Results for 'Brent Ables'

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Brent Ables
University of Guelph
  1. Disagreement and Philosophical Progress.Brent Ables - 2015 - Logos and Episteme 6 (1): 115-127.
    In “Belief in the Face of Controversy,” Hilary Kornblith argues for a radical form of epistemic modesty: given that there has been no demonstrable cumulativeprogress in the history of philosophy – as there has been in formal logic, math, and science – Kornblith concludes that philosophers do not have the epistemic credibility to be trusted as authorities on the questions they attempt to answer. After reconstructing Kornblith's position, I will suggest that it requires us to adopt a different conception of (...)
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  2. Meditation and the Scope of Mental Action.Michael Brent & Candace Upton - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (1):52-71.
    While philosophers of mind have devoted abundant time and attention to questions of content and consciousness, philosophical questions about the nature and scope of mental action have been relatively neglected. Galen Strawson’s account of mental action, arguably the most well-known extant account, holds that cognitive mental action consists in triggering the delivery of content to one’s field of consciousness. However, Strawson fails to recognize several distinct types of mental action that might not reduce to triggering content delivery. In this paper, (...)
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  3. Agent Causation as a Solution to the Problem of Action.Michael Brent - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):656-673.
    My primary aim is to defend a nonreductive solution to the problem of action. I argue that when you are performing an overt bodily action, you are playing an irreducible causal role in bringing about, sustaining, and controlling the movements of your body, a causal role best understood as an instance of agent causation. Thus, the solution that I defend employs a notion of agent causation, though emphatically not in defence of an account of free will, as most theories of (...)
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  4. The Influence of Social Interaction on Intuitions of Objectivity and Subjectivity.Fisher Matthew, Knobe Joshua, Strickland Brent & C. Keil Frank - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (4):1119-1134.
    We present experimental evidence that people's modes of social interaction influence their construal of truth. Participants who engaged in cooperative interactions were less inclined to agree that there was an objective truth about that topic than were those who engaged in a competitive interaction. Follow-up experiments ruled out alternative explanations and indicated that the changes in objectivity are explained by argumentative mindsets: When people are in cooperative arguments, they see the truth as more subjective. These findings can help inform research (...)
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  5.  61
    Rational and Social Agency: The Philosophy of Michael Bratman, Edited by Manuel Vargas and Gideon Yaffe.Michael Brent - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (3):371-374.
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  6.  14
    Confessions of a Deluded Westerner.Michael Brent - 2018 - Journal of Buddhist Ethics 25:689-713.
    In this paper, I aim to make two general points. First, I claim that the discussions in Repetti (2017) assume different, sometimes conflicting, notions of free will, so the guiding question of the book is not as clear as it could be. Second, according to Buddhist tradition, the path to enlightenment requires rejecting the delusional belief in the existence of a persisting self. I claim that if there is no persisting self, there are no intentional actions; and, if there are (...)
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  7.  26
    Effort and the Standard Story of Action.Michael Brent - 2012 - Philosophical Writings 40:19 - 27.
    In this paper, I present an alternative account of action that improves upon what has come to be known as the standard story. The standard story depicts actions as events that are caused by and made intelligible through the appropriate combinations of the agent’s beliefs, desires, decisions, intentions and other motivational factors. I argue that the standard story is problematic because it depicts the relation between the agent and their bodily actions as causally mediated by their motivational factors. On the (...)
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  8. Understanding Strength of Will.Michael Brent - 2014 - In Fabio Bacchini Massimo Dell'Utri & Stefano Caputo (eds.), New Advances in Causation, Agency, and Moral Responsibility. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 165-178.
    Richard Holton has presented an important criticism of two prominent accounts of action, a criticism that employs a notion of strength of will. Holton claims that these well-known accounts of action cannot explain cases in which an agent adheres to the dictates of a previous resolution in spite of a persistent desire to the contrary. In this chapter, I present an explanation and defense of Holton’s criticism of these accounts of action, and then I argue that while Holton highlights a (...)
