Should economics study the psychological basis of agents' choice behaviour? I show how this question is multifaceted and profoundly ambiguous. There is no sharp distinction between "mentalist'' answers to this question and rival "behavioural'' answers. What's more, clarifying this point raises problems for mentalists of the "functionalist'' variety (Dietrich and List, 2016). Firstly, functionalist hypotheses collapse into hypotheses about input--output dispositions, I show, unless one places some unwelcome restrictions on what counts as a cognitive variable. Secondly, functionalist hypotheses make some (...) risky commitments about the plasticity of agents' choice dispositions. (shrink)
I distinguish several doctrines that economic methodologists have found attractive, all of which have a positivist flavour. One of these is the doctrine that preference assignments in economics are just shorthand descriptions of agents' choice behaviour. Although most of these doctrines are problematic, the latter doctrine about preference assignments is a respectable one, I argue. It doesn't entail any of the problematic doctrines, and indeed it is warranted independently of them.
Some explanations are relatively abstract: they abstract away from the idiosyncratic or messy details of the case in hand. The received wisdom in philosophy is that this is a virtue for any explanation to possess. I argue that the apparent consensus on this point is illusory. When philosophers make this claim, they differ on which of four alternative varieties of abstractness they have in mind. What’s more, for each variety of abstractness there are several alternative reasons to think that the (...) variety of abstractness in question is a virtue. I identify the most promising reasons, and dismiss some others. The paper concludes by relating this discussion to the idea that explanations in biology, psychology and social science cannot be replaced by relatively micro explanations without loss of understanding. (shrink)
When evaluating theories of causation, intuitions should not play a decisive role, not even intuitions in flawlessly-designed thought experiments. Indeed, no coherent theory of causation can respect the typical person’s intuitions in redundancy (pre-emption) thought experiments, without disrespecting their intuitions in threat-and-saviour (switching / short-circuit) thought experiments. I provide a deductively sound argument for these claims. Amazingly, this argument assumes absolutely nothing about the nature of causation. I also provide a second argument, whose conclusion is even stronger: the typical person’s (...) causal intuitions are thoroughly unreliable. This argument proceeds by raising the neglected question: in what respects is information about intermediate and enabling variables relevant to reliable causal judgment? (shrink)
Neuroeconomics is a research programme founded on the thesis that cognitive and neurobiological data constitute evidence for answering economic questions. I employ confirmation theory in order to reject arguments both for and against neuroeconomics. I also emphasize that some arguments for neuroeconomics will not convince the skeptics because these arguments make a contentious assumption: economics aims for predictions and deep explanations of choices in general. I then argue for neuroeconomics by appealing to a much more restrictive (and thereby skeptic-friendly) characterization (...) of the aims of economics. (shrink)
Some explanations in social science, psychology and biology belong to a higher level than other explanations. And higher explanations possess the virtue of abstracting away from the details of lower explanations, many philosophers argue. As a result, these higher explanations are irreplaceable. And this suggests that there are genuine higher laws or patterns involving social, psychological and biological states. I show that this ‘abstractness argument’ is really an argument schema, not a single argument. This is because the argument uses the (...) ‘is lower than’ relation, and this relation admits of different readings. I then suggest four rigorous definitions of the ‘is lower than’ relation, and show that the abstractness argument’s prospects are much brighter for some of these definitions than for others. To show this, I evaluate the so-called ‘disjunctive threat’ to the abstractness argument. (shrink)
This chapter explores the idea of one variable making a causal contribution to another variable, and how this idea applies to economics. It also explores the related concept of what-if questions in economics. In particular, it contrasts the modular theory of causal contributions and what-if questions (advocated by interventionists) with the ceteris paribus theory (advocated by Jim Heckman and others). It notes a problem with the modular theory raised by Nancy Cartwright. And it notes how, according to the ceteris paribus (...) theory, causal contributions and what-if questions are often indeterminate in economics. (shrink)
