This thesis motivates a novel account of desire as the best explanation of an intuitive datum. The intuitive datum is that often when an agent desires P she will immediately, outright know that she has a reason to bring P about. Existing explanations of the intuitive datum cannot simultaneously satisfy two desiderata. We want to explain how desires enable outright knowledge of reasons and also explain the fallibility of desires. Existing views satisfy the first desideratum at the expense of the (...) second, or vice versa. I propose an epistemological disjunctivist account of desire that satisfies both. On this view, a desire for P represents the value of P in a manner analogous to perception. Desires come in two distinct epistemic kinds: an awareness of value or an illusion of value. An awareness of value enables outright knowledge of reasons and allows the agent to tell by reflection that she has such knowledge. An illusion of value merely seems to provide grounds for knowledge, which explains the fallibility of desires. The proposed account is a strong candidate for the truth because it best explains central features of our practical agency. (shrink)
I propose an account of desire that reconciles two apparently conflicting intuitions about practical agency. I do so by exploring a certain intuitive datum. The intuitive datum is that often when an agent desires P she will seem to immediately and conclusively know that there is a reason to bring P about. Desire-based theories of reasons seem uniquely placed to explain this intuitive datum. On this view, desires are the source of an agent’s practical reasons. A desire for P grounds (...) conclusive knowledge of a reason to bring P about because that desire makes it true that there is a reason to do so. However, this implies that a basic desire for P can never be in error about there being at least some reason to bring P about. We have the conflicting intuition that basic desires sometimes rationally count for nothing. The guise of the good explains this intuition about the fallibility of desires. On this view, a desire for P represents P as good in some respect. Desires and reasons are independent, so a desire might misrepresent one’s reasons. But this independence is usually taken to rule out that desires ever provide conclusive knowledge of reasons. Capturing the intuition about conclusive knowledge rules out capturing the intuition about fallibility, and vice versa. I propose an epistemological disjunctivist version of the guise of the good that reconciles fallibility with the possibility of conclusive knowledge. (shrink)
This article reviews some recent research on the development of temporal cognition, with reference to Weist's (1989) account of the development of temporal understanding. Weist's distinction between two levels of temporal decentering is discussed, and empirical studies that may be interpreted as measuring temporal decentering are described. We argue that if temporal decentering is defined simply in terms of the coordination of the temporal locations of three events, it may fail to fully capture the properties of mature temporal understanding. Characterizing (...) the development of mature temporal cognition may require, in addition, distinguishing between event-dependent and event-independent thought about time. Experimental evidence relevant to such a distinction is described; these findings suggest that there may be important changes between 3 and 5 years in children's ability to think about points in time independently of the events that occur at those times. (shrink)
Three experiments examined whether children and adults would use temporal information as a cue to the causal structure of a three-variable system, and also whether their judgements about the effects of interventions on the system would be affected by the temporal properties of the event sequence. Participants were shown a system in which two events B and C occurred either simultaneously (synchronous condition) or in a temporal sequence (sequential condition) following an initial event A. The causal judgements of adults and (...) 6-7-year-olds differed between the conditions, but this was not the case for 4-year-olds' judgements. However, unlike those of adults, 6-7-year-olds' intervention judgements were not affected by condition, and causal and intervention judgements were not reliably consistent in this age group. The findings support the claim that temporal information provides an important cue to causal structure, at least in older children. However, they raise important issues about the relationship between causal and intervention judgements. (shrink)
Sometime around their first birthday most infants begin to engage in relatively sustained bouts of attending together with their caretakers to objects in their environment. By the age of 18 months, on most accounts, they are engaging in full-blown episodes of joint attention. As developmental psychologists (usually) use the term, for such joint attention to be in play, it is not sufficient that the infant and the adult are in fact attending to the same object, nor that the one’s attention (...) cause the other’s. The latter can and does happen much earlier, whenever the adult follows the baby’s gaze and homes in on the same object as the baby is attending to; or, from the age of six months, when babies begin to follow the gaze of an adult. We have the relevant sense of joint attention in play only when the fact that both child and adult are attending to the same object is, to use Sperber and Wilson’s (1986) phrase, ‘mutually manifest’. Psychologists sometimes speak of such jointness as a case of attention being ‘shared’ by infant and adult, or of a ‘meeting of minds’ between infant and adult, all phrases intended to capture the idea that when joint attention occurs everything about the fact that both subjects are attending to the same object is out in the open, manifest to both participants. (shrink)
Investigates the roles of temporal concepts and self-consciousness in the development of episodic memory. According to some theorists, types of long-term memory differ primarily in the degree to which they involve or are associated with self-consciousness (although there may be no substantial differences in the kind of event information that they deliver). However, a known difficulty with this view is that it is not obvious what motivates introducing self-consciousness as the decisive factor in distinguishing between types of memory and what (...) role it is supposed to play in remembering. The authors argue that distinctions between different kinds of memory should be made initially on the basis of the ways in which they represent events. In particular, it is proposed that the way in which remembered events are located in time provides an important criterion for distinguishing between different types of memory. According to this view, if there is a link between memory development and self-consciousness, it is because some temporal concepts emerge developmentally only once certain self-conscious abilities are in place. (shrink)
It is well established that the temporal proximity of two events is a fundamental cue to causality. Recent research with adults has shown that this relation is bidirectional: events that are believed to be causally related are perceived as occurring closer together in time—the so‐called temporal binding effect. Here, we examined the developmental origins of temporal binding. Participants predicted when an event that was either caused by a button press, or preceded by a non‐causal signal, would occur. We demonstrate for (...) the first time that children as young as 4 years are susceptible to temporal binding. Binding occurred both when the button press was executed via intentional action, and when a machine caused it. These results suggest binding is a fundamental, early developing property of perception and grounded in causal knowledge. (shrink)
Four studies are reported that employed an object location task to assess temporal–causal reasoning. In Experiments 1–3, successfully locating the object required a retrospective consideration of the order in which two events had occurred. In Experiment 1, 5- but not 4-year-olds were successful; 4-year-olds also failed to perform at above-chance levels in modified versions of the task in Experiments 2 and 3. However, in Experiment 4, 3-year-olds were successful when they were able to see the object being placed first in (...) one location and then in the other, rather than having to consider retrospectively the sequence in which two events had happened. The results suggest that reasoning about the causal significance of the temporal order of events may not be fully developed before 5 years. (shrink)
We outline a dual systems approach to temporal cognition, which distinguishes between two cognitive systems for dealing with how things unfold over time – a temporal updating system and a temporal reasoning system – of which the former is both phylogenetically and ontogenetically more primitive than the latter, and which are at work alongside each other in adult human cognition. We describe the main features of each of the two systems, the types of behavior the more primitive temporal updating system (...) can support, and the respects in which it is more limited than the temporal reasoning system. We then use the distinction between the two systems to interpret findings in comparative and developmental psychology, arguing that animals operate only with a temporal updating system and that children start out doing so too, before gradually becoming capable of thinking and reasoning about time. After this, we turn to adult human cognition and suggest that our account can also shed light on a specific feature of our everyday thinking about time that has been the subject of debate in the philosophy of time, which consists in a tendency to think about the nature of time itself in a way that appears ultimately self-contradictory. We conclude by considering the topic of intertemporal choice, and argue that drawing the distinction between temporal updating and temporal reasoning is also useful in the context of characterising two distinct mechanisms for delaying gratification. (shrink)
In temporal binding, the temporal interval between one event and another, occurring some time later, is subjectively compressed. We discuss two ways in which temporal binding has been conceptualized. In studies showing temporal binding between a voluntary action and its causal consequences, such binding is typically interpreted as providing a measure of an implicit or pre-reflective “sense of agency”. However, temporal binding has also been observed in contexts not involving voluntary action, but only the passive observation of a cause-effect sequence. (...) In those contexts, it has been interpreted as a top-down effect on perception reflecting a belief in causality. These two views need not be in conflict with one another, if one thinks of them as concerning two separate mechanisms through which temporal binding can occur. In this paper, we explore an alternative possibility: that there is a unitary way of explaining temporal binding both within and outside the context of voluntary action as a top-down effect on perception reflecting a belief in causality. Any such explanation needs to account for ways in which agency, and factors connected with agency, have been shown to affect the strength of temporal binding. We show that principles of causal inference and causal selection already familiar from the literature on causal learning have the potential to explain why the strength of people’s causal beliefs can be affected by the extent to which they are themselves actively involved in bringing about events, thus in turn affecting binding. (shrink)
This chapter considers in what sense, if any, planning and future thinking is involved both in the sort of behaviour examined by McCarty et al. (1999) and in the sort of behaviour measured by researchers creating versions of Tulving's spoon test. It argues that mature human planning and future thinking involves a particular type of temporal cognition, and that there are reasons to be doubtful as to whether either of those two approaches actually assesses this type of cognition. To anticipate, (...) it argues that there is a commonsense notion of planning according to which planning involves event-independent thought about time. It also argues that thinking about the future involves the ability to think about the potential temporal locations of events within a linear temporal framework in which temporal locations are unique rather than repeated. (shrink)
Recent studies have shown that deductive reasoning skills are related to mathematical abilities. Nevertheless, so far the links between mathematical abilities and these two forms of deductive inference have not been investigated in a single study. It is also unclear whether these inference forms are related to both basic maths skills and mathematical reasoning, and whether these relationships still hold if the effects of fluid intelligence are controlled. We conducted a study with 87 adult participants. The results showed that transitive (...) reasoning skills were related to performance on a number line task, and conditional inferences were related to arithmetic skills. Additionally, both types of deductive inference were related to mathematical reasoning skills, although transitive and conditional reasoning ability were unrelated. Our results also highlighted the important role that ordering abilities play in mathematical reasoning, extending findings regarding the role of ordering abilities in basic maths skills. These results have implications for the theories of mathematical and deductive reasoning, and they could inspire the development of novel educational interventions. (shrink)
Philosophical debates about the metaphysics of time typically revolve around two contrasting views of time. On the A-theory, time is something that itself undergoes change, as captured by the idea of the passage of time; on the B-theory, all there is to time is events standing in before/after or simultaneity relations to each other, and these temporal relations are unchanging. Philosophers typically regard the A-theory as being supported by our experience of time, and they take it that the B-theory clashes (...) with how we experience time and therefore faces the burden of having to explain away that clash. In this paper, we investigate empirically whether these intuitions about the experience of time are shared by the general public. We asked directly for people’s subjective reports of their experience of time—in particular, whether they believe themselves to have a phenomenology as of time’s passing—and we probed their understanding of what time’s passage in fact is. We find that a majority of participants do share the aforementioned intuitions, but interestingly a minority do not. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that the consensus around normative standards for the ethics of research in clinical trials, strongly influenced by the Declaration of Helsinki, is perceived from various quarters as too conservative and potentially restrictive of research that is seen as urgent and necessary. We examine this problem from the perspective of various challengers who argue for alternative approaches to what ought or ought not to be permitted. Key themes within this analysis will examine these claims and argue (...) they have implications for the interests of the research subject, research governance and regulation. Using our work with TREAT-NMD, the neuromuscular clinical trials network, we posit that there is a place for advancing the discourse of moral rights and moral duties in the context of research, especially from the perspective of patients and their families, and for including the politics of patient activism and empowerment. At the same time we remain vigilant to the danger that the therapeutic misconception and other serious vulnerabilities for the patient population in clinical trials, are at risk of being overlooked. (shrink)
An account of the development of temporal understanding is proposed which links such understanding with the development of episodic memory. We distinguish between different ways of representing time in terms of the kinds of temporal frameworks they involve. Distinctions are made between frameworks that are perspectival or nonperspectival and those that represent recurrent sequences or particular times. Even primitive temporal understanding integrates both perspectival and nonperspectival components. However, since early frameworks are event-based and localized, they are not yet sufficient for (...) episodic memory in that they do not enable the child to think of events as having occurred at particular points in time. We describe the emergence of new kinds of frameworks in terms of the development of temporal decentering. Two levels of temporal decentering are distinguished, with the higher level involving an appreciation of how event representations depend on one's temporal perspective. (shrink)
