Ron Mallon explores how thinking and talking about kinds of person can bring those kinds into being. He considers what normative implications this social constructionism has for our understanding of our practices of representing human kinds, like race, gender, and sexual orientation, and for our own agency.
In this book Ron Amundson examines two hundred years of scientific views on the evolution-development relationship from the perspective of evolutionary developmental biology. This perspective challenges several popular views about the history of evolutionary thought by claiming that many earlier authors had made history come out right for the Evolutionary Synthesis. The book starts with a revised history of nineteenth-century evolutionary thought. It then investigates how development became irrelevant with the Evolutionary Synthesis. It concludes with an examination of the contrasts (...) that persist between mainstream evolutionary theory and evo-devo. This book will appeal to students and professionals in the philosophy and history of science, and biology. (shrink)
While the notion of the mind as information-processor--a kind of computational system--is widely accepted, many scientists and philosophers have assumed that this account of cognition shows that the mind's operations are characterizable independent of their relationship to the external world. Existential Cognition challenges the internalist view of mind, arguing that intelligence, thought, and action cannot be understood in isolation, but only in interaction with the outside world. Arguing that the mind is essentially embedded in the external world, Ron McClamrock provides (...) a schema that allows cognitive scientists to address such long-standing problems in artificial intelligence as the "frame" problem and the issue of "bounded" rationality. Extending this schema to cover progress in other studies of behavior, including language, vision, and action, McClamrock reinterprets the importance of the organism/environment distinction. McClamrock also considers the broader philosophical question of the place of mind in the world, particularly with regard to questions of intentionality, subjectivity, and phenomenology. With implications for philosophy, cognitive and computer science, AI, and psychology, this book synthesizes state-of-the-art work in philosophy and cognitive science on how the mind interacts with the world to produce thoughts, ideas, and actions. (shrink)
Williams, Ron As I consider the list of previous AHOY recipients since the inaugural award in 1983, I can only say that this is an immeasurable honour. It means much to me because, for almost ten years now, Humanism has been there for my family. In 2005-2006, when separation of church and state school issues first crept into our lives, the Humanist Society of Queensland was to appear as the only beacon of secularist activism upon the deep northern horizon. So (...) in 2006 Andrea and I joined the HSQ. (shrink)
One influential view is that at least some putatively natural human kinds are actually social constructions, understood as some real kind of thing that is produced or sustained by our social and conceptual practices. Category constructionists share two commitments: they hold that human category terms like “race” and “sex” and “homosexuality” and “perversion” actually refer to constructed categories, and they hold that these categories are widely but mistakenly taken to be natural kinds. But it is far from clear that these (...) two commitments are consistent. The sort of mismatch between belief and underlying nature constructionists’ suppose is often taken to indicate a failure of reference. Reliance on a causal-historical account of reference allows the preservation of reference, but unfortunately, constructionists' appropriation of causal historical accounts of reference is beset by difficulties that do not attend natural kind theorists’ appeals to such accounts. Here, I set out these difficulties, but argue that they can be answered, allowing terms for apparently natural human kinds refer to some sort of social construction about which there is massive error. (shrink)
De dicto moral motivation is typically characterized by the agent’s conceiving of her goal in thin normative terms such as to do what is right. I argue that lacking an effective de dicto moral motivation would put the agent in a bad position for responding in the morally-best manner in a certain type of situations. Two central features of the relevant type of situations are the appropriateness of the agent’s uncertainty concerning her underived moral values, and the practical, moral importance (...) of resolving this uncertainty. I argue that in some situations that are marked by these two features the most virtuous response is deciding to conduct a deep moral inquiry for a de dicto moral purpose. In such situations lacking an effective de dicto moral motivation would amount to a moral shortcoming. I show the implications for Michael Smith’s argument against Motivational Judgment Externalism and for Brian Weatherson’s argument against avoiding moral recklessness: both arguments rely on a depreciating view of de dicto moral motivation, and both fail; or so I argue. (shrink)
