We examine some assumptions about the nature of ‘levels of reality’ in the light of examples drawn from physics. Three central assumptions of the standard view of such levels (for instance, Oppenheim and Putnam 1958) are (i) that levels are populated by entities of varying complexity, (ii) that there is a unique hierarchy of levels, ranging from the very small to the very large, and (iii) that the inhabitants of adjacent levels are related by the parthood relation. Using examples from (...) physics, we argue that it is more natural to view the inhabitants of levels as the behaviors of entities, rather than entities themselves. This suggests an account of reduction between levels, according to which one behavior reduces to another if the two are related by an appropriate limit relation. By considering cases where such inter-level reduction fails, we show that the hierarchy of behaviors differs in several respects from the standard hierarchy of entities. In particular, while on the standard view, lower-level entities are ‘micro’ parts of higher-level entities, on our view, a system’s macro-level behavior can be seen as a (‘non-spatial’) part of its micro-level behavior. We argue that this second hierarchy is not really in conflict with the standard view and that it better suits examples of explanation in science. (shrink)
This paper explicates two notions of emergencewhich are based on two ways of distinguishinglevels of properties for dynamical systems.Once the levels are defined, the strategies ofcharacterizing the relation of higher level to lower levelproperties as diachronic and synchronic emergenceare the same. In each case, the higher level properties aresaid to be emergent if they are novel or irreducible with respect to the lower level properties. Novelty andirreducibility are given precise meanings in terms of the effectsthat the change of a bifurcation (...) or perturbation parameterin the system has. (The same strategy can be applied to otherways of separating levels of properties, like themicro/macro distinction.)The notions of emergence developed here are notions of emergencein a weak sense: the higher level emergent properties wecapture are always structural properties (or are realized insuch properties), that is, they are defined in terms of the lowerlevel properties and their relations. Diachronic and synchronicemergent properties are distinctions within thecategory of structural properties. (shrink)
Non-reductive physicalists have made a number of attempts to provide the relation of supervenience between levels of properties with enough bite to analyze interesting cases without at the same time losing the relation's acceptability for the physicalist. I criticize some of these proposals and suggest an alternative supplementation of the supervenience relation by imposing a requirement of robustness which is motivated by the notion of structural stability familiar from dynamical systems theory. Robust supervenience, I argue, captures what the non-reductive physicalist (...) wants from supervenience; most importantly, it provides a natural background for reconstructing the notion of (diachronic) property emergence in a way acceptable to physicalists. (shrink)
Beauty, or at least natural beauty, is famously a symbol of the morally good in Kant's theory of taste. Natural beauty is also, we argue, a symbol of the systematicity of nature. This symbolic connection of beauty and systematicity in nature sheds light on the relation between the principles underlying the use of reflecting judgement. The connection also motivates a more general interpretive proposal: the fact that the imagination can symbolize ideas plays a crucial role in the theory of taste; (...) it is the mechanism that underlies pure judgements of taste, the operation by which the imagination ‘schematizes without a concept’. (shrink)
I try to identify the characteristic and distinguishing features of a theory of natural beauty (as opposed to the sublime) that can be found in Kant's Critique of Judgement. Lest this may seem superfluous, I argue first that, contrary to a common view, Kant's theory does not take the experience of beauty in nature as theoretically basic and that he does not deal with beauty in art only as a derivative case of aesthetic experience. I then try to understand what (...) it means to require, as Kant famously does, that beautiful nature has to look as if it were art. Does this commit him to a projectionist view, according to which we appreciate nature aesthetically only for what it really is not (namely art) rather than for what it is? Pursuing this question we find that for Kant nature can be the object of pure judgements of taste only insofar as nature can be explained scientifically, which in Kant's framework means purely mechanically. This ‘blind mechanism’ of nature plays an important role in Kant's explication of the moral significance the experience of beautiful nature has for us. (shrink)
