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Brainstorms: Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology

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... Without the capacity to form and sustain a rich folk-psychological understanding of others (sometimes also described as having a theory of mind; Baron-Cohen, Leslie, & Frith, 1985, Premack & Woodruff, 1978 it becomes difficult or impossible to reliably infer the intentional states (i.e., "reasons") behind others' actions. Folk knowledge about what others know and want in various situations constrains the problem space involved in action prediction by rendering some belief and desire ascriptions -and thereby some actions -as more plausible than others (cf. the "frame problem" in Fodor, 1983;Dennett, 2017). Folk psychology -in Churchland's above sense of a shared body of lore -is therefore by many considered a crucial prerequisite for the ability to interact socially with people. ...
... For example, folk psychology includes generalizations such as that people who agree to a meeting generally turn up at the specified time and location, that a person who is thirsty might want a drink, and that people who believe in the existence of unicorns may also believe in the existence of dragons. In interpretations of human behavior, people are usually able to exclude unlikely ascriptions effortlessly based on the tacit assumption that folk-psychological generalizations apply to the situation at hand (Fodor, 1983;Dennett, 2017). Folk psychology thus provide "satisficing" solutions (Simon, 1956) to the computationally intractable problem of attributing intentional states, and thereby allows people to make instantaneous, unconscious judgments about the likely actions of others, and therefore, to interact socially with them. ...
... El cuerpo docente al planear clases establece las condiciones necesarias para llevar a cabo procesos pedagógicos pertinentes en términos de la enseñanza y el aprendizaje escolar (Woodward, 2002). Así entonces, observar la planeación docente desde los procesos cognitivos tales como las formas de pensamiento inteligente (agard, 2008), estructuras cognitivas relacionadas con las emociones (creencias y deseos) (Dennett, 1981), estructuras o sistemas relacionales (concepciones) (Moreno, 2002) y procesos creativos (Boden, 2011), se hace necesario con el propósito de facilitar y mediar la forma y contenido del diseño de estrategias de enseñanza para la socialización del conocimiento. b) Pensamiento Representacional: Desde esta perspectiva y, de acuerdo con Norman (1973), el personal docente crea modelos mentales y se comporta en relación con estos. ...
... 31). La planeación de la enseñanza implica las posibilidades de acción, disposiciones contextuales y ambientales, que desde un punto de vista cognitivo, resulta de las creencias y los deseos (Dennett, 1981) de maestras, maestros y estudiantes de acuerdo con cada situación particular. ...
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El presente artículo tiene como objetivo caracterizar los procesos cognitivos para la planeación de la enseñanza en un grupo de siete docentes de primaria de la ciudad de Bogotá, Colombia, a partir de entrevistas semiestructuradas y análisis de contenido. Se comprende la planeación de la enseñanza como un proceso que permite la representación cognitiva de la enseñanza y la reflexión para el desarrollo de la propia práctica pedagógica. Los resultados muestran que los procesos cognitivos para la planeación de estrategias de enseñanza se configuran en un marco de referencia representacional para el docente y que influyen en la probabilidad de ocurrencia de algunos procesos pedagógicos con los estudiantes. Se reconoce que la planeación de la enseñanza, en gran medida, está determinada por procesos representacionales los cuales subyacen al diseño cognitivo de prácticas pedagógicas, sujetos a la experiencia y contexto de cada docente, elementos que pueden ser reconocidos y potenciados en el quehacer institucional para la promoción de perspectivas innovadoras de la práctica pedagógica.
... Desde el punto de vista interdisciplinar los trabajos de los filósofos cognitivos se han dedicado principalmente a la parte conceptual y a desarrollar modelos teóricos generales que sirvan de marco al trabajo experimental; así, Dennett (1978Dennett ( , 1991, por ejemplo, ha desarrollado una influyente teoría sobre la intencionalidad de los estados mentales que recoge resultados de la inteligencia artificial y la etología. Fodor (1985) realizó un reconocido estudio acerca de la posible estructura del lenguaje del pensamiento tomando como base los trabajos de psicolingüística, de la psicología cognitiva y de la teoría computacional. ...
