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Cooper, Rachel, , . Psychiatry and philosophy of science
2014, Routledge.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Publisher: Psychiatry and Philosophy of Science explores conceptual issues in psychiatry from the perspective of analytic philosophy of science. Through an examination of those features of psychiatry that distinguish it from other sciences – for example, its contested subject matter, its particular modes of explanation, its multiple different theoretical frameworks, and its research links with big business – Rachel Cooper explores some of the many conceptual, metaphysical and epistemological issues that arise in psychiatry. She shows how these pose interesting challenges for the philosopher of science while also showing how ideas from the philosophy of science can help to solve conceptual problems within psychiatry. Cooper’s discussion ranges over such topics as the nature of mental illnesses, the treatment decisions and diagnostic categories of psychiatry, the case-history as a form of explanation, how psychiatry might be value-laden, the claim that psychiatry is a multi-paradigm science, the distortion of psychiatric research by pharmaceutical industries, as well as engaging with the fundamental question whether the mind is reducible to something at the physical level. “Psychiatry and Philosophy of Science” demonstrates that cross-disciplinary contact between philosophy of science and psychiatry can be immensely productive for both subjects and it will be required reading for mental health professionals and philosophers alike.

Comment: This book is written in a very approachable way and requires little prior knowledge of psychiatry or philosophy, which makes it an excellent resource for undergraduate teaching. Chapters two and three contain one of the most informative and clear reviews of the debate about the nature of mental illness. Chapters four to seven focus on the scientific status of psychiatry and look at the possibility of neurobiological reductionism. The text can be used in a number of teaching situations, stretching from moral dilemmas related to mental illness, to the philosophy of mind questions on mind-brain reductionism.

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Fricker, Elizabeth, , . Against Gullibility
1994, In: Matilals, Bimal K. & Chakrabarti, A. (eds.), Knowing from Words: Western and Indian philosophical analysis of understanding and testimony. Kluwer. 125-161
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Summary: This paper refutes the PR thesis according to which the hearer has such a special presumptive right to trust the speaker’s assertion. The refutation consists of 1) arguing against that it is not possible for a hearer to obtain independent confirmation that a given speaker is trustworthy – that what she says will be true; 2) a full rejection to various positive arguments for a PR which may be made.

Comment: This paper defends anti-reductionism by refuting arguments for reductionism. It is useful paper for teachings on testimony in a upper-level undergraduate course on epistemology.

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Jaegwon, Kim, , . The myth of non-reductive materialism
2003, Proceedings and Adresses of the American Philosophical Association 63(3): 31:47.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Summary: This article explores the idea that we can assuage our physicalist qualms by embracing “ontological physicalism”, the claim that all that exists in space-time is physical, but, at the same time, accept “property dualism”, a dualism about psychological and physical attributes, insisting that psychological concepts or properties form an irreducible, autonomous domain. The issue the author explores is whether or not a robust physicalist can, consistently and plausibly, swear off reductionism – that is, whether or not a substantial form of physicalism can be combined with the rejection of psycho-physical reduction. The author argues that a middle-of-the road position of the sort just described is not available. More specifically, he claim that a physicalist has only two genuine options, eliminativism and reductionism.

Comment: This is a very important paper for both philosophy of mind and philosophy of science. Previous knowledge of key concepts such supervenience, physicalism or reductionism is needed to fully understand the paper. It is then more suitable for postgraduate students.

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Lackey, Jennfer, , . Testimony and the Infant/Child Objection
2005, Philosophical Studies 126(2): 163-190.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Abstract: One of the central problems afflicting reductionism in the epistemology of testimony is the apparent fact that infants and small children are not cognitively capable of having the inductively based positive reasons required by this view. Since non-reductionism does not impose a requirement of this sort, it is thought to avoid this problem and is therefore taken to have a significant advantage over reductionism. In this paper, however, I argue that if this objection undermines reductionism, then a variant of it similarly undermines non-reductionism. Thus, considerations about the cognitive capacities of infants and small children do not effectively discriminate between these two competing theories of testimonial justification.

