33 research outputs found

    Unpleasantness, motivational <i>oomph</i>, and painfulness

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    Painful pains are, paradigmatically, unpleasant and motivating. The dominant view amongst philosophers and pain scientists is that these two features are essentially related and sufficient for painfulness. In this article, I first offer scientifically informed characterizations of both unpleasantness and motivational &lt;i&gt;oomph&lt;/i&gt; and argue against other extant accounts. I then draw on folk-characterized cases and current neurobiological and neurobehavioral evidence to argue that both dominant positions are mistaken. Unpleasantness and motivational &lt;i&gt;oomph&lt;/i&gt; doubly dissociate and, even taken together, are insufficient for painfulness

    Rethinking the negativity bias

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    The negativity bias is a broad psychological principle according to which the negative is more causally efficacious than the positive. Bad, as it is often put, is stronger than good. The principle is widely accepted and often serves as a constraint in affective science. If true, it has significant implications for everyday life and philosophical inquiry. In this article, I submit the negativity bias to its first dose of philosophical scrutiny and argue that it should be rejected. I conclude by offering some alternative hedonic hypotheses that survive the offered arguments and may prove fruitful

    Promiscuous kinds and individual minds

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    Promiscuous realism is the thesis that there are many equally legitimate ways of classifying the world’s entities. Advocates of promiscuous realism are typically taken to hold the further the- sis, often undistinguished, that kind terms usefully deployed in scientific generalisations are no more natural than those deployed for any other purposes. Call this further thesis promiscuous nat-uralism. I here defend a version of promiscuous realism which denies promiscuous naturalism. To do so, I introduce the notion of a promiscuous kind: a kind that is maximally usefully referenced in predictive and explanatory generalisations, none of which are scientific generalisations. I first defend the claim that pain is a promiscuous kind before extending these considerations to everyday mental kinds more generally. I draw on further reflections from both everyday life and contem-porary psychology to make credible the novel suggestion that our everyday theory of our minds is for the explanation and prediction of individuals. Combined with the complex idiosyncrasy of individual minds, this suggested aim of everyday theory gives us reason to think that promiscuity is prevalent among everyday mental kinds

    Mind and Attention in Indian Philosophy: Workshop Report

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    This report highlights and explores five questions that arose from the workshop on mind and attention in Indian philosophy at Harvard University, September 21st to 22nd, 2013: 1. How does the understanding of attention in Indian philosophy bear on contemporary western debates? 2. How can we train our attention, and what are the benefits of doing so? 3. Can meditation give us moral knowledge? 4. What can Indian philosophy tell us about how we perceive the world? 5. Are there cross-cultural philosophical themes

    Showing, Sensing, and Seeming: Distinctively Sensory Representations and Their Contents. By Gregory Dominic

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    When is a reason properly pragmatic?

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    Promiscuous kinds and individual minds

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    Promiscuous realism is the thesis that there are many equally legitimate ways of classifying the world’s entities. Advocates of promiscuous realism are typically taken to hold the further the- sis, often undistinguished, that kind terms usefully deployed in scientific generalisations are no more natural than those deployed for any other purposes. Call this further thesis promiscuous nat- uralism. I here defend a version of promiscuous realism which denies promiscuous naturalism. To do so, I introduce the notion of a promiscuous kind: a kind that is maximally usefully referenced in predictive and explanatory generalisations, none of which are scientific generalisations. I first defend the claim that pain is a promiscuous kind before extending these considerations to everyday mental kinds more generally. I draw on further reflections from both everyday life and contem- porary psychology to make credible the novel suggestion that our everyday theory of our minds is for the explanation and prediction of individuals. Combined with the complex idiosyncrasy of individual minds, this suggested aim of everyday theory gives us reason to think that promiscuity is prevalent among everyday mental kinds

    Hedonic rationality

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    This chapter aims to make plausible that there is at least one other domain of rationality yet to be discussed: hedonic rationality. Hedonic rationality is concerned with the rationality of the hedonics. Emotions and emotional episodes are complex and no proponent of the rationality of the emotions argue for the rationality of affect, or hedonics, as such—instead, they focus on some other feature or combination of features. The chapter describes the proposed hedonic rationality from the rationality of the emotions and addresses methodological problems determining whether any mental phenomenon is rational and outlines the ecumenical approach. The rationality or irrationality of affective states will have to be generally reconsidered if it turns out that hedonic tone is itself rationally assessable. Identifying a hedonic aim that explains the evaluative practices requires empirical inquiry into what negative hedonic tone, and hedonic tone more generally, does
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