In the recent literature on episodic memory, there has been increasing recognition of the need to provide an account of its adaptive function. In this context, it is sometimes argued that episodic memory is critical for certain forms of decision making about the future. We criticize existing accounts that try to give episodic memory a role in decision making, before giving a novel such account of our own. This turns on the thought of a link between episodic memory and the (...) emotion of regret. We discuss how both experienced and anticipated regret can have a distinctive influence on decision making, and argue that the ability to recollect past events in episodic memory underpins the capacity to engage in the sophisticated types of mental time travel recruited in experiencing and anticipating regret. (shrink)
A new model of the development of temporal concepts is described that assumes that there are substantial changes in how children think about time in the early years. It is argued that there is a shift from understanding time in an event-dependent way to an event-independent understanding of time. Early in development, very young children are unable to think about locations in time independently of the events that occur at those locations. It is only with development that children begin to (...) have a proper grasp of the distinction between past, present, and future, and represent time as linear and unidirectional. The model assumes that although children aged 2 to 3 years may categorize events differently depending on whether they lie in the past or the future, they may not be able to understand that whether an event is in the past or future is something that changes as time passes and varies with temporal perspective. Around 4 to 5 years, children understand how causality operates in time, and can grasp the systematic relations that obtain between different locations in time, which provides the basis for acquiring the conventional clock and calendar system. (shrink)
The application of the formal framework of causal Bayesian Networks to children’s causal learning provides the motivation to examine the link between judgments about the causal structure of a system, and the ability to make inferences about interventions on components of the system. Three experiments examined whether children are able to make correct inferences about interventions on different causal structures. The first two experiments examined whether children’s causal structure and intervention judgments were consistent with one another. In Experiment 1, children (...) aged between 4 and 8 years made causal structure judgments on a three-component causal system followed by counterfactual intervention judgments. In Experiment 2, children’s causal structure judgments were followed by intervention judgments phrased as future hypotheticals. In Experiment 3, we explicitly told children what the correct causal structure was and asked them to make intervention judgments. The results of the three experiments suggest that the representations that support causal structure judgments do not easily support simple judgments about interventions in children. We discuss our findings in light of strong interventionist claims that the two types of judgments should be closely linked. (shrink)
Time and Memory throws new light on fundamental aspects of human cognition and consciousness by bringing together, for the first time, psychological and philosophical approaches dealing with the connection between the capacity to represent and think about time, and the capacity to recollect the past. Fifteen specially written essays offer insights into current theories of memory processes and of the mechanisms and cognitive abilities underlying temporal judgements, and draw out key issues concerning the phenomenology and epistemology of memory and its (...) role in our understanding of time. (shrink)
Temporal binding refers to a phenomenon whereby the time interval between a cause and its effect is perceived as shorter than the same interval separating two unrelated events. We examined the developmental profile of this phenomenon by comparing the performance of groups of children (aged 6-7-, 7-8-, and 9-10- years) and adults on a novel interval estimation task. In Experiment 1, participants made judgments about the time interval between i) their button press and a rocket launch, and ii) a non-causal (...) predictive signal and rocket launch. In Experiment 2, an additional causal condition was included in which participants made judgments about the interval between an experimenter’s button press and the launch of a rocket. Temporal binding was demonstrated consistently and did not change in magnitude with age: estimates of delay were shorter in causal contexts for both adults and children. Additionally, the magnitude of the binding effect was greater when participants themselves were the cause of an outcome compared to when they were mere spectators. This suggests that although causality underlies the binding effect, intentional action may modulate its magnitude. Again, this was true of both adults and children. Taken together, these results are the first to suggest that the binding effect is present and developmentally constant from childhood into adulthood. (shrink)
Hoerl & McCormack's dual systems framework provides a new avenue toward the scientific investigation of temporal cognition. However, some shortcomings of the model should be considered. These issues include their reliance on a somewhat vague consideration of “systems” rather than specific computational processes. Moreover, the model does not consider the subjective nature of temporal experience or the role of consciousness in temporal cognition.
