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What kind of academic inquiry can best help humanity make progress towards as good a world as possible?  Why are philosophers apparently so uninterested in this question?  Is it because most believe the kind of academic inquiry we have today, devoted primarily to the pursuit of knoweldge and technological know-how, is the best that we can have, judged from the perspective of helping humanity make progress towards a better world?  Why are philosophers apparently so uninterested in arguments which seem to show decisively that inquiry restricted to the pursuit of knowledge is both profoundly irrational, and a menace?  The successful pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how, dissociated from a more fundamental concern to help humanity resolve conflicts and problems of living in increasingly cooperatively rational ways, is almost bound to lead to trouble.  Scientific knowledge and technological know-how enormously increase our power to act - for some of us at ... (read more)
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I have several unpublished papers on Philpapers. I am told that:
  • This paper is flagged as a manuscript, but not a draft. Is it really a manuscript you don't intend to publish?
They are actually finished papers that I don't intend to publish. But when I look at the pull-down list for Publication Status I can't see a suitable option. What should I do?

Howard Simmons
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Usually clicking on an essay title takes one to the archived text, but I have one essay for which clicking in the title takes the reader directly to my blog. I'd rather they were not ambushed in this way but cannot see how to change the setting. Is this something I've done when uploading the essay? Can it be changed?   
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I have a following trouble.

If I want to defining some word, and I want that my definition will be correct in the meaning of Semantical Conception of Truth or Classical, I have to know something about object, attribute or relation that I want to define. In other words: If I wand define "wisdom" I have to know what the wisdom is. If I don't know what the wisdom is, my definition will be arbitrary and could be incorrect (not in logical meaning but in ontological meaning), it would be fake definition.

The question is: How would I know about the subject, object, relation, attribute to give its proper definition ?
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Normative antirealism supposes that the only normative reasons are empirical, viz. those constituted by the actual attitudes of individuals and what follows from them.  However, the empirical normative attitudes of some individuals (e.g. normative realists) posit attitude-independent standards of normative judgement:  for example, rational measures of correctness (e.g. right and wrong) that are independent of the attitudes individuals actually have.  Since it follows from the actual attitudes of realists that there are independent normative standards, at least for them antirealism entails realism.  The antirealists respond that they have proven such independent standards to be fatally compromised:  when properly scrutinized they fail to follow even from the attitudes of realists.  But that's not an empirical claim!  The antirealist is replacing the question "What attitudes do persons actually have?" with the question "What personal attitudes stand up to scrutiny?", so withstanding scrutiny be ... (read more)

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[First, some considerations concerning a general neural process.]
The Myth of Synaptic Efficacy
This is a widely spread belief that has probably its origin in Shannon's information theory indiscriminately applied to neural processes. Once this view is rejected, the idea that  "[t]he extent to which synaptic activity can signal a sensory stimulus limits the information available to a neuron" (Arenz et al "The Contribution of Single Synapses to Sensory Representation in Vivo", 2008) loses any plausibility. (my emphasis)
What can be rejected for the brain as a whole (see the entry "Do we get too much information?" in my thread Retina: Miscellanious) can certainly be put in doubt when dealing with (individual) neurons.
Many concepts related to synaptic efficiency are likewise taken as dogmas, one of them being the probability of secretion of neurotransmitters that is supposed to be enhanced or reduced according to the circumstances. Such a concept, which is obviously a statistical instrument in ... (read more)
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I am currently studying objections to modal realism for a section of something I'm writing, and am wondering if people can help me with questions about two related objections which seem important to me. My questions are: are there existing sources for these objections, and if so, what are they?

Reality as a whole could have been different

One objection I would like to find more sources for is the idea that reality as a whole (in the most unrestricted sense) could have been different. Lewis's modal realism leads to the conclusion that the whole system of worlds is the way it is necessarily, but intuitively reality as a whole could have been different, so this is a mark against the theory.

I have found one source for this objection - Williamson's 'Necessary Existents', where he says:

'Even if there are mutually disconnected spatiotemporal systems such as Lewis postulates, they are not the distinctive subject matter of modal discourse. They are simply more of what there is, about which we ... (read more)
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Such person would consider the meaning of all words to be vague(including the meaning of the word "vague") and think that actually we do not know what we are talking about(including this sentence itself) even though we feel that we know very well about what we are talking about. Therefore all of our knowledge presented in the form of language is nonsense(including this sentence itself).

For example:
A: Truth is any statement that corresponds to the reality.
B: What does "correspond" mean? What does "reality" mean? What does "statement" mean?
A: "Correspond" means XXX, "reality" means XXX, and "statement" means XXX.
B: Then what does XXX mean?
A: ...
(And B would even question the meaning of his own sentences.)

It seems to me that such absolute-skepticism is invincivle. Any argument against it would be considered nonsense according to this theory. We might well ask, in what situation can the meaning of a word be "clear"? Philosophy is not as exact and accurate as math (perhaps math is ... (read more)
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A first intuitional approach

Movement is a very old metaphysical problem that divided the great ancient Greek thinkers.
Zeno's paradoxes, as discussed by Plato, Aristotle and others, found their way in modern thinking in the form of calculus, relativity, and last but not least, in the neurological underpinnings of motion perception. I will confine myself in this thread to the latter aspect, with only brief remarks concerning the others. Both the physical and philosophical traditions are rich in debates that would take many volumes to treat properly. 

The idea that we are always looking at a stationary picture of reality (in which stationary objects remain in the same place relative to the visual scene they are part of), and that the sensation of movements comes from the differences between two consecutive images is, very often, the implicit assumption of the 'scientific" approach to motion perception. 
I need to be very clear on this point. In my view, it is not the calculation of these d ... (read more)
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Philosophy of Knowledge:In Relation to Truth, Knowledge and Metaphysics. 

In contemporary idealism, especially those of Kantian inspiration, knowledge is considered as the primary and radical philosophical discipline. According to them: “metaphysics itself must be submitted to the previous judgement of the theory of knowledge, which would determine whether it is viable or not.”[1] This sentence could be summarized into this phrase: How can the theory of knowledge leads us to truth? On the other hand, how can we know that it is true?

According to a Kantian metaphor: “reason stands accused before the tribunal in which reason itself is to be the judge.”[2] So if our capacity to reason to reach truth is in question, how will we ever be able to resolve this dilemma?

In a few decades, there have been many philosophers rejecting knowledge, and considered it as a “dead letter.”[3] Heidegger, was one of them who criticized the philosophy of consciousness, where he denounced the substitution of cer ... (read more)

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I have noted this problem before. I can't stop the bot from mistakenly updating the book in this entry to Journal of Philosophy. I've changed it back too many times now...
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Discussion on one of the other threads (“Toward a Uniform Vocabulary for Discussing Subjectivity”) has lately turned to neuro-aesthetics where it is only marginally relevant. So I wondered if perhaps the topic might deserve its own thread, especially given that aesthetics in all its forms is such a poor relation in analytic philosophy and generally gets so little attention.

I should explain my own position. I think neuro-aesthetics is bunkum. I won’t go into why for the moment – that will doubtless emerge as time goes on. I’m happy to suggest it as a topic, however, because (a) I’m aware it has many enthusiasts, (b) who knows? I may be wrong, (c) I think it warrants closer scrutiny than it usually seems to get, and (d) as I say, aesthetics in all its form gets very little attention anyway.

To encourage contributions, I should mention that I have an Achilles heel: I have read very little of the work by “leading” neuro-aestheticians. Some intellectual movements, I feel, have folly writte ... (read more)
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             Alcubierre Space-Time Bubbles



How about the Alcubierre Space-Time bubble? Here we find ourselves riding a ‘shock wave’ of space-time. My research into absolute rest suggests that the interior of Alcubierre’s bubble is not immune to the effects of quantum-entropy if the quantum field geometrics theory I’ve proposed is correct. The universe, being a history of interactions, can be theoretically mapped as a series of relativistic Feynman exchanges, so if his bubble moves through space, it interacts via field geometrics. Conversely, if his bubble is stationary, it has to be asked, “Can you speed up entropy by finding absolute rest?” It poses a possible solution to the Moses on Mount Sinai/accelerated aging that was alleged to occur. *    NOTE:  “The radiant face of Moses”…  Admittedly, I’ve found no reference to this ‘advanced aging’ in the bible so it seems to be more of a Hollywood addition in the Charlton Heston classic, ‘The Ten Commandments’. Closest biblica ... (read more)

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  • Daniel Park, 2015-05-18 : QGD stand for Quantum GravitoDynamics and is a quantum gravity theory I have constructed. I will post a paper on this on... (read more)
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                        Encoding the Nonphysical in a Physical System



“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?”

 Stephen Hawking


     The subtle link between non-physically encoded information in a physical system may be foundational. One may consider the example of neo Lamarckism, in which a generational millennia of memeplexes spurs viral informationism amongst a species. Once thought to be rubbish, this theory is making a comeback as we learn that states of consciousness can affect DNA. (Cite: Weismann Rules! OK? Epigenetics and the Lamarckian temptation, by David Haig) Take the example of a jaguar, it is bound to the same laws of physics as the quark to the extent that neither is capable of violations of such laws but when confronted with the hard question of consciousness you eventually run out options as far as irreducible complexity is con ... (read more)

This bug is probably known, but I don't see a discussion of it, so here it is again (hopefully helpfully). In its current incarnation, PhilPapers indexes works in any language, including works written wholly or partially in non-Latin Unicode subsets, and it seems to have been true for some time that even for articles in English, PhilPapers accepts titles and abstracts that include non-Latin-subset strings. For instance, Stanley Rosen's "ΣΩΦΡΟΣYΝΗ and Selbstbewusstsein" is indexed (though misspelled, probably by OCR - the record has now been corrected.)) This flexibility is awesome for at least two reasons: it helps to nudge the profession farther from Anglocentrism, and it lets researchers who include, e.g., Ancient Greek in their titles and abstracts have these indexed without distortion.

However, it looks as if the search function may not have kept pace with the indexing function when it comes to non-Latin-Unicode-subset strings. Thus, while we know that the aforementioned Rosen arti ... (read more)

I think I know the answer to this but I want to check.
The bibtex records exported by PhilPapers have an ID in the following format: the author(s) surnames + a year + a hyphen + an alphanumeric unique identifier. The identifier can be added to the end of `` to give a URL for the entry.

Could the ID contain anything other than alphanumeric characters? I'm writing a script that extracts the IDs to create a PhilPapers ID field in bibtex records that can be rendered as a link to the entry, and I want to make sure my regex works.
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Inhibition is a typical homunculus concept. It creates no problem when considered as an active reaction of the organism (stopping a movement to change directions for instance) since it would have a definite neuronal target. But how can the brain decide which neurons to inhibit when (primarily) engaged in the excitatory stimulation of other neurons? To go back to our previous example, how can the brain stop the stimulation of all memories that have something red in them?
Obviously it cannot. We have no control over which associations are activated at any time. We have all experienced moments when we were really grateful that nobody could read our mind because of the embarrassing thoughts or images that would just pop up in our consciousness. 
That does not mean that there is no (unconscious) inhibition at all. Maybe the embarrassing associations have been let through for reasons irrelevant to our problem now, but that at the same time many other memories were stopped from popping up. Stil ... (read more)
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When there's a gap between the number of entries counted in a leaf category on the Editor's panel (I mean the number given in the "count" column) and the number that actually show up from clicking directly on the name of the category, what's the likely cause? (I assumed that it might be the time needed for changes to propagate through the system, but it's a difference that's remained constant for some days, rather than hours, so I thought I'd check to see if I'm doing something wrong.) 
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Threads do not show up on the profile. Why is that? It seems unfair to people for whom that is the most appropriate way of communicating their ideas.

Are there guidelines on what criteria a book review ought to meet for inclusion in PhilPapers? The issue doesn't seem to be directly addressed in the FAQ (though reviews are notably not mentioned as an included category). The last discussion thread I've found on the subject dates from 2008; apologies in advance if I've overlooked more recent instructions.
Specifically, I've started to edit the leaf on Plato's Charmides in which many reviews of few monographs, if included, would threaten to overwhelm both the latter and even journal articles in search results. Since I don't see an easy way to filter out reviews from the search results through the Advanced Search menu* (in which case it would be harmless to include them), it seems to me that it might give a better signal/noise ratio simply to exclude reviews unless they meet some relatively high bar. But, of course, I want to conform to the general editorial practice at PhilPapers. Thanks. 

*(the word "review" being common and polyse ... (read more)
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