Human cooperation is highly unusual. We live in large groups composed mostly of non-relatives. Evolutionists have proposed a number of explanations for this pattern, including cultural group selection and extensions of more general processes such as reciprocity, kin selection, and multi-level selection acting on genes. Evolutionary processes are consilient; they affect several different empirical domains, such as patterns of behavior and the proximal drivers of that behavior. In this target article, we sketch the evidence from five domains that bear on (...) the explanatory adequacy of cultural group selection and competing hypotheses to explain human cooperation. Does cultural transmission constitute an inheritance system that can evolve in a Darwinian fashion? Are the norms that underpin institutions among the cultural traits so transmitted? Do we observe sufficient variation at the level of groups of considerable size for group selection to be a plausible process? Do human groups compete, and do success and failure in competition depend upon cultural variation? Do we observe adaptations for cooperation in humans that most plausibly arose by cultural group selection? If the answer to one of these questions is “no,” then we must look to other hypotheses. We present evidence, including quantitative evidence, that the answer to all of the questions is “yes” and argue that we must take the cultural group selection hypothesis seriously. If culturally transmitted systems of rules that limit individual deviance organize cooperation in human societies, then it is not clear that any extant alternative to cultural group selection can be a complete explanation. (shrink)
Oxford Studies in Metaphysics is dedicated to the timely publication of new work in metaphysics, broadly construed. These volumes provide a forum for the best new work in this flourishing field. They offer a broad view of the subject, featuring not only the traditionally central topics such as existence, identity, modality, time, and causation, but also the rich clusters of metaphysical questions in neighbouring fields, such as philosophy of mind and philosophy of science. This book is the eighth volume in (...) the series. It contains essays by Cian Dorr and John Hawthorne, Maya Eddon, Shamik Dasgupta, Bill Dunaway, Cody Gilmore, Ted Sider, Aaron Cotnoir, Katherine Hawley, Frabrice Correia and Sven Rosencrantz, David Braddon-Mitchell, and Ross Cameron. (shrink)
Paul Sheehy has argued that the modal realist cannot satisfactorily allow for the necessity of God's existence. In this short paper I show that she can, and that Sheehy only sees a problem because he has failed to appreciate all the resources available to the modal realist. God may be an abstract existent outside spacetime or He may not be: but either way, there is no problem for the modal realist to admit that He exists at every concrete possible world.
‘Metaphysics’, said Bradley, ‘is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe on instinct, but to find these reasons is no less an instinct.’ This idea that reasoning is both instinctive and feeble is reminiscent of Hume; except that reasons in Hume tend to serve as the solvent rather than the support of instinctive beliefs. Instinct leads us to play backgammon with other individuals whom we assume inhabit a world which exists independently of our own perception and which will (...) continue to exist tomorrow in a similar fashion to today. However, when instinct leads us also to reason about these beliefs they are all subject to sceptical attack. Their defence provides a challenge, a challenge which in thumbnail histories of the subject is met by Kant. He does this by use of a powerful new form of argument which he calls transcendental argument and which, in my opinion, provides not only reasons but also good reasons for the defence of some of our most central instinctive beliefs. The strategy involved in this kind of argument is to reflect on the necessary preconditions for comprehensible experience. In this way, some beliefs which are subject to sceptical attack, such as that there is a causal order between objects which exist independently of our experience of them, can be found to be the essential preconditions for having comprehensible experience at all. The reason for accepting them is, therefore, that they are the necessary preconditions of having any beliefs at all; and this provides a good, rather than a bad, reason for accepting these particular instinctive beliefs. (shrink)
