Descartes boldly claimed: "I think, therefore I am." But one might well ask: Why do we think? How? When and why did our human ancestors develop language and culture? In other words, what makes the human mind human? _Evolution of Mind, Brain, and Culture_ offers a comprehensive and scientific investigation of these perennial questions. Fourteen essays bring together the work of archaeologists, cultural and physical anthropologists, psychologists, philosophers, geneticists, a neuroscientist, and an environmental scientist to explore the evolution of the (...) human mind, the brain, and the human capacity for culture. The volume represents and critically engages major theoretical approaches, including Donald's stage theory, Mithen's cathedral model, Tomasello's joint intentionality, and Boyd and Richerson's modeling of the evolution of culture in relation to climate change. The volume contains chapters by: Peter Carruthers; Thierry Chaminade; Philip Chase; Merlin Donald; Peter Gardenfors; Gary Hatfield; Jody Hey; Steven Mithen; April Nowell; Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd; Theodore Schurr; Robert Seyfarth and Dorothy Cheney; Kim Sterelny; and Felix Warneken. ISBN 978-1-934536-49-0. (shrink)
The traditional Christian view that God foreknows the future exclusively in terms of what will and will not come to pass is partially rooted in two ancient Hellenistic philosophical assumptions. Hellenistic philosophers universally assumed that propositions asserting ‘ x will occur’ contradict propositions asserting ‘ x will not occur’ and generally assumed that the gods lose significant providential advantage if they know the future partly as a domain of possibilities rather than exclusively in terms of what will and will not (...) occur. Both assumptions continue to influence people in the direction of the traditional understanding of God's knowledge of the future. In this essay I argue that the first assumption is unnecessary and the second largely misguided. (shrink)
If we must take mathematical statements to be true, must we also believe in the existence of abstract eternal invisible mathematical objects accessible only by the power of pure thought? Jody Azzouni says no, and he claims that the way to escape such commitments is to accept true statements which are about objects that don't exist in any sense at all. Azzouni illustrates what the metaphysical landscape looks like once we avoid a militant Realism which forces our commitment to anything (...) that our theories quantify. Escaping metaphysical straitjackets, while retaining the insight that some truths are about objects that do exist, Azzouni says that we can sort scientifically-given objects into two categories: ones which exist, and to which we forge instrumental access in order to learn their properties, and ones which do not, that is, which are made up in exactly the same sense that fictional objects are. He offers as a case study a small portion of Newtonian physics, and one result of his classification of its ontological commitments, is that it does not commit us to absolute space and time. (shrink)
If we take mathematical statements to be true, then must we also believe in the existence of invisible mathematical objects, accessible only by the power of thought? Jody Azzouni says we do not have to, and claims that the way to escape such a commitment is to accept - as an essential part of scientific doctrine - true statements which are 'about' objects which don't exist in any real sense.
This book offers an in-depth analysis of the cognitive and ethical role of emotion, particularly empathy, in medical practice. The author explains how doctors can use empathy in diagnosing and treating patients without jeopardizing their objectivity or projecting their own values on to patients.
It is widely acknowledged that individual moral obligations and responsibility entail shared moral obligations and responsibility. However, whether individual epistemic obligations and responsibility entail shared epistemic obligations and responsibility is rarely discussed. Instead, most discussions of doxastic responsibility focus on individuals considered in isolation. In contrast to this standard approach, I maintain that focusing exclusively on individuals in isolation leads to a profoundly incomplete picture of what we're epistemically obligated to do and when we deserve epistemic blame. First, I argue (...) that we have epistemic obligations to perform actions of the sort that can be performed in conjunction with other people, and that consequently, we are often jointly blameworthy when we violate shared epistemic obligations. Second, I argue that shared responsibility is especially important to doxastic responsibility thanks to the fact that we don't have the same kind of direct control over our beliefs that we have over our actions. In particular, I argue that there are many cases in which a particular individual who holds some problematic belief only deserves epistemic blame in virtue of belonging to a group all the members of which are jointly blameworthy for violating some shared epistemic obligation. (shrink)
When ordinary people - mathematicians among them - take something to follow from something else, they are exposing the backbone of our self-ascribed ability to reason. Jody Azzouni investigates the connection between that ordinary notion of consequence and the formal analogues invented by logicians. One claim of the book is that, despite our apparent intuitive grasp of consequence, we do not introspect rules by which we reason, nor do we grasp the scope and range of the domain, as it were, (...) of our reasoning. This point is illustrated with a close analysis of a paradigmatic case of ordinary reasoning: mathematical proof. (shrink)
Jody Azzouni argues that we involuntarily experience certain physical items, certain products of human actions, and certain human actions themselves as having meaning-properties. We understand these items as possessing meaning or as having truth values. For example, a sign on a door reading "Drinks Inside" strikes native English speakers as referring to liquids in the room behind the door. The sign has a truth value--if no drinks are found in the room, the sign is misleading. Someone pointing in a direction (...) has the same effect: we experience her gesture as significant. Azzouni does not suggest that we don't recognize the expectations or intentions of speakers ; we do recognize that the person pointing in a certain direction intends for us to understand her gesture's significance. Nevertheless, Azzouni asserts that we experience that gesture as having significance independent of her intentions. The gesture is meaningful on its own. The same is true of language, both spoken and written. We experience the meanings of language artifacts as independent of their makers' intentions in the same way that we experience an object's shape as a property independent of the object's color. There is a distinctive phenomenology to the experience of understanding language, and Semantic Perception shows how this phenomenology can be brought to bear as evidence for and against competing theories of language. (shrink)
Most philosophers of mathematics try to show either that the sort of knowledge mathematicians have is similar to the sort of knowledge specialists in the empirical sciences have or that the kind of knowledge mathematicians have, although apparently about objects such as numbers, sets, and so on, isn't really about those sorts of things as well. Jody Azzouni argues that mathematical knowledge really is a special kind of knowledge with its own special means of gathering evidence. He analyses the linguistic (...) pitfalls and misperceptions philosophers in this field are often prone to, and explores the misapplications of epistemic principles from the empirical sciences to the exact sciences. What emerges is a picture of mathematics both sensitive to mathematical practice, and to the ontological and epistemological issues that concern philosophers. (shrink)
The present research isolates the fairness assessment of the process used by the retailer to set a price, as well as the distributive fairness of the price compared to the price that others are offered, and examines the combined effect of procedural fairness and distributive fairness on overall price fairness. Two experimental studies examine procedural and distributive fairness effects on overall price fairness. In study 1, procedural fairness and distributive fairness are manipulated and found to interact to bring about overall (...) price fairness. In study 2, suspicion toward the seller is found to mediate the relationship between procedural fairness and overall price fairness when the price is disadvantageous. (shrink)
Virtually every aspect of the current philosophical discussion of self-deception is a matter of controversy including its definition and paradigmatic cases. We may say generally, however, that self-deception is the acquisition and maintenance of a belief (or, at least, the avowal of that belief) in the face of strong evidence to the contrary motivated by desires or emotions favoring the acquisition and retention of that belief. Beyond this, philosophers divide over whether this action is intentional or not, whether self-deceivers recognize (...) the belief being acquired is unwarranted on the available evidence, whether self-deceivers are morally responsible for their self-deception, and whether self-deception is morally problematic (and if it is in what ways and under what circumstances). The discussion of self-deception and its associated puzzles gives us insight into the ways in which motivation affects belief acquisition and retention. And yet insofar as self-deception represents an obstacle to self-knowledge, which has potentially serious moral implications, self-deception is more than an interesting philosophical puzzle. It is a problem of particular concern for moral development, since self-deception can make us strangers to ourselves and blind to our own moral failings. (shrink)
Acknowledgments 1. Culture Is Essential 2. Culture Exists 3. Culture Evolves 4. Culture Is an Adaptation 5. Culture Is Maladaptive 6. Culture and Genes Coevolve 7. Nothing about Culture Makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution.
