The concepts of mental disorder, or illness, are ascribed to
deviations from normal thoughts, reasoning, feelings, attitudes, and
actions that are by their subjects, or by others, considered socially
or personally dysfunctional and apt for treatment. Schizophrenia,
depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse, and mania
are examples. The concept of mental disorder or illness plays a role
in many domains, including medicine, social sciences such as
psychology and anthropology, and the humanities, including literature
and philosophy. Philosophical discussions are the primary focus of the
present entry, which differs from the entry on Philosophy of
Psychiatry in noting several different approaches—not only those
of the philosophy of science and mind, but also those arising from
phenomenological and social theory traditions.
I’m talking about carbon dioxide scrubbers. This post will just be an extended quote from an excellent book, which is free online:
• David McKay, Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air. It will help us begin to understand the economics. …
Biological market theory has in recent years become an important part of the social evolutionist’s toolkit. This article discusses the explanatory potential and pitfalls of biological market theory in the context of big picture accounts of the evolution of human cooperation and morality. I begin by assessing an influential account that presents biological market dynamics as a key driver of the evolution of fairness norms in humans. I argue that this account is problematic for theoretical, empirical, and conceptual reasons. After mapping the evidential and explanatory limits of biological market theory, I suggest that it can nevertheless fill a lacuna in an alternative account of hominin evolution. Trade on a biological marketplace can help explain why norm-based cooperation did not break down when our late-Pleistocene ancestors entered new, challenging social and economic environments.
This article describes some recent work on ‘direct air capture’ of carbon dioxide—essentially, sucking it out of the air:
• Jon Gerntner, The tiny Swiss company that thinks it can help stop climate change, New York Times Magazine, 12 February 2019. …
This paper is an attempt to articulate and defend a new imperative, Auschwitz survivor Charlotte Delbo’s Il faut donner à voir: “They must be made to see.” Assuming the ‘they’ in Delbo’s imperative is ‘us’ gives rise to three questions: (1) what must we see? (2) can we see it? and (3) why is it that we must? I maintain that what we must see is the reality of evil; that we are by and large unwilling, and often unable, to see the reality of evil; and that if there is to be comprehension of—to say nothing of justice for—the survivors of evil, we nonetheless must.
Is it appropriate to honour artists who have created great works but who have also acted immorally? In this paper, after arguing that honouring involves picking out a person as someone we ought to admire, we present three moral reasons against honouring immoral artists. First, we argue that honouring can serve to condone their behaviour, through the mediums of emotional prioritization and exemplar identification. Second, we argue that honouring immoral artists can generate undue epistemic credibility for the artists, which can lead to an indirect form of testimonial injustice for the artists’ victims. Third, we argue, building on the first two reasons, that honouring immoral artists can also serve to silence their victims. We end by considering how we might respond to these reasons.
We argue that the most plausible characterisation of the norm of truth—it is permissible to believe that p if and only if p is true—is unable to explain Transparency in doxastic deliberation, a task for which it is claimed to be equipped. In addition, the failure of the norm to do this work undermines the most plausible account of how the norm guides belief formation at all. Those attracted to normativism about belief for its perceived explanatory credentials had better look elsewhere.
What is self-defense? Most theorists of self-defense are mainly interested in explaining why and when we are morally justified in defending ourselves from a threat posed by another. The moral questions here are important, not just because self-defense represents an interesting moral conundrum, but because morality, at least in this case, is, or should be, a reliable guide to the law. So theorists of self-defense often start with paradigm cases—the culpable aggressor, the justified aggressor, the innocent aggressor, the innocent threat, and so on—and try to explain moral intuitions about them with the help of moral theory, whether Hohfeldian, utilitarian, Thomist, or other. Progress has been achieved in this way, but, like Uwe Steinhoff, I think it is worth asking the question of what, exactly, is supposed to count as self defense.
As part of its imitation of a Platonic dialogue, Bernard Suits’s The Grasshopper: Games, Life, and Utopia mimics the structure found in many such dialogues. They raise a substantive issue about, say, virtue or justice, but then say that to address it properly we must first answer the definitional question “what is virtue?” or “what is justice?” The Grasshopper likewise starts by proposing an evaluative thesis, that playing games is good in itself and even constitutes the “ideal of existence,” but then switches in a long middle section to the analytical question of what it is to play a game, where it gives a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for doing so. Only when that is done does it return to the evaluative thesis, its defence of which turns crucially on the analysis it’s given. Socrates would applaud.
Today I will summarise the account of
pain and pleasure provided in The
Emotional Mind. This builds on the account of valent representation that I
outlined yesterday. However, the first thing to note that is although valent
representation is representation in a valent (i.e. …
While there is more to being honest than not lying, becoming the sort of person who does not lie unjustifiably is essential to becoming an honest person. This paper will provide an account of the underlying psychology of a certain kind of lie: namely, morally unjustified lies we tell due to a perceived benefit to ourselves. The proposal is that such lies naturally spring from a personal orientation to the world that centers on self-protection, self-preservation, and self-enhancement. This analysis suggests that a way to refrain from lying is to engage in a relationally-connected way of life that brings about an alternative orientation to the world in which one’s protection, preservation, and reputation are secure apart from lying. An aspect of this new orientation will be the emerging willingness to relinquish control over the perceived disadvantages of honesty. So, on this view, lying (and other forms of dishonesty) is largely unnecessary when the perceived disadvantages are no longer viewed as a threat to one’s secure standing in the world.
What are the demands of religious inquiry? More precisely, what qualities or capacities are required for getting to the truth about religious reality? One natural, if less than illuminating, answer is: the same qualities and capacities necessary for getting to the truth about other, nonreligious features of reality. Which are these? An initial list might include a favorable network of background beliefs, well-functioning cognitive faculties, natural cognitive ability, and the intellectual skills required for good thinking and reasoning. This list, while a reasonable start, is incomplete, even as an account of the demands of non-religious knowledge. For, a person can have the relevant beliefs, faculties, abilities, and skills but be unmotivated to use them, or be disposed to use them in the wrong way, at the wrong time, in the wrong amount, and so on. While intellectually well-equipped in certain respects, this person might be intellectually lazy, hasty, narrow-minded, or cowardly. Therefore, at least one additional item needs to be added to the list, namely, good intellectual character or the possession of intellectual virtues like curiosity, open-mindedness, intellectual carefulness, and intellectual courage.
According to one familiar way of thinking about humility, it is comprised of a certain attitude or orientation toward one’s limitations. Minimally, a humble person is aware of, rather than oblivious to or in denial about, her limitations. But such awareness is not sufficient for humility, for a person could be aware of but chronically irritated by or defensive about her limitations. As such, she would be less than humble. Accordingly, humility also involves accepting or “owning” one’s limitations.
Although enactive approaches to cognition vary in terms of their character and scope, all endorse several core claims. The first is that cognition is tied to action. Thinking, feeling, and perceiving are the “enactment of a world and a mind on the basis of a history of the variety of actions that a being in the world performs” (Varela et al. 1991, p. 9). The second is that cognition is composed of more than just in-the-head processes. Because cognitive activities are irreducibly embodied and situated, they are made up of processes looping through brain, body, and world — and thus (at least partially) externalized via features of our embodiment and in our ecological dealings with the people and things around us.
The received view of implicit bias holds that it is associative and unreflective. Recently, the received view has been challenged. Some argue that implicit bias is not predicated on “any” associative process, and it is unreflective. These arguments rely, in part, on debiasing experiments. They proceed as follows. If implicit bias is associative and unreflective, then certain experimental manipulations cannot change implicitly biased behavior. However, these manipulations can change such behavior. So, implicit bias is not associative and unreflective. This paper finds philosophical and empirical problems with that argument. When the problems are solved, the conclusion is only half right: implicit bias is not necessarily unreflective, but it seems to be associative. Further, the paper shows that even if legitimate non-associative interventions on implicit bias exist, then both the received view and its recent contender would be false. In their stead would be interactionism or minimalism about implicit bias.
If you take the entries Pascal’s triangle mod 2 and draw black for 1 and white for 0, you get a pleasing pattern:
The th row consists of all 1’s. If you look at the triangle consisting of the first rows, and take the limit as you get a fractal called the Sierpinski gasket. …
If you ever visit Rome, and wander through the Colosseum or Circus Maximus, it’s hard not to be struck by a sense of fragility and impermanence. Here are the remnants of the most powerful and complex of ancient European societies, now reduced to ruin and rubble. …
This paper explores two experiment designs that seek to determine the extent to which, if at all, observation can be free from theory. The two designs are compared and found to be similar in certain ways. One particular feature critical to both is that they seek to create conditions that compel test subjects with diverse theoretical backgrounds to resort to bare observational skills. If judgments made on the basis of these skills converge, such convergence would provide support for the view that theory-neutral observations can be had. Keywords: theory-ladenness; cognitive penetrability of perception; observation reports; perceptual beliefs.
How can we explain how we, as people, differ from the individuals of other species? None of the common responses such as by 'being rational', 'having language', 'submitting to moral rules', 'establishing institutions' are sufficiently explanatory as they are all based on concepts that are themselves in dire need of explanation. In this paper we try to characterize the difference in terms of the kind of world we inhabit; and we propose that what differentiates our world from those inhabited by other species is our world's normative dimension. This, we also argue, is congenial with the intentions of Kant (not to mention later thinkers like Wittgenstein or Sellars). Thus our world is a normative world and we humans are normative creatures.
Part 1 of The Implicit Mind makes the case that “implicit attitudes” are mental states that cause us to act in relatively spontaneous ways, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. I offer an unorthodox description of implicit attitudes, distinguish implicit attitudes from other folk psychological kinds, and show how implicit attitudes help to explain paradigmatic cases of spontaneous action. …
This paper defends the use of quasi-experiments for causal estimation in economics against the widespread objection that quasi-experimental estimates lack external validity. The defence is that quasi-experimental replication of estimates can yield defeasible evidence for external validity. The paper then develops a different objection. The stable unit treatment value assumption (SUTVA), on which quasi-experiments rely, is argued to be implausible due to the influence of social interaction effects on economic outcomes. A more plausible stable marginal unit treatment value assumption (SMUTVA) is proposed, but it is demonstrated to severely limit the usefulness of quasi-experiments for economic policy evaluation.