Augmented reality (AR) technologies function to ‘augment’ normal perception by superimposing virtual objects onto an agent’s visual field. The philosophy of augmented reality is a small but growing subfield within the philosophy of technology. Existing work in this subfield includes research on the phenomenology of augmented experiences, the metaphysics of virtual objects, and different ethical issues associated with AR systems, including (but not limited to) issues of privacy, property rights, ownership, trust, and informed consent. This paper addresses some epistemological issues (...) posed by AR systems. I focus on a near-future version of AR technology called the Real-World Web, which promises to radically transform the nature of our relationship to digital information by mixing the virtual with the physical. I argue that the Real-World Web (RWW) threatens to exacerbate three existing epistemic problems in the digital age: the problem of digital distraction, the problem of digital deception, and the problem of digital divergence. The RWW is poised to present new versions of these problems in the form of what I call the augmented attention economy, augmented skepticism, and the problem of other augmented minds. The paper draws on a range of empirical research on AR and offers a phenomenological analysis of virtual objects as perceptual affordances to help ground and guide the speculative nature of the discussion. It also considers a few policy-based and designed-based proposals to mitigate the epistemic threats posed by AR technology. (shrink)
Recently, the practice of deciding legal cases on purely statistical evidence has been widely criticised. Many feel uncomfortable with finding someone guilty on the basis of bare probabilities, even though the chance of error might be stupendously small. This is an important issue: with the rise of DNA profiling, courts are increasingly faced with purely statistical evidence. A prominent line of argument—endorsed by Blome-Tillmann 2017; Smith 2018; and Littlejohn 2018—rejects the use of such evidence by appealing to epistemic norms that (...) apply to individual inquirers. My aim in this paper is to rehabilitate purely statistical evidence by arguing that, given the broader aims of legal systems, there are scenarios in which relying on such evidence is appropriate. Along the way I explain why popular arguments appealing to individual epistemic norms to reject legal reliance on bare statistics are unconvincing, by showing that courts and individuals face different epistemic predicaments (in short, individuals can hedge when confronted with statistical evidence, whilst legal tribunals cannot). I also correct some misconceptions about legal practice that have found their way into the recent literature. (shrink)
Ross P. Cameron argues that the flow of time is a genuine feature of reality. He suggests that the best version of the A-Theory is a version of the Moving Spotlight view, according to which past and future beings are real, but there is nonetheless an objectively privileged present. Cameron argues that the Moving Spotlight theory should be viewed as having more in common with Presentism than with the B-Theory. Furthermore, it provides the best account of truthmakers for claims (...) about what was or will be the case. Cameron goes on to defend an account of the open future, and argues that this is a better account than that available to the Growing Block theory. (shrink)
This interview with Bernard Stiegler’s long-time translator and collaborator, Daniel Ross, examines the connections between different periods of Stiegler’s work, thought, writing and activism. Moving from the three volumes of Technics and Time to the final large-scale collaborative project of The Internation, the discussion concentrates on Stiegler’s conceptualization of ‘protentionality’, hope and care for a world confronted by climate crises, entropy and computational economic reconfigurations of work, economy and imaginations for futural possibilities. The interview foreshadows the special issue on (...) The Internation project planned by Bishop and Stiegler for TCS that will appear in the near future. (shrink)
Science education researchers have long advocated the central role of the nature of science for our understanding of scientific literacy. NOS is often interpreted narrowly to refer to a host of epistemological issues associated with the process of science and the limitations of scientific knowledge. Despite its importance, practitioners and researchers alike acknowledge that students have difficulty learning NOS and that this in part reflects how difficult it is to teach. One particularly promising method for teaching NOS involves an explicit (...) and reflective approach using the history of science. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of a historically based genetics unit on undergraduates’ understanding of NOS. The three-class unit developed for this study introduces students to Mendelian genetics using the story of Gregor Mendel’s work. NOS learning objectives were emphasized through discussion questions and investigations. The unit was administered to undergraduates in an introductory biology course for pre-service elementary teachers. The influence of the unit was determined by students’ responses to the SUSSI instrument, which was administered pre- and post-intervention. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted that focused on changes in students’ responses from pre- to post-test. Data collected indicated that students showed improved NOS understanding related to observations, inferences, and the influence of culture on science. (shrink)
