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Employing Robots

Abstract

In this paper, I am concerned with what automation—widely considered to be the “future of work”—holds for the artificially intelligent agents we aim to employ. My guiding question is whether it is normatively problematic to employ artificially intelligent agents like, for example, autonomous robots as workers. The answer I propose is the following. There is nothing inherently normatively problematic about employing autonomous robots as workers. Still, we must not put them to perform just any work, if we want to avoid blame. This might not sound like much of a limitation. Interestingly, however, we can argue for this claim based on metaphysically and normatively parsimonious grounds. Namely, all I rely on when arguing for my claim is that the robots we aim to employ exhibit a kind of autonomy.

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Agnosticism, Inquiry, and Unanswerable Questions

Abstract

In her paper “Why Suspend Judging?” Jane Friedman has argued that being agnostic about some question entails that one has an inquiring attitude towards that question. Call this the agnostic-as-inquirer thesis. I argue that the agnostic-as-inquirer thesis is implausible. Specifically, I maintain that the agnostic-as-inquirer thesis requires that we deny the existence of a kind of agent that plausibly exists; namely, one who is both agnostic about Q because they regard their available evidence as insufficient for answering Q and who decides not to inquire into Q because they believe Q to be unanswerable. I claim that it is not only possible for such an agent to exist, but that such an agent is also epistemically permissible.

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REC: Just Radical Enough

Abstract

We address some frequently encountered criticisms of Radical Embodied/Enactive Cognition. Contrary to the claims that the position is too radical, or not sufficiently so, we claim REC is just radical enough.

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Evolved Mechanisms Versus Underlying Conditional Relations

Abstract

The social contracts theory claims that, in social exchange circumstances, human reasoning is not necessarily led by logic, but by certain evolved mental mechanisms that are useful for catching offenders. An emblematic experiment carried out with the intention to prove this thesis is the first experiment described by Fiddick, Cosmides, and Tooby in their paper of 2000. Lopez Astorga has questioned that experiment claiming that its results depend on an underlying conditional logical form not taken into account by Fiddick, Cosmides, and Tooby. In this paper, I propose an explanation alternative to that of Lopez Astorga, which does not depend on logical forms and is based on the mental models theory. Thus, I conclude that this other alternative explanation is one more proof that the experiment in question does not demonstrate the fundamental thesis of the social contracts theory.

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Norms in Deliberation: The Role of the Principles of Justice and Universalization in Practical Discourses on the Justice of Norms

Abstract

Discursive theories of justice have been questioned for putting forward high-level principles that should nevertheless play a role in practical discourses in which the justice of a claim is at stake. Here, I will critically examine and systematize the main tenets in Rawls’s and Habermas’s discursive theories, and will suggest that the principles of justice (Rawls) and universalization (Habermas) can and play the role of mandates of optimalization in real deliberations on justice.

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Ad Hominem Arguments, Rhetoric, and Science Communication

Abstract

In this paper, I contend that evidence-focused strategies of science communication may be complemented by possibly more effective rhetorical arguments in current public debates on vaccines. I analyse the case of direct science communication - that is, communication of evidence - and show that it is difficult to effectively communicate evidential standards of science in the presence of well-equipped anti-science movements. Instead, I argue that effective rhetorical tools involve ad hominem strategies, that is, arguments involving claims of expertise. I provide a rationale, and sketch a methodology, for using ad hominem arguments in science communication.

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The Problems of the Mental Logic with the Double Negation: The Necessity of a Semantic Approach

Abstract

The double negation has always been considered by the logical systems from ancient times to the present. In fact, that is an issue that the current syntactic theories studying human reasoning, for example, the mental logic theory, address today. However, in this paper, I claim that, in the case of some languages such as Spanish, the double negation causes problems for the cognitive theories mainly based on formal schemata and supporting the idea of a universal syntax of thought in the human mind. Thus, I propose that, given those problems, semantic frameworks such as that of the mental models theory seem to be more appropriate for explaining the human inferential activity.

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Without Qualification: An Inquiry Into the Secundum Quid

Abstract

In this paper I will consider several interpretations of the fallacy of secundum quid as it is given by Aristotle in the Sophistical Refutations and argue that they do not work, one reason for which is that they all imply that the fallacy depends on language and thus fail to explain why Aristotle lists this fallacy among the fallacies not depending on language (extra dictione), amounting often to a claim that Aristotle miscategorises this fallacy. I will argue for a reading that preserves Aristotle’s categorization by a quite different account of how qualifications function.

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The Hard Problem Of Content: Solved (Long Ago)

Abstract

In this paper, I argue that even if the Hard Problem of Content, as identified by Hutto and Myin, is important, it was already solved in naturalized semantics, and satisfactory solutions to the problem do not rely merely on the notion of information as covariance. I point out that Hutto and Myin have double standards for linguistic and mental representation, which leads to a peculiar inconsistency. Were they to apply the same standards to basic and linguistic minds, they would either have to embrace representationalism or turn to semantic nihilism, which is, as I argue, an unstable and unattractive position. Hence, I conclude, their book does not offer an alternative to representationalism. At the same time, it reminds us that representational talk in cognitive science cannot be taken for granted and that information is different from mental representation. Although this claim is not new, Hutto and Myin defend it forcefully and elegantly.

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Logical Culture as a Common Ground for the Lvov-Warsaw School and the Informal Logic Initiative

Abstract

In this paper, we will explore two initiatives that focus on the importance of employing logical theories in educating people how to think and reason properly, one in Poland: The Lvov-Warsaw School; the other in North America: The Informal Logic Initiative. These two movements differ in the logical means and skills that they focus on. However, we believe that they share a common purpose: to educate students in logic and reasoning (logical education conceived as a process) so that they may be able to apply their skills to analyze the issues in their society (logical culture as a result of logical education). The aim of the paper is to justify this claim by exploring research objectives and products that are common to both movements.

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