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  1. The Formulation of Disjunctivism About Φ-Ing for a Reason.J. J. Cunningham - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):235-257.
    We can contrast rationalising explanations of the form S φs because p with those of the form S φs because S believes that p. According the Common Kind View, the two sorts of explanation are the same. The Disjunctive View denies this. This paper sets out to elucidate the sense in which the Common Kind Theorist asserts, but the Disjunctivist denies, that the two explanations are the same. I suggest that, in the light of the distinction between kinds of explanation (...)
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  • The Location Problem in Social Ontology.Frank Hindriks - 2013 - Synthese 190 (3):413-437.
    Mental, mathematical, and moral facts are difficult to accommodate within an overall worldview due to the peculiar kinds of properties inherent to them. In this paper I argue that a significant class of social entities also presents us with an ontological puzzle that has thus far not been addressed satisfactorily. This puzzle relates to the location of certain social entities. Where, for instance, are organizations located? Where their members are, or where their designated offices are? Organizations depend on their members (...)
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  • Folk Theories of the Third Kind.David Braddon-Mitchell - 2004 - Ratio 17 (3):277-293.
    The idea of a folk theory has played many important roles in much recent philosophy. To do the work they are designed for, they need to be both internal features of agents who possess them, and yet scrutable without the full resources of empirical cognitive science. The worry for the theorist of folk theories, is that only one of these desiderata is met in each plausible conception of a folk theory. This paper outlines a third conception that meets them both.1.
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  • Expressivism and the Normativity of Attitudes.Teemu Toppinen - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):233-255.
    Many philosophers believe that judgments about propositional attitudes, or about which mental states are expressed by which sentences, are normative judgments. If this is so, then metanormative expressivism must be given expressivist treatment. This might seem to make expressivism self-defeating or worrisomely circular, or to frustrate the explanatory ambitions central to the view. I argue that recent objections along these lines to giving an expressivist account of expressivism are not successful. I shall also suggest that in order to deal with (...)
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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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  • How Revealed Preference Theory Can Be Explanatory.Travis Holmes - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 91:20-27.
    The question of how to frame agential preferences in economics finds one caught between Scylla and Charybdis. If preferences are framed in as minimal and deflationary a manner as revealed preference theory recommends, the theory falls prey to objections about its predictiveness and explanatory power. Alternatively, if too many cognitive and causal intricacies are incorporated into the preference concept, revealed preference models will violate pragmatic norms of model construction, surrendering model simplicity and generality. This paper charts a middle course, arguing (...)
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  • Actual Control - Demodalising Free Will.David Heering - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Leeds
    Plausibly, agents act freely iff their actions are responses to reasons. But what sort of relationship between reason and action is required for the action to count as a response? The overwhelmingly dominant answer to this question is modalist. It holds that responses are actions that share a modally robust or secure relationship with the relevant reasons. This thesis offers a new alternative answer. It argues that responses are actions that can be explained by reasons in the right way. This (...)
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  • Mechanisms, Causes, and the Layered Model of the World.Stuart Glennan - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):362-381.
    Most philosophical accounts of causation take causal relations to obtain between individuals and events in virtue of nomological relations between properties of these individuals and events. Such views fail to take into account the consequences of the fact that in general the properties of individuals and events will depend upon mechanisms that realize those properties. In this paper I attempt to rectify this failure, and in so doing to provide an account of the causal relevance of higher-level properties. I do (...)
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  • Heavy Duty Platonism.Robert Knowles - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (6):1255-1270.
    Heavy duty platonism is of great dialectical importance in the philosophy of mathematics. It is the view that physical magnitudes, such as mass and temperature, are cases of physical objects being related to numbers. Many theorists have assumed HDP’s falsity in order to reach their own conclusions, but they are only justified in doing so if there are good arguments against HDP. In this paper, I present all five arguments against HDP alluded to in the literature and show that they (...)
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  • Normative Explanation Unchained.Pekka Väyrynen - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):278-297.
    [This paper is available as open access from the publisher.] Normative theories aim to explain why things have the normative features they have. This paper argues that, contrary to some plausible existing views, one important kind of normative explanations which first-order normative theories aim to formulate and defend can fail to transmit downward along chains of metaphysical determination of normative facts by non-normative facts. Normative explanation is plausibly subject to a kind of a justification condition whose satisfaction may fail to (...)