Do Russellian propositions have their constituents as parts? One reason for thinking not is that if they did, they would generate apparent counterexamples to plausible mereological principles. As Frege noted, they would be in tension with the transitivity of parthood. A certain small rock is a part of Etna but not of the proposition that Etna is higher than Vesuvius. So, if Etna were a part of the given proposition, parthood would fail to be transitive. As William Bynoe has noted (...) (speaking of facts rather than propositions), they would seem to violate certain supplementation principles. Consider the singular proposition, concerning identity, that it is identical with itself. Given the relevant form of Russellianism, this proposition would have identity as a proper part, but it would not have any parts disjoint from identity, and indeed it would not have even a single pair of disjoint parts, in violation of various supplementation principles. This chapter offers a unified solution to the problems about transitivity and supplementation. One key ingredient in the solution is the view that parthood is a four-place relation expressed by ‘x at y is a part of z at w’. Another key ingredient is the view that the semantic contents of predicates and sentential connectives have ‘slots’ or ‘argument positions’ in them. (Both ingredients are independently motivated elsewhere.) Four-place analogues of the transitivity and supplementation principles are set out, and it is argued that these are not threatened by the examples from Frege and Bynoe. (shrink)
Concepts related to the nature of science have been considered an important part of scientific literacy as reflected in its inclusion in curriculum documents. A significant amount of science education research has focused on improving learners’ understanding of NOS. One approach that has often been advocated is an explicit and reflective approach. Some researchers have used the history of science to provide learners with explicit and reflective experiences with NOS concepts. Previous research on using the history of science in science (...) instruction has approached HOS in many different ways and consequently has led to inconsistent findings regarding its utility for improving learning. One promising method for overcoming this inconsistency and teaching NOS with more traditional science content is using stories based in the history of science. A mixed method approach was used to determine whether and how the use of science stories influences undergraduates’ understanding of NOS. Particular attention was paid to the explanations that students used for their understandings. Intervention and control groups completed the Student Understanding of Science and Scientific Inquiry instrument. The intervention group was taught using two historical narratives while the control group was taught using minimal history. A subset of both groups was also interviewed regarding their SUSSI responses and their experiences in the course. Results indicated that the introduction of science stories helped participants gain a better understanding of the role of imagination and creativity in science. Participants mentioned science stories in their explanations for why they changed towards more informed views on SUSSI items related to imagination and creativity. The current study adds to a growing body of literature regarding the use of stories in the science classroom. (shrink)
Relativity theory is often said to support something called ‘the four-dimensional view of reality’. But there are at least three different views that sometimes go by this name. One is ‘spacetime unitism’, according to which there is a spacetime manifold, and if there are such things as points of space or instants of time, these are just spacetime regions of different sorts: thus space and time are not separate manifolds. A second is the B-theory of time, according to which the (...) past, present, and future are all equally real and there is nothing metaphysically special about the present. A third is perdurantism, according to which persisting material objects are made up of different temporal parts located at different times. We sketch routes from relativity to unitism and to the B-theory. We then discuss some routes to perdurantism, via the B-theory and via unitism. (shrink)
This paper engages in what might be called anticipatory virtue epistemology, as it anticipates some virtue epistemological risks related to a near-future version of brain-computer interface technology that Michael Lynch (2014) calls 'neuromedia.' I analyze how neuromedia is poised to negatively affect the intellectual character of agents, focusing specifically on the virtue of intellectual perseverance, which involves a disposition to mentally persist in the face of challenges towards the realization of one’s intellectual goals. First, I present and motivate what I (...) call ‘the cognitive offloading argument’, which holds that excessive cognitive offloading of the sort incentivized by a device like neuromedia threatens to undermine intellectual virtue development from the standpoint of the theory of virtue responsibilism. Then, I examine the cognitive offloading argument as it applies to the virtue of intellectual perseverance, arguing that neuromedia may increase cognitive efficiency at the cost of intellectual perseverance. If used in an epistemically responsible manner, however, cognitive offloading devices may not undermine intellectual perseverance but instead allow us to persevere with respect to intellectual goals that we find more valuable by freeing us from different kinds of menial intellectual labor. (shrink)