Article
Esta lenta y progresiva transición supuso una transformación e implicó un cambio general que marcó una inflexión en el ámbito de la psicología. La utilización de sistemas de procesamiento computacional de representaciones se planteó como una alternativa ante las insuficiencias teóricas y epistemológicas del conductismo. Aunque se recuperó el objeto de estudio de la primera psicología científica, su caracterización y la forma de abordar el estudio de los fenómenos mentales era muy diferente ya que se trataban con un programa metodológico y unos instrumentos distintos a los de la psicología wundtiana y más cercanos a los de los conductistas, aunque variaran sus formas de aplicación, las técnicas e instrumentos y el campo de aplicación. Si consideramos el conductismo como una revolución esencialmente metodológica, podemos sostener que, en buena medida, lo más genuino de esta corriente se mantuvo en la psicología cognitiva, por lo que podemos afirmar que entre ambos enfoques existen ciertos rasgos de continuidad.
... Evans [15], one of the originators of dual-system theory, has stated that an important issue for future research is the problem that "current theories are framed in general terms and are yet to be developed in terms of their specific computational architecture." Following Dennett [16], we argue that a computational description is essential for clarifying highlevel, psychological characterizations, such as System-1 and System-2. At the time, Dennett received significant pushback on his view from psychology and philosophy, however, in our opinion, this was due to it being too early in the development of cognitive models to fully appreciate their value. ...
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Attempts to import dual-system descriptions of System-1 and System-2 into AI have been hindered by a lack of clarity over their distinction. We address this and other issues by situating System-1 and System-2 within the Common Model of Cognition. Results show that what are thought to be distinctive characteristics of System-1 and 2 instead form a spectrum of cognitive properties. The Common Model provides a comprehensive vision of the computational units involved in System-1 and System-2, their underlying mechanisms, and the implications for learning, metacognition, and emotion.
... A inclusão ou exclusão de certas expressões não determinam necessariamente, nem evitam, a ocorrência de explicações espúrias. Como observa Dennett (1978), os conceitos analítico--comportamentais também podem ser utilizados em explicações circulares e desprovidas de efeitos práticos relevantes. Isso ocorre quando se diz, por exemplo, "a resposta aumentou de frequência porque foi reforçada", sem nenhuma evidência independente da ocorrência do reforço. ...
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Tanto behavioristas radicais quando paternalistas libertários propõem que o conhecimento científico sobre o comportamento humano seja utilizado para modificar práticas culturais. Contudo, a ideia de planejamento cultural de Skinner não obteve o mesmo sucesso que os nudges de Thaler e Sustein alcançaram nos últimos anos. O objetivo desse artigo é realizar uma comparação dessas duas propostas, tendo em vista, principalmente, as concepções epistemológicas a elas subjacentes. Uma das principais diferenças observadas diz respeito ao modo como os autores concebem as relações entre pesquisa básica e aplicação. Esse fator parece ser relevante para explicar os diferentes níveis de impacto social obtidos por cada proposta, mas não são suficientes. É necessário levar em consideração, também, que o modelo de intervenção de Thaler e Sustein conseguem produzir efeitos em grupos maiores e com menor esforço que o requerido pelo tipo de intervenção idealizado por Skinner.
... They also tend to take our main criterion for judging a thing to be a person to be behavioral in some way. As Daniel Dennett (1981) has said, we recognize a thing by its effects-we judge a thing to be an intelligent person when we see its behavior as intentional. He calls this the "intentional stance". ...
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Das vorliegende Kapitel analysiert zwei ethische Grundprinzipien, nämlich Vertrauen und Verantwortung, im Kontext von medizinischen KI-Anwendungen. Dabei wird aufgezeigt, dass KI-Anwendungen selbst weder verantwortungsfähig noch vertrauenswürdig sind. Um diese Prinzipien in der digitalen Medizin verankern zu können, müssen KI-Anwendungen daher so in den Behandlungsprozess integriert werden, dass diese Prinzipien weiterhin grundlegend bleiben. Abschließend wird ein entsprechendes integratives Framework für die Entwicklung von medizinischen KI-Anwendungen vorgestellt.
Article
The view that it is possible for someone to think at a time without existing at that time is not only perfectly coherent but in harmony with an attractive externalist view of the mental. Furthermore, it offers plausible solutions to various puzzles of personal identity.
