Cognitive Science of Philosophy Symposium: Iterated Learning

Welcome to the Brains Blog’s Symposium series on the Cognitive Science of Philosophy. The aim of the series is to examine the use of methods from the cognitive sciences to generate philosophical insight. Each symposium is comprised of two parts. In the target post, a practitioner describes their use of …

Symposium on Joseph Gottlieb’s “Verbal Disputes in the Theory of Consciousness”

It’s my pleasure to introduce our next Ergo symposium, featuring Joseph Gottlieb’s “Verbal Disputes in the Theory of Consciousness“, including commentaries by Jonathan Farrell, Assaf Weksler, and Josh Weisberg. I’d like begin by thanking each of the participants for their great work.

Where Are All the Successful Analyses?

I promised a surprise for today’s post. It’s a nasty one. Philosophical analysis is a search for the essential natures of such things as knowledge, justice, and causality. I’ve been defending analysis on two fronts. First, I’ve argued that it its inputs—the case judgments delivered by our “starter theories” of …

Michael Silberstein Webinar on Explanatory Strategies in the Biological Sciences

The Brains blog is excited for the next Neural Mechanisms webinar this Friday. It is free. Find information about how and when to join the webinar here: https://www.neuralmechanisms.org/blog/25-january-michael-siblerstein-webinar-constraints-on-localization-and-decomposition-20 (and below). Constraints on Localization and Decomposition as Explanatory Strategies in the Biological Sciences 2.0 Michael Silberstein (Elizabethtown College) 25 January 2019h 15-17 …

Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds: Conceptual Analysis and Conceptual Engineering

In the previous post, I defended a restricted form of modal skepticism and I concluded that many traditional philosophical issues could not be resolved and should be set aside. One may wonder what is left for philosophers to do: Am I suggesting to close philosophy departments? Fear not, dear reader, …

Our New, Ongoing and Empirically Resolvable Debates over Reduction and Emergence

Some philosophers of science have suggested that scientific discussions of “reductionism” and “emergentism” are merely rhetorical funding grabs. But drawing together my work in earlier parts of the book, in the final section, Part IV, I outline how we are in substantive, ongoing and empirically resolvable scientific debates about the …

The Scientific Emergentist and her Striking Metaphysical Mutualism

Part III of the book focuses on reconstructing the scientific emergentism of writers like Anderson, Freeman, Laughlin, Prigogine, and others, and providing a theoretical framework for its claims. I argue that scientific emergentism is a philosophically overlooked, and profoundly important position, that I dub ‘Mutualism’ with a range of novel …

The Scientific Reductionist and her Live Fundamentalist Position

The widespread philosophical view is that reductionism in the sciences is a dead view and perhaps slightly distasteful to boot. As I outlined in an earlier post, the received view assumes that “reductionism” is semantic, or Nagelian, reduction. The goal of such semantic reduction was to show that higher sciences …

Understanding Compositional Explanations in the Sciences

Understanding the nature of “vertical” relations whether in science, nature, mathematics, logic, or anywhere else, is a hot topic in philosophy. What is unfortunate is that, as yet, too little attention is paid to focused issues about what frameworks work best for the “vertical” relations in particular areas. However, it …

Metaphysics of Science vs. Metaphysics for Science: Scientific and Philosophical Frameworks

Part I of the book clears space for later work and supplies a key theoretical platform. To get us started, I briefly sketch the outlines of the scientific views to highlight how they differ from philosophical accounts of reduction /emergence; and to broach a diagnosis of how the dislocation between …

Revisiting Reduction and Emergence in the Sciences

Many thanks to John Schwenkler for allowing me to blog here about my new book Reduction and Emergence in Science and Philosophy. The book is long, so I will seek to unpack the main themes of the book’s four sections in subsequent posts. At the end of this post, I …

Anxiety about the internal

This post ends with a brief discussion about anxiety about the internal. I take that anxiety to arise when we see strong arguments for the idea that theories cannot successfully posit non-reducible mental states that provide distinctive causal explanations. The idea that the causal powers producing our beliefs, actions and …

Modeling and the autonomy of psychology

Modeling has come to occupy a central place in philosophy of science. In recent decades, an enormous amount has been written on the practices of model construction, how models represent their targets, how models relate to simulations and theories, and how models are validated and verified.

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 …

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 …

Fodorian Philosophy of Psychology

The following six theses characterize what I will call Fodorian Philosophy of Psychology (FPP, for short): There are psychological laws Psychological laws are required for psychological explanations Predicates used to express scientific laws pick out genuine properties Genuine properties are properties that ground causal relations Psychological properties are functional properties …

Temporal Compartmentalization, Declarative Memory, and Consciousness

I recently read a very interesting opinion in Nature by Tu & Knight titled “Metabolic cycles as an underlying basis for biological oscillations” (2006).  The main idea of the paper is that many periodic processes in organisms, specifically, the circadian cycle, hibernation cycle, and sleep-wake cycle, can be partially explained in terms …

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