CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS
Volume 95, No.2, April 2012 - Experimental Philosophy
Deadline for Submissions: April 30, 2011
James Beebe, University at Buffalo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In recent years an increasing number of philosophers have been utilizing the experimental methods of the cognitive sciences to test key empirical claims advanced in various areas of philosophical dispute. Much of the time these experiments have taken the form of philosophical thought experiments presented to ordinary subjects which test whether the responses elicited match philosophers' claims. A number of surprising findings have been made by experimental philosophers that seem to bear directly on debates in action theory, epistemology, ethics, folk psychology, metaphysics and philosophy of language. But the philosophical significance of these findings continues to be the subject of debate. Contributions are invited that present results of applying experimental methods to philosophical hypotheses or address the significance of these results and the methodological challenges posed by experimental philosophy.
Volume 95, No.3, July 2012 - Neuroethics
Deadline for Submissions: July 31, 2011
Juha Räikkä, University of Turku (email@example.com)
New discoveries in the neurosciences are not only helping in the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders, they are also providing new tools for enhancing people's mental capacities, revealing neural bases of antisocial behaviour, and offering potential neurochemical strategies for counteracting such behavior. At the same time, the neurosciences are beginning to have an impact on our philosophical understanding of ourselves as social and moral beings. This issue of The Monist is devoted to questions of both the ethics of neuroscience and the neuroscience of ethics. Do neuroimaging, neurosurgery, or neural nanotechnology present us with new ethical issues? Do neuroscanning devices, for example, pose a potential threat to what might be called neural privacy? What are the ethical limits of neuroscientific research and of the potential new technologies which might be based thereon? Can a deeper understanding of the neurology of altruistic choices throw light on traditional ethical questions? Papers are particularly welcome which address these and other questions at the borderlines of neuroscience and moral philosophy.
Volume 95, No.4, October 2012 - Music
Deadline for Submissions: October 31, 2011
Julian Dodd, The University of Manchester (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Music raises many fascinating questions for both analytical aesthetics and philosophy quite generally. Ontological concerns have been particularly pressing in recent times. What kind of entity is a work of music? How are such entities individuated? Do they depend for their existence on their performances? Other compelling issues are more squarely aesthetic. For example, many have supposed that works of pure, instrumental music lack both meaning and representational content. But if this is true, what could understanding such works consist in? And how could it be possible for certain musical works to have the significance, depth and profundity that we commonly attribute to them? Other aesthetic questions concern music’s relation to the emotions, the desirability of ‘historically informed’ performance practices, and the nature of the value we find in listening to music. Submissions are invited that take forward the debate in any of these, or related, areas.
Volume 96, No.1, January 2013 - Constitution and Composition
Deadline for Submissions: January 31, 2012
Randall Dipert, University at Buffalo (email@example.com)
David Hershenov, University at Buffalo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Are objects constituted by other entities of equal size or are they merely composed of smaller objects? Some philosophers have claimed that only a theory of constitution can make sense of the metaphysics of the everyday world of people, rivers, coins, statues and the like. Others maintain that while constitution theories claim to deliver intact the familiar objects of our world, the philosophical costs are too great. The latter group points to puzzles about how objects in a constitution relation could differ in modal properties, persistence conditions, causal powers or cognitive capacities. However, there is the worry that some variants of the just mentioned puzzles will even plague compositional accounts that reject objects in a constitution relation and instead only recognize objects with smaller entities embedded within them. Another concern is that the metaphysics of the everyday world will have to be drastically revised if constitution is abandoned. Principles of composition might result in either a sparse ontology that eliminates many of the familiar objects of the world, or will posit the existence of many brief, scattered and gerrymandered objects that few people have previously recognized. Papers dealing with these or other problems related to the questions of composition and constitution.
Volume 96, No.2, April 2013 - Formal and Intentional Semantics
Deadline for Submissions: April 30, 2012
Dale Jacquette, University of Bern (email@example.com)
This issue of The Monist will examine an important ideological and methodological division in contemporary theory of meaning. Does meaning originate in thought, or is it a purely formal relation? Can the mind's ability to express thoughts in language be computerized, and can machines be made capable of meaningful speech acts? Purely formal semantic approaches, including computer modelings, treat meaning as an abstract mapping of objects onto objects, with no reference to a thinker expressing thoughts by means of language. An intentionalist theory, in contrast, considers expressive intentional states as essential to understanding meaning, but opens itself in turn to a number of objections. This collection will provide an opportunity for defenders of both sides of this fundamental watershed in theoretical semantics to make their case, and to engage in dialectical confrontation and exchange. One focus of discussion will be provided by the test case of computer semantics and computerized models of meaning, in which a purely formalist extensionalist concept of meaning is tested in practical application. If formalism is true, then it must be possible in principle to mechanize meaning in a conscious thinking and language-using machine; if intentionalism is true, no such project is intelligible.
Volume 96, No.3, July 2013 - Naturalizing Religious Belief
Deadline for Submissions: July 31, 2012
James Beebe, University at Buffalo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The cognitive science of religion brings the methods and resources of the cognitive sciences to bear on questions about religious thought and action, such as how ordinary cognitive structures inform and constrain the transmission of religious ideas, why people believe in gods, why religious rituals tend to have the forms that they do, and why afterlife and creation beliefs are so common. Findings in the cognitive science of religion raise a variety of philosophical questions, such as whether these findings undermine, threaten or explain away religious belief; whether those who believe in the supernatural can consistently accept a strongly naturalistic explanation of those beliefs; and whether traditional notions of religious belief are compatible with the view that explicit expressions of religious commitment are often post hoc rationalizations of intuitive but often unconscious inclinations of evolved mental structures. Contributions are invited that address these and other philosophical questions raised by the cognitive science of religion.
Volume 96, No.4, October 2013 - Mental Fictionalism
Deadline for Submissions: October 31, 2012
Tamas Demeter, MPIWG, Berlin (email@example.com)
Fictionalist accounts of various classes of sentences are increasingly being offered as alternatives to realism about moral and modal talk as well as about science and mathematics. In contrast to non-cognitivists, fictionalists hold that the sentences in the disputed class involve genuine representations, while in contrast to realists they insist that the sentences do not aim at truth. Rather they hold that it is some other virtue which provides the key to their understanding. This issue of The Monist will explore the prospects and problems for such fictionalism about psychological talk. Are there tenable fictionalist, as opposed to realist, renderings of psychological talk? Which particular version of fictionalism corresponds best to folk practice in talking about mental phenomena? And what role should be assigned to folk psychology in human interaction, if we deny that its role is to supply us with true representations of mental states? Is it possible to maintain mental fictionalism without slipping into a global fictionalism which would apply to all sentences? Submissions are welcome that address these and related issues pertaining to the topic of fictionalism in the domain of mind and psychology.
Volume 97, No.1, January 2014 - The Philosophy of Robert Musil
Deadline for Submissions: January 31, 2013
Bence Nanay (Syracuse University) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities is one of the most important novels of the 20th century. But Musil was also a philosopher, and after completion of his dissertation on Ernst Mach in 1908 he used his literary writings as a medium for the expression of philosophical ideas. His views on a wide range of philosophical topics are highly original and in many cases surprisingly relevant in the context of contemporary philosophy. Some examples: the relation between perception and action, the anatomy of (sexual) passion, the connection between aesthetic and moral value, the embodiment of cognition, the futility and absurdity of looking for the meaning of life, the thin line between sanity and insanity, and the importance and limitations of scientific reasoning. Contributions are invited on Musil’s ideas in philosophy, especially those which attempt to develop Musil’s often sketchy thoughts into carefully argued and coherent analyses.