emotional experiences. I argue that some emotional experiences fail to provide the relevant justification because of their improper etiologies and conclude that analogous cognitively penetrated visual experiences fail to provide the relevant justification because of their etiologies, as well. (shrink)
Perception purports to help you gain knowledge of the world even if the world is not the way you expected it to be. Perception also purports to be an independent tribunal against which you can test your beliefs. It is natural to think that in order to serve these and other central functions, perceptual representations must not causally depend on your prior beliefs and expectations. In this paper, I clarify and then argue against the natural thought above. All perceptual systems (...) must solve an under-determination problem: the sensory data they receive could be caused by indefinitely many arrangements of distal objects and properties. Using a Bayesian approach to perceptual processing, I argue that in order to solve the under-determination problem, perceptual capacities must rely on prior beliefs or expectations of some kind. I then argue that perceptual states or processes can help ground knowledge of the world whether the ‘beliefs’ necessary for perceptual processing are encoded as sub-personal states within a perceptual system or cognitive states, such as person-level beliefs. My argument has two main parts. First, I give a preliminary argument that cognitive influence on perception can be appropriate, and I respond to three lines of objection. Second, I argue that cognitively influenced perceptual states can be instances of seeing that p, which makes the relevant states well suited to help ground knowledge that p. I conclude that a cognitively penetrated perceptual state or process can help ground knowledge under some circumstances. (shrink)
This paper concerns how extant theorists of predictive coding conceptualize and explain possible instances of cognitive penetration. §I offers brief clarification of the predictive coding framework and relevant mechanisms, and a brief characterization of cognitive penetration and some challenges that come with defining it. §II develops more precise ways that the predictive coding framework can explain, and of course thereby allow for, genuine top-down causal effects on perceptual experience, of the kind discussed in the context of cognitive penetration. §III develops (...) these insights further with an eye towards tracking one extant criterion for cognitive penetration, namely, that the relevant cognitive effects on perception must be sufficiently direct. Throughout these discussions, we extend the analyses of the predictive coding models, as we know them. So one open question that surfaces is how much of the extended analyses are genuinely just part of the predictive coding models, or something that must be added to them in order to generate these additional explanatory benefits. In §IV, we analyze and criticize a claim made by some theorists of predictive coding, namely, that (interesting) instances of cognitive penetration tend to occur in perceptual circumstances involving substantial noise or uncertainty. It is here that our analysis is most critical. We argue that, when applied, the claim fails to explain (or perhaps even be consistent with) a large range of important and uncontroversially interesting possible cases of cognitive penetration. We conclude with a general speculation about how the recent work on the predictive mind may influence the current dialectic concerning top-down effects on perception. (shrink)
Introduction to Special Issue of Review of Philosophy and Psychology. Overview of the central issues in cognitive architecture, epistemology, and ethics surrounding cognitive penetrability. Special issue includes papers by philosophers and psychologists: Gary Lupyan, Fiona Macpherson, Reginald Adams, Anya Farennikova, JonaVance, Francisco Marchi, Robert Cowan.
Jonas Olson presents a critical survey of moral error theory, the view that there are no moral facts and so all moral claims are false. Part I explores the historical context of the debate; Part II assesses J. L. Mackie's famous arguments; Part III defends error theory against challenges and considers its implications for our moral thinking.
"_Weaving the World_ is a well-written and lucid overview of Simone Weil's writings on science and mathematics. This book will be of great benefit for anyone who wishes to pursue Weil's thought in depth." —_Eric O. Springsted, President of the American Weil Society_ "_Weaving the World_ is a detailed account of the philosophy of science and knowledge of Simone Weil. It is a very useful contribution to our understanding of one of the deepest and most incandescent thinkers of the twentieth (...) century." —_Martin Andic, University of Massachusetts, Boston_ This clearly written book introduces readers to Simone Weil’s philosophy of science and mathematics. Weil held that, for the ancient Greeks, the ultimate purpose of science and mathematics was the knowledge and love of the divine. Her creative assimilation of this vision led her to a conception of science and mathematics that connects the human person with not only the physical world but also the spiritual and aesthetic aspects of human existence. Vance Morgan sketches an outline of a metaphysical foundation for mathematics and science that, according to Weil, opens the door to a reinvigorated discussion among science, philosophy, art, and religion. (shrink)
Moral particularism is commonly presented as an alternative to ‘principle- or rule-based’ approaches to ethics, such as consequentialism or Kantianism. This paper argues that particularists' aversions to consequentialism stem not from a structural feature of consequentialism per se, but from substantial and structural axiological views traditionally associated with consequentialism. Given a particular approach to value, there need be no conflict between moral particularism and consequentialism. We consider and reject a number of challenges holding that there is after all such a (...) conflict. We end by suggesting that our proposed position appears quite appealing since it preserves attractive elements from particularism as well as consequentialism. (shrink)
Recognition and Freedom offers up-to-date discussions of Axel Honneth’s political thought by ten experts in the field. It also includes an interview with Honneth and an essay by him on education and democracy, previously unpublished in English.
