In this paper, we suggest that affect meets the traditional definition of “cognition” such that the affect–cognition distinction is phenomenological, rather than ontological. We review how the affect–cognition distinction is not respected in the human brain, and discuss the neural mechanisms by which affect influences sensory processing. As a result of this sensory modulation, affect performs several basic “cognitive” functions. Affect appears to be necessary for normal conscious experience, language fluency, and memory. Finally, we suggest that understanding the differences between (...) affect and cognition will require systematic study of how the phenomenological distinction characterising the two comes about, and why such a distinction is functional. (shrink)
Biological ontologies are used to organize, curate, and interpret the vast quantities of data arising from biological experiments. While this works well when using a single ontology, integrating multiple ontologies can be problematic, as they are developed independently, which can lead to incompatibilities. The Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies Foundry was created to address this by facilitating the development, harmonization, application, and sharing of ontologies, guided by a set of overarching principles. One challenge in reaching these goals was that the (...) OBO principles were not originally encoded in a precise fashion, and interpretation was subjective. Here we show how we have addressed this by formally encoding the OBO principles as operational rules and implementing a suite of automated validation checks and a dashboard for objectively evaluating each ontology’s compliance with each principle. This entailed a substantial effort to curate metadata across all ontologies and to coordinate with individual stakeholders. We have applied these checks across the full OBO suite of ontologies, revealing areas where individual ontologies require changes to conform to our principles. Our work demonstrates how a sizable federated community can be organized and evaluated on objective criteria that help improve overall quality and interoperability, which is vital for the sustenance of the OBO project and towards the overall goals of making data FAIR. Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest. (shrink)
It is argued that the arguments put forward by Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel in their widely influential exchange on the problem of moral luck are marred by a failure to (i) present a coherent understanding of what is involved in the notion of luck, and (ii) adequately distinguish between the problem of moral luck and the analogue problem of epistemic luck, especially that version of the problem that is traditionally presented by the epistemological sceptic. It is further claimed that (...) once one offers a more developed notion of luck and disambiguates the problem of moral luck from the problem of epistemic luck (especially in its sceptical guise), neither of these papers is able to offer unambiguous grounds for thinking that there is a problem of moral luck. Indeed, it is shown that insofar as these papers succeed in making a prima facie case for the existence of epistemic luck, it is only the familiar sceptical variant of this problem that they identify. (shrink)
This volume is a tribute to the thought of Seth Benardete by contributors who had the rare good fortune of studying with him or those who discovered the treasure of his writings. Benardete was fully immersed in the world of the ancients, starting with Homer, but their works opened up for him a way to the fundamental questions-about justice and love, nature and law, human and divine. Finding "the problem of the human good grounded in the city, and the (...) problem of being in god," he was led to the conclusion that "Political philosophy is the eccentric core of philosophy." While Benardete wrote this statement reflecting on the theological-political issue in the work of his teacher, Leo Strauss, the paradoxical notion of an "eccentric core," in giving this volume its title, is meant to capture a characteristic of his own way of thinking. The essays in this collection-on the Bible and Homer, the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, and the Roman writers-indicate the range of Benardete's studies and teaching. The centrality of Plato is evident at the same time in those pieces as well as in the reviews of Benardete's books included here, along with three of his own previously unpublished essays. Book jacket. (shrink)
Plato, Allan Bloom wrote, is "the most erotic of philosophers," and his Symposium is one of the greatest works on the nature of love ever written. This new edition brings together the English translation of the renowned Plato scholar and translator, Seth Benardete, with two illuminating commentaries on it: Benardete's "On Plato's _Symposium_" and Allan Bloom's provocative essay, "The Ladder of Love." In the _Symposium,_ Plato recounts a drinking party following an evening meal, where the guests include the poet (...) Aristophanes, the drunken Alcibiades, and, of course, the wise Socrates. The revelers give their views on the timeless topics of love and desire, all the while addressing many of the major themes of Platonic philosophy: the relationship of philosophy and poetry, the good, and the beautiful. (shrink)
Cancer biologists ascribe normal functions to parts of cancer. Normal functions are activities that parts of systems are in some minimal sense supposed to perform. Cancer biologists’ finding normality within the abnormality of cancer pose difficulties for two main approaches to normal function. One approach claims that normal functions are activities that parts are selected for. However, some parts of cancers that have normal functions aren’t selected to perform them. The other approach claims that normal functions are part-activities typical for (...) the system and that contribute to survival/reproduction. However, cancers are too heterogeneous to establish what’s typical across a type. (shrink)
When I tell you that it’s raining, I describe a way the world is—viz., rainy. I say something whose truth turns on how things are with the weather in the world. Likewise when I tell you that the weatherman thinks that it’s raining. Here the truth of what I say turns on how things are with the weatherman’s state of mind in the world. Likewise when I tell you that I think that it’s raining. Here the truth of what I (...) say turns on how things are with my state of mind in the world. (shrink)
This paper reviews six attempts to give cooperative solutions to Prisoners Dilemmas: symmetry (agents are in identical situations, so should choose the same way, so should both choose cooperation because that’s better for each), mechanism (each agent should delegate the decision to a machine which will choose cooperation for them provided the other does likewise), inducement (the agents should make a side bet which pays off only upon both cooperating), resolution (each agent should resolve to cooperate, then act on the (...) resolution), alternative principle (rationality requires not dominance reasoning and so defecting, but constrained maximization or resolution compliance or “sophisticated” choosing, and so cooperation), and preference revision (each agent should acquire conditional preferences to cooperate, then cooperate provided the other agent has acquired similar preferences). It distinguishes one-stage from two-stage games, as well as endogenously available solutions (ones available to agents in the circumstances of the game merely due to the nature of rationality) from solutions requiring exogenous devices. It contrasts Edward McClennen’s endogenous solution, which is some combination of resolution and alternative principle solution, from David Gauthier’s endogenous alternative principle solution. It argues that all have problems, ones best solved by the endogenous preference revision solution defended by Duncan MacIntosh. (shrink)
Retrospective issues: the discursive approach to genre and the misdirection film -- -- The truth is out there: manufacturing conspiratorial narrative coherence -- Constructing the (im)perfect cover: masculine masquerade and narrative agency -- -- Start making sense: narrative complexity, DVD, and online fandom -- The masters of misdirection: branding M. Night Shyamalan and Christopher Nolan -- Genre prestige: the misdirection film as blockbuster and middlebrow art -- Conclusion.
Epistemic modal operators give rise to something very like, but also very unlike, Moore's paradox. I set out the puzzling phenomena, explain why a standard relational semantics for these operators cannot handle them, and recommend an alternative semantics. A pragmatics appropriate to the semantics is developed and interactions between the semantics, the pragmatics, and the definition of consequence are investigated. The semantics is then extended to probability operators. Some problems and prospects for probabilistic representations of content and context are explored.
We investigate a basic probabilistic dynamic semantics for a fragment containing conditionals, probability operators, modals, and attitude verbs, with the aim of shedding light on the prospects for adding probabilistic structure to models of the conversational common ground.
In his Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals David Hume said that a group of earlier modern philosophers, beginning with Malebranche, held that morality was founded on relations. In this paper I follow up on that suggestion by investigating pre-Humean views in moral philosophy according to which morality is founded on relations. I do that by looking at the work of Nicolas Malebranche, John Locke, and Samuel Clarke. Each of them talked prominently about relations in their accounts of basic aspects (...) of morality. Beyond that, each of them turns out to have held both metaphysical and epistemological views that might be described as founding morality on relations. Despite the definite differences between the three philosophers’ approaches, Hume does seem to have noticed a genuine connection here—even though he himself tended to ignore significant versions of this approach when criticizing it. (shrink)
In _The Tragedy and Comedy of Life,_ Seth Benardete focuses on the idea of the good in what is widely regarded as one of Plato's most challenging and complex dialogues, the _Philebus._ Traditionally the _Philebus_ is interpreted as affirming the doctrine that the good resides in thought and mind rather than in pleasure or the body. Benardete challenges this view, arguing that Socrates vindicates the life of the mind over the life of pleasure not by separating the two and (...) advocating a strict asceticism, but by mixing pleasure and pain with mind in such a way that the philosophic life emerges as the only possible human life. Benardete combines a probing and challenging commentary that subtly mirrors and illuminates the complexities of this dialogue with the finest English translation of the _Philebus_ yet available. The result is a work that will be of great value to classicists, philosophers, and political theorists alike. (shrink)
This paper critiques a number of standard ways of understanding the role of the metalanguage in a semantic theory for natural language, including the idea that disquotation plays a nontrivial role in any explanatory natural language semantics. It then proposes that the best way to understand the role of a semantic metalanguage involves recognizing that semantics is a model-based science. The metalanguage of semantics is language for articulating features of the theorist's model. Models are understood as mediating instruments---idealized structures used (...) to represent select aspects of the world, aspects the theorist is seeking some theoretical understanding of. The aspect of reality we are seeking some understanding of in semantics is a dimension of human linguistic competence---informally, knowledge of meaning. (shrink)
Killing civilians is worse than killing soldiers. If any moral principle commands near universal assent, this one does. Few moral principles have been more widely and more viscerally affirmed. And yet, in recent years it has faced a rising tide of dissent. Political and military leaders seeking to slip the constraints of the laws of war have cavilled and qualified. Their complaints have been unwittingly aided by philosophers who, rebuilding just war theory from its foundations, have concluded that this principle (...) is at best a useful fiction. Sparing Civilians aims to turn this tide, and to vindicate international law, and the ruptured consensus. In doing so, Seth Lazar develops new insights into the morality of harm, relevant to everyone interested in normative and applied ethics. (shrink)
I develop a conception of expressivism according to which it is chiefly a pragmatic thesis about some fragment of discourse, one imposing certain constraints on semantics. The first half of the paper uses credal expressivism about the language of probability as a stalking-horse for this purpose. The second half turns to the question of how one might frame an analogous form of expressivism about the language of deontic modality. Here I offer a preliminary comparison of two expressivist lines. The first, (...) expectation expressivism, looks again to Bayesian modelling for inspiration: it glosses deontically modal language as characteristically serving to express decision-theoretic expectation (expected utility). The second, plan expressivism, develops the idea (due to Gibbard 2003) that this language serves to express 'plan-laden' states of belief. In the process of comparing the views, I show how to incorporate Gibbard's modelling ideas into a compositional semantics for attitudes and modals, filling a lacuna in the account. I close with the question whether and how plan expressivism might be developed with expectation-like structure. (shrink)
This paper defends a counterexample to Modus Tollens, and uses it to draw some conclusions about the logic and semantics of indicative conditionals and probability operators in natural language. Along the way we investigate some of the interactions of these expressions with 'knows', and we call into question the thesis that all knowledge ascriptions have truth-conditions.
This is a study in the meaning of natural language probability operators, sentential operators such as probably and likely. We ask what sort of formal structure is required to model the logic and semantics of these operators. Along the way we investigate their deep connections to indicative conditionals and epistemic modals, probe their scalar structure, observe their sensitivity to contex- tually salient contrasts, and explore some of their scopal idiosyncrasies.
This article argues that James Seth provides illuminating contributions to our understanding of law and, more specifically, the natural law tradition. Seth defends a unique perspective through his emphasis on personalism that helps identify a distinctive and compelling account of natural law and legal moralism. The next section surveys standard positions in the natural law tradition. This is followed with an examination of Seth's approach and the article concludes with analysis of its wider importance for scholars of (...)Seth's work as well as legal philosophers more generally. (shrink)
The temporal structure for motivating, monitoring, and making sense of agency depends on encoding, maintaining, and accessing the right contents at the right times. These functions are facilitated by memory. Moreover, in informing action, memory is itself often active. That remembering is essential to and an expression of agency and is often active suggests that it is a type of action. Despite this, Galen Strawson (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 103, 227–257, 2003) and Alfred Mele (2009) deny that remembering is (...) an action. They claim that memory fails to admit of control. Remembering is automatic—once remembering starts, the process can neither be stopped nor intervened on. Moreover, the agent does not initiate remembering. An agent has control over an event or process if and only if she has the capacity and opportunity to initiate and intervene on that event or process. Actions are events over which an agent has control. Since it is automatic, we fail to have control over remembering. Thus, remembering is not an action. In this paper, I draw out an assumption of Strawson’s and Mele’s accounts: an event-type whose tokens exhibit automaticity cannot, for that reason, be an action (§2). Against this assumption, I draw parallels between skilled bodily action and memory. I show that memory exhibits two defining features of skill: it can be learned with practice and it admits of attributions of excellence (§3). These features reveal how intelligent control is exerted in the exercise of skill despite apparent automaticity—control is gained over time (§4). Since exercises of skill are by definition actions and since memory exemplifies the defining features of skill, memory is a skill and instances of remembering are actions too. (shrink)
Philosophers, psychologists, economists and other social scientists continue to debate the nature of human well-being. We argue that this debate centers around five main conceptualizations of well-being: hedonic well-being, life satisfaction, desire fulfillment, eudaimonia, and non-eudaimonic objective-list well-being. Each type of well-being is conceptually different, but are they empirically distinguishable? To address this question, we first developed and validated a measure of desire fulfillment, as no measure existed, and then examined associations between this new measure and several other well-being measures. (...) In addition, we explored associations among all five types of well-being. We found high correlations among all measures of well-being, but generally correlations did not approach unity, even when correcting for unreliability. Furthermore, correlations between well-being and related constructs (e.g., demographics, personality) depended on the type of well-being measured. We conclude that empirical findings based on one type of well-being measure may not generalize to all types of well-being. (shrink)
The ability to understand both the self and others as purposeful agents — with thoughts, beliefs, and desires — seems to be central to the emergence of cultural processes both phylo- and ontogenetically. This ability has been termed second-order intentionality or “theory of mind” and has been conceptualized as a species-specific “trait” which is genetically predetermined, naturally selected and the resident of a dedicated module within the mind. Alternatively, we see it emerging out of a more general process — symbolization. (...) The paper discusses the emergence of the symbolic function from previously existing forms of communication by analyzing the structures and functions of different kinds of signs used in human and non-human vocal communication. We reinterpret evidence from the study of non-human primate vocalizations and suggest that these vocalizations embody a semiotic type that, like all signs, is more highly developed than a signal, but is not catalogued within the basic Peircean triad of sign types . This form, the double indexical, is intermediary between indexes and symbols. We speculate on what structural and functional reorganization is required to establish a developmental continuity from signals through the various types of signs to the well-known structure of the symbol — and possibly beyond. (shrink)
Cancer biology features the ascription of normal functions to parts of cancers. At least some ascriptions of function in cancer biology track local normality of parts within the global abnormality of the aberration to which those parts belong. That is, cancer biologists identify as functions activities that, in some sense, parts of cancers are supposed to perform, despite cancers themselves having no purpose. The present paper provides a theory to accommodate these normal function ascriptions—I call it the Modeling Account of (...) Normal Function (MA). MA comprises two claims. First, normal functions are activities whose performance by the function-bearing part contributes to the self-maintenance of the whole system and, thereby, results in the continued presence of that part. Second, MA holds that models of system-level activities that are (partly) constitutive of self-maintenance are improved by including a representation of the relevant function-bearing part and by making reference to the activity/activities that part performs which contribute(s) to those system-level activities. I contrast MA with two other accounts that seek to explicate the ascription of normal functions in biology, namely, the organizational account and the selected effects account. Both struggle to extend to cancer biology. However, I offer ecumenical readings which allow them to recover some ascriptions of normal function to parts of cancers. So, though I contend that MA excels in this respect, the purpose of this paper is served if it provides materials for bridging the gap between cancer biology, philosophy of cancer, and the literature on function. (shrink)