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Philosophies, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 2018)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Empathy and Vicarious Experience. Congruence or Identical Emotion?
Philosophies 2018, 3(2), 6; doi:10.3390/philosophies3020006
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
Feeling empathy is something that happens, an experience we can remember once we have had it, or an experience we would like to have. I consider empathy, from an integral point of view (i.e., cognitive and emotive aspects are part of empathy), as
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Feeling empathy is something that happens, an experience we can remember once we have had it, or an experience we would like to have. I consider empathy, from an integral point of view (i.e., cognitive and emotive aspects are part of empathy), as the capacity of putting oneself in the place of others. Although, by this time, my general characterization of empathy will not be discussed, I will focus on one question about empathy for which there is still no agreement: whether the emotion of the person experiencing empathy must be identical or not to the emotion felt by the person being empathized with. The aim of this work is, firstly, to reduce the four possibilities about the relationship between the empathizer’s emotion and the emotion felt by the person who is the target of empathy to two exhaustive and exclusive views: (1) the idea of identity of emotions between the empathizer and the target and (2) the point of view of the congruence of emotions between the empathizer and the target, both being cases of personal emotional experiences. Secondly, I suggest that these possibilities may make up an exclusive disjunctive argument, showing that problems with the first part of the argument or the premise would lead us to accept the second part: to feel empathy we do not need to feel exactly the same emotion that the object of empathy feels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy of Cognitive Science: Selected Papers from WPCS 2017)
Open AccessArticle The Modal—Amodal Distinction in the Debate on Conceptual Format
Philosophies 2018, 3(2), 7; doi:10.3390/philosophies3020007
Received: 10 February 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, I review the main criteria offered for distinguishing the modal and amodal approaches to conceptual format: the type of input to which the representations respond, the relation they bear to perceptual states, and the specific neural systems to which they
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In this paper, I review the main criteria offered for distinguishing the modal and amodal approaches to conceptual format: the type of input to which the representations respond, the relation they bear to perceptual states, and the specific neural systems to which they belong. I evaluate different interpretations of them and argue that they all face difficulties. I further show that they lead to cross-classifications of certain types of representations, using approximate number representations as an example. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy of Cognitive Science: Selected Papers from WPCS 2017)
Open AccessArticle Empirical Support for Perceptual Conceptualism
Philosophies 2018, 3(2), 8; doi:10.3390/philosophies3020008
Received: 7 February 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
The main objective of this paper is to show that perceptual conceptualism can be understood as an empirically meaningful position and, furthermore, that there is some degree of empirical support for its main theses. In order to do this, I will start by
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The main objective of this paper is to show that perceptual conceptualism can be understood as an empirically meaningful position and, furthermore, that there is some degree of empirical support for its main theses. In order to do this, I will start by offering an empirical reading of the conceptualist position, and making three predictions from it. Then, I will consider recent experimental results from cognitive sciences that seem to point towards those predictions. I will conclude that, while the evidence offered by those experiments is far from decisive, it is enough not only to show that conceptualism is an empirically meaningful position but also that there is empirical support for it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy of Cognitive Science: Selected Papers from WPCS 2017)
Open AccessArticle Space and Time as Relations: The Theoretical Approach of Leibniz
Philosophies 2018, 3(2), 9; doi:10.3390/philosophies3020009
Received: 17 December 2017 / Revised: 11 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
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Abstract
The epistemological rupture of Copernicus, the laws of planetary motions of Kepler, the comprehensive physical observations of Galileo and Huygens, the conception of relativity, and the physical theory of Newton were components of an extremely fertile and influential cognitive environment that prompted the
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The epistemological rupture of Copernicus, the laws of planetary motions of Kepler, the comprehensive physical observations of Galileo and Huygens, the conception of relativity, and the physical theory of Newton were components of an extremely fertile and influential cognitive environment that prompted the restless Leibniz to shape an innovative theory of space and time. This theory expressed some of the concerns and intuitions of the scientific community of the seventeenth century, in particular the scientific group of the Academy of Sciences of Paris, but remained relatively unknown until the twentieth century. After Einstein, however, the relational theory of Leibniz gained wider respect and fame. The aim of this article is to explain how Leibniz foresaw relativity, through his critique of contemporary mechanistic philosophy. Full article
Open AccessArticle How to Make Correct Predictions in False Belief Tasks without Attributing False Beliefs: An Analysis of Alternative Inferences and How to Avoid Them
Philosophies 2018, 3(2), 10; doi:10.3390/philosophies3020010
Received: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract
The use of new paradigms of false belief tasks (FBT) allowed to reduce the age of children who pass the test from the previous 4 years in the standard version to only 15 months or even a striking 6 months in the nonverbal
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The use of new paradigms of false belief tasks (FBT) allowed to reduce the age of children who pass the test from the previous 4 years in the standard version to only 15 months or even a striking 6 months in the nonverbal modification. These results are often taken as evidence that infants already possess an—at least implicit—theory of mind (ToM). We criticize this inferential leap on the grounds that inferring a ToM from the predictive success on a false belief task requires to assume as premise that a belief reasoning is a necessary condition for correct action prediction. It is argued that the FBT does not satisfactorily constrain the predictive means, leaving room for the use of belief-independent inferences (that can rely on the attribution of non-representational mental states or the consideration of behavioral patterns that dispense any reference to other minds). These heuristics, when applied to the FBT, can achieve the same predictive success of a belief-based inference because information provided by the test stimulus allows the recognition of particular situations that can be subsumed by their ‘laws’. Instead of solving this issue by designing a single experimentum crucis that would render unfeasible the use of non-representational inferences, we suggest the application of a set of tests in which, although individually they can support inferences dissociated from a ToM, only an inference that makes use of false beliefs is able to correctly predict all the outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy of Cognitive Science: Selected Papers from WPCS 2017)
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Open AccessArticle Cajal’s Law of Dynamic Polarization: Mechanism and Design
Philosophies 2018, 3(2), 11; doi:10.3390/philosophies3020011
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
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Abstract
Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the primary architect of the neuron doctrine and the law of dynamic polarization, is considered to be the founder of modern neuroscience. At the same time, many philosophers, historians, and neuroscientists agree that modern neuroscience embodies a mechanistic perspective
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Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the primary architect of the neuron doctrine and the law of dynamic polarization, is considered to be the founder of modern neuroscience. At the same time, many philosophers, historians, and neuroscientists agree that modern neuroscience embodies a mechanistic perspective on the explanation of the nervous system. In this paper, I review the extant mechanistic interpretation of Cajal’s contribution to modern neuroscience. Then, I argue that the extant mechanistic interpretation fails to capture the explanatory import of Cajal’s law of dynamic polarization. My claim is that the definitive formulation of Cajal’s law of dynamic polarization, despite its mechanistic inaccuracies, embodies a non-mechanistic pattern of reasoning (i.e., design explanation) that is an integral component of modern neuroscience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy of Cognitive Science: Selected Papers from WPCS 2017)
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Open AccessArticle (Mind)-Reading Maps
Philosophies 2018, 3(2), 12; doi:10.3390/philosophies3020012
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
In a two-system theory for mind-reading, a flexible system (FS) enables full-blown mind-reading, and an efficient system (ES) enables early mind-reading. Efficient processing differs from flexible processing in terms of restrictions on the kind of input it can take and the kinds of
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In a two-system theory for mind-reading, a flexible system (FS) enables full-blown mind-reading, and an efficient system (ES) enables early mind-reading. Efficient processing differs from flexible processing in terms of restrictions on the kind of input it can take and the kinds of mental states it can ascribe (output). Thus, systems are not continuous and each relies on different representations: the FS on beliefs and other propositional attitudes, and the ES on belief-like states or registrations. There is a conceptual problem in distinguishing the representations each system operates with. They contend that they can solve this problem by appealing to a characterization of registrations based on signature limits, but this does not work. I suggest a solution to this problem. The difference between registration and belief becomes clearer if each vehicle turns out to be different. I offer some reasons in support of this proposal related to the performance of spontaneous-response false belief tasks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy of Cognitive Science: Selected Papers from WPCS 2017)
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