Synthese

http://link.springer.com/journal/11229

List of Papers (Total 358)

The feeling of grip: novelty, error dynamics, and the predictive brain

According to the free energy principle biological agents resist a tendency to disorder in their interactions with a dynamically changing environment by keeping themselves in sensory and physiological states that are expected given their embodiment and the niche they inhabit (Friston in Nat Rev Neurosci 11(2):127–138, 2010. doi:10.​1038/​nrn2787). Why would a biological agent that ...

Naïve realism about unconscious perception

Recently, it has been objected that naïve realism is inconsistent with an empirically well-supported claim that mental states of the same fundamental kind as ordinary conscious seeing can occur unconsciously (SFK). The main aim of this paper is to establish the following conditional claim: if SFK turns out to be true, the naïve realist can and should accommodate it into her theory. ...

Intellectual autonomy, epistemic dependence and cognitive enhancement

Intellectual autonomy has long been identified as an epistemic virtue, one that has been championed influentially by (among others) Kant, Hume and Emerson. Manifesting intellectual autonomy, at least, in a virtuous way, does not require that we form our beliefs in cognitive isolation. Rather, as Roberts and Wood (Intellectual virtues: an essay in regulative epistemology, OUP ...

Mechanisms without mechanistic explanation

Some recent accounts of constitutive relevance have identified mechanism components with entities that are causal intermediaries between the input and output of a mechanism. I argue that on such accounts there is no distinctive inter-level form of mechanistic explanation and that this highlights an absence in the literature of a compelling argument that there are such explanations. ...

Deflationism beyond arithmetic

The conservativeness argument poses a dilemma to deflationism about truth, according to which a deflationist theory of truth must be conservative but no adequate theory of truth is conservative. The debate on the conservativeness argument has so far been framed in a specific formal setting, where theories of truth are formulated over arithmetical base theories. I will argue that ...

Inferentialism and knowledge: Brandom’s arguments against reliabilism

I take issue with Robert Brandom’s claim that on an analysis of knowledge based on objective probabilities it is not possible to provide a stable answer to the question whether a belief has the status of knowledge. I argue that the version of the problem of generality developed by Brandom doesn’t undermine a truth-tracking account of noninferential knowledge that construes ...

Dreams, agency, and judgement

Sosa (Proc Addresses Am Philos Assoc 79(2): 7–18, 2005) argues that we should reject the orthodox conception of dreaming—the view that dream states and waking states are “intrinsically alike, though different in their causes and effects” (2005: p. 7). The alternative he proposes is that “to dream is to imagine” (2005: p. 7). According to this imagination model of dreaming, our ...

Due deference to denialism: explaining ordinary people’s rejection of established scientific findings

There is a robust scientific consensus concerning climate change and evolution. But many people reject these expert views, in favour of beliefs that are strongly at variance with the evidence. It is tempting to try to explain these beliefs by reference to ignorance or irrationality, but those who reject the expert view seem often to be no worse informed or any less rational than ...

Implicit trust in clinical decision-making by multidisciplinary teams

In clinical practice, decision-making is not performed by individual knowers but by an assemblage of people and instruments in which no one member has full access to every piece of evidence. This is due to decision making teams consisting of members with different kinds of expertise, as well as to organisational and time constraints. This raises important questions for the ...

Why the social sciences are irreducible

It is often claimed that the social sciences cannot be reduced to a lower-level individualistic science. The standard argument for this position (usually labelled explanatory holism) is the Fodorian multiple realizability argument. Its defenders endorse token–token(s) identities between “higher-level” social objects and pluralities/sums of “lower-level” individuals (a position ...

Hoops and Barns: a new dilemma for Sosa

This paper critically assesses Sosa’s normative framework for performances as well as its application to epistemology. We first develop a problem for one of Sosa’s central theses in the general theory of performance normativity according to which performances attain fully desirable status if and only if they are fully apt. More specifically, we argue that given Sosa’s account of ...

Part of nature and division in Margaret Cavendish’s materialism

This paper pursues a question about the spatial relations between the three types of matter posited in Margaret Cavendish’s metaphysics. It examines the doctrine of complete blending and a distinctive argument against atomism, looking for grounds on which Cavendish can reject the existence of spatial regions composed of only one or two types of matter. It establishes, through that ...

Lessons from the Large Hadron Collider for model-based experimentation: the concept of a model of data acquisition and the scope of the hierarchy of models

According to the hierarchy of models (HoM) account of scientific experimentation developed by Patrick Suppes and elaborated by Deborah Mayo, theoretical considerations about the phenomena of interest are involved in an experiment through theoretical models that in turn relate to experimental data through data models, via the linkage of experimental models. In this paper, I dispute ...

Time travel, hyperspace and Cheshire Cats

H. G. Wells’ Time Traveller inhabits uniform Newtonian time. Where relativistic/quantum travelers into the past follow spacetime curvatures, past-bound Wellsians must reverse their direction of travel relative to absolute time. William Grey and Robin Le Poidevin claim reversing Wellsians must overlap with themselves or fade away piecemeal like the Cheshire Cat. Self-overlap is ...

The epistemic superiority of experiment to simulation

This paper defends the naïve thesis that the method of experiment has per se an epistemic superiority over the method of computer simulation, a view that has been rejected by some philosophers writing about simulation, and whose grounds have been hard to pin down by its defenders. I further argue that this superiority does not come from the experiment’s object being materially ...

Predictive processing and the representation wars: a victory for the eliminativist (via fictionalism)

In this paper I argue that, by combining eliminativist and fictionalist approaches toward the sub-personal representational posits of predictive processing, we arrive at an empirically robust and yet metaphysically innocuous cognitive scientific framework. I begin the paper by providing a non-representational account of the five key posits of predictive processing ...

The logic of epistemic justification

Theories of epistemic justification are commonly assessed by exploring their predictions about particular hypothetical cases—predictions as to whether justification is present or absent in this or that case. With a few exceptions, it is much less common for theories of epistemic justification to be assessed by exploring their predictions about logical principles. The exceptions are ...

On pain experience, multidisciplinary integration and the level-laden conception of science

Multidisciplinary models aggregating ‘lower-level’ biological and ‘higher-level’ psychological and social determinants of a phenomenon raise a puzzle. How is the interaction between the physical, the psychological and the social conceptualized and explained? Using biopsychosocial models of pain as an illustration, I argue that these models are in fact level-neutral compilations of ...

Why the Canberra plan won’t help you do serious metaphysics

Jackson (From metaphysics to ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998) argues that conceptual analysis plays a modest, albeit crucial, role in ‘serious metaphysics’: roughly, the project of demystifying phenomena we take to be mysterious by locating them in the natural world. This defence of conceptual analysis is associated with ‘the Canberra Plan’, a philosophical ...

Bayesian cognitive science, predictive brains, and the nativism debate

The rise of Bayesianism in cognitive science promises to shape the debate between nativists and empiricists into more productive forms—or so have claimed several philosophers and cognitive scientists. The present paper explicates this claim, distinguishing different ways of understanding it. After clarifying what is at stake in the controversy between nativists and empiricists, and ...

Can the empirical sciences contribute to the moral realism/anti-realism debate?

An increasing number of moral realists and anti-realists have recently attempted to support their views by appeal to science. Arguments of this kind (such as evolutionary debunking arguments or arguments from moral disagreement) are typically criticized on the object-level. In addition, however, one occasionally also comes across a more sweeping metatheoretical skepticism. ...