Conceptual analysis as armchair psychology: in defense of methodological naturalism
- Daniel F. Hartner
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Three proponents of the Canberra Plan, namely Jackson, Pettit, and Smith, have developed a collective functionalist program—Canberra Functionalism—spanning from philosophical psychology to ethics. They argue that conceptual analysis is an indispensible tool for research on cognitive processes since it reveals that there are some folk concepts, like belief and desire, whose functional roles must be preserved rather than eliminated by future scientific explanations. Some naturalists have recently challenged this indispensability argument, though the point of that challenge has been blunted by a mutual conflation of metaphysical and methodological strands of naturalism. I argue that the naturalist’s challenge to the indispensability argument, like naturalism itself, ought to be reformulated as a strictly methodological thesis. So understood, the challenge succeeds by showing (1) that we cannot know a priori on the basis of conceptual analysis of folk platitudes that something must occupy the functional roles specified for beliefs and desires, and (2) that proponents of Canberra Functionalism sometimes tacitly concede this point by treating substantive psychological theories as the deliverances of a priori platitudes analysis.
- Baddeley, A. D., & Hitch, G. (1974). Working memory. In G. H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (Vol. 8, pp. 47–89). New York: Academic Press.
- Braddon-Mitchell, D., & Nola, R. (2009). Introducing the Canberra Plan. In D. Braddon-Mitchell & R. Nola (Eds.), Conceptual analysis & philosophical naturalism. Cambridge: Bradford.
- Casebeer, W. (2005). Natural ethical facts: Evolution, connectionism, and moral cognition. Cambridge: Bradford.
- Cohen, J. D. (2005). The Vulcanization of the human brain: a neural perspective on interactions between cognition and emotion, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19, 13–24.
- Copp, D. (2007). Morality in a natural world. Cambridge University Press.
- Craver, C. (2007). Explaining the brain: Mechanisms and the mosaic unity of neuroscience. Oxford: Clarendon Press. CrossRef
- Darwall, S. (1998). Philosophical ethics. Boulder: Westview Press.
- Darwall, S., Gibbard, A., & Railton, P. (1992). Toward Fin de siècle Ethics: Some trends. The Philosophical Review, 101, 115–189. CrossRef
- Devitt, M. (1984). Realism and truth. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Glimcher, P. (2001). Making choices: The neurophysiology of visual-saccadic decision-making. Trends in Neurosciences, 24(11), 654–659. CrossRef
- Glimcher, P., Dorris, M., & Bayer, H. (2005). Physiological utility theory and the neuroeconomics of choice. Games and Economics Behavior, 52, 213–256. CrossRef
- Gold, J. I., & Shadlen, M. N. (2000). Representation of a perceptual decision in developing oculomotor commands. Nature, 404, 390–394. CrossRef
- Jackson, F., & Pettit, P. (1990). In defence of folk psychology. Philosophical Studies, 5, 7–30.
- Kable, J., & Glimcher, P. (2009). The neurobiology of decision: Consensus and controversy. Neuron, 63, 733–745. CrossRef
- Kennett, J. (2002). Autism, empathy, and moral agency. The Philosophical Quarterly, 52(208), 340–357. CrossRef
- Kennett, J., & Fine, C. (2009). Will the real moral judgment please stand up? The implications of social intuitionist models of cognition for meta-ethics and moral psychology. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 12, 77–96. CrossRef
- Miller, G. A. (1956). The magical number seven, plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review, 63, 81–97. CrossRef
- Nolan, D. (2009). Platitudes and metaphysics. In D. Braddon-Mitchell & R. Nola (Eds.), Conceptual analysis and philosophical naturalism. Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Schroeder, T., Roskies, A., & Nichols, S. (2010). Moral motivation. In J. Doris (Ed.), The moral psychology handbook (pp. 72–110). Oxford: Oxford University Press. CrossRef
- Shadlen, M. N., & Newsome, W. T. (2001). Neural basis of a perceptual decision in the parietal cortext (area LIP) of the Rhesus Monkey. Journal of Neurophysiology, 86, 1916–1936.
- Smith, M. (1994). The moral problem. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Conceptual analysis as armchair psychology: in defense of methodological naturalism
Volume 165, Issue 3 , pp 921-937
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Canberra Plan
- Conceptual analysis
- Philosophical psychology
- Philosophical methodology
- Folk psychology
- Beliefs and desires
- Platitudes analysis
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 5500 Wabash Ave, Terre Haute, IN, 47803, USA