Is there a problem of causal exclusion between micro- and macro-level physical properties? I argue (following Kim) that the sorts of properties thatin fact are in competition are macro properties, viz., the property of a (macro-) system of `having such-and-such macro properties'' (call this a `macro-structural property'') and the property of the same system of `being constituted by such-and-such a micro-structure'' (call this a `micro-structural property''). I show that there are cases where, for lack of reducibility, there is a prima (...) facie intra-level causal competition between the two kinds of properties. The problem can be resolved without giving up on the causal efficacy of the macro-structural properties if we understandinstances of macro-structural properties to be parts ofmicro-structural property instances. The parthood relation between both kinds of property instances can bemapped onto the way physical theory deals with the relation of their descriptionsin the framework of perturbation theory. The application of this framework to theproblem of emergent properties is discussed. (shrink)
Given that scientific realism is based on the assumption that there is a connection between a model's predictive success and its truth, and given the success of multiple incompatible models in scientific practice, the realist has a problem. When the different models can be shown to arise as different approximations to a unified theory, however, one might think the realist to be able to accommodate such cases. I discuss a special class of models (generated as non-uniform limits of a unified (...) theory) and argue that a realist interpretation has to understand these models of a system as ‘perspectival’, in close analogy to different spatial perspectives onto the same object. For this sort of case, I also respond to Morrison's recent claim that in the process of unifying models into an overarching theory, explanatory and descriptive power are lost, leaving the unified theory with less of a claim to a realist interpretation than the models themselves. Introduction Perspectival models from singular perturbation problems Unification of perspectives without losses of explanatory power Perspectives as different levels of a system Perspectival models, idealizations and pluralism. (shrink)
Kim’s model of ‘functional reduction’ of properties is shown to fail in a class of cases from physics involving properties at different spatial levels. The diagnosis of this failure leads to a non-reductive account of the relation of micro and macro properties.
I argue that the free play of the faculties in Kant's theory of beauty should be interpreted as an activity that involves, over and above cognition, the aesthetic presentation of rational ideas. Two consequences of this proposal are then discussed: (1) Beauty in nature is not systematically prior to, or more basic than, artificial beauty; (2) genius and taste are connected more closely in the notion of the free play than Kant admits in the final version of his theory; this (...) more intimate association can be traced in the reflections on aesthetics from the 1770s. (shrink)
A combination of process and counterfactual theories of causation is proposed with the aim of preserving the strengths of each of the approaches while avoiding their shortcomings. The basis for the combination, or hybrid, view is the need, common to both accounts, of imposing a stability requirement on the causal relation.
The need to find an intrinsic characterization of what makes a relation between events causal arises not only in local theories of causation like Salmon's process theory but also in global approaches like Lewis' counterfactual theory. According to the localist intuition, whether a process connecting two events is causal should depend only on what goes on between the events, not on conditions that hold elsewhere in the world. If such intrinsic characterizations could be found, an identification of the causal relation (...) in the actual world (though not in other possible worlds) with physical processes may be feasible (the a posteriori identification). I consider recent proposals made for intrinsic characterizations of causality and conclude that none of them is able to deliver the intended result. (shrink)
This article analyzes a type of experiment, very popular in 18th-century natural philosophy, which has apparently not led to insights into nature but which was aesthetically especially attractive. These experiments--"mimetic experiments"--allow us to trace a connection between aesthetic appreciation in science and in art contemporaneous with the science. I use this case as a problem for McAllister's theory of aesthetic induction according to which aesthetic standards in science tend to be associated with empirical success and propose an alternative mechanism that (...) is able to account for the natural philosophers' predilection for unsuccessful but beautiful experiments. (shrink)