This book provides new perspectives on endurance sport and how it contributes to a good and sustainable life in times of climate change, ecological disruption and inconvenient truths. It builds on a continental philosophical tradition, i.e. the philosophy of among others Peter Sloterdijk, but also on “ecosophy” and American pragmatism to explore the idea of sport as a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles. Since ancient times, human beings have been involved in practices of the Self in order to work (...) on themselves and improve themselves, for instance by strengthening their physical condition and performance through sport. In the contemporary world, millions of individuals engage in endurance sports such as running, swimming and cycling, to get or keep themselves in shape. This study focuses on the ethical dimension of long-distance sport, notably cycling, as a way to become better citizens, but also to contribute to a more sustainable society and healthier planet. Dominant world-views are challenged and an alternative vision is presented. Discourse analysis and conceptual analysis are combined with phenomenology and self-observations of a dedicated practitioner of endurance sport. This book is a great source for philosophers, sport philosophers, environmental philosophers, sport scientists, policy makers, sport journalists, and endurance sport practitioners. (shrink)
This book is a definitive reference source for the growing, increasingly more important, and interdisciplinary field of computational cognitive modeling, that is, computational psychology. It combines breadth of coverage with definitive statements by leading scientists in this field. Research in computational cognitive modeling explores the essence of cognition through developing detailed, process-based understanding by specifying computational mechanisms, structures, and processes. Computational models provide both conceptual clarity and precision at the same time. This book substantiates this approach through overviews and many (...) examples. (shrink)
Robots are becoming an increasingly pervasive feature of our personal lives. As a result, there is growing importance placed on examining what constitutes appropriate behavior when they interact with human beings. In this paper, we discuss whether companion robots should be permitted to “nudge” their human users in the direction of being “more ethical”. More specifically, we use Rawlsian principles of justice to illustrate how robots might nurture “socially just” tendencies in their human counterparts. Designing technological artifacts in such a (...) way to influence human behavior is already well-established but merely because the practice is commonplace does not necessarily resolve the ethical issues associated with its implementation. (shrink)
It is common in various quarters of philosophy to derive philosophically significant conclusions from theories of reference. In this paper, we argue that philosophers should give up on such 'arguments from reference.' Intuitions play a central role in establishing theories of reference, and recent cross-cultural work suggests that intuitions about reference vary across cultures and between individuals within a culture (Machery et al. 2004). We argue that accommodating this variation within a theory of reference undermines arguments from reference.
How should deontological theories that prohibit actions of type K — such as intentionally killing an innocent person — deal with cases of uncertainty as to whether a particular action is of type K? Frank Jackson and Michael Smith, who raise this problem in their paper "Absolutist Moral Theories and Uncertainty" (2006), focus on a case where a skier is about to cause the death of ten innocent people — we don’t know for sure whether on purpose or not — (...) by causing an avalanche; and we can only save the people by shooting the skier. One possible deontological attitude towards such uncertainty is what Jackson and Smith call the threshold view, according to which whether or not the deontological constraint applies depends on our degree of (justified) certainty meets a given threshold. Jackson and Smith argue against the threshold view that it leads to implausible paradoxical moral dilemmas in a special kind of case. In this response, we show that the threshold view can avoid these implausible moral dilemmas, as long as the relevant deontological constraint is grounded in individualistic patient-based considerations, such as what an individual person is entitled to object to. (shrink)
The Cambridge Handbook of Computational Cognitive Sciences is a comprehensive reference for this rapidly developing and highly interdisciplinary field. Written with both newcomers and experts in mind, it provides an accessible introduction of paradigms, methodologies, approaches, and models, with ample detail and illustrated by examples. It should appeal to researchers and students working within the computational cognitive sciences, as well as those working in adjacent fields including philosophy, psychology, linguistics, anthropology, education, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, computer science, and more.
