The proposal by Clarke and Beck offers a new explanation for the association between the approximate number system and math. Previous explanations have largely relied on developmental arguments, an underspecified notion of the ANS as an “error detection mechanism,” or affective factors. The proposal that the ANS represents rational numbers suggests that it may directly support a broader range of math skills.
In ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism’, Quine attacks the analytic/synthetic distinction and defends a doctrine that I call epistemological holism. Now, almost fifty years after the article’s appearance, what are we to make of these ideas? I suggest that the philosophical naturalism that Quine did so much to promote should lead us to reject Quine’s brief against the analytic/synthetic distinction; I also argue that Quine misunderstood Carnap's views on analyticity. As for epistemological holism, I claim that this thesis does not follow (...) from the logical point that Duhem and Quine made about the role of auxiliary assumptions in hypothesis testing, and that the thesis should be rejected. (shrink)
The objective of this study—a substudy to a phase I bioequivalence study—was to compare the effect of standard and concise consent forms on research volunteers’ comprehension of and satisfaction with consent forms, as well as to assess the effect of select volunteer characteristics, such as financial motivations to participate in research, on their comprehension. A 36-item questionnaire measured volunteers’ comprehension, satisfaction, and motivations for participation. Volunteers were randomized to the standard Pfizer consent form or a concise, easier-to-read form. We approached (...) 139 volunteers to participate, and 138 completed the questionnaire . The cohorts did not differ in sociodemographic characteristics. We found that the average comprehension scores for the standard consent form cohort and the concise consent cohort were about the same, and that satisfaction with the consent form was high in both cohorts. Surprisingly, volunteers with a financial motivation had significantly greater comprehension of the study. (shrink)
Few subjects provoke as much controversy or debate as that of medical care, and the law that governs such an emotive area finds itself with the near-impossible task of simultaneously trying to regulate the medical profession and healthcare provision whilst upholding the rights of the millions of people who use those services every year. Medical Law combines an accessible explanation of the complex and challenging legal rules of medical care in England and Wales with a stimulating examination of the social, (...) political and ethical arguments such care provokes. It examines a broad range of issues, from the structure and organisation of the NHS, through the rules of clinical negligence, as well as focussing on the legal and ethical concerns around such deeply contentious areas as surrogacy, organ donation, abortion and euthanasia. Written very much with newcomers to the area in mind, Leanne Bell lucidly outlines not just what the law is, but how it has developed over time and also provides insights as to how advances in medical technology and techniques may call for it to evolve in the future. (shrink)
In The Rules of Insanity, Carl Elliott draws on philosophy and psychiatry to develop a conceptual framework for judging the moral responsibility of mentally ill offenders. Arguing that there is little useful that can be said about the responsibility of mentally ill offenders in general, Elliott looks at specific mental illnesses in detail; among them schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorders, psychosexual disorders such as exhibitionism and voyeurism, personality disorders, and impulse control disorders such as kleptomania and pyromania. He takes a (...) particularly hard look at the psychopath or sociopath, who many have argued is incapable of understanding morality. Making extensive use of psychiatric case histories, Elliott explores the various ways in which mental illness can affect a person's intentions and thus excuse him or her from moral responsibility. (shrink)
This paper adopts the lens of environmental ethics to explore whether there is a disparity between the ethical approaches of a company in comparison to those expressed by stakeholders in relation to environmental issues, specifically those communicated through the corporate environmental report. Discourse analysis is adopted to explore the environmental section of the sustainability reports of the case study company as compared to the responses of a sample of the company’s stakeholders, using the lens of three branches of environmental ethics: (...) utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics. Results indicate that the ethical approaches expressed in the case study company’s environmental reports were grounded in utilitarianism and deontology, in contrast to a virtue ethics approach expressed by external stakeholders. The disparity widened as the relationship between the company and the stakeholder became less direct. This disparity signals a failure to meet one of the primary purposes for preparing sustainability reports: to engage with stakeholders. As such this research contributes to the literature by identifying a disparity in the how this information is communicated compared with how it is perceived by stakeholders. This has important implications for the success of current stakeholder engagement practices. (shrink)
Investigation of “out-of-body experiences” has implications for understanding both normal bodily-self integration and its vulnerabilities. Beyond reported associations between OBEs and specific brain regions, however, there have been few investigations of neurochemical systems relevant to OBEs. Ketamine, a drug used recreationally to achieve dissociative experiences, provides a real-world paradigm for investigating neurochemical effects. We investigate the strength of the association of OBEs and ketamine use relative to other common drugs of abuse. Self-report data from an online survey indicate that both (...) lifetime frequency of ketamine use and OBEs during ketamine intoxication were more strongly related to the frequency of OBEs and related phenomena than other drugs. Moreover, the apparent effects of other drugs could largely be explained by associated ketamine use. The present results, consistent with the role of NMDA receptors in OBEs, should encourage future studies of the role of neurochemical systems in OBEs. (shrink)
In his paper "The Design Argument," Elliott Sober predicts that "human beings will eventually build organisms from nonliving materials." In that case, we could obtain clear evidence that certain organisms resulted from intelligent design whereas earlier we might have thought they were due to a Darwinian process. I consider a similar possibility in chapter 6 of No Free Lunch.
