Niche construction refers to the activities of organisms that bring about changes in their environments, many of which are evolutionarily and ecologically consequential. Advocates of niche construction theory (NCT) believe that standard evolutionary theory fails to recognize the full importance of niche construction, and consequently propose a novel view of evolution, in which niche construction and its legacy over time (ecological inheritance) are described as evolutionary processes, equivalent in importance to natural selection. Here, we subject NCT to critical evaluation, in (...) the form of a collaboration between one prominent advocate of NCT, and a team of skeptics. We discuss whether niche construction is an evolutionary process, whether NCT obscures or clarifies how natural selection leads to organismal adaptation, and whether niche construction and natural selection are of equivalent explanatory importance. We also consider whether the literature that promotes NCT overstates the significance of niche construction, whether it is internally coherent, and whether it accurately portrays standard evolutionary theory. Our disagreements reflect a wider dispute within evolutionary theory over whether the neo-Darwinian synthesis is in need of reformulation, as well as different usages of some key terms (e.g., evolutionary process). (shrink)
F. A. Hayek is uniquely responsible for his fellow economists grasping the importance of the decentralization of knowledge: as Hayek shows in his pathbreaking “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” knowledge nowhere exists as a coherent whole and to pretend otherwise is a most serious error. Hayek also shares responsibility for the popularity of a strong form of the methodological individualist research program which asserts that since collectives as such have no impact on the choices of individuals, investigators ought to (...) purge any reliance on collectives from our analysis. (shrink)
Democracy is not naturally plausible. Why turn such important matters over to masses of people who have no expertise? Many theories of democracy answer by appealing to the intrinsic value of democratic procedure, leaving aside whether it makes good decisions. In Democratic Authority, David Estlund offers a groundbreaking alternative based on the idea that democratic authority and legitimacy must depend partly on democracy's tendency to make good decisions.Just as with verdicts in jury trials, Estlund argues, the authority and legitimacy (...) of a political decision does not depend on the particular decision being good or correct. But the "epistemic value" of the procedure--the degree to which it can generally be accepted as tending toward a good decision--is nevertheless crucial. Yet if good decisions were all that mattered, one might wonder why those who know best shouldn't simply rule.Estlund's theory--which he calls "epistemic proceduralism"--avoids epistocracy, or the rule of those who know. He argues that while some few people probably do know best, this can be used in political justification only if their expertise is acceptable from all reasonable points of view. If we seek the best epistemic arrangement in this respect, it will be recognizably democratic--with laws and policies actually authorized by the people subject to them. (shrink)
Consciousness and Mind presents David Rosenthal's influential work on the nature of consciousness. Central to that work is Rosenthal's higher-order-thought theory of consciousness, according to which a sensation, thought, or other mental state is conscious if one has a higher-order thought that one is in that state. The first four essays develop various aspects of that theory. The next three essays present Rosenthal's homomorphism theory of mental qualities and qualitative consciousness, and show how that theory fits with and helps (...) sustain the HOT theory. A crucial feature of homomorphism theory is that it individuates and taxonomizes mental qualities independently of the way we're conscious of them, and indeed independently of our being conscious of them at all. So the theory accommodates the qualitative character not only of conscious sensations and perceptions, but also of those which fall outside our stream of consciousness. Rosenthal argues that, because this account of mental qualities makes no appeal to consciousness, it enables us to dispel such traditional quandaries as the alleged conceivability of undetectable quality inversion, and to disarm various apparent obstacles to explaining qualitative consciousness and understanding its nature. Six further essays build on the HOT theory to explain various important features of consciousness, among them the complex connections that hold in humans between consciousness and speech, the self-interpretative aspect of consciousness, and the compelling sense we have that consciousness is unified. Two of the essays, one an extended treatment of homomorphism theory, appear here for the first time. There is also a substantive introduction, which draws out the connections between the essays and highlights their implications. (shrink)
This long-awaited book sets out the implications of Habermas's theory of communicative action for moral theory. "Discourse ethics" attempts to reconstruct a moral point of view from which normative claims can be impartially judged. The theory of justice it develops replaces Kant's categorical imperative with a procedure of justification based on reasoned agreement among participants in practical discourse.Habermas connects communicative ethics to the theory of social action via an examination of research in the social psychology of moral and interpersonal development. (...) He aims to show that our basic moral intuitions spring from something deeper and more universal than contingent features of our tradition, namely from normative presuppositions of social interaction that belong to the repertoire of competent agents in any society. JÃ¼rgen Habermas is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt. (shrink)