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Intentionality has been understood as the ability to think and behave in accordance with goals previously elaborated by the individual, or the teleological property of mind. In this sense, intentional mental states are typically characterized by displaying contents secondary to the achievement of cognitive and/or behavioral goals underlying the constitution of beliefs, judgments, desires, and expectations directed toward the external world or the subject itself. If, on the one hand, the philosophical interest in the theme goes back to the scholastics, in the scientific sphere, the first empirical research programs on the characteristics and functional role of intentionality for psychological functioning only started in the first decades of the last century. In this entry, the relationship between intentionality and the possible will be analyzed from the role played by intentionality in the formulation, execution, and evaluation of possible action plans. To this end, the rich intersection established between intentionality, free will, and context in determining action directions will be used as a background for the discussion of how the dimension of the possible is established in intentional action through the interaction between intentional autonomy, free choice, and socio-contextual events. Prior to this discussion, we will present a summary of the state of the art in philosophical and scientific studies about intentionality, aiming to provide introductory information about its ontological, neurocognitive, and conceptual characterization.
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Efter nogle indledende afsnit om bl.a. sjæl-legeme problemet gennemgår artiklen den lange række af mentale funktioner,som er knyttet til bevidsthedsbegrebet. Dernæst søges bevidsthedens domæne placeret i psyken som helhed.
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Semioticians’ efforts on lie study, mostly focus on lie and sign relationship, its general characteristics on the basis of a static analysis. Sun Tzu's The Art of War, the existing oldest treatise with the theme on lie whose influence extends beyond battle to other competitive spheres such as politics and business by modern readers cannot be overlooked. Sun Tzu, in contrast to semiotic studies of lying, focuses on the dynamic process of lie-sign signification, stating that lie formation is preconditioned by sign observation from the sender, the recipient, and the surrounding environment. He proposes his Xing (形) theory that the manipulation of recipient through the use of signs is the key to subdue him; he presents the formulating process of a lie-sign from the standpoint of a deceiver, which is uncommon in western culture. This study can shed new light on both the classic and the process of L-sign formulation and signification.
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Deirdre Wilson (2018) provides a reflective overview of a volume devoted to the historic application of relevance-theoretic ideas to literary studies. She maintains a view argued elsewhere that the putative non-propositional nature of (among other things) literary effects are an illusion, a view which dates to Sperber and Wilson ( 1986/1995 : 224): “If you look at [non-propositional] affective effects through the microscope of relevance theory, you see a wide array of minute cognitive [i.e., propositional] effects.” This paper suggests an alternative, that modern-day humans have two apparently different modes of expressing and interpreting information: one of these is a system in which propositional, cognitive effects dominate; the other involves direct, non-propositional effects. The paper concludes by describing two ways such affects might be assimilated into relevance theory. The first, to accept that humans are much more than merely cognitive organisms; the second, to rethink quite radically what we mean by cognition.
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Recent philosophical literature on epistemic harms has paid little attention to the difference between deliberate and non-deliberate harms. In this paper, I analyze the “Curare Case,” a case from the 1940’s in which patient testimony was disregarded by physicians. This case has been described as an instance of epistemic injustice. I problematize this description, arguing instead that the case shows an instance of “epistemic disadvantage.” I propose epistemic disadvantage indicates when harms result from warranted asymmetric relations that justifiably exclude individuals from hermeneutical participation. Epistemic disadvantage categorizes harms that result from justifiable exclusions, are non-deliberate, and result from poor epistemic environments. This analysis brings out a meaningful difference between accidental and deliberate harms in communicative exchanges.
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“The physics of representation” (Poldrack 2020) aims to (1) define the word “representation” as used in the neurosciences, (2) argue that such representations as described in neuroscience are related to and usefully illuminated by the representations generated by modern neural networks, and (3) establish that these entities are “representations in good standing”. We suggest that Poldrack succeeds in (1), exposes some tensions between the broad use of the term in neuroscience and the narrower class of entities that he identifies in the end, and between the meaning of “representation” in neuroscience and in psychology in (2), and fails in (3). This results in some hard choices: give up on the broad scope of the term in neuroscience (and thereby potentially opening a gap between psychology and neuroscience) or continue to embrace the broad, psychologically inflected sense of the term, and deny the entities generated by neural nets (and the brain) are representations in the relevant sense.
