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Seth Goldwasser
University of Pittsburgh
  1. Trusting Traumatic Memory: Considerations from Memory Science.Alison Springle, Rebecca Dreier & Seth Goldwasser - 2023 - Philosophy of Science:1-14.
    Court cases involving sexual assault and police violence rely heavily on victim testimony. We consider what we call the “Traumatic Untrustworthiness Argument (TUA)” according to which we should be skeptical about victim testimony because people are particularly liable to misremember traumatic events. The TUA is not obviously based in mere distrust of women, people of color, disabled people, poor people, etc. Rather, it seeks to justify skepticism on epistemic and empirical grounds. We consider how the TUA might appeal to the (...)
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  2. Standard Aberration: Cancer Biology and the Modeling Account of Normal Function.Seth Goldwasser - 2023 - Biology and Philosophy 38 (1):(4) 1-33.
    Cancer biology features the ascription of normal functions to parts of cancers. At least some ascriptions of function in cancer biology track local normality of parts within the global abnormality of the aberration to which those parts belong. That is, cancer biologists identify as functions activities that, in some sense, parts of cancers are supposed to perform, despite cancers themselves having no purpose. The present paper provides a theory to accommodate these normal function ascriptions—I call it the Modeling Account of (...)
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  3. Memory as Skill.Seth Goldwasser - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 14 (3):833-856.
    The temporal structure for motivating, monitoring, and making sense of agency depends on encoding, maintaining, and accessing the right contents at the right times. These functions are facilitated by memory. Moreover, in informing action, memory is itself often active. That remembering is essential to and an expression of agency and is often active suggests that it is a type of action. Despite this, Galen Strawson (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 103, 227–257, 2003) and Alfred Mele (2009) deny that remembering is (...)
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  4. Finding Normality in Abnormality: On the Ascription of Normal Functions to Cancer.Seth Goldwasser - 2023 - Philosophy of Science:1-14.
    Cancer biologists ascribe normal functions to parts of cancer. Normal functions are activities that parts of systems are in some minimal sense supposed to perform. Cancer biologists’ finding normality within the abnormality of cancer pose difficulties for two main approaches to normal function. One approach claims that normal functions are activities that parts are selected for. However, some parts of cancers that have normal functions aren’t selected to perform them. The other approach claims that normal functions are part-activities typical for (...)
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    Trauma, trust, & competent testimony.Seth Goldwasser & Alison Springle - 2023 - Philosophical Psychology 37 (1):167-195.
    Public discourse implicitly appeals to what we call the “Traumatic Untrustworthiness Argument” (TUA). To motivate, articulate, and assess the TUA, we appeal to Hawley’s (2019) commitment account of trust and trustworthiness. On Hawley’s account, being trustworthy consists in the successful avoidance of unfulfilled commitments and involves three components: the actual avoidance of unfulfilled commitments, sincerity in one’s taking on elective commitments, and competence in fulfilling commitments one has incurred. In contexts of testimony, what’s at issue is the speaker’s competence and (...)
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