Jonas Olson writes that "a plausible moral error theory must be an error theory about all irreducible normativity". I agree. But unlike Olson, I think we cannot believe this error theory. I first argue that Olson should say that reasons for belief are irreducibly normative. I then argue that if reasons for belief are irreducibly normative, we cannot believe an error theory about all irreducible normativity. I then explain why I think Olson's objections to this argument fail. I end by (...) showing that Olson cannot defend his view as a partly revisionary alternative to an error theory about all irreducible normativity. (shrink)
"One of the expected fruits of Descartes' philosophical enterprise is "the highest and most perfect moral system," a system which, organically developed from its metaphysical and physical foundations, will provide the moral agent with direction and purpose in each of life's contingencies. Yet, Descartes' published work contains no such moral system, and commentators have generally agreed that Descartes "has entered the history of philosophy as perhaps the only systematic philosopher of the first rank who failed to provide any methodical treatment (...) of moral problems."" "Through a careful investigation of primarily Descartes' Correspondence and his final treatise, The Passions of the Soul, Vance Morgan here constructs the framework of a working ethical system, consistent with the spirit of Cartesian metaphysics and physics. He finds that while Descartes' metaphysics are remarkable for their insistence on indubitably clear and distinct principles, his ethic is equally remarkable in its conclusion that indubitably certain, inviolable principles are not available in the realm of morals and human activity. Virtue is not defined with reference to the results of one's actions, nor to one's faithful adherence to a set of rationally derived moral directives. Rather, virtue consists in the moral attitude with which one lives one's life, the psychological conviction that one has always resolutely acted upon the best intellectual activity of which one is capable."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved. (shrink)
Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is a technology which has been receiving considerable attention as of late. It is a fairly simple technology involving radio wave communication between a microchip and an electronic reader, in which an identification number stored on the chip is transmitted and processed; it can frequently be found in inventory tracking and access control systems. In this paper, we examine the current uses of RFID, as well as identifying potential future uses of the technology, including item-level (...) tagging, human implants and RFID-chipped passports, while discussing the impacts that each of these uses could potentially have on personal privacy. Possible guidelines for RFID’s use, including Fair Information Principles and the RFID Bill of Rights are then presented, as well as technological solutions to personal privacy problems, such as tag killing and blocker tags, as well as simple aluminum foil shields for passports. It is then claimed, though, that guidelines and technological solutions will be ineffective for privacy protection, and that legislation will be necessary to guard against the threats posed by the RFID. Finally, we present what we believe to be the most important legislative points that must be addressed. (shrink)
This book explores the ways in which humor can enhance the learning environment. Drawing upon empirical research and brain-based concepts, Jonas presents a theoretical model of humor, along with practical examples for enhancing learning in schools and classrooms.
This paper questions the adequacy of the explicit cancellability test for conversational implicature as it is commonly understood. The standard way of understanding this test relies on two assumptions: first, that that one can test whether a certain content is conversationally implicated, by checking whether that content is cancellable, and second, that a cancellation is successful only if it results in a felicitous utterance. While I accept the first of these assumptions, I reject the second one. I argue that a (...) cancellation can succeed even if it results in an infelicitous utterance, and that unless we take this possibility into account we run the risk of misdiagnosing philosophically significant cases. (shrink)
The first decade of event-related potential (ERP) research had established that the most consistent correlates of the onset of visual consciousness are the early visual awareness negativity (VAN), a posterior negative component in the N2 time range, and the late positivity (LP), an anterior positive component in the P3 time range. Two earlier extensive reviews ten years ago had concluded that VAN is the earliest and most reliable correlate of visual phenomenal consciousness, whereas LP probably reflects later processes associated with (...) reflective/access consciousness. This article provides an update to those earlier reviews. ERP and MEG studies that have appeared since 2010 and directly compared ERPs between aware and unaware conditions are reviewed, and important new developments in the field are discussed. The result corroborates VAN as the earliest and most consistent signature of visual phenomenal consciousness, and casts further doubt on LP as an ERP correlate of phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)
Trevor Teitel has recently argued that combining the assumption that modality reduces to essence with the assumption that possibly some objects contingently exist leads to problems if one wishes to uphold that the logic of metaphysical modality is S5. In this paper I will argue that there is a way for the essentialist to evade the problem described by Teitel. The proposed solution crucially involves the assumption that some propositions possibly fail to exist. I will show how this assumption affords (...) a motivated contingentist response to Teitel’s argument. (shrink)
Reality is hierarchically structured, or so proponents of the metaphysical posit of grounding argue. The less fundamental facts obtain in virtue of, or are grounded in, the more fundamental facts. But what exactly is it for one fact to be more fundamental than another? The aim of this paper is to provide a measure of relative fundamentality. I develop and defend an account of the metaphysical hierarchy that assigns to each fact a set of ordinals representing the levels on which (...) it occurs. The account allows one to compare any two facts with respect to their fundamentality and it uses immediate grounding as its sole primitive. In the first section, I will set the stage and point to some shortcomings of a rival account proposed by Karen Bennett. The second section will present my own proposal and the third section will discuss how it can be extended to non-foundationalist settings. The fourth section discusses potential objections. (shrink)
" "Unlike the scattered works, anthologies, and essays that are currently available, Hans Jonas: The Integrity of Thinking provides a much-needed single, coherent overview of the various fields to which Jonas's attention was drawn, bringing ...
The debate on the ethical aspects of moral bioenhancement focuses on the desirability of using biomedical as opposed to traditional means to achieve moral betterment. The aim of this paper is to systematically review the ethical reasons presented in the literature for and against moral bioenhancement.
Let intentionalism be the view that what proposition is expressed in context by a sentence containing indexicals depends on the speaker’s intentions. It has recently been argued that intentionalism makes communicative success mysterious and that there are counterexamples to the intentionalist view in the form of cases of mismatch between the intended interpretation and the intuitively correct interpretation. In this paper, I argue that these objections can be met, once we acknowledge that we may distinguish what determines the correct interpretation (...) from the evidence that is available to the audience, as well as from the standards by which we judge whether or not a given interpretation is reasonable. With these distinctions in place, we see that intentionalism does not render communicative success mysterious, and that cases of mismatch between the intended interpretation and the intuitively correct one can easily be accommodated. The distinction is also useful in treating the Humpty Dumpty problem for intentionalism, since it turns out that this can be treated as an extreme special case of mismatch. (shrink)
According to the communication desideratum (CD), a notion of semantic content must be adequately related to communication. In the recent debate on indexical reference, (CD) has been invoked in arguments against the view that intentions determine the semantic content of indexicals and demonstratives (intentionalism). In this paper, I argue that the interpretations of (CD) that these arguments rely on are questionable, and suggest an alternative interpretation, which is compatible with (strong) intentionalism. Moreover, I suggest an approach that combines elements of (...) intentionalism with other subjectivist approaches, and discuss the role of intuitions in developing and evaluating theories of indexical reference. (shrink)
Jonas Olson defends a moral error theory in (2014). I will first argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral nonnaturalism in his own opinion. I will then argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral contextualism either (although the latter is not a matter of his own opinion).
