Man and machine are rife with fundamental differences. Formal research in artificial intelligence and robotics has for half a century aimed to cross this divide, whether from the perspective of understanding man by building models, or building machines which could be as intelligent and versatile as humans. Inevitably, our sources of inspiration come from what exists around us, but to what extent should a machine's conception be sourced from such biological references as ourselves? Machines designed to be capable of explicit (...) social interaction with people necessitates employing the human frame of reference to a certain extent. However, there is also a fear that once this man-machine boundary is crossed that machines will cause the extinction of mankind. The following paper briefly discusses a number of fundamental distinctions between humans and machines in the field of social robotics, and situating these issues with a view to understanding how to address them. (shrink)
In the first full-length analysis of Wittgenstein's Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough, Brian R. Clack presents a fresh and innovative interpretation of Wittgenstein's conception of religion. While previous commentators have tended to sideline the Remarks on Frazer, Clack shows how the key to Wittgenstein's thought on religion lies in these remarks on primitive magico-religious observances. This book shows that Wittgenstein neither embraces expressivism, as it is generally assumed, nor straightforwardly denies instrumentalism. Focusing instead on Wittgenstein's suggestion that magic is (...) somehow akin to metaphysics, a view of ritual as the spontaneous expression of human beings is presented. (shrink)
Molyneux’s question, whether the newly sighted might immediately recognize tactilely familiar shapes by sight alone, has produced an array of answers over three centuries of debate and discussion. I propose the first pluralist response: many different answers, both yes and no, are individually sufficient as an answer to the question as a whole. I argue that this is possible if we take the question to be cluster concept of sub-problems. This response opposes traditional answers that isolate specific perceptual features as (...) uniquely applicable to Molyneux’s question and grant viability to only one reply. Answering Molyneux’s question as a cluster concept may also serve as a methodology for resolving other philosophical problems. (shrink)
Trial by jury is a fundamental feature of democratic governance. But what form should jury decision-making take? I argue against the status quo system in which juries are encouraged and even required to engage in group deliberation as a means to reaching a decision. Jury deliberation is problematic for both theoretical and empirical reasons. On the theoretical front, deliberation destroys the independence of jurors’ judgments that is needed for certain attractive theoretical results. On the empirical front, we have evidence from (...) both legal and non-legal contexts that group deliberation often leads to group judgments that are worse in a number of respects than judgments generated by non-interactional methods of judgment aggregation. Finally, I examine some possible alternatives to free-wheeling jury deliberation, including the constrained and structured deliberation embodied in the DELPHI method, voting, and averaging of probabilistic judgments. (shrink)
No Moonlight in My Cup: Sinitic Poetry from the Japanese Court, Eighth to the Twelfth Centuries. Edited and translated by Judith N. Rabinovitch and Timothy R. BradstocK. East Asian Comparative Literature and Culture, vol. 10. Leiden: Brill, 2019. Pp. xxvi + 474. $232.
While some branches of complexity theory are advancing rapidly, the same cannot be said for our understanding of emergence. Despite a complete knowledge of the rules underlying the interactions between the parts of many systems, we are often baffled by their sudden transitions from simple to complex. Here I propose a solution to this conceptual problem. Given that emergence is often the result of many interactions occurring simultaneously in time and space, an ability to intuitively grasp it would require the (...) ability to consciously think in parallel. A simple exercise is used to demonstrate that we do not possess this ability. Our surprise at the behaviour of cellular automata models, and the natural cases of pattern formation they mimic, is then explained from this perspective. This work suggests that the cognitive limitations of the mind can be as significant a barrier to scientific progress as the limitations of our senses. (shrink)
Tarski’s conceptual analysis of the notion of logical consequence is one of the pinnacles of the process of defining the metamathematical foundations of mathematics in the tradition of his predecessors Euclid, Frege, Russell and Hilbert, and his contemporaries Carnap, Gödel, Gentzen and Turing. However, he also notes that in defining the concept of consequence “efforts were made to adhere to the common usage of the language of every day life.” This paper addresses the issue of what relationship Tarski’s analysis, and (...) Béziau’s further generalization of it in universal logic, have to reasoning in the everyday lives of ordinary people from the cognitive processes of children through to those of specialists in the empirical and deductive sciences. It surveys a selection of relevant research in a range of disciplines providing theoretical and empirical studies of human reasoning, discusses the value of adopting a universal logic perspective, answers the questions posed in the call for this special issue, and suggests some specific research challenges. (shrink)
Within the cognitive science of religion, some scholars hypothesize (1) that minimally counterintuitive (MCI) concepts enjoy a transmission advantage over both intuitive and highly counterintuitive concepts, (2) that religions concern counterintuitive agents, objects, or events, and (3) that the transmission advantage of MCI concepts makes them more likely to be found in the world’s religions than other kinds of concepts. We hypothesized that the memorability of many MCI supernatural concepts was due in large part to other characteristics they possess, such (...) as their frequent and salient association with moral concerns and the alleviation of existential anxieties, and that without such characteristics they would fail to be memorable. We report the results of three experiments designed to test the relative contributions of minimal counterintuitiveness, moral valence, and existential anxiety to the memorability of supernatural ideas. We observed no main effects for minimal counterintuitiveness but did observe main effects for both moral valence and existential anxiety. We also found that these effects did not seem to stem from the greater visualizability of morally valenced concepts or concepts that concerned existential anxieties. These findings challenge important claims made by leading researchers regarding MCI concepts within the cognitive science of religion. (shrink)
Data are never free of philosophical encumbrances. Nevertheless, philosophical issues are often considered peripheral to method and evidence. Historical perspectives likewise are not considered integral to most data-driven disputes in contemporary psychological science. This paper examines the history of the investigation of hypnosis over the last 75 years to illuminate how evidence and method are entangled with epistemology and ontology, how new research directions are forged by changes in the cultural and philosophical landscape, and how unacknowledged philosophical assumptions can result (...) in confusion and empirical cul-de-sacs. Theoretical disputes that appear to be simple empirical matters often entail hidden philosophical issues, and apparent historical continuity at the theoretical level can belie discontinuity at the ontological level. The lesson of hypnosis is that philosophical analysis is as important as methodological rigor. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
This abridgement of _Reflections on the Revolution in France_ preserves the dynamism of Edmund Burke’s polemic while excising a number of detail-laden passages that may be of less interest to modern readers. Brian R. Clack’s introduction offers a compelling overview of the text and explores the consistency and coherence of Burke’s views on revolution. Burke’s critique of revolutionary politics is illuminated further by the extensive supplementary materials collected in a number of themed appendices.
Semantic networks were developed in cognitive science and artificial intelligence studies as graphical knowledge representation and inference tools emulating human thought processes. Formal analysis of the representation and inference capabilities of the networks modeled them as subsets of standard first-order logic (FOL), restricted in the operations allowed in order to ensure the tractability that seemed to characterize human reasoning capabilities. The graphical network representations were modeled as providing a visual language for the logic. Sub-sets of FOL targeted on knowledge representation (...) came to be called description logics, and research on these logics has focused on issues of tractability of subsets with differing representation capabilities, and on the implementation of practical inference systems achieving the best possible performance. Semantic network research has kept pace with these developments, providing visual languages for knowledge entry, editing, and presenting the results of inference, that translate unambiguously to the underlying description logics. This paper discusses the design issues for such semantic network formalisms, and illustrates them through detailed examples of significant generic knowledge structures analyzed in the literature, including determinables, contrast sets, genus/differentiae, taxonomies, faceted taxonomies, cluster concepts, family resemblances, graded concepts, frames, definitions, rules, rules with exceptions, essence and state assertions, opposites and contraries, relevance, and so on. Such examples provide important test material for any visual language formalism for logic. (shrink)
The first publication of Beverley Clack and Brian R. Clack’s exciting and innovative introduction to the philosophy of religion has been of enormous value to students, as well as providing a bold and refreshing alternative to the standard analytic approaches to the subject. This second edition retains the accessibility which made it popular for both teachers and students, while furthering its distinctive argument that emphasises the human dimension of religion. The text has been fully revised and updated. The traditional (...) emphasis on the arguments for the existence of God is reflected in a newly extended and reworked investigation into natural theology. Recent developments in the subject are also reflected in updated chapters, and, in a move that highlights the originality of the authors’ approach, they offer a critical engagement with current world events. An entirely new concluding chapter interrogates the connection between religion and terror, and demonstrates how philosophy of religion might be conducted under the terrible shadow of 9/11. This new edition of The Philosophy of Religion will continue to be essential reading for all students and practitioners of the subject. (shrink)
The flood of interpretive work regarding Wittgenstein’s thinking on matters religious shows little sign of abating. At the same time, one may feel that little that is new or illuminating is being added to these discussions: what is known as ‘Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion’ may appear to be at a standstill. There is thus a great deal to be said for Thomas Carroll’s contention that it is ‘time for a reassessment of Wittgenstein and philosophy of religion’ , though a reader (...) may ultimately be left with the conclusion that Carroll’s book does not quite provide the reassessment that is required.The first three chapters of the book explore Wittgenstein’s work and its reception within the philosophy of religion. Firstly, Carroll outlines the range of sources drawn upon by those working on Wittgenstein and religion: Wittgenstein’s texts explicitly focused on religious phenomena (such as the ‘Lectures on Religious Belief’ and the ‘Remarks on Frazer’s .. (shrink)
Over the past dozen years numerous overseas based businesses with dominant shareholders have become quoted on the London Stock Exchange, prominent examples of which have joined the ‘blue chip’ FTSE 100 stock market index. While this trend has generated concerns about the ‘undermining’ of UK corporate governance and has fostered reform proposals by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) it has thus far escaped academic attention. This article explains why companies with dominant shareholders have been migrating to London and discusses the (...) policy implications. In so doing it shows that the FSA’s proposals mostly cover familiar ground rather than being innovative but maintains that the case for radical reform has in fact not yet been made out. (shrink)
Company Law: Theory, Structure and Operation is the first United Kingdom law text to use economic theory to provide insights into corporate law, an approach widely adopted in the United States. In this book, Brian Cheffins discusses the inner workings of companies, examines the impact of the legal system on corporate activities, and evaluates the merits of governmental regulatory strategies. The book covers core areas of the undergraduate company law syllabus in a stimulating and theoretically enlightening fashion and addresses (...) important company law topics such as: * limited liability of shareholders * shareholders' remedies * corporate governance * executive pay * the role of self-regulation in United Kingdom securities markets * the impact of European Union Directives on company law in the UK Brian Cheffins also examines in detail a number of questions which have not been fully explored elsewhere. These include: * What are the justifications for legal regulation of company affairs? * What are the drawbacks associated with government intervention? * How can one ascertain the optimal format for company law rules? (shrink)
According to embodied cognition theory, our physical embodiment influences how we conceptualize entities, whether natural or supernatural. In serving central explanatory roles, supernatural entities (e.g., God) are represented implicitly as having unordinary properties that nevertheless do not violate our sensorimotor interactions with the physical world. We conjecture that other supernatural entities are similarly represented in explanatory contexts.