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  9. Explaining Explanations in AI.Brent Mittelstadt - forthcoming - FAT* 2019 Proceedings 1.
    Recent work on interpretability in machine learning and AI has focused on the building of simplified models that approximate the true criteria used to make decisions. These models are a useful pedagogical device for teaching trained professionals how to predict what decisions will be made by the complex system, and most importantly how the system might break. However, when considering any such model it’s important to remember Box’s maxim that "All models are wrong but some are useful." We focus on (...)
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  10. Transparent, Explainable, and Accountable AI for Robotics.Sandra Wachter, Brent Mittelstadt & Luciano Floridi - 2017 - Science (Robotics) 2 (6):eaan6080.
    To create fair and accountable AI and robotics, we need precise regulation and better methods to certify, explain, and audit inscrutable systems.
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  11. The Ethics of Algorithms: Mapping the Debate.Brent Mittelstadt, Patrick Allo, Mariarosaria Taddeo, Sandra Wachter & Luciano Floridi - 2016 - Big Data and Society 3 (2).
    In information societies, operations, decisions and choices previously left to humans are increasingly delegated to algorithms, which may advise, if not decide, about how data should be interpreted and what actions should be taken as a result. More and more often, algorithms mediate social processes, business transactions, governmental decisions, and how we perceive, understand, and interact among ourselves and with the environment. Gaps between the design and operation of algorithms and our understanding of their ethical implications can have severe consequences (...)
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  12. The Hunting of the SNaRC: A Snarky Solution to the Species Problem.Brent D. Mishler & John S. Wilkins - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (1).
    We argue that the logical outcome of the cladistics revolution in biological systematics, and the move towards rankless phylogenetic classification of nested monophyletic groups as formalized in the PhyloCode, is to eliminate the species rank along with all the others and simply name clades. We propose that the lowest level of formally named clade be the SNaRC, the Smallest Named and Registered Clade. The SNaRC is an epistemic level in the classification, not an ontic one. Naming stops at that level (...)
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  13. The Ethical Implications of Personal Health Monitoring.Brent Mittelstadt - 2014 - International Journal of Technoethics 5 (2):37-60.
    Personal Health Monitoring (PHM) uses electronic devices which monitor and record health-related data outside a hospital, usually within the home. This paper examines the ethical issues raised by PHM. Eight themes describing the ethical implications of PHM are identified through a review of 68 academic articles concerning PHM. The identified themes include privacy, autonomy, obtrusiveness and visibility, stigma and identity, medicalisation, social isolation, delivery of care, and safety and technological need. The issues around each of these are discussed. The system (...)
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  14. Revealing the Language of Thought.Brent Silby - manuscript
    Language of thought theories fall primarily into two views. The first view sees the language of thought as an innate language known as mentalese, which is hypothesized to operate at a level below conscious awareness while at the same time operating at a higher level than the neural events in the brain. The second view supposes that the language of thought is not innate. Rather, the language of thought is natural language. So, as an English speaker, my language of thought (...)
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  15. How Are Thick Terms Evaluative?Brent G. Kyle - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13:1-20.
    Ethicists are typically willing to grant that thick terms (e.g. ‘courageous’ and ‘murder’) are somehow associated with evaluations. But they tend to disagree about what exactly this relationship is. Does a thick term’s evaluation come by way of its semantic content? Or is the evaluation pragmatically associated with the thick term (e.g. via conversational implicature)? In this paper, I argue that thick terms are semantically associated with evaluations. In particular, I argue that many thick concepts (if not all) conceptually entail (...)
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  16. Diseases, Patients and the Epistemology of Practice: Mapping the Borders of Health, Medicine and Care.Michael Loughlin, Robyn Bluhm, Jonathan Fuller, Stephen Buetow, Benjamin R. Lewis & Brent M. Kious - 2015 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 21 (3):357-364.
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  17.  54
    Designing the Health-Related Internet of Things: Ethical Principles and Guidelines.Brent Mittelstadt - 2017 - Information 8 (3):77.
    The conjunction of wireless computing, ubiquitous Internet access, and the miniaturisation of sensors have opened the door for technological applications that can monitor health and well-being outside of formal healthcare systems. The health-related Internet of Things (H-IoT) increasingly plays a key role in health management by providing real-time tele-monitoring of patients, testing of treatments, actuation of medical devices, and fitness and well-being monitoring. Given its numerous applications and proposed benefits, adoption by medical and social care institutions and consumers may be (...)
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  18.  42
    Ethics of the Health-Related Internet of Things: A Narrative Review.Brent Mittelstadt - 2017 - Ethics and Information Technology 19 (3):1-19.
    The internet of things is increasingly spreading into the domain of medical and social care. Internet-enabled devices for monitoring and managing the health and well-being of users outside of traditional medical institutions have rapidly become common tools to support healthcare. Health-related internet of things (H-IoT) technologies increasingly play a key role in health management, for purposes including disease prevention, real-time tele-monitoring of patient’s functions, testing of treatments, fitness and well-being monitoring, medication dispensation, and health research data collection. H-IoT promises many (...)
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  19. Thick Concepts.Brent G. Kyle - 2016 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A term expresses a thick concept if it expresses a specific evaluative concept that is also substantially descriptive. It is a matter of debate how this rough account should be unpacked, but examples can help to convey the basic idea. Thick concepts are often illustrated with virtue concepts like courageous and generous, action concepts like murder and betray, epistemic concepts like dogmatic and wise, and aesthetic concepts like gaudy and brilliant. These concepts seem to be evaluative, unlike purely descriptive concepts (...)
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  20. Distinguishing Ecological From Evolutionary Approaches to Transposable Elements.Stefan Linquist, Brent Saylor, Karl Cottenie, Tyler A. Elliott, Stefan C. Kremer & T. Ryan Gregory - 2013 - Biological Reviews 88 (3):573- 584.
    Considerable variation exists not only in the kinds of transposable elements (TEs) occurring within the genomes of different species, but also in their abundance and distribution. Noting a similarity to the assortment of organisms among ecosystems, some researchers have called for an ecological approach to the study of transposon dynamics. However, there are several ways to adopt such an approach, and it is sometimes unclear what an ecological perspective will add to the existing co-evolutionary framework for explaining transposon-host interactions. This (...)
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  21.  70
    Hiddenness, Holiness, and Impurity.Brent G. Kyle - 2017 - Religious Studies 53 (2):239-259.
    John Schellenberg has advanced the hiddenness argument against God’s existence, based on the idea that an all-loving God would seek personal relationships. This article develops a reply to Schellenberg’s argument by examining the notion of moral impurity, as understood by Paul the Apostle. Paul conceptualized moral impurity as a causal state that transfers from person to person, like a contagious disease. He also believed that moral impurity precludes divine–human relationship. The goal of this article is to develop these ideas into (...)
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  22.  58
    Revamping the Metaphysics of Ethnobiological Classification.David Ludwig - 2018 - Current Anthropology 59 (4):415-438.
    Ethnobiology has a long tradition of metaphysical debates about the “naturalness,” “objectivity”, “reality”, and “universality” of classifications. Especially the work of Brent Berlin has been influential in developing a “convergence metaphysics” that explains cross-cultural similarities of knowledge systems through shared recognition of objective discontinuities in nature. Despite its influence on the development of the field, convergence metaphysics has largely fallen out of favor as contemporary ethnobiologists tend to emphasize the locality and diversity of classificatory practices. The aim of this (...)
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  23. The New and Old Ignorance Puzzles: How Badly Do We Need Closure?Brent G. Kyle - 2015 - Synthese 192 (5):1495-1525.
    Skeptical puzzles and arguments often employ knowledge-closure principles . Epistemologists widely believe that an adequate reply to the skeptic should explain why her reasoning is appealing albeit misleading; but it’s unclear what would explain the appeal of the skeptic’s closure principle, if not for its truth. In this paper, I aim to challenge the widespread commitment to knowledge-closure. But I proceed by first examining a new puzzle about failing to know—what I call the New Ignorance Puzzle . This puzzle resembles (...)
