Seattle Analytic Philosophy Club Message Board › Male vs female philosophers - is there a difference? Test yourself.

Male vs female philosophers - is there a difference? Test yourself.

Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 656
Victor has hypothesized that "experience is sexed" and this affects philosophy by causing men and women to philosophize differently. I disagree. First, cultural differences are greater - often much greater - than differences caused by sex or gender. I also contend that male and female philosophers - at the highest professional levels - do not philosophize differently. Here is an empirical test. I will post a samples from philosophy articles (they will be long, but there needs to be enough to make a decision). If you want, EMAIL ME (using Meetup) whether you think the author is male, female, or can't tell. If you have a reason, send that also. There is no set percentage of male or female authors in this trial. DO NOT POST ANSWERS OR COMMENTS ON THIS THREAD (in order to avoid influencing others). Any comments will be deleted. I apologize for the formatting issues (cutting and pasting from PDFs).
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 657
SAMPLE 1
What evidence does perceptual experience provide us with? Why heed
the testimony of our senses? To motivate these questions, consider a
perceiver and a hallucinator. Percy, the perceiver, accurately perceives
a white cup on a desk. Hallie, the hallucinator, suffers a subjectively
indistinguishable hallucination as of a white cup on a desk; that is, it
seems to her that there is a white cup where in fact there is none. What
evidence do Percy and Hallie have for believing that there is a white
cup on a desk? I will argue that Hallie has some evidence for her belief,
but that Percy has more evidence than Hallie.
While standard internalist views have it that Hallie has as much
evidence as Percy (e.g. Feldman and Conee 1985), standard externalist
views of evidence have it that Hallie has only introspective evidence,
but no evidence provided directly through experience (e.g. Williamson
2000).1 In contrast to both approaches, I will argue that perceptual
experience provides us with both phenomenal and factive evidence
and that both kinds of evidence have the same rational source. To a
first approximation, we can understand phenomenal evidence as determined
by how our environment sensorily seems to us when we areexperiencing. To a first approximation, we can understand factive
perceptual evidence as necessarily determined by the environment to
which we are perceptually related such that the evidence is guaranteed
to be an accurate guide to the environment. As I will argue, Percy and
Hallie both have phenomenal evidence for believing that there is a
white cup on a desk, but Percy has additional factive evidence. In this
sense, Hallie has some evidence, but not as much as Percy. In showing
that the rational source of both kinds of evidence lies in employing
perceptual capacities, I will develop a unified account of perceptual
evidence.
I will proceed as follows. In section 1, I distinguish perceptual evidence
from introspective evidence. In section 2, I argue that experience
provides us with phenomenal evidence. In section 3, I argue that
experience provides us with factive evidence. In section 4, I show that
phenomenal and factive evidence have the same rational source. My
project is purely positive. I will mention competitor views only to the
extent that it helps motivate and situate the view I develop. With
internalists, I will argue that we have at least some evidence provided
directly through experience regardless of whether we are perceiving,
hallucinating, or suffering an illusion. However, against internalists, I
will argue that if we accurately perceive, we have more evidence, where
that evidence is of a distinct kind. So while I will develop an externalist
view of perceptual evidence, I am in disagreement with externalists
like Williamson (2000), according to whom we have only introspective
evidence when we hallucinate, but no evidence provided directly
through experience.
Others have developed hybrid views on which evidence has both
internal and external elements .2 What is new about the account developed
here is that, if right, it establishes that perceptual experience
provides us with two kinds of evidence that have the same rational
source: both factive and phenomenal evidence have their rational
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 658
SAMPLE 1 CONTINUED
source in the perceptual capacities employed in experience. So what is
new about the account developed here is that it provides a unified
account of the internal and external elements of perceptual evidence
and their common rational source. Although my focus is on perceptual
evidence, the lessons I wish to draw are more general. I believe
that my arguments generalize to a bilateral view of evidence that is not
restricted to perceptual evidence. But to keep the discussion tractable I
will focus on the case of perceptual evidence.
Before I embark on this project, it is worth pausing to clear up a
potential misconception. Accepting that perceptual experience yields
evidence does not commit one to any form of evidentialism. According
to evidentialists, what one is justified in believing is entirely determined
by one’s evidence (Feldman and Conee 1985). While an
evidentialist could adopt many of the ideas I will argue for, they
could equally be adopted by someone who rejects the basic commitment
of evidentialism. Indeed, the thesis that perceptual experience
provides us with evidence is neutral on what connection there is between
having evidence and being justified.3 More specifically, the
thesis is neutral on the relationship between the evidence that experience
provides and any beliefs formed on the basis of that evidence.
The arguments of the paper could be accepted regardless of what
stance one takes on how and why experience justifies beliefs. The
thesis that experience yields evidence is neutral not only on the relationship
between having evidence and being justified but also on the
relationship between having evidence and what is rational to believe.
Indeed, it is neutral on whether being justified and being rational are
one and the same. After all, the thesis that experience provides us with
evidence is compatible with there being many other features that affect
what would be rational to believe. One might, for example, be a
foundationalist about justification, but think that additional coherence
considerations come into play when assessing what it would be
rational to believe. Moreover, one might have non-evidential defeaters
and so despite one’s evidence for p, it might not be rational to believe
p. Consider for instance a case in which a subject has negligently
‘buried her head in the sand’ and failed to gather easily accessible
evidence against p. Such a subject can retain good evidence for p
and so have at least some justification for believing p. Nevertheless,
it would arguably not be rational for her to believe that p. Finally, the
thesis that perceptual experience provides us with evidence is neutral
on the connection between having evidence and having knowledge. In
short, I am neither concerned here with whether we are doxastically
justified when we have evidence, nor am I concerned with what, if any,
further conditions are required for knowledge. I am concerned only
with what evidence perceptual experience provides us with and why it
is rational to heed the testimony of our senses.
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 659

SAMPLE 2
How do imaginings, beliefs, and desires relate to yield actionsand affective responses? In this paper, I will argue that any answer to this question should satisfy the following three desiderata:
(D1) Imaginings induce actions only in conjunction with beliefs about the environment of the imagining subject.(D2) There is a continuum between imaginings and beliefs. Recog-nizing this continuum is crucial to explain the phenomenon of imaginative immersion.(D3) The mental states that relate to imaginings in the way that desiresrelate to beliefs are a special kind of desire, namely desires tomake true in fiction. These desires to make true in fiction donot differ from regular desires in kind, but only in content.
After a few preliminary remarks about terminology and the land-scape of existing accounts (section
i
), I will specify and argue foreach of these desiderata in turn (sections
ii
through
iv
). By criti-cally discussing several recent accounts of imagination, I will show how these desiderata serve as constraints on viable answers to thequestion of how imaginings, beliefs, and desires yield actions andaffective responses. While my focus is on analyzing how imaginings differ fromand relate to other mental states, the larger aim is to gain a betterunderstanding of the role imagination and imaginative immersionplay in our cognitive lives. Imagination is a key mental capacity that plays a range of functions. By projecting ourselves into other situa-tions, imagination allows us to expand our horizon. By conceiving of alternative possible worlds, imagination allows us to forge new paths in science and gain an understanding of alternative waysour lives could be. By thinking through what would happen givencertain conditions, imagination allows us to engage in counter-factual reasoning. By creating fictional worlds and works of art,imagination allows us to develop new ideas and express old ideasin new ways

As this range of functions brings out, gaining a better understand-ing of the cognitive architecture of imagination is of interest not just to philosophy of mind, but also to aesthetics and to modal epis-temology. Imagination is a guide to knowing what is possible andallows us to think through what would happen given certain condi-tions. A better understanding of the cognitive structure of imagination will pave the way for a better understanding of how imagination canprovide evidence for modal claims, a better understanding of therole of imagination in representing counterfactual scenarios, andthe role of imagination in counterfactual reasoning.
i. terminology and landscape
I will work with the following necessary and sufficient conditions fora mental state being an episode of imagining.
(IM
NC
) A mental state is an episode of imagining only if it is directedat
p
being the case regardless of whether
p
is in fact the case.(IM
SC
) A mental state is an episode of imagining if it involves the activi-ties of pretending, visualizing, or fantasizing that
p
is the case.
Several explanations are required. (IM
NC
) is a weak condition that holds not just for imaginings, but also for beliefs. The conditionrules out factive mental states such as perceptions. It will proveessential that (IM
NC
) is a weak condition to account for imaginativeimmersion. Imagination can be playful or rigorous, conventional orbrazen. We can distinguish perception-like imaginings from intel-lectual imaginings, imaginings that include counterfactual reasoning and imaginings that are simply imagistic, and we can distinguishspontaneous from deliberate imaginings. What these cases all havein common is that they all satisfy (IM
NC
): cognitive tools are usedto create and think about scenarios that are not necessarily realizedhere and now. The child who imagines that she is a crocodile is not in fact a crocodile. The cook who imagines what the sauce wouldtaste like with a bit of thyme has not yet tasted the sauce with thethyme he is considering adding. The utopian who dreams of worldpeace does not live in a world of peace.(IM
SC
) is a more exclusive condition, while accounting for thefact that imaginings come in many different forms. It is important to note that pretending that something is the case can be different from visualizing that something is the case. I can pretend that I ama crocodile without visualizing that I am a crocodile. I can visualizethat I am Superman without pretending that I am Superman and without acting on my visualization. Similarly, fantasizing that some-thing is the case is different from either pretending or visualizingthat something is the case. I can fantasize what my life would belike were I living in the twenty-fourth century without pretending that I am living in the twenty-fourth century and without forming any mental imagery about my life in the distant future.
1
I canimagine things that are possible, and I can imagine things that areimpossible. Finally, imagining
p
to be the case is compatible with
p
being true. While working in a library, I can close my eyes andimagine my laptop being stolen. Someone could take advantage of the moment and steal my laptop. So I am imagining
p
even though
p
is true. As these examples show, the mental states that satisfy (IM
SC
) form a hodge-podge aggregate. There is however a unifying criterion. The unifying criterion is that they all satisfy (IM
NC
): they are all directed at something being the case regardless of whetherit is in fact the case.Imagination has been distinguished from pretense by Amy Kind,among others, on grounds that imagination is necessarily perception-like in that it involves visual imagery.
2
This strikes me as an artificialconstraint on what should fall under the concept of imagination. Arguably, one can imagine emotions, social relations, and abstract entities without visualizing emotions, social relations, and abstract entities. After all, one can imagine world peace without having any visual imagery of world peace. Moreover, one can imagine being upset without forming any visual imagery. I will not constrain thenotion of imagination to perception-like cases but will rather allow forthe possibility that at least some imaginings do not involve mentalimagery. It is worth highlighting though that those who consider visual imagery a necessary element of imagination can accept (IM
NC
)and (IM
SC
) as long as they understand pretending and fantasizing as requiring imagery.On the face of it, beliefs and imaginings differ in many ways. Themost important difference is arguably that, in contrast to imaginings,beliefs can be assessed for truth and falsity. For the purposes of thispaper, it will suffice to think of a belief as a mental state of taking tobe true. Arguably, being a mental state of taking to be true is themost minimal constraint for a mental state to count as a belief. A person who imagines that
p
need not take
p
to be true. Afterall, I can fantasize what my life would be like were I living in the
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 660
SAMPLE 2 (CONTINUED)
twenty-fourth century without taking it to be true that I am living inthe twenty-fourth century. However, as I will show in section
iii
, while imagining
p
to be the case does not entail taking
p
to be true,in the context of imaginative immersion imagining
p
can come very close to taking
p
to be true. All accounts of imagination have it that imaginings play a dis-tinctive cognitive role. On most accounts of imagination, beliefsand imaginings differ insofar as they are at least in part connecteddifferently to other mental states. Formulated in modularity termi-nology, the idea is that imaginings and beliefs play distinctive anddifferent functional roles that are encapsulated from one another.They decompose into distinct functional roles or boxes. While Iaccept that imaginings play a distinctive cognitive role, I will arguethat they are only to a certain degree encapsulated from beliefs.There are three main parameters on which accounts of imagi-nation differ. One difference lies in the desire-like mental statesto which imaginings are related. Kendall Walton, Gregory Currieand Ian Ravenscroft, Tamar Gendler, and Tyler Doggett and Andy Egan argue that there is not only an imaginary analogue to beliefs,namely imaginings, but that there is also an imaginary analogue todesires.
3
In short, the idea is that the mental representations that motivate actions when a subject
imagines
that she is, say, a crocodileare different in kind (and not just in content) from the desires that motivate her actions when she
believes
that she is a crocodile. Currieand Ravenscroft (
op. cit.
) call these imaginary analogues of desires

desire-like imaginings

; Gendler (
op. cit.
) refers to them as

make-desires

; Doggett and Egan (
op. cit.
) call them

i-desires.

I willadopt Doggett and Egan

s terminology and will call a view that posits imaginary analogues to desires an
i-desire view
Michael
Shephard42
Seattle, WA
Post #: 113
I'm not defending Victor's position (and it could potentially be valid to criticize the lack of a predictive/falsifiable experiment in favor of his claims) but I don't see how your experiment would prove anything.

How do we know that the female (or male) philosopher in question is "typical" when it comes to sexed/gendered experience? Perhaps one or both of them are outliers of a statistical range.

Furthermore, if I understand it correctly, Victor's position is not necessarily that philosophy done by women "sounds like a woman did it" or something like that, but instead that there might be specific concepts, general paradigms, or meta-stances which are approached differently by the different sexes. For instance - just to pull a hypothetical example out of my ass - maybe women tend to talk about the morality of acts in terms of consequences for a group rather than consequences for an individual. Even if you did have more than two data points, surveying a bunch of random people isn't going to mean anything if they don't know what to look for.

Or was it your goal to try to indicate, sardonically, that the question can't be approached empirically?
George
user 74564852
Kirkland, WA
Post #: 131
I grew up in an environment where women consistently outperformed men in terms of income, education, and academic performance. As far as I know, the major complaints from energetic women are household chores.
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 662
I'm not defending Victor's position (and it could potentially be valid to criticize the lack of a predictive/falsifiable experiment in favor of his claims) but I don't see how your experiment would prove anything.

How do we know that the female (or male) philosopher in question is "typical" when it comes to sexed/gendered experience? Perhaps one or both of them are outliers of a statistical range.

Furthermore, if I understand it correctly, Victor's position is not necessarily that philosophy done by women "sounds like a woman did it" or something like that, but instead that there might be specific concepts, general paradigms, or meta-stances which are approached differently by the different sexes. For instance - just to pull a hypothetical example out of my ass - maybe women tend to talk about the morality of acts in terms of consequences for a group rather than consequences for an individual. Even if you did have more than two data points, surveying a bunch of random people isn't going to mean anything if they don't know what to look for.

Or was it your goal to try to indicate, sardonically, that the question can't be approached empirically?
Micheal,

The goal was to try to some grip, any grip, upon the issue, because I really don't even have a fingerhold.

There would be more samples if there is any interest in the initial cases.

You might have some insights that I am missing. I don't want to clutter this area so if you are interested see the new post "Victor's theory..".

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