Unrealistic therapeutic beliefs are very common—the majority of patient-subjects enrol in phase 1 trials seeking and expecting significant medical benefit, even though the likelihood of such benefit has historically proven very low. The high prevalence of therapeutic misestimation and unrealistic optimism in particular has stimulated debate about whether unrealistic therapeutic beliefs in early-phase clinical trials preclude adequate informed consent. We seek here to help resolve this controversy by showing that a crucial determination of when such therapeutic beliefs are ethically problematic (...) turns on whether they are causally linked and instrumental to the motivation to participate in the trial. Thus, in practice, it is ethically incumbent on researchers to determine which understanding and beliefs lead to the participant’s primary motivation for enrolling, not to simply assess understanding, beliefs and motivations independently. We further contend that assessing patient-subjects’ appreciation as a component of informed consent—it is already an established component of decision-making capacity assessments—can help elucidate the link between understanding-beliefs and motivation; appreciation refers to an individual’s understanding of the personal significance of both the medical facts and the experience of trial participation. Therefore, we recommend that: in addition to the usual question, ‘Why do you want to participate in this trial?’, all potential participants should be asked the question: ‘What are you giving up by participating in this trial?’ and researchers should consider the settings in which it may be possible and practical to obtain ‘two-point consent’. (shrink)
The reports of individuals who have had their vision restored after a long period of blindness suggest that, immediately after regaining their vision, such individuals are not able to recognize shapes by vision alone. It is often assumed that the empirical literature on sight restoration tells us something important about the relationship between visual and tactile representations of shape. However, I maintain that, immediately after having their sight restored, at least some newly sighted individuals undergo visual experiences that instantiate basic (...) shape phenomenology but which do not present (that is, neither represent nor involve acquaintance with) the corresponding shape properties. Consequently, the empirical literature on sight restoration tells us something important about the role that perceptual phenomenology plays in our perceptual awareness of an object’s properties—it tells us that the properties presented by perceptual experiences are not determined by or “built into” perceptual phenomenology. In addition, I maintain that the evidence concerning sight restoration suggests an alternative theory concerning the role that sensory phenomenology plays in our perceptual awareness of an object’s properties. Specifically, it suggests that, while not inherently representational, sensory phenomenal properties can serve as vehicles for the representation of an object’s properties. (shrink)
The essay presents Saul Kripke's argument for mind/body-dualism and makes the suppositions explicit on which it rests. My claim, inspired by Richard Boyd, is that even if one of Kripke’s central suppositions - the principle of necessity of identities using rigid designators - is shared by the non-traditional identity theorist, it is still possible for her to rebut Kripke’s dualism.
Our experience of objects is very rich. We perceive objects as possessing individuation conditions. This, however, is a projection of our senses and thinking. Azzouni shows the resulting austere metaphysics tames many ancient philosophical problems about constitution, as well as contemporary puzzles about reductionism.
When you have a perceptual experience of a given physical object that object seems to be immediately present to you in a way it never does when you consciously think about or imagine it. Many philosophers have claimed that naïve realism (the view that to perceive is to stand in a primitive relation of acquaintance to the world) can provide a satisfying account of this phenomenological directness of perceptual experience while the content view (the view that to perceive is to (...) represent the world to be a certain way) cannot. I argue that this claim is false. Specifically, I maintain that the only acceptable naïve realist account of the relevant phenomenology is circular and that the content view can provide a similar account. In addition, I maintain that a certain specific variety of the content view provides a non-circular and thus more satisfactory account of this phenomenology. If so, then contrary to what is commonly assumed there are powerful phenomenological grounds for preferring the content view to naïve realism. (shrink)
This article examines the potential of Action Research informed by Dewey’s pragmatism as a research methodology in the social sciences. Not only a philosophical orientation, pragmatism is also a powerful mode of inquiry. When combined with the democratic research approach of Action Research, Deweyan pragmatism has great potential to shed light on educational and other social science questions, forward social change, and enact Dewey’s vision of radical social democracy. Although Dewey’s philosophy, one could argue, has never been mainstream in education (...) and in research, the combination of Deweyan philosophy and Action Research has the potential to revive interest in Dewey’s work and serve as an example of Deweyan .. (shrink)
