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Archive for the ‘Experimental Philosophy’ Category

Joshua Knobe (Yale) in the New York Times. (HT: X-Phi FB Page)

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A discussion at Experiential Philosophy. (HT: X-Phi FB Page)

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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (henceforth TMS) has already been shown to be able to alter our neurological processes and thereby alter our moods and behavior. A recent study, for example, involved subjects whose neurological processes were altered via TMS (more specifically, the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was exposed to TMS). The result was that subjects were more likely to agree to unfair distributions of resources in the Ultimatum Game

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In “Agent Causation” Timothy O’Connor makes a passing assertion that there are many unresolved questions for materialist agency as he posits it, and that many of these questions are empirical in nature and can only be resolved with “extensive advancements within neurobiological science.” [1] Two particularly salient questions are (1) “Precisely to what extent is an ordinary human’s behavior directly regulated by the agent himself, and to what extent is it controlled by microdeterministic processes?”[2] And (2) whether microdeterministic processes can be predicted or not. While O’Connor may believe that advances in neuroscience will reinforce rather than call into question his theory, this is not the case. Stretching from the 1980s to a recent study in 2008, neuroscience has demonstrated that predictive brain activity can be seen to occur prior to a test subject’s consciousness of making a decision. From Libet to present, these studies provide damaging replies to the questions which O’Connor’s theory leaves unanswered. (more…)

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Yale will be hosting a bootcamp and workshop on Experimental Philosophy of Free Will for graduate students and faculty:

The Experimental Philosophy of Free Will Workshop and Boot Camp is an opportunity for philosophers to gain the skills they need to conduct cutting-edge research in the experimental philosophy of free will. (more…)

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From Eric Schwitzgebel (UC-Riverside), on professors’ views on the importance of voting:

Professors appear to think that voting regularly in public elections is about as morally good as donating 10% of one’s income to charity. This seems, anyway, to be suggested by the results of a survey Josh Rust and I sent earlier this year to hundreds of U.S. professors, ethicists and non-ethicists, both inside and outside of philosophy. (The survey is also described in a couple of previous posts at The Splintered Mind.)

(HT: Jon Jacobs)

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From Western Michigan University:

We are pleased to announce a call for papers for Western Michigan University’s 4th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference. Papers are due October 22, and the conference takes place December 3-5. Acceptances will be issued by October 29. All local expenses (inc.housing and food) will be covered. Our keynote speakers this year are Joshua Knobe (Yale) and Edouard Machery (Pitt HPS). While we are especially interested in papers that engage their work, papers of any topic will be considered. More details—including submission guidelines—may be found here, though note that October 22 is the revised deadline. Any questions may be addressed to the conference organizers.

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