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Imagine advanced computers that could, by virtue merely of being programmed in the right ways, act, react, communicate, and otherwise behave like humans. Might such computers be capable of understanding, thinking, believing, and the like? The framework developed in this paper for tackling challenging questions of concept application (in any realm of discourse) answers in the affirmative, contrary to Searle’s famous ‘Chinese Room’ thought experiment, which purports to prove that ascribing such mental processes to computers like these would be necessarily incorrect. The paper begins by arguing that the core issue concerns language, specifically the discourse-community-guided mapping of phenomena onto linguistic categories. It then offers a model of how people adapt language to deal with novel states of affairs and thereby lend generality to their words, employing processes of assimilation, lexemic creation, and accommodation (in intersense and intrasense varieties). Attributions of understanding to some computers lie in the middle range on a spectrum of acceptability and are thus reasonable. Possible objections deriving from Searle’s writings require supplementing the model with distinctions between present and future acceptability, and between contemplated and uncontemplated word uses, as well as a literal-figurative distinction that is more sensitive than Searle’s to actual linguistic practice and the multiplicity of subsenses possible within a single literal sense. The paper then critiques two misleading rhetorical features of Searle’s Chinese Room presentation, and addresses a contemporary defense of Searle that seems to confront the sociolinguistic issue, but fails to allow for intrasense accommodation. It concludes with a brief consideration of the proper course for productive future discussion.
Conference Paper
Humans have invented intelligent machinery to enhance their rational decision-making procedure, which is why it has been named 'augmented intelligence'. The usage of artificial intelligence (AI) technology is increasing enormously with every passing year, and it is becoming a part of our daily life. We are using this technology not only as a tool to enhance our rationality but also heightening them as the autonomous ethical agent for our future society. Norbert Wiener envisaged 'Cybernetics' with a view of a brain-machine interface to augment human beings' biological rationality. Being an autonomous ethical agent presupposes an 'agency' in moral decision-making procedure. According to agency's contemporary theories, AI robots might be entitled to some minimal rational agency. However, that minimal agency might not be adequate for a fully autonomous ethical agent's performance in the future. If we plan to implement them as an ethical agent for the future society, it will be difficult for us to judge their actual stand as a moral agent. It is well known that any kind of moral agency presupposes consciousness and mental representations, which cannot be articulated synthetically until today. We can only anticipate that this milestone will be achieved by AI scientists shortly, which will further help them triumph over 'the problem of ethical agency in AI'. Philosophers are currently trying a probe of the pre-existing ethical theories to build a guidance framework for the AI robots and construct a tangible overview of artificial moral agency. Although, no unanimous solution is available yet. It will land up in another conflicting situation between biological, moral agency and autonomous ethical agency, which will leave us in a baffled state. Creating rational and ethical AI machines will be a fundamental future research problem for the AI field. This paper aims to investigate 'the problem of moral agency in AI' from a philosophical outset and hold a survey of the relevant philosophical discussions to find a resolution for the same.
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Background Professional identity formation (PIF) in medical students is a multifactorial phenomenon, shaped by ways that clinical and non-clinical experiences, expectations and environmental factors merge with individual values, beliefs and obligations. The relationship between students’ evolving professional identity and self-identity or personhood remains ill-defined, making it challenging for medical schools to support PIF systematically and strategically. Primarily, to capture prevailing literature on PIF in medical school education, and secondarily, to ascertain how PIF influences on medical students may be viewed through the lens of the ring theory of personhood (RToP) and to identify ways that medical schools support PIF. Methods A systematic scoping review was conducted using the systematic evidence-based approach. Articles published between 1 January 2000 and 1 July 2020 related to PIF in medical students were searched using PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, ERIC and Scopus. Articles of all study designs (quantitative and qualitative), published or translated into English, were included. Concurrent thematic and directed content analyses were used to evaluate the data. Results A total of 10443 abstracts were identified, 272 full-text articles evaluated, and 76 articles included. Thematic and directed content analyses revealed similar themes and categories as follows: characteristics of PIF in relation to professionalism, role of socialization in PIF, PIF enablers and barriers, and medical school approaches to supporting PIF. Discussion PIF involves iterative construction, deconstruction and inculcation of professional beliefs, values and behaviours into a pre-existent identity. Through the lens of RToP, factors were elucidated that promote or hinder students’ identity development on individual, relational or societal levels. If inadequately or inappropriately supported, enabling factors become barriers to PIF. Medical schools employ an all-encompassing approach to support PIF, illuminating the need for distinct and deliberate longitudinal monitoring and mentoring to foster students’ balanced integration of personal and professional identities over time.
