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  1. The Force of Habit.William Hornett - 2023 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 104 (3):1-30.
    Habits figure in action‐explanations because of their distinctive force. But what is the force of habit, and how does it motivate us? In this paper, I argue that the force of habit is the feeling of familiarity one has with the familiar course of action, where this feeling reveals a distinctive reason for acting in the usual way. I do this by considering and rejecting a popular account of habit's force in terms of habit's apparent automaticity, by arguing that one (...)
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  • Explicating Agency: The Case of Visual Attention.Denis Buehler - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):379-413.
    How do individuals guide their activities towards some goal? Harry Frankfurt once identified the task of explaining guidance as the central problem in action theory. An explanation has proved to be elusive, however. In this paper, I show how we can marshal empirical research to make explanatory progress. I contend that human agents have a primitive capacity to guide visual attention, and that this capacity is actually constituted by a sub-individual psychological control-system: the executive system. I thus illustrate how we (...)
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  • Agential capacities: a capacity to guide.Denis Buehler - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):21-47.
    In paradigm exercises of agency, individuals guide their activities toward some goal. A central challenge for action theory is to explain how individuals guide. This challenge is an instance of the more general problem of how to accommodate individuals and their actions in the natural world, as explained by natural science. Two dominant traditions–primitivism and the causal theory–fail to address the challenge in a satisfying way. Causal theorists appeal to causation by an intention, through a feedback mechanism, in explaining guidance. (...)
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  • On the Proper Epistemology of the Mental for Psychiatry: What’s the Point of Understanding and Explaining?Joe Gough - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):975-998.
    The distinction between explanation and understanding was foundational to Jaspers’ ‘phenomenological’ approach to psychiatry. It makes sense that those now calling for a phenomenological approach to psychiatry would look to Jaspers for inspiration, and that in doing so, they would take up this distinction. However, I argue that it is and was a mistake to use the distinction in work on psychiatry: adhering to the distinction now would undermine, rather than support, the goals of those advocating a phenomenological approach to (...)
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  • Are Persons Human Beings?Dionysis Christias - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (3):363-385.
    In this article, I suggest that reflection on a broadly Aristotelian-cum-Hegelian conception about the determination of the conditions of identity and individuation of objects and properties shows that it entails (what Brandom calls) the Kant–Sellars thesis about modality and identity, one consequence of which is that persons are not identical to human beings. This view is in conflict with the Aristotelian liberal naturalist view to the effect that to be a person is identical to being an individual of a specific (...)
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  • An idealist critique of naturalism.Robert Smithson - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (5):504-526.
    ABSTRACTAccording to many naturalists, our ordinary conception of the world is in tension with the scientific image: the conception of the world provided by the natural sciences. But in this paper, I present a critique of naturalism with precedents in the post-Kantian idealist tradition. I argue that, when we consider our actual linguistic behavior, there is no evidence that the truth of our ordinary judgments hinges on what the scientific image turns out to be like. I then argue that the (...)
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  • Representation in Cognitive Science.Nicholas Shea - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    How can we think about things in the outside world? There is still no widely accepted theory of how mental representations get their meaning. In light of pioneering research, Nicholas Shea develops a naturalistic account of the nature of mental representation with a firm focus on the subpersonal representations that pervade the cognitive sciences.
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  • P.F. Strawson’s Soft Naturalism: A Radicalisation and Defence.Tom Whyman - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (4):561-581.
    ABSTRACTAnalytic philosophy is often associated with a physicalistic naturalism that privileges natural-scientific modes of explanation. Nevertheless there has since the 1980s been a heterodox, somewhat subterranean trend within analytic philosophy that seeks to articulate a more expansive, ‘non-reductive‘ conception of nature. This trend can be traced back to P.F. Strawson’s 1985 book Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties. However, Strawson has long been ignored in the literature around ‘soft naturalism’ – especially in comparison to John McDowell. One of the reasons for (...)
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  • Where Are You Going, Metaphysics, and How are You Getting There? - Grounding Theory as a Case Study.Gila Sher - 2019 - In Quo Vadis, Metaphysics? de Gruyter Studium. pp. 37-57.
    The viability of metaphysics as a field of knowledge has been challenged time and again. But in spite of the continuing tendency to dismiss metaphysics, there has been considerable progress in this field in the 20th- and 21st- centuries. One of the newest − though, in a sense, also oldest − frontiers of metaphysics is the grounding project. In this paper I raise a methodological challenge to the new grounding project and propose a constructive solution. Both the challenge and its (...)
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  • Working from Within: The Nature and Development of Quine's Naturalism.Sander Verhaegh - 2018 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    During the past few decades, a radical shift has occurred in how philosophers conceive of the relation between science and philosophy. A great number of analytic philosophers have adopted what is commonly called a ‘naturalistic’ approach, arguing that their inquiries ought to be in some sense continuous with science. Where early analytic philosophers often relied on a sharp distinction between science and philosophy—the former an empirical discipline concerned with fact, the latter an a priori discipline concerned with meaning—philosophers today largely (...)
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  • The Causal Map and Moral Psychology.Timothy Schroeder - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):347-369.
    Some philosophers hold that the neuroscience of action is, in practice or in principle, incapable of touching debates in action theory and moral psychology. The role of desires in action, the existence of basic actions, and the like are topics that must be sorted out by philosophers alone: at least at present, and perhaps by the very nature of the questions. This paper examines both philosophical and empirical arguments against the relevance of neuroscience to such questions and argues that neither (...)
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  • Quine on the Nature of Naturalism.Sander Verhaegh - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (1):96-115.
    Quine's metaphilosophical naturalism is often dismissed as overly “scientistic.” Many contemporary naturalists reject Quine's idea that epistemology should become a “chapter of psychology” and urge for a more “liberal,” “pluralistic,” and/or “open-minded” naturalism instead. Still, whenever Quine explicitly reflects on the nature of his naturalism, he always insists that his position is modest and that he does not “think of philosophy as part of natural science”. Analyzing this tension, Susan Haack has argued that Quine's naturalism contains a “deep-seated and significant (...)
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  • Seeing People and Knowing You: Perception, Shared Knowledge, and Acknowledgment.Stina Bäckström - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5 (4):55--73.
    This article takes up the proposal that action and expression enable perceptual knowledge of other minds, a proposal that runs counter to a tradition of thinking that other minds are special in that they are essentially unobservable. I argue that even if we accept this proposal regarding perceptual knowledge, there is still a difference between knowing another person and knowing other things. I articulate this difference by pointing out that I can know another person by sharing knowledge with her. Such (...)
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  • Minds, Brains and Education.David Bakhurst - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (3-4):415-432.
    It is often argued that neuroscience can be expected to provide insights of significance for education. Advocates of this view are sometimes committed to ‘brainism’, the view (a) that an individual’s mental life is constituted by states, events and processes in her brain, and (b) that psychological attributes may legitimately be ascribed to the brain. This paper considers the case for rejecting brainism in favour of ‘personalism’, the view that psychological attributes are appropriately ascribed only to persons and that mental (...)
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  • XII—Is There a Problem of Other Minds?Anil Gomes - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):353-373.
    Scepticism is sometimes expressed about whether there is any interesting problem of other minds. In this paper I set out a version of the conceptual problem of other minds which turns on the way in which mental occurrences are presented to the subject and situate it in relation to debates about our knowledge of other people's mental lives. The result is a distinctive problem in the philosophy of mind concerning our relation to other people.
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  • Explaining Actions and Explaining Bodily Movements.Maria Alvares - 2013 - In Giuseppina D'Oro & Constantine Sandis (eds.), Reasons and Causes: Causalism and Non-causalism in the Philosophy of Action. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 141-159.
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  • Evolution beyond determinism - on Dennett's compatibilism and the too timeless free will debate.Maria Brincker - 2015 - Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (1):39-74.
