2,638 research outputs found

    Testimony and Children’s Acquisition of Number Concepts

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    An enduring puzzle in philosophy and developmental psychology is how young children acquire number concepts, in particular the concept of natural number. Most solutions to this problem conceptualize young learners as lone mathematicians who individually reconstruct the successor function and other sophisticated mathematical ideas. In this chapter, I argue for a crucial role of testimony in children’s acquisition of number concepts, both in the transfer of propositional knowledge (e.g., the cardinality concept), and in knowledge-how (e.g., the counting routine)

    Animal Cognition, Species Invariantism, and Mathematical Realism

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    What can we infer from numerical cognition about mathematical realism? In this paper, I will consider one aspect of numerical cognition that has received little attention in the literature: the remarkable similarities of numerical cognitive capacities across many animal species. This Invariantism in Numerical Cognition (INC) indicates that mathematics and morality are disanalogous in an important respect: proto-moral beliefs differ substantially between animal species, whereas proto-mathematical beliefs (at least in the animals studied) seem to show more similarities. This makes moral beliefs more susceptible to a contingency challenge from evolution compared to mathematical beliefs, and indicates that mathematical beliefs might be less vulnerable to evolutionary debunking arguments. I will then examine to what extent INC can be used to flesh out a positive case for mathematical realism. Finally, I will review two forms of mathematical realism that are promising in the light of the evolutionary evidence about numerical cognition, ante rem structuralism and Millean empiricism

    Etiological challenges to religious practices

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    There is a common assumption that evolutionary explanations of religion undermine religious beliefs. Do etiological accounts similarly affect the rationality of religious practices? To answer this question, this paper looks at two influential evolutionary accounts of ritual, the hazard-precaution model and costly signaling theory. It examines whether Cuneo’s account of ritual knowledge as knowing to engage God can be maintained in the light of these evolutionary accounts. While the evolutionary accounts under consideration are not metaphysically incompatible with the idea that religious rituals engage God, they cast doubt on whether many, if not all, rituals can do this successfully

    Religious Beliefs and Philosophical Views: A Qualitative Study

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    Philosophy of religion is often regarded as a philosophical discipline in which irrelevant influences, such as upbringing and education, play a pernicious role. This paper presents results of a qualitative survey among academic philosophers of religion to examine the role of such factors in their work. In light of these findings, I address two questions: an empirical one (whether philosophers of religion are influenced by irrelevant factors in forming their philosophical attitudes) and an epistemological one (whether the influence of irrelevant factors on our philosophical views should worry us). My answer to the first question is a definite yes, my answer to the second, a tentative yes

    Religious Conversion, Transformative Experience, and Disagreement

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    Religious conversion gives rise to disagreement with one’s former self and with family and friends. Because religious conversion is personally and epistemically transformative, it is difficult to judge whether a former epistemic peer is still one’s epistemic peer post-conversion, just like it is hard for the convert to assess whether she is now in a better epistemic position than prior to her conversion. Through Augustine’s De Utilitate Credendi (The Usefulness of Belief) I show that reasoned argument should play a crucial role in assessing the evidential value of religious conversions, both for the person who converts and for her (former) peers

    Naturalizing natural theology

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    Why there is no brain drain (yet) of EU academics in the UK

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    A predicted exodus of EU academics from British universities has not yet materialised. Helen de Cruz (Oxford Brookes University) discusses why – despite the uncertainty hanging over their future status and rights – the ‘brain drain’ has not really begun yet. Finding new posts, especially at a very senior level, can take time; hiring systems elsewhere in Europe are opaque and sometimes not meritocratic; many academics have put down roots in Britain; and other Anglophone destinations are not always attractive

    Despite uncertainty over EU academics' future, the brain drain hasn't begun yet

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    A predicted exodus of EU academics from UK universities has not yet materialised. Helen de Cruz discusses why – despite the uncertainty hanging over their future status and rights – the “brain drain” has not really begun yet. Finding new posts, especially at a very senior level, can take time; hiring systems elsewhere in Europe are opaque and sometimes not meritocratic; many academics have put down roots in the UK; and other Anglophone destinations are not always attractive
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