The preference for `reductive explanations', i.e., explanations of the behaviour of a system at one `basic' level of sub-systems, seems to be related, at least in the physical sciences, to the success of a formal technique –- perturbation theory –- for extracting insight into the workings of a system from a supposedly exact but intractable mathematical description of the system. This preference for a style of explanation, however, can be justified only in the case of `regular' perturbation problems in which (...) the zeroth-order term in the perturbation expansion (characterizing the `basic' level) is the uniform limit of the exact solution as the perturbation parameter goes to zero. For the much more frequent case of `singular' perturbation problems, various techniques have been developed which all introduce a hierarchy of levels or scales into the solutions. These levels describe processes or sub-systems operating simultaneously at different time or spatial scales. No single level, no reductive explanation in the above sense will provide an adequate explanation of the system behaviour. Explanations involving multiple levels should be recognized as far more common even in supposedly reductionist disciplines like physics. (shrink)
How can it be rational to work on a new theory that does not yet meet the standards for good or acceptable theories? If diversity of approaches is a condition for scientific progress, how can a scientific community achieve such progress when each member does what it is rational to do, namely work on the best theory? These two methodological problems, the problem of pursuit and the problem of diversity, can be solved by taking into account the cognitive risk that (...) is involved in theory choice. I compare this solution to other proposals, in particular T. S. Kuhn's and P. Kitcher's view that the two problems demonstrate the epistemic significance of the scientific community. (shrink)
Philosophers like Duhem and Cartwright have argued that there is a tension between laws' abilities to explain and to represent. Abstract laws exemplify the first quality, phenomenological laws the second. This view has both metaphysical and methodological aspects: the world is too complex to be represented by simple theories; supplementing simple theories to make them represent reality blocks their confirmation. We argue that both aspects are incompatible with recent developments in nonlinear dynamics. Confirmation procedures and modelling strategies in nonlinear dynamics (...) show that there are simple, abstract theories that can be confirmed without encountering the problems pointed to by Cartwright. (shrink)
The paper argues that renormalization in quantum field theory was not a radically new - and possibly ad hoc - technique to save a badly flawed theory, but rather the culmination of a methodological strategy that physicists had been applying for a long time. The strategy was to obtain reliable results from unreliable theories by making the derivation of the results independent of possible future modifications of the theory. Examples of this practice include Bohr's use of the Correspondence (...) Principle and Heisenberg's S-matrix theory. (shrink)
We examine cases of emergent behavior in physics, and argue for an account of emergence based on features of the phase space portraits of certain dynamical systems. On our account, the phase space portraits of systems displaying emergent behavior are topologically inequivalent to those of the systems from which they ‘emerge’. This account gives us an objective sense in which emergent phenomena are qualitatively novel, without involving the difficulties associated with downward causation and the like. We also argue that the (...) role of complexity in emergence has been overstated: emergent behavior can occur in very simple systems, and even when it occurs in complex systems it is the qualitative novelty of that behavior, rather that the complexity of the system, that matters for emergence. (shrink)
This study presents a substantial and often radical reinterpretation of some of the central themes of Locke's thought. Professor Alexander concentrates on the Essay Concerning Human Understanding and aims to restore that to its proper historical context. In Part I he gives a clear exposition of some of the scientific theories of Robert Boyle, which, he argues, heavily influenced Locke in employing similar concepts and terminology. Against this background, he goes on in Part II to provide an account of (...) Locke's views on the external world and our knowledge of it. He shows those views to be more consistent and plausible than is generally allowed, demonstrating how they make sense and enable scientific explanations of nature. In examining the views of Locke and Boyle together, the book throws new light both on the development of philosophy and the beginnings of modern science, and in particular it makes a considerable and original contribution to our understanding of Locke's philosophy. (shrink)
Iconoclasts? Who, Us? A Reply to Dolinko Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-7 DOI 10.1007/s11572-012-9143-3 Authors Larry Alexander, San Diego, CA, USA Kimberly Kessler Ferzan, Camden, NJ, USA Journal Criminal Law and Philosophy Online ISSN 1871-9805 Print ISSN 1871-9791.
The following statement is a report of the Committee on Philosophy in Education of the American Philosophical Association and was approved by the Association's Board of Officers in September, 1959. The Committee was composed of the following: C. W. Hendel, Chairman, H. G. Alexander, R. M. Chisholm, Max Fisch, Lucius Garvin, Douglas Morgan, A. E. Murphy, Charner Perry, and R. G. Turnbull. Primary responsibility for the preparation of this report belonged to a subcommittee composed of Roderick M. Chisholm, Chairman, (...) H. G. Alexander, Lewis Hahn, Paul C. Hayner, and Charles W. Hendel. (shrink)
It has been standard philosophical practice in analytic philosophy to employ intuitions generated in response to thought-experiments as evidence in the evaluation of philosophical claims. In part as a response to this practice, an exciting new movement—experimental philosophy—has recently emerged. This movement is unified behind both a common methodology and a common aim: the application of methods of experimental psychology to the study of the nature of intuitions. In this paper, we will introduce two different views concerning the relationship that (...) holds between experimental philosophy and the future of standard philosophical practice (what we call, the proper foundation view and the restrictionist view), discuss some of the more interesting and important results obtained by proponents of both views, and examine the pressure these results put on analytic philosophers to reform standard philosophical practice. We will also defend experimental philosophy from some recent objections, suggest future directions for work in experimental philosophy, and suggest what future lines of epistemological response might be available to those wishing to defend analytic epistemology from the challenges posed by experimental philosophy. (shrink)
From its very beginnings, the social study of culture has been polarized between structuralist theories that treat meaning as a text and investigate the patterning that provides relative autonomy and pragmatist theories that treat meaning as emerging from the contingencies of individual and collective action-so-called practices-and that analyze cultural patterns as reflections of power and material interest. In this article, I present a theory of cultural pragmatics that transcends this division, bringing meaning structures, contingency, power, and materiality together in a (...) new way. My argument is that the materiality of practices should be replaced by the more multidimensional concept of performances. Drawing on the new field of performance studies, cultural pragmatics demonstrates how social performances, whether individual or collective, can be analogized systematically to theatrical ones. After defining the elements of social performance, I suggest that these elements have become "de-fused" as societies have become more complex. Performances are successful only insofar as they can "re-fuse" these increasingly disentangled elements. In a fused performance, audiences identify with actors, and cultural scripts achieve verisimilitude through effective mise-en-scène. Performances fail when this relinking process is incomplete: the elements of performance remain apart, and social action seems inauthentic and artificial, failing to persuade. Refusion, by contrast, allows actors to communicate the meanings of their actions successfully and thus to pursue their interests effectively. (shrink)
Martha Nussbaum proposes a universal list of human capabilities as the basis for fundamental political principles. She claims that the list, in an Aristotelian spirit, might be justified by an ongoing inquiry into valuable human functionings for the good life. Here I argue that the attractiveness of Nussbaum’s theory crucially depends on the philosophical possibility of a non-reductionist understanding of naturalism and on resolving the tensions between ethical and political aspects of the role of capabilities. Through a comparison of Nussbaum’s (...) approach with those of Aristotle and (less familiarly) Hume, I try to show that in these alternative versions we find valuable resources for the kind of non-reductionist model which might, in line with Nussbaum’s own objectives, provide the basis for a capabilities-based critique of dominant modes of normative theorizing and their influence in public discourse. (shrink)
Evolutionary game theoretic accounts of justice attempt to explain our willingness to follow certain principles of justice by appealing to robustness properties possessed by those principles. Skyrms (1996) offers one sketch of how such an account might go for divide-the-dollar, the simplest version of the Nash bargaining game, using the replicator dynamics of Taylor and Jonker (1978). In a recent article, D'Arms et al. (1998) criticize his account and describe a model which, they allege, undermines his theory. I sketch a (...) theory of evolutionary explanations of justice which avoids their methodological criticisms, and develop a spatial model of divide-the-dollar with more robust convergence properties than the models of Skyrms (1996) and D'Arms et al. (1998). (shrink)
SENSATIONALISM 1 1. Introductory 1 2. Mach's Sensationalism 4 3. Developments of Sensationalism 22 II. THE INHERENT WEAKNESS OF SEN- SATIONALISM 25 1. The Point of Sensationalism 25 2. The Ambiguity of 'Sensation' 27 3. The Fundamental Conflict 35 4. Mistakes, Incorrigibility and Simplicity 40 III. DESCRIPTION 51 1. Describing and Descriptions 51 2. Describing in Terms of Sensations 67 IV. THE POSSIBILITY OF 'PURE' DES- CRIPTIONS 79 V. SCIENTIFIC PROBLEMS 99 VI. DESCRIPTIONS AND EXPLANATIONS 111 BIBLIOGRAPHY 142 INDEX 145 (...) -/- -v- . (shrink)
After introducing a perspective on terrorism as postpolitical and after establishing the criteria for success that are immanent in this form of antipolitical action, this essay interprets September 11, 2001, and its aftermath inside a cultural-sociological perspective. After introducing a macro-model of social performance that combines structural and semiotic with pragmatic and power-oriented dimensions, I show how the terrorist attack on New York City and the counterattacks that immediately occurred in response can be viewed as an iteration of the performance/counterperformance (...) dialectic that began decades, indeed centuries, ago in terms of the relation of Western expansion and Arab-Muslim reaction. I pay careful attention to the manner in which the counterperformance of New Yorkers and Americans develops an idealized, liminal alternative that inspired self-defense and outrage, leading to exactly the opposite performance results from those the al-Qaeda terrorists had intended. (shrink)
The growth of managed care was accompanied by concern about the impact that changes in health care organization would have on the doctor-patient relationship (DPR). We now are in a "post-managed care era," where some of these changes in health care delivery have come to pass while others have not. A re-examination of the DPR in this setting suggests some surprising results. Rather than posing a new and unprecedented threat, managed care was simply the most recent of numerous strains on (...) the DPR that have occurred throughout the century. These strains are a constant, inevitable consequence of the varying needs and concerns of patient and physicians as they seek to balance their desires for a certain type of DPR with their simultaneous desire for other aspects of care such as lower costs, greater technological sophistication, and improved outcomes. (shrink)
One of the most important contributions of the Parsonian tradition has been its conceptualization of the relative autonomy and mutual interpenetration of culture and social systems. The first part of this chapter defines three ideal types of empirical relationships between culture and society: specification, refraction, and columnization. Each is related to different configurations of social structure and culture and, in turn, to different degrees of social conflict. The second part of the chapter uses this typology to illuminate critical aspects of (...) the relationship between conflict and integration in the Watergate crisis in the U.S. (shrink)
Ethical business practices have been widely prescribed, but why? Consumers views on unethical business practices have been studied, but possibly more important to marketers and researchers are consumer actions and reactions to unethical business practices and the businesses themselves. Do consumers react negatively, or in such a way as to "punish" the unethical business? If so, what is the nature and extent of the punishment? This research seeks answers to these questions by examining consumer reactions, such as complaining and switching, (...) to instances of unethical business practices. Using equity theory, this research proposes that consumers should be willing to tolerate some unethical behavior as long as they feel their investments and outcomes remain proportionately equal. Consumers who perceive that their outcome/investment ratio is proportionately unequal to their comparison other will respond by switching or complaining. In this research consumers were exposed to two types of service failures with different levels of service recovery in vignettes. Costs incurred by the consumer during the service transaction were also manipulated in the vignettes. Significant differences were found for complaint behavior in the failure recovery vignettes tested. Specifically, voice complaint was higher in the high cost service encounters in both types of services tested. The recovery attempt used (ethical, unethical, or none) led to significance differences in the variables of complaint, voice complaint, satisfaction, and quality. Higher satisfaction and quality ratings were found for the ethical recovery attempt and higher intentions to use complaint and voice complaint in the unethical recovery attempts. One significant interaction between cost and recovery attempt was found. Intentions to use voice complaint were higher in the high cost situations of ethical and unethical recovery, while approaching equality at the no recovery attempt. (shrink)
The paper describes the refusal of the liberal community to assert the right of persons accused of mental illness to be free of coercive psychiatric intrusion. It suggests that the penchant for benevolent governmental intrusion into other social problems may be at fault and recommends that intervention be abandoned in favor of a return to human autonomy as a basis of the concept of freedom.