    Most of the free will debate operates under the assumption that classic determinism and indeterminism are the only metaphysical options available. Through an analysis of Dennett’s view of free will as gradually evolving this article attempts to point to emergentist, interactivist and temporal metaphysical options, which have been left largely unexplored by contemporary theorists. Whereas, Dennett himself holds that “the kind of free will worth wanting” is compatible with classic determinism, I propose that his models of determinism fit poorly with (...)
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  • Pain is Mechanism.Simon van Rysewyk - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Tasmania
    What is the relationship between pain and the body? I claim that pain is best explained as a type of personal experience and the bodily response during pain is best explained in terms of a type of mechanical neurophysiologic operation. I apply the radical philosophy of identity theory from philosophy of mind to the relationship between the personal experience of pain and specific neurophysiologic mechanism and argue that the relationship between them is best explained as one of type identity. Specifically, (...)
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  • Epistemic agency: Some doubts.Kieran Setiya - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):179-198.
    Argues for a deflationary account of epistemic agency. We believe things for reasons and our beliefs change over time, but there is no further sense in which we are active in judgement, inference, or belief.
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  • The uses and abuses of the personal/subpersonal distinction.Zoe Drayson - 2012 - Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):1-18.
    In this paper, I claim that the personal/subpersonal distinction is first and foremost a distinction between two kinds of psychological theory or explanation: it is only in this form that we can understand why the distinction was first introduced, and how it continues to earn its keep. I go on to examine the different ontological commitments that might lead us from the primary distinction between personal and subpersonal explanations to a derivative distinction between personal and subpersonal states. I argue that (...)
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  • Current Physics and 'the Physical'.Agustín Vicente - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (2):393-416.
    Physicalism is the claim that that there is nothing in the world but the physical. Philosophers who defend physicalism have to confront a well-known dilemma, known as Hempel’s dilemma, concerning the definition of ‘the physical’: if ‘the physical’ is whatever current physics says there is, then physicalism is most probably false; but if ‘the physical’ is whatever the true theory of physics would say that there is, we have that physicalism is vacuous and runs the risk of becoming trivial. This (...)
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  • Do actions occur inside the body?Helen Steward - 2000 - Mind and Society 1 (2):107-125.
    The paper offers a critical examination of Jennifer Hornsby's view that actions are internal to the body. It focuses on three of Hornsby's central claims: (P) many actions are bodily movements (in a special sense of the word “movement”) (Q) all actions are tryings; and (R) all actions occur inside the body. It is argued, contra Hornsby, that we may accept (P) and (Q) without accepting also the implausible (R). Two arguments are first offered in favour of the thesis (Contrary-R): (...)
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  • Can Animals Act For Reasons?Hans-Johann Glock - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):232-254.
    This essay argues that non-linguistic animals qualify not just for externalist notions of rationality (maximizing biological fitness or utility), but also for internal ones. They can act for reasons in several senses: their behaviour is subject to intentional explanations, they can act in the light of reasons - provided that the latter are conceived as objective facts rather than subjective mental states - and they can deliberate. Finally, even if they could not, it would still be misguided to maintain that (...)
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  • Token monism, event dualism and overdetermination.Hagit Benbaji - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):pp. 63-81.
    The argument from causal overdetermination is considered to be the shortest route to token monism. It only assumes that:1.Efficacy: Mental events are causes of physical events.2.Closure: Every physical event has a sufficient physical cause.3.Exclusion: Systematic Causal Overdetermination is impossible: if an event x is a sufficient cause of an event y then no event x* distinct from x is a cause of y.4.Identity: Therefore, mental events are physical events.Exclusion does not deny the possibility of two gunmen that fi re at (...)
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  • Motor intentionality and the case of Schneider.Rasmus Thybo Jensen - 2009 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (3):371-388.
