Thursday, 21 September 2017

Sixth Biennial Conference of EPSA


The conference featured many contributed papers and symposia covering all subfields of the philosophy of science and brought together philosophers of science from Europe and overseas. The line-up of speakers was stellar indeed. Just to name a few, Sonja Amadae, Philip Kitcher, and Margaret Morrison gave keynote talks, and Helen Beebee offered a Women’s Caucus Lecture.

Project PERFECT also attended the meeting. Andrea Polonioli talked about cognitive biases in the search and assessment of scholarly literature and the possible value of using systematic reviews to limit the impact of such biases.






Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Epistemic Value of Emotions in Politics


Benedetta Romano is a doctoral candidate in the department of neurophilosophy and ethics of neuroscience at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. Her research centers on the philosophy of emotions, focusing on various topics, such as the epistemic relevance of political emotions, the capacity of emotions to establish a narrative connection, and their function in analogical reasoning. Moreover, she is interested in the emotional dimension of different issues in applied ethics, such as torture and immigration.


Do the emotions that we experience towards political issues, characters and events, provide us with any valuable knowledge about them? My answer is a resounding yes, and in in my paper, I articulate it as follows. First, I address the epistemic part of the question. I argue that emotions can provide some knowledge about their objects, including political ones, by generating and modifying beliefs about them, and that such knowledge is evaluative in character. But is this knowledge epistemically reliable?

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Philosophy of Psychiatry WIP day at Lancaster University

This post is by Moujan Mirdamadi (Lancaster University), reporting from this year's annual Philosophy of Psychiatry Work in Progress day held at Lancaster University.
  



My name is Moujan Mirdamadi and I am a PhD student at Lancaster University. My research is on the phenomenology of depression and how experiences of depression vary cross culturally. In particular, I look at the similarities and differences in experiences of depression in Iran and the UK, and the significance of these variations.

Lancaster University hosts an annual Work in Progress conference in Philosophy of Psychiatry. The conference, rather than being concerned with presenting finished papers, aims to open a discussion in which peers and colleagues share their thoughts on an ongoing project or question to be answered. This year, I co-organised the event with Dr Rachel Cooper. The conference was held on June 2nd and covered a wide range of different topics in Philosophy of Psychiatry, with speakers from different institutions across the UK.

The issues we talked about included the way in which psychiatrists in the US perceive and respond to their critics, how metaphors can inform the understanding of psychoses, the distinction between mental and brain disorders, the line between personal autonomy and serious psychopathology, and the theoretical and philosophical problems RDoC (Research Domain Criteria) faces in finding new ways of studying mental disorders.


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Can Anosognosia for Hemiplegia be Explained as Motivated Self-Deception?


My name is Andrew Sims. Right now I’m working as a post-doctoral researcher at the Université Catholique de Louvain, in an Action de Recherche Concertée (ARC) project on action theory and neuroscience. Before this, though, I wrote my PhD dissertation in the philosophy department at Deakin University and while visiting at the Department of Clinical, Health and Educational Psychology at University College London. My dissertation focused upon the psychodynamic explanation of anosognosia for hemiplegia (AHP)—denial of paralysis—and its relationship to cognitive deficit models of the condition. I’ve recently had an article published in the Review of Philosophy and Psychology that draws upon some of this work (Sims 2017). Thanks very much to Andrea Polonioli for inviting me to introduce it on the Imperfect Cognitions blog.

AHP occurs after brain damage and involves a paralysis on one side along with various attitudinal distortions toward that paralysis. At a minimum, this is an inability to recognize the deficit which ranges from a mild forgetfulness to a consistent delusion that the body is fully functional. However, there are various other attitudinal distortions that also occur: anosodiaphoria, an inappropriate lack of negative feeling about the deficit (though not a flattening of affect in general, as is sometimes claimed, since this is often coupled with a disproportionately negative attitude towards minor unrelated complaints); misoplegia, an exaggerated disgust or hatred towards the affected limb which is felt to be alien and intrusive; and somatoparaphrenia, the attribution of ownership of the paralysed part of the body to another person (like a doctor or relative). Furthermore, these patients sometimes appear to have implicit knowledge of the deficit in parallel with the explicit unawareness.

These attitudinal distortions led earlier clinicians to explain the condition in terms of psychological defense against negative emotion associated with the deficit (Weinstein & Kahn 1950). On this view the attitudes are caused by conative factors (like a desire-like representation of bodily integrity) which distort belief formation. Since then, in part because of an influential critique by Bisiach and Geminiani (1991), these accounts have largely been replaced by deficit theories which propose that the delusion is caused by a deficit in the ability to compare predicted motor outcomes to sensory feedback, possibly also coupled with a deficit to executive function or working memory (e.g., Davies et al. 2005). Prime amongst the objections of Bisiach and Geminiani are two: first, that the defense theories can’t explain anatomical features of the condition; secondly, that they can’t explain why the paralysis is selectively denied (where other deficits—like cortical blindness in one case—are not).

Thursday, 7 September 2017

SPP Annual Meeting 2017




The 43rd annual meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology was held in Baltimore, Maryland, at Johns Hopkins University from 28-1 July, 2017. The meeting brought together philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists working on issues of common interests. In this post, Federico Bongiorno (PhD student at the University of Birmingham) offers a summary of each of the keynote lectures presented in plenary sessions.




On day 1, Daniel Schacter (Harvard) kicked off the conference with a talk on memory distortions and constructive aspects of remembering. Schacter views human memory as being far more a matter of constructive rather than reproductive processes that are sometimes susceptible to error and distortion.

Two major themes were pursued. One is the idea that some types of memory distortions are side-effects of otherwise adaptive memory processes. The other is the critical role played by episodic memory, which is defined as the ability to recollect episodes from one’s personal past, in imagining possible future scenarios.

In the first part of the talk, Schacter discussed recent neuropsychological evidence suggesting the adaptive nature of gist-based false memories. He did so by showing that the same brain region that serves the adaptive function of encoding semantic memory, namely the temporal pole, is responsible for this type of memory errors.

The second part of the talk sought to demonstrate that the flexible retrieval processes involved in episodic memory support adaptive uses of episodic simulation but also increase memory errors. Experimental results were shown in support of the proposed hypothesis. The results suggested that the capacity for flexible retrieval underlying successful associative inference increases susceptibility to source misattributions, which result from mistakenly combining details of distinct episodes.

Peter Godfrey-Smith (CUNY, Sidney) opened day 2 of the conference. His talk looked at the evolution of consciousness, broadly conceived, in the context of the phylogenetic pattern of animal life – how animals of different kinds are related in the ‘tree of life’. 

Godfrey-Smith suggested that this can eventually help us work out whether consciousness evolved once or more than once, and if it evolved more than once, whether this was the replaying of an essentially similar sequence, or whether the historical paths were very different from each other.

He advanced the hypothesis that it evolved more than once. The branchings between vertebrates, cephalopods, and the most behaviourally complex arthropods (e.g. crabs and bees) are very deep in history, so deep that the common ancestor was probably something as simple as a flatworm. He conjectured that octopuses and vertebrates may be the clearest cases of evolutionary transition to consciousness, whereas arthropods are more uncertain.

Godfrey-Smith further discussed whether there might be two different kinds of basic consciousness, one kind linked to the senses and another more linked to evaluation and affect. He then discussed some invertebrate cases where these features might be dissociated. 

Some arthropods, in particular, seem much more sophisticated on the sensory then on the evaluative/affective side. This summarises a possible multiple-origin story where there are different types as well as different tokens with respect to the evolution of consciousness.


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

A Moral Account of First-person Authority

This post is by Fleur Jongepier (picture below). Starting Autumn 2017 she will be based in Cambridge (UK), working on the role and value of self-knowledge in contemporary liberalism.



In the previous blogpost, I introduced some examples that I suggested provide a challenge to what I referred to as the ‘traditional’ approach to the notion of first-person authority, namely, the view according to which first-person authority and self-knowledge always come and go together. I ended the post by mentioning the following three views about the relation between first-person authority and self-knowledge:

  1. The Decoupling View. They have first-person authority despite not having self-knowledge.
  2. The Negative Traditional ViewThey do not have self-knowledge, therefore do not have first-person authority.
  3. The Positive Traditional View. They have self-knowledge and therefore have first-person authority.
One reason for thinking the second, Negative Traditional view (‘no self-knowledge, no authority’) is mistaken is because it appears to yield way too rigorous consclusions. It fails to reflect the way that we treat people’s sincere self-ascriptions. Even if someone says “I want to kill myself” and is clearly self-deceived somehow, it does not seem to be the case that we would be inclined or indeed justified to simply overrule or correct her self-ascription, and so it seems we should not deny her first-person authority.

Even if someone is wrong when s/he says “I feel X” or “I want Y”, it is still in an important sense out of place or inappropriate to e.g. say “No you’re not” – even if you’re entitled, epistemically speaking. So even when a person issues a self-ascription that is a very poor guide to how s/he will act in the future, this does not license us to correct, challenge or overrule the self-ascription. Indeed, we need to take their self-ascriptions seriously if we want to try to make them see their mistake or change their minds. Granting someone first-person authority is a condition for e.g. engaging in psychotherapy at all (see Strijbos and Jongepier forthcoming).

What about the third option? On the assumption the traditional view is right, granting that subjects have first-person authority in the given examples might also mean they therefore must have self-knowledge, given that on the traditional view, first-person authority and self-knowledge are a package deal. Those defending this option will thus want to say that e.g. the person saying he wants to kill himself in some sense does have self-knowledge, even if he does not (luckily) take any steps to act according to his own self-ascription. The defender of the third view will thus have to argue that it’s not evident that one lacks self-knowledge if one does not act in accordance with one’s own self-ascription.

And indeed such a view has been defended (see e.g. Ferrero 2003 and Bortolotti 2009). Luca Ferrero instance claims that “First-person authority is characteristic of self-ascriptions of present attitudes” and that “The distinctive first-person authority of [someone’s] self-ascriptions concerns ... whether she takes responsibility for them, not whether the self-ascribed attitude is both correct and a reliable guide to future conduct” (2003, 570 emphases in original). Lisa Bortolotti in a similar vein claims that subjects can have knowledge of their attitudes “no matter how representative of their future behaviour those attitudes would [turn] out to be” (Bortolotti 2009, 639). The subject, Ferrero and Bortolotti emphasize, has self-knowledge and responsibility with respect to what s/he is currently thinking or judging, and it’s this type of self-knowledge that lies at the basis of his self-ascription being authoritative.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Cognitive Phenomenology: An interview with Peter Carruthers

In this post Federico Bongiorno (PhD student at the University of Birmingham) interviews Peter Carruthers, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Peter’s research has focused predominantly on philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, and cognitive science. Here, Federico and Peter (pictured below) discuss Peter's position on the debate over cognitive phenomenology.





FB: Your recent work has focussed, among other things, on the question of cognitive phenomenology. Roughly, the question amounts to asking whether cognition has its own phenomenal character. Can you tell us more about this issue and its significance?

PC: The first thing that I ought to mention is that this is joint work done with Bénédicte Viellet. The issue is essentially whether thought has a phenomenal character that is not reducible to other kinds of phenomenal character. Thought is often associated with phenomenal states. As you listen to me speaking now, you are extracting meaning. At the same time, you have the phonology of the sentences that I am using and you might also be forming visual images or other kinds of affective associations. 

So there is going to be a whole wealth of phenomenal character that goes along with the meaning of any particular sentence that I utter. The question of cognitive phenomenology can be stated as follows: is there some distinctive phenomenology that belongs to the concepts and propositions themselves, that doesn’t just reduce to all the surrounding stuff? 

For instance, when you think a thought, there is a phenomenology of inner speech. But is there also a phenomenology that is distinctive to the thought that you are thinking in inner speech? If you could have the pure thought, would that have a phenomenology in its own right, independent of its causes and effects on the rest of your mental life?

I became interested in these sorts of questions back when I was working on qualia and phenomenal consciousness. It seemed to me that what gave rise to the hard problem of consciousness was distinctively to do with those kinds of mental states that you can form recognitional concepts for – as happens, for instance, when you experience red and form a concept for the way the experience of red is for you. These mental states do in fact give rise to thought-experiments of the ‘hard problem’ sort. 

You can have, for instance, zombie thought experiments, and speculate that zombies might be able to employ direct recognitional concepts of their brain states, even if those states have no associated phenomenal quality. But you can also have inverted-spectrum thought experiments, where an experience which we form the direct recognitional concept of red for is caused by perception of green. 

What occurred to me is that we don’t have analogous recognitional concepts for thoughts – the idea that you can, for instance, recognise the occurrence of the concept seven being tokened in yourself struck me as implausible. These considerations motivated me to argue that there is no cognitive phenomenology, as thoughts and conceptual states do not give rise to the sort of hard-problem thought-experiments that perceptual states do. My view is that we ought to maintain the original position, viz., that phenomenology belongs with the sensitive, whilst cognitive states do get bound into sensory states but do not add any distinctive phenomenal component on their own.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Self-knowledge and First-person Authority

This post is by Fleur Jongepier (picture below). Starting Autumn 2017 she will be based in Cambridge (UK), working on the role and value of self-knowledge in contemporary liberalism.





Normally, our sincere self-ascriptions, like “I want some coffee” or “I hope the meeting will be cancelled”, are not open to correction or challenge, for instance by asking me “Are you sure?”. Indeed, we would normally consider it inappropriate to do so (as expressivists like Dorit Bar-On have argued, see e.g. Bar-On and Long 2001; Bar-On 2004). Now most traditional theories of self-knowledge think of the special sort of authority that subjects have when speaking about their own mental states is to be explained epistemically. In other words, what is referred to as ‘first-person authority’ is typically explained in terms of self-knowledge: it’s because you know your own mental states particularly well that you are particularly well-placed to say something about them.

First-personal authority gets more complex, and I think perhaps philosophically and otherwise more interesting, when we consider more problematic first-personal statements. Consider for instance an utterance like “I am going to commit suicide” or “I should kill my daughter.” Sadly, some people self-ascribe these sorts of mental states, too – not just beliefs about the rain or a desire for getting a beer from the fridge (despite most of the examples in the self-knowledge literature).

But suppose that you are a close friend or family member of the person making one of these utterances, and suppose further that you actually know the utterance is false. Perhaps you found out that the person who - sincerely and perhaps repeatedly - thinks and says she wants to kill herself does not really mean it. Or you come to know, for instance, that the person who says she wants to kill her daughter suffers from OCD and does not genuinely have the desire to kill her daughter. Damiaan Denys for instance describes the following prototypical case of a young mother suffering from OCD:

When I’m alone at home and I see my daughter sleeping in her crib then I can see myself strangling her. I’m terribly shocked by the thought and I am very frightened by it. If nobody holds me back, I could murder my daughter. I don’t want to harm her, but there is no guar- antee that I never will. I can’t control myself any longer. I thought I was a good mother, but the fact that I think about it says something about who I really am. It shows that perhaps I don’t love my daughter enough. I don’t want to think about it but I’m not able to keep the thought out of my mind. The harder I resist, the stronger the thought is. (Denys 2011)

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Delusions: Understanding the Un-Understandable


Today's post is by Peter McKenna. He is a psychiatrist with some background in psychology, currently working full-time in research in Barcelona. He introduces his new book Delusions: Understanding the Un-understandable.



I have been interested in delusions for a long time and around five years ago decided to try and write a book on the topic. The result, for better or worse, is Delusions: Understanding the Un-understandable. The ‘un-understandable’ of the title references Jaspers’ contention that delusions are a) psychologically irreducible, ie they cannot be derived from other psychological experiences, either normal or abnormal; and b) are unmediated, ie they are immediate rather than being the product of reflection (for a good and concise account of Jaspers’ views, see Walker, 1991).

Apart from the work of Jaspers, who was a philosopher as well as a psychiatrist and whose thoughts on delusions have influenced successive generations of clinicians, I made a deliberate decision not to include any philosophy in the book. Nevertheless, the book may still intersect with the interests of followers of Imperfect Cognitions, as follows.

First of all, the book gives a detailed description of delusions as they are encountered in clinical practice. This is something I feel it is important to do, since it often seems like authors writing on delusions are trying to represent them as something they are not. It is not uncommon to hear statements (especially from psychologists) that there is something true at the heart of any delusion. In fact, as the book tries to show, delusions are a much more weird and wonderful phenomenon than this. Where is the hidden core of truth in John Nash’s (of A Beautiful Mind) letter turning down a job offer by a university on the grounds that he was about to take up a position as emperor of Antarctica? Or in the account of a patient who once told me that his brain had recently been removed from his body, flown to America, and taken to a recording studio on a wheelchair, where it took part in a recording session with a rap artist?

At various points the book addresses the important question of continuity between delusions and the beliefs expressed by normal or at least not frankly mentally ill people. While the continuum view of psychosis is currently very popular, I personally see many pitfalls and complexities with this view. Some well-known kinds of false beliefs that arise in healthy people – for example end of the world cults, witch-hunts and conspiracy theories – have in common that they are a) shared and b) impersonal. This is in contrast to delusions which are idiosyncratic and (in most cases at least) personal, ie focused on the person concerned or those close to him/her, rather than concerning the world at large. While I would certainly not deny that some normal people have psychotic-like experiences, the rates of 5-7% currently quoted by authors like Linscott and van Os (2013) are inflated by quite serious uncriticality of the approach used to elicit them. In fact, the case for a continuum is actually stronger for other kinds of abnormal beliefs, such as overvalued ideas and Beck’s depressive cognitions.




Two separate chapters review psychological theories of delusions. The results of this exercise are rather disappointing. Popular approaches such as probabilistic reasoning bias (‘jumping to conclusions’) and theory of mind abnormality are simply not supported by the available evidence. Specifically, while impairments are present in patients with schizophrenia/psychosis, in neither case do they correlate with scores on delusion scales. Rather more promising is the ‘two-factor’ theory, applied to the Capgras delusion and other so-called monothematic delusions in patients with neurological disease. The conclusion I reach in the book is that something like the two stage verification process of novel and unexpected events that Coltheart’s group and others have argued for, almost certainly must take place; nothing else seems capable of accounting for symptoms like confabulation and anosognosia for hemiplegia. The problem here, however, is an almost complete lack of formal experimental evidence.

Finally, if any of you would like an accessible guide to the currently extremely influential aberrant salience theory (and one that is entirely free of mathematical formulas), the book provides one. Is this theory supported? Well, it predicts that individuals with delusions (eg patients with schizophrenia, those with first-episode psychosis, those at high risk of developing psychosis) will show excessive activation in the ventral striatum, as salience gets inappropriately attributed to neutral stimuli. There is now ample evidence from fMRI studies using reward paradigms that activation in this brain region is abnormal in all these clinical groups. The only slight problem is that it the activation is reduced rather than increased. Maybe, though, there is a way round this problem…

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Challenges to interpretation

Today's post is by Eivind Balsvik (pictured above), who is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo, Norway. His principal research interests concern questions related to rationality, interpretation, and research ethics. He has also worked on the philosophy of Donald Davidson and theories of self-knowledge. In this post, he presents a recent article published in Philosophy of the Social Sciences entitled “Interpretivism, First-Person Authority, and Confabulation.”

My article, “Interpretivism, First-Person Authority, and Confabulation” is a first step in developing a weakly naturalistic interpretation theory for the social sciences, which is consistent with interpretivism. I have been interested in figuring out how a Davidson-inspired interpretation theory can incorporate psychological theories about the imperfections of cognition, which seems to fly in the face of his principles of holism, charity and the presumption of first-person authority. The project has prompted me to study philosophical theories of self-knowledge, psychological experiments that demonstrate confabulation, and dual-systems theory within psychology.

In the social sciences, it is widely accepted that an adequate description of social phenomena must include the participating agents’ own understanding of their actions. Social actors are “self-interpreting animals” (Taylor 1985), whose beliefs and desires, values and preferences enter constitutively into what they do. Adequate descriptions of social action therefore require that social scientists engage in a “double hermeneutic” where the object is to interpret how knowledgeable agents conceive of their own actions (Giddens 1976). This approach has been coined interpretivism.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Distributed Cognition and Collaborative Skills

This post is by Alex Miller Tate (University of Birmingham), reporting from an event taking place in London at the Institute of Philosophy on 26th May 2017, entitled "The Distributed Cognitive Ecologies of Collaborative Embodied Skill".





Philosophers, psychologists, and others share an interest in how human beings act in the world. In particular, scholars are fascinated by how humans develop and then intelligently deploy complex suites of skills and abilities, successfully engaging with an equally complex and rapidly changing environment. Even more impressively, humans often coordinate their actions with others – synchronising with and complementing the actions of their peers in collaborative endeavours as varied as football games and musical performances.

This workshop, organised by John Sutton of Macquarie University, was focused around the investigation of this fascinating topic, with particular emphasis on ways in which our complex, structured, material and social environments act not as a further burden on intelligent collaborative action, but as an enabler of it. At this workshop’s heart was a coming together of work on environmentally situated cognition and collaborative action. While the workshop brought together an invariably insightful group of scholars, I shall focus on just three presentations here.

Emily Cross of Bangor University presented a number of fascinating studies that her lab had conducted on the many and subtle connections between action observation and action performance. Her lab’s work differs in one particularly important respect to other work in the area; they focus on complex rather than simple activities in their test environments. As a consequence, they are able to probe the effects of expertise and learning on action observation and vice versa, and open their investigations to the nature of involved whole-body movements, rather than small and constrained motions (which one might think are ecologically relatively rare). Specifically, her lab focuses on the forms of movement found in dance.


Emily Cross

While there were too many nuanced sets of results offered in her presentation to do justice to here, a few stood out. Firstly, her team have found evidence that sensorimotor brain regions are shaped similarly by both physical practice of complex, whole-body actions and the mere visual experience of another individual practicing the same action. This bolsters previous behavioural evidence that physical and observational rehearsal may share significantly common mechanisms. Moreover, the acquisition of expertise through weeks of learning significantly alters and sharpens activity in the brain associated with action simulation during observation, suggesting that degree and quality of action simulation is modulated by acquisition of embodied skill.

Finally, Cross and her colleagues are just beginning to unravel complex interactions between the development of expertise through physical practice, action simulation, and subjective aesthetic enjoyment of observed movements. Although there is some evidence that enjoyment increases as a function of perceived difficulty in untrained participants, early results look significantly more complex for trained dancers. All of this is grist to the mill for those who want to argue for the fundamentally embodied character of everyday acts of perception, and associated aesthetic judgments.


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Morality constrains what we (implicitly) think is possible


My name is Jonathan Phillips and I earned my Ph.D. in Philosophy and Psychology at Yale in 2015. I am now a postdoc in the Moral Psychology Research Lab at Harvard. My research falls in the intersection of psychology, philosophy, and linguistics, and has focused on the psychological representation of modality, or the way our minds represent possibilities.

One incredibly important aspect of human cognition is that we are able to think not only about what is, but also what could be. This ability to represent and reason about non-actual possibilities plays a critical role in many of the judgments that have long interested philosophers and psychologists: it is essential, for example, in how we determine the causes of past events, decide whether a person acted freely, or figure out whether someone is morally responsible.

One interesting, though often overlooked, feature of these kinds of judgments is that humans seems to able to make them quickly and effortlessly. So, to the extent that they require us to represent or reason about alternative possibilities, we must not be doing it consciously or deliberatively. Instead, it seems that we must have some access to a default or implicit representation of possibility.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Autism and Responsibility





On June 7th, Ken Richman (MCPHS University, Boston) and Julian Savulescu (Oxford) hosted a small workshop on autism and moral responsibility at the University of Oxford. 

Some philosophers have argued that impaired cognitive empathy prevents autistic individuals from being fully morally responsible. Neuropsychologists working on autism, philosophers working on moral responsibility and psychiatric illness, autistic adults, and students and postdocs at the Oxford Uehiro Center for Practical Ethics came together to discuss autism and responsibility. Throughout the discussion, we focused on autistic individuals with average or higher intelligence, rather than those who also experience intellectual disability.


One of the first issues addressed was that questioning the moral responsibility of a certain group is extremely sensitive, as exempting individuals from responsibility entails doubting their moral agency, either in a specific situation or more generally. Such considerations might even be used to exclude a person from school or the workplace.