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  24. Knowledge as a Thick Concept: Explaining Why the Gettier Problem Arises.Brent G. Kyle - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):1-27.
    The Gettier problem has stymied epistemologists. But, whether or not this problem is resolvable, we still must face an important question: Why does the Gettier problem arise in the first place? So far, philosophers have seen it as either a problem peculiar to the concept of knowledge, or else an instance of a general problem about conceptual analysis. But I would like to steer a middle course. I argue that the Gettier problem arises because knowledge is a thick concept, and (...)
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  25. The Ghostly Illusion of Freewill.Brent Silby - 2012 - Cafe Philosophy 4 (Jan/Feb 2012).
    During my childhood I was fascinated by videogames. One game that stands out in my memory is Pacman. It wasn’t the gameplay that interested me so much as the behavior of the ghosts. As you watch them roam around the maze, you get the feeling that they are intelligent. They seem to be making decisions about how best to catch Pacman. But how free are their decisions? One of the interesting things I noticed was that I could play exactly the (...)
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  26. Review of 'The Lewd, the Rude, and the Nasty: A Study of Thick Concepts in Ethics' by Pekka Väyrynen. [REVIEW]Brent G. Kyle - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):576-582.
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  27.  84
    Courage, Cowardice, and Maher’s Misstep.Brent G. Kyle - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (4):565-587.
    Could a Nazi soldier or terrorist be courageous? The Courage Problem asks us to answer this sort of question, and then to explain why people are reluctant to give this answer. The present paper sheds new light on the Courage Problem by examining a controversy sparked by Bill Maher, who claimed that the 9/11 terrorists’ acts were ‘not cowardly.’ It is shown that Maher's controversy is fundamentally related to the Courage Problem. Then, a unified solution to both problems is provided. (...)
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  28. Punishing and Atoning: A New Critique of Penal Substitution.Brent G. Kyle - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (2):201-218.
    The doctrine of penal substitution claims that it was good (or required) for God to punish in response to human sin, and that Christ received this punishment in our stead. I argue that this doctrine’s central factual claim—that Christ was punished by God—is mistaken. In order to punish someone, one must at least believe the recipient is responsible for an offense. But God surely did not believe the innocent Christ was responsible for an offense, let alone the offense of human (...)
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  29. The Simulated Universe.Brent Silby - 2009 - Philosophy Now 75 (75):28-30.
    This article explores the Simulated Universe argument with particular reference to Nick Bostrom’s formulation. After providing an exposition of the argument, I address two problems and conclude that we reject the possibility that we exist in a simulation.
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  30. The Problem of Qualia.Brent Silby - unknown
    One of the major concerns for the contemporary philosophy of mind involves the problem of qualia. The word qualia refers to our subjective experience of the world and includes the properties of our experience that cannot be located in the world external to our minds. For example, the ineffable feel of a blue experience when one looks at the sky, or the pain one feels when one is stuck with a pin. These sensations are the essence of our experience and (...)
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  31.  82
    Dennett's Reduction of Brentano's Intentionality.Brent Silby - 2008 - Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 7.
    In this paper I compare two different approaches to the supposed distinction between the mental and the physical: 1. Brentano's theory of `Intentionality', which, in its early formulation, proposes a true distinction between physical objects and the objects of thought; and 2. Dennett's `Intentional Systems Theory', which is an attempt to naturalise the mind and to reduce mental phenomena such as beliefs and desires to simple physical systems.
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  32.  30
    Knowledge as a Thick Concept: New Light on the Gettier and Value Problems.Brent G. Kyle - 2011 - Dissertation, Cornell University
    I argue that knowledge is a particular kind of concept known as a thick concept. Examples of thick concepts include courage, generosity, loyalty, brutality, and so forth. These concepts are commonly said to combine both evaluation and description, and one of the main goals of this dissertation is to provide a new account of how a thick concept combines these elements. It is argued that thick concepts are semantically evaluative, and that they combine evaluation and description in a way similar (...)