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  • Programming Collective Control.Kenneth Shockley - 2007 - Journal of Social Philosophy 38 (3):442–455.
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  • Truth and Justification: A Difference That Makes a Difference.Giorgio Volpe - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (1):217-232.
    Apparently, aiming to comply with the norm ‘Believe that P if and only if the proposition that P is true’ can hardly differ from aiming to comply with the norm ‘Believe that P if and only if the proposition that P is epistemically justified’. So one may be tempted to agree with Richard Rorty that the distinction between truth and justification is pragmatically useless because it cannot make any difference ‘when the question is about what I should believe now’. I (...)
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  • The Proportionality Argument and the Problem of Widespread Causal Overdetermination.Alexey Aliyev - 2020 - Disputatio 12 (59):331-355.
    The consensus is that repeatable artworks cannot be identified with particular material individuals. A perennial temptation is to identify them with types, broadly construed. Such identification, however, faces the so-called “Creation Problem.” This problem stems from the fact that, on the one hand, it seems reasonable to accept the claims that repeatable artworks are types, types cannot be created, and repeatable artworks are created, but, on the other hand, these claims are mutually inconsistent. A possible solution to the Creation Problem (...)
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  • Why the Exclusion Problem Seems Intractable and How, Just Maybe, to Tract It.Karen Bennett - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):471-97.
    The basic form of the exclusion problem is by now very, very familiar. 2 Start with the claim that the physical realm is causally complete: every physical thing that happens has a sufficient physical cause. Add in the claim that the mental and the physical are distinct. Toss in some claims about overdetermination, give it a stir, and voilá—suddenly it looks as though the mental never causes anything, at least nothing physical. As it is often put, the physical does all (...)
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  • Colour, Disjunctions, Programming.F. Jackson - 1998 - Analysis 58 (2):86-88.
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  • Jackson on Colour as a Primary Quality.D. McFarland & A. Miller - 1998 - Analysis 58 (2):76-85.
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  • Moral Facts as Configuring Causes.Terence Cuneo - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2):141–162.
    The overarching aim of this essay is to argue that moral realists should be "causalists" or claim that moral facts of certain kinds are causally efficacious. To this end, I engage in two tasks. The first is to develop an account of the sense in which moral facts of certain kinds are causally efficacious. After having sketched the concept of what I call a "configuring" cause, I contend that the exercise of the moral virtues is plausibly viewed as a configuring (...)
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  • Liberal Representationalism: A Deflationist Defense.Marc Artiga - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (3):407-430.
    The idea that only complex brains can possess genuine representations is an important element in mainstream philosophical thinking. An alternative view, which I label ‘liberal representationalism’, holds that we should accept the existence of many more full-blown representations, from activity in retinal ganglion cells to the neural states produced by innate releasing mechanisms in cognitively unsophisticated organisms. A promising way of supporting liberal representationalism is to show it to be a consequence of our best naturalistic theories of representation. However, several (...)
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  • The Generalized Integration Challenge in Metaethics.Laura Schroeter & François Schroeter - 2019 - Noûs 53 (1):192-223.
    The Generalized Integration Challenge is the task of providing, for a given domain of discourse, a simultaneously acceptable metaphysics, epistemology and metasemantics and showing them to be so. In this paper, we focus on a metaethical position for which seems particularly acute: the brand of normative realism which takes normative properties to be mind-independent and causally inert. The problem is that these metaphysical commitments seem to make normative knowledge impossible. We suggest that bringing metasemantics into play can help to resolve (...)
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  • Duties of Group Agents and Group Members.Stephanie Collins - 2017 - Journal of Social Philosophy 48 (1):38-57.
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  • Semantic Normativity and Semantic Causality.Lei Zhong - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (3):626-645.
    Semantic normativism, which is the view that semantic properties/concepts are some kind of normative properties/concepts, has become increasingly influential in contemporary meta-semantics. In this paper, I aim to argue that semantic normativism has difficulty accommodating the causal efficacy of semantic properties. In specific, I raise an exclusion problem for semantic normativism, inspired by the exclusion problem in the philosophy of mind. Moreover, I attempt to show that the exclusion problem for semantic normativism is peculiarly troublesome: while we can solve mental-physical (...)
