Researchers have wondered how the brain creates emotions since the early days of psychological science. With a surge of studies in affective neuroscience in recent decades, scientists are poised to answer this question. In this target article, we present a meta-analytic summary of the neuroimaging literature on human emotion. We compare the locationist approach (i.e., the hypothesis that discrete emotion categories consistently and specifically correspond to distinct brain regions) with the psychological constructionist approach (i.e., the hypothesis that discrete emotion categories (...) are constructed of more general brain networks not specific to those categories) to better understand the brain basis of emotion. We review both locationist and psychological constructionist hypotheses of brain–emotion correspondence and report meta-analytic findings bearing on these hypotheses. Overall, we found little evidence that discrete emotion categories can be consistently and specifically localized to distinct brain regions. Instead, we found evidence that is consistent with a psychological constructionist approach to the mind: A set of interacting brain regions commonly involved in basic psychological operations of both an emotional and non-emotional nature are active during emotion experience and perception across a range of discrete emotion categories. (shrink)
In our response, we clarify important theoretical differences between basic emotion and psychological construction approaches. We evaluate the empirical status of the basic emotion approach, addressing whether it requires brain localization, whether localization can be observed with better analytic tools, and whether evidence for basic emotions exists in other types of measures. We then revisit the issue of whether the key hypotheses of psychological construction are supported by our meta-analytic findings. We close by elaborating on commentator suggestions for future research.
Lindquist et al. convincingly argue that the brain implements psychological operations that are constitutive of emotion rather than modules subserving discrete emotions. However, the nature of such psychological operations is open to debate. I argue that considering appraisal theories may provide alternative interpretations of the neuroimaging data with respect to the psychological operations involved.
The standard version of Pascal’s Wager suffers from serious problems. In this paper I present a modified version of a Wager-style argument that avoids several of the most serious objections to the standard version, viz., the objections of Duff and Hájek relating to infinite utilities, moral objections concerning the use of pragmatic considerations, and the many-gods objection. I argue that a serious commitment to living a Christian life is rational if one is rational in assigning a credence to (...) Christianity of at least one-half. The upshot is that considerations of practical rationality dramatically lower the bar for natural theology. (shrink)
Regularity theories of causation assert that causal or nomic notions are to be reduced into “mere” frequencies of particular, non-nomic, co-located qualities and matters of fact. In this essay, I present a critical exploration of Armstrong and Strawson’s explanatory arguments against regularity theories. The shortcomings of these older arguments for nomic realism are identified and a revamped version which is immune to such problems is outlined and defended. I argue that anti-realism suffers substantial disconfirmation due to its comparative inability to (...) unify empirical regularities in the absence of any probabilistic counterweights. I also show that realist theories are much more probable than their anti-realist competitors both individually and in aggregate. This is shown to be the case with even the most humble of observational data. This revamped argument is Bayesian in character; it is immune to the criticisms of Beebee, Everitt, Loewer, and van Fraassen ; and it is empiricist friendly to boot. (shrink)
Epistemic permissivism is the thesis that the evidence can rationally permit more than one attitude toward a proposition. Pascal’s wager is the idea that one ought to believe in God for practical reasons, because of what one can gain if theism is true and what one has to lose if theism is false. In this paper, I argue that if epistemic permissivism is true, then the defender of Pascal’s wager has powerful responses to two prominent objections. First, I (...) argue that if permissivism is true, then permissivism is true about theistic belief. Second, I show how epistemic permissivism about theistic belief dispels two objections to Pascal’s wager: the objection that wagering is impossible, and the objection that wagering is epistemically impermissible. (shrink)
We agree that conceptualisation is key in understanding the brain basis of emotion. We argue that by conflating facial emotion recognition with subjective emotion experience, Lindquist et al. understate the importance of biological predisposition in emotion. We use examples from the anxiety disorders to illustrate the distinction between these two phenomena, emphasising the importance of both emotional hardware and contextual learning.
We briefly presented either the letter ‘b’ or the letter ‘h’ to participants who were instructed to respond by saying the letter that was not shown. This binary version of the exclusion task avoids problems with assessing baseline completion rates. When the letters were shown for 5–10 ms participants erroneously responded with the shown letter at a rate greater than chance. They were capable of following the instructions when the letter was shown for longer . Given the chance to (...) class='Hi'>wager low or high on their choices after short duration stimuli, participants declined to wager high even when they were correct. Taken together these results suggest that the briefly presented stimuli were processed subconsciously. (shrink)
One version of Pascal’s Wager says we should commit to, or cultivate belief in, whatever religion we think is most likely to bring us eternal joy. I pose a reductio for this version of the Wager. After exploring some ways the Pascalian might respond, the verdict is that it provides some reason to suspect that somewhere, somehow, the Wager goes wrong.
Pascal's Wager, and the issues raised by it, have, despite a few notable exceptions, been an object of some neglect in recent Philosophy of Religion. Whether this neglect is from an assumption that the argument requires no comment, or from a feeling that there is something not quite academically respectable about it, I have come to believe that it is undeserved. One reason why the argument is deserving of attention from the theologian is that Pascal has managed to put (...) his finger on just the sort of consideration which, rightly or wrongly, is capable of exercising a powerful influence over the ordinary mind – the sort of problem which, in short, keeps people awake at nights. A reason why it should be of interest to the philosopher is that it possesses that characteristically philosophical quality of appearing obviously invalid in some lights, and in others manages to slip past every supposed disproof, and annoy us with the suspicion that it may, after all, be valid. These reasons alone are sufficient to justify the philosopher of religion in attempting a careful analysis of Pascal's case in the light of which its cogency can be assessed. In this paper, I shall attempt such an analysis, and shall proceed to argue that, correctly understood and within its proper limitations, Pascal's argument is indeed valid. (shrink)
Background: Breaches of publication ethics such as plagiarism, data fabrication and redundant publication are recognised as forms of research misconduct that can undermine the scientific literature. We surveyed journal editors to determine their views about a range of publication ethics issues. Methods: Questionnaire sent to 524 editors-in-chief of Wiley-Blackwell science journals asking about the severity and frequency of 16 ethical issues at their journals, their confidence in handling such issues, and their awareness and use of guidelines. Results: Responses were obtained (...) from 231 editors (44%), of whom 48% edited healthcare journals. The general level of concern about the 16 issues was low, with mean severity scores of <1 (on a scale of 0–3) for all but one. The issue of greatest concern (mean score 1.19) was redundant publication. Most editors felt confident in handling the issues, with <15% feeling “not at all confident” for all but one of the issues (gift authorship, 22% not confident). Most editors believed such problems occurred less than once a year and >20% of the editors stated that 12 of the 16 items never occurred at their journal. However, 13%–47% did not know the frequency of the problems. Awareness and use of guidelines was generally low. Most editors were unaware of all except other journals’ instructions. Conclusions: Most editors of science journals seem not very concerned about publication ethics and believe that misconduct occurs only rarely in their journals. Many editors are unfamiliar with available guidelines but would welcome more guidance or training. (shrink)
We explore three methods for measuring the conscious status of knowledge using the artificial grammar learning paradigm. We show wagering is no more sensitive to conscious knowledge than simple verbal confidence reports but is affected by risk aversion. When people wager rather than give verbal confidence they are less ready to indicate high confidence. We introduce a “no-loss gambling” method which is insensitive to risk aversion. We show that when people are just as ready to bet on a genuine (...) random process as their own classification decisions, their classifications are still above baseline, indicating knowledge participants are not aware of having. Our results have methodological implications for any study investigating whether people are aware of knowing. (shrink)
In The Wager of Lucien Goldmann, Mitchell Cohen provides the first full-length study of this major figure of postwar French intellectual life and champion of socialist humanism. While many Parisian leftists staunchly upheld Marxism's "scientificity" in the 1950s and 1960s, Lucien Goldmann insisted that Marxism was by then in severe crisis and had to reinvent itself radically if it were to survive. He rejected the traditional Marxist view of the proletariat and contested the structuralist and antihumanist theorizing that infected (...) French left-wing circles in the tumultuous 1960s. Highly regarded by thinkers as diverse as Jean Piaget and Alasdair MacIntyre, Goldmann is shown here as a socialist who, unlike many others of his time, refused to portray his aspirations for humanity’s future as an inexorable unfolding of history’s laws. He saw these aspirations instead as a wager akin to Pascal’s in the existence of God. “Risk,” Goldmann wrote in his classic study of Pascal and Racine, The Hidden God, “possibility of failure, hope of success, and the synthesis of the three in a faith which is a wager are the essential constituent elements of the human condition.” In The Wager of Lucien Goldmann, Cohen retrieves Goldmann’s achievement—his “genetic structuralist” method, his sociology of literature, his libertarian socialist politics. Originally published in 1994. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905. (shrink)
Representationism is the view that the phenomenal character of an experience supervenes on its representational content. Synaesthesia is a condition in which the phenomenal character of the experience produced in a subject by stimulation of one sensory modality contains elements characteristic of a second, unstimulated sensory modality. After reviewing some of the recent psychological literature on synaesthesia and one of the leading versions of representationism, I argue that cases of synaesthesia, as instances of what I call the extra qualia problem, (...) are counterexamples to externalist versions of representationism. (shrink)
Debates about the moral permissibility of mass electronic surveillance often turn on whether consequentialist considerations legitimately trump relevant deontological rights and principles. In order to establish such overriding consequences, many proponents of mass surveillance employ a modern analogue of Pascal’s wager: they contend that the consequences of no surveillance are so severe that any probability of such outcomes legitimates the abrogation of the relevant rights. In this paper, I briefly review Pascal’s original wager about whether to live a (...) pious life, including two classes of objections that were almost immediately leveled against his argument. I then show that analogues of those objections apply straightforwardly to the modern versions of Pascal’s wager. Mass electronic surveillance might be ethically permissible or even obligatory in some circumstances, but the details matter in ways that are systematically ignored or assumed away in a Pascal’s wager-type argument. Careful consideration of the complexities of our modern situation is required to decide whether consequentialist considerations override deontological principles in this domain. (shrink)
J.L. Schellenberg argues that divine hiddenness provides an argument for the conclusion that God does not exist, for if God existed he would not allow non-resistant non-belief to occur, but non-resistant non-belief does occur, so God does not exist. In this paper, I argue that the stakes involved in theistic considerations put pressure on Schellenberg’s premise that non-resistant non-belief occurs. First, I specify conditions for someone’s being a resistant non-believer. Then, I argue that many people fulfill these conditions because, given (...) some plausible assumptions, there is a very good pragmatic reason to be a theist rather than an atheist. I assume it is more likely that theists go to heaven than atheists, and I argue there is a non-zero probability that one can receive infinite utility and a method of comparing outcomes with infinite utilities in which the probability of each outcome affects the final expected values. Then, I show how this argument entails there is no good reason to think that there are very many non-resistant non-believers. (shrink)
Many think that Pascal’s Wager is a hopeless failure. A primary reason for this is because a number of challenging objections have been raised to the wager, including the “many gods” objection and the “mixed strategy” objection. We argue that both objections are formal, but not substantive, problems for the wager, and that they both fail for the same reason. We then respond to additional objections to the wager. We show how a version of Pascalian reasoning (...) succeeds, giving us a reason to pay special attention to the infinite consequences of our actions. (shrink)
In his new book on Pascal's Wager, Jeff Jordan argues that only the ‘Jamesian’ version of the wager argument, as he sees it presented in William James' essay The Will to Believe , constitutes a sound pragmatic argument in favour of theism, whereas Pascal's original wager argument is doomed to fail on various grounds. This article argues that Jordan's theory is untenable. The many-gods objection is used as an example: it is demonstrated that the Jamesian Wager (...) argument too is powerless to rebut this objection. (shrink)