It is widely acknowledged that some truths or facts don’t have a minimal full ground [see e.g. Fine ]. Every full ground of them contains a smaller full ground. In this paper I’ll propose a minimality constraint on immediate grounding and I’ll show that it doesn’t fall prey to the arguments that tell against an unqualified minimality constraint. Furthermore, the assumption that all cases of grounding can be understood in terms of immediate grounding will be defended. This assumption guarantees that (...) the proposed minimality constraint is significant for all cases of grounding. With its help one can get a clear grip on the relevance of grounding, a feature that will be put to use in the penultimate section. (shrink)
A bioética de V. R. Potter comemora em 2020 os seus primeiros 50 anos. O cientista preocupado com os avanços das ciências, sem o devido saber ético, propõe um diálogo entre as ciências com as humanidades, de modo a se alcançar a sabedoria necessária de como usar o conhecimento em vista do bem comum, a fim de assegurar o futuro da humanidade. A partir dessa ponte inicial entre as ciências com as humanidades, Potter mais tarde propõe outras pontes, em especial (...) com as ciências biomédicas, pois identifica que a saúde humana depende do ambiente em que o indivíduo está inserido, o que ele classifica como bioética global. A obra O princípio responsabilidade, de Hans Jonas, em 2019, celebrou 40 anos. Embora Jonas não tenha utilizado a expressão bioética, o filósofo dedicou parte da sua vida no trabalho interdisciplinar no Hastings Center, para refletir sobre temas que hoje são do universo da bioética. Desse modo, essa reflexão quer saber: como a filosofia de Hans Jonas contribui na construção de um estatuto epistemológico à bioética global de V.R. Potter? Trata-se de uma pesquisa bibliográfica, de caráter narrativo, a partir das obras do cientista e do filósofo e seus comentadores. Conclui-se que embora Jonas não tenha utilizado da expressão bioética em sua reflexão, o filósofo não ignorou os problemas emergentes de seu tempo, porém classificou-os dentro do universo da ética prática. Assim sendo, sua produção filosófica, construída principalmente a partir da prática interdisciplinar de trabalho, constitui um verdadeiro estatuto epistemológico à bioética, em busca de fundamentos éticos para proteger a vida humana e extra-humana no futuro, o que faz do filósofo, um verdadeiro bioeticista. (shrink)
Recognizing yourself in literature cannot only help you to get a clearer grasp of what you already think and feel. It can also deeply unsettle your vision of yourself. This article examines a hitherto neglected mechanism to this effect: learning by way of seeing yourself in others’ blindness. I show that In Search of Lost Time epitomizes this phenomenon. Confronting characters oblivious to their old age makes the protagonist realize that he, too, has aged without noticing it, and invites readers (...) to analogous insights. The paper contributes to the discussion on how you can learn from literature and adds a twist to Proust’s claim that the purpose of literature is that readers recognize themselves in it. (shrink)
During the last couple of decades, several attempts have been made to come up with a theory that can handle the various semantic, logical and philosophical problems raised by the vagueness of natural languages. One of the most influential ideas that have come into fashion in recent years is the idea that vagueness should be analysed as a form of context sensitivity. Such contextualist theories of vagueness have gained some popularity, but many philosophers have remained sceptical of the prospects of (...) finding a tenable contextualist solution to the problems of vagueness. This paper provides an introduction to the most popular contextualist accounts, and a discussion of some of the most important arguments for and against them. (shrink)
Discussing Plato's views on knowledge, recollection, dialogue, and epiphany, this ambitious volume offers a systematic analysis of the ways that Platonic approaches to education can help students navigate today's increasingly complex moral environment. Though interest in Platonic education may have waned due to a perceived view of Platonic scholarship as wholly impractical, this volume addresses common misunderstandings of Plato's work and highlights the contemporary relevance of Plato's ideas to contemporary moral education. Building on philosophical interpretations, the book argues persuasively that (...) educators might employ Platonic themes and dialogue in the classroom. Split into two parts, the book looks first to contextualise Plato's theory of moral education within political, ethical, and educational frameworks. Equipped with this knowledge, part two then offers contemporary educators the strategies needed for implementing Plato's educational theory within the pluralistic, democratic classroom setting. A Platonic Theory of Moral Education will be of interest to academics, researchers, and post-graduate students in the fields of: ethics; Plato scholarship; moral psychology; educational foundations; and the philosophy of education. This book would also benefit graduate students and scholars in teacher education. Mark E. Jonas is Professor of Education and Professor of Philosophy at Wheaton College, US. Yoshiaki Nakazawa is Assistant Professor of Education at University of Dallas, US. (shrink)
Value theory, or axiology, looks at what things are good or bad, how good or bad they are, and, most fundamentally, what it is for a thing to be good or bad. Questions about value and about what is valuable are important to moral philosophers, since most moral theories hold that we ought to promote the good. This Handbook focuses on value theory as it pertains to ethics, broadly construed, and provides a comprehensive overview of contemporary debates pertaining not only (...) to philosophy but also to other disciplines-most notably, political theory and economics.The Handbook's twenty-two newly commissioned chapters are divided into three parts. Part I: Foundations concerns fundamental and interrelated issues about the nature of value and distinctions between kinds of value. Part II: Structure concerns formal properties of value that bear on the possibilities of measuring and comparing value. Part III: Extensions, finally, considers specific topics, ranging from health to freedom, where questions of value figure prominently. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to introduce, elucidate and defend the usefulness of a variant of grounding, or metaphysical explanation, that has the feature that the grounds explain of some states of affairs that one of them obtains without explaining which one obtains. I will dub this variant arbitrary grounding. After informally elucidating the basic idea in the first section, I will provide three metaphysical hypotheses that are best formulated in terms of arbitrary grounding in the second section. The (...) third section will be concerned with the relation between arbitrary grounding and non-arbitrary grounding. The fourth section will compare arbitrary grounding to two extant proposals in the literature. (shrink)
In a recent article published in this journal, Kris McDaniel proposes a variant of Peter van Inwagen’s argument against the principle of sufficient reason that makes crucial use of plural grounding. In this response paper I object to McDaniel’s argument. I argue that there is no notion of plural grounding available that is both irreflexive in the sense required for the argument to go through and general enough to formulate the principle of sufficient reason as proposed by McDaniel.