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Do the dynamics of a physical system determine what function the system computes? Except in special cases, the answer is no: it is often indeterminate what function a given physical system computes. Accordingly, care should be taken when the question ‘What does a particular neural system do?’ is answered by hypothesising that the system computes a particular function. The phenomenon of the indeterminacy of computation has important implications for the development of computational explanations of biological systems. Additionally, the phenomenon lends some support to the idea that a single neural structure may perform multiple cognitive functions, each subserved by a different computation. We provide an overarching conceptual framework in order to further the philosophical debate on the nature of computational indeterminacy and computational explanation.
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Artificial agents are progressively becoming more present in everyday-life situations and more sophisticated in their interaction affordances. In some specific cases, like Google Duplex, GPT-3 bots or Deep Mind’s AlphaGo Zero, their capabilities reach or exceed human levels. The use contexts of everyday life necessitate making such agents understandable by laypeople. At the same time, displaying human levels of social behavior has kindled the debate over the adoption of Dennett’s ‘intentional stance’. By means of a comparative analysis of the literature on robots and virtual agents, we defend the thesis that approaching these artificial agents ‘as if’ they had intentions and forms of social, goal-oriented rationality is the only way to deal with their complexity on a daily base. Specifically, we claim that this is the only viable strategy for non-expert users to understand, predict and perhaps learn from artificial agents’ behavior in everyday social contexts. Furthermore, we argue that as long as agents are transparent about their design principles and functionality, attributing intentions to their actions is not only essential, but also ethical. Additionally, we propose design guidelines inspired by the debate over the adoption of the intentional stance.
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The vast literature on negative treatment of outgroups and favoritism toward ingroups provides many local insights but is largely fragmented, lacking an overarching framework that might provide a unified overview and guide conceptual integration. As a result, it remains unclear where different local perspectives conflict, how they may reinforce one another, and where they leave gaps in our knowledge of the phenomena. Our aim is to start constructing a framework to help remedy this situation. We first identify a few key ideas for creating a theoretical roadmap for this complex territory, namely the principles of etiological functionalism and the dual inheritance theory of human evolution. We show how a “molecular” approach to emotions fits into this picture, and use it to illuminate emotions that shape intergroup relations. Finally, we weave the pieces together into the beginnings of a systematic taxonomy of the emotions involved in social interactions, both hostile and friendly. While it is but a start, we have developed the argument in a way that illustrates how the foundational principles of our proposed framework can be extended to accommodate further cases.
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Empirical research on human–robot interaction (HRI) has demonstrated how humans tend to react to social robots with empathic responses and moral behavior. How should we ethically evaluate such responses to robots? Are people wrong to treat non-sentient artefacts as moral patients since this rests on anthropomorphism and ‘over-identification’ (Bryson and Kime, Proc Twenty-Second Int Jt Conf Artif Intell Barc Catalonia Spain 16–22:1641–1646, 2011)—or correct since spontaneous moral intuition and behavior toward nonhumans is indicative for moral patienthood, such that social robots become our ‘Others’ (Gunkel, Robot rights, MIT Press, London, 2018; Coeckelbergh, Kairos J Philos Sci 20:141–158, 2018)?. In this research paper, I weave extant HRI studies that demonstrate empathic responses toward robots with the recent debate on moral status for robots, on which the ethical evaluation of moral behavior toward them is dependent. Patienthood for robots has standardly been thought to obtain on some intrinsic ground, such as being sentient, conscious, or having interest. But since these attempts neglect moral experience and are curbed by epistemic difficulties, I take inspiration from Coeckelbergh and Gunkel’s ‘relational approach’ to explore an alternative way of accounting for robot patienthood based on extrinsic premises. Based on the ethics of Danish theologian K. E. Løgstrup (1905–1981) I argue that empathic responses can be interpreted as sovereign expressions of life and that these expressions benefit human subjects—even if they emerge from social interaction afforded by robots we have anthropomorphized. I ultimately develop an argument in defense of treating robots as moral patients.
