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Akins, Kathleen, , . A bat without qualities?
1993, In Martin Davies & Glyn W. Humphreys (eds.), Consciousness: Psychological and Philosophical Essays. Blackwell. pp. 345–358.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Discusses the alleged elusiveness of phenomenal consciousness / argues . . . that there is no way of telling ahead of time just what science will reveal to us / if we start from the thought that science can shed some light upon an alien point of view, we may well find ourselves with the intuition, nevertheless, that there is something that science must leave out / perhaps science can reveal the shape or structure of experience, but it leaves out the tone or shading / perhaps science can make plain to us the representational properties of experience, but it is silent about the phenomenal feel argues that this intuition . . . is to be resisted because it rests upon the flawed idea that we can separate the qualitative from the representational aspects of experience: the idea that it makes sense to try to imagine an experience that is qualitatively just like the visual experience that I am having now, but represents quite different objects and properties in the world

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Anscombe, G. E. M., , . Modern Moral Philosophy
1958, Philosophy 33(124): 1-19
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Added by: Anne-Marie McCallion, Contributed by:

Summary: The author presents and defends three theses: (1) “the first is that it is not profitable for us at present to do moral philosophy; that should be laid aside at any rate until we have an adequate philosophy of psychology.” (2) “the second is that the concepts of obligation, And duty… And of what is morally right and wrong, And of the moral sense of ‘ought’, Ought to be jettisoned if this is psychologically possible….” (3) “the third thesis is that the differences between the well-Known English writers on moral philosophy from Sidgwick to the present day are of little importance.”

Comment: This text offers an advanced-level criticism of the dominant normative ethical theories of the 20th century (namely consequentialism and deontology). Since this is a seminal text, it would be suitable for history of philosophy courses, moral philosophy courses (especially sections pertaining to Aristotelian or Neo-Aristotelian Virtue ethics). It does require rudimentary knowledge of Consequentialism and Deontology and as such would be best utilised in second or third year undergraduate (or postgraduate) courses.

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Bechtel, William P., , Jennifer Mundale. Multiple realizability revisited: Linking cognitive and neural states
1999, Philosophy of Science 66 (2): 175-207.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Abstract: The claim of the multiple realizability of mental states by brain states has been a major feature of the dominant philosophy of mind of the late 20th century. The claim is usually motivated by evidence that mental states are multiply realized, both within humans and between humans and other species. We challenge this contention by focusing on how neuroscientists differentiate brain areas. The fact that they rely centrally on psychological measures in mapping the brain and do so in a comparative fashion undercuts the likelihood that, at least within organic life forms, we are likely to find cases of multiply realized psychological functions.

Comment: One of the better arguments against multiple realizability. Could be used in any philosophy of mind course where that claim arises as a demonstration of how it could be challenged. A good deal of discussion about neuroscientific practices and methods, but not excessively technical.

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Cosmides, Leda, , John Tooby. Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer
1997, Center for Evolutionary Psychology.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Patricia Rich

Abstract: The goal of research in evolutionary psychology is to discover and understand the design of the human mind.Evolutionary psychology is an approach to psychology, in which knowledge and principles from evolutionarybiology are put to use in research on the structure of the human mind. It is not an area of study, like vision,reasoning, or social behavior. It is a way of thinking about psychology that can be applied to any topic withinit.In this view, the mind is a set of information-processing machines that were designed by natural selection tosolve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. This way of thinking about the brain, mind,and behavior is changing how scientists approach old topics, and opening up new ones. This chapter is aprimer on the concepts and arguments that animate it.

Comment: This is an enjoyable introduction to the influential evolutionary psychology research program. It touches on many issues of longstanding interest to philosophers, such as the roles of nature and nurture and the normativity of abstract reasoning. I have used it in philosophy of biology and philosophy of social science courses. For more advanced students, it can be read together with Elisabeth Lloyd’s paper ‘Evolutionary Psychology: The Burdens of Proof.’

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Fausto-Sterling, Anne, , . Sex/Gender: Biology in a Social world
2012, Routledge.
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Added by: Benny Goldberg, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Sex/Gender presents a relatively new way to think about how biological difference can be produced over time in response to different environmental and social experiences.

This book gives a clearly written explanation of the biological and cultural underpinnings of gender. Anne Fausto-Sterling provides an introduction to the biochemistry, neurobiology, and social construction of gender with expertise and humor in a style accessible to a wide variety of readers. In addition to the basics, Sex/Gender ponders the moral, ethical, social and political side to this inescapable subject.

Comment: This is a good text for courses in philosophy of science dealing with biology, feminist philosophy (and feminist philosophy of science), as well as courses dealing with issues of sex and gender. While it uses a lot of scientific detail, it is suitable for advanced undergraduates regardless of major.

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Sherman, Nancy, , . Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind
2005, New York: Oxford University Press.
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Added by: John Baldari, Contributed by:

Publisher: While few soldiers may have read the works of Epictetus or Marcus Aurelius, it is undoubtedly true that the ancient philosophy known as Stoicism guides the actions of many in the military. Soldiers and seamen learn early in their training “to suck it up,” to endure, to put aside their feelings and to get on with the mission. Stoic Warriors is the first book to delve deeply into the ancient legacy of this relationship, exploring what the Stoic philosophy actually is, the role it plays in the character of the military (both ancient and modern), and its powerful value as a philosophy of life. Marshalling anecdotes from military history–ranging from ancient Greek wars to World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq–Nancy Sherman illuminates the military mind and uses it as a window on the virtues of the Stoic philosophy, which are far richer and more interesting than our popularized notions. Sherman–a respected philosopher who taught at the US Naval Academy–explores the deep, lasting value that Stoicism can yield, in issues of military leadership and character; in the Stoic conception of anger and its control (does a warrior need anger to go to battle?); and in Stoic thinking about fear and resilience, grief and mourning, and the value of camaraderie and brotherhood. Sherman concludes by recommending a moderate Stoicism, where the task for the individual, both civilian and military, youth and adult, is to temper control with forgiveness, and warrior drive and achievement with humility and humor. Here then is a perceptive investigation of what makes Stoicism so compelling not only as a guiding principle for the military, but as a philosophy for anyone facing the hardships of life.

Comment: This book offers an opportunity to engage military philosophy from a modernized Stoic perspective. It is best used in conjunction with other Ancient philosophical work on warfare.

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Taylor, Kenneth A., , . How not to refute eliminative materialism
1994, Philosophical Psychology 7 (1):101-125 (1994)
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper examines and rejects some purported refutations of eliminative materialism in the philosophy of mind: a quasi-transcendental argument due to Jackson and Pettit (1990) to the effect that folk psychology is “peculiarly unlikely” to be radically revised or eliminated in light of the developments of cognitive science and neuroscience; and (b) certain straight-out transcendental arguments to the effect that eliminativism is somehow incoherent (Baker, 1987; Boghossian, 1990). It begins by clarifying the exact topology of the dialectical space in which debates between eliminativist and anti-eliminativist ought to be framed. I claim that both proponents and opponents of eliminativism have been insufficiently attentive to the range of dialectical possibilities. Consequently, the debate has not, in fact, been framed within the correct dialectical setting. I then go onto to show how inattentiveness to the range of dialectical possibilities undermines both transcendental and quasi-transcendental arguments against eliminativism. In particular, I argue that the quasi-transcendentalist overestimates the degree to which folk psychology can be insulated from the advance of neuroscience and cognitive science just in virtue of being a functional theory. I argue further that transcendental arguments are fallacious and do not succeed against even the strongest possible form of eliminativism. Finally, I argue that that transcendental arguments are irrelevant. Even if such arguments do succeed against a certain’very strong form of eliminativism, they remain complete non-starters against certain weaker forms of eliminativism. And I argue that if any of these weaker forms is true, folk psychology is in trouble enough to vindicate Paul Ckurchland’s claim that our common sense psychological framework is “a radically false and misleading conception of the causes of human behavior and the nature of cognitive activity”.

Comment: Offers interesting refutations to arguments against eliminative materialism. Could be useful in motivating interest in eliminative materialism by demonstrating that it has not been decisively refuted, or as part of an in-depth examination of the view in a course on that subject.

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Tiberius, Valerie, , . Well-Being: Psychological Research for Philosophers
2006, Philosophy Compass 1(5): 493-505.
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Added by: Carl Fox, Contributed by:

Abstract: Well-being in the broadest sense is what we have when we are living lives that are not necessarily morally good, but good for us. In philosophy, well-being has been an important topic of inquiry for millennia. In psychology, well-being as a topic has been gathering steam very recently and this research is now at a stage that warrants the attention of philosophers. The most popular theories of well-being in the two fields are similar enough to suggest the possibility of interdisciplinary collaboration. In this essay I provide an overview of three of the main questions that arise from psychologists’ work on well-being, and highlight areas that invite philosophical input. Those questions center on the nature, measurement, and moral significance of well-being. I also argue that the life-satisfaction theory is particularly well suited to meet the various demands on a theory of well-being.

Comment: Tiberius provides a nice exposition of the key approaches to well-being in the philosophical tradition and briefly argues for the ‘life-satisfaction’ account, but the main thrust of the paper is to introduce areas of overlap with research in psychology and to flag up ways in which philosophy could make a contribution. Some sections could certainly serve as introductory reading to either the philosophical or psychological literature, and the paper as a whole would work well in an applied or inter-disciplinary module.

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Von Eckardt, Barbara, , . The representational theory of mind
2012, In Keith Frankish & William Ramsey (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Science. Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: It is argued that it is important for cognitive scientists to understand both the precise nature of RTM, and the challenges to it. The biggest foundational challenge is to develop an adequate naturalistic theory of how representational content is determined. Philosophers have proposed several ingenious theory-sketches of content determination but none accounts for the full range of semantic features mental representations arguably have. Another major challenge is the existence of non-representational competitor research programs. A likely future scenario is that we will be able to explain certain ‘low-level’ aspects of cognition without resort to representations but that representational hypotheses will still be needed to account for the intentionality-based features of cognition and ‘representation hungry’ higher-level processes.

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Wilkes, Kathleen Vaughan, , . Is consciousness important?
1984, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (September):223-43.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: The paper discusses the utility of the notion of consciousness for the behavioural and brain sciences. It describes four distinctively different senses of ‘conscious’, and argues that to cope with the heterogeneous phenomena loosely indicated thereby, these sciences not only do not but should not discuss them in terms of ‘consciousness’. It is thus suggested that ‘the problem’ allegedly posed to scientists by consciousness is unreal; one need neither adopt a realist stance with respect to it, nor include the term and its cognates in the sciences’ conceptual apparatus. The paper briefly examines Nagel’s [1974] article, since this presents the strongest counter to the thesis proposed

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