No mental phenomenon is more central than consciousness to an adequate understanding of the mind. Nor does any mental phenomenon seem more stubbornly to resist theoretical treatment. Consciousness is so basic to the way we think about the mind that it can be tempting to suppose that no mental states exist that are not conscious states. Indeed, it may even seem mysterious what sort of thing a mental state might be if it is not a conscious state. On this way (...) of looking at things, if any mental states do lack consciousness, they are exceptional cases that call for special explanation or qualification. Perhaps dispositional or cognitive states exist that are not conscious, but nonetheless count as mental states. (shrink)
"My work has had nothing to do with gay liberation," Michel Foucault reportedly told an admirer in 1975. And indeed there is scarcely more than a passing mention of homosexuality in Foucault's scholarly writings. So why has Foucault, who died of AIDS in 1984, become a powerful source of both personal and political inspiration to an entire generation of gay activists? And why have his political philosophy and his personal life recently come under such withering, normalizing scrutiny by commentators as (...) diverse as Camille Paglia, Richard Mohr, Bruce Bawer, Roger Kimball, and biographer James Miller? David M. Halperin's Saint Foucault is an uncompromising and impassioned defense of the late French philosopher and historian as a galvanizing thinker whose career as a theorist and activist will continue to serve as a model for other gay intellectuals, activists, and scholars. A close reading of both Foucault and the increasing attacks on his life and work, it explains why straight liberals so often find in Foucault only counsels of despair on the subject of politics, whereas gay activists look to him not only for intellectual inspiration but also for a compelling example of political resistance. Halperin rescues Foucault from the endless nature-versus-nurture debate over the origins of homosexuality ("On this question I have absolutely nothing to say," Foucault himself once remarked) and argues that Foucault's decision to treat sexuality not as a biological or psychological drive but as an effect of discourse, as the product of modern systems of knowledge and power, represents a crucial political breakthrough for lesbians and gay men. Halperin explains how Foucault's radical vision of homosexuality as a strategic opportunity for self-transformation anticipated the new anti-assimilationist, anti-essentialist brand of sexual identity politics practiced by contemporary direct-action groups such as ACT UP. Halperin also offers the first synthetic account of Foucault's thinking about gay sex and the future of the lesbian and gay movement, as well as an up-to-the-minute summary of the most recent work in queer theory. "Where there is power, there is resistance," Michel Foucault wrote in The History of Sexuality, Volume I. Erudite, biting, and surprisingly moving, Saint Foucault represents Halperin's own resistance to what he views as the blatant and systematic misrepresentation of a crucial intellectual figure, a misrepresentation he sees as dramatic evidence of the continuing personal, professional, and scholarly vulnerability of all gay activists and intellectuals in the age of AIDS. (shrink)
This text addresses the profound human questions of love and work. Beginning with a historical introduction, the author progresses through adaptive problems that humans face, and concludes by showing how evolutionary psychology encompasses all branches of psychology.
Contemporary mate preferences can provide important clues to human reproductive history. Little is known about which characteristics people value in potential mates. Five predictions were made about sex differences in human mate preferences based on evolutionary conceptions of parental investment, sexual selection, human reproductive capacity, and sexual asymmetries regarding certainty of paternity versus maternity. The predictions centered on how each sex valued earning capacity, ambition— industriousness, youth, physical attractiveness, and chastity. Predictions were tested in data from 37 samples drawn from (...) 33 countries located on six continents and five islands. For 27 countries, demographic data on actual age at marriage provided a validity check on questionnaire data. Females were found to value cues toresource acquisitionin potential mates more highly than males. Characteristics signalingreproductive capacitywere valued more by males than by females. These sex differences may reflect different evolutionary selection pressures on human males and females; they provide powerful cross-cultural evidence of current sex differences in reproductive strategies. Discussion focuses on proximate mechanisms underlying mate preferences, consequences for human intrasexual competition, and the limitations of this study. (shrink)
Over the past two decades, academic economics has undergone a mild revolution in methodology. The language, concepts and techniques of noncooperative game theory have become central to the discipline. This book provides the reader with some basic concepts from noncooperative theory, and then goes on to explore the strengths, weaknesses, and future of the theory as a tool of economic modelling and analysis. The central theses are that noncooperative game theory has been a remarkably popular tool in economics over the (...) past decade because it allows analysts to capture essential features of dynamic competition and competition where some parties have proprietary information. The theory is weakest in providing a sense of when it - and equilibrium analysis in particular - can be applied and what to do when equilibrium analysis is inappropriate. Many of these weaknesses can be addressed by the consideration of individuals who are boundedly rational and learn imperfectly from the past. Written in a non-technical style and working by analogy, the book, first given as part of the Clarendon Lectures in Economics, is readily accessible to a broad audience and will be of interest to economists and students alike. Knowledge of game theory is not required as the concepts are developed as the book progresses. (shrink)
Abstract While agreeing that dynamical models play a major role in cognitive science, we reject Stepp, Chemero, and Turvey's contention that they constitute an alternative to mechanistic explanations. We review several problems dynamical models face as putative explanations when they are not grounded in mechanisms. Further, we argue that the opposition of dynamical models and mechanisms is a false one and that those dynamical models that characterize the operations of mechanisms overcome these problems. By briefly considering examples involving the generation (...) of action potentials and circadian rhythms, we show how decomposing a mechanism and modeling its dynamics are complementary endeavors. (shrink)
In considering the nature of properties four controversial decisions must be made. (1) Are properties universals or tropes? (2) Are properties attributes of particulars, or are particulars just bundles of properties? (3) Are properties categorical (qualitative) in nature, or are they powers? (4) If a property attaches to a particular, is this predication contingent, or is it necessary? These choices seem to be in a great degree independent of each other. The author indicates his own choices.
Drawing on theory and research on ethical leadership and ethical climate, we examine ethical climate as a mediator of the relationship between ethical leadership and employee misconduct. Using a sample of 1,525 employees and their supervisors in 300 units in different organizations, we find support for our hypothesized model. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these findings.
This book explores food from a philosophical perspective, bringing together sixteen leading philosophers to consider the most basic questions about food: What is it exactly? What should we eat? How do we know it is safe? How should food be distributed? What is good food? David M. Kaplan’s erudite and informative introduction grounds the discussion, showing how philosophers since Plato have taken up questions about food, diet, agriculture, and animals. However, until recently, few have considered food a standard subject (...) for serious philosophical debate. Each of the essays in this book brings in-depth analysis to many contemporary debates in food studies—Slow Food, sustainability, food safety, and politics—and addresses such issues as “happy meat,” aquaculture, veganism, and table manners. The result is an extraordinary resource that guides readers to think more clearly and responsibly about what we consume and how we provide for ourselves, and illuminates the reasons why we act as we do. (shrink)
One phenomenon pertains roughly to being awake. A person or other creature is conscious when it's awake and mentally responsive to sensory input; otherwise it's unconscious. This kind of consciousness figures most often in everyday discourse.
The paper considers contemporary models of presumption in terms of their ability to contribute to a working theory of presumption for argumentation. Beginning with the Whatelian model, we consider its contemporary developments and alternatives, as proposed by Sidgwick, Kauffeld, Cronkhite, Rescher, Walton, Freeman, Ullmann-Margalit, and Hansen. Based on these accounts, we present a picture of presumptions characterized by their nature, function, foundation and force. On our account, presumption is a modal status that is attached to a claim and has the (...) effect of shifting, in a dialogue, a burden of proof set at a local level. Presumptions can be analysed and evaluated inferentially as components of rule-based structures. Presumptions are defeasible, and the force of a presumption is a function of its normative foundation. This picture seeks to provide a framework to guide the development of specific theories of presumption. (shrink)
The emphasis is always on the arguments used, and the way one position develops from another. By the end of the book the reader is afforded both a grasp of the state of the controversy, and how we got there.
This anthology brings together readings mainly from contemporary philosophers, but also from writers of the past two centuries, on the philosophy of mind. Some of the main questions addressed are: is a human being really a mind in relation to a body; if so, what exactly is this mind and how it is related to the body; and are there any grounds for supposing that the mind survives the disintegration of the body?
Is the relationship between psychology and neuroscience one of autonomy or mutual constraint and integration? This volume includes new papers from leading philosophers seeking to address this issue by deepening our understanding of the similarities and differences between the explanatory patterns employed across these domains.
Propositions are the referents of the ‘that’-clauses that appear in the direct object positions of typical ascriptions of assertion, belief, and other binary cognitive relations. In that sense, propositions are the objects of those cognitive relations. Propositions are also the semantic contents (meanings, in one sense ) of declarative sentences, with respect to contexts. They are what sentences semantically express, with respect to contexts. Propositions also bear truth-values. The truth-value of a sentence, in a context, is the truth-value of the (...) proposition that it semantically expresses, in that context. This much is common ground among many (but not all) philosophers. I accept other claims about propositions that are more controversial. Propositions (I hold) are Russellian: they are structured entities whose constituents include individuals, properties, and relations. The contribution of a proper name to the proposition that a sentence semantically expresses (in a context) is the referent of that name. Thus, the semantic content of ‘Bill Clinton’ is Bill Clinton himself, and the semantic content of ‘Bill Clinton smokes’ is a proposition whose constituents are Bill Clinton and the property of smoking (ignoring tense, as I shall do from here on). Such 1 singular propositions are among the objects of belief, assertion, and other cognitive relations. This combination of a Millian view about proper names with a Russellian theory of propositions might appropriately be called ‘Millian Russellianism’, or ‘MR’ for short. David Chalmers, in his stimulating paper “Probability and Propositions,” defines a closely related view, Referentialism, as follows (see also the penultimate paragraph of his introduction). Referentialist views say that insofar as beliefs are about individuals (such as Nietzche), the objects of these belief are determined by those individuals. On one such view, the objects of belief are Russellian propositions composed from the individuals and properties that one’s belief is about.. (shrink)
Universalism vs. Communitarianism focuses on the question, raised by recent work in normative philosophy, of whether ethical norms are best derived and justified on the basis of universal or communitarian standards. It is unique in representing both Continental and American points of view and both the older and a younger generation of scholars. The essays introduce the key issues involved in universalism vs. communitarianism and take up ethics in historical perspective, practical reason and ethical responsibility, justification, application and history, and (...) communitarian alternatives. Based on a special issue of the Journal Philosophy and Social Criticism, the book includes two additional essays by Chantal Mouffe and by Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus. David Rasmussen is Professor of Philosophy at Boston College and editor of Philosophy and Social Criticism. Contents: introduction, David, Rasmussen. Universalisms: Procedural, Contextualist, and Prudential, Alessandro Ferrara. Beyond Liberalism and Communitarianism: Toward a Critical Theory of Social Justice, Gerald Doppelt. The Liberal/Communitarian Controversy and Communicative Ethics, Kenneth Baynes. Discourse Ethics and Civil Society, Jean Cohen. Equality, Political Order and Ethics: Hobbes and the Systematics of Democratic Rationality, Rolf Zimmermann. Atomism and Ethical Life: On Hegel's Critique of the French Revolution, Axel Honneth. The Gadamer-Habermas Debate Revisited: The Question of Ethics, Michael Kelly. What Is and What Is Not Practical Reason? Agnes Heller. Adorno, Heidegger, and Postmodernity, Hauke Brunkhorst. Impartial Application of Moral and Legal Norms: A Contribution to Discourse Ethics, Klaus Günther. An Ethics, Politics, and History, Jürgen Habermas in an interview conducted by Jean-Marc Ferry. Rawls: Political Philosophy without Politics, Chantal Mouffe. What Is Morality: A Phenomenological Account of the Development of Ethical Expertise, Hubert L Dreyfus, Stuart E. Dreyfus. Universalism and Communitarianism: A Bibliography, Michael Zilles. (shrink)
This book is a critical introduction to code and software that develops an understanding of its social and philosophical implications in the digital age. Written specifically for people interested in the subject from a non-technical background, the book provides a lively and interesting analysis of these new media forms.
Ned BlockÕs inﬂuential distinction between phenomenal and access consciousness has become a staple of current discussions of consciousness. It is not often noted, however, that his distinction tacitly embodies unargued theoretical assumptions that favor some theoretical treatments at the expense of others. This is equally so for his less widely discussed distinction between phenomenal consciousness and what he calls reﬂexive consciousness. I argue that the distinction between phenomenal and access consciousness, as Block draws it, is untenable. Though mental states that (...) have qualitative character plainly diﬀer from those with no mental qualities, a mental stateÕs being conscious is the same property for both kinds of mental state. For one thing, as Block describes access consciousness, that notion does not pick out any property that we intuitively count as a mental stateÕs being conscious. But the deeper problem is that BlockÕs notion of phenomenal consciousness, or phenomenality, is ambiguous as between two very diﬀerent mental properties. The failure to distinguish these results in the begging of important theoretical questions. Once the two kinds of phenomenality have been distinguished, the way is clear to explain qualitative consciousness by appeal to a model such as the higher-order-thought hypothesis. Ó 2002 Elsevier Science . All rights reserved. (shrink)