I formulate an account, in terms of essence and ground, that explains why atomic Russellian propositions have the truth conditions they do. The key ideas are that (i) atomic propositions are just 0-adic relations, (ii) truth is just the 1-adic version of the instantiation (or, as I will say, holding) relation (Menzel 1993: 86, note 27), and (iii) atomic propositions have the truth conditions they do for basically the same reasons that partially plugged relations, like being an x and a (...) y such that Philip gave x to y, have the holding conditions they do. The account is meant to be mainly of intrinsic interest, but I hope that it goes some distance toward answering an objection to classical theories of propositions put forward by King (2014), who writes that ‘since the classical conception of propositions as things that have truth conditions by their very natures and independently of minds and languages is incapable of explaining how or why propositions have truth conditions, it is unacceptable’ (2014: 47). Propositions do have their truth conditions ‘by their very natures’ and ‘independently of minds and languages’. But a fact about a given entity can hold by the very nature of that entity without being a fundamental fact. I argue that this is plausibly the case for atomic Russellian propositions and the facts about their truth conditions. A fact about the truth conditions of such a proposition holds by the very nature of the given proposition but is metaphysically grounded in facts about that proposition’s parts and their essences. If my account is correct, then the supposedly intractable problem of explaining why the given propositions have the truth conditions they do reduces to the problem of explaining why relations have the holding essences they do, which few seem to have found worrisome . (shrink)
The philosophy department in Edinburgh is in David Hume tower; the philosophy faculty at Cambridge is in Sidgwick Avenue. In one way, no competition. Everybody has heard of Hume, whereas even the anybody who's anybody may not have heard of Sidgwick. Yet in another way, Sidgwick wins this arcane contest. For if David Hume, contradicting the Humean theory of personal identity, were to return to Edinburgh, he would not recognize the tower. Whereas, if someone with more success in rearousing spirits (...) than Sidgwick himself had could now produce him, Sidgwick would know the avenue. For he planned it; he partially paid for it; and he pushed it past the local opposition. He was its creator. And creator not just of the avenue: if Sidgwick is not quite the only begetter, it was he more than anyone who was responsible for building the school of philosophy in Cambridge which is being celebrated in this series of articles. (shrink)
I formulate a theory of persistence in the endurantist family and pose a problem for the conjunction of this theory with orthodox versions of special or general relativity. The problem centers around the question: Where are things?
Existing puzzles about coinciding objects can be divided into two types, corresponding to the manner in which they bear upon the endurantism v. perdurantism debate. Puzzles of the first type, which involve temporary spatial co-location, can be solved simply by abandoning endurantism in favor of perdurantism, whereas those of the second type, which involve career-long spatial co-location, remain equally puzzling on both views. I show that the possibility of backward time travel would give rise to a new type of puzzle. (...) The new puzzles confront perdurantists and can be solved just by shifting to endurantism. (shrink)
Slot theory is the view that (i) there exist such entities as argument places, or ‘slots’, in universals, and that (ii) a universal u is n-adic if and only if there are n slots in u. I argue that those who take properties and relations to be abundant, fine-grained, non-set-theoretical entities face pressure to be slot theorists. I note that slots permit a natural account of the notion of adicy. I then consider a series of ‘slot-free’ accounts of that notion (...) and argue that each of them has significant drawbacks. (shrink)
Endurantism, the view that material objects are wholly present at each moment of their careers, is under threat from supersubstantivalism, the view that material objects are identical to spacetime regions. I discuss three compromise positions. They are alike in that they all take material objects to be composed of spacetime points or regions without being identical to any such point or region. They differ in whether they permit multilocation and in whether they generate cases of mereologically coincident entities.
This paper offers a novel argument against the phenomenal intentionality thesis (or PIT for short). The argument, which I’ll call the extended mind argument against phenomenal intentionality, is centered around two claims: the first asserts that some source intentional states extend into the environment, while the second maintains that no conscious states extend into the environment. If these two claims are correct, then PIT is false, for PIT implies that the extension of source intentionality is predicated upon the extension of (...) phenomenal consciousness. The argument is important because it undermines an increasingly prominent account of the nature of intentionality. PIT has entered the philosophical mainstream and is now a serious contender to naturalistic views of intentionality like the tracking theory and the functional role theory. The extended mind argument against PIT challenges the popular sentiment that consciousness grounds intentionality. (shrink)
How is the debate between endurantism and perdurantism affected by the transition from pre-relativistic spacetimes to relativistic ones? After suggesting that the endurance vs. perdurance distinction may run together a pair of cross-cutting distinctions, I discuss two recent attempts to show that the transition in question does serious damage to endurantism.
Throughout the twentieth century, the classical logic of Frege and Russell dominated the field of formal logic. But, as Ross Brady argues, a new type of weak relevant logic may prove to be better equipped to present new solutions to persistent paradoxes. _Universal Logic _begins with an overview of classical and relevant logic and discusses the limitations of both in analyzing certain paradoxes. It is the first text to demonstrate how the main set-theoretic and semantic paradoxes can be solved (...) in a systematic way and as such will be of great interest to both scholars and students of logic. (shrink)
The binary remember/know task requires participants to dichotomize their subjective recognition experiences into those with recollection and those only with familiarity. Many variables have produced dissociative effects on remember/know judgments. In contrast, having participants make independent recollection/familiarity ratings has consistently produced parallel effects, suggesting the dissociations may be artifacts of using binary judgments. Bodner and Lindsay reported a test-list context effect with binary judgments: Increased remembering but decreased knowing for a set of critical items tested with a set of less-memorable (...) items. Here we report a parallel effect of test-list context on recollection and familiarity ratings, induced by a shift in response bias. We argue that independent ratings are preferable to binary judgments because they allow participants to directly report the co-occurrence of recollection and familiarity for each item. Implications for the measurement of self-reported recognition experiences, and for accounts of recognition memory, are discussed. (shrink)
Das »Richtige und das Gute« (1930), das ethische Hauptwerk W. D. Ross’, enthält eine Vielzahl wichtiger moralphilosophischer Thesen und Argumente, die bis in die Gegenwart kontrovers diskutiert werden. Im Mittelpunkt steht seine pluralistische Deontologie, der zufolge sich die richtige Handlung aus einer Abwägung der in der jeweiligen Situation relevanten und unableitbaren Prima-facie-Pflichten ergibt, von denen nur ein Teil auf die Optimierung der Handlungsfolgen bezogen ist. Diese Deontologie wurde zu einem modernen Klassiker unter den normativen ethischen Theorien. Darüber hinaus stellt (...)Ross’ These, dass moralische Intuitionen eine Quelle selbstevidenten Wissens sein können, einen wichtigen Referenzpunkt in Debatten um den erkenntnistheoretischen Fundamentalismus dar. Auch für die Handlungstheorie liefert Ross einflussreiche Argumente, wenn er die Ansicht vertritt, dass Pflichten nie ein bestimmtes Motiv des Handelnden zum Gegenstand haben können. Eine zentrale Stellung nimmt für Ross die Güterlehre ein, in welcher er von vier Grundgütern, Tugend, Wissen, Lust und Gerechtigkeit, ausgeht. Wurde Ross in den ersten Jahrzehnten des 20. Jahrhunderts im damaligen Großbritannien als ein herausragender Ethiker – einer der bedeutendsten des Jahrhunderts, auf Augenhöhe mit G.E. Moore – angesehen, wandelte sich das Meinungsbild in den folgenden Jahrzehnten unter dem Einfluss besonders des Logischen Positivismus und der Philosophie Wittgensteins. In den letzten Jahrzehnten ist jedoch wieder ein wachsendes Interesse an Ross’ Ethik festzustellen. Dabei wird »Das Richtige und das Gute« bisweilen sogar mit der »Nikomachischen Ethik«, Kants »Grundlegung« und Humes »Untersuchung über die Prinzipien der Moral« verglichen. (shrink)