Landscapes of Wisdom seeks wisdom in contemporary thought. The author, as scholar, and seeker, examines scientific, religious and literary writings, to synthesize a way of knowing accessible to the modern mind, an intellectual path meeting the challenge of science with an equally universal message that speaks of the world and its workings, but also of transcendence and the deepest core of human experience.
Scientific realism is typically associated with metaphysics. One current incarnation of such an association concerns the requirement of a metaphysical characterization of the entities one is being a realist about. This is sometimes called “Chakravartty’s Challenge”, and codifies the claim that without a metaphysical characterization, one does not have a clear picture of the realistic commitments one is engaged with. The required connection between metaphysics and science naturally raises the question of whether such a demand is appropriately fulfilled, and how (...) metaphysics engages with science in order to produce what is called “scientific metaphysics”. Here, we map some of the options available in the literature, generating a conceptual spectrum according to how each view approximates science and metaphysics. This is done with the purpose of enlightening the current debate on the possibility of epistemic warrant that science could grant to such a metaphysics, and how different positions differently address the thorny issue concerning such a warrant. (shrink)
In the debate over what determines the reference of an indexical expression on a given occasion of use, we can distinguish between two generic positions. According to the first, the reference is determined by internal factors, such as the speaker’s intentions. According to the second, the reference is determined by external factors, like conventions or what a competent and attentive audience would take the reference to be. It has recently been argued that the first position is untenable, since there are (...) cases of mismatch where the intuitively correct reference differs from the one that would be determined by the relevant internal factors. The aim of this paper is to show that, contrary to this line of argument, it is the proponent of the second position that should be worried, since this position yields counterintuitive consequences regarding communicative success in cases of mismatch. (shrink)
In this introductory textbook to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Jill Vance Buroker explains the role of this first Critique in Kant's Critical project and offers a line-by-line reading of the major arguments in the text. She situates Kant's views in relation both to his predecessors and to contemporary debates, explaining his Critical philosophy as a response to the failure of rationalism and the challenge of skepticism. Paying special attention to Kant's notoriously difficult vocabulary, she explains the strengths and (...) weaknesses of his arguments, while leaving the final assessment up to the reader. Intended to be read alongside the Critique, this guide is accessible to readers with little background in the history of philosophy, but should also be a valuable resource for more advanced students. (shrink)
Nonrelativistic quantum mechanics (QM) works perfectly well for all practical purposes. Once one admits, however, that a successful scientific theory is supposed not only to make predictions but also to tell us a story about the world in which we live, a philosophical problem emerges: in the specific case of QM, it is not possible to associate with the theory a unique scientific image of the world; there are several images. The fact that the theory may be compatible with distinct (...) ontologies, and that those ontologies may themselves be associated with a plurality of metaphysical approaches, gives rise to the problem of metaphysical underdetermination. This paper concludes that the available metametaphysical criteria fail to deliver objectivity in theory choice, and it puts forward its own criterion based on a tension between two methods of metaphysical inquiry: one that is closely related to science and another that is not. (shrink)
I propose a pragmatic approach to the kind of reference-shifting occurring in indexicals as used in e.g. written notes and answering machine messages. I proceed in two steps. First, I prepare the ground by showing that the arguments against such a pragmatic approach raised in the recent literature fail. Second, I take a first few steps towards implementing this approach, by sketching a pragmatic theory of reference-shifting, and showing how it can handle cases of the relevant kind. While the immediate (...) scope of the paper is restricted to indexicals and reference-shifting, and the discussion is confined to a specific range of theories and cases, the approach proposed is compatible with a fairly broad range of more or less semantically conservative theories, and many of the conclusions drawn are significant for the evaluation of pragmatic explanations in philosophy more generally. The overall goal is to offer a new perspective on the issues under discussion, and to prompt philosophers to reconsider some of the established methods by which pragmatic explanations are evaluated. (shrink)