When ordinary people--mathematicians among them--take something to follow from something else, they are exposing the backbone of our self-ascribed ability to reason. Jody Azzouni investigates the connection between that ordinary notion of consequence and the formal analogues invented by logicians. One claim of the book is that, despite our apparent intuitive grasp of consequence, we do not introspect rules by which we reason, nor do we grasp the scope and range of the domain, as it were, of our reasoning. This (...) point is illustrated with a close analysis of a paradigmatic case of ordinary reasoning: mathematical proof. (shrink)
There is an important gap in philosophical, clinical and bioethical conceptions of decision-making capacity. These fields recognize that when traumatic life circumstances occur, people not only feel afraid and demoralized, but may develop catastrophic thinking and other beliefs that can lead to poor judgment. Yet there has been no articulation of the ways in which such beliefs may actually derail decision-making capacity. In particular, certain emotionally grounded beliefs are systematically unresponsive to evidence, and this can block the ability to deliberate (...) about alternatives. People who meet medico-legal criteria for decision-making capacity can react to health and personal crises with such capacity-derailing reactions. One aspect of this is that a person who is otherwise cognitively intact may be unable to appreciate her own future quality of life while in this complex state of mind. This raises troubling ethical challenges. We cannot rely on the current standard assessment of cognition to determine decisional rights in medical and other settings. We need to understand better how emotionally grounded beliefs interfere with decision-making capacity, in order to identify when caregivers have an obligation to intervene. (shrink)
Concepts such as disease and health can be difficult to define precisely. Part of the reason for this is that they embody value judgments and are rooted in metaphor. The precise meaning of terms like health, healing and wholeness is likely to remain elusive, because the disconcerting openness of the outlook gained from experience alone resists the reduction of first-person judgments (including those of religion) to third-person explanations (including those of science).
Times of crisis bring about increased demands on businesses as shortages, or unexpected but significant, business costs are encountered. Passing on such costs to consumers is a challenge. When faced with a retail price increase, consumers may rely on cues as to the motive behind the increase. Such cues can raise suspicion of alternative motive (e. g., taking advantage of the consumer) affecting consumers' judgments of price fairness. This research investigates two triggers of suspicion: salience of alternative motives, and behavior (...) judged to be out-of-character for the business. Results of the two studies within crisis contexts indicate that suspicion is created when alternative motives are salient and when a retailer acts out-of-character. Multiple group analyses revealed that suspicion induced negative affect and subsequent perceptions of price fairness. When suspicion was present, more negative feelings toward the retailer and judgments of price unfairness resulted. (shrink)
Ordinary language and scientific language enable us to speak about, in a singular way, what we recognize not to exist: fictions, the contents of our hallucinations, abstract objects, and various idealized but nonexistent objects that our scientific theories are often couched in terms of. Indeed, references to such nonexistent items-especially in the case of the application of mathematics to the sciences-are indispensable. We cannot avoid talking about such things. Scientific and ordinary languages thus enable us to say things about Pegasus (...) or about hallucinated objects that are true, such as "Pegasus was believed by the ancient Greeks to be a flying horse," or "That elf I'm now hallucinating over there is wearing blue shoes." Standard contemporary metaphysical views and semantic analyses of singular idioms on offer in contemporary philosophy of language have not successfully accommodated these routine practices of saying true and false things about the nonexistent while simultaneously honoring the insight that such things do not exist in any way at all. That is, philosophers often feel driven to claim that such objects do exist, or they claim that all our talk isn't genuine truth-apt talk, but only pretence. This book reconfigures metaphysics in radical ways that allow the accommodation of our ordinary ways of speaking of what does not exist while retaining the absolutely crucial presupposition that such objects exist in no way at all, have no properties, and so are not the truth-makers for the truths and falsities that are about them. (shrink)
