Function and Modality
Naturalistic teleological accounts of mental content rely on an etiological theory of function.
Nanay has raised a new objection to an etiological theory, and proposed an alternative
theory of function that attributes modal force to claims about function. The aim of this
paper is both to defend and to cast a new light on an etiological theory of function. I
argue against Nanay’s “trait type individuation objection,” suggesting that an etiological
theory also attributes modal force to claims about function. An etiological theory of
function can be thought to analyze claims about function with modal force, not relying
on any theory of counterfactuals.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Osamu Kiritani, Ph.D.,
4–14–202 Motohama, Amagasaki, Hyogo 660–0085, Japan. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Naturalistic View of Human Dignity
References to human dignity abound in contemporary political, legal, and ethical documents
and practices, including a widening representation in bioethical contexts. Appeals to
dignity characteristically involve some notion of equality (that all humans or persons
have a special kind of worth captured by that term) and the idea that there is some range
of actions which ought never to be directed at persons (e.g., torture). However, much of
this contemporary use of dignity leaves the concept itself under-developed or poorly
grounded. This sometimes conduces to a broadly skeptical view that dignity has any
determinate content, or that it can be grounded independently of either religion or
rationalism. I argue that dignity has substantial connections to modern biological views
of human beings, and that the biological matrix for dignity should be explored to help
remedy these shortcomings. I propose three major biological contexts for understanding
dignity in a naturalistic fashion: reciprocity and punishment, in so far as both are implicated
in the promotion of pro-social cooperative behavior among humans, and dignity as
a communicative signal that also has power to promote cooperation. Each of these three
components is explored in some detail by reference to a wide range of contemporary scientific
literature. Finally, I make suggestions for how it might be possible to study dignity in
a fully scientific way, by adapting methods and techniques already well-established in
biological, physiological, and neuroscientific study of human cooperation.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Richard T. McClelland, Ph.D.,
Philosophy Department, Gonzaga University, 502 E. Boone Avenue, Spokane, Washington 99258.
From Trance to Transcendence: A Neurocognitive Approach
Rapaport (1951) made a strong claim regarding the pivotal role of reflective awareness in
characterizing both cognition and consciousness. It is suggested that the transition
between a state of trance to one of transcendence entails a shift in reflective awareness
from awareness’ apparent absence (trance) to its apparent multiplicity (transcendence).
It is further suggested and demonstrated that it is the balance in EEG alpha-theta activity
along the anterior-posterior axis that accompanies this transition.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Joseph
Glicksohn, Ph.D., Department of Criminology, and The Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied)
Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 52100 Israel. Email:
Is the DSM’s Formulation of Mental Disorder a Technical–Scientific Term?
Although the “Introduction” to the DSM makes it clear that the presence of “clinical” distress
or impairment is insufficient for a diagnosis of “mental disorder” (the distress or impairment
must be deemed a manifestation of a biological or psychological dysfunction), in
practice the clinician is completely unshackled from the conceptual definition and is free
to decide on a case-by-case basis if “enough” distress or impairment is present, regardless
of circumstances, to judge that “mental disorder” can be diagnosed. It is argued that reference
to a biological or psychological dysfunction cannot raise “mental disorder” from
a judgment quite like “This is pornography, not literature” to a technical–scientific term
because (a) “biological dysfunction” must be tied to an outcome that is itself less ambiguous
than “mental disorder,” and (b) “psychological dysfunction” erroneously assumes that
how people are supposed to think, feel, and act, regardless of circumstances, can be as
uncontentious as ideas about physical well being, and in addition erroneously assumes that
human behavior can be causally explained.
Requests for reprints should be sent to David H. Jacobs, Ph. D., Pyrysys Psychology Group, 8950
Villa La Jolla Drive, La Jolla, California 92037. Email: David.Jacobs@pyrysys.com
The New Science of the Mind: From Extended Mind to Embodied Phenomenology. Reviewed by Michael Madary, Universität Mainz
One of the latest labels to emerge for anti-classical (or non-Cartesian, or post-cognitivist)
cognitive science is “4E.” The four Es here are the embodied, embedded,
enacted, and extended approaches to cognition. Since there are a number of different,
and likely incompatible, lines of thought within the 4E group, more work needs to be
done to articulate how the Es can and should fit together. Mark Rowlands’ newest
book, The New Science of the Mind: From Extended Mind to Embodied Phenomenology,
addresses this need in a valuable way. He argues, clearly and carefully, for the thesis
of the amalgamated mind, which “subsumes both theses of the embodied and the
extended mind” (p. 84). The thesis of the embedded mind is rejected as being merely
a claim about cognition depending causally on the environment. As such, it is not
strong enough to be interesting for Rowlands’ non-Cartesian project. The thesis of
the enacted mind, in particular Alva Noë’s sensorimotor version of it, is also rejected
as being either implausible or no stronger than the thesis of the embedded mind (pp.
81–82). First I will outline Rowlands’ defense of the thesis of the amalgamated mind;
then I will raise some issues for further investigation.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Michael Madary, Ph.D., Johannes Gutenberg —Universität
Mainz, FB05 Philosophie und Philologie, Jakob-Welder-Weg 18, 55099 Mainz, Germany. Email: