Morality, the Problem of Possible Future Selves, and Christmas Parables

In my 2016 book, Rightness as Fairness: A Moral and Political Theory, I argue that morality is a solution to a problem of diachronic rationality called ‘the problem of possible future selves.’ To simplify (very) greatly, the problem–which is partially inspired by L.A. Paul’s groundbreaking work on transformative experience–is that (A) our present …

Explanatory vs. Defensive reasons

In this post I want to approach the topic of the previous post from a different angle. I raised two questions about the U&C study: whether people believe the comparative ratings (Question 1), and what inference, if any, leads them to their ultimate verdict (Question 2). Either question would be …

SpaceTimeMind

You may (or may not) have noticed that Pete Mandik and Richard Brown (me) have started a podcast, called SpaceTimeMind, where we talk about tax law updates for 2014, uh, I mean, er, we talk about space and time and mind! The first episode is up now (and has been …

Aristotle’s Illusion and The Peripheral Mind

In the first section of chapter 7 of The Peripheral Mind, I discuss Aristotle’s Illusion, a tactile-proprioceptive illusion that is very easy to replicate by crossing two of your hand fingers, and touching the region thus created between the fingertips with a cylindrical object. Most people report that they feel …

2013 Spindel Conference: The Lives of Human Animals

The problem of personal identity is one of the most bewitching puzzles in all of philosophy. Until very recently, most philosophers subscribed to the view first advocated by the 17th-century British philosopher, John Locke. Locke held that our fundamental nature is given by our status as self-conscious, rational agents (“persons”) …

A New Theory of Free Will

Just a quick note that I recently published an article in The Philosophical Forum , “A New Theory of Free Will“, that may be of interest to readers (a free PDF of the penultimate draft is available here).  Here’s the abstract:  This paper shows that several live philosophical and scientific hypotheses – including …

The Analytic Functionalists Were (Probably) Right!

The mind-body problem asks: How are mental states related to physical states of the brain, the body, and behavioral states more generally? Functionalists claim that mental states are identical with functional roles, defined as relations between environmental impingements, external behaviors, and other mental states.Analytic functionalists contend that these identities are imposed …

Call For Papers: Collective Intentionality

Collective Intentionality VIII University of Manchester August 28-31, 2012 Collective Intentionality VIII – as the name suggests! – is the eighth in a series of large-scale international events on joint and/or cooperative action, reasoning, decision, intention, attention, and associated mental and agential phenomena, topics that impact on issues in ethics …