Thanks to the advent of social media, large numbers of Americans believe outlandish falsehoods that have been widely debunked. Many of us have a tendency to fault the individuals who hold such beliefs. We naturally assume that the individuals who form and maintain such beliefs do so in virtue of having violated some epistemic obligation: perhaps they failed to scrutinize their sources, or failed to seek out the available competing evidence. I maintain that very many ordinary individuals who acquire outlandish (...) false beliefs thanks to their use of popular social media platforms (and other similar internet technologies) deserve little or no blame for believing these falsehoods. Such individuals would be fully blameworthy only if they had formed or maintained the relevant beliefs partly in virtue of violating some epistemic obligation and had no excuse for violating that obligation. However, the nature of these internet technologies provides excuses for violating the relevant epistemic obligations, and so individuals are excused for holding the resulting false beliefs. (shrink)
Medical ethics, principles, persons, and perspectives is discussed under three headings: History, Theory, and Practice. Under Theory, the author will say something about some different approaches to the study and discussion of ethical issues in medicine—especially those based on principles, persons, or perspectives. Under Practice, the author will discuss how one perspectives based approach, hermeneutics, might help in relation first to everyday ethical issues and then to public controversies. In that context some possible advantages of moving from controversy to conversation (...) will be explored; and that will then be illustrated with reference to a current controversy about the use of human embryos in stem cell therapy research. The paper begins with history, and it begins in the author’s home city of Edinburgh. (shrink)
A perceptual experience of a given object seems to make the object itself present to the perceiver’s mind. Many philosophers have claimed that naïve realism (the view that to perceive is to stand in a primitive relation of acquaintance to the world) provides a better account of this phenomenological directness of perceptual experience than does the content view (the view that to perceive is to represent the world to be a certain way). But the naïve realist account of this phenomenology (...) has a conspicuous shortcoming: it explains the phenomenological directness of veridical perceptual experiences but not of hallucinations. Conversely, I maintain that a particular variety of the content view provides a unified account of the phenomenological directness of both veridical and hallucinatory experiences. If so, then contrary to what is often assumed, the phenomenological facts concerning perceptual experience are explained better by the content view than by naïve realism, and consequently, we have a compelling reason to prefer the content view to naïve realism. (shrink)
It is well-known that naïve realism has difficulty accommodating perceptual error. Recent discussion of the issue has focused on whether the naïve realist can accommodate hallucination by adopting disjunctivism. However, illusions are more difficult for the naïve realist to explain precisely because the disjunctivist solution is not available. I discuss what I take to be the two most plausible accounts of illusion available to the naïve realist. The first claims that illusions are cases in which you are prevented from perceiving (...) properties you would ordinarily perceive and subsequently form a mistaken judgment about the perceived object. The second appeals to an unusual look or appearance that the perceived object instantiates. I argue that neither account is satisfactory and that, consequently, naïve realism ought to be rejected. (shrink)
Proactive policing strategies produce a range of harms to African Americans in poor urban communities. We know little, however, about how aggressive policing is experienced across gender by adolescents in these neighborhoods. The authors argue that important insights can be gained by examining the perspectives of African American youths and draw from in-depth interviews with youths in St. Louis, Missouri, to investigate how gender shapes interactions with the police. The comparative analysis reveals important gendered facets of African American adolescents' experiences (...) with and expectations of law enforcement. Young men described being treated routinely as suspects regardless of their involvement in delinquency and also reported police violence. Young women typically described being stopped for curfew violations but also expressed concerns about police sexual misconduct. This study highlights the differential harms of urban policing for African American young women and men and highlights the need for systematic attention to the intersections of race and gender in research on criminal justice practices. (shrink)
The form of nominalism known as 'mathematical fictionalism' is examined and found wanting, mainly on grounds that go back to an early antinominalist work of Rudolf Carnap that has unfortunately not been paid sufficient attention by more recent writers.