Philosophers of evolutionary biology favor the so-called etiological concept of function according to which the function of a trait is its evolutionary purpose, defined as the effect for which that trait was favored by natural selection. We term this the selected effect (SE) analysis of function. An alternative account of function was introduced by Robert Cummins in a non-evolutionary and non-purposive context. Cummins''s account has received attention but little support from philosophers of biology. This paper will show that a similar (...) non-purposive concept of function, which we term causal role (CR) function, is crucial to certain research programs in evolutionary biology, and that philosophical criticisms of Cummins''s concept are ineffective in this scientific context. Specifically, we demonstrate that CR functions are a vital and ineliminable part of research in comparative and functional anatomy, and that biological categories used by anatomists are not defined by the application of SE functional analysis. Causal role functions are non-historically defined, but may themselves be used in an historical analysis. Furthermore, we show that a philosophical insistence on the primary of SE functions places practicing biologists in an untenable position, as such functions can rarely be demonstrated (in contrast to CR functions). Biologists who study the form and function of organismal design recognize that it is virtually impossible to identify the past action of selection on any particular structure retrospectively, a requirement for recognizing SE functions. (shrink)
Deliberative democratic theory emphasises the importance of informed and reflective discussion and persuasion in political decision-making. The theory has important implications for constitutionalism - and vice versa - as constitutional laws increasingly shape and constrain political decisions. The full range of these implications has not been explored in the political and constitutional literatures to date. This unique Handbook establishes the parameters of the field of deliberative constitutionalism, which bridges deliberative democracy with constitutional theory and practice. Drawing on contributions from world-leading (...) authors, this volume will serve as the international reference point on deliberation as a foundational value in constitutional law, and will be an indispensable resource for scholars, students and practitioners interested in the vital and complex links between democratic deliberation and constitutionalism. (shrink)
In recent years, there has been a flurry of work on the metaphysics of race. While it is now widely accepted that races do not share robust, bio-behavioral essences, opinions differ over what, if anything, race is. Recent work has been divided between three apparently quite different answers. A variety of theorists argue for racial skepticism, the view that races do not exist at all.[iv] A second group defends racial constructionism, holding that races are in some way socially constructed.[v],[vi] And (...) a third group maintains racial population naturalism, the view that races may exist as biologically salient populations albeit ones that do not have the biologically determined social significance once imputed to them.[vii] The three groups thus seem to disagree fundamentally upon the metaphysical character of race. (shrink)
The Nature of Dignity argues that, given what evolutionary biology tells us about human nature, we need a new understanding of what is involved in the exhibition of personal dignity, since Kant and other Enlightenment figures whose ideas of dignity have shaped our own were wrong in several of their key assumptions. The required new conception of dignity is then developed on the basis of insights gleaned from history, political-economics, literature, film, hermeneutical ethics, and evolutionary biology.
The so-called "adaptationism" of mainstream evolutionary biology has been criticized from a variety of sources. One, which has received relatively little philosophical attention, is developmental biology. Developmental constraints are said to be neglected by adaptationists. This paper explores the divergent methodological and explanatory interests that separate mainstream evolutionary biology from its embryological and developmental critics. It will focus on the concept of constraint itself; even this central concept is understood differently by the two sides of the dispute.
What can be learned from a small scale study of managerial work in a highly marginal and under-researched working community? This article uses the ‘goods–virtues–practices–institutions’ framework to examine the managerial work of owner–directors of traditional circuses. Inspired by MacIntyre’s arguments for the necessity of a narrative understanding of the virtues, interviews explored how British and Irish circus directors accounted for their working lives. A purposive sample was used to select subjects who had owned and managed traditional touring circuses for at (...) least 15 years, a period in which the economic and reputational fortunes of traditional circuses have suffered badly. This sample enabled the research to examine the self-understanding of people who had, at least on the face of it, exhibited the virtue of constancy. The research contributes to our understanding of the role of the virtues in organizations by presenting evidence of an intimate relationship between the virtue of constancy and a ‘calling’ work orientation. This enhances our understanding of the virtues that are required if management is exercised as a domain-related practice. (shrink)
