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81. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Julian Savulescu, Ingmar Persson Moral Enhancement, Freedom, and the God Machine
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82. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Alfred Mele Another Scientific Threat to Free Will?
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83. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Robyn Repko Waller Beyond Button Presses: The Neuroscience of Free and Morally Appraisable Actions
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84. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Andrew Fenton Neuroscience and the Problem of Other Animal Minds: Why It May Not Matter So Much for Neuroethics
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A recent argument in the neuroethics literature has suggested that brain-mental-state identities (one popular expression of what is commonly known as neuroreductionism) promise to settle epistemological uncertainties about nonhuman animal minds. What’s more, these brain-mental-state identities offer the further promise of dismantling the deadlock over the moral status of nonhuman animals, to positive affect in such areas as agriculture and laboratory animal science. I will argue that neuroscientific claims assuming brain-mental-state identities do not so much resolve the problem of other animal minds as mark its resolution. In the meantime, we must rely on the tools available to us, including those provided by such behavioral sciences as cognitive ethology, comparativepsychology, and ethology as well as the neurosciences. Focusing on captive animal research, I will also argue that humane experimentalists do not doubt that many of their research subjects have minds (in some substantive sense of that term). In that light, to suggest that the resolution of the problem of other animal minds would change the scientific use of animals misses the point at issue. Instead, what is required is a ‘sea change’ in the perceived grounds for human moral obligations to nonhumans. It is difficult to see how brain-mental-state identities could be the deciding factor in this continuing issue in applied ethics.
85. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Andy Lamey Primitive Self-Consciousness and Avian Cognition
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86. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Juha Räikkä, Saul Smilansky The Ethics of Alien Attitudes
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87. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Amie L. Thomasson Experimental Philosophy and the Methods of Ontology
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Those working in experimental philosophy have raised a number of arguments against the use of conceptual analysis in philosophical inquiries. But they have typically focused on a model that pursues conceptual analysis by taking intuitions as a kind of (defeasible) evidence for philosophical hypotheses. Little attention has been given to the constitutivist alternative, which sees metaphysical modal facts as reflections of constitutive semantic rules. I begin with a brief overviewof the constitutivist approach and argue that we can defend a role for conceptual analysis, so understood, in ontological disputes against both the general skepticism about the relevance of intuitions, and against the specific worries raised by experimental results. Finally, I argue that even if the constitutivist view is adopted, experimental philosophy may still have quite a useful role to play, though purely empirical inquiries cannot in principle do the ontological work alone.
88. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Jonathan M. Weinberg, Joshua Alexander, Chad Gonnerman, Shane Reuter Restrictionism and Reflection: Challenge Deflected, or Simply Redirected?
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It has become increasingly popular to respond to experimental philosophy by suggesting that experimental philosophers haven’t been studying the right kind of thing. One version of this kind of response, which we call the reflection defense, involves suggesting both that philosophers are interested only in intuitions that are the product of careful reflection on the details of hypothetical cases and the key concepts involved in those cases, and that these kinds of philosophical intuitions haven’t yet been (and possibly cannot be) adequately studied by experimental philosophers. Of course, as a defensivemove, thisworks only if reflective intuitions are immune from the kinds of problematic effects that form the basis of recent experimental challenges to philosophy’s intuition-deployingpractices. If they are not immune (or at least sufficiently less vulnerable) to these kinds of effects, then the fact that experimental philosophers have not had the right kind of thing in their sights would provide little comfort to folks invested in philosophy’s intuition-deploying practices. Here we provide reasons to worry that even reflective intuitions can display sensitivity to the same kinds of problematic effects, although possibly in slightly different ways. As it turns out, being reflective might sometimes just mean being wrong in a different way.
89. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Niki Pfeifer Experiments on Aristotle’s Thesis: Towards an Experimental Philosophy of Conditionals
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Two experiments (N1 = 141, N2 = 40) investigate two versions of Aristotle’s Thesis for the first time. Aristotle’s Thesis is a negated conditional, which consists of one propositional variable with a negation either in the antecedent (version 1) or in the consequent (version 2). This task allows us to infer if people interpret indicative conditionals as material conditionals or as conditional events. In the first experiment I investigate between-participants the two versions of Aristotle’s Thesis crossed with abstract versus concrete task material. The modal response for all four groups is consistent with the conditional event and inconsistentwith the material conditional interpretation. This observation is replicated in the second experiment. Moreover, the second experiment rules out scope ambiguities of the negation of conditionals. Both experiments provide new evidence against thematerial conditional interpretation of conditionals and support the conditional event interpretation. Finally, I discuss implications formodeling indicative conditionals and the relevance of this work for experimental philosophy
90. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Florian Cova, Nicolas Pain Can Folk Aesthetics Ground Aesthetic Realism?
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We challenge an argument that aims to support Aesthetic Realism by claiming, first, that common sense is realist about aesthetic judgments because it considers that aesthetic judgments can be right or wrong, and, second, that becauseAesthetic Realism comes from and accounts for “folk aesthetics,” it is the best aesthetic theory available.We empirically evaluate this argument by probing whether ordinary people with no training whatsoever in the subtle debates of aesthetic philosophy consider their aesthetic judgments as right or wrong. Having shown that the results do not support the main premise of the argument, we discuss the consequences for Aesthetic Realism and address possible objections to our study.