The dominance in normal awareness of visual percepts, which are linked to space, obscures the fact that most thoughts are non-spatial. It is argued that the mind is intrinsically non-spatial, though in perception can become compresent with spatial things derived from outside the mind. The assumption that the brain is entirely spatial is also challenged, on the grounds that there is a perfectly good place for the non-spatial in physics. A quantum logic approach to physics, which takes non-locality as its (...) starting point, offers a non-reductive way of reconciling the experience of mind with the world description of physics. For further progress it is necessary to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe. (shrink)
A good definition of process tracing should highlight what is distinctive about process tracing as a methodology of causal inference. I look at eight criteria that are used to define process tracing in the methodological literature, and I dismiss all eight criteria as unhelpful (some because they are too restrictive, and others because they are vacuous). In place of these criteria, I propose four alternative criteria, and I draw a distinction between process tracing for the ultimate aim of testing a (...) start--end hypothesis versus process tracing as an ultimate end in itself. Although it is clear enough how the former method works, there is still much methodological work to be done in understanding the latter method as a distinctive method of causal inference, I argue. (shrink)
Hay's Political Analysis raises foundational issues for all social scientists, not least in its outline for a via media, or middle way, between positivist and interpretivist social science. In this view, social science should be firmly grounded in empirical study but take seriously the notion that there is no privileged vantage point from which to generate dispassionate knowledge claims about the social world. This article asks whether this apparent via media is coherent and meaningfully captures what it means to be (...) doing positivist and interpretivist social science without, so to speak, conceding too much ground to the other approach. (shrink)
Reductionists say things like: all mental properties are physical properties; all normative properties are natural properties. I argue that the only way to resist reductionism is to deny that causation is difference making (thus making the epistemology of causation a mystery) or to deny that properties are individuated by their causal powers (thus making properties a mystery). That is to say, unless one is happy to deny supervenience, or to trivialize the debate over reductionism. To show this, I argue that (...) if properties are individuated by their causal powers then, surprisingly, properties are individuated by necessary co-exemplification. (shrink)
I argue that a dual-aspect theory of consciousness, associated with a particular class of quantum states, can provide a consistent account of consciousness. I illustrate this with the use of coherent states as this class. The proposal meets Chalmers 'requirements of allowing a structural correspondence between consciousness and its physical correlate. It provides a means for consciousness to have an effect on the world (it is not an epiphenomenon, and can thus be selected by evolution) in a way that supplements (...) and completes conventional physics, rather than interfering with it. I draw on the work of Hameroff and Penrose to explain the consistency of this proposal with decoherence, while adding details to this work. The proposal is open to extensive further research at both theoretical and experimental levels. (shrink)
An account is given of a recent proposal to complete modern quantum theory by adding a characterisation of consciousness. The resulting theory is applied to give mechanisms for typical parapsychological phenomena, and ways of testing it are discussed.
I argue that a dual-aspect theory of consciousness, associated with a particular class of quantum states, can provide a consistent account of consciousness. I illustrate this with the use of coherent states as this class. The proposal meets Chalmers 'requirements of allowing a structural correspondence between consciousness and its physical correlate. It provides a means for consciousness to have an effect on the world in a way that supplements and completes conventional physics, rather than interfering with it. I draw on (...) the work of Hameroff and Penrose to explain the consistency of this proposal with decoherence, while adding details to this work. The proposal is open to extensive further research at both theoretical and experimental levels. (shrink)
Do multi-level selection explanations of the evolution of social traits deepen the understanding provided by single-level explanations? Central to the former is a mathematical theorem, the multi-level Price decomposition. I build a framework through which to understand the explanatory role of such non-empirical decompositions in scientific practice. Applying this general framework to the present case places two tasks on the agenda. The first task is to distinguish the various ways of suppressing within-collective variation in fitness, and moreover to evaluate their (...) biological interest. I distinguish four such ways: increasing retaliatory capacity, homogenising assortment, and collapsing either fitness structure or character distribution to a mean value. The second task is to discover whether the third term of the Price decomposition measures the effect of any of these hypothetical interventions. On this basis I argue that the multi-level Price decomposition has explanatory value primarily when the sharing-out of collective resources is `subtractable'. Thus its value is more circumscribed than its champions Sober and Wilson (1998) suppose. (shrink)
Between 1965 and 2002 several key lines of research emerged which, taken together, can potentially revolutionise our understanding of the place of consciousness in the universe. Two of these are crucial: first, the analyses of human mental processes by Barnard, and independently by McGilchrist, revealing two separate elements, one rational and one based on relationships; and, second, research by several workers linking quantum theory to consciousness in much greater detail than hitherto. Both of these investigations use an alternative logical system (...) in order to make sense of the quantum/consciousness area. In this book the author explains the close connections between these new ingredients – connections which until now have barely been noticed. Using these insights the author set out a new foundation for consciousness studies in which consciousness is integrated with physics while retaining its qualitatively different character. Finally the book discusses how this affects our everyday approach to ecology, religion, and spiritual practice. (shrink)
A survey is presented of possible connections between quantum theory and consciousness that have been proposed in the past and those that have now opened as a result of work on cognitive subsystems of the brain in the past 10 years. It is argued that, in the light of such work and in contrast to speculations prior to it, these connections can now be seen as necessary and their investigation as feasible.
Calls into question the 'bedrock' reality of spacetime, examines the idea of alternative realities founded on different sorts of consciousness, and explores concepts of being and non-being in religious traditions.
Some have contested the Industrial Revolution’s status as a climactic event bringing social and political upheaval. However, the abolishment of slavery, the destruction of traditional ways of life, and the rise of class-consciousness confirm the climactic nature of this period. In analyzing the dramatic changes in the social organization of British society, this paper aims to reclaim the title of the Industrial Revolution as just that--revolutionary.
In the wake of successive crises, novel politics and ethics are emerging around attempts to institute a ‘new’ world of finance in the name of social relations. Financial start-ups and development organizations, often working alongside established financial institutions, are experimenting with the ‘social’ in order to create markets and scale up their activities. At the same time, people continue to advance social claims in finance out of concern for others. This article examines the rise, politics and ethics of this experimentation (...) in what we call ‘relational finance’. Our argument is that by rendering the social dimensions of finance explicit, contemporary relational finance makes sociality available for marketization and politicization. We illustrate this claim with three examples of mobilizations of the social in everyday lending and borrowing: social collateral, social lending and social debt. Relational finance, we conclude, is far from an unproblematic ‘alternative’ but retains ethical and political potential. (shrink)
This article arises from the remarkably multi-faceted book Brain and Being edited by Gordon Globus and others, hereafter referred to as B&B. It raises questions (though not unusually, few answers) about several related areas: the way in which quantum theory might endow the physical matter of the brain with surprising, though still essentially classical, properties; the possibility that quantum field theory might shed a wholly new light on aspects of consciousness, in both the subjective and neurological approaches; and, at the (...) most speculative, the suggestion that the nature of being, as disclosed subjectively, can be understood in the light of one or other of the interpretations of quantum theory. I will consider these in turn. (shrink)
This special section explores the intersection of social finance and financial innovation in contemporary technologies of relational finance. The articles that follow study detailed cases of contemporary experiments in payments, money and credit-debt relations. By way of introduction, in this short piece we outline three paradoxes at the heart of these experiments: the feudal life of capitalist financial innovation; the social life of supposedly asocial crypto-currencies; and the market life of relational financial dissent.