Artificial intelligence is poised to eliminate millions of jobs, from finance to truck driving. But artisanal products are valued precisely because of their human origins, and thus have some inherent “immunity” from AI job loss. At the same time, artisanal labor, combined with technology, could potentially help to democratize the economy, allowing independent, small-scale businesses to flourish. Could AI, robotics and related automation technologies enhance the economic viability and environmental sustainability of these beloved crafting professions, perhaps even expanding their niche (...) to replace some job loss in other sectors? In this paper, we compare the problems created by the current mass production economy and potential solutions from an artisanal economy. In doing so, the paper details the possibilities of utilizing AI to support hybrid forms of human–machine production at the microscale; localized and sustainable value chains at the mesoscale; and networks of these localized and sustainable producers at the macroscale. In short, a wide range of automation technologies are potentially available for facilitating and empowering an artisanal economy. Ultimately, it is our hope that this paper will facilitate a discussion on a future vision for more “generative” economic forms in which labor value, ecological value and social value can circulate without extraction or alienation. (shrink)
This exploratory study examines how managers and professionals regard the ethical and social responsibility reputations of 60 well-known Australian and International companies, and how this in turn influences their attitudes and behaviour towards these organisations. More than 350 MBA, other postgraduate business students, and participants in Australian Institute of Management (Western Australia) management education programmes were surveyed to evaluate how ethical and socially responsible they believed the 60 organisations to be. The survey sought to determine what these participants considered ‘ethical’ (...) and ‘socially responsible’ behaviour in organisations to be. The survey also examined how the participants’ beliefs influenced their attitudes and intended behaviours towards these organisations. The results of this survey indicate that many managers and professionals have clear views about the ethical and social responsibility reputations of companies. This affects their attitudes towards these organisations which in turn has an impact on their intended behaviour towards them. These findings support the view in other research studies that well-educated managers and professionals are, to some extent, taking into account the ethical and social responsibility reputations of companies when deciding whether to work for them, use their services or buy shares in their companies. (shrink)
Among race theorists, the view that race is a social construction is widespread. While the term ‘ social construction’ is sometimes intended to mean merely that race does not constitute a robust, biological natural kind, it often labels the stronger position that race is real, but not a biological kind. For example, Charles Mills writes that, ‘‘the task of those working on race is to put race in quotes, ‘race’, while still insisting that nevertheless, it exists ’’. It is to (...) ‘‘make a plausible social ontology neither essentialist, innate, nor transhistorical, but real enough for all that’’. Racial constructionism, thus conceived, is a metaphysical position that contrasts both with the view that race is an important biological kind and with the more recent claim that race does not exist. The desire for a constructionist metaphysics of race emerges against the background of a cluster of normative disputes, including. (shrink)
This collection of 49 readings with extensive background description exposes students to the breadth of theoretical perspectives and issues in the field of medical anthropology. The text provides specific examples and case studies of research as it is applied to a range of health settings: from cross-cultural clinical encounters to cultural analysis of new biomedical technologies to the implementation of programs in global health settings.
Recent work by Joshua Knobe has established that people are far more likely to describe bad but foreseen side effects as intentionally performed than good but foreseen side effects (this is sometimes called the 'Knobe effect' or the 'side-effect effect.' Edouard Machery has proposed a novel explanation for this asymmetry: it results from construing the bad side effect as a cost that must be incurred to receive a benefit. In this paper, I argue that Machery's 'trade-off hypothesis' is wrong. I (...) do this by reproducing the asymmetry between judgments about good and bad side effects in cases that cannot plausibly be construed as trade-offs. (shrink)
the _algorithmic_, and the _implementational_; Zenon Pylyshyn (1984) calls them the _semantic_, the _syntactic_, and the _physical_; and textbooks in cognitive psychology sometimes call them the levels of _content_, _form_, and _medium_ (e.g. Glass, Holyoak, and Santa 1979).
Social constructionism about race is a common view, but there remain questions about what exactly constitutes constructed race. Some hold that our concepts and conceptual practices construct race, and some hold that the causal consequences of these concepts and conceptual practices also play a role. But there is a third option, which is that the causal effects of our concepts and conceptual practices constitute race, but not the concepts and conceptual practices themselves. This paper reconsiders an argument for the reality (...) of race that grows out of the role of racial kinds in social scientific generalizations. It then uses recent work on the correlation of racial attitudes with behaviors to raise questions about the sufficiency, and perhaps also the necessity, of our concepts and conceptual practices in constituting constructed race, thus understood. (shrink)
Some psychologists aim to secure a role for psychological explanations in understanding contemporary social disparities, a concern that plays out in debates over the relevance of the Implicit Association Test. Meta-analysts disagree about the predictive validity of the IAT and about the importance of implicit attitudes in explaining racial disparities. Here, I use the IAT to articulate and explore one route to establishing the relevance of psychological attitudes with small effects: an appeal to a process of “accumulation” that aggregates small (...) effects into large harms. After characterizing mechanisms of accumulation and considering some candidate examples, I argue that such mechanisms suggest how a contemporary attitude with small effects could figure in the explanation of large disparities, but they do not vindicate the importance of such an attitude since such mechanisms are typically also determined by competing causes. I close by sketching several strategies for advancing a defense of the relevance of attitudes with small effects. (shrink)
