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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy of Mind

A Blend Of Absurdism And Humanism: Defending Kurt Vonnegut’S Place In The Secondary Setting, Krisandra R. Johnson Apr 2018

A Blend Of Absurdism And Humanism: Defending Kurt Vonnegut’S Place In The Secondary Setting, Krisandra R. Johnson

Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research

This essay argues that Kurt Vonnegut blends a unique humanist stance into his absurdist plots and characters, ultimately urging readers to confront the absurd with a kindness and human decency his protagonists often find rare. As a result of this absurd and humanist synthesis, I defend and promote Vonnegut’s place in the secondary English curriculum, despite his rank on many banned books lists, since his characters’ journeys correlate thematically with the growth and process of postmodern adolescents and encourage moral responsibility without sentimental manipulation.

Focusing on Cat’s Cradle, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, and Slaughterhouse-Five as primary sources ...


The New Mechanical Philosophy, Stuart Glennan Aug 2017

The New Mechanical Philosophy, Stuart Glennan

Philosophy, Religion, and Classics

The New Mechanical Philosophy argues for a new image of nature and of science--one that understands both natural and social phenomena to be the product of mechanisms, and that casts the work of science as an effort to discover and understand those mechanisms. Drawing on an expanding literature on mechanisms in physical, life, and social sciences, Stuart Glennan offers an account of the nature of mechanisms and of the models used to represent them. A key quality of mechanisms is that they are particulars - located at different places and times, with no one just like another. The crux of the ...


When Is It Mental?, Stuart Glennan Dec 2015

When Is It Mental?, Stuart Glennan

Scholarship and Professional Work - LAS

Most philosophical debate over mental causation has been concerned with reconciling commonsense intuitions that there are causal interactions between the mental and the physical with philosophical theories of the nature of the mental that seem to suggest otherwise. My concern is with a different and more practical problem. We often confront some cognitive, affective, or bodily phenomenon, and wonder about its source – its etiology or its underlying causal basis. For instance, you might wonder whether your queasiness due to something you ate, or whether it is just nervousness, or whether your aunt’s memory loss is a neurological problem or ...


Singular And General Causal Relations: A Mechanist Perspective, Stuart Glennan Jan 2011

Singular And General Causal Relations: A Mechanist Perspective, Stuart Glennan

Scholarship and Professional Work - LAS

My aim in this paper is to make a case for the singularist view from the perspective of a mechanical theory of causation (Glennan 1996, 1997, 2010, forthcoming), and to explain what, from this perspective, causal generalizations mean, and what role they play within the mechanical theory.


Mechanisms (Oxford), Stuart Glennan Jan 2010

Mechanisms (Oxford), Stuart Glennan

Scholarship and Professional Work - LAS

Mechanism is undoubtedly a causal concept, in the sense that ordinary definitions and philosophical analyses explicate the concept in terms of other causal concepts such as production and interaction. Given this fact, many philosophers have supposed that analyses of the concept of mechanism, while they might appeal to philosophical theories about the nature of causation, could do little to inform such theories. On the other hand, methods of causal inference and explanation appeal to mechanisms. Discovering a mechanism is the gold standard for establishing and explaining causal connections. This fact suggests that it might be possible to provide an analysis ...


Contextual Unanimity And The Units Of Selection Problem, Stuart M. Glennan Jan 2001

Contextual Unanimity And The Units Of Selection Problem, Stuart M. Glennan

Scholarship and Professional Work - LAS

Sober and Lewontin’s critique of genic selectionism is based upon the principle that a unit of selection should make a context‐independent contribution to fitness. Critics have effectively shown that this principle is flawed. In this paper I show that the context independence principle is an instance of a more general principle for characterizing causes,called the contextual unanimity principle. I argue that this latter principle, while widely accepted, is erroneous. What is needed is to replace the approach to causality characterized by the contextual unanimity criterion with an approach based on the concept of causal mechanism. After sketching ...


Capacities, Universality And Singularity, Stuart M. Glennan Jan 1997

Capacities, Universality And Singularity, Stuart M. Glennan

Scholarship and Professional Work - LAS

In this paper I criticize Cartwright's analysis of capacities and offer an alternative analysis. I argue that Cartwright's attempt to connect capacities to her condition CC fails because individuals can exercise capacities only in certain contexts. My own analysis emphasizes three features of capacities: 1) Capacities belong to individuals; 2) Capacities are typically not metaphysically fundamental properties of individuals, but can be explained by referring to structural properties of individuals; and 3) Laws are best understood as ascriptions of capacities.


Probable Causes And The Distinction Between Subjective And Objective Chance, Stuart M. Glennan Jan 1997

Probable Causes And The Distinction Between Subjective And Objective Chance, Stuart M. Glennan

Scholarship and Professional Work - LAS

In this paper I present both a critical appraisal of Humphreys' probabilistic theory of causality and a sketch of an alternative view of the relationship between the notions of probability and of cause. Though I do not doubt that determinism is false, I claim that the examples used to motivate Humphreys' theory typically refer to subjective rather than objective chance. Additionally, I argue on a number of grounds that Humphreys' suggestion that linear regression models be used as a canonical form for the description of causal relations is untenable. I conclude by exploring the variety of ways in which probabilistic ...


Computationalism And The Problem Of Other Minds, Stuart M. Glennan Jan 1995

Computationalism And The Problem Of Other Minds, Stuart M. Glennan

Scholarship and Professional Work - LAS

In this paper I discuss Searle's claim that the computational properties of a system could never cause a system to be conscious. In the first section of the paper I argue that Searle is correct that, even if a system both behaves in a way that is characteristic of conscious agents (like ourselves) and has a computational structure similar to those agents, one cannot be certain that that system is conscious. On the other hand, I suggest that Searle's intuition that it is “empirically absurd” that such a system could be conscious is unfounded. In the second section ...