Pascal’s Wager is one of the most important and challenging arguments for the existence of God and the rationality of religious believes. According to this argument, where the rational and theoretical arguments for the existence of God are not satisfying, still in practice and decision-making, living on the basis of belief in God and other religious doctrines like life after death, is the most prudential and rational option and the best bet; although these believes are not rationally and certainly (...) provable; Avoiding the probable loss of atheism, namely eternal and infinite damnation in afterlife – that is more important than certain utility and restricted and finite pleasure of life in this world, is the ground of rationality of this decision-making. The psychological use of this argument is very effective, but the justificatory use of it have many difficulties; This article is concerned with the most important criticisms of this argument in terms of plurality of religions, rationalism, evidentialism, ethics of belief, voluntarism and probabilities calculus. (shrink)
Wager has argued that synaesthesia provides material for a counterexample to representational theories of the phenomenal character of experience. He gives a series of three cases based on synaesthesia; he requires the second and third cases to bolster the doubtfulness of the first. Here I further endorse the problematic nature of the first case and then show why the other two cases do not save his argument. I claim that whenever synaesthesia is a credible possibility its phenomenal character can (...) be understood in terms of misrepresentation. (shrink)
Not all of our reasons for belief are epistemic in nature. Some of our reasons for belief are prudential in the sense that believing a certain thing advances our personal goals. When it comes to belief in God, the most famous formulation of a prudential reason for belief is Pascal’s Wager. And although Pascal’s Wager fails, its failure is instructive. Pascal’s Wager fails because it relies on unjustified assumptions about what happens in the afterlife to those who (...) believe in God verses those who do not. A renewed wager can avoid this difficulty by relying solely on well-documented differences between those who believe in God verses those who do not. Social scientists have put together an impressive set of data that shows that theists do better in terms of happiness, health, longevity, inter- personal relationships, and charitable giving. Hence, most people have a strong reason to believe in God regardless of the evidence. (shrink)
A person who does not have good intellectual reasons for believing in God can, depending on his probabilities and values for consequences of believing, have good practical reasons. Pascalian wagers founded on a variety of possible probability/value profiles are examined from a Bayesian perspective central to which is the idea that states and options are pragmatically reasonable only if they maximize subjective expected value. Attention is paid to problems posed by representations of values by Cantorian infinities. An appendix attends to (...) Robinsonian hyperreals. Another appendix presents for comparison Newcomb's Problem and a problem in some ways like it suggested, I think, by ideas of John Calvin. (shrink)
In "To Bet The Impossible Bet", Harmon Holcomb III argues: (i) that Pascal's wager is structurally incoherent; (ii) that if it were not thus incoherent, then it would be successful; and (iii) that my earlier critique of Pascal's wager in "On Rescher On Pascal's Wager" is vitiated by its reliance on "logicist" presuppositions. I deny all three claims. If Pascal's wager is "incoherent", this is only because of its invocation of infinite utilities. However, even if infinite (...) utilities are admissible, the wager is defeated by the "many gods" and "many wagers" objections. Moreover, these objections do not rely on mistaken "logicist" presuppositions: atheists and agnostics traditionally and typically hold that they have no more--or at any rate, hardly any more--reason to believe in the traditional Christian God than they have to believe in countless alternative deities. (shrink)
Editors have a responsibility to retract seriously flawed articles from their journals. However, there appears to be little consistency in journals’ policies or procedures for this. In a qualitative study, we therefore interviewed editors of science journals using semi-structured interviews to investigate their experience of retracting articles. We identified potential barriers to retraction, difficulties in the process and also sources of support and encouragement. Our findings have been used as the basis for guidelines developed by the Committee on Publication Ethics.