Recent work shows an important asymmetry in lay intuitions about moral dilemmas. Most people think it is permissible to divert a train so that it will kill one innocent person instead of five, but most people think that it is not permissible to push a stranger in front of a train to save five innocents. We argue that recent emotion-based explanations of this asymmetry have neglected the contribution that rules make to reasoning about moral dilemmas. In two experiments, we find (...) that participants show a parallel asymmetry about versions of the dilemmas that have minimized emotional force. In a third experiment, we find that people distinguish between whether an action violates a moral rule and whether it is, all things considered, wrong. We propose that judgments of whether an action is wrong, all things considered, implicates a complex set of psychological processes, including representations of rules, emotional responses, and assessments of costs and benefits. (shrink)
Jennifer Rose Carr’s (2020) article “Normative Uncertainty Without Theories” proposes a method to maximize expected value under normative uncertainty without Intertheoretic Value Comparison (hereafter IVC). Carr argues that this method avoids IVC because it avoids theories: the agent’s credence is distributed among normative hypotheses of a particular type, which don’t constitute theories. However, I argue that Carr’s method doesn’t avoid or help to solve what I consider as the justificatory problem of IVC, which isn’t specific to comparing theories as such. (...) This threatens the implementability of Carr’s method. Fortunately, I also show how Carr’s method can nevertheless be implemented. I identify a type of epistemic states where the justificatory problem of IVC is not a necessary obstacle to maximizing expected value. In such states, the uncertainty stems from indecisive normative intuitions, and the agent justifiably constructs each normative hypothesis on the basis of a consistent subset of her intuitions by reference to the same unit of value. This part of my argument complements not only Carr’s (2020) argument, but also some moderate defenses of IVC. The combination of Carr’s paper and mine helps to illuminate the conditions for maximizing expected value under normative uncertainty without unjustified value comparison. (shrink)
In a series of papers Geoff Moore has applied Alasdair MacIntyre’s much cited work to generate a virtue-based business ethics. Central to this pro ject is Moore’s argument that business falls under MacIntyre’s concept of ‘practice’. This move attempts to overcome MacIntyre’s reputation for being ‘anti-business’ while maintaining his framework for evaluating social action and replaces MacIntyre’s hostility to management with a conception of managers as institutional practitioners . I argue however that this move has not been justified. Given the (...) importance MacIntyre places on the protection of practices, the result is that much of Moore’s contribution is misplaced. Business cannot name a practice but business institutions certainly do house practices. The task then is to try to understand the circumstances under which practices might flourish and those under which they might founder in a business context. This is not aided by Moore’s redescription of all businesses as practices. (shrink)
Recent historiography of 19th century biology supports the revision of two traditional doctrines about the history of biology. First, the most important and widespread biological debate around the time of Darwin was not evolution versus creation, but biological functionalism versus structuralism. Second, the idealist and typological structuralist theories of the time were not particularly anti-evolutionary. Typological theories provided argumentation and evidence that was crucial to the refutation of Natural Theological creationism. The contrast between functionalist and structuralist approaches to biology continues (...) today, and the historical misunderstanding of 19th century typological biology may be one of its effects. This historical case can shed light on current controversies regarding the relevance of developmental biology to evolution. (shrink)
This exploratory study examines how managers and professionals regard the ethical and social responsibility reputations of 60 well-known Australian and International companies, and how this in turn influences their attitudes and behaviour towards these organisations. More than 350 MBA, other postgraduate business students, and participants in Australian Institute of Management management education programmes were surveyed to evaluate how ethical and socially responsible they believed the 60 organisations to be. The survey sought to determine what these participants considered 'ethical' and 'socially (...) responsible' behaviour in organisations to be. The survey also examined how the participants' beliefs influenced their attitudes and intended behaviours towards these organisations. The results of this survey indicate that many managers and professionals have clear views about the ethical and social responsibility reputations of companies. This affects their attitudes towards these organisations which in turn has an impact on their intended behaviour towards them. These findings support the view in other research studies that well-educated managers and professionals are, to some extent, taking into account the ethical and social responsibility reputations of companies when deciding whether to work for them, use their services or buy shares in their companies. (shrink)