Cancer Pain and Coping.Sara E. Appleyard & Chris Clarke - 2019 - In Marc A. Russo, Joletta Belton, Bronwyn Lennox Thompson, Smadar Bustan, Marie Crowe, Deb Gillon, Cate McCall, Jennifer Jordan, James E. Eubanks, Michael E. Farrell, Brandon S. Barndt, Chandler L. Bolles, Maria Vanushkina, James W. Atchison, Helena Lööf, Christopher J. Graham, Shona L. Brown, Andrew W. Horne, Laura Whitburn, Lester Jones, Colleen Johnston-Devin, Florin Oprescu, Marion Gray, Sara E. Appleyard, Chris Clarke, Zehra Gok Metin, John Quintner, Melanie Galbraith, Milton Cohen, Emma Borg, Nathaniel Hansen, Tim Salomons & Grant Duncan (eds.), Meanings of Pain: Volume 2: Common Types of Pain and Language. Springer Verlag. pp. 185-207.details
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be devastating. Cancer continues to be one of the most feared diagnoses, and experiencing pain is a major fear for people diagnosed with cancer. Cancer pain is complex in aetiology and can be acute or chronic and can be caused by various compression, ischaemic, neuropathic or inflammatory processes. Many people with cancer will experience excruciating pain, which is often underreported and undertreated. The reasons for this are complex and include various factors including fears and (...) beliefs held by patients. Cognitive factors are important modulators of pain and the appraisals, meanings and beliefs that people have in relation to illness, cancer, and pain, have implications in regard to help-seeking behaviours and the coping strategies people adopt. Cancer pain can impact a range of psycho-social factors across its course. Cancer pain relates to higher rates of psychological distress, anxiety and low mood, and the perception of pain intensity is, in turn, influenced by psychological factors. Cancer pain can negatively affect psychological health, and psycho-social factors can affect the pain experience. It has been suggested that people with a life-limiting illness experience ‘total pain’, and this can encompass psychological, social, practical, spiritual domains. Research demonstrates that cancer is predominantly an illness affecting older people, yet there is a higher risk of under-treated pain in this age group and there is a paucity of research into the subjective experiences of older people managing their cancer pain. Many older people are required to self-manage cancer pain at home as outpatients, due to drivers to keep people out of inpatient care, such as the high healthcare costs of inpatient treatment, and patients wanting to manage their illness, and die, at home. Our own research into this area found that the self-management of cancer pain involves a sequential and temporal process, which centres on perceptions of control. We describe how the older people in our study experienced a perceived loss of control, followed by a sense of gaining control over pain through various experience of certain internal and external factors. The assessment and treatment of physical pain should be done in combination with assessment and treatment of psycho-social and spiritual pain, and interventions for cancer pain need to focus on increasing positive affect and reducing helplessness. No person should suffer with poorly controlled pain and we argue for the need for further research in this area to ensure adequate treatment for all.Clinical Implications: Assessment and treatment of physical pain in people with cancer needs to be conducted in combination with assessment and treatment of psycho-social issues and spiritual pain. Psychological and behavioural approaches have strong evidence supporting their efficacy for reducing cancer pain. Interventions should target helplessness and focus on increasing positive affect through positive psychological states including fighting spirit and resilience. Person-centred interventions that focus on helping people with the search for meaning may help those with cancer pain derive positive benefits. (shrink)
Experiments are described, using electroencephalography (EEG) and simple tests of performance, which support the hypothesis that collapse of a quantum field is of importance to the functioning of the brain. The theoretical basis of our experiments is derived from Penrose (1989) who suggested that conscious decision-making is a manifestation of the outcome of quantum computation in the brain involving collapse of some relevant wave function. He also proposed that collapse of any wave function depends on a gravitational criterion. As different (...) brain areas are known to subserve different functions, we argue that `Penrose collapse' must occur in a particular brain area when performing a task that uses it. Further, taking an EEG from the area should amplify the gravitational prerequisite for collapse, so affecting task performance. There are no non-quantum theories which could lead one to expect that taking an EEG could directly affect task performance by subjects. The results of both pilot and main experiments indicated that task performance was indeed influenced by taking an EEG from relevant brain areas. Control experiments suggested that the influence was quantum mechanical in origin, and was not due to any experimental artefact. The results are statistically significant and merit attempts at replication in an independent laboratory, preferably with more sophisticated equipment than was available to us. (shrink)
An example is presented of a model of consciousness based on a description of the world which integrates the material and psychological aspects from the start. An indication is given of work under way to test the model.