Adams and Aizawa, in a series of recent and forthcoming papers,, ) seek to refute, or perhaps merely to terminally embarrass, the friends of the extended mind. One such paper begins with the following illustration: "Question: Why did the pencil think that 2+2=4? Clark's Answer: Because it was coupled to the mathematician" Adams and Aizawa ms p.1 "That" the authors continue "about sums up what is wrong with Clark's extended mind hypothesis". The example of the pencil, they suggest, is just (...) an especially egregious version of a fallacy said to pervade the literature on the extended mind. This fallacy, which they usefully dub the " coupling-constitution fallacy ", is attributed, in varying degrees and manners, to Van Gelder and Port, Clark and Chalmers, Haugeland, Dennett, Clark, Gibbs, and Wilson. The fallacy, of course, is to move from the causal coupling of some object or process to some cognitive agent, to the conclusion that the object or process is part of the cognitive agent, or part of the agent's cognitive processing ms p.2). Proponents of the extended mind and related theses, Adams and Aizawa repeatedly assert, are prone to this fallacy in part because they either ignore or fail to properly appreciate the importance of " the mark of the cognitive" viz the importance of an account of "what makes something a cognitive agent". The positive part of Adams and Aizawa's critique then emerges as a combination of the assertion that this "mark of the cognitive" involves the idea that "cognition is constituted by certain sorts of causal process that involve non-derived contents" and that these processes look to be characterized by psychological laws that turn out to apply to many internal goings-on but not currently to any processes that take place in non-biological tools and artifacts. In what follows, I shall try to show why these arguments display nothing so much as mutual failures of communication: crossed wires concealing a couple of real, important, but much more subterranean, disagreements. In particular, I try to show why the negative considerations advanced by Adams and Aizawa fail to successfully undermine the argument for the extended mind, and why their more radical positive story, unless supplemented by implausible additional claims, fails to cast doubt on the claim that minds like ours can extend into the world. (shrink)
Agency and identity -- Necessitation -- Acts and actions -- Aristotle and Kant -- Agency and practical identity -- The metaphysics of normativity -- Constitutive standards -- The constitution of life -- In defense of teleology -- The paradox of self-constitution -- Formal and substantive principles of reason -- Formal versus substantive -- Testing versus weighing -- Maximizing and prudence -- Practical reason and the unity of the will -- The empiricist account of normativity -- The rationalist account (...) of normativity -- Kant on the hypothetical imperative -- Against particularistic willing -- Deciding and predicting -- Autonomy and efficacy -- The function of action -- The possibility of agency -- Non-rational action -- Action -- Attribution -- The psychology of action -- Expulsion from the garden : the transition to humanity -- Instinct, emotion, intelligence, and reason -- The parts of the soul -- Inside or outside -- Pull yourself together -- The constitutional model -- Models of the soul -- The city and the soul -- Platonic virtues -- Justice : substantive, procedural, and platonic -- Kant and the constitutional model -- Defective action -- The problem of bad action -- Being governed by the wrong law -- Or five bad constitutions -- Conceptions of evil -- Degrees of action -- Integrity and interaction -- Deciding to be bad -- The ordinary cases -- Dealing with the disunified -- Kant's theory of interaction -- My reasons -- Deciding to treat someone as an end in himself -- Interacting with yourself -- How to be a person -- What's left of me? (shrink)
The first part of this paper argues that if Craver’s ([2007a], [2007b]) popular mutual manipulability account (MM) of mechanistic constitution is embedded within Woodward’s () interventionist theory of causation--for which it is explicitly designed--it either undermines the mechanistic research paradigm by entailing that there do not exist relationships of constitutive relevance or it gives rise to the unwanted consequence that constitution is a form of causation. The second part shows how Woodward’s theory can be adapted in such a (...) way that (MM) neither undermines the mechanistic paradigm nor reduces constitution to causation. However, it turns out that this modified theoretical embedding of (MM) makes it impossible to produce empirical evidence for constitutive relations. The paper ends by suggesting an additional criterion, the fat-handedness criterion, which, when combined with (MM), generates indirect empirical evidence for constitutive relevance. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that constitutive relevance relations in mechanisms behave like a special kind of causal relation in at least one important respect: Under suitable circumstances constitutive relevance relations produce the Markov factorization. Based on this observation one may wonder whether standard methods for causal discovery could be fruitfully applied to uncover constitutive relevance relations. This paper is intended as a first step into this new area of philosophical research. I investigate to what extent the PC algorithm, originally (...) developed for causal search, can be used for constitutive relevance discovery. I also discuss possible objections and certain limitations of a constitutive relevance discovery procedure based on PC. (shrink)
The ‘causal-constitution’ fallacy, the ‘cognitive bloat’ worry, and the persisting theoretical confusion about the fundamental difference between the hypotheses of embedded (HEMC) and extended (HEC) cognition are three interrelated worries, whose common point—and the problem they accentuate—is the lack of a principled criterion of constitution. Attempting to address the ‘causal-constitution’ fallacy, mathematically oriented philosophers of mind have previously suggested that the presence of non-linear relations between the inner and the outer contributions is sufficient for cognitive extension. The (...) abstract idea of non-linearity, however, can be easily misunderstood and has, in the past, led to incorrect and counterintuitive conclusions about what may count as part of one’s overall cognitive system. In order to prevent any further mistakes I revisit dynamical systems theory to study the nature of the continuous mutual interactions that give rise to the aforementioned non-linear relations. Moreover, focusing on these interactions will allow us to provide two distinct arguments in support of the ontological postulation of extended cognitive systems, as well as an objective criterion of constitution. Accordingly, I put forward a version of HEC that treats continuous mutual interactions (and the resultant non-linear relations) not just as sufficient but also as necessary for cognitive extension. Such a qualified version of HEC may exclude certain alleged cases of cognitive extension where the agent does not mutually interact with his artifacts (e.g., shopping lists and directory services), but it is immune both to the ‘causal-constitution’ fallacy and the ‘cognitive bloat’ worry, and it can be sharply distinguished from HEMC. (shrink)
Many philosophers think that games like chess, languages like English, and speech acts like assertion are constituted by rules. Lots of others disagree. To argue over this productively, it would be first useful to know what it would be for these things to be rule-constituted. Searle famously claimed in Speech Acts that rules constitute things in the sense that they make possible the performance of actions related to those things (Searle 1969). On this view, rules constitute games, languages, and speech (...) acts in the sense that they make possible playing them, speaking them and performing them. This raises the question what it is to perform rule-constituted actions (e. g. play, speak, assert) and the question what makes constitutive rules distinctive such that only they make possible the performance of new actions (e. g. playing). In this paper I will criticize Searle’s answers to these questions. However, my main aim is to develop a better view, explain how it works in the case of each of games, language, and assertion and illustrate its appeal by showing how it enables rule-based views of these things to respond to various objections. (shrink)
Constitution is the relation that holds between an object and what it is made of: statues are constituted by the lumps of matter they coincide with; flags, one may think, are constituted by colored pieces of cloth; and perhaps human persons are constituted by biological organisms. Constitution is often thought to be a.
Whenever an object constitutes, makes up or composes another object, the objects in question share a striking number of properties. This paper is addressed to the question of what might account for the intimate relation and striking similarity between constitutionally related objects. According to my account, the similarities between constitutionally related objects are captured at least in part by means of a principle akin to that of strong supervenience. My paper addresses two main issues. First, I propose independently plausible principles (...) by means of which to delineate, in a non-ad-hoc, non-stipulative and non-circular fashion, those properties which can be expected to be shared among constitutionally related objects in virtue of their being so related from those which in general cannot be expected to be shared, or which are shared for other reasons. Secondly,I spell out in detail the nature of the supervenience-principle at work in this context. My account thus aims at isolating, in a methodologically responsible fashion, the particular sort of restricted indiscernibility principle which is a component of the constitution-relation. (shrink)
The book addresses the constitution of the high culture of modernity as an uneasy unity of the sciences, including philosophy, and the arts. Their internal dynamism and strain is established through, on the one hand, the relationship of the author - work - recipient, and, on the other, the respective roles of experts and the market.
ABSTRACT Previous research has consistently highlighted the importance of stakeholder engagement in identifying and developing solutions to ethical challenges in genomic research, especially in Africa where such research is relatively new. In this paper, we examine what constitutes good ethical practice in research, from the perspectives of genomic research participants in Uganda. Our study was part of a multi-site qualitative study exploring these issues in Uganda, Ghana and Zambia. We purposively sampled various stakeholders including genomic research participants, researchers, research ethics (...) committee members, policy makers and community members. This paper presents the findings from in-depth interviews with 27 people with diabetes who had participated in a diabetes genomic study. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews. Manual thematic content analysis was conducted using a framework approach. Findings indicate three key requirements that research participants see as vital for genomic research to be more responsive to research participants’ needs and contextual realities: de-emphasising the role of experts and institutions in the consenting process, clarity about the timing and nature of feedback both of findings relevant to the health of individuals and about the broad progress of the study, and more effective support for research participants during and after the study. (shrink)
Galen Strawson’s Basic Argument is that because self-creation is required to be truly morally responsible and self-creation is impossible, it is impossible to be truly morally responsible for anything. I contend that the Basic Argument is unpersuasive and unsound. First, I argue that the moral luck debate shows that the self-creation requirement appears to be contradicted and supported by various parts of our commonsense ideas about moral responsibility, and that this ambivalence undermines the only reason that Strawson gives for the (...) self-creation requirement. Second, I argue that the self-creation requirement is so demanding that either it is an implausible requirement for a species of true moral responsibility that we take ourselves to have or it is a plausible requirement of a species of true moral responsibility that we have never taken ourselves to have. Third, I explain that Strawson overgeneralizes from instances of constitutive luck that obviously undermine moral responsibility to all kinds of constitutive luck. (shrink)
The only anthology available on material constitution, this book collects important recent work on well known puzzles in metaphysics and philosophy of mind. The extensive, clearly written introduction helps to make the essays accessible to a wide audience.
Inter-level mechanistic explanations in the sciences have long been a focus of philosophical interest, but attention has recently turned to the compositional character of these explanations which work by explaining higher level entities, whether processes, individuals or properties, using the lower level entities they take to compose them. However, we still have no theoretical account of the constitution or parthood relations between individuals deployed in such explanations, nor any accounts of multiple constitution. My primary focus in this paper (...) is to outline a positive account of the constitution/part-whole relations between individuals posited in inter-level mechanistic explanations that takes constituents in the sciences to be ‘working parts’. Using this account, I then go on to illuminate the nature, and varieties, of multiple constitution that we find in the sciences and provide a starting theoretical framework for multiple constitution as well. (shrink)
Today the question of the moral foundations of democracy is more important then ever. In this book the author helps to explain when and why democracy is important and also gives us guidance as to how democracies ought to be shaped.
An adequate understanding of the ubiquitous practice of mechanistic explanation requires an account of what Craver termed “constitutive relevance.” Entities or activities are constitutively relevant to a phenomenon when they are parts of the mechanism responsible for that phenomenon. Craver’s mutual manipulability account extended Woodward’s account of manipulationist counterfactuals to analyze how interlevel experiments establish constitutive relevance. Critics of MM argue that applying Woodward’s account to this philosophical problem conflates causation and constitution, thus rendering the account incoherent. These criticisms, (...) we argue, arise from failing to distinguish the semantic, epistemic, and metaphysical aspects of the problem of constitutive relevance. In distinguishing these aspects of the problem and responding to these critics accordingly, we amend MM into a refined epistemic criterion, the “matched interlevel experiments” account. Further, we explain how this epistemological thesis is grounded in the plausible metaphysical thesis that constitutive relevance is causal betweenness. (shrink)