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In this article I discuss Daniel Dennett’s view of the role of natural language in the evolution of the human mind. In contrast with defenders of the Language of Thought Hypothesis, Dennett claims that natural language is an evolved tool for communication, originating in behavioural habits of which users were initially not aware. Once in place, such habits changed access to information in human brains and were crucial for the evolution of human consciousness. I assess Dennett’s approach from the viewpoint of philosophy of mind and language and consider its ontological implications. I contrast Dennett’s views with the universalist and internalist claims of Jerry Fodor and Noam Chomsky and show how, by appealing to memes and cultural evolution, Dennett resists such claims. I then analyse how this picture goes together with a deflationary view of consciousness. I end by pointing out that although Dennett’s global picture seems to point towards a pluralistic ontology, he himself refrains from taking such a step.
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We address a conundrum: since ecosystems lack a Central Controller, how are these self-organizing systems led? This is important since local service providers in Europe are adopted ecosystems organizing of services in preference to network management. We show that ecosystems are led not centrally directed by a powerful agent, but instead guided to change by collective consciousness that results from learning in logic-of-practice distributed in the ecosystem. We suggest a new framework for explaining leadership in collaborative governances organizing as ecosystems. This has important implications for how leadership in collaborative governances in local service delivery is viewed.
Article
In a Buddhist treatise from around the fourth century CE there is a very remarkable story which serves as a thought experiment calling us to question the nature of self and the identity of persons. Lost in Sanskrit, the passage is fortunately preserved in a Chinese translation, the Dà zhìdù lùn. We here present the first reliable translation directly from the Classical Chinese, and discuss the philosophical significance of the story in its historical and literary context. We emphasise the philosophical importance of embedding the story in two framing narratives, and demonstrate that the story taps a range of intuitions, and indeed fears, about the survival of the self which have also played a large role in the history of the topic in the West, and which continue to be of great contemporary concern.
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For Jerry Fodor, Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature is “the foundational document of cognitive science” whose significance transcends mere historical interest: it is a source of theoretical inspiration in cognitive psychology. Here I am going to argue that those reading Hume along Fodor’s lines rely on a problematic, albeit inspiring, construction of Hume’s science of mind. My strategy in this paper is to contrast Fodor’s understanding of the Humean mind (consonant with the widely received view of Hume in both cognitive science and much of Hume scholarship) with an alternative understanding that I propose. I thereby intend to show that the received view of Hume’s science of mind can be fruitfully revised while critically engaging with Fodor’s contemporary appropriation. Consequently, I use this occasion to put forward a rather unorthodox interpretation of Hume’s theory in dialogue with Fodor as my guide.
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Legal positivism is one of the fundamental theories of jurisprudence studied in law and related fields around the world. This volume addresses how legal positivism is perceived and makes the case for why it is relevant for contemporary legal theory. The Cambridge Companion to Legal Positivism offers thirty-three chapters from leading scholars that provide a comprehensive commentary on the fundamental ideas of legal positivism, its history and major theorists, its connection to normativity and values, its current development and influence, as well as on the criticisms moved against it.
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The following chapter draws upon the latest incarnation of the ever-evolving, meta-theoretical, Genetic-Social framework, recently employed by (Owen in Crime, Genes, Neuroscience and Cyberspace, 2017; Owen et al. in New Perspectives on Cybercrime, 2017; Owen in Raconteur, 2018), and Owen and Speed in (New Perspectives on Cybercrime, 2017), and the intention is to demonstrate its explanatory potential, in particular meta-constructs such as the biological variable [the evidence from behavioural genetics for an, at least in part, biological influence upon human behaviour], psychobiography [the unique, asocial, inherited aspects of the person such as disposition], and neuro-agency [a new term which acknowledges the influence of neurons upon human ‘free-will’], in the task of conceptualising what has come to be known as cyberterrorism. In what follows, cyberterrorism is reconceptualised, moving the definition beyond the usual notions described in the introduction of this chapter. It is the contention here that the synthesis ‘applied’ to cyberterrorism via flexible causal prediction may be of use to criminological theorists, social policy-makers and practitioners working in the field of the criminal justice, and social commentators in the task of constructing predictive models of cyberterrorism.
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We consider some advances in relational and affective neuroscience and related disciplines that attempt to resolve some fundamental aspects of the mind–brain problem. We consider the key role of affect in generating consciousness and in meeting our essential survival needs; the neural correlates of relating; how self and other are represented in the brain and awareness of self and other is generated through interoceptive predictive processes. We describe some leading models of the generation and purpose of consciousness, linking theories of affective and cognitive consciousness. We discuss psychiatric and psychotherapeutic innovations arising from this research, new integrated biopsychosocial interventions and the obstacles to be overcome in applying these models in practice.