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  • The Explanatory Role of Irreducible Properties.Michael Strevens - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):754-780.
    I aim to reconcile two apparently conflicting theses: (a) Everything that can be explained, can be explained in purely physical terms, that is, using the machinery of fundamental physics, and (b) some properties that play an explanatory role in the higher level sciences are irreducible in the strong sense that they are physically undefinable: their nature cannot be described using the vocabulary of physics. I investigate the contribution that physically undefinable properties typically make to explanations in the high-level sciences, and (...)
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  • Abstract Explanations in Science.Christopher Pincock - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (4):857-882.
    This article focuses on a case that expert practitioners count as an explanation: a mathematical account of Plateau’s laws for soap films. I argue that this example falls into a class of explanations that I call abstract explanations.explanations involve an appeal to a more abstract entity than the state of affairs being explained. I show that the abstract entity need not be causally relevant to the explanandum for its features to be explanatorily relevant. However, it remains unclear how to unify (...)
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  • The Explanatory Power of Deflationary Truth.Darren Bradley - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    It is widely believed that deflationary truth has no explanatory power. I will argue that it does. Specifically, I will consider some objections to deflationary truth having explanatory power, and argue that they fail. The position which will emerge is that the deflationary concept of truth is analogous to the concept of an average. Scientists take averages to be explanatory, and I will argue that the concept of deflationary truth is explanatory in the same way. I then argue that this (...)
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  • Emergent Chance.Christian List & Marcus Pivato - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (1):119-152.
    We offer a new argument for the claim that there can be non-degenerate objective chance (“true randomness”) in a deterministic world. Using a formal model of the relationship between different levels of description of a system, we show how objective chance at a higher level can coexist with its absence at a lower level. Unlike previous arguments for the level-specificity of chance, our argument shows, in a precise sense, that higher-level chance does not collapse into epistemic probability, despite higher-level properties (...)
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  • Causal Depth, Theoretical Appropriateness, and Individualism in Psychology.Robert A. Wilson - 1994 - Philosophy of Science 61 (1):55-75.
    Individualists claim that wide explanations in psychology are problematic. I argue that wide psychological explanations sometimes have greater explanatory power than individualistic explanations. The aspects of explanatory power I focus on are causal depth and theoretical appropriateness. Reflection on the depth and appropriateness of other wide explanations of behavior, such as evolutionary explanations, clarifies why wide psychological explanations sometimes have more causal depth and theoretical appropriateness than narrow psychological explanations. I also argue for the rejection of eliminative materialism.
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  • Making Up Your Mind: How Language Enables Self‐Knowledge, Self‐Knowability and Personhood.Philip Pettit - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (1):3-26.
    If language is to serve the basic purpose of communicating our attitudes, we must be constructed so as to form beliefs in those propositions that we truthfully assert on the basis of careful assent. Thus, other things being equal, I can rely on believing those things to which I give my careful assent. And so my ability to assent or dissent amounts to an ability to make up my mind about what I believe. This capacity, in tandem with a similar (...)
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  • Independence of Variables in Mental Causation.John Campbell - 2010 - Philosophical Issues 20 (1):64-79.
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  • Functionalism and The Independence Problems.Darren Bradley - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):545-557.
    The independence problems for functionalism stem from the worry that if functional properties are defined in terms of their causes and effects then such functional properties seem to be too intimately connected to these purported causes and effects. I distinguish three different ways the independence problems can be filled out – in terms of necessary connections, analytic connections and vacuous explanations. I argue that none of these present serious problems. Instead, they bring out some important and over-looked features of functionalism.
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  • A Metaphysics for Explanatory Ecumenism.Tamás Demeter - 2003 - Philosophica 71:99-115.
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  • Biological Functions and Natural Selection: A Reappraisal.Marc Artiga - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-22.
    The goal of this essay is to assess the Selected-Effects Etiological Theory of biological function, according to which a trait has a function F if and only if it has been selected for F. First, I argue that this approach should be understood as describing the paradigm case of functions, rather than as establishing necessary and sufficient conditions for function possession. I contend that, interpreted in this way, the selected-effects approach can explain two central properties of functions and can satisfactorily (...)
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  • Identity Theories.Thomas W. Polger - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):822-834.
    Identity theories are those that hold that 'sensations are brain processes'. In particular, they hold that mental/psychological state kinds are identical to brain/neuroscientific state kinds. In this paper, I isolate and explain some of the key features of contemporary identity theories. They are then contrasted with the main live alternatives by means of considering the two most important lines of objection to identity theories.
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  • Moral Explanation.Brad Majors - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (1):1–15.
    Discussion of moral explanation has reached an impasse, with proponents of contemporary ethical naturalism upholding the explanatory integrity of moral facts and properties, and opponents--including both antirealists and non-naturalistic realists--insisting that such robustly explanatory pretensions as moral theory has be explained away. I propose that the key to solving the problem lies in the question whether instances of moral properties are causally efficacious. It is argued that, given the truth of contemporary ethical naturalism, moral properties are causally efficacious if the (...)
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  • An Explanatory Challenge to Moral Reductionism.Lei Zhong - 2012 - Theoria 78 (4):309-325.
    It is generally believed that moral reductionism is immune from notorious problems in moral metaphysics and epistemology, such as the problem of moral explanation – it is at least on this dimension that moral reductionism scores better than moral anti- reductionism. However, in this article I reject this popular view. First, I argue that moral reductionism fails to help vindicate the explanatory efficacy of moral properties because the reductionist solution is either circular or otiose. Second, I attempt to show that (...)
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  • Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will. By Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown. [REVIEW]Daniel Lim - 2008 - Zygon 43 (3):748-753.
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  • Experiments on Causal Exclusion.Thomas Blanchard, Dylan Murray & Tania Lombrozo - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
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  • Habits and Explanation.Louis Caruana - 1998 - The Paidea Project.
    Habits form a crucial part of the everyday conceptual scheme used to explain normal human activity. However, they have been neglected in debates concerning folk-psychology which have concentrated on propositional attitudes such as beliefs. But propositional attitudes are just one of the many mental states. In this paper, I seek to expand the debate by considering mental states other than propositional attitudes. I conclude that the case for the autonomy and plausibility of the folk-psychological explanation is strengthened when one considers (...)
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  • Mathematical Indispensability and Arguments From Design.Silvia Jonas - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (5):2085-2102.
    The recognition of striking regularities in the physical world plays a major role in the justification of hypotheses and the development of new theories both in the natural sciences and in philosophy. However, while scientists consider only strictly natural hypotheses as explanations for such regularities, philosophers also explore meta-natural hypotheses. One example is mathematical realism, which proposes the existence of abstract mathematical entities as an explanation for the applicability of mathematics in the sciences. Another example is theism, which offers the (...)
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  • Platonic Relations and Mathematical Explanations.Robert Knowles - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (3):623-644.
    Some scientific explanations appear to turn on pure mathematical claims. The enhanced indispensability argument appeals to these ‘mathematical explanations’ in support of mathematical platonism. I argue that the success of this argument rests on the claim that mathematical explanations locate pure mathematical facts on which their physical explananda depend, and that any account of mathematical explanation that supports this claim fails to provide an adequate understanding of mathematical explanation.
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  • Building Low Level Causation Out of High Level Causation.Samuel Lee - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9927-9955.
    I argue that high level causal relationships are often more fundamental than low level causal relationships. My argument is based on some general principles governing when one causal relationship will metaphysically ground another—a phenomenon I term derivative causation. These principles are in turn based partly on our intuitive judgments concerning derivative causation in a series of representative examples, and partly on some powerful theoretical considerations in their favour. I show how these principles entail that low level causation can derive from (...)
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  • An Extra-Mathematical Program Explanation of Color Experience.Nicholas Danne - 2021 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 33 (3):153-173.
    In the debate over whether mathematical facts, properties, or entities explain physical events, Aidan Lyon’s affirmative answer...
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  • Deflationism and the Success Argument.By Nic Damnjanovic - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (218):53–67.
