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Dispositions in Psychology

A bibliography of online papers

  1. D. Aerts, Quantum Theory and Human Perception of the Macro-World,, (2014).
    We investigate the question of 'why customary macroscopic entities appear to us humans as they do, i.e. as bounded entities occupying space and persisting through time', starting from our knowledge of quantum theory, how it affects the behavior of such customary macroscopic entities, and how it influences our perception of them. For this purpose, we approach the question from three perspectives. Firstly, we look at the situation from the standard quantum angle, more specifically the de Broglie wavelength analysis of the behavior of macroscopic entities, indicate how a problem with spin and identity arises, and illustrate how both play a fundamental role in well-established experimental quantum-macroscopical phenomena, such as Bose-Einstein condensates. Secondly, we analyze how the question is influenced by our result in axiomatic quantum theory, which proves that standard quantum theory is structurally incapable of describing separated entities. Thirdly, we put forward our new 'conceptual quantum interpretation', including a highly detailed reformulation of the question to confront the new insights and views that arise with the foregoing analysis. At the end of the final section, a nuanced answer is given that can be summarized as follows. The specific and very classical perception of human seeing - light as a geometric theory - and human touching - only ruled by Pauli's exclusion principle - plays a role in our perception of macroscopic entities as ontologically stable entities in space. To ascertain quantum behavior in such macroscopic entities, we will need measuring apparatuses capable of its detection. Future experimental research will have to show if sharp quantum effects - as they occur in smaller entities - appear to be ontological aspects of customary macroscopic entities., (Web), (pdf).

  2. D. Aerts, L. Gabora, and S. Sozzo, Concepts and Their Dynamics: A Quantum-Theoretic Modeling of Human Thought,, (2012).
    We analyze different aspects of our quantum modeling approach of human concepts, and more specifically focus on the quantum effects of contextuality, interference, entanglement and emergence, illustrating how each of them makes its appearance in specific situations of the dynamics of human concepts and their combinations. We point out the relation of our approach, which is based on an ontology of a concept as an entity in a state changing under influence of a context, with the main traditional concept theories, i.e. prototype theory, exemplar theory and theory theory. We ponder about the question why quantum theory performs so well in its modeling of human concepts, and shed light on this question by analyzing the role of complex amplitudes, showing how they allow to describe interference in the statistics of measurement outcomes, while in the traditional theories statistics of outcomes originates in classical probability weights, without the possibility of interference. The relevance of complex numbers, the appearance of entanglement, and the role of Fock space in explaining contextual emergence, all as unique features of the quantum modeling, are explicitly revealed in this paper by analyzing human concepts and their dynamics. Published in: Topics in Cognitive Science, 5, pp. 737-772, 2013, (Web), (pdf).

  3. W. P. Alston and J. Bennett, Locke on people and substances, The Philosophical Review, (1988), pp. 25-46.
    In the famous chapter on identity in the Essay (II.xxvii), Locke notoriously denies that sameness of substance is either necessary or sufficient for sameness of person. In thus denying that the identity of a person is determined by `unity of substance', Locke denies that a person is a substance. If people were substances of some kind, then for me to be the same person through a stretch a time would just be for me to continue to be the same substance of that sort. And yet through most of the Essay the term `substance' is used in a comprehensive contrast with `mode' and `relation': this is, roughly speaking, the trichotomy of thing, property, and relation. If Locke were thinking of substance in this way in the `Identity' chapter, he ought to find it obvious that people are substances, that people are squarely on the substance side of the great divide that has substances (things, beings) on one side of it, and modes and relations on the other., (Web), (pdf).

  4. H. Atmanspacher and H. Primas, Pauli's ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 13 (2006), pp. 5-50.
    (Web), (pdf).

  5. H. H. Bawden, The Psychical as a Biological Directive, Philosophy of Science, 14 (1947), pp. 56-67.
    (Web), (pdf,htm).

  6. L. L. Blackman, Mind as Intentionality Alone, Metaphysica, 3 (2002), pp. 41-64.
    During a career that has spanned over forty years Panayot Butchva- rov has advocated what amounts to a new theory of mind. Although the view was intimated by Hume, the "early" Wittgenstein, and Sartre among others, it is apparently found in its more developed form only in Butchvarov's works and in those of his former student, Dennis E. Bradford. I will argue that the position is interesting but encounters at least as many problems as its more traditional alternatives. Butchvarov's conception of mind is contrary to common sense, fails to provide a basis for morality, is sometimes inconsistent, and is hopelessly idealistic. I will furthermore try to show that Butchvarov's unremitting phenomenologi- cal approach is chiefly to blame. It leads to these difficulties., (pdf).

  7. M. Buchanan, Quantum minds: Why we think like quarks, The New Scientist, 5 Sept (2011), pp. 1-4.
    The fuzziness and weird logic of the way particles behave applies surprisingly well to how humans think, (pdf).

  8. A. A. Buckareff, How Does Agent-Causal Power Work?, The Modern Schoolman, 88 (2011), pp. 105-121.
    Research on the nature of dispositionality or causal power has flourished in recent years in metaphysics. This trend has slowly begun to influence debates in the philosophy of agency, especially in the literature on free will. Both sophisticated versions of agent-causalism and the new varieties of dispositionalist compatibilism exploit recently developed accounts of dispositionality in their defense.1 In this paper, I examine recent work on agent-causal power, focusing primarily on the account of agent-causalism developed and defended by Timothy O'Connor's in his work on free will., (Web), (pdf).

  9. R. Byrne and P. N. Johnson-Laird, 'If' and the problems of conditional reasoning, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, (2009).
    `If' is a puzzle. No consensus has existed about its meaning for over two thousand years. Here, we show how the main psychological theories deal with the seven crucial problems that it raises. These competing explanations treat `if' as though it was a term in a formal logic, or as eliciting the construction of a mental model of the world, or as an instruction to suppose that a proposition holds. The solution to `if' would be a major step towards understanding how people reason, and towards implementing a computer program that can reason in a human way. We argue that the mental model theory is closer to resolving the puzzle of `if' than its competitors., (Web), (pdf).

  10. E. Conte, On the Possibility that we think in a Quantum Probabilistic Manner, NeuroQuantology, 8 (2010).
    My discussion is articulated under the neurological as well as the psychological profile. I insist in particular on the view that mental events arise in analogy with quantum probability fields. I review some results obtained on quantum cognition discussing in detail those that we obtained on quantum interference in mental states during perception‐cognition in ambiguous figures. Frequently, I use the approach to quantum mechanics by Clifford algebra. I insist in particular on two recent results. The first is the justification that I obtain of the von Neumann postulate on quantum measurement and the second relates my Clifford demonstration on the logical origins of quantum mechanics and thus on the arising feature that quantum mechanics relates conceptual entities. The whole discussion aims me to support the conclusion that we think in a quantum probabilistic manner., (Web), (pdf).

  11. J. Farris, Agency/Volition, (2014), pp. 1-2.

  12. A. Grandpierre, The Dynamics Of Time And Timelessness, (2007), pp. 1-8.

  13. R. Halvorson, Got Soul? Aristotle Democratizes and Demythologizes the Psuchê, (2002), pp. 1-6.
    Upon first glance, Aristotle's view of the soul may be a bit striking, if not absurd, in contrast to what a modern person is used to hearing. Perhaps a likely reaction would be, ``You're telling me that plants have souls?'' Whereas people today, as well as philosophers in classical Greece, were primarily concerned with the human soul, Aristotle believes that this is perhaps an elitist notion, if not entirely misdirected. Why does everyone spend so much time discussing the corporeality or incorporeality of the human soul, when we have not yet studied something simpler? Perhaps Plato should learn about the soul by discussing the soul of an apple tree rather than his own eternal fate., (pdf).

  14. K. Kull, T. Deacon, C. Emmeche, J. Hoffmeyer, and F. Stjernfelt, Theses on biosemiotics: Prolegomena to a theoretical biology, Biological Theory, 4 (2009), pp. 167-173.
    Theses on the semiotic study of life as presented here provide a collectively formulated set of statements on what biology needs to be focused on in order to describe life as a process based on semiosis, or signaction. An aim of the biosemiotic approach is to explain how life evolves through all varieties of forms of communication and signification (including cellular adaptive behavior, animal communication, and human intellect) and to provide tools for grounding sign theories. We introduce the concept of semiotic threshold zone and analyze the concepts of semiosis, function, umwelt, and the like as the basic concepts for theoretical biology., (Web), (pdf).

  15. S. Lemaire, Intention and motivation : reduction or constitutive part, tech. rep., Oct. 2014.

  16. H. Lillehammer, The doctrine of internal reasons, The Journal of Value Inquiry, 34 (2000), pp. 507-516.
    According to advocates of internalism about reasons for action, there is an interesting connection between an agent's reasons and the agent's present desires. On the simplest version of this view, an agent has a reason to act a certain way at some time if and only if acting that way would promote his present desires. Let us call this the sub-Humean model. The sub-Humean model is widely regarded as too simple on the grounds that there are adverse conditions, such as massive confusion, in which desires are irrationally possessed or acquired, thereby failing to provide reasons for action., (Web), (pdf).

  17. J. A. Michael and A. Steglich-Petersen, Why Desire Reasoning is Developmentally Prior to Belief Reasoning, Mind and Language, (2014).
    The predominant view in developmental psychology is that young children are able to reason with the concept of desire prior to being able to reason with the concept of belief. We propose an explanation of this phenomenon that focuses on the cognitive tasks that competence with the belief and desire concepts enable young children to perform. We show that cognitive tasks that are typically considered fundamental to our competence with the belief and desire concepts can be performed with the concept of desire in the absence of competence with the concept of belief, whereas the reverse is considerably less feasible., (Web), (pdf).

  18. S. Mumford, Intentionality and the physical: A new theory of disposition ascription, The Philosophical Quarterly, 49 (1999), pp. 215-225.
    This paper has three aims. First, it aims to stress the importance of the dispositional/categorical distinction in the light of the evident failure of the traditional formulation. Second, it considers one radical new alternative that is on offer, intentionality as the mark of the dispositional, and shows what is unacceptable about it. Finally, a suggestion is made of what would be a better theory that explains all that was appealing about the new alternative., (Web), (pdf).

  19. S. Mumford and R. L. Anjum, With great power comes great responsibility-on causation and responsibility in Spider-man, and possibly Moore, (2011).
    (Web), (pdf).

  20. S. Mumford and R. L. Anjum, Freedom and Control, (2013), pp. 1-11.

  21. E. Pacherie, Self-agency, The Oxford handbook of the self, (2010), pp. 440-462.
    We are perceivers, we are thinkers, and we are also agents, bringing about physical events, such as bodily movements and their consequences. What we do tells us, and others, a lot about who we are. On the one hand, who we are determines what we do. On the other hand, acting is also a process of self-discovery and self-shaping. Pivotal to this mutual shaping of self and agency is the sense of agency, or agentive self-awareness, i.e., the sense that one is the agent of an action., (Web), (pdf).

  22. E. Pacherie, The Phenomenology of Joint Action: Self-Agency versus Joint Agency, in Joint Attention: New Developments, A. Seemann, ed., MIT Press, 2011, p. 343.
    (Web), (pdf).

  23. H. Putnam, D. Davidson, and D. Lewis, The Mind in Nature, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, (2009).
    Page 1. International Journal of Philosophical Studies Vol. 17(4), 609-635 International Journal of Philosophical Studies ISSN 0967-2559 print 1466-4542 online http://www. DOI: / Book Reviews, (Web), (pdf).

  24. F. Romero and C. Craver, Dispositions, in The Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology, Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.
    It is common in psychiatry and other sciences to describe an individual or a type of individual in terms of its disposition to manifest specific effects in a particular range of circumstances. According to one understanding, dispositions are statistical regularities of an individual or type of individual in specific circumstances. According to another understanding, dispositions are properties of individuals in virtue of which such regularities hold. This entry considers a number of ways of making each of these senses of disposition more precise while discussing a number of dangers lurking in careless use of the concept of a disposition., (Web), (pdf).

  25. M. Saniga, Geometry of Psychological Time,, (2003).
    The paper reviews the most illustrative cases of the "peculiar/anomalous" experiences of time (and, to a lesser extent, also space) and discusses a simple algebraic geometrical model accounting for the most pronounced of them. Published in: Direction of Time, S. Albeverio and Ph. Blanchard (eds.), Springer International Publishing, 2014, pp. 171-186, (Web), (pdf).

  26. W. Schultz, Dispositions, Capacities, and Powers A Christian Analysis, PhilosoPhia Christi, 11 (2009), pp. 321-338.
    Volume 9, number 1, of Philosophia Christi, (pdf).

