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Abell, Catharine, , . Art: What It Is and Why It Matters
2012, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85: 671–91.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Content: The first three sections of this paper offer a very useful overview of modern definitions of art. Most major types of definitions are introduced and explained in a succinct way, followed by a discussion of selected objections they face. First, Abell introduces functionalism and discusses its problems with extensional adequacy. Second, procedural theories including Dickie’s institutional and Levinson’s historical definitions are discussed, and criticized for their circularity and inability to account for art’s value. Next, Abell considers two mixed theories, formulated by Robert Stecker and David Davies. She shows how they can overcome the difficulties discussed above, but run into their own problems. Finally, Berys Gaut’s cluster account is introduced and criticized for its circularity and difficulties in determining all sufficiency conditions for being an artwork. In the remainder of the paper Abell focuses on developing her own version of the institutional theory.

Comment: This text can provide the students with an overview of modern definitions of art. Theories are presented in a clear, succinct way, with their main features, strengths and weaknesses identified. The selection of objections discussed, however, is not representative – rather it serves the aim of developing Abell’s own definition. The later sections of the text are excellent, but address much more complex issues and are significantly less accessible for undergraduate students. They might be used in Masters level teaching or as advanced further reading on the institutional definition.

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Drayson, Zoe, , . Extended cognition and the metaphysics of mind
2010, Cognitive Systems Research 11 (4):367-377.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Juan R. Loaiza

Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between several ideas about the mind and cognition. The hypothesis of extended cognition claims that cognitive processes can and do extend outside the head, that elements of the world around us can actually become parts of our cognitive systems. It has recently been suggested that the hypothesis of extended cognition is entailed by one of the foremost philosophical positions on the nature of the mind: functionalism, the thesis that mental states are defined by their functional relations rather than by their physical constituents. Furthermore, it has been claimed that functionalism entails a version of extended cognition which is sufficiently radical as to be obviously false. I survey the debate and propose several ways of avoiding this conclusion, emphasizing the importance of distinguishing the hypothesis of extended cognition from the related notion of the extended mind.

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Figdor, Carrie, , . Neuroscience and the multiple realization of cognitive functions
2010, Philosophy of Science 77 (3):419-456.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Carrie Figdor

Article: Many empirically minded philosophers have used neuroscientific data to argue against the multiple realization of cognitive functions in existing biological organisms. I argue that neuroscientists themselves have proposed a biologically based concept of multiple realization as an alternative to interpreting empirical findings in terms of one-to-one structure/function mappings. I introduce this concept and its associated research framework and also how some of the main neuroscience-based arguments against multiple realization go wrong.

Comment: This is a direct reply to Bechtel and Mundale (1999) and I know some more aware people have paired it with that paper in the classroom. It's philosophy of neuroscience, philosophy of mind.

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Jenkins, Carrie, , . What Is Love? An Incomplete Map of the Metaphysics
2015, Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1(2): 349-364.
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Added by: Rie Iizuka, Contributed by:

Abstract: The paper begins by surveying a range of possible views on the metaphysics of romantic love, organizing them as responses to a single question. It then outlines a position, constructionist functionalism, according to which romantic love is characterized by a functional role that is at least partly constituted by social matters (social institutions, traditions, and practices), although this role may be realized by states that are not socially constructed.

Comment: This paper is a good and clear introduction to metaphysics of love. The author offers a map of the options for a metaphysician of love, and she proposes her own view called constructionist functionalism on love.

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Lopes, Dominic McIver, , . Nobody Needs a Theory of Art
2008, Journal of Philosophy 105(3): 109-127.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: The question “what is art?” is often said to be venerable and vexing. In fact, the following answer to the question should be obvious: (R) item x is a work of art if and only if x is a work in practice P and P is one of the arts. Yet (R) has appeared so far from obvious that nobody has given it a moment’s thought. The trouble is not that anyone might seriously deny the truth of (R), but rather that they will find it uninformative. After all, the vexing question is pressed upon us by radical changes in art of the avant-garde, and (R) offers no resources to address these changes. With that in mind, here is the case for (R). The challenges posed by the avant-garde are real enough and they need to be addressed, but the vexing question is the wrong question to ask to address them. It does not follow that the question has no good answer. On the contrary, (R) is all the answer we need, if we do not need an answer that addresses the challenges posed by the avant-garde. Moreover, (R) points to a question that we do need answered. So, not only is it true but, in addition, (R) is as informative as we need.

Comment: This text offers a good introduction to contemporary sceptical attitudes towards the classificatory project. The current debate is presented as likely unresolvable and the choice of a theory as largely a matter of opinion. Lopes makes a good case for his title: why should we care about a defining art? The text is full of controversial points and hooks for class discussion.

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Taylor, Kenneth A., , . Narrow content functionalism and the mind-body problem
1989, Noûs 23(3): 355-72.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Summary: Narrow content functionalism claims that the contents of beliefs are determined by their causal profile. If two belief tokens are of the same causal type, they are of the same semantic type. However, Taylor argues that de dicto semantic types do not supervene on causal types, due to multiple realizability. He establishes this with the thought experiment of “fraternal twin earth”, where things are functionally identical but molecularily different.

Comment: This paper shows how Putnam's "twin earth" thought experiment needs to be modified to address narrow content functionalism. Suited to higher-level mind and language courses. Best taught after some more introductory readings on the topic, as those not already familiar with some of the elements may become lost.

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