•  219
    Ordinary language and scientific discourse are filled with linguistic expressions for dispositional properties such as “soluble,” “elastic,” “reliable,” and “humorous.” We characterize objects in all domains – physical objects as well as human persons – with the help of dispositional expressions. Hence, the concept of a disposition has historically and systematically played a central role in different areas of philosophy ranging from metaphysics to ethics. The contributions of this volume analyz…Read more
  •  125
    Empathy, Rationality, and Explanation
    with Mark Bevir
    Journal of the Philosophy of History 5 (2): 147-162. 2011.
    This paper describes the historical background to contemporary discussions of empathy and rationality. It looks at the philosophy of mind and its implications for action explanation and the philosophy of history. In the nineteenth century, the concept of empathy became prominent within philosophical aesthetics, from where it was extended to describe the way we grasp other minds. This idea of empathy as a way of understanding others echoed through later accounts of historical understanding as inv…Read more
  •  107
    Abstract This essay will argue systematically and from a historical perspective that there is something to be said for the traditional claim that the human and natural sciences are distinct epistemic practices. Yet, in light of recent developments in contemporary philosophy of science, one has to be rather careful in utilizing the distinction between understanding and explanation for this purpose. One can only recognize the epistemic distinctiveness of the human sciences by recognizing the epist…Read more
  •  93
    Mental causation and the paradoxes of explanation
    Philosophical Studies 122 (3): 243-77. 2005.
    In this paper I will discuss Kims powerful explanatory exclusion argument against the causal efficacy of mental properties. Baker and Burge misconstrue Kims challenge if they understand it as being based on a purely metaphysical understanding of causation that has no grounding in an epistemological analysis of our successful scientific practices. As I will show, the emphasis on explanatory practices can only be effective in answering Kim if it is understood as being part of the dual-explanandum …Read more
  •  87
    It has become something of a consensus among philosophers of history that historians, in contrast to natural scientists, explain in a narrative fashion. Unfortunately, philosophers of history have not said much about how it is that narratives have explanatory power. they do, however, maintain that a narrative’s explanatory power is sui generis and independent of our empathetic or reenactive capacities and of our knowledge of law-like generalizations. In this article I will show that this consens…Read more
  •  86
    Imagination, Empathy, and Moral Deliberation: The Case of Imaginative Resistence
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1): 156-180. 2011.
    This essay develops a new account of the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. Imaginative resistance is best conceived of as a limited phenomenon. It occurs when we try to engage imaginatively with different moral worlds that are insufficiently articulated so that they do not allow us either to quarantine our imaginative engagement from our normal moral attitudes or to agree with the expressed moral judgment from the perspective of moral deliberation. Imaginative resistance thus reveals the cen…Read more
  •  79
    In this timely and wide-ranging study, Karsten Stueber argues that empathy is epistemically central for our folk-psychological understanding of other agents--that it is something we cannot do without in order to gain understanding of other minds. Setting his argument in the context of contemporary philosophy of mind and the interdisciplinary debate about the nature of our mindreading abilities, Stueber counters objections raised by some in the philosophy of social science and argues that it is t…Read more
  •  73
    The Problem Of Self-Knowledge
    Erkenntnis 56 (3): 269-296. 2002.
    This article develops a constitutive account of self-knowledge that is able to avoid certain shortcomings of the standard response to the perceived prima facie incompatibility between privileged self-knowledge and externalism. It argues that if one conceives of linguistic action as voluntary behavior in a minimal sense, one cannot conceive of belief content to be externalistically constituted without simultaneously assuming that the agent has knowledge of his beliefs. Accepting such a constituti…Read more
  •  65
    This article will defend the centrality of empathy and simulation for our understanding of individual agency within the conceptual framework of folk psychology. It will situate this defense in the context of recent developments in the theory of mind debate. Moreover, the article will critically discuss narrativist conceptions of social cognition that conceive of themselves as alternatives to both simulation and theory theory.
  •  64
    How to think about rules and rule following
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (3): 307-323. 2005.
    This article will discuss the difficulties of providing a plausible account of rule following in the social realm. It will show that the cognitive model of rule following is not suited for this task. Nevertheless, revealing the inadequacy of the cognitive model does not justify the wholesale dismissal of understanding human practices as rule-following practices, as social theorists like Bourdieu or Dreyfus have argued. Instead it will be shown that rule-following behavior is best understood as b…Read more
  •  53
    Empathy
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
    Despite its linguistic roots in ancient Greek, the concept of empathy is of recent intellectual heritage. Yet its history has been varied and colorful, a fact that is also mirrored in the multiplicity of definitions associated with the empathy concept in a number of different scientific and non-scientific discourses. In its philosophical heyday at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, empathy had been hailed as the primary means for gaining knowledge of other minds and as the method uniquely…Read more
  •  49
    Theories explain, and so do historical narratives: But there are differences
    Journal of the Philosophy of History 2 (2): 237-243. 2008.
    Anti-realists like Paul Roth conceive of historical narratives as having no genuine explanatory power, because historical events are not ready-made and reveal themselves only to the retrospective gaze of the historian. For that reason, the categories with the help of which historians identify historical events do not map onto categories of general theories of the world required for a genuine explanation of them. While I agree with Paul Roth that the significance of a historical event is revealed…Read more
  •  42
    In this article I will challenge a received orthodoxy in the philosophy of social science by showing that Collingwood was right in insisting that reenactment is epistemically central for historical explanations of individual agency. Situating Collingwood within the context of the debate between simulation theory and what has come to be called “theory theory” in contemporary philosophy of mind and psychology, I will develop two systematic arguments that attempt to show the essential importance of…Read more
  •  40
    s argument for the claim that social relations have to be conceived of as primary and main ontological category for an adequate analysis of the social realm. The author shows that King ’s arguments do not succeed in fully replacing the categories of agency and structure that are pervasive in contemporary social theory. At most, King succeeds in delineating a neglected area of social theory, something that should be taken into account in addition to structure and agency. Key Words: social ontolog…Read more
  •  38
    The Causal Autonomy of Reason Explanations and How Not to Worry about Causal Deviance
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (1): 24-45. 2013.
    This essay will defend a causal conception of action explanations in terms of an agent’s reasons by delineating a metaphysical and epistemic framework that allows us to view folk psychology as providing us with causal and autonomous explanatory strategies of accounting for individual agency. At the same time, I will calm philosophical concerns about the issue of causal deviance that have been at the center of the recent debates between causalist and noncausalist interpretations of action explana…Read more
  •  31
    1. Introduction: Naturalism and Psychological Explanations To a large extent, contemporary philosophical debate takes place within a framework of naturalistic assumptions. From the perspective of the history of philosophy, naturalism is the legacy of positivism without its empiricist epistemology and empiricist conception of meaning and cognitive significance. Systematically, it is best to characterize naturalism as the philosophical articulation of the underlying presuppositions of a reductive …Read more
  •  29
    Indeterminacy and the first person perspective
    In C. Martinez Vidal (ed.), Verdad: Logica, Representacion Y Mundo, Universidade De Santiago De Compostela. 1996.
  •  23
    Judging from the contemporary debate in the philosophy of history, philosophers seem to think of history as an important but also as a very peculiar discipline. They cannot make up their minds on how exactly to describe the epistemic status of historical knowledge or how exactly to situate history among human activities ranging from the arts to the natural sciences.1 The difficulty of philosophically accounting for the character of history goes back to the very beginning of history as a professi…Read more
  •  22
    Intentionalism, Intentional Realism, and Empathy
    Journal of the Philosophy of History 3 (3): 290-307. 2009.
    Contemporary philosophers of history and interpretation theorists very often deny the thesis of intentional realism, because they reject intentionalism or the thesis that an agent's or author's intentions are relevant for the interpretive practice of the human sciences. I will defend intentional realism by showing why it is wrong to whole-heartedly reject intentionalism and by clarifying the logical relation between intentionalism and intentional realism. I will do so by discussing the two centr…Read more
  •  20
    The Cognitive Function of Narratives
    Journal of the Philosophy of History 9 (3): 393-409. 2015.
    _ Source: _Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 393 - 409 This essay will utilize the central historicist insight about the nature of the historical world and historical writing in articulating the cognitive function of narratives. It will argue that full-blown narratives are best understood as developmental portraits of a chosen entity/ unit in respect to its individuality. The argument will proceed through a critical analysis of the debate between Noel Carroll and David Velleman about the nature of the narra…Read more
  •  19
    In response to my critics, I highlight areas of agreement and disagreement. I also argue that my view is better suited than narrativism to account for the difficulties that we encounter in trying to understand other agents. Moreover, the points brought up by Gallagher and Hutto do not succeed in showing that our understanding of an agent’s reasons for acting proceeds independently from reenactive empathy
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  •  7
    Taking my departure from the discussion of the concept of understanding in contemporary epistemology, I will suggest that we need to fine-tune the concept of explanatory understanding in order to comprehensively describe the epistemic endeavors of the natural and social sciences. I will distinguish among the theoretical, narrative, and empathic modes of understanding. None of the sciences are exclusively characterized by one of these modes of understanding. Nevertheless, I will suggest that only…Read more
  •  7
    Moral sentimentalism has seen a tremendous rise in popularity in recent years within contemporary meta-ethical theory, since it promises to delineate the normative domain in a naturalistically unobjectionable manner. After showing that both Michael Slote and Jesse Prinz’s sentimentalist positions fall short of fulfilling this promise, this essay argues that contemporary sentimentalists are advised to take their clues from Adam Smith rather than David Hume. While Hume was absolutely right in emph…Read more