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Developing Tyler Roberts’s recognition that humanistic inquiry ineliminably involves irreducibly “first-personal” questions, this essay situates that idea with respect to debates in philosophy of mind – debates, in particular, about the irreducibly normative character of intentionality. It is further argued, in Kantian terms, that freedom consists in our being attuned to such normative considerations, and that our being so cannot coherently be explained away. In this way, one of Roberts’s central ideas – that as scholars of religion, we should “commit ourselves to asking what practical difference it makes to study people as if they were free” – is bolstered. The essay then asks whether this line of argument recommends any conclusions particularly regarding religion, or whether instead it amounts only to a case for the distinctiveness of generally humanistic inquiry. After considering Franklin Gamwell’s argument that “religion” does indeed represent an essential dimension of human being, the essay concludes by exploring more limited ways of conceiving the distinctiveness of religious studies among the fields of humanistic inquiry. It is suggested that whether or not an argument like Gamwell’s works, scholars in the fields of religious studies are uniquely positioned to identify the normative considerations that inexorably distinguish human activity as such. This suggestion is developed by considering recent scholarship on religion and constitutional law, with regard to which it is argued that such scholarship is cogent only insofar as it is informed by perspectives from religious studies – perspectives, in particular, that acknowledge the norm-laden character of all discourse.
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In this paper, I suggest that some tales (or narratives) developed in the literature of embodied and radical embodied cognitive science can contribute to the solution of two longstanding issues in the cognitive neuroscience of perception and action. The two issues are (i) the fundamental problem of perception, or how to bridge the gap between sensations and the environment, and (ii) the fundamental problem of motor control, or how to better characterize the relationship between brain activity and behavior. In both cases, I am going to propose that cognitive neuroscience could incorporate embodied insights-coming from the sensorimotor approach to perception and action, and from ecological psychology-to advance the solution for each issue without the need for abandoning or undergoing a substantial revision of its core assumptions. Namely, cognitive neuroscience could incorporate the forgotten tales of embodiment without undergoing through a complete revolution. In this sense, I am proposing not a call but a farewell to arms.
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What is a bias? Standard philosophical views of both implicit and explicit bias focus this question on the representations one harbours, for example, stereotypes or implicit attitudes, rather than the ways in which those representations (or other mental states) are manipulated. I call this approach representationalism. In this paper, I argue that representationalism taken as a general theory of psychological social bias is a mistake, because it conceptualizes bias in ways that do not fully capture the phenomenon. Crucially, this view fails to capture a heretofore neglected possibility of bias, one that influences an individual’s beliefs about or actions toward others, but is, nevertheless, nowhere represented in that individual’s cognitive repertoire. In place of representationalism, I develop a functional account of psychological social bias which characterizes it as a mental entity that takes propositional mental states as inputs and returns propositional mental states as outputs in a way that instantiates social-kind inductions. This functional characterization leaves open which mental states and processes bridge the gap between the inputs and outputs, ultimately highlighting the diversity of candidates that can serve this role.
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According to an idea which is widespread among philosophers, linguistic entities derive their intentionality from the intentionality of mental entities by virtue of some relation between them. Typically, it is some kind of intention on the speaker’s part – e.g., an intention to produce in the hearer a belief with a certain content – that is supposed to endow words with content. This paper argues that the concept of the derivation of content from one entity to another, if understood realistically, is flawed: derived intentionality, I will argue, is merely ascribed intentionality, not a real property of its possessor (one which is independent of any stance or interpretation). Irrealistic-ascriptivist senses are suggested for the ideas of content derivation, of original intentionality, and of the mind as the source of linguistic (and other forms of non-mental) intentionality. Thus, endorsing the idea that mental intentionality is the source of non-mental intentionality need not tempt one to intentional realism. In an intentional irrealistic framework, what forms of intentionality are original and what are derived is a deeply contingent matter, determined by our practice(s) of content ascription. But while intentional irrealism accommodates all those ideas, this paper defends “content-derivation irrealism” but not thoroughgoing intentional irrealism – the idea that there is real original (that is, un-derived) intentionality is not ruled out. Still, assuming that some entities possess real intentionality, what can make them endow intentionality upon other entities is also our practice of content ascription.
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