Lately, there has been an explosion of literature exploring the the relationship between one’s practical situation and one’s knowledge. Some involved in this discussion have suggested that facts about a person’s practical situation might affect whether or not a person knows in that situation, holding fixed all the things standardly associated with knowledge (like evidence, the reliability of one’s cognitive faculties, and so on). According to these “pragmatic encroachment” views, then, one’s practical situation encroaches on one’s knowledge. Though we won’t (...) endorse pragmatic encroachment here, we find the view intriguing, and it’s popularity warrants carefully considering it’s implications. One potential avenue of exploration concerns religious epistemology, in particular, whether pragmatic encroachment has consequences concerning the epistemic requirements of atheism. We begin the journey down that avenue by connecting Pascal’s Wager to pragmatic encroachment in order to defend this conditional: If there is pragmatic encroachment, then it is ceteris paribus more difficult to know that atheism is true (if it is) than it is to know that God exists (if God does exist). (shrink)
Pascal’s wager has received the attention of philosophers for centuries. Most of its criticisms arise from how the wager is often framed. We present Pascal’s wager three ways: in isolation from any further apologetic arguments, as leading toward a regimen intended to produce belief, and finally embedded in a larger apology that includes evidence for Christianity. We find that none of the common objections apply when the wager is presented as part of Pascal’s larger project. Pascal’s (...)wager is a successful argument in its proper place. However, the most interesting features of our first two presentations of the wager turn out to be either irrelevant or missing from our reading: infinite utility and the relativity of evidence. The successful wager is a boring wager. Still, this study shows us how the wager might profitably be incorporated into different apologetic contexts and why it often can’t. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between taking Pascal’s wager, faith, and hope. First, I argue that many who take Pascal’s wager have genuine faith that God exists. The person of faith and the wagerer have several things in common, including a commitment to God and positive cognitive and conative attitudes toward God’s existence. I also argue that if one’s credences in theism are too low to have faith, the wagerer can still hope that God exists, another commitment-justifying theological (...) virtue. I consider two upshots of my argument, including how my picture provides responses to common objections to Pascal’s wager. (shrink)
A contemporary form of panpsychism says that phenomenality is prevalent because all physical ultimates instantiate phenomenal or protophenomenal properties. According to priority cosmopsychism, an alternative to panpsychism that we propose in this chapter, phenomenality is prevalent because the whole cosmos instantiates phenomenal or protophenomenal properties. It says, moreover, that the consciousness of the cosmos is ontologically prior to the consciousness of ordinary individuals like us. Since priority cosmopsychism is a highly speculative view our aim in this chapter remains modest and (...) limited. Instead of providing a full defense of priority cosmopsychism, we try to show only the theoretical advantage of the view over panpsychism. Tis, however, by no means entails that we develop the view in logical space merely for its own sake. We offer instead a blueprint for a new alternative to panpsychism and explain how such a view avoids some of the most persistent problems for panpsychism while maintaining several of its strengths. (shrink)
This editorial explains why we are launching Research Integrity and Peer Review, a new open-access journal that will provide a home to research on ethics, reporting, and evaluation of research. We discuss how the idea to launch this journal came about and identify the gaps in knowledge where we would like to encourage more research and interdisciplinary discussion. We are particularly keen to receive submissions presenting actual research that will increase our understanding and suggest potential solutions to issues related to (...) peer review, study reporting, and research and publication ethics. (shrink)
“Pascal's Wager” is the name given to an argument due to Blaise Pascal for believing, or for at least taking steps to believe, in God. The name is somewhat misleading, for in a single paragraph of his Pensées, Pascal apparently presents at least three such arguments, each of which might be called a ‘wager’ — it is only the final of these that is traditionally referred to as “Pascal's Wager”. We find in it the extraordinary confluence of (...) several important strands of thought: the justification of theism; probability theory and decision theory, used here for almost the first time in history; pragmatism; voluntarism (the thesis that belief is a matter of the will); and the use of the concept of infinity. (shrink)
Only one traditional objection to Pascal's wager is telling: Pascal assumes a particular theology, but without justification. We produce two new objections that go deeper. We show that even if Pascal's theology is assumed to be probable, Pascal's argument does not go through. In addition, we describe a wager that Pascal never considered, which leads away from Pascal's conclusion. We then consider the impact of these considerations on other prudential arguments concerning what one should believe, and on the (...) more general question of when and why belief formation ought to be based solely on the evidence. (shrink)