Substance and the Fundamentality of the Familiar explicates and defends a novel neo-Aristotelian account of the structure of material objects. While there have been numerous treatments of properties, laws, causation, and modality in the neo-Aristotelian metaphysics literature, this book is one of the first full-length treatments of wholes and their parts. Another aim of the book is to further develop the newly revived area concerning the question of fundamental mereology, the question of whether wholes are metaphysically prior to their parts (...) or vice versa. Inman develops a fundamental mereology with a grounding-based conception of the structure and unity of substances at its core, what he calls substantial priority, one that distinctively allows for the fundamentality of ordinary, medium-sized composite objects. He offers both empirical and philosophical considerations against the view that the parts of every composite object are metaphysically prior, in particular the view that ascribes ontological pride of place to the smallest microphysical parts of composite objects, which currently dominates debates in metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind. Ultimately, he demonstrates that substantial priority is well-motivated in virtue of its offering a unified solution to a host of metaphysical problems involving material objects. (shrink)
This paper is a reply to criticism made by A. B. Cody ('Is ?Human Action?; a Category??, Inquiry, Vol. 14 , No. 4) of earlier papers by the author ('On Describing Actions?, Inquiry, Vol. 13 , Nos. 1?2, and ?Action?, No?s, Vol. 2 , No. 2). For brevity, familiarity is presupposed not only with the three papers just mentioned, but also with Cody, ?Can a Single Action Have Many Different Descriptions?? Inquiry, Vol. 10 (1967), No. 2; R. E. (...) Dowling, ? ?Can an Action Have Many Descriptions?"?? Inquiry, Vol. 10 (1967), No. 4; and Cody, ?A Reply to Mr. Dowling?, ibid. (shrink)
Immanent universals, being wholly present wherever they are instantiated, are capable of both multi-location and co-location. As a result, they can become involved in some bizarre situations, situations whose contradictory appearance cannot be dispelled by any of the relativizing maneuvers familiar to metaphysicials as solutions to the problem of change. Douglas Ehring takes this to be a fatal problem for immanent universals, but I do not. Although the old relativizing maneuvers don't solve the problem, I propose a new one that (...) does. I spend half the paper defending the proposed solution against objections, and in the course of this task I touch upon such topics as backward time travel and the distinction between universals and particulars. I close by putting forward -- merely as an option -- a new way to draw the distinction in question. (shrink)
We suggest that the accounts offered by the target articles could be strengthened by acknowledging the role of group selection and cultural niche construction in shaping the evolutionary trajectory of human music. We argue that group level traits and highly variable cultural niches can explain the diversity of human song, but the target articles' accounts are insufficient to explain such diversity.
I address an intuition commonly endorsed by metaphysicians, that there must be a fundamental layer of reality, i.e., that chains of ontological dependence must terminate: there cannot be turtles all the way down. I discuss applications of this intuition with reference to Bradley’s regress, composition, realism about the mental and the cosmological argument. I discuss some arguments for the intui- tion, but argue that they are unconvincing. I conclude by making some suggestions for how the intuition should be argued for, (...) and discussing the ramiﬁcations of giving the justiﬁcation I think best. (shrink)
Personal time, as opposed to external time, has a certain role to play in the correct account of death and immortality. But saying exactly what that role is, and what role remains for external time, is not straightforward. I formulate and defend accounts of death and immortality that specify these roles precisely.