What cognitive abilities underpin the use of tools, and how are tools and their properties represented or understood by tool-users? Does the study of tool use provide us with a unique or distinctive source of information about the causal cognition of tool-users? -/- Tool use is a topic of major interest to all those interested in animal cognition, because it implies that the animal has knowledge of the relationship between objects and their effects. There are countless examples of animals developing (...) tools to achieve some goal-chimps sharpening sticks to use as spears, bonobos using sticks to fish for termites, and New Caledonian crows developing complex tools to extracts insects from logs. Studies of tool use have been used to examine an exceptionally wide range of aspects of cognition, such as planning, problem-solving and insight, naive physics, social relationship between action and perception. A key debate in recent research on animal cognition concerns the level of cognitive sophistication that is implied by animal tool use, and developmental psychologists have been addressing related questions regarding the processes through which children acquire the ability to use tools. In neuropsychology, patterns of impairments in tool use due to brain damage, and studies of neural changes associated with tool use, have also led to debates about the different types of cognitive abilities that might underpin tool use, and about how tool use may change the way space or the body is represented. -/- Tool Use and Causal Cognition provides a new interdisciplinary perspective on these issues with contributions from leading psychologists studying tool use and philosophers providing new analyses of the nature of causal understanding A ground-breaking volume which covers several disciplines, this volume will be of interest to psychologists, including animal researchers and developmental psychologists as well as philosophers, and neuroscientists. (shrink)
The arts are one of the most complex of human endeavours, and so it is fitting that a special issue on Complex Systems in Aesthetics and Arts is being published. As the editors of this special issue, we would like to thank the reviewers of the submitted papers for their hard work in making this issue possible, as well as the authors who submitted their work and were very responsive to the comments of the reviewers and editors.
Four experiments examined children's ability to reason about the causal significance of the order in which 2 events occurred (the pressing of buttons on a mechanically operated box). In Study 1, 4-year-olds were unable to make the relevant inferences, whereas 5-year-olds were successful on one version of the task. In Study 2, 3-year-olds were successful on a simplified version of the task in which they were able to observe the events although not their consequences. Study 3 found that older children (...) had difficulties with the original task even when provided with cues to attend to order information. However, 5-year-olds performed successfully in Study 4, in which the causally relevant event was made more salient. (shrink)
Hip implants have provided life-changing treatment, reducing pain and improving the mobility and independence of patients. Success has encouraged manufacturers to innovate and amend designs, engendering patient hopes in these devices. However, failures of medical implants do occur. The failure rate of the Articular Surface Replacement metal-on-metal hip system, implanted almost 100,000 times world-wide, has re-opened debate about appropriate and timely implant governance. As commercial interests, patient hopes, and devices' governance converge in a socio-technical crisis, we analyse the responses of (...) relevant governance stakeholders in the United Kingdom between 2007 and 2014. We argue that there has been a systemic failure of the governance system entrusted with the safety of patients fitted with medical implants. Commercial considerations of medical implants and the status quo of medical implant governance have been given priority over patient safety despite the availability of significant failure data in an example of uncertainty about what constitutes appropriate precautionary action. (shrink)
In May 2013 a new Assisted Dying Bill was tabled in the House of Lords and is currently scheduled for a second reading in May 2014. The Bill was informed by the report of the Commission on Assisted Dying which itself was informed by evidence presented by invited experts.
This is a comprehensive book on the philosophy of time. Leading philosophers discuss the metaphysics of time, our experience and representation of time, the role of time in ethics and action, and philosophical issues in the sciences of time, especially quantum mechanics and relativity theory.
