SKFU 6(1) 2012

Abstracts in English

Emotions and moral dilemmas from the perspective of neuroethics

Piotr Przybysz
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Wioletta Dziarnowska
The Maria Grzegorzewska Academy of Special Education

Abstract. In this paper we focused on the role of emotions in decision-making in the situation that present a moral dilemma. We discuss recent findings on it in neuroethics. Some researchers in this field differentiate between moral personal and moral non-personal dilemmas, in which – respectively – automatic emotions and controlled cognitive processes force moral judgement. They hypothesize there is a special kind of emotion, i.e. moral emotions, that affect making moral judgement in the situation of moral dilemmas. In the paper we propose there might be two types of moral emotions, namely non-epistemic and epistemic moral emotions.

Keywords: neuroethics, ethics, moral emotions, moral dilemmas


Moral Mind and Ethical Consideration: Between Neuroethics and Traditional Moral Philosophy

Mariusz Weiss
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Abstract. In recent years we can see dynamic development of neuroethics, i.e. branch of neuroscience which studies different ethical issues in context of functioning of human mind and brain. The main topic of these studies is uniquely human competence to pronounce moral judgments and its mechanisms. But the outcome of neuroethics research has considerably wider dimension. It goes beyond strictly descriptive problems and spreads over theorethical issues of ethics. In this article I consider significance of neuroethical research for analysis made in the field of normative ethics and metaethics.

Keywords: moral mind, moral grammar, moral judgement, normative ethics, metaethics


Paul Thagard’s model of abductive reasoning

Mariusz Urbański
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Abstract. In this paper an explanatory-coherentist model of abductive reasoning is described on the example of the model of abduction proposed by Paul Thagard. Currently, it offers the most satisfactory combination of psychological adequacy and computational effectivenes of the modelled processes of abductive hypotheses generation and evaluation.

Keywords: abductive reasoning, explanatory-coherentist model of abduction, theory of explanatory coherence


Cognitive science grasps of confabulation: memory vs. epistemic approach

Magdalena Reuter
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Abstract. Confabulation is ill-grounded belief, which is an effect of filling-in gaps in cognitive system. It should be distinguished from a lie, because confabulating people have no intention to deceive. I differentiate between pathological and normal confabulations. Then I present two approaches to confabulation: memory approach and epistemic approach. According to the first, narrow approach, confabulations are an effect of filling-in gaps in memory. According to the second, wide approach, confabulations may be interpreted in terms of other knowledge domains, like visual perception or body perception. In the paper I propose to look at confabulation as a way our mind work in the situation of lack of information. I distinguish filling-in confabulations from consolidating confabulations and additive confabulations.

Keywords: confabulations, cognitive illusions, memory, perception


Lateralization of language and gestures: research methods, interrelationships, and anatomical determinants

Grzegorz Króliczak, Szymon Biduła
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Abstract. In the majority of humans, the left hemisphere of the brain plays a decisive role both in the control of language and skilled manual gestures. Moreover, in right-handed people, the left-hemispheric regions of the cerebral cortex control the actions of the hand and fingers of the dominant limb, including reaching movements towards targets, grasping, and manipulation of objects. This is why until recently it has not been apparent whether the lateralization of language functions is closer related to the basic control of the preferred hand or to the processing of the higher order information necessary for dexterous communication with gestures, independent of the arm and hand. In favor of the second option, there is evidence that in the majority of left-handed people the left hemisphere also dominates in the control of language and gestures. Yet, examples of atypical lateralization of language skills to the right hemisphere, accompanied with the left-hemisphere lateralization of manual gesture representations seem to evidence against it. Although it has been established how common the atypical lateralization of some brain functions is, the reasons for it are still unclear. More importantly, only recently researchers started to successfully study the interrelationships between different cognitive skills in healthy individuals. These studies suggest the existence of close relationships between the lateralization of apparently disparate functions, such as language and gestures, in the cases considered so far quite atypical. Yet, the latter were often linked to the reorganization of the brain following disease or other disturbances of its functioning. However, the existence of close relations between the representations of apparently distinct cognitive dispositions in atypical cases, not having its source in illness or lesions, suggests a somewhat different model of the source and variability of the lateralization of functions in the brain.

Keywords: language, gestures, lateralization, interrelations, functional asymmetries, anatomical correlates