A connectionist system that is capable of learning about the spatial structure of a simple world is used for the purposes of synthetic epistemology: the creation and analysis of artiﬁcial systems in order to clarify philosophical issues that arise in the explanation of how agents, both natural and artiﬁcial, represent the world. In this case, the issues to be clariﬁed focus on the content of representational states that exist prior to a fully objective understanding of a spatial domain. In particular, (...) the criticisms of (Chrisley, 1993) that were raised in (Holland, 1994) are addressed: how can we determine that a system’s spatial representations are more objective than before? And under what conditions (tasks, training regimes, environments) do such increases in objectivity occur? After analysing the results of experiments that attempt to shed light on these questions, the study concludes by comparing and contrasting this work with related research. (shrink)
John Burgess (Burgess, 2004) combines plural logic and a new version of the idea of limitation of size to give an elegant motivation of the axioms of ZFC set theory. His proposal is meant to improve on earlier work by Paul Bernays in two ways. I argue that both attempted improvements fail.
According to the presumption of atheism, we are to presume disbelief unless agnosticism or theism can be adequately defended. In this paper I will defend the presumption of atheism against a popular objection made by Thomas Morris and elucidate an insuperable difficulty for any attempt to argue for a presumption of agnosticism.
It is unclear what we should make of a policy designed to eradicate' genetically based handicap, and in particular whether it constitutes discrimination against people with a genetic handicap. After brief reference to the legal position, four arguments are examined which purport to justify differential treatment of handicapped lives either before conception or before birth: the argument from genetic error', the argument from parental responsibility, the argument from social consequences and the argument from impersonal harm. Weaknesses are detected in each (...) of these arguments, and the conclusion is drawn that, although differential treatment of handicapped lives is sometimes justified, there are some circumstances in which it does amount to discrimination. (shrink)