    I argue that Merleau-Ponty’s use of the case of Schneider in his arguments for the existence of non-conconceptual and non-representational motor intentionality contains a problematic methodological ambiguity. Motor intentionality is both to be revealed by its perspicuous preservation and by its contrastive impairment in one and the same case. To resolve the resulting contradiction I suggest we emphasize the second of Merleau-Ponty’s two lines of argument. I argue that this interpretation is the one in best accordance both with Merleau-Ponty’s general (...)
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  • Concepts, introspection, and phenomenal consciousness: An information-theoretical approach.Murat Aydede & Güven Güzeldere - 2005 - Noûs 39 (2):197-255.
    This essay is a sustained attempt to bring new light to some of the perennial problems in philosophy of mind surrounding phenomenal consciousness and introspection through developing an account of sensory and phenomenal concepts. Building on the information-theoretic framework of Dretske (1981), we present an informational psychosemantics as it applies to what we call sensory concepts, concepts that apply, roughly, to so-called secondary qualities of objects. We show that these concepts have a special informational character and semantic structure that closely (...)
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  • Belief in make-believe.Stephen Everson - 2007 - European Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):63–81.
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  • Aristotle on action.Ursula Coope - 2007 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):109–138.
    When I raise my arm, what makes it the case that my arm's going up is an instance of my raising my arm? In this paper, I discuss Aristotle's answer to this question. His view, I argue, is that my arm's going up counts as my raising my arm just in case it is an exercise of a certain kind of causal power of mine. I show that this view differs in an interesting way both from the Davidsonian ‘standard causal (...)
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  • Personal and sub‐personal; A defence of Dennett's early distinction.Jennifer Hornsby - 2000 - Philosophical Explorations 3 (1):6-24.
    Since 1969, when Dennett introduced a distinction between personal and sub- personal levels of explanation, many philosophers have used 'sub- personal ' very loosely, and Dennett himself has abandoned a view of the personal level as genuinely autonomous. I recommend a position in which Dennett's original distinction is crucial, by arguing that the phenomenon called mental causation is on view only at the properly personal level. If one retains the commit-' ments incurred by Dennett's early distinction, then one has a (...)
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  • Two types of mental causation.Wim de Muijnck - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (1):21-35.
    In this paper I distinguish two types of mental causation, called 'higher-level causation' and 'exploitation'. These notions superficially resemble the traditional problematic notions of supervenient causation and downward causation, but they are different in crucial respects. My new distinction is supported by a radically externalist competitor of the so-called Standard View of mental states, i.e. the view that mental states are brain states. I argue that on the Alternative View, the notions of 'higher-level causation' and 'exploitation' can in combination dissolve (...)
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  • Mental Causation.Karen Bennett - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):316-337.
    Concerns about ‘mental causation’ are concerns about how it is possible for mental states to cause anything to happen. How does what we believe, want, see, feel, hope, or dread manage to cause us to act? Certain positions on the mind-body problem—including some forms of physicalism—make such causation look highly problematic. This entry sketches several of the main reasons to worry, and raises some questions for further investigation.
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  • Why There Are No Token States.Eric Marcus - 2009 - Journal of Philosophical Research 34:215-241.
    The thesis that mental states are physical states enjoys widespread popularity. After the abandonment of typeidentity theories, however, this thesis has typically been framed in terms of state tokens. I argue that token states are a philosopher’s fiction, and that debates about the identity of mental and physical state tokens thus rest on a mistake.
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  • Epistemic Simplicity—A Virtue or a Vice?Piotr Lichacz - 2021 - Metaphilosophy 52 (2):200-219.
    Simplicity was recently described in the philosophy of science as “perhaps the most controversial theoretical virtue” (Schindler 2018). It has been also argued that contrary to the standard view, simplicity is not merely a pragmatic virtue but also an epistemic one. Virtue epistemologists are also interested in epistemic virtues, but simplicity is usually absent in their discussions. This paper adduces several contemporary approaches to simplicity showing that in philosophy and in psychology it can be considered either as a virtue or (...)
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  • The Doing and the Deed: Action in Normative Ethics.Constantine Sandis - 2017 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 80:105-126.
    This essay is motivated by the thought that the things we do are to be distinguished from our acts of doing them. I defend a particular way of drawing this distinction before proceeding to demonstrate its relevance for normative ethics. Central to my argument is the conviction that certain ongoing debates in ethical theory begin to dissolve once we disambiguate the two concepts of action in question. If this is right, then the study of action should be accorded a far (...)
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  • Functions and emergence: when functional properties have something to say.Agustín Vicente - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (2):293-312.
    In a recent paper, Bird (in: Groff (ed.) Revitalizing causality: Realism about causality in philosophy and social science, 2007 ) has argued that some higher-order properties—which he calls “evolved emergent properties”—can be considered causally efficacious in spite of exclusion arguments. I have previously argued in favour of a similar position. The basic argument is that selection processes do not take physical categorical properties into account. Rather, selection mechanisms are only tuned to what such properties can do, i.e., to their causal (...)
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  • The delocalized mind. Judgements, vehicles, and persons.Pierre Steiner - 2014 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (3):1-24.
    Drawing on various resources and requirements (as expressed by Dewey, Wittgenstein, Sellars, and Brandom), this paper proposes an externalist view of conceptual mental episodes that does not equate them, even partially, with vehicles of any sort, whether the vehicles be located in the environment or in the head. The social and pragmatic nature of the use of concepts and conceptual content makes it unnecessary and indeed impossible to locate the entities that realize conceptual mental episodes in non-personal or subpersonal contentful (...)
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  • Naturalising Representational Content.Nicholas Shea - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (5):496-509.
    This paper sets out a view about the explanatory role of representational content and advocates one approach to naturalising content – to giving a naturalistic account of what makes an entity a representation and in virtue of what it has the content it does. It argues for pluralism about the metaphysics of content and suggests that a good strategy is to ask the content question with respect to a variety of predictively successful information processing models in experimental psychology and cognitive (...)
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  • Skilled activity and the causal theory of action.Randolph Clarke - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (3):523-550.
    Skilled activity, such as shaving or dancing, differs in important ways from many of the stock examples that are employed by action theorists. Some critics of the causal theory of action contend that such a view founders on the problem of skilled activity. This paper examines how a causal theory can be extended to the case of skilled activity and defends the account from its critics.
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  • Of ghostly and mechanical events. [REVIEW]Jonathan Schaffer - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (1):230–244.
    Paul Pietroski, in Causing Actions (2000), aims to articulate a dualistic framework that 'makes room for persons'. What is especially intriguing about Pietroski's framework is that it denies both of the above assumptions: (i) it is resolutely non-naturalistic, and (ii) it is a dualism of events, said to steer between substance and property dualisms. If Pietroski is right then both naturalism and the three-part taxonomy are worse than mistaken: they are in..
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  • Trying and the arguments from total failure.Thor Grünbaum - 2008 - Philosophia 36 (1):67-86.
    New Volitionalism is a name for certain widespread conception of the nature of intentional action. Some of the standard arguments for New Volitionalism, the so-called arguments from total failure, have even acquired the status of basic assumptions for many other kinds of philosophers. It is therefore of singular interest to investigate some of the most important arguments from total failure. This is what I propose to do in this paper. My aim is not be to demonstrate that these arguments are (...)
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  • Liberal Naturalism without Reenchantment.Thomas J. Spiegel - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14 (1):207-229.
    There is a close conceptual relation between the notions of religious disenchantment and scientific naturalism. One way of resisting philosophical and cultural implications of the scientific image and the subsequent process of disenchantment can be found in attempts at sketching a reenchanted worldview. The main issue of accounts of reenchantment can be a rejection of scientific results in a way that flies in the face of good reason. Opposed to such reenchantment is scientific naturalism which implies an entirely disenchanted worldview. (...)
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  • Towards a Reformed Liberal and Scientific Naturalism.Dionysis Christias - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (4):507-534.
    The purpose of this paper is threefold: First, I provide a framework – based on Sellars' distinction between the manifest and the scientific image – for illuminating the distinction between liberal and ‘orthodox’ scientific naturalism. Second, I level a series of objections against expanded liberal naturalism and its core commitment to the autonomy of manifest-image explanations. Further, I present a view which combines liberal and scientific naturalism, albeit construed in resolutely non-representationalist terms. Finally, I attempt to distinguish my own (Sellars- (...)
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  • Trasformazione e germinazione: per una nuova filosofia della nascita.Guido Cusinato - 2017 - Thaumàzein 4.
    The thesis of this paper is that – in order to avoid trivializations – a Philosophy of Birth needs to elaborate a precise concept of transformation and distinguish it carefully from that of adaptation. While transformation goes beyond the limited self-referential perspective of an individual and, on the social level, of the gregarious identity, adaptation aims at strengthening or preserving the old self-referential equilibrium. Transformation is driven by what Zambrano has called, with an exceptionally happy expression, the “hunger to be (...)
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  • Moral Luck and the Possibility of Agential Disjunctivism.Jennifer Ryan Lockhart & Thomas Lockhart - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):308-332.
    Most presentations of the problem of moral luck invoke the notion of control, but little has been said about what control amounts to. We propose a necessary condition on an agent's having been in control of performing an action: that the agent's effort to perform the action ensured that the agent performed the action. The difficulty of satisfying this condition leads many on both sides of the moral luck debate to conclude that much of what we do is not within (...)
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  • Belief in Make‐Believe.Stephen Everson - 2007 - European Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):63-81.
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  • Trying slips: Can Davidson and Hornsby account for mistakes and slips?Kay Peabody - 2005 - Philosophia 33 (1-4):173-216.
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  • Why Naturalism cannot (Merely) be an Attitude.Thomas J. Spiegel - 2022 - Topoi 42 (3):745-752.
    Varying forms of ontological and methodological naturalism are among the most popular theses in contemporary philosophy. However, each of these theses faces a different dilemma: ontological naturalism is famously challenged by Hempel’s dilemma, while methodological naturalism faces issues regarding its coherence. Some prominent naturalists (Elpidorou and Dove 2018, Ney 2009, Rea 2002) have suggested to circumvent these respective dilemmas by reconceiving naturalism as an attitude (rather than a thesis). This paper argues that such attitude accounts are unsuccessful: naturalism as an (...)
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  • Liberal Naturalism and Non-epistemic Values.Ricardo F. Crespo - 2019 - Foundations of Science 24 (2):247-273.
    The ‘value-free ideal’ has been called into question for several reasons. It does not include “epistemic values”—viewed as characteristic of ‘good science’—and rejects the so-called ‘contextual’, ‘non-cognitive’ or ‘non-epistemic’ values—all of them personal, moral, or political values. This paper analyzes a possible complementary argument about the dubitable validity of the value-free ideal, specifically focusing on social sciences, with a two-fold strategy. First, it will consider that values are natural facts in a broad or ‘liberal naturalist’ sense and, thus, a legitimate (...)
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  • Beasts, Beliefs, Intentions, Norms.David Checkland - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (S1):299-335.
    “Terms that have histories cannot be defined.” – Nietzsche“[T]he reality to which we were attending seemed to resist our thinking it.” – Cora Diamond[1] Much has been learned in recent decades about the behaviour and abilities of many species of non-human animals. Increasingly many who reflect on the abilities of languageless animals are uncomfortable with a once prevalent dichotomy of either assigning these abilities to the realm of mere mechanism or granting such creatures full rationality and more or less the (...)
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  • Can predictive processing explain self-deception?Marko Jurjako - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-20.
    The prediction error minimization framework denotes a family of views that aim at providing a unified theory of perception, cognition, and action. In this paper, I discuss some of the theoretical limitations of PEM. It appears that PEM cannot provide a satisfactory explanation of motivated reasoning, as instantiated in phenomena such as self-deception, because its cognitive ontology does not have a separate category for motivational states such as desires. However, it might be thought that this objection confuses levels of explanation. (...)
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