Plato and Kant advance a constitutional model of the soul, in which reason and appetite or passion have different structural and functional roles in the generation of motivation, as opposed to the familiar Combat Model in which they are portrayed as independent sources of motivation struggling for control. In terms of the constitutional model we may explain what makes an action different from an event. What makes an action attributable to a person, and therefore what makes it an action, is (...) that it issues from the person''s constitution, and therefore from the person as a whole, rather than from some force working on or in the person. This in turn implies an account of what makes an action good: what makes an action good is that it is deliberated upon and chosen in a way that unifies the person into a constitutional system. Through deliberative action we constitute ourselves as unified agents. Platonic justice and Kant''s categorical imperative are shown to be normative standards for action because they are principles of self-constitution. (shrink)
What is a human person, and what is the relation between a person and his or her body? In her third book on the philosophy of mind, Lynne Rudder Baker investigates what she terms the person/body problem and offers a detailed account of the relation between human persons and their bodies. Baker's argument is based on the 'Constitution View' of persons and bodies, which aims to show what distinguishes persons from all other beings and to show how we can (...) be fully material beings without being identical to our bodies. The Constitution View yields answers to the questions 'What am I most fundamentally?', 'What is a person?', and 'What is the relation between human persons and their bodies'? Baker argues that the complex mental property of first-person perspective enables one to conceive of one's body and mental states as one's own. (shrink)
An important shift is taking place in social cognition research, away from a focus on the individual mind and toward embodied and participatory aspects of social understanding. Empirical results already imply that social cognition is not reducible to the workings of individual cognitive mechanisms. To galvanize this interactive turn, we provide an operational definition of social interaction and distinguish the different explanatory roles – contextual, enabling and constitutive – it can play in social cognition. We show that interactive processes are (...) more than a context for social cognition: they can complement and even replace individual mechanisms. This new explanatory power of social interaction can push the field forward by expanding the possibilities of scientific explanation beyond the individual. (shrink)
The requirements of rationality are fundamental in practical and theoretical philosophy. Nonetheless, there exists no correct account of what constitutes rational requirements. This paper attempts to provide a correct constitutive account of ‘rationality requires’. I argue that rational requirements are grounded in ‘necessary explanations of subjective incoherence’, as I shall put it. Rationality requires of you to X if and only if your rational capacities, in conjunction with the fact that you not-X, explain necessarily why you have a non-maximal degree (...) of subjective coherence. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a new framework supporting the claim that some elements in science play a constitutive function, with the aim of overcoming some limitations of Friedman's (2001) account. More precisely, I focus on what I consider to be the gradualism implicit in Friedman's interpretation of the constitutive a priori, that is, the fact that it seems to allow for degrees of 'constitutivity'. I tease out such gradualism by showing that the constitutive character Friedman aims to track can (...) be captured by three features - namely, quasi-axiomaticity (QA), generative potential (GP), and empirical shielding (ES) - which are exhibited to a maximal degree by the examples Friedman deploys, particularly in his analysis of Newtonian mechanics. I argue that not all varieties of 'constitutivity' can be captured by the kind of gradualism implicit in Friedman's view, although developing the gradualism itself might provide useful insights. To show this, I analyse the function of the Hardy-Weinberg principle (HWP) in population genetics in terms of its QA, GP, and ES. Whereas the HWP does not count as constitutive in classical philosophical interpretations (Sober 1984), nor does it within Friedman's framework, it does nonetheless perform a minimally constitutive function. By means of historical details and considerations on the prospects of replacing the HWP, I show that the HWP is minimally constitutive by being a counterfactual instantiation of a paradigmatically constitutive stability principle, where the latter might itself be regarded as an enabling condition for a variety of modelling practices across the sciences. (shrink)
In his interesting article 'Constitution is not Identity' (1992), Mark Johnston argues that (in a sense soon to be explained) constitution is distinct from identity. In what follows, I dispute Johnston's contention.
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity poses a serious philosophical problem. On the one hand, it seems to imply that there is exactly one divine being; on the other hand, it seems to imply that there are three. There is another well-known philosophical problem that presents us with a similar sort of tension: the problem of material constitution. We argue in this paper that a relatively neglected solution to the problem of material constitution can be developed into a (...) novel solution to the problem of the Trinity. (shrink)
It is a commonplace within philosophy that the ontology of institutions can be captured in terms of constitutive rules. What exactly such rules are, however, is not well understood. They are usually contrasted to regulative rules: constitutive rules (such as the rules of chess) make institutional actions possible, whereas regulative rules (such as the rules of etiquette) pertain to actions that can be performed independently of such rules. Some, however, maintain that the distinction between regulative and constitutive rules is merely (...) a linguistic one. In this paper I present the status account of constitutive rules in order to address this criticism. According to the status account constitutive rules pertain to institutional statuses and statuses are to be understood in terms of status rules. Status rules concern the enabling and constraining roles of institutions, and constitutive rules specify the preconditions that have to be met in order for them to play these roles. Even though I end up endorsing the claim that the distinction mentioned is a linguistic one, I go on to argue that there is an underlying reality that constitutive rules serve to make apparent. (shrink)
This chapter outlines a novel solution to the problem of the many, according to which objects can be simultaneously constituted by many collections of particles. To support this proposal, it develops a conception of objects that implies it. On this view, objects are fundamentally subjects of change: the changes an object can survive are explanatorily prior to its constitution. From this perspective, PM arises, and objects are multiply constituted because the changes that objects survive are too coarse-grained to distinguish (...) among the many different collections of particles that are candidates for constituting the relevant object. (shrink)
Can the question "Why do what morality requires?" be answered in such a way that anyone regardless of their desires or interests has reason to be moral? One strategy for answering this question appeals to constitutive arguments. In general, constitutive arguments attempt to establish the normativity of rational requirements by pointing out that we are already committed to them insofar as we are believers or agents. This study is concerned with the general prospects for such arguments. It starts by explaining (...) the general constitutive argument strategy, followed by an examination of constitutive arguments that have been given regarding theoretical reason and the instrumental principle in practical reason, and concluding with a discussion of some challenges to constitutive arguments in moral philosophy and some possible responses to these challenges. (shrink)
Can we understand what makes someone the same person without understanding what it is to be a person? Prereflectively we might not think so, but philosophers often accord these questions separate treatments, with personal-identity theorists claiming the first question and free-will theorists the second. Yet much of what is of interest to a person—the possibility of survival over time, compensation for past hardships, concern for future projects, or moral responsibility—is not obviously intelligible from the perspective of either question alone. Marya (...) Schechtman encourages us to adopt a more unified perspective. (shrink)
This essay considers the role of the ‘all affected interests’ principle in democratic theory, focusing on debates concerning its form, substance and relationship to the resolution of the democratic boundary problem. It begins by defending an ‘all actually affected’ formulation of the principle against Goodin’s ‘incoherence argument’ critique of this formulation, before addressing issues concerning how to specify the choice set appropriate to the principle. Turning to the substance of the principle, the argument rejects Nozick’s dismissal of its intuitive appeal (...) and considers the two arguments advanced in favour of the principle as a criterion of democratic inclusion: the interlinked interests argument and the tracking power argument. It is shown that neither of these arguments can substantiate a view of the principle as a criterion of democratic inclusion, although both ground a constitutional understanding of the principle as specifying the scope of a duty of justification. It is then proposed that the principle can play an important role in a two-stage resolution of the democratic boundary problem in which it addresses the question of who is entitled to inclusion in the ‘pre-political’ demos that determines whether to constitute a polity. The second stage of this resolution requires an answer to the question of who should constitute the ‘political demos’, that is, the demos of a constituted polity and it is argued that a version of the ‘‘all subjected persons’’ principle can appropriately play this role.Keywords: all affected interests; all subjected persons; democracy; boundary problem; demos problem. (shrink)
What I call in this paper “the sociality of subjectivity thesis” lies at the very center of what is now called “Continental philosophy”. According to this thesis, the subject is necessarily socially constituted. In other words, it is not the case that there are first some isolated subjects, who then get into relation with each other; rather, the subjects from the beginning are formed through their interrelation. The first philosopher who systematically argued for this thesis is Johann Gottlieb Fichte. In (...) this paper, I reconstruct Fichte’s argument, as it appears in his 1796 Foundations of Natural Right. The central idea of this reconstruction is the following: for Fichte, the subject can regard herself as the genuine author of her actions, only when she presupposes that there are other subjects who can ascribe those actions to her. That is, the activity of self-ascription, which constitutes the subject, is only possible with the presupposition that there are other subjects. (shrink)
In what sense are the activities and properties of components in a mechanism explanatorily relevant to the behavior of a mechanism as a whole? I articulate this problem, the problem of constitutive relevance, and I show that it must be solved if we are to understand mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. I argue against some putative solutions to the problem of constitutive relevance, and I sketch a positive account according to which relevance is analyzed in terms ofrelationships of mutual manipulability between (...) the behavior of a mechanism as a whole and the properties and activities of its components. My account is a causal-mechanical account in the sense that it is a particular expression of the idea that constitutive explanation is a matter of showing how an explanandum phenomenon is situated within the causal structure of the world. It is thus offered as a rival to epistemic (argument-centered) and psychological accounts of interlevel explanation. (shrink)
This paper outlines a novel solution to the problem of the many and a conception of ordinary objects that implies it. The solution is that many collections of particles can simultaneously constitute a single object. The proposed conception of ordinary objects maintains that they are fundamentally subjects of change: the changes an object is able to survive explain its constitution.
This paper discusses the constitution relation within the framework of the mechanistic approach to neurobiological explanation. It develops a regularity theory of constitution as an alternative to the manipulationist theory of constitution advocated by some of the proponents of the mechanistic approach. After the main problems of the manipulationist account of constitution have been reviewed, the regularity account is developed based on the notion of a minimal type relevance theory. A minimal type relevance theory expresses a (...) minimally necessary condition of a given type that consists of a disjunction of minimally sufficient conditions of that type. Afterwards, the attained definition is successfully applied in an analysis of the logical structure of the explanation of spatial learning and memory in rats as a paradigm neurobiological explanation. The overall result is a more robust and more precise version of the mechanistic approach to neurobiological explanations. (shrink)
Constitution is the relation between something and what it is made of. Composition is the relation between something and its parts. I examine three different approaches to the relation between constitution and composition. One approach, associated with neo-Aristotelians like Mark Johnston and Kathrin Koslicki, identifies constitution with composition. A second, popular with those sympathetic to classical mereology such as Judith Thomson, defines constitution in terms of parthood. A third, advocated strongly by Lynne Baker, takes constitution (...) to be somehow inconsistent with relations of parthood. All of these approaches, I argue, face serious problems. I conclude, tentatively, that constitution and composition have nothing to do with each other. (shrink)
The first part of this paper finds Craver’s (2007) mutual manipulability theory (MM) of constitution inadequate, as it definitionally ties constitution to the feasibility of idealized experiments, which, however, are unrealizable in principle. As an alternative, the second part develops an abductive theory of constitution (NDC), which exploits the fact that phenomena and their constituents are unbreakably coupled via common causes. The best explanation for this common-cause coupling is the existence of an additional dependence relation, viz. (...) class='Hi'>constitution. Apart from adequately capturing the essential characteristics of constitution missed by MM, NDC has important ramifications for constitutional discovery—most notably, that there is no experimentum crucis for constitution, not even under ideal discovery circumstances. (shrink)
I define a social norm as a regularity in behavior whose persistence is causally explained by the existence of sanctioning attitudes of participants toward violations—without these sanctions, individuals have motive to violate the norm. I show how a universal precept "When in circumstances S, do action F" can be sustained by the conditional preference of each to conform, given that others do, of a convention, and also reinforced by the sanctions of a norm. I observe that a precept with moral (...) force can be reinforced by a social norm. I then consider constitutive norms and show by means of an example, competitive figure skating, how a type of activity or practice G can have a constitutive norm NG. An ongoing activity in a community is engagement in that practice only if NG is reinforced as a social norm by participants. I apply this to the case of assertion: the speech act type Assertion has a constitutive norm NA, and a practice of making speech acts in a community is one of making assertions only if it is controlled by NA enforced by the sanctions of a social norm. (shrink)
There are two basic views concerning the relationship between constitutional rights and proportionality analysis. The first maintains that there exists a necessary connection between constitutional rights and proportionality, the second argues that the question of whether constitutional rights and proportionality are connected depends on what the framers of the constitution have actually decided, that is, on positive law. The first thesis may be termed ‘necessity thesis’, the second ‘contingency thesis’. According to the necessity thesis, the legitimacy of proportionality analysis (...) is a question of the nature of constitutional rights, according to the contingency thesis, it is a question of interpretation. The article defends the necessity thesis. | A previous version of this article was published in Chinese Yearbook of Constitutional Law, Vol. 2010, 221–235. (shrink)
Practices – specific, recurrent types of human action and activity – are perhaps the most fundamental "building blocks" of social reality. This book argues that the detailed empirical study of practices is essential to effective social-scientific inquiry. It develops a philosophical infrastructure for understanding human practices, and argues that practice theory should be the analytical centrepiece of social theory and the philosophy of the social sciences. -/- What would social scientists’ research look like if they took these insights seriously? To (...) answer this question, the book offers an analytical framework to guide empirical research on practices in different times and places. The author explores how practices can be identified, characterised and explained, how they function in concrete contexts and how they might change over time and space. -/- The Constitution of Social Practices lies at the intersection of philosophy, social theory, cultural theory and the social sciences. It is essential reading for scholars in social theory and the philosophy of social science, as well as the broad range of researchers and students across the social sciences and humanities whose work stands to benefit from serious consideration of practices. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Going Beyond Theory: Constructivism and Empirical Phenomenology” by Urban Kordeš. Upshot: Kordeš’s target article proposes to link constructivism and phenomenology, to their mutual benefit. In order to further this endeavour, this commentary suggests that it is important to distinguish two levels of constitution: the epistemological and the ontological. This may serve to clarify difficulties about achieving intersubjective validation.