    Deflationists about truth typically deny that truth is a causal-explanatory property. However, the now familiar 'success argument' attempts to show that truth plays an important causal-explanatory role in explanations of practical success. Deflationists have standardly responded that the truth predicate appears in such explanations merely as a logical device, and that therefore truth has not been shown to play a causal-explanatory role. I argue that if we accept Jackson and Pettit's account of causal explanations, the standard deflationist response is inconsistent, (...)
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  • Naturalism in Metaethics.Jussi Suikkanen - 2016 - In Kelly James Clark (ed.), Blackwell Companion to Naturalism. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 351-368.
    This chapter offers an introduction to naturalist views in contemporary metaethics. Such views attempt to find a place for normative properties (such as goodness and rightness) in the concrete physical world as it is understood by both science and common sense. The chapter begins by introducing simple naturalist conceptual analyses of normative terms. It then explains how these analyses were rejected in the beginning of the 20th Century due to G.E. Moore’s influential Open Question Argument. After this, the chapter considers (...)
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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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  • A Causal Argument for Dualism.Bradford Saad - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2475-2506.
    Dualism holds that some mental events are fundamental and non-physical. I develop a prima facie plausible causal argument for dualism. The argument has several significant implications. First, it constitutes a new way of arguing for dualism. Second, it provides dualists with a parity response to causal arguments for physicalism. Third, it transforms the dialectical role of epiphenomenalism. Fourth, it refutes the view that causal considerations prima facie support physicalism but not dualism. After developing the causal argument for dualism and drawing (...)
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  • A Deductive-Nomological Model for Mathematical Scientific Explanation.Eduardo Castro - 2020 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 24 (1):1-27.
    I propose a deductive-nomological model for mathematical scientific explanation. In this regard, I modify Hempel’s deductive-nomological model and test it against some of the following recent paradigmatic examples of the mathematical explanation of empirical facts: the seven bridges of Königsberg, the North American synchronized cicadas, and Hénon-Heiles Hamiltonian systems. I argue that mathematical scientific explanations that invoke laws of nature are qualitative explanations, and ordinary scientific explanations that employ mathematics are quantitative explanations. I analyse the repercussions of this deductivenomological model (...)
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  • Why Change the Subject? On Collective Epistemic Agency.András Szigeti - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):843-864.
    This paper argues that group attitudes can be assessed in terms of standards of rationality and that group-level rationality need not be due to individual-level rationality. But it also argues that groups cannot be collective epistemic agents and are not collectively responsible for collective irrationality. I show that we do not need the concept of collective epistemic agency to explain how group-level irrationality can arise. Group-level irrationality arises because even rational individuals can fail to reason about how their attitudes will (...)
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  • Representing as Adapting.Benjamin Jarvis - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (1):17-39.
    In this paper, I recommend a creature-level theory of representing. On this theory, a creature represents some entity just in case the creature adapts its behavior to that entity. Adapting is analyzed in terms of establishing new patterns of behavior. The theory of representing as adapting is contrasted with traditional causal and informational theories of mental representation. Moreover, I examine the theory in light of Putnam-Burge style externalism; I show that Putnam-Burge style externalism follows from and is explained by it. (...)
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  • How Dispositions Can Be Causally Relevant.Agustin Vicente - 2002 - Erkenntnis 56 (3):329-344.
    The problem this paper deals with is the problem of how dispositional properties can have causal relevance. In particular, the paper is focused on the question of how dispositions can have causal relevance given that the categorial bases that realise them seem to be sufficient to bring about the effects that dispositions explain. I show first that this problem of exclusion has no general solution. Then, I discuss some particular cases in which dispositions are causally relevant, despite of this exclusion (...)
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  • Laws and Constrained Kinds: A Lesson From Motor Neuroscience.Brandon Towl - 2012 - Synthese 189 (3):433-450.
    In this paper, I want to explore the question of whether or not there are laws in psychology. Jaegwon Kim has argued (Supervenience and mind. MIT press, Cambridge; 1993; Mind in a physical world. MIT press, Cambridge 1998) that there are no laws in psychology that contain reference to multiply realized kinds, because statements about such kinds fail to be projectible. After reviewing Kim’s argument for this claim, I show how his conclusion hinges on a hidden assumption: that a kind (...)
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