We identify a particular type of causal reasoning ability that we believe is required for the possession of episodic memories, as it is needed to give substance to the distinction between the past and the present. We also argue that the same causal reasoning ability is required for grasping the point that another person's appeal to particular past events can have in conversation. We connect this to claims in developmental psychology that participation in joint reminiscing plays a key role in (...) memory development. (shrink)
We focus on three main sets of topics emerging from the commentaries on our target article. First, we discuss several types of animal behavior that commentators cite as evidence against our claim that animals are restricted to temporal updating and cannot engage in temporal reasoning. In doing so, we illustrate further how explanations of behavior in terms of temporal updating work. Second, we respond to commentators’ queries about the developmental process through which children acquire a capacity for temporal reasoning and (...) about the relation between our account and accounts drawing similar distinctions in other domains of cognition. Finally, we address some broader theoretical issues arising from the commentaries, concerning in particular the question as to how our account relates to the phenomenology of experience in time, and the question as to whether our dichotomy between temporal reasoning and temporal updating is exhaustive, or whether there might be other forms of cognition or representation related to time not captured by it. (shrink)
How are causal judgements such as 'The ice on the road caused the traffic accident' connected with counterfactual judgements such as 'If there had not been any ice on the road, the traffic accident would not have happened'? This volume throws new light on this question by uniting, for the first time, psychological and philosophical approaches to causation and counterfactuals. Traditionally, philosophers have primarily been interested in connections between causal and counterfactual claims on the level of meaning or truth-conditions. More (...) recently, however, they have also increasingly turned their attention to psychological connections between causal and counterfactual understanding or reasoning. At the same time, there has been a surge in interest in empirical work on causal and counterfactual cognition amongst developmental, cognitive, and social psychologists--much of it inspired by work in philosophy. In this volume, twelve original contributions from leading philosophers and psychologists explore in detail what bearing empirical findings might have on philosophical concerns about counterfactuals and causation, and how, in turn, work in philosophy might help clarify the issues at stake in empirical work on the cognitive underpinnings of, and relationships between, causal and counterfactual thought. (shrink)
The authors examined cue competition effects in young children using the blicket detector paradigm, in which objects are placed either singly or in pairs on a novel machine and children must judge which objects have the causal power to make the machine work. Cue competition effects were found in a 5- to 6-year-old group but not in a 4-year-old group. Equivalent levels of forward and backward blocking were found in the former group. Children's counterfactual judgments were subsequently examined by asking (...) whether or not the machine would have gone off in the absence of I of 2 objects that had been placed on it as a pair. Cue competition effects were demonstrated only in 5- to 6-year-olds using this mode of assessing causal reasoning. (shrink)
Previous studies of children’s counterfactual reasoning have focused on scenarios in which a single causal event yielded an outcome. However, there are also cases in which an outcome would have occurred even in the absence of its actual cause, because of the presence of a further potential cause. In this study, 152 children aged 4-9 years reasoned counterfactually about such scenarios, in which there were ‘doubly-determined’ outcomes. The task involved dropping two metal discs down separate runways, each of which was (...) sufficient to knock over a toy pig. One of the runways was shorter than the other, meaning that one of the discs actually knocked over the pig whereas the other always arrived too late to do so. Children were asked whether the pig would have been knocked over in the absence of the first metal disc descending the runway. We found that children could accurately answer such counterfactual questions by 6-7 years. (shrink)
This chapter begins with a discussion of the significance of studies of aspects of tool use in understanding causal cognition. It argues that tool use studies reveal the most basic type or causal understanding being put to use, in a way that studies that focus on learning statistical relationships between cause and effect or studies of perceptual causation do not. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
Humans’ attitudes towards an event often vary depending on whether the event has already happened or has yet to take place. The dread felt at the thought of a forthcoming examination turns into relief once it is over. People also value past events less than future ones – offering less pay for work already carried out than for the same work to be carried out in the future, as recent research in psychology shows. This volume brings together philosophers and psychologists (...) with a shared interest in such psychological past/future asymmetries. It asks questions such as: What different kinds of psychological past/future asymmetries are there, and how are they related? Under what conditions do humans exhibit them? To what extent do they reflect features of time itself, or particular beliefs people have about time? Are they rational, or at least rationally permissible, or should we aspire to being temporally neutral? What exactly does temporal neutrality consist in? (shrink)