_Current Controversies in Values and Science_ asks ten philosophers to debate five questions that are driving contemporary work in this important area of philosophy of science. The book is perfect for the advanced student, building up her knowledge of the foundations of the field while also engaging its most cutting-edge questions. Introductions and annotated bibliographies for each debate, preliminary descriptions of each chapter, study questions, and a supplemental guide to further controversies involving values in science help provide clearer and richer (...) snapshots of active controversies for all readers._ _. (shrink)
This paper queries the absence of disabled voices in contemporary citizenship literature. It argues that the language and imagery of the citizen is imbued with hegemonic normalcy and as such excludes disability. Feminist perspectives, such as those which argue for a form of maternal citizenship, largely fail to acknowledge disability experiences. Exclusionary practices are charted and links are made between gender, race and disability in this process. A citizenship which acknowledges disability is fundamental to re-imaging local, national and international collectivities.
Many philosophers are attracted to a complaints-based theory of the procreation asymmetry, according to which creating a person with a bad life is wrong (all else equal) because that person can complain about your act, whereas declining to create a person who would have a good life is not wrong (all else equal) because that person never exists and so cannot complain about your act. In this paper, I present two problems for such theories: the problem of impairable-life acceptance and (...) an especially acute version of the problem of improvable-life avoidance. I explain how these problems afflict two recent complaints-based theories of the procreation asymmetry, from Joe Horton and Abelard Podgorski. (shrink)
How should the concept of evidence be understood? And how does the concept of evidence apply to the controversy about creationism as well as to work in evolutionary biology about natural selection and common ancestry? In this rich and wide-ranging book, Elliott Sober investigates general questions about probability and evidence and shows how the answers he develops to those questions apply to the specifics of evolutionary biology. Drawing on a set of fascinating examples, he analyzes whether claims about intelligent (...) design are untestable; whether they are discredited by the fact that many adaptations are imperfect; how evidence bears on whether present species trace back to common ancestors; how hypotheses about natural selection can be tested, and many other issues. His book will interest all readers who want to understand philosophical questions about evidence and evolution, as they arise both in Darwin's work and in contemporary biological research. (shrink)
Phillips & Silverstein's focus on schizophrenia as a failure of “cognitive coordination” is welcome. They note that a simple hypothesis of reduced Gamma synchronisation subserving impaired coordination does not fully account for recent observations. We suggest that schizophrenia reflects a dynamic compensation to a core deficit of coordination, expressed either as hyper- or hyposynchronisation, with neurotransmitter systems and arousal as modulatory mechanisms.