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  33. Rethinking Education: Should We Replace Old with New.Brent Silby - 2013 - Journal Of Education.
    In his recent article "Advent of Google means we must rethink our approach to education", Sugata Mitra argues that our education system needs to change. He suggests that the existence of modern technologies such as Google make the skills of the past obsolete. For Mitra, the only reason we continue to teach skills such as longhand multiplication is because we have some sort of romantic attachment to the past. In this short article I respond to his central claim that we (...)
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  34. On The Conceivability of Zombies.Brent Silby - 1998 - In Jack Copeland (ed.), Philosophy research paper series - Dept Philosophy, University of Canterbury.
    In this paper I begin by explaining the concept of supervenience. I then describe the problem of qualia and explain why qualia are a problem for physicalist theories of the mind. Next, I outline the zombie argument and explain Chalmers' attempt to use it as an argument for the conclusion that qualia do not logically supervene on the physical. My goal is to show that the supposed conceivability of zombies does not offer any serious refutation of physicalist theories of the (...)
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  35. Is Problem-Based Learning Superior to Direct Instruction.Brent Silby - 2013 - Journal of Education.
    In this essay I argue that theorists such as Kohn and Mitra have been too hasty in pronouncing the superiority of problem-based learning over direct instruction.
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  36.  96
    Philosophy in Schools.Brent Silby - 2017 - Ezinearticles.
    Over recent years there has been a growing movement pushing for the inclusion of Philosophy in schools.[1] -/- As a subject, Philosophy is broad. It can be separated into many sub-disciplines such as Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Mind, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science, to name a few. These sub-disciplines reduce back to three broad pillars of Philosophy: Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Axiology. -/- Regardless of where one’s philosophical interest sits, the essential skill set remains the same. This is the ability (...)
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  37.  24
    The Problem of Evil - A Socratic Dialogue.Brent Silby - manuscript
    Epicurus asked: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” This Socratic dialogue explores a popular version of the Argument From Evil. Suitable as an introduction to the topic.
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  38. Wittgenstein - Meaning and Representation.Brent Silby - 2007 - Analysis and Metaphysics 6.
    For Wittgenstein, all aspects of the human mind are inescapably dependent upon the use of language. A cartesian view would maintain that thoughts and representation are possible without language, but Wittgenstein does not agree. In this paper I will describe Wittgenstein's theories of consciousness and representation. One of the central goals for Wittgenstein was to account for meaning. Wittgenstein offers two accounts of human consciousness. I will describe the early view, which was contained in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. I will then (...)
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  39.  18
    The Problem of Evil - A Socratic Dialogue.Brent Silby - 2017 - Cafe Philosophy.
    Epicurus asked: -/- “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” -/- This Socratic dialogue, suitable to an introductory audience, explores a popular version of the argument from evil.
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  40.  62
    On a Distinction Between Access and Phenomenal Consciousness.Brent Silby - manuscript
    In his paper "On A Confusion about a Function of Consciousness", Ned Block claims that the concept of consciousness is best described as a mongrel concept. -/- For Block, the word "consciousness" refers to many different concepts and phenomena that have been bundled together under the one concept. Block suggests that we run into problems when we analyse certain aspects of consciousness using premises that cannot be applied to other aspects of consciousness. In an effort to clear up the confusion (...)
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  41.  46
    Alternatives to HOT Theories of Consciousness.Brent Silby - manuscript
    Higher-order thought theories (or HOT theories) state that a mental state is conscious only when it is accompanied by a higher-order thought (HOT). -/- The thought that makes a state conscious is not conscious in itself, but having that thought is what make the state of which it is about conscious. If there is no HOT about a mental state, then that state is not a conscious state. On this view, a state can only be a conscious state if we (...)
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  42.  11
    Punishment (an Introductory Socratic Dialogue).Brent Silby - manuscript
    In this modern Socratic dialogue, Socrates discusses the nature of punishment with a friend who believes that criminals are dealt with too softly. Socrates argues that retributive punishment is unjust.
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