This paper describes a second generation Simulator for Engineering Ethics Education. Details describing the first generation activities of this overall effort are published in Chung and Alfred (Sci Eng Ethics 15:189–199, 2009). The second generation research effort represents a major development in the interactive simulator educational approach. As with the first generation effort, the simulator places students in first person perspective scenarios involving different types of ethical situations. Students must still gather data, assess the situation, and make decisions. The (...) approach still requires students to develop their own ability to identify and respond to ethical engineering situations. However, were as, the generation one effort involved the use of a dogmatic model based on National Society of Professional Engineers’ Code of Ethics, the new generation two model is based on a mathematical model of the actual experiences of engineers involved in ethical situations. This approach also allows the use of feedback in the form of decision effectiveness and professional career impact. Statistical comparisons indicate a 59 percent increase in overall knowledge and a 19 percent improvement in teaching effectiveness over an Internet Engineering Ethics resource based approach. (shrink)
Societal pressures, accreditation organizations, and licensing agencies are emphasizing the importance of ethics in the engineering curriculum. Traditionally, this subject has been taught using dogma, heuristics, and case study approaches. Most recently a number of organizations have sought to increase the utility of these approaches by utilizing the Internet. Resources from these organizations include on-line courses and tests, videos, and DVDs. While these individual approaches provide a foundation on which to base engineering ethics, they may be limited in developing a (...) student’s ability to identify, analyze, and respond to engineering ethics situations outside of the classroom environment. More effective approaches utilize a combination of these types of approaches. This paper describes the design and development of an internet based interactive Simulator for Engineering Ethics Education. The simulator places students in first person perspective scenarios involving different types of ethical situations. Students must gather data, assess the situation, and make decisions. This requires students to develop their own ability to identify and respond to ethical engineering situations. A limited comparison between the internet based interactive simulator and conventional internet web based instruction indicates a statistically significant improvement of 32% in instructional effectiveness. The simulator is currently being used at the University of Houston to help fulfill ABET requirements. (shrink)
Continuing Franz Boas' work to establish anthropology as an academic discipline in the US at the turn of the twentieth century, Alfred L. Kroeber re-defined culture as a phenomenon sui generis. To achieve this he asked geneticists to enter into a coalition against hereditarian thoughts prevalent at that time in the US. The goal was to create space for anthropology as a separate discipline within academia, distinct from other disciplines. To this end he crossed the boundary separating anthropology from (...) biology in order to secure the boundary. His notion of culture, closely bound to the concept of heredity, saw it as independent of biological heredity (culture as superorganic) but at the same time as a heredity of another sort. The paper intends to summarise the shifting boundaries of anthropology at the beginning of the twentieth century, and to present Kroeber?s ideas on culture, with a focus on how the changing landscape of concepts of heredity influenced his views. The historical case serves to illustrate two general conclusions: that the concept of culture played and plays different roles in explaining human existence; that genetics and the concept of Weismannian hard inheritance did not have an unambiguous unidirectional historical effect on the vogue for hereditarianism at that time; on the contrary, it helped to establish culture in Kroeber's sense, culture as independent of heredity. (shrink)
In Heidegger’s Being and Time certain concepts are discussed which are central to the ontological constitution of Dasein. This paper demonstrates the interesting manner in which some of these concepts can be used in a reading of T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. A comparative analysis is performed, explicating the relevant Heideggerian terms and then relating them to Eliot’s poem. In this way strong parallels are revealed between the two men’s respective thoughts and distinct modernist sensibilities. (...) Prufrock, the protagonist of the poem, and the world he inhabits illustrate poetically concepts such as authenticity, inauthenticity, the ‘they’, idle talk and angst, which Heidegger develops in Being and Time. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Wittgenstein's aim in the aspect-perception passages is to critically evaluate a specific hypothesis. The target hypothesis in these passages is the Gestalt psychologist Köhler's "isomorphism principle." According to this principle, there are neural correlates of conscious perceptual experience, and these neural correlates determine the content of our perceptual experiences. Wittgenstein's argument against the isomorphism principle comprises two steps. First, he diffuses the substantiveness of the principle by undermining an important assumption that underpins this principle, (...) namely, that there is a unitary concept of seeing. Next, Wittgenstein argues that some forms of aspect-perception involve recognitional capacities, the exercise of which is normatively constrained. The normative nature of aspect-perceiving plays a pivotal role in Wittgenstein's rejection of the isomorphism principle. Aside from the clear exegetical benefits gained from identifying the target hypothesis in the aspect-perception passages as the isomorphism principle, construing the remarks in the way suggested here is also philosophically interesting in its own right: it shows Wittgenstein engaging directly in the mind–body problem, construed as the problem of intentionality. (shrink)
In Process and Reality and other works, Alfred North Whitehead struggled to come to terms with the impact the new science of quantum mechanics would have on metaphysics.This ambitious book is the first extended analysis of the intricate relationships between relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and Whitehead's cosmology. Michael Epperson illuminates the intersection of science and philosophy in Whitehead's work-and details Whitehead's attempts to fashion an ontology coherent with quantum anomalies.Including a nonspecialist introduction to quantum mechanics, Epperson adds an essential (...) new dimension to our understanding of Whitehead-and of the constantly enriching encounter between science and philosophy in our century. (shrink)
In his writings Alfred Schutz identifies an artificiality in the concept of life-world produced by Edmund Husserl's method of reduction. As an alternative, he proposes to assume intersubjectivity as a given of everyday life. This eradicates Husserl's distinction between life-world and natural attitude. The subsequent phenomenological project appears to center upon sociological descriptions of the structures of the life-world rather than on a search for apodictic truth. Schutz, however, actually retains Husserl's emphasis on the subject. A tension then arises (...) between the assumption of intersubjectