!?

Zwichenzug

an in-between move

Cool kids read The Bellman.

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Don't read this blog!

I mean, thanks for dropping by my little corner of the blogospheric backwaters, but the blog you should be reading is The Bellman. The stuff I post there is much, much less likely to be imbued with dormitive powers.

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Zwischenzug
[German, from zwischen, intermediate + zug, move

n.
Literally an "in-between move". A move in a tactical sequence is called a zwischenzug* when it does not relate directly to the tactical motif in operation. |source|


image copyright TWIC

From this position, black played a zwischenzug: 19…d5
Adams-Kasparov
(Linares 2002, 1-0)

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about your blogger

David Rowland studies philosophy at the University of Illinois - Urbana / Champaign, where he's an active member of the Graduate Employees Organization. He used to play a lot of chess, but wasn't all that good. He has a blog. And email.

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recent

Might as well go whole hog
Remembering The Warehouse
Memo to the record industry
Not much posting this week
ramify
When the only tool you've got is an intercontinent...
Is this scare-mongering...
longueur
I know it's irrational...
An excerpt from Korsgaard

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syndication

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under
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Gets the Goods!


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some folks I know

Mark Dilley
a daily dose of architecture
dailysoy
Hannah
funferal
Safety Neal
eripsa
January Girl
mimi jingcha
bleen
Rambleman
Washburn
Hop, Skip, Jump
E
ambivalent imbroglio
Brooke & Lian

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some blogs I read

strip mining for whimsy
It's Matt's World
School of Blog
Saheli
Fall of the State
Dru Blood
Echidne of the Snakes
Colossal Waste of Bandwidth
Running from the Thought Police
Bionic Octopus

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some philosoblogs

E.G.
Philosoraptor
Left2Right
Fake Barn Country
Freiheit und Wissen

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some labor blogs

Confined Space
Unions-Firms-Markets
Working Life
CGEU
Dispatches From the Trenches
Labor Blog
LaborProf
Eric Lee

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some A-list blogs

This Modern World
Discourse.net
Matthew Yglesias
pandagon
Andrew Sullivan
Political Animal
Majikthise
DeLong
The Volokh Conspiracy

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some other links

Rule 33
Dictionary.com
This Week in Chess
Baseball-Reference.com
War Nerd
National Priorities Project
Bible Gateway
Internet Archive
maxdesign
A Weekly Dose of Architecture
Orsinal: Morning Sunshine
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
NegativWorldWideWebland
Safety Sign Builder
Get Your War On

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some philosoblogging

Six views about reasons
Seidman on reflection and rationality
And another thing
Aspirin
Tiffany's argument for strong internalism
Internalism v. Externalism
What do internalists believe anyway?
Rationalism and internalism
The experimental method in philosophy
Advertising to children
On moral skepticism
A linguistic argument
Whorf
More on Williams
Williams on reasons
General and particular
Normativity and morality
Political intuitions
What it is, what it was, and what it shall be
Objectivity and morality
Thinking revolution
Factoid
Abortion and coercion
Moore on torture
On the phenomenology of deliberation
Even more Deliberation Day
more Deliberation Day
Deliberation Day run-down
He made a porch for the throne where he might judge, cont.
He made a porch for the throne where he might judge
Every shepherd is an abomination
Droppin' H-bombs
ad hominem

Thursday, September 01, 2005

 

Instinct, intelligence, and reason in Korsgaard's Locke Lectures

This post is an attempt to lay out Korsgaard's three part distinction between animals which are merely conscious, animals which are, in addition, intelligent, and human beings who are, on Korsgaard's view, not only intelligent but also capable of employing reason.

The following brief excerpt brings out several important features of Korsgaard's view of merely conscious animals:
Consciousness first evolved in unintelligent animals, and would have been useless if all it did was to flood their tiny minds with neutral information that needs to be processed by intelligence or reason before it is of any use. So the world comes to an animal already practically interpreted as a world of tools and obstacles, friends and enemies, of the to-be-avoided and the to-be-sought. The natural way of perceiving the world, in other words, is teleologically. (4.2.1)

The unintelligent but conscious animal, on the view Korsgaard is pushing here, has an interior mental life of a sort. That mental life is comprised of a series of motivationally loaded representations of the outer world. These representations are the closest thing such an animal has to an imperative, and its behavior can be understood as rote adherance to the recommendations of its perceptions. For such an animal instinct operates both within the mechanism by which the sensory impingements of the world are transformed into representations and in the mechanism by which such representations spur behavior. In the first instance, instinct is the faculty which imbues those representations with motivational force, and it does this by sorting groups of sensory impingements into semantic categories -- things-to-be-eaten, things-to-be-ignored, things-to-be-avoided, and so on -- that are hard wired into the animal. In the second instance, instinct is the application of a rule specifying what is to be done given acquaintance with a representation from a particular category.
An intelligent animal is characterized by its ability to learn from its experiences. It is able to extend its repertoire of practically significant representations (or even just cues, for a machine may be intelligent) beyond those with which instinct (or the inventor) originally supplied it. So intelligence is a capacity to forge new connections, to increase your stock of automatically appropriate responses. Intelligence so understood is not something contrary to instinct, but rather something that increases its range and ramifies the view of the world that it presents. (4.2.2)

The distinction between an intelligent animal and one that is merely conscious, then, has to do with the capacity to enlarge the extension of the categories provided by instinct. An intelligent animal may, for example, come to learn that jello is food, despite initial appearances to the contrary. When it does this, future representations of jello will be motivationally loaded in the way that instinct (speaking loosely) determines that representations of food ought to be. Notice that the operation of instinctual faculties remains essentially unchanged, and that intelligence is able to overrule instinct only in the first of its two offices.

Since I have laid things out in this way the punchline is probably obvious - the rational animal will be able to overrule instinct in its second office. That is, the rational animal will be able to determine for itself what rule shall determine its response to representations from each of the various semantic categories. This rule making function, moreover, will be tantamount to a reconception of many of the categories since it imposes a teleology over and above that given by nature.

There is, though, a wrinkle. For Korsgaard reason is the result of a very specific feature of the human mind.
...our capacity to turn out attention on to our own mental states and activities is also a capacity to distance ourselves from them, and to call them into question. I perceive some situation as dangerous, and find myself with an instinctive impulse, an incentive, to run. But when I bring that impulse itself into view, when I reflect on it, then I can call it into question. Shall I run? Does this situation really give me a reason to run? And now I have to decide.

The first result of the development of self-consciousness is liberation from the control of instinct. Instincts still operate within us, in the sense that they are the sources of many of our incentives – in fact, arguably, though by various routes, of all of them. But instincts no longer determine how we respond to those incentives, what we do in the face of them. They propose responses, but we may or may not act in the way they propose. Self- consciousness opens up a space between the incentive and the response, a space of what I call reflective distance. It is within the space of reflective distance that the question whether our incentives give us reasons arises. In order to answer that question, we need principles, which determine what we are to count as reasons. Our rational principles replace our instincts – they will tell us what is an appropriate response to what, what makes what worth doing, what the situation calls for. And so it is in the space of reflective distance, in the internal world created by self-consciousness, that reason is born.



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