Comment: It is a good paper in terms of elucidating the debates between reductionism and non-reductionism. In particular, it critically examines a central problem for reductionism. Suitable as a further reading for teachings on testimony in a course on epistemology.

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Lackey, Jennifer, , . It takes two to tango: beyond reductionism and non-reductionism in the epistemology of testimony
2006, In Jennifer Lackey & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Epistemology of Testimony. Oxford University Press. pp. 160--89.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Abstract: How precisely do we successfully acquire justified belief from either the spoken or written word of others? This question is at the center of the epistemology of testimony, and the current philosophical literature contains only two general options for answering it: reductionism and non-reductionism. While reductionists argue that testimonial justification is reducible to sense perception, memory, and inductive inference, non-reductionists maintain that testimony is just as basic epistemically as these other sources. This chapter challenges the current terms of the debate by, first, showing that there are serious problems afflicting both reductionism and non-reductionism and by, second, suggesting an alternate, hybrid, view of testimonial justification.

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Lackey, Jennifer, , . The Epistemology of Testimony: Introduction
2006, In Jennifer Lackey & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Epistemology of Testimony. Oxford University Press. pp. 1-24.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Introduction: Our dependence on testimony is as deep as it is ubiquitous. We rely on the reports of others for our beliefs about the food we eat, the medicine we ingest, the products we buy, the geography of the world, discoveries in science, historical information, and many other areas that play crucial roles in both our practical and our intellectual lives. Even many of our most important beliefs about ourselves were learned at an earlier time from our parents and caretakers, such as the date of our birth, the identity of our parents, our ethnic backgrounds, and so on. Were we to refrain from accepting the testimony of others, our lives would be impoverished in startling and debilitating ways.

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Ney, Alyssa, , . Reductionism
2008, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Introduction: Reductionists are those who take one theory or phenomenon to be reducible to some other theory or phenomenon. For example, a reductionist regarding mathematics might take any given mathematical theory to be reducible to logic or set theory. Or, a reductionist about biological entities like cells might take such entities to be reducible to collections of physico-chemical entities like atoms and molecules. The type of reductionism that is currently of most interest in metaphysics and philosophy of mind involves the claim that all sciences are reducible to physics. This is usually taken to entail that all phenomena (including mental phenomena like consciousness) are identical to physical phenomena. The bulk of this article will discuss this latter understanding of reductionism.

Comment: An excellent overview of reductionism, its history, and different ways to interpret it. Clear and accessible, and useful for an intermediate metaphysics course - perhaps after having studied an applied case of reductionism - e.g. about modality. Then, students will be able to have this in mind when considering different senses of reduction. Could then be a useful gateway into metaphysics of mind. Alternatively, this article could be used near the start of a philosophy of mind course.

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Street, Sharon, , . What is Constructivism in Ethics and Metaethics?
2010, Philosophy Compass 5 (5):363-384.
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Added by: Graham Bex-Priestley, Contributed by:

Abstract: Most agree that when it comes to so-called ‘first-order’ normative ethics and political philosophy, constructivist views are a powerful family of positions. When it comes to metaethics, however, there is serious disagreement about what, if anything, constructivism has to contribute. In this paper I argue that constructivist views in ethics include not just a family of substantive normative positions, but also a distinct and highly attractive metaethical view. I argue that the widely accepted ‘proceduralist characterization’ of constructivism in ethics is inadequate, and I propose what I call the ‘practical standpoint characterization’ in its place. I then offer a general taxonomy of constructivist positions in ethics. Since constructivism’s standing as a family of substantive normative positions is relatively uncontested, I devote the remainder of the paper to addressing skeptics’ worries about the distinctiveness of constructivism understood as a metaethical view. I compare and contrast constructivism with three other standard metaethical positions with which it is often confused or mistakenly thought to be compatible: realism; naturalist reductions in terms of an ideal response; and expressivism. In discussing the contrast with expressivism, I explain the sense in which, according to the constructivist, the distinction between substantive normative ethics and metaethics breaks down. I conclude by distinguishing between two importantly different debates about the mind-dependence of value. I argue that a failure to make this distinction is part of what explains why the possibility of constructivism as a metaethical view is often overlooked.

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