Les éthiques animale et environnementale devraient converger vers les trois jugements de valeur suivants: les écosystèmes naturels impliquent généralement plus de bien que de mal, la prédation dans la nature a tendance à produire des avantages nets positifs et, au moins à l’échelle mondiale, l’élevage animal détruit plus de valeur qu’il n’en crée. Mais les critères écocentriques de l’éthique environnementale et les critères de l’éthique animale fondés sur la sentience pourraient avoir des implications divergentes sur l’effet principal du capitalisme sur le monde: l’effondrement de la nature sauvage dû à la croissance explosive de l’économie humaine. Le sentientisme risque de considérer cet effet comme un gain net, alors que l’écocentrisme le considère sûrement comme une perte nette massive. Tout en soutenant les affirmations ci-dessus, je montre comment elles s’intègrent dans un argument plus large en faveur d’une théorie de la valeur écocentrique plus englobante propre à l’éthique environnementale et contre l’axiologie sentientiste plus étroite de l’éthique animale.
This paper develops and articulates a metaphysics of intersectionality, the idea that multiple axes of social oppression cross-cut each other. Though intersectionality is often described through metaphor, rigorous theories of intersectionality can be formulated using the tools of contemporary analytic metaphysics. A central tenet of intersectionality theory, that intersectional identities are inseparable, can be framed in terms of explanatory unity. Further, intersectionality is best understood as metaphysical and explanatory priority of the intersectional category over its constituents, comparable to metaphysical priority of the whole over its parts.
Here is a suggestive Thomistic line of thought in favor of the essentiality of origins—i.e., the principle that the causes of things are essential to them. Consider two possible cases where a seed is produced in the same apple tree T:
A seed is produced at t because of the tree’s exercise of seed-producing powers together with God’s cooperative exercise of primary causation. …
How can we work out who should be listed as an author of a paper? This problem is pressing: both co-authorship, the number of co-authors are drastically increasing. In May 2015, a paper giving an improved measurement of the mass of the Higgs Boson bringing together the ATLAS and CMS collaborations in CERN was published by Physical Review Letters (Aad et al 2015). This paper listed some 5,154 authors, a significant number of whom were deceased at the time of publication. This list was derived from the members of ATLAS and CMS, many of whom will not have contributed to the research or writing, or have even read the paper. There are a huge number of approaches to co-authorship: Some papers list authors alphabetically, others by order of contribution, others by seniority, while others give special significance to positions (typically first, second, and last positions). Some disciplines (especially in the humanities) typically list only the person who has done most work as an author, whereas others list everyone in the organisation or lab, irrespective of whether they have done any work on the paper. Although some disciplines have clear norms, in many disciplines it is unclear – or simply indeterminate – what the norms for ascribing authorship are.
Followers of this blog will recall my post from October 30, where I solicited ideas about a "Kindness Assignment" for my lower-division philosophy class "Evil". The assignment was to perform ninety minutes of kindness for one or more people, with no formal accountability or reward. …
You know the type. Always quick to blame you for your moral complacency. Always righteously indignant at your moral failings. Always keen to highlight their virtue and your vice. I am talking about moralists, of course. …
Most philosophical discussions of mindreading stay squarely within the
realm of philosophy of psychology. Theorizing about mindreading plays a role in
debates about the modularity of the mind, the representational theory of mind,
language development, the semantics of ordinary language use, etc. …
Gender classifications often are controversial. These controversies typically focus on whether gender classifications align with facts about gender kind membership: Could someone really be nonbinary? Is Chris Mosier (a trans man) really a man? I think this is a bad approach. Consider the possibility of ontological oppression, which arises when social kinds operating in a context unjustly constrain the behaviors, concepts, or affect of certain groups. Gender kinds operating in dominant contexts, I argue, oppress trans and nonbinary persons in this way: they marginalize trans men and women, and exclude nonbinary persons. As a result, facts about membership in dominant gender kinds should not settle gender classification practices.
What makes an epistemic norm distinctively epistemic? According to the received view in the literature, if a norm N regulates the epistemic properties required for permissibly phi-ing, then N is an epistemic norm. This paper is involved in conceptual engineering. It has two aims: first, it argues that the received view should be abandoned, in that it fails to identify epistemic and only epistemic requirements, and it misses fit with the general normative landscape. At the same time, I argue, the failure of the received view is no reason for skepticism about ‘the epistemic’ as a sui generis normative domain. This paper’s second and central aim is an ameliorative aim: it proposes a novel approach to individuating epistemic norms. In a nutshell, according to the ameliorative proposal I will develop here, epistemic norms are to be individuated by their association with distinctively epistemic values.