Knowledge and Reference in Empirical Science is a fascinating study of the bounds between science and language: In what sense does science provide knowledge? Is it to be taken literally? Is science an instrument only distantly related to what's real? Does the language of science adequately describe the truth? Jody Azzouni approaches these questions through an analysis of the "reference" of kind terms. He investigates the technology of science--the actual forging and exploiting of causal links--and shows how this technology allows (...) for knowledge-gathering, why scientific lore must be regarded as true, and in what ways our access to the universe is anchored in observation. The book then explores the language of science and shows how this flexible tool enables us to transform our fragmented investigations of the world into a unitary and seamless discourse. (shrink)
Argumentation mining is an application of natural language processing (NLP) that emerged a few years ago and has recently enjoyed considerable popularity, as demonstrated by a series of international workshops and by a rising number of publications at the major conferences and journals of the field. Its goals are to identify argumentation in text or dialogue; to construct representations of the constellation of claims, supporting and attacking moves (in different levels of detail); and to characterize the patterns of reasoning that (...) appear to license the argumentation. Furthermore, recent work also addresses the difficult tasks of evaluating the persuasiveness and quality of arguments. Some of the linguistic genres that are being studied include legal text, student essays, political discourse and debate, newspaper editorials, scientific writing, and others. The book starts with a discussion of the linguistic perspective, characteristics of argumentative language, and their relationship to certain other notions such as subjectivity. Besides the connection to linguistics, argumentation has for a long time been a topic in Artificial Intelligence, where the focus is on devising adequate representations and reasoning formalisms that capture the properties of argumentative exchange. It is generally very difficult to connect the two realms of reasoning and text analysis, but we are convinced that it should be attempted in the long term, and therefore we also touch upon some fundamentals of reasoning approaches. Then the book turns to its focus, the computational side of mining argumentation in text. We first introduce a number of annotated corpora that have been used in the research. From the NLP perspective, argumentation mining shares subtasks with research fields such as subjectivity and sentiment analysis, semantic relation extraction, and discourse parsing. Therefore, many technical approaches are being borrowed from those (and other) fields. We break argumentation mining into a series of subtasks, starting with the preparatory steps of classifying text as argumentative (or not) and segmenting it into elementary units. Then, central steps are the automatic identification of claims, and finding statements that support or oppose the claim. For certain applications, it is also of interest to compute a full structure of an argumentative constellation of statements. Next, we discuss a few steps that try to 'dig deeper': to infer the underlying reasoning pattern for a textual argument, to reconstruct unstated premises (so-called 'enthymemes'), and to evaluate the quality of the argumentation. We also take a brief look at 'the other side' of mining, i.e., the generation or synthesis of argumentative text. The book finishes with a summary of the argumentation mining tasks, a sketch of potential applications, and a—necessarily subjective—outlook for the field. Table of Contents: Preface / Acknowledgments / Introduction / Argumentative Language / Modeling Arguments / Corpus Annotation / Finding Claims / Finding Supporting and Objecting Statements / Deriving the Structure of Argumentation / Assessing Argumentation / Generating Argumentative Text / Summary and Perspectives / Bibliography / Authors' Biographies / Index. (shrink)
There has been a recent surge of evolutionary explanations of art. In this article I evaluate one currently influential example, Brian Boyd’s recent book On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction. The book offers a stimulating collection of findings, ideas, and hypotheses borrowed from a wide range of research disciplines, brought together under the umbrella of evolution. However, in so doing Boyd lumps together issues that need to be separated, most importantly, organic and cultural evolution. In (...) addition, he fails to consider alternative explanations to art as adaptation such as exaptation and constraint. Moreover, the neurobiological literature suggests current evidence of biological adaptation for most of the arts is weak at best. Given these considerations, I conclude by proposing to regard the arts instead as culturally evolved practices building on pre-existing biological traits. (shrink)
Mistaken reasons for thinking diagrammatic proofs aren't rigorous are explored. The main result is that a confusion between the contents of a proof procedure (what's expressed by the referential elements in a proof procedure) and the unarticulated mathematical aspects of a proof procedure (how that proof procedure is enabled) gives the impression that diagrammatic proofs are less rigorous than language proofs. An additional (and independent) factor is treating the impossibility of naturally generalizing a diagrammatic proof procedure as an indication of (...) lack of rigor. (shrink)
Philosophers are very fond of making non-factualist claims—claims to the effect that there is no fact of the matter as to whether something is the case. But can these claims be coherently stated in the context of classical logic? Some care is needed here, we argue, otherwise one ends up denying a tautology or embracing a contradiction. In the end, we think there are only two strategies available to someone who wants to be a non-factualist about something, and remain within (...) the province of classical logic. But one of these strategies is rather controversial, and the other requires substantially more work than is often supposed. Being a non-factualist is no easy business, and it may not be the most philosophically perspicuous way to go. (shrink)
We have conducted a home-based study of children′s dream reports in which parents used open-ended interviewing styles to collect 88 dream reports from their 4- to 10-year-old children in the comfortable and supportive environment of their own homes. Particular attention was paid to formal properties including characters , settings, self-representation, and bizarreness. In contrast to previous studies, our data indicate that young children are able to give long, detailed reports of their dreams that share many formal characteristics with adult dream (...) reports. Because this wide range of dream mentation is only revealed to trusted confidants in a familiar and comfortable environment, an important implication is that the sleep laboratory may not be the best source of naturalistic dream data. (shrink)