  27. K. Setiya, Intention, Plans, and Ethical Rationalism, (2011).
    (Web), (pdf).

  28. J. C. Skewes and C. A. Hooker, Bio-agency and the problem of action, Biology and Philosophy, 24 (2008), pp. 283-300.
    The Aristotle-Kant tradition requires that autonomous activity must originate within the self and points toward a new type of causation (different from natural efficient causation) associated with teleology. Notoriously, it has so far proven impossible to uncover a workable model of causation satisfying these requirements without an increasingly unsatisfying appeal to extra-physical elements tailor-made for the purpose. In this paper we first provide the essential reason why the standard linear model of efficient causation cannot support the required model of agency: its causal thread model of efficient causation cannot support the core requirement that an action is determined by, and thus an expression of, the agent's nature. We then provide a model that corrects these deficiencies, constructed na- turalistically from within contemporary biology, and argue that it provides an appropriate foundation for all the features of genuine agency. Further, we provide general characterisations of freedom and reason suitable to this bio-context (but that also capture the core classical conceptions) and show how this model reconciles them., (Web), (pdf).

  29. J. Smythies, Consciousness and higher dimensions of space, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 19 (2012), pp. 224-232.
    This paper reviews the present status of the material dualist theory of brain-consciousness relations. I cover first the history of its development by Priestly, Broad, Price, Carr, Jourdan, and myself. The theory is then described with its basis in higher-dimensional geome- try, the phenomenology of consciousness, the neurological concept of the body image, and the application of Leibniz's Law to the current dominant identity theory of brain-consciousness relations. A model based on Flatland is developed to illustrate the theory followed by a discussion of its application to recent findings in NDE cases together with the use by Jourdan (2000) and Brumblay (2003) of higher- dimensional geometry to account for the remarkable phenomenology revealed. Finally I discuss possible ways to test the theory by experiment., (Web), (pdf).

  30. I. Thompson, Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness: A Causal Correspondence Theory, (1990).
    We may suspect that quantum mechanics and consciousness are re- lated, but the details are not at all clear. In this paper, I suggest how the mind and brain might fit together intimately while still maintaining dis- tinct identities. The connection is based on the correspondence of similar functions in both the mind and the quantum-mechanical brain., (pdf).

  31. I. Thompson, Discrete Degrees Within and Between Nature and Mind, in Psycho-Physical Dualism Today. An Interdisciplinary Approach, A. Antonietti and A. Corradini, eds., Lexington Books, Mar. 2008, pp. 99-123.
    Examining the role of dispositions (potentials and propensities) in both physics and psychology reveals that they are commonly derivative dispositions, so called because they derive from other dispositions. Furthermore, when they act, they produce further propensities. Together, therefore, they appear to form discrete degrees within a structure of multiple generative levels. It is then constructively hypothesized that minds and physical nature are themselves discrete degrees within some more universal structure. This gives rise to an effective dualism of mind and nature, but one according to which they are still constantly related by causal connections. I suggest a few of the unified principles of operation of this more complicated but universal structure., (pdf).

  32. D. von Wachter, Free Agents as Cause, (2003), pp. 1-12.
    The dilemma of free will is that if actions are caused deterministically, then they are not free, and if they are not caused deterministically then they are not free either because then they happen by chance and are not up to the agent. I shall propose a conception of free will that solves this dilemma. It may seem to many metaphysically more extravagant than other conceptions but I shall suggest that this should not deter us. However, I shall not undertake here to argue that there really are beings with free will; this would be a different project. Here I shall only discuss what free actions would be like., (pdf).

  33. M. Weber, Whitehead's onto-epistemology of perception and its significance for consciousness studies, New Ideas in Psychology, (2006).
    The question of how ``inner'' states can be elucidated with reference to external phenomena receives, within Whitehead's coordinates, a twofold answer. First, a macro-analysis spelling out the characteristics of everyday perception and conceptualizing its conditions of possibility. Second, a micro-analysis questioning the ontological background of what is phenomenologically given. The conclusion underlines the main consequences of panexperientialism for Consciousness Studies., (Web), (pdf).

  34. J. Wilson, Review of CB Martin's The Mind in Nature, (2009).

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Author: I.J. Thompson (except as stated)