Elliott Sober is one of the leading philosophers of science and is a former winner of the Lakatos Prize, the major award in the field. This new collection of essays will appeal to a readership that extends well beyond the frontiers of the philosophy of science. Sober shows how ideas in evolutionary biology bear in significant ways on traditional problems in philosophy of mind and language, epistemology, and metaphysics. Amongst the topics addressed are psychological egoism, solipsism, and the interpretation (...) of belief and utterance, empiricism, Ockham's razor, causality, essentialism, and scientific laws. The collection will prove invaluable to a wide range of philosophers, primarily those working in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of mind, and epistemology. (shrink)
Jung’s individuation process, the central process of human development, relies heavily on several core philosophical and psychological ideas including the unconscious, complexes, the archetype of the Self, and the religious function of the psyche. While working to find empirical evidence of the psyche’s religious function, Jung studied a variety of subjects including the Eastern liberatory traditions of Buddhism and Patañjali’s Classical Yoga. In these traditions, Jung found substantiation of his ideas on psychospiritual development. Although Jung’s career in soul work was (...) lengthy, throughout, he aimed to steer clear of metaphysics. Patañjali’s metaphysics, on the other hand, are straightforward, and his ontological commitments are evident. Because Jung’s ontological commitments were not explicit, his theories, when seen through Patañjali’s lens, confuse ontological questions with epistemic issues. As a result, when comparing the Jungian and Patañjalian notions of the Self, Jung’s insightful ideas seem to be constructed upon a considerably shaky foundation. Yet, utilizing the exceptionally consistent ontological and epistemological commitments of Patañjali Yoga, as well as the objective measures of affective neuroscience, brings credence to the innate aspects and instinctual nature of Jung’s archetype of the Self, and assists in answering the question of whether the archetype is innate or emergent. (shrink)
Materialist and fundamentalist reductive ideologies obscure our capacity to directly experience the numinous. Thus, importantly, given the weight of the observable and measurable in orthodox science, and oftentimes a dismissal of both the soul and the subjective, a viable means of reconciling science and religious experience has continued to elude us. As a counter-measure to this obscuration, Jungian-oriented depth psychology has developed as an empirical science of the unconscious, researching both subject and object and offering theories and practices that foster (...) the psychospiritual development of the personality. Despite cultural and epochal differences, comparable evidence to Jung's process of psychospiritual development can be found in the Eastern liberatory tradition of Patañjali's Classical Yoga. However, given the elevated presence of neuroscience, no psychology, and especially no psychology that supports the soul, seems likely to survive much longer without finding an alliance with the objective measures of brain science. When considering the radically empirical measures of Jung and Patañjali, affective neuroscience may offer us a contemporary and objective means of languaging the bridge between the transcendent and immanent and fostering a contemporary science of the sacred. (shrink)
Reconstructing the Past seeks to clarify and help resolve the vexing methodological issues that arise when biologists try to answer such questions as whether human beings are more closely related to chimps than they are to gorillas. It explores the case for considering the philosophical idea of simplicity/parsimony as a useful principle for evaluating taxonomic theories of evolutionary relationships. For the past two decades, evolutionists have been vigorously debating the appropriate methods that should be used in systematics, the field that (...) aims at reconstructing phylogenetic relationships among species. This debate over phylogenetic inference, Elliott Sober observes, raises broader questions of hypothesis testing and theory evaluation that run head on into long standing issues concerning simplicity/parsimony in the philosophy of science. Sober treats the problem of phylogenetic inference as a detailed case study in which the philosophical idea of simplicity/parsimony can be tested as a principle of theory evaluation. Bringing together philosophy and biology, as well as statistics, Sober builds a general framework for understanding the circumstances in which parsimony makes sense as a tool of phylogenetic inference. Along the way he provides a detailed critique of parsimony in the biological literature, exploring the strengths and limitations of both statistical and nonstatistical cladistic arguments. (shrink)
Lexical views in population axiology can avoid the Repugnant Conclusion without violating Transitivity or Separability. However, they imply a dilemma: either some good life is better than any number of slightly worse lives, or else the ‘at least as good as’ relation on populations is radically incomplete. In this paper, I argue that Archimedean views face an analogous dilemma. I thus conclude that the lexical dilemma gives us little reason to prefer Archimedean views. Even if we give up on lexicality, (...) problems of the same kind remain. (shrink)
