We propose a theory for modeling concepts that uses the state-context-property theory (SCOP), a generalization of the quantum formalism, whose basic notions are states, contexts and properties. This theory enables us to incorporate context into the mathematical structure used to describe a concept, and thereby model how context influences the typicality of a single exemplar and the applicability of a single property of a concept. We introduce the notion `state of a concept' to account for this contextual influence, and show (...) that the structure of the set of contexts and of the set of properties of a concept is a complete orthocomplemented lattice. The structural study in this article is a preparation for a numerical mathematical theory of concepts in the Hilbert space of quantum mechanics that allows the description of the combination of concepts. (shrink)
This paper investigates in how far a theory of dialectical structures sheds new light on the old problem of giving a satisfying account of the fallacy of petitio principii, or begging the question. It defends that (i) circular argumentation on the one hand and petitio principii on the other hand are two distinct features of complex argumentation, and that (ii) it is impossible to make general statements about the defectiveness of an argumentation that exhibits these features. Such an argumentation, in (...) contrast, has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. “Petitio principii”, this paper thence suggests, is one name for, in fact, a multitude of different and quite complex dialectical situations which require specific analysis and evaluation. (shrink)
A theory of musical narrative. An introduction to narrative analysis : Chopin's prelude in G major, op. 28, no. 3 ; Perspectives and critiques ; A theory of musical narrative : conceptual considerations ; A theory of musical narrative : analytical considerations ; Narrative and topic -- Archetypal narratives and phases. Romance narratives and Micznik's degrees of narrativity ; Tragic narratives : an extended analysis of Schubert, piano sonata in B flat major, D. 960, first movement ; Ironic narratives : (...) subtypes and phases ; Comic narratives and discursive strategies ; Summary and conclusion. (shrink)
The paper deals with the possibility of a theory of the nature of law as such, a theory which will be necessarily true of all law. It explores the relations between explanations of concepts and of the things they are concepts of, the possibility that the law has essential properties, and the possibility that the law changes its nature over time, and that what is law at a given place and time depends on the culture and concepts of that place (...) and time. It also considers the possibility of understanding the institutions, such as the law, of cultures whose concepts are alien to us. The position advocated offers a reconciliation of ways in which a theory of the nature of law is parochial with its claim to be universal. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive, systematic theory of moral responsibility. The authors explore the conditions under which individuals are morally responsible for actions, omissions, consequences, and emotions. The leading idea in the book is that moral responsibility is based on 'guidance control'. This control has two components: the mechanism that issues in the relevant behavior must be the agent's own mechanism, and it must be appropriately responsive to reasons. The book develops an account of both components. The authors go on (...) to offer a sustained defense of the thesis that moral responsibility is compatible with causal determinism. (shrink)
AnsrRAcr. This is a critical analysis of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice. Rawls offers a theoretical justihcation of social democratic principles of justice. He argues that they are the principles which rational men would choose, under defined constraints, in an original position of social contract. The author criticises Rawls’s assumption that men of any background, of any socialisation, would choose these principles in the original position. He argues that the choice which Rawls imputes to his contractors reflects a specific (...) socialisation — one dominant in Western democracies. The theory is useful because it systematises a particular sense of justice ; it is in no sense however a universal theory. (shrink)
After an initial discussion (§i) of what a theory of criminal law might amount to, I sketch (§ii) the proper aims of a liberal, republican criminal law, and discuss (§§iii–iv) two central features of such a criminal law: that it deals with public wrongs, and provides for those who perpetrate such wrongs to be called to public account. §v explains why a liberal republic should maintain such a system of criminal law, and §vi tackles the issue of criminalization—of how we (...) should determine the proper scope of the criminal law. (shrink)
Amartya Sen argues that for the advancement of justice identification of ‘perfect’ justice is neither necessary nor sufficient. He replaces ‘perfect’ justice with comparative justice. Comparative justice limits itself to comparing social states with respect to degrees of justice. Sen’s central thesis is that identifying ‘perfect’ justice and comparing imperfect social states are ‘analytically disjoined’. This essay refutes Sen’s thesis by demonstrating that to be able to make adequate comparisons we need to identify and integrate criteria of comparison. This is (...) precisely the aim of a theory of justice (such as John Rawls’s theory): identifying, integrating and ordering relevant principles of justice. The same integrated criteria that determine ‘perfect’ justice are needed to be able to adequately compare imperfect social states. Sen’s alternative approach, which is based on social choice theory, is incapable of avoiding contrary, indeterminate or incoherent directives where plural principles of justice conflict. (shrink)
This essay explores how the social location of white traitorous identities might be understood. I begin by examining some of the problematic implications of Sandra Harding's standpoint framework description of race traitors as 'becoming marginal.' I argue that the location of white traitors might be better understood in terms of their 'decentering the center.' I distinguish between 'privilege-cognizant' and 'privilege-evasive' white scripts. Drawing on the work of Marilyn Frye and Anne Braden, I offer an account of the contrasting perceptions and (...) behaviors of white who animate one type of script and those who struggle to forge the other type. I use Maria Lugones account of identity and notions of 'world travel' and 'loving perception' and Aristotle's virtue theory to explicate the ways whites, and white feminists in particular, might cultivate a traitorous character conducive to an antiracist politics. (shrink)
A new model of ritual based on Durkheim's ( 1995) theory is developed. It is argued that ritual practices generate belief and belonging in participants by activating multiple social-psychological mechanisms that interactively create the characteristic outcomes of ritual. Specifically, the distinctive elements of ritual practice are shown to induce altered subjective states and effortful and/or anomalous behaviors, which are subsequently misattributed in such a way that belief and belonging are created or maintained around the focus of ritual attention. These processes (...) are traced in detail, and the resulting model is shown to be empirically credible, comprehensive, and theoretically fertile. (shrink)
In this paper I explore the shared interest of John Dewey and Carl Jung in the developmental continuity between biological, psychological, and cultural phenomena. Like other first generation psychological theorists, Dewey and Jung thought that psychology could be used to deepen our understanding of this continuity and thus gain a degree of control over human development. While their pursuit of this goal received little institutional support, there is a growing body of theory and practice derived from the new field of (...) ‘affect science’ as well as clinical and political psychologies, and other recent research into the function of human emotions, that are bringing greater institutional weight to the interest in anticipating and activating our psychocultural development. The epistemological and theoretical work of these seminal thinkers provides the foundation for this new praxis leading to: 1) a theory of ‘political development’ based in transformations of the psychocultural function of ‘reasoning’, ‘sensory’, and ‘affect’ freedom, as sources of culturally valid knowledge, which connects our biological heritage with increasingly advanced forms of individual and organizational identities; and 2) a range of psycho-educational practices that activate the political development of individuals and organizations by transforming the prejudicial dimensions of their current political identities. (shrink)
Given that holidays both reflect a society's attributes and serve to modify these attributes, they are a valuable tool for a macro-sociological analysis. This paper proceeds by examining Durkheim's well-known contributions on rituals and advancing theoretical ideas on how these might be modified, seeking to develop a theory of holidays. The article concerns the role of holidays in managing tensions and recommitment to values; their role in relating communities to the society at large; their effect on gender roles, and the (...) theoretical issues concerning holiday cycles and holiday-engineering efforts by religious authorities and states that have endeavored to adapt holidays for their own purpose. The article relies on public accounts, personal observations, and findings culled from a few studies by contemporary social scientists. (shrink)
This paper proposes reformulating the theory and critique of reification around the democracy-undermining consequences of reification in law. In contradistinction to Axel Honneth’s attempts to revive reification as an orienting concept for critical theory using moral and psychological categories, I reconstruct the elements of a theory of legal reification from Marx’s and Lukács’ writings, both of whom suggest the formality of modern legal systems tends to render legally mediated social relations in an ossified, nature-like manner, although I argue that neither (...) could assemble a full theory of legal reification absent insights from the theory of constitutional democracy and legal realism. I close by arguing that it is fruitful to view reification as closely linked to modern legal practices because it grounds the concept in a way that avoids theoretical problems found in Lukács, as Honneth wishes, while connecting it to normative issues in law and democracy in a way that he does not. (shrink)
This paper contributes to a theory of rational choice for decision-makers with incomplete preferences due to partial ignorance, whose beliefs are representable as sets of acceptable priors. We focus on the limiting case of `Complete Ignorance' which can be viewed as reduced form of the general case of partial ignorance. Rationality is conceptualized in terms of a `Principle of Preference-Basedness', according to which rational choice should be isomorphic to asserted preference. The main result characterizes axiomatically a new choice-rule called `Simultaneous (...) Expected Utility Maximization'. It can be interpreted as agreement in a bargaining game (Kalai-Smorodinsky solution) whose players correspond to the (extremal) `acceptable priors' among which the decision maker has suspended judgment. An essential but non-standard feature of Simultaneous Expected Utility choices is their dependence on the entire choice set. This is justified by the conception of optimality as compromise rather than as superiority in pairwise comparisons. (shrink)
The rhetoric-analytic critique of experimental psychology owes its apparent attractiveness to (a) some erroneous ideas about cognitive psychology and the rationale of experimentation, (b) the failure to distinguish between prior data and evidential data vis-à-vis the to-be-corroborated explanatory theory, and (c) evidential data owes their identity to a theory that is independent of the theory being tested. Theories in cognitive psychology are accepted because they can withstand concerted efforts to falsify them.
The traditional dispute over whether there are one or two ‘concepts’ of freedom has recently been reignited. Despite this, Isaiah Berlin’s distinction between positive and negative freedom retains a significant amount of influence over academic and popular disputes about freedom, continuing to withstand recent attempts, in Eric Nelson’s words, to ‘lift the shadow’ of Berlin’s famous dichotomy. Berlin’s distinction has traditionally been assailed by two separate schools of thought. One line of argument, propounded by Quentin Skinner and Philip Pettit, has (...) suggested that Berlin’s account includes (at least) one concept of freedom too few. Another line of attack, however, propounded by the likes of Nelson, Efraim Podoksik and Gerald MacCallum, has suggested that, to the contrary, Berlin’s account contains one concept of liberty too many. In this article, I will attempt to clear up this confusing picture by discussing how both of these lines of attack have a role to play in helping to dismantle Berlin’s ultimately misleading account of freedom. In the second half of the article, I then go on to explore the implications of this for contemporary political theory in the construction of a theory of freedom for modern political communities, discussing how the ‘spectrum’ of liberty I explore in the first half leads, naturally, to a social model of individual liberty. (shrink)
In the past few decades, scholars have offered positive, normative, and most recently, interpretive theories of contract law. These theories have proceeded primarily (indeed, necessarily) from deontological and consequentialist premises. In A Theory of Contract Law: Empirical Understandings and Moral Psychology, Professor Peter A. Alces confronts the leading interpretive theories of contract and demonstrates their interpretive doctrinal failures. Professor Alces presents the leading canonical cases that inform the extant theories of Contract law in both their historical and transactional contexts and, (...) argues that moral psychology provides a better explanation for the contract doctrine than do alternative comprehensive interpretive approaches. (shrink)
Truthmaker theory begins with the idea that truth depends upon reality. When a truth-bearer is true, that is because something or other in the world makes it true. My dissertation offers a theory of truthmakers that shows how we should flesh out this thought while avoiding the contentious metaphysical commitments that are built into other truthmaker theories. Because of these commitments, many philosophers have come to view truthmaker theory as being essentially tied to correspondence theories of truth, and to metaphysical (...) realism. I argue that, quite to the contrary, truthmaker theory is distinct from correspondence theory, and that the former actually undermines the motivation for the latter. In fact, truthmaker theory can be used to argue for a particular kind of deflationism about truth. I also argue that debates about realism and anti-realism are best viewed through the lens of truthmaker theory, which is not—contrary to what many have thought—an essentially realist approach to metaphysics. Anti-realists of various stripes can also make use of truthmakers. The anti-realism of such views depends upon either the nature of the truthmakers they use, or the nature of the truthmaking relation itself. (shrink)
The paper has two parts: First, I describe a relatively popular thesis in the philosophy of propositional attitudes, worthy of the name “taking tense seriously”; and I distinguish it from a family of views in the metaphysics of time, namely, the A-theories (or what are sometimes called “tensed theories of time”). Once the distinction is in focus, a skeptical worry arises. Some A-theorists maintain that the difference between past, present, and future, is to be drawn in terms of what exists: (...) growing-block theorists eschew ontological commitment to future entities; presentists, to future and past entities. Others think of themselves as A-theorists but exclude no past or future things from their ontology. The metaphysical skeptic suspects that their attempt to articulate an “eternalist” version of the A-theory collapses into merely “taking tense seriously” — a thesis that does not imply the A-theory. The second half of the paper is the search for a stable eternalist A-theory. It includes discussion of temporary intrinsics, temporal parts, and truth. (shrink)
In modern jurisprudence it is taken as axiomatic that John Austin's sanction-based account of law and legal obligation was demolished in H.L.A. Hart's The Concept of Law , but Hart's victory and the deficiencies of the Austinian account may not be so clear. Not only does the alleged linguistic distinction between being obliged and having an obligation fail to provide as much support for the idea of a sanction-independent legal obligation as is commonly thought, but the soundness of Hart's claims, (...) as well as the claims of many legal theorists who have followed him, depend on a contested view of the nature of legal theory. If the task of a theory of law, as Joseph Raz and others have influentially argued, is to identify the essential features of the concept of law, then the theoretical possibility, if not the empirical reality, of a sanction-free legal system is what is most important. But if the task of a theory of law is to provide philosophical and theoretical illumination of law as it exists and as it is experienced, then a theory of law that fails to give a central place to law's coercive reality may for that reason be deficient as a theory of law. The question of the soundness of the Austinian account, therefore, may be a function of the answer to the question of what a theory of law is designed to accomplish. (shrink)
In this, the second of two articles outlining a theory of communicative competence, the author questions the ability of Chomsky's account of linguistic competence to fulfil the requirements of such a theory. ?Linguistic competence? for Chomsky means the mastery of an abstract system of rules, based on an innate language apparatus. The model by which communication is understood on this account contains three implicit assumptions, here called ?monologism?, ?a priorism?, and ?elementarism?. The author offers an outline of a theory of (...) communicative competence that is based on the negations of these assumptions. In opposing the first two assumptions he introduces distinctions, respectively, between semantic universals which process experiences and those that make such processing possible, and between semantic universals which precede all socialization and those that are linked to the conditions of potential socialization. Against elementarism, he argues that the semantic content of all possible natural languages does not consist of combinations of a finite number of meaning components. Differences in systems of classification preclude this, and such differences can be seen to infect all respects of intercultural comparison. Using the notion of ?performative utterance?, the author elucidates the role of dialogue?constitutive universals as part of the formal apparatus required of a?; speaker's capacity to communicate. He then notes what would be required of a general semantics based on a theory of communicative competence; and finally points out how this theory might be used for social analysis. (shrink)
Many philosophers and cognitive scientists claim that our everyday or "folk" understanding of mental states constitutes a theory of mind. That theory is widely called "folk psychology" (sometimes "commonsense" psychology). The terms in which folk psychology is couched are the familiar ones of "belief" and "desire", "hunger", "pain" and so forth. According to many theorists, folk psychology plays a central role in our capacity to predict and explain the behavior of ourselves and others. However, the nature and status of folk (...) psychology remains controversial. (shrink)
What do we see when we look at someone's expression of fear? I argue that one of the things that we see is fear itself. I support this view by developing a theory of affect perception. The theory involves two claims. One is that expressions are patterns of facial changes that carry information about affects. The other is that the visual system extracts and processes such information. In particular, I argue that the visual system functions to detect the affects of (...) others when they are expressed in the face. I develop my theory by drawing on empirical data from psychology and brain science. Finally, I outline a theory of the semantics of affect perception. (shrink)
Many have thought that an important feature of any just society is the establishment and maintenance of a suitable basic minimum: some set of welfare achievements, resources, capabilities, and so on that are guaranteed to all. However, if a basic minimum is a plausible requirement of justice, we must have a theory — a theory of what, precisely, the state owes in terms of these basic needs or achievements and what, precisely, is the proper structure of the obligation to provide (...) them. In Section 1, I will critically examine one recent influential account of the basic minimum: Martha Nussbaum's `human capabilities approach'. I argue that Nussbaum's account has several structural features, few of which are independently plausible, and which create insuperable difficulties when viewed in combination. The failure of Nussbaum's account is instructive, however. It provides motivation for the positive account I sketch in Section 2. Key Words: Martha Nussbaum welfare capabilities autonomy. (shrink)
The debate between A-theory and B-theory in the philosophy of time is a persistent one. It is not always clear, however, what the terms of this debate are. A-theorists are often lumped with a miscellaneous collection of heterodox doctrines: the view that only the present exists, that time ﬂows relentlessly, or that presentness is a property (Williams 1996); that time passes, tense is unanalysable, or that earlier than and later than are deﬁned in terms of pastness, presentness, and futurity (...) (Bigelow 1991); or that events or facts (as opposed to language) are “tensed” (Mellor 1993). B-theorists then argue that the A-theory is incoherent, using variants on J.M.E. McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time (McTaggart 1927, ch. 33). (shrink)
This study presents and develops in detail (a new version of) the argumental conception of meaning. The two basic principles of the argumental conception of meaning are: i) To know (implicitly) the sense of a word is to know (implicitly) all the argumentation rules concerning that word; ii) To know the sense of a sentence is to know the syntactic structure of that sentence and to know the senses of the words occurring in it. The sense of a sentence is (...) called immediate argumental role of that sentence. According to the argumental conception of meaning a theory of meaning for a particular language yields a systematic specification of the understanding of every sentence of the language which consists in a specification of the immediate argumental role of the sentence. The immediate argumental role is a particular aspect of the use of a sentence in arguments. But it is not the whole use in arguments, nor is the whole use in arguments reducible to the immediate argumental role. That is why, by accepting the argumental conception of meaning, we can have epistemological holism without linguistic holism. The argumental conception distinguishes between the understanding and the correctness of a language. Such a distinction makes it possible to account for our understanding of paradoxical languages. Redundancy theory of truth, realistic conceptions of truth or epistemic conceptions of truth are all compatible with an argumental conception of sense. But here it is argued that an epistemic conception of truth is preferrable. Acceptance of the argumental conception of meaning and of an epistemic conception of truth leads to a rejection of the idea of analytic truth. The argumental conception is pluralistic with respect to the understandability of different logics, and neutral with respect to their correctness. (shrink)
This paper presents a new argument against A-theories of time. A-theorists hold that there is an objective now (present moment) and an objective flow of time, the latter constituted by the movement of the objective now through time. A-theorists therefore want to draw different pictures of reality—showing the objective now in different positions—depending upon the time at which the picture is drawn. In this paper it is argued that the times at which the different pictures are drawn may be taken (...) to be normal times or hypertimes. If they are normal times then the A-theory is inconsistent, or else collapses to the B-theory—and appealing to primitive tense operators will not help A-theorists avoid this conclusion. If the times are hypertimes then the A-theory is consistent, but deeply problematic none the less. (shrink)
Abstract: Hegel's theory of tragedy is often considered to be primarily a theory of the objective powers involved in tragic conflicts—for Hegel, these are paradigmatically competing ethical notions—and of the rationality which underlies and drives such conflicts. Such a view follows naturally from a close reading of Hegel's discussion of classical Greek tragedy in his Lectures on Aesthetics. However, this view gives rise to the question of whether Hegel's theory of tragedy can account for the significance of tragic experience, in (...) particular the experience of tragic suffering; it has been argued repeatedly that it cannot. In contrast, I want to suggest in this paper that a theory of tragic experience can be derived from Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. This Hegelian theory of tragic experience, I argue, should be understood as complementing rather than challenging Hegel's theory of objective tragic conflict. (shrink)
A theory of fairness in international trade should answer at least three questions. What, at the basic level, are we to assess as fair or unfair in the trade context? What sort of fairness issue does this basic subject of assessment raise? And, What moral principles must be fulfilled if trade is to be fair in the relevant sense? In this paper, I offer answers to these questions which derive from a broadly Rawlsian “constructivist” methodology. My proposals are as follows. (...) The Subject of Fairness: The basic subject of fairness in trade is an international social practice of market reliance, a practice whereby countries mutually rely on common markets (in goods, services, or capital) for the sake of the “gains of trade.” This basic practice is to be distinguished from particular market transactions, transactional flows across borders, as well as particular trade or trade-related policies (tariffs, quotas, safeguards, subsidies, etc.) that influence transactional flows. A chief function of the practice is to regulate such trade and trade-related policies according to international rules, including formal trade law (e.g. World Trade Organization (WTO) rules) and informal understandings of how the balance between market and state is to be struck (e.g. the post-war “embedded liberalism” compromise). Such rules or understandings represent substantial market reliance expectations, the terms of participation in the larger market reliance practice. The practice itself, and the basic subject of fairness, is the underlying social fact that countries do comply, more or less, with some such system of market reliance expectations, for the sake of larger, mutually shared ends. The Fairness Issue: Any such market reliance practice can be organized in various different ways, with varying consequences for different countries and their respective classes. The collective choice of organization, through negotiated agreements or trend-setting unilateral action, is therefore subject to basic moral constraints.. (shrink)
The A-theory of time says that it is an objective, non-perspectival fact about the world that some events are present , while others were present or will be present. I shall argue that the A-theory has some implausible consequences for inductive reasoning. In particular, the presentist version of the A-theory, which holds that the difference between the present and the non-present consists in the present events being the only ones that exist, is very much in trouble.
This essay provides a critical examination of Rawls' (and Rawlsians') conception of self-respect, the social bases of self-respect, and the normative justification of equality in the social bases of self-respect. I defend a rival account of these notions and the normative ideals at stake in political liberalism and a theory of social justice. I make the following arguments: (1) I argue that it is unreasonable to take self-respect to be a primary social good, as Rawls and his interpreters characterize it; (...) (2) secondly, drawing on a distinction made by Darwall, I argue that recognition respect provides a far more suitable notion of respect for a theory of justice than Rawls' notion of appraisal respect; (3) thirdly, I argue that Rawls' treatment of self-respect and the social bases of self-respect as empirical conceptions should be rejected in favor of normative notions of a reasonable or justified self-respect and equality in reasonable social bases of self-respect; (4) I argue that Rawls' notions of political liberalism and public reason provide a way of grounding a notion of the reasonable social bases of self-respect in political ideals of the person implicit in modern economic institutions, and family relations, ignored by Rawlsians—but as central to reasonable social bases of self-respect and justice, as Rawlsians' ideal of persons as free and equal citizens. (shrink)
No philosophical intuition has a longer history than that which divides sensible qualities into two kinds, primary and secondary. Something like it appears in Democritus, nearly 2500 years ago, and has been continuously maintained in some form or another ever since then. Philosophers today largely continue to think that there is something right about the distinction, even while it remains notoriously difficult to find agreement on just where its ultimate basis lies. As Mark Johnston (1992) puts it, the primary–secondary distinction (...) has “the dubious distinction of being better understood in extension rather than intension. Most of us can generate two lists under the two headings, but the principles by which the lists are generated are controversial, even obscure” (229). I hope to shed some light on this obscure question. My thesis, in brief, is that the secondary qualities are those qualities of objects that bear a certain relation to our sensory powers: roughly, they are those qualities that we can readily detect only through a certain distinctive phenomenal experience. Contrary to what is sometimes supposed, there is nothing about the world itself (independent of our minds) that determines the distinction between primary and secondary qualities. Instead, a theory of the secondary qualities must be grounded in facts about how we conceive of these qualities, and ultimately in facts about human perception. (shrink)
One of the oldest topics in foundational metaphysics is the issue how particulars are to be individuated. To individuate a particular, x, means to find criteria that are necessary and sufficient to ensure the assertibility of x ≠ y, for all and only y that are distinct from x. One can distinguish two separate issues that are run under the heading of individuation. One is the question: what is it about a particular that makes it distinct from all other particulars? (...) The other is the question: how do we single out a particular qua distinct from all other particulars? The distinction closely resembles the one put forward by Hector- Neri Castañeda (1975), except that Castañeda talks about the first question in terms of the issue of the ‘internal constitution’ of objects. This way of speaking is misleading, as it insinuates that it is only intrinsic facts about particulars that could serve as candidates for individuation. Instead, in this essay, I will put forward a theory of individuation in which both questions are treated on equal footing, with the implication that both intrinsic and extrinsic, as well as some special properties that I will introduce play a role in individuating particulars. I call the theory ‘derivational contextualism’. It is an elaboration of some ideas I have put forward in an earlier work (Author forthcoming), regarding some basic conditions for individuation, with a structuralist component. I will.. (shrink)
The process of abstraction and concretisation is a label used for an explicative theory of scientific model-construction. In scientific theorising this process enters at various levels. We could identify two principal levels of abstraction that are useful to our understanding of theory-application. The first level is that of selecting a small number of variables and parameters abstracted from the universe of discourse and used to characterise the general laws of a theory. In classical mechanics, for example, we select position and (...) momentum and establish a relation amongst the two variables, which we call Newton’s 2nd law. The specification of the unspecified elements of scientific laws, e.g. the force function in Newton’s 2nd law, is what would establish the link between the assertions of the theory and physical systems. In order to unravel how and with what conceptual resources scientific models are constructed, how they function and how they relate to theory, we need a view of theory-application that can accommodate our constructions of representation models. For this we need to expand our understanding of the process of abstraction to also explicate the process of specifying force functions etc. This is the second principal level at which abstraction enters in our theorising and in which I focus. In this paper, I attempt to elaborate a general analysis of the process of abstraction and concretisation involved in scientific- model construction, and argue why it provides an explication of the construction of models of the nuclear structure. (shrink)
Social commentators have long asked whether racial categories should be conserved or eliminated from our practices, discourse, institutions, and perhaps even private thoughts. In A Theory of Race, Joshua Glasgow argues that this set of choices unnecessarily presents us with too few options. Using both traditional philosophical tools and recent psychological research to investigate folk understandings of race, Glasgow argues that, as ordinarily conceived, race is an illusion. However, our pressing need to speak to and make sense of social life (...) requires that we employ something like racial discourse. These competing pressures, Glasgow maintains, ultimately require us to stop conceptualizing race as something biological, and instead understand it as an entirely social phenomenon. (shrink)
Laws in the special sciences are usually regarded to be non-universal. A theory of laws in the special sciences faces two challenges. (I) According to Lange's dilemma, laws in the special sciences are either false or trivially true. (II) They have to meet the ?requirement of relevance?, which is a way to require the non-accidentality of special science laws. I argue that both challenges can be met if one distinguishes four dimensions of (non-) universality. The upshot is that I argue (...) for the following explication of special science laws: L is a special science law just if (1) L is a system law, (2) L is quasi-Newtonian, and (3) L is minimally invariant. (shrink)
The experience of being in love involves a longing for union with the other, where an important part of this longing is sexual desire. But what is the relation between being in love and sexual desire? To answer this it must first be seen that the expression ‘in love’ normally refers to a personal relationship. This is because to be ‘in love’ is to want to be loved back. This much would be predicted by equity and social exchange theories of (...) interpersonal attraction. Findings suggest however that love differs fundamentally from liking and, consequently, distinct approaches to the theory of love have been developed. A phenomenological theory is then put forward which suggests that the experience of being in love involves a complex of desires for reciprocal vulnerability in order to care and be cared for. Sexual desire is then seen to involve the physical expression of these desires in the form of desires for mutual baring in order to caress and be caressed. Unlike love, however, sexual desire need not refer to the other person's desires. This is supported by the existence of sexual desires like fetishism. It is concluded that other desires which often appear in instances of being in love are not basic to the experience of being in love. (shrink)
The paper is a contribution to formal ontology. It seeks to use topological means in order to derive ontological laws pertaining to the boundaries and interiors of wholes, to relations of contact and connectedness, to the concepts of surface, point, neighbourhood, and so on. The basis of the theory is mereology, the formal theory of part and whole, a theory which is shown to have a number of advantages, for ontological purposes, over standard treatments of topology in set-theoretic terms. One (...) central goal of the paper is to provide a rigorous formulation of Brentano's thesis to the effect that a boundary can exist as a matter of necessity only as part of a whole of higher dimension which it is the boundary of. It concludes with a brief survey of current applications of mereotopology in areas such as natural-language analysis, geographic information systems, machine vision, naive physics, and database and knowledge engineering. (shrink)
Pierre Trémaux’s 1865 ideas on speciation have been unjustly derided following his acceptance by Marx and rejection by Engels, and almost nobody has read his ideas in a charitable light. Here we offer an interpretation based on translating the term sol as “habitat”, in order to show that Trémaux proposed a theory of allopatric speciation before Wagner and a punctuated equilibrium theory before Gould and Eldredge, and translate the relevant discussion from the French. We believe he may have influenced Darwin’s (...) revision to the third edition of the Origin on rates of evolution, and suggest that Gould’s dismissal of Trémaux is motivated by concern that others might think punctuated equilibrium theory was tainted by a connection with Trémaux. (shrink)
In this paper I put forward a suggestion for identifying causality in micro-systems with the specific quantum field theoretic interactions that occur in such systems. I first argue — along the lines of general transference theories — that such a physicalistic account is essential to an understanding of causation; I then proceed to sketch the concept of interaction as it occurs in quantum field theory and I do so from both a formal and an informal point of view. Finally, I (...) present reasons for thinking that only a quantum field theoretic account can do the job — in particular I rely on a theorem by D. Currie and to the effect that interaction cannot be described in (a Hamiltonian formulation of) Classical Mechanics. Throughout the paper I attempt to suggest that the widespread scepticism about the ability of quantum theory to support a theory of causality is mistaken and rests on several misunderstandings. (shrink)
In this article I offer a new version of presentism and argue that this new version of presentism is not a species of the A-theory. Along the way, I argue that Rasmussen’s recent attempt to articulate a version of presentism that is not also a version of the A-theory does not succeed.
Timothy Williamson thinks that every object is a necessary, eternal existent. In defense of his view, Williamson appeals primarily to considerations from modal and tense logic. While I am uncertain about his modal claims, I think there are good metaphysical reasons to believe permanentism: the principle that everything always exists. B-theorists of time and change have long denied that objects change with respect to unqualified existence. But aside from Williamson, nearly all A-theorists defend temporaryism: the principle that there are temporary (...) existents. I think A-theorists are better off without this added commitment, but I will not argue for that in any great detail here. Instead, I will contend that a very tempting A-theoretic argument for temporaryism is unsound. In the first half of the paper, I will develop the Moorean “common sense” argument for temporaryism and dispute its central premise, namely that temporaryism is a valid generalization from highly plausible beliefs about change. I will argue that given the pervasive vagueness in our ordinary beliefs about change and the background commitments of all A-theories, no party can claim to be the common sense view because no party can accommodate most of our common sense beliefs about change in existence. In the second half of the paper, I will propose a permanentist A-theory that explains all change over time as a species of property change. I call it the minimal A-theory, since it dispenses with the change in existence assumption. As we'll see, the permanentist alternative performs well enough in explaining our ordinary beliefs about change, and it has better prospects for answering some objections commonly levied against A-theories. (shrink)
This paper argues for two major revisions in the way philosophers standardly think of vision science and vision theories more generally. The first concerns mental representations and the second supervenience. The central result is that the way is cleared for an externalist theory of perception. The framework for such a theory has what are called Aristotelian representations as elements in processes the well-functioning of which is the principal object of a theory of vision.
In this paper, I assume, perhaps controversially, that translation into a language of formal logic is not the method by which mathematicians assess mathematical reasoning. Instead, I argue that the actual practice of analyzing, evaluating and critiquing mathematical reasoning resembles, and perhaps equates with, the practice of informal logic or argumentation theory. It doesn’t matter whether the reasoning is a full-fledged mathematical proof or merely some non-deductive mathematical justification: in either case, the methodology of assessment overlaps to a large extent (...) with argument assessment in non-mathematical contexts. I demonstrate this claim by considering the assessment of axiomatic or deductive proofs, probabilistic evidence, computer-aided proofs, and the acceptance of axioms. I also consider Jody Azzouni’s ‘derivation indicator’ view of proofs because it places derivations—which may be thought to invoke formal logic—at the center of mathematical justificatory practice. However, when the notion of ‘derivation’ at work in Azzouni’s view is clarified, it is seen to accord with, rather than to count against, the informal logical view I support. Finally, I pose several open questions for the development of a theory of mathematical argument. (shrink)
permits a sound and rigorously definable notion of ‘originating cause’ or causa causans—a type of transition event—of an outcome event. Mackie has famously suggested that causes form a family of ‘inus’ conditions, where an inus condition is ‘an insufficient but non-redundant part of an unnecessary but sufficient condition’. In this essay the needed concepts of BST theory are developed in detail, and it is then proved that the causae causantes of a given outcome event have exactly the structure of a (...) set of Mackie inus conditions. The proof requires the assumption that there is no EPR-like ‘funny business’. This seems enough to constitute a theory of ‘causation’ in at least one of its many senses. Introduction The cement of the universe Preliminaries 3.1 First definitions and postulates 3.2 Ontology: propositions 3.3 Ontology: initial events 3.4 Ontology: outcome events 3.5 Ontology: transition events 3.6 Propositional language applied to events Causae causantes 4.1 Causae causantes are basic primary transition events 4.2 Causae causantes of an outcome chain 4.3 No funny business Causae causantes and inns and inus conditions 5.1 Inns conditions of outcome chains: not quite 5.2 Inns conditions of outcome chains 5.3 Inns conditions of scattered outcome events 5.4 Inus conditions for disjunctive outcome events 5.5 Inns and inus conditions of transition events Counterfactual conditionals Appendix: Tense and modal connectives in BST. (shrink)
Hidden away in the remote corners of one of the largest parts of Husserl's Kˆrper, if we can use that word to translate Corpus, there is ein Leib , an animate body of text that reverberates not only with some of Husserl's other little known texts, but also with some of the most recent discoveries in neuroscience. These texts suggest a theory of intersubjectivity, or what psychologists term social cognition. Let me start with a proviso: whether Husserl ever fully settled (...) on this theory is completely open to interpretation. Accordingly, I will leave it to Husserlian scholars to determine whether this is a position that Husserl actually or ultimately embraces, either in the years 1906 through 1913 when he writes some of these texts, or later when he writes other related texts. The texts in question are from Husserl's early years and they are rather tentative and reactive in nature, since he was just beginning to think of these problems, and he was responding to proposals put forward by Lipps and Meinung. That's also why I claim that these texts suggest a theory of social cognition rather than anything like a pure phenomenology of intersubjectivity. Husserl was trying to work out ways to counter the theories of Lipps and Meinung, and his reflections, I think, should count as phenomenologically informed theory. (shrink)
Theorizing about religious ritual systems from a cognitive viewpoint involves (1) modeling cognitive processes and their products and (2) demonstrating their influence on religious behavior. Particularly important for such an approach to the study of religious ritual is the modeling of participants' representations of ritual form. In pursuit of that goal, we presented in Rethinking Religion a theory of religious ritual form that involved two commitments. The theory’s first commitment is that the cognitive apparatus for the representation of action in (...) general is the same system deployed for the representation of religious ritual form. The differences between everyday action and religious ritual action turn out to be fairly minor from the standpoint of their cognitive representation. This system for the representation of action includes representations of agents. Whether we focus on an everyday action such as closing a door or a ritual action such as initiating a person into a religious group, our understanding of these forms of behavior as actions at all turns critically on recognizing agents. The theory's second crucial commitment (1990, p. 61) is that the roles of culturally postulated superhuman agents (CPS-agents hereafter) in participants' representations of religious rituals will prove pivotal in accounting for a wide variety of those rituals' properties. On our view religious ritual systems typically involve presumptions about CPS-agents. This theoretical commitment is orthogonal to the pervasive assumption throughout the study of religion that only meanings matter. By contrast, we hold that other things matter too (specifically, cognitive representations of religious ritual form). Large conflicts lurk behind the previous sentences but we cannot adequately address them here. For now we will only identify two of the most fundamental and comment on them briefly. First, amazingly (by our lights anyway), our claim that (conceptual) commitments to the existence of CPS-agents is the most important recurrent feature of religion across cultures is quite controversial.. (shrink)
This paper suggests that Lenski's classification of agrarian societies into simple versus advanced, based on the use of iron in the latter, obscures important variations in the gender division of labor and the level of gender stratification. In particular, his categories lump the gender egalitarian irrigated rice societies of Southeast Asia with the great majority of agrarian societies, which are strongly patriarchal. Based on my general theory of gender stratification and experience coding and analyzing gender stratification in the ethnographic databases (...) and fieldwork in 39 countries worldwide, I propose a three-category alternative. First, agrarian societies are divided according to the technological criterion of irrigation into dry (rain-fed) and wet (irrigated rice) categories. This distinguishes two gender divisions of labor: a male farming system in dry agrarian and an "everybody works" system in labor-intensive rice cultivation, in which women are important in production. Second, irrigated rice societies are divided into patri-oriented-male advantage and those neutral to positive for women, based on the nature of the kinship system. This distinguishes the gender egalitarian Southeast Asian wet rice societies from the highly gender stratified majority of irrigated rice societies. Furthermore, these distinctions in gender equality are predicted by my gender stratification theory. (shrink)
A certain orthodoxy has it that understanding is essentially computational: that information about what a sentence means is something that may be generated by means of a derivational process from information about the significance of the sentences constituent parts and of the ways in which they are put together. And that it is therefore fruitful to study formal theories acceptable as compositional theories of meaning for natural languages: theories that deliver for each sentence of their object-language a theorem acceptable as (...) statement of its meaning and derivable from axioms characterizing subsentential expressions and operations forming that sentence. This paper is to show that there is something deeply wrong with these ideas, namely that they are based on a certain confusion about ascriptions of semantic knowledge. The paper is to make this point by considering a semantic theorist who has explicit knowledge of a theory of truth for L. And by showing that all the theorist needs to have knowledge of to understand the sentences of L are these axioms -- that the derivation of T-theorems is epistemically redundant. And that this doesnt change when we turn from explicit to what has been called tacit knowledge. (shrink)
In The Idea of Justice, Amartya Sen, among other things, discusses certain qualities any adequate theory of justice ought to incorporate. Two important qualities a theory of justice should account for are impartiality/objectivity and sensitivity to consequences. In order to motivate his discussion of sensitivity to consequences, Sen discusses the debate between Krishna and Arjuna from the religio-philosophical Hindu text the Bhagavad Gita. According to Sen, Arjuna represents a sensitivity to consequences while Krishna is an archetypal deontologist. In this paper (...) it will be argued that Sen's interpretation of the Gita is inaccurate. Further, a more adequate interpretation will be presented. What will be of significance is that the more adequate interpretation actually demonstrates the importance of an impartial spectator in moral reasoning. Finally, there will be a discussion of some lessons that can be taken from the Gita regarding justice generally. (shrink)
The distinguished philosopher Robert M. Adams presents a major work on virtue, which is once again a central topic in ethical thought. A Theory of Virtue is a systematic, comprehensive framework for thinking about the moral evaluation of character. Many recent attempts to stake out a place in moral philosophy for this concern define virtue in terms of its benefits for the virtuous person or for human society more generally. In Part One of this book Adams presents and defends a (...) conception of virtue as intrinsic excellence of character, worth prizing for its own sake and not only for its benefits. In the other two parts he addresses two challenges to the ancient idea of excellence of character. One challenge arises from the importance of altruism in modern ethical thought, and the question of what altruism has to do with intrinsic excellence. Part Two argues that altruistic benevolence does indeed have a crucial place in excellence of character, but that moral virtue should also be expected to involve excellence in being for other goods besides the well-being (and the rights) of other persons. It explores relations among cultural goods, personal relationships, one's own good, and the good of others, as objects of excellent motives. The other challenge, the subject of Part Three of the book, is typified by doubts about the reality of moral virtue, arising from experiments and conclusions in social psychology. Adams explores in detail the prospects for an empirically realistic conception of excellence of character as an object of moral aspiration, endeavor, and education. He argues that such a conception will involve renunciation of the ancient thesis of the unity or mutual implication of all virtues, and acknowledgment of sufficient 'moral luck' in the development of any individual's character to make virtue very largely a gift, rather than an individual achievement, though nonetheless excellent and admirable for that. (shrink)
John Hyman has used the objective character of occlusion shapes and of relative occlusion sizes to develop a more objective approach both in the analysis of linear perspective and in the theory of depiction. To this end Hyman develops two Occlusion Principles, plus an Aperture Colour Principle (which I do not discuss), which, together with our knowledge of appearances, are supposed to tell us what a picture depicts. I argue that Hyman underestimates the crucial role of the psychological element in (...) the work that the objective occlusion shape and relative occlusion sizes are assigned to do. Two pictures may have different contents in spite of the same occlusion shapes and the same (relative) occlusion sizes. It is the operation of constancy scaling in pictorial space which frustrates Hyman’s objectivism both in the domain of linear perspective and in the domain of depiction. (shrink)
I argue that having a theory of mind requires having at least implicit knowledge of the norms of the community, and that an implicit understanding of the normative is what drives the development of a theory of mind. This conclusion is defended by two arguments. First I argue that a theory of mind likely did not develop in order to predict behavior, because before individuals can use propositional attitudes to predict behavior, they have to be able to use them in (...) explanations of behavior. Rather, I suggest that the need to explain behavior in terms of reasons is the primary function of a theory of mind. I further argue that in order to be motivated to offer explanations of behavior, one must have at least an implicit understanding of appropriate behavior, which implies at least an implicit understanding of norms. The second argument looks at three cases of nonhuman animal societies that appear to operate within a system of norms. While there is no evidence that any species other than humans have a theory of mind, there is evidence that other species have sensitivity to the normative. Finally, I propose an explanation for the priority of norms over a theory of mind: given an understanding of norms in a society, and the ability to recognize and sanction violations, there developed a need to understand actions that violated the norms, and such explanations could only be given in terms of a person's reasons. There is a significant benefit to being able to explain behavior that violates norms, because explanations of the right sort can also serve to justify behavior. (shrink)
Taking Per Martin-Löf’s constructive type theory as a starting-point a theory of assertion is developed, which is able to account for the epistemic aspects of the speech act of assertion, and in which it is shown that assertion is not a wide genus. From a constructivist point of view, one is entitled to assert, for example, that a proposition A is true, only if one has constructed a proof object a for A in an act of demonstration. One thereby has (...) grounded the assertion by an act of demonstration, and a grounding account of assertion therefore suits constructive type theory. Because the act of demonstration in which such a proof object is constructed results in knowledge that A is true, the constructivist account of assertion has to ward off some of the criticism directed against knowledge accounts of assertion. It is especially the internal relation between a judgement being grounded and its being known that makes it possible to do so. The grounding account of assertion can be considered as a justification account of assertion, but it also differs from justification accounts recently proposed, namely in the treatment of selfless assertions, that is, assertions which are grounded, but are not accompanied by belief. (shrink)
In any country where there is a Bill of Rights, constitutional rights reasoning is an important part of the legal process. As more and more countries adopt Human Rights legislation and accede to international human rights agreements, and as the European Union introduces its own Bill of Rights, judges struggle to implement these rights consistently and sometimes the reasoning behind them is lost. Examining the practice in other jurisdictions can be a valuable guide. Robert Alexy's classic work reconstructs the reasoning (...) behind the jurisprudence of the German Basic Law and in doing so provides a theory of general application to all jurisdictions where judges wrestle with rights adjudication. -/- In considering the features of constitutional rights reasoning, the author moves from the doctrine of proportionality, procedural rights and the structure and scope of constitutional rights, to general rights of liberty and equality and the problem of horizontal effect. A postscript written for the English edition considers critiques of the Theory since it first appeared in 1985, focusing in particular on the discretion left to legislatures and in an extended introduction the translator argues that the theory may be used to clarify the nature of legal reasoning in the context of rights under the British Constitution. -/- This book will be of central interest to all legal and constitutional theorists and human rights scholars. (shrink)
The article concerns the meta-epistemological problem of the justification of a theory of knowledge and provides a reconstruction of the history of its formulations. In the first section, I analyse the connections between Sextus Empiricus' diallelus, Montaigne's rouet and Chisholm's "problem of criterion"; in the second section I focus on the link between the diallelus and the Cartesian circle; in the third section I reconstruct the origin of "Fries' trilemma"; finally, in the last section I draw some general conclusions about (...) the issue qua a general problem for a theory of knowledge. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor's Asymmetric Dependency Theory (ADT) of meaning is discussed in the context of his attempt to avoid holism and the relativism it entails. Questions are raised about the implications of the theory for psychological theories of meaning, and brief suggestions are offered for how to more closely link a theory of meaning to a theory of perception.
Many philosophers have criticized John Rawls’s Law of Peoples. However, often these criticisms take it for granted that the moral conclusions drawn in A Theory of Justice are superior to those in the former book. In my view, however, Rawls comes to many of his “conclusions” without too many actual inferences. More precisely, my argument here is that if one takes Rawls’s premises and the assumptions made about the original position(s) seriously and does in fact think them through to their (...) logical conclusions, both A Theory of Justice and The Law of Peoples have abysmally counterintuitive and immoral implications. These implications comprise, among other things, the justifiability of slavery, the denial of human rights and the permissibility of genocide. (shrink)
It is argued that probability should be defined implicitly by the distributions of possible measurement values characteristic of a theory. These distributions are tested by, but not defined in terms of, relative frequencies of occurrences of events of a specified kind. The adoption of an a priori probability in an empirical investigation constitutes part of the formulation of a theory. In particular, an assumption of equiprobability in a given situation is merely one hypothesis inter alia, which can be tested, like (...) any other assumption. Probability in relation to some theories – for example quantum mechanics – need not satisfy the Kolmogorov axioms. To illustrate how two theories about the same system can generate quite different probability concepts, and not just different probabilistic predictions, a team game for three players is described. If only classical methods are allowed, a 75% success rate at best can be achieved. Nevertheless, a quantum strategy exists that gives a 100% probability of winning. (shrink)
We present a theory VF of partial truth over Peano arithmetic and we prove that VF and ID 1 have the same arithmetical content. The semantics of VF is inspired by van Fraassen's notion of supervaluation.
A theory is presented which proposes that knowledge acquisition involves direct perception of schematic information in the form of structural and transformational invariances. Individual components with salient verbal descriptions are considered conscious place-holders for non-conscious invariant schemes. It is speculated that theories positing mental construction have three related causes: The first is a lack of consciousness of the schema processing capacities of the right hemisphere; the second is the paucity of adequate words to express schematic relationships; and the last involves (...) the dominance of verbal processes in consciousness. Philosophical theories are reviewed and schematic data relevant to biological survival is offered. Applications to education are suggested. (shrink)
Julian Huxley on Darwinian evolution: A snapshot of a theory Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9499-8 Authors Michael Ruse, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32303, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
The target article can be strengthened by supplementing it with a better theory of mental representation. Given such a theory, there is reason to suppose that, first, even the most primitive representations are mostly of distal affairs; second, the most primitive representations also turn out to be directed two ways at once, both stating facts and directing action.
What, if anything, has art to do with the rest of our lives, and in particular with those ethical and political issues that matter to us most? Will art created today be likely to play a role in our lives as profound as that of the best art of the past? A Theory of Art shifts the focus of aesthetics from the traditional debate of "what is art?" to the engaging question of "what is art for?" Skillfully describing the social (...) and historical situation of art today, author Karol Berger argues that music exemplifies the current condition of art in a radical, acute, and revealing fashion. He also uniquely combines aesthetics with poetics and hermeneutics. Offering a careful synthesis of a wide breadth of scholarship from art history, musicology, literary studies, political philosophy, ethics, and metaphysics, and written in a clear, accessible style, this book will appeal to anyone with a serious interest in the arts. (shrink)
The social science literature abounds with unconnected and, so it seems, diverse propositions about the emergence of norms. This article sets out to show that many of these propositions only differ in regard to terminology. Proponents of different theoretical orientations seem to accept a key hypothesis that is called instrumentality proposition : norms emerge if they are instrumental for attaining the goals of a group of actors. Apart from a problematic functionalist version the article focuses on an individualistic version: if (...) actors want to achieve certain goals and if a norm is instrumental to attain these goals individuals perform those actions that bring about the norm. This proposition involves several assumptions that are discussed. This version of the instrumentality proposition explains norms that are planned (i.e., that are second-order public goods). In order to account for the evolutionary emergence of norms a second version of the instrumentality proposition is discussed. It assumes that actors do not want to create a general norm but aim at providing certain private goods in interaction situations. For example, smokers sanction non-smokers in order not to be exposed to smoke in the interaction situation, but non-smokers do not want to engender a general non-smoking-norm. However, the aggregated effect of those actions is often a general norm. The article further explores problems of the two instrumentality propositions, the extent to which they answer important questions of a theory of norm emergence and alternative propositions to explain norms. (shrink)
Book Information Functions in Mind: A Theory of Intentional Content. Functions in Mind: A Theory of Intentional Content Carolyn Price Oxford Clarendon Press 2001 vi + 263 Hardback £35 By Carolyn Price. Clarendon Press. Oxford. Pp. vi + 263. Hardback:£35.
Since ought implies can, i.e., one cannot be obligated to do what one cannot do, the question of corporate responsibility cannot be discussed intelligibly without an inquiry into the range of corporate or managerial discretion. Hence, the moral relevance of a theory of the firm. Within classical or neo-classical economic theory, for instance, firms which act other than to maximize profit are eliminated. They cannot do otherwise, and thus either have no obligations at all or only the duty to maximize (...) profit. The thesis of the Managerial Revolution, if true, establishes only that management is free from direct stockholder control. By asserting that corporations have responsibilities to do other than maximize profit, philosophers assume a wide degree of managerial discretion, without considering recent developments in the theory of the firm which suggest that new incentives and constraints radically restrict managerial liberty in a capitalist society. (shrink)
The combination of logic and game theory provides a ﬁne-grained perspective on information and interaction dynamics, a Theory of Play. In this paper we lay down the main components of such a theory, drawing on recent advances in the logical dynamics of actions, preferences, and information. We then show how this ﬁne-grained perspective has already shed new light on the long-term dynamics of information exchange, as well as on the much-discussed question of extensive game rationality.
Recently Samuel Richmond, generalizing Nelson Goodman, has proposed a measure of the simplicity of a theory that takes into account not only the polymorphicity of its models but also their internal homogeneity. By this measure a theory is simple if small subsets of its models exhibit only a few distinct (i.e., non-isomorphic) structures. Richmond shows that his measure, unlike that given by Goodman's theory of simplicity of predicates, orders the order relations in an intuitively satisfactory manner. In this note I (...) formalize his presentation and suggest an improvement designed to overcome certain technical difficulties. (shrink)
Abstract Curiously missing in the vast literature on Hilary Putnam's so-called model-theoretic argument against semantic realism is any response from would-be proponents of what Putnam would call magical theories of reference. Such silence is surprising in light of the fact that such theories have occupied a significant position in the history of philosophy and the fact that there are still several prominent thinkers who would, no doubt, favor such a theory. This paper develops and examines various responses to Putnam's argument (...) on behalf of the proponent of a magical theory of reference. While Putnam's explicit replies to such responses to his argument seem to involve little more than name calling, I develop arguments that show that there are significant problems facing any would-be proponent of such a view. While magical theories of reference are far from the strawmen Putnam seems to take them to be, there are, I argue, genuine reasons for a semantic realist to prefer a non-magical theory of reference. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert offers an incisive new approach to a classic problem of political philosophy: when and why should I do what the laws of my country tell me to do? Beginning with carefully argued accounts of social groups in general and political societies in particular, the author argues that in central, standard senses of the relevant terms membership in a political society in and of itself obligates one to support that society's political institutions. The obligations in question are not moral (...) requirements derived from general moral principles, as is often supposed, but a matter of one's participation in a special kind of commitment: joint commitment. An agreement is sufficient but not necessary to generate such a commitment. Gilbert uses the phrase 'plural subject' to refer to all of those who are jointly committed in some way. She therefore labels the theory offered in this book the plural subject theory of political obligation. The author concentrates on the exposition of this theory, carefully explaining how and in what sense joint commitments obligate. She also explores a classic theory of political obligation --- actual contract theory --- according to which one is obligated to conform to the laws of one's country because one agreed to do so. She offers a new interpretation of this theory in light of a theory of plural subject theory of agreements. She argues that actual contract theory has more merit than has been thought, though the more general plural subject theory is to be preferred. She compares and contrasts plural subject theory with identification theory, relationship theory, and the theory of fair play. She brings it to bear on some classic situations of crisis, and, in the concluding chapter, suggests a number of avenues for related empirical and moral inquiry. Clearly and compellingly written, A Theory of Political Obligation will be essential reading for political philosophers and theorists. (shrink)
This article has a threefold intention. 1. It intends to contribute to the clarification of the question in what respect medicine may be called a science and in what respect a practice. 2. It proposes a concept of clinical methodology (including clinical-ethical aspects), as a theory of medical practice that is one component of theoretical medicine. 3. It sketches an approach and some steps towards a systematic analysis of medical-clinical practice. In the first part, the position that medicine is a (...) practical science is criticized. It is shown that the supposed opposition of theoretical and practical sciences is misconstrued. The relevant distinctions are those between knowledge, research, and scientific practice. In the second part, an analysis of the structure and function of descriptive and normative data and of clinical knowledge and principles in clinical practice is given, and a strategy for solving the deep problems of clinical methodology and ethics is sketched. (shrink)
In order to account for the mode of existence of social rules and norms, the author develops a theory of the emergence of institutional facts. Just as other kinds of institutional fact, rules and norms are meanings. Therefore, insight into the emergence of social rules and norms can be achieved by studying the recognition and the communication of meanings. Following accounts of meaning and factuality, institutional facts are characterized as unquestionable shared typifications. It is argued that, in becoming an institutional (...) fact, a typification goes through two phases. First, it becomes a social habit. Second, this habit turns into an obligation by being objectified. (shrink)
This paper takes the first steps in the construction of a theory of event identity as that theory applies to historical sentences. The theory is extensional throughout. Following statements of criteria of adequacy for the construction, Davidson's method of regimenting sentences is adopted in order to allow for variables ranging over events. Events in this theory are only partially construed, that is, to the extent of treating them as concrete individuals rather than as classes or repeatable universals. The paper concludes (...) with a statement of several theorems and definitions and an example of how the theory works. (shrink)
Although the change of beliefs in the face of new information has been widely studied with some success, the revision of other mental states has received little attention from the theoretical perspective. In particular, intentions are widely recognised as being a key attitude for rational agents, and while several formal theories of intention have been proposed in the literature, the logic of intention revision has been hardly considered. There are several reasons for this: perhaps most importantly, intentions are very closely (...) connected with other mental states—in particular, beliefs about the future and the abilities of the agent. So, we cannot study them in isolation. We must consider the interplay between intention revision and the revision of other mental states, which complicates the picture considerably. In this paper, we present some first steps towards a theory of intention revision. We develop a simple model of an agent’s mental states, and define intention revision operators. Using this model, we develop a logic of intention dynamics, and then investigate some of its properties. (shrink)
A typical problem of modern medicine results from the gap between scientific knowledge and its application in individual cases. Whereas scientific knowledge is generalized and impersonal information, medical practice takes place under conditions which are singular, individual and irreversible. The paper examines whether prognosis is able to bridge this gap or hiatus theoreticus. It is shown that diagnosis of a single case always relies on prognostic considerations. The individual prognosis (as distinguished from the nosologic prognosis of a certain disease) enables (...) doctors to apply scientific knowledge and practice according to the actual situation, the history and personal preferences of the patient. Prognosis – not diagnosis – therefore legitimizes medical interference. A methodology of individual prognosis as the basis for a theory of practice is discussed. (shrink)
Brain physiology and IQ gains over time both show that various cognitive skills, such as on-the-spot problem solving and arithmetic reasoning, are functionally independent, despite being bundled up in the correlational matrix called g. We need a theory of intelligence that treats the physiology and sociology of intelligence as having integrity equal to the psychology of individual differences. (Published Online April 5 2006).
Book Information The Liberal Archipelago: A Theory of Diversity and Freedom. The Liberal Archipelago: A Theory of Diversity and Freedom Chandran Kukathas , Oxford : Oxford University Press , 2003 , xii + 292 , £25.00 ( cloth ), US $45.00 ( cloth ) By Chandran Kukathas. Oxford University Press. Oxford. Pp. xii + 292. £25.00 (cloth:), US $45.00 (cloth:).
The article analyses the meta-epistemological problem of the justification of a theory of knowledge. The first section is dedicated to the morphological reconstruction of the problem, the second presents a diagnosis of the problem in terms of a metatheoretical and logically non-contradictory petitio principii and the third delineates the limits within which strategies for the treatment of the problem could be elaborated.
In earlier work, I have presented an interpretation of Obligationes as logical games of consistency maintenance; this interpretation has some advantages, in particular that of capturing the multi-agent, goal-oriented, rule-governed nature of the enterprise by means of the game analogy. But it has as its main limitation the fact that it does not provide a satisfactory account of the deontic aspect of the framework—i.e. of what being obliged to a certain statement consists in. In order to remedy this shortcoming, this (...) paper argues for the more encompassing thesis that Obligationes can be viewed as a theory of rational dialogical practices, in particular concerning the management of one's discursive commitments. The main inspiration for this interpretation comes from R. Brandom's inferentialist, normative pragmatism, but more generally, it relies heavily on a dialogical conception of logic. I argue that it offers a more compelling account of several aspects of the obligational framework, in particular the role of doubting responses and the ubiquity of obligational vocabulary in the context of scientific discourse in the medieval tradition. (shrink)
This book investigates the nature of the relationship between phonology and syntax and proposes a theory of Minimal Indirect Reference that solves many classic problems relating to the topic. Seidl shows that all variation across languages in phonological domain size is due to syntactic differences and a single domain parameter specific to phonology.
The quest for a ``theory of nonhuman minds'''' to assessclaims about the moral status of animals is misguided. Misframedquestions about animal minds facilitate the appropriation ofanimal welfare by the animal user industry. When misframed, thesequestions shift the burden of proof unreasonably to animalwelfare regulators. An illustrative instance of misframing can befound in the US National Research Council''s 1998 publication thatreports professional efforts to define the psychologicalwell-being of nonhuman primates, a condition that the US 1985animal welfare act requires users of primates (...) to promote. Thereport claims that ``psychological well-being'''' is a hypotheticalconstruct whose validity can only be determined by a theory thatdefines its properties and links it to observed data. Thisconception is used to contest common knowledge about animalwelfare by treating psychological well-being as a mentalcondition whose properties are difficult to discover. Thisframework limits regulatory efforts to treat animal subjects lessoppressively and serves the interests of the user industry.A more liberatory framework can be constructed by recognizing thecontested nature of welfare norms, where competing conceptions ofanimal welfare have implications about norm-setting authority, asit does in other regulatory contexts, e.g., food safety. Properlyconceptualized welfare should include both the avoidance ofdistressful circumstances and the relationship between ananimal''s capacities to engage in enjoyable activities and itsopportunities to exercise these capacities. This conception ofanimal welfare avoids appropriation by scientific experts. (shrink)
The teaching of evolutionary theory in U.S. public school science classes has been called into question via numerous school board mandated “evolution is a theory, not a fact” disclaimers that have appeared on science textbooks in recent years and which have been the subject of recent court cases. I evaluate the scientific reasonability of such disclaimers by engaging in conceptual analysis on the crucial terms in the key claim: “evolution is a theory, not a fact.” Assessing various interpretations of the (...) key claim, I argue that, for any interpretation, it is either clearly false, or trivially true, or not even marginally reasonable as a rationale, of the sort pertaining to science, that justifies the use of the disclaimer or the advice it recommends to students. I conclude that such disclaimers haveno scientific merit. Finally, I offer brief remarks about what we may learn from the use of the disclaimers, as well as a word about the relevance of methodological naturalism to current disputes, and likely ones in the near future, over evolution. (shrink)
This article sketches descriptive and normative components of a theory of ethical value. The normative component, which receives the lion’s share of attention, is developed by adapting Laudan’s levels of scientific discourse. The resulting levels of ethical discourse can be critically addressed through the use of inductive inference, falsification, and causal inference. These techniques are likewise appropriate to the corresponding levels of scientific discourse.
Lewis argues convincingly that a DS approach to emotion theory will be fruitful. He also appears to hold that there are DS principles that constitute a theory or are substantial empirical claims. I argue that this latter move is a mistake.
Although the change of beliefs in the face of new information has been widely studied with some success, the revision of other mental states has received little attention from the theoretical perspective. In particular, intentions are widely recognised as being a key attitude for rational agents, and while several formal theories of intention have been proposed in the literature, the logic of intention revision has been hardly considered. There are several reasons for this: perhaps most importantly, intentions are very closely (...) connected with other mental states—in particular, beliefs about the future and the abilities of the agent. So, we cannot study them in isolation. We must consider the interplay between intention revision and the revision of other mental states, which complicates the picture considerably. In this paper, we present some first steps towards a theory of intention revision. We develop a simple model of an agent's mental states, and define intention revision operators. Using this model, we develop a logic of intention dynamics, and then investigate some of its properties. (shrink)
Max Albert (2003) has recently argued that the theory of power indices “should not ... be considered as part of political science” and that “[v]iewed as a scientific theory, it is a branch of probability theory and can safely be ignored by political scientists”. Albert’s argument rests on a particular claim concerning the theoretical status of power indices, namely that the theory of power indices is not a positive theory, i.e. not one that has falsifiable implications. I re-examine (...) the theoretical status of power indices and argue that it would be unwise for political scientists to ignore such indices. Although I agree with Albert that the theory of power indices is not a positive theory, I suggest that it is a theory of measurement that can usefully supplement other positive and normative socialscientific theories. (shrink)