In this paper I analyze constitution embodiment, a particular conception of embodiment. Proponents of constitution embodiment claim that the body is a condition of the constitution of entities. Constitution embodiment is popular with phenomenologically-inspired Embodied Cognition, including research projects such as Enactivism and Radical Embodied Cognitive Science. Unfortunately, PEC’s use of constitution embodiment is neither clear nor coherent; in particular, PEC uses the concept of constitution embodiment so that a major inconsistency is entailed. PEC (...) conceives of the body in a transcendental sense as a condition of the constitution of entities, and, in an ontic sense, as a scientifically describable entity. Yet, a condition of the constitution of entities cannot be itself an entity—rather, it is the very condition of the possibility of an entity. This inconsistency entails further problems, among them PEC’s misguided focus on the location of the embodied mind. In order to correct these mistakes, I develop a conception of constitution embodiment based on the work of Heidegger, Husserl and to a lesser degree Merleau-Ponty. This has two purposes. First, it provides the conceptual groundwork to secure the status of PEC as a consistent and coherent research project and to clarify PEC’s conception of the relationship between phenomenology and the sciences. In that spirit, my approach provides further guidelines for fruitful research alliances between PEC and other research programs such as Grounded Cognition and identifies current research alliances, such as those with Radical Enactivism, as undesirable. Second, my account provides an elaborate concept of constitution embodiment that can function as the basis for more sophisticated work in the future. (shrink)
This paper discusses the role of levels and level-bound theoretical terms in neurobiological explanations under the presupposition of a regularity theory of constitution. After presenting the definitions for the constitution relation and the notion of a mechanistic level in the sense of the regularity theory, the paper develops a set of inference rules that allow to determine whether two mechanisms referred to by one or more accepted explanations belong to the same level, or to different levels. The rules (...) are characterized as underlying level distinctions in neuroscience research. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: A traditional objection to inferentialism states that not all inferences can be meaning-constitutive and therefore inferentialism has to comprise an analytic-synthetic distinction. As a response, Peregrin argues that meaning is a matter of inferential rules and only the subset of all the valid inferences for which there is a widely shared corrective behaviour corresponds to rules and so determines meaning. Unfortunately, Peregrin does not discuss what counts as “widely shared”. In the paper, I argue for an empirical plausibility of (...) Peregrin’s proposal. The aim of the paper is to show that we can find examples of meaning-constitutive linguistic action, which sustain Peregrin’s response. The idea is supported by examples of meaning modulation. If Peregrin is right, then we should be able to find specific meaning modulations in which a new meaning is publicly available and modulated in such a way that it has a potential to be widely shared. I believe that binding modulations – a specific type of meaning modulations – satisfy this condition. (shrink)
The relativistic revolution led to varieties of neo-Kantianism in which constitutive principles define the object of scientific knowledge in a domain-dependent and historically mutable manner. These principles are a priori insofar as they are necessary premises for the formulation of empirical laws in a given domain, but they lack the self-evidence of Kant’s a priori and they cannot be identified without prior knowledge of the theory they purport to frame. In contrast, the rationalist endeavors of a few masters of theoretical (...) physics have led to comprehensibility conditions that are easily admitted in a given domain and yet suffice to generate the theory of this domain. The purpose of this essay is to compare these two kinds of relativized a priori, to discuss the nature of the comprehensibility conditions, and to demonstrate their effectiveness in a modular conception of physical theories. (shrink)
The rapid spread of judicially-enforced constitutional rights has been one of the most dramatic developments in modern law. This book argues that there is now a global model for how such rights should function, and develops an original, philosophically grounded, account of their nature and scope.