Our current scientific exploration of reality oftentimes appears focused on epistemic states and empiric results at the expense of ontological concerns. Any scientific approach without explicit ontological arguments cannot be deemed rational however, as our very Being can never be excluded from the equation. Furthermore, if, as many nondual philosophies contend, subject/object learning is to no avail in the attainment of knowledge of ontic reality, empiric science will forever bear out that limitation. Putting Jung's depth psychology in dialogue with Patañjali's (...) yoga philosophy is one way to attempt an alliance between dualistic and nondualistic models. Jung's assertion of an unconscious is what notably sets him apart from Patañjali. Furthermore, whereas Patañjali distinguishes between pure consciousness and the contents of consciousness, Jung does not. Although both Jung and Patañjali attempt to ground their work in the direct experience of life, and guide us towards wholeness, looking at Jung through the lens of nonduality, wholeness appears beyond reach. It is through Jung's synchronicity hypothesis where we may be able to forge a bridge between the models. This bridge allows a contemporary argument for an understanding of the ontic reality of pure consciousness, and subsequently the discrimination between things as they are and things as they appear. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 _ _. (shrink)
For both Jung and Patañjali our human desire to understand “God” is as real as any other instinct. Jung’s and Patañjali’s models further align in their emphasis on the teleological directedness of the psyche, and their aim at reconciling science and religious experience. As an atheist, Freud was in disagreement, but all three scholars align in their emphasis on the study of affect as an empirical means of entering into the psyche. For Patañjali, the nadir of affect lays in transcending (...) sorrow and stabilizing the mind. Mental stability in turn produces the capacity to fully differentiate between the binding states of mind, which lead to human suffering, and the experience of pure consciousness resting in authentic nature. Contemporary brain research indicates that conscious states are inherently affective—further, the upper brainstem is intrinsically conscious whereas the cortex is not; it derives its consciousness from the brainstem. Understanding consciousness, then, may have less to do with reflective cognition than with instinct. This research spotlights the phenomena of affect, as it appears to not only draw us back to the highly significant rupture of the Freud Jung dialogue, but also forward into formulating a contemporary clinical picture of the drive towards (or away from) religious experience. (shrink)
According to Critical-Level Views in population axiology, an extra life improves a population only if that life’s welfare exceeds some fixed ‘critical level.’ An extra life at the critical level leaves the new population equally good as the original. According to Critical-Range Views, an extra life improves a population only if that life’s welfare exceeds some fixed ‘critical range.’ An extra life within the critical range leaves the new population incommensurable with the original. -/- In this paper, I sharpen some (...) old objections to these views and offer some new ones. Critical-Level Views cannot avoid certain Repugnant and Sadistic Conclusions. Critical-Range Views imply that lives featuring no good or bad components whatsoever can nevertheless swallow up and neutralise goodness or badness. Both classes of view entail that certain small changes in welfare correspond to worryingly large differences in contributive value. -/- I then offer a view that retains much of the appeal of Critical-Level and Critical-Range Views while avoiding the above pitfalls. On the Imprecise Exchange Rates View, the quantity of some good required to outweigh a given unit of some bad is imprecise. This imprecision is the source of incommensurability between lives and populations. (shrink)
Arrhenius’s impossibility theorems purport to demonstrate that no population axiology can satisfy each of a small number of intuitively compelling adequacy conditions. However, it has recently been pointed out that each theorem depends on a dubious assumption: Finite Fine-Grainedness. This assumption states that there exists a finite sequence of slight welfare differences between any two welfare levels. Denying Finite Fine-Grainedness makes room for a lexical population axiology which satisfies all of the compelling adequacy conditions in each theorem. Therefore, Arrhenius’s theorems (...) fail to prove that there is no satisfactory population axiology. In this paper, I argue that Arrhenius’s theorems can be repurposed. Since all of our population-affecting actions have a non-zero probability of bringing about more than one distinct population, it is population prospect axiologies that are of practical relevance, and amended versions of Arrhenius’s theorems demonstrate that there is no satisfactory population prospect axiology. These impossibility theorems do not depend on Finite Fine-Grainedness, so lexical views do not escape them. (shrink)
The Nature of Selection is a straightforward, self-contained introduction to philosophical and biological problems in evolutionary theory. It presents a powerful analysis of the evolutionary concepts of natural selection, fitness, and adaptation and clarifies controversial issues concerning altruism, group selection, and the idea that organisms are survival machines built for the good of the genes that inhabit them. "Sober's is the answering philosophical voice, the voice of a first-rate philosopher and a knowledgeable student of contemporary evolutionary theory. His book merits (...) broad attention among both communities. It should also inspire others to continue the conversation."-Philip Kitcher, Nature "Elliott Sober has made extraordinarily important contributions to our understanding of biological problems in evolutionary biology and causality. The Nature of Selection is a major contribution to understanding epistemological problems in evolutionary theory. I predict that it will have a long lasting place in the literature."-Richard C. Lewontin. (shrink)