The capacities relevant to moral responsibility are generally considered to be volitional capacity (control) and understanding of the consequences and moral character of one’s actions. Both are affected by autism to some extent. However, autistic individuals are not more prone to committing crimes than the general population, and are not unusually prone to other kinds of immoral behaviour, either. My impression from the discussion was that problems arise most frequently when people are in overwhelming situations, or there can also be problems with inappropriate social behaviour, such as unintended rudeness.

It was pointed out that for most mental disorders, the disorder does not provide a blanket excuse or exemption from responsibility. Rather, what needs to be considered is how specific features of the disorder affected a specific action in order to make a case by case decision regarding excuse. For example, when making a responsibility judgment regarding an autistic child’s meltdown in a noisy situation, we need to take into account how much more stressful certain situations are for autistic children, as well as possible problems with volitional control. This implies that a global assessment of moral incapacity is inappropriate.

Under the label ‘authenticity’ we discussed approaches to moral responsibility and agency that require a morally competent agent not only to do the right thing, but to do it with the right feelings and attitudes. Examples introduced were comforting behaviour without typical feelings of empathy, and apologies without emotional appreciation of the harm done. In reaction to this, some of the participants with more experience with or of autism doubted that such descriptions, which ascribe a lack of affect to autistic individuals, are in fact accurate. It was pointed out that individuals with autism experience affective empathy and emotional contagion and primarily struggle with cognitive empathy, understanding and predicting what other people think. 

Issues are further complicated by another feature common among autistic people: alexithymia, the inability to identify and describe one’s own emotions. So it is important to note is that while the affective responses to other people’s plights may well be different, this does not mean that emotional responses are absent. Furthermore, many of us believed, contra some Strawsonian approaches, that the emotions with which individuals do the morally right thing should not feed into our moral evaluation of their actions, even if they may well influence other aspects of interpersonal relationships. 

The last point we discussed was whether autism has any effect on autonomy and people’s ability to make decisions for themselves. One frequently observed phenomenon is that parents of autistic children are often slower to let them make their own decisions because they want to protect them from ill-considered decisions arising from an inability to appreciate relevant options for action, or insufficient appreciation of the way their condition may affect the success of an action or project. In other words, there can be a struggle to balance respect with paternalistic care for autistic individuals’ welfare.


The workshop generated a very rich and interesting discussion which benefited immensely from the different perspectives that informed the conversation. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

How Stereotyping Leads to Misperception

In this post, Kathy Puddifoot, Research Fellow on Project PERFECT at the University of Birmingham, introduces her article, “Stereotyping: the Multifactorial View” recently published Open Access at Philosophical Topics.




Have you ever been sure that someone has made a false judgement about you because of how they perceive members of your social group? Have you ever suspected that you have made false judgement about someone else because you have applied a stereotype? Have you ever wanted to challenge someone else’s stereotyping on the basis that it will lead them to misperceive the people they stereotype? My paper identifies the conditions under which applying stereotypes about social groups leads to misperceptions like these.

One common assumption is that stereotyping only leads to misperception when it involves the application of a false stereotype. The idea is that if a stereotype accurately reflects an aspect of social reality then the application of the stereotype can only improve the chance of a correct judgement being made. Take the stereotype associating certain social groups with crime. If this stereotype reflects true crime rates then applying the stereotype will increase the chance of a person who engages in stereotyping making a correct judgement. I call this the single factor view of stereotyping.

According to another view, there are two factors that determine whether the application of a stereotype leads to misperception. The application of a stereotype increases the chance of an accurate judgement being made if the stereotype that is applied is accurate and good quality information about the individual to whom the stereotype is applied is sparse.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Moral Responsibility - Hard Cases



Sometimes, agents should not be held responsible for what they have done, for example because they lacked relevant information when acting, their reasoning was impaired or because they had insufficient control over their actions. However, it is controversial under which conditions we should refrain from attributing full responsibility.

On May 18, we looked at some such hard cases in a one day workshop. In the morning, speakers focused on non-clinical cases, in the afternoon, the focus was on impaired responsibility in individuals suffering from mental disorders.

In the first talk of the day, Philip Robichaud asked whether the presence of behavioural nudges make the nudged agent less praise- or blameworthy for what she has done under the influence of nudging. He argued that the extent to which agents' decisions are influenced does not differ fundamentally from other familiar cases where situational factors affect agents’ decisions.  The main problem Philip identified for being responsible for nudged actions lies in the fact that the changes in behaviour are the foreseen results of the interventions of another agent.

Lisa Bortolotti looked at the phenomenon of choice blindness and considered the extent to which we are responsible for choices which we make without being aware that we in fact made this choice. She argued that while we are frequently unaware of why we make a certain choice and may even be unaware of what choice we have made in certain experimental setups, we can still be responsible for our choices in as far as we endorse them and give reasons for them, thereby showing our commitment to them. This may even be the case when the choice we are endorsing is not in fact our original choice but a choice that we mistakenly take to be ours on the basis of experimental manipulation.


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Depressive Delusions


My name is Magdalena Antrobus, I am a PhD student working on Project PERFECT, researching psychological and epistemic benefits of depression. Together with Lisa Bortolotti I wrote a paper entitled Depressive Delusions, exploring the nature of delusions in severe forms of depression as well as the process of their formation. Here we present a summary of the article, which was published in 2016 in the Filosofia Unisinos journal.

It is common to define delusions as implausible beliefs that are held with conviction but for which there is little empirical support. The vast majority of delusions appearing in severe depression are mood-congruent, which means that their content matches the mood experienced by the person (Hales and Yudofsky, 2003). Common themes of depressive delusions are persecution, guilt, punishment, personal inadequacy, or disease, with half of the affected people experiencing delusions with more than one theme. Stanghellini and Raballo (2015) point to several differences between schizophrenic and depressive delusions. People affected by schizophrenia often describe the adoption of the delusion as a discovery, such as the discovery of the true meaning of life, or of a new purpose for humanity (Stanghellini and Raballo, 2015, p. 173), although delusions can and often do incorporate aspects of the person’s everyday reality and past experience. Delusions that emerge in depression – on the other hand - confirm self-related information that is already known and familiar. Delusions of guilt – for example - may validate a feeling of guilt and confirm the person’s conviction that she has done something wrong.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Extraordinary Science and Psychiatry

This post is by Dr Şerife Tekin, Assistant Professor of Philosophy; Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Daemen College, and Associate Fellow; Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, and Dr Jeffrey Poland, Visiting Professor; Science and Technology Studies; Brown University, and Senior Lecturer; History, Philosophy and Social Science; Rhode Island School of Design.




Thank you for giving us the opportunity to provide some information about our book, Extraordinary Science and Psychiatry: Responses to the Crisis in Mental Health Research, published with the MIT Press in January 2017. We hope to introduce some of the main themes for the book here, and encourage the readers of the blog to join this important conversation on the philosophy and science of psychiatry.

As evident from the intriguing posts featured in the Imperfect Cognitions blog, the last decade has been a very exciting time to be doing philosophy of psychiatry. With the recent developments in psychiatric science, philosophers have many opportunities to ask fundamental questions and contribute to scientific change.


The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) was published in 2013, closely followed by the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) declaration of the DSM-5 as unfit for use in psychiatric research and its subsequent initiation of the Research Domain Criteria Initiative (RDoC) to spearhead such research. In addition, there are many research programs in psychiatry whose theoretical frameworks and methodologies transcend the boundaries of the traditional DSM-led research programs, including various types of research in neuroscience and genetics. Accompanying these research developments are first-person accounts from clinical circles: those affected by mental illness are narrating their experience of mental disorder and psychiatric treatment, while clinicians are speaking of the limitations of conventional psychiatric research and treatment.

Using the conceptual resources offered by history and philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and ethics, philosophers are actively engaging with these developments, asking a wide range of questions about the nature of mental disorders, the validity and reliability of psychiatric diagnoses, methodological preferences in psychiatric research, criteria for good constructs, progress in psychiatry, the tensions between scientist and practitioner perspectives, and the morality of various treatment methods.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Defining Agency after Implicit Bias


My name is Naomi Alderson. In 2014, I graduated from Cardiff University and was accepted onto a programme, led by Dr Jonathan Webber, that helped graduates to turn an undergraduate essay on the topic of implicit bias into a publishable paper. My paper, ‘Defining agency after implicit bias’, was published in March 2017 in Philosophical Psychology, and will be summarised here. In writing it, I found more questions concerning agency, cognition and behaviour than I was able to answer; I am going to continue my studies at UCL this September in the hope of getting closer to the truth.

Implicit biases are associations that affect the way we behave in ways that can be difficult to perceive or control. One example is so-called ‘weapon bias’, studied by Keith Payne (2006) among others. Payne showed participants images of gun-shaped objects asked them to make split-second decisions about whether they were guns or not.

He found that many participants were more likely to misidentify harmless objects as guns and to correctly identify guns more quickly if they were shown a picture of a black man’s face than if they were shown a white man’s face, due to an implicit association between black men and guns.

This bias was found even in people with no explicit racial bias and, moreover, was not directly controllable by reflective, deliberative effort: simply concentrating on not being biased was not enough to eliminate its effect.

The resistance of some implicit biases to deliberative control poses a threat to traditional reflectivist accounts of agency, whereby being an agent means being able to deliberatively choose an action and then act it out. If we cannot simply choose to be unbiased, then our implicit biases limit our ability to be agents on this account.

My paper aims to defend and update the reflectivist account of agency by outlining what kinds of control we do have over implicit biases and commenting upon what these forms of control suggest about the nature of agency itself.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Interview with Dan Zahavi on Issues in Contemporary Phenomenology

In this post I interview Dan Zahavi, Professor of Philosophy at University of Copenhagen.


VM: In an interesting study published in Qualitative Health Research you used a phenomenological approach to understand the experiences of self, other, and the world in patients who had recently suffered a stroke and were experiencing hemispatial neglect. Could you say a bit more about the study, and expand on the idea that the findings show the importance of meaning and meaningmaking in the process of rehabilitation?

DZ: In that study we investigated first person accounts of neglect soon after a stroke. Many stroke patients experience hemispatial neglect, that is, they no longer notice the left side of their body and the perceptual field. We interviewed 12 patients, using an open-ended format. When interviewing the patients, we were guided by phenomenological accounts of embodied subjectivity, and sought to explore the way these impairments affected the patients’ experiences. 

Some of our findings replicated findings already present in the neglect literature.  But we also looked at how the stroke affected interpersonal relations. We discovered that the condition was influenced by social affordances. One salient example concerned a mother who could hold her baby with the left arm, but who didn’t notice other things which were less important and meaningful to her. We also found that some patients responded better to challenges to explore the left, when prompts were coming from close friends and family. This suggests the importance of emotional stimuli. 


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Is Smell an Aesthetic Sense?


Ann-Sophie Barwich (pictured above) is an empirical philosopher and historian of science and the senses at Columbia University. She investigates olfaction as a new model system for neuroscience and looks at the nature of smell for philosophical inquiry about perception (Barwich 2016). For this, she works in close collaboration with the neuroscience laboratory of Stuart Firestein, in addition to interactions with other olfactory labs.

The human sense of smell has a remarkably bad reputation. We are often told to have too poor a nose to appreciate the richness of sensory information that is conveyed through small volatile molecules in the air. Over the past two decades, however, scientific insight has proven many of the predominantly pejorative beliefs about human smell perception wrong. It turns out that our olfactory system is much more elaborate than previously thought, both in its physiological and cognitive functions (Shepherd 2004; 2012; Gilbert 2008; Barwich 2016; Majid 2016; McGann 2017). Still, we also know notably little about our oldest sense. To date, many of the key questions remain unresolved: Is there a natural order underlying the classification of the multitude of odors? How are smells represented in the brain?

In a recent article (Barwich 2017), I addressed one of the most persistent preconceptions about the human nose: Can our sense of smell be a source of aesthetic perception? The majority of opinions in aesthetic studies will give you a negative verdict or ignore the sense of smell altogether. In response, I looked at the reasons for dismissing odors in past aesthetic discourse. These reasons were largely twofold. First, aesthetic experience is commonly considered to be about features of objects, not personal preferences (Carroll 2001). In this context, the assessment of odor quality is held as being heavily subjective. Odors seem to represent phenomenological 'feels' instead of objects (Batty 2010). Second, aesthetic perception has a strong cognitive load. By contrast, olfactory percepts may not possess sufficient differentiation in their content. Rather, they are seen as presenting us with a synthetic experience of an immediate but undifferentiated sensation (Lycan 2000).

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Cognition, Affect, and Motivation

On June 9th, the University of Birmingham hosted a workshop, "Cognition, Affect, and Motivation: Conceptual and Empirical Issues", sponsored by Project PERFECT and the Mind Association. The conference brought together academics and students from philosophy and related disciplines, as well as members of the public, who were interested in issues relating to the interaction between cognition, affective responses and motivation. It aimed to foster interdisciplinary discussion around philosophical questions about the relation between these three drivers of human behaviour.



Maura Tumulty’s talk focussed on how we can take control over our mental states, especially those with strong affective content. Many of our mental states are controlled by our judgements. However, Tumulty discussed states that are in tension with our sincerely endorsed judgements. 





Say, for example, that a person is predisposed to be attracted to smoking although she sincerely endorses the judgement that smoking is bad for her health. Or suppose that someone harbours an implicit bias associating Black people with violent crime but explicitly judges that the bias is wrong.

In such cases, we cannot control our mental states through our judgements. We will continue, for example, to have positive affective responses that are associated with smoking, and negative affective responses that are associated with Black people, that are recalcitrant in face of conflicting judgements. Tumulty discussed how we can take managerial control when our judgements fail to control our mental states, we can adopt methods that control our mental states. For example, I might try to associate smoking with negative imagery by looking at pictures of unhealthy lungs whenever I encounter a person smoking.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The cognitive structure of social stereotypes


My name is Matthew Hammond, and I research social cognition, romantic relationships, and stereotyping in the School of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand).

A recent project with Andrei Cimpian (New York University) investigated the cognitive structure of social stereotypes. We aimed to refine the current psychological definition of stereotypes—which is simply that stereotypes are “beliefs about groups.” This definition underspecifies the kind of beliefs that make up stereotypes. Our research question involved distinguishing between statistical beliefs and generic beliefs as elements of stereotypes, drawing upon research in philosophy, cognitive science, and linguistics.

Statistical beliefs are about the prevalence of features within groups, such as believing that 1 in 3 humans have brown eyes. Generic beliefs, such as the belief expressed by the statement “sharks attack swimmers,” are not about any specific quantities or frequencies but rather consist of generalizations about a category considered as a whole (e.g., sharks).

Relative to statistical beliefs, generic beliefs are developmentally prior, less cognitively demanding, and less tied to reality: People tend to agree that “sharks attack swimmers” even though shark attacks are very rare, but they don’t think that “Americans are right-handed” even though most are.

In a paper recently published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, we describe four studies that tested whether stereotypes of social groups are primarily comprised of generic beliefs or statistical beliefs.

We used a functional criterion to answer our question: The function of stereotypes is to guide people’s judgments about the social world, so we deemed that whichever belief (generic or statistical) more strongly guided people’s social judgments is also more central to stereotypes.

We first asked a group of participants to list common stereotypes (e.g., politicians are liars). Then, we measured the extent to which a separate group of participants endorsed these stereotypes in generic form (e.g., agreement with generic statements such as “politicians are liars”) and statistical form (e.g., answers to prevalence estimation questions such as “what percentage of politicians are liars?”).

We used participants’ responses to predict a social judgment: the perceived likelihood that an unfamiliar group member behaves stereotypically. For example, participants were told “Person Y is a politician,” and asked “How likely is it that Person Y is a liar?” In sum, we measured people’s (1) generic beliefs, (2), statistical beliefs, and (3) social judgments of applying a stereotypical behavior to a target, for a range of social stereotypes.

Using multilevel models, we then analyzed whether people’s judgments about social targets were predicted more by their corresponding generic beliefs or statistical beliefs. We found that generic beliefs were a consistently stronger predictor of people’s social judgments than statistical beliefs across four samples. 

In addition, moderation tests indicated that the link between generic beliefs and social judgments was particularly strong for people with intuitive, low-effort cognitive styles, which is consistent with the fact that generic beliefs are developmentally primitive and cognitively simple. This finding suggests that generic beliefs may be more prominent in stereotypes because these beliefs simplify the social world.

Together, our results suggest an improved definition of stereotypes: Stereotypes may be primarily made up of generic beliefs about social groups.

Because generic beliefs about groups don’t map consistently onto objective, quantifiable facts about those groups, our evidence is incompatible with recent claims that stereotypes are accurate (for an extended argument against stereotype accuracy, see here). Furthermore, the fact that the core component of stereotypes (generic beliefs) was overweighted in the judgments of people who tend to think shallowly is another reason to doubt their accuracy.

Finally, our results have implications for the ways that researchers design interventions to reduce prejudice. For example, prejudiced judgments toward outgroup members may be more strongly influenced by targeting their generic beliefs (e.g., prompting consideration of targets membership to multiple group categories) rather than their statistical beliefs (e.g., presenting statistical facts intended to disconfirm negative portrayals of groups).

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Subdoxastic Attitudes, Imagination and Belief Workshop

Today I report from a workshop organised by Anna Ichino and Bence Nanay at the University of Antwerp (pictured below) on 31st May, 2017. The themes included subdoxastic attitudes, imagination, and belief.




I (Lisa Bortolotti, Birmingham) was the first speaker and discussed costs and benefits of confabulated explanations of one’s attitudes and choices. I started defining confabulation and providing several examples from the clinical and non-clinical literature. Then, I considered the standard philosophical reaction to confabulation, that it is evidence for a failure of self-knowledge, and rejected it.

Next, I argued that confabulated explanations of attitudes and choices involve ignorance and ill-grounded causal explanations. Finally, I looked at potential psychological and epistemic benefits of confabulated explanations, and applied to them the framework of epistemic innocence developed at part of project PERFECT

I concluded by saying that some confabulated explanations can be epistemically innocent, depending on whether they have benefits for epistemic agency and on whether there are better-grounded explanations available to the person. Another important consideration is whether the confabulation involves the adoption of other ill-grounded beliefs.

Lars Danzer (Essen) talked about subdoxastic states, subpersonal states, and the relationship between the two distinctions. Some subdoxastic states are subpersonal, but not all of them are. Danzer focused on tacit knowledge of linguistic rules as the principal case. What are subpersonal states? Following Zoe Drayson (2012), the distinction is between level of description or explanation, not between kinds of processes

Personal-level is the level of folk-psychology (e.g. beliefs). Subpersonal level is the level of computational psychology and neuroscience (e.g. neural states). The subpersonal level is supposed to provide vertical explanations of personal-level facts. But drawn this way, the distinction is not exclusive. If you hold an identity theory, there are no two different categories.

Are subdoxastic states (inaccessible to consciousness and inferentially insulated) located only at the subpersonal level? No! Certain subdoxastic states may be found only at the personal level (e.g. in rationalising explanations).

Anna Ichino (Antwerp) presented her thoughts on imagination and its relation to belief based. She started with some examples of conspiracy theories and superstitions to show how common they are, and referred to several robust results from psychological studies. This magical way of thinking differs from the scientific view of the world and sometimes it involves ontological confusion (it is scientifically impossible, not just implausible).

What sort of attitudes/mental states are these, and how do they affect behaviour? Ichino listed four options: (1) standard belief account (or in-between believing and not-believing); (2) direct imagination account; (3) indirect imagination account; (4) novel state account (aliefs or credences). Ichino argued that for most cases the direct imagination account is the best, and openly argued against the belief account. The standard belief account is endorsed by psychologists (‘Believing in Magic’ by Vyse, ‘Supersense’ by Hood) and based on the motivational power of superstition and magical thinking.

For Ichino this is not a sufficiently good reason to endorse (1), because superstitions and magical thinking do not meet the other constraints on belief: sensitivity to evidence and inferential integration. She used the case of conspiracy theories on Lady Diana’s death and other examples to make this point. Finally, she explains how the formation of magical and superstitious thoughts proposed by Risen(2016) and her Psychology of Belief and Judgement Lab fits with her interpretation of them being a form of imagination: system 2 detects the intuition offered by system 1 but does not correct it (acquiescence).


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

What Makes Delusions Pathological?


My name is Valentina Petrolini and I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Cincinnati. I work in philosophy of psychiatry, where my research focuses on the nature of mental disorders and on pathologies of belief such as delusions.

In my paper “What Makes Delusions Pathological?” I draw on Lisa Bortolotti’s work to suggest that delusional beliefs are irrational in a particular way. I accept the Continuity Thesis that Bortolotti proposes, namely the idea that beliefs lie on a continuum of rationality with delusions at the most irrational end. Yet, this formulation leaves an important problem unsolved. If delusions cannot be distinguished from other irrational beliefs by their failure to live up to rational norms, what makes delusions distinctively pathological? My solution consists in fine-tuning the notion of rationality to explore the influence that processes like emotions and relevance detection have on belief formation.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Rationality of Perception

In this post, Susanna Siegel, Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University, introduces her book, The Rationality of Perception.

On a traditional conception of the human mind, reasoning can be rational or irrational, but perception cannot. Perception is simply a source of new information, and cannot be assessed for rationality. I argue that this conception is wrong. Drawing on examples involving racism, emotion, self-defense law, and scientific theories, The Rationality of Perception makes the case that perception itself can be rational or irrational.


The Rationality of Perception argues that reasoning and perception can be deeply intertwined. When unjustified beliefs, fears, desires, or prejudices influence what we perceive, we face a philosophical problem: is it reasonable to strengthen what one believes, fears, or suspects, on the basis of an experience that was generated, unbeknownst to the perceiver, by those very same beliefs, fears, or suspicions? I argue that it is not reasonable-even though it may seem that way to the perceiver. In these cases, a perceptual experience may itself be irrational, because it is brought about by irrational influences.




Here’s a simple example. Jill fears (without good reason) that Jack is angry with her. As a result of her fear, Jack’s face looks angry to her when she sees it. If you saw Jack, you’d see his neutral expression for what it is. There’s no need for Jill to jump to conclusions from what she sees. Her fear’s influence on perceptual experience makes it simpler for her: she can just believe her eyes.

Let’s suppose that Jill has no idea that her fear has influenced her perceptual experience. To her, she’s simply seeing Jack, and following common sense in believing her eyes - since as far as she can tell, she has no reason not to believe her eyes.

Is it reasonable for Jill to believe her eyes, when her visual experience is a projection from an unreasonable fear or presumption? It might seem that the answer is Yes. What else is Jill supposed to believe, given that she has no idea her fear has been projected onto her experience? In countless other situations, it’s reasonable to believe what you see. If you want to know whether there’s mustard in the fridge, for instance, then if you see some mustard (and have a visual experience of a sort that typically goes with seeing mustard), it’s clearly reasonable to believe that the fridge contains mustard.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Implicit Stereotypes and the Effortful Control of the Mind


This post is by Tillmann Vierkant (pictured above), who is a senior lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He works on mental actions, conscious will, self control, mindreading, and lots of other stuff in the philosophy of cognitive science. Here, he summarises a paper written with Rosa Hardt (pictured below), who also works in philosophy of mind and cognitive science, and recently completed her PhD on the role of emotions in moral agency. 


Intuitively, we might want to say that what is special about our conscious beliefs is that they are conscious, because we can only use our rationality to deliberate about them if we are conscious of them. But this can’t be quite right by itself. We can obviously be conscious of other attitudes like gut feelings, phobias and implicit biases as well. However, as Levy argues, there is an important difference near by. While it is true that we can be aware e.g. of our spider phobia or our stereotypes about women this does not mean that we automatically thereby think that they accurately represent reality. On the contrary, we often notice phobias because they seem to force us to behave in ways that we think of as irrational and we are worried about implicit biases because we know that they make us behave in sexist ways we abhor without us even noticing. Conscious beliefs are special then not because we can be conscious of them, but because they express our view of the world as agents.

We argue, that unfortunately Levy’s argument does not work. We doubt that it is true that only conscious beliefs express our view of the world. There are cases like phobias where this seems convincing, but many similar attitudes are not like that. Famously, Huck Fin acts on a gut feeling against his moral judgment that he acquired growing up in a slave holder society, when he saves the runaway slave Jim. This is just one very prominent example of the general point. Gut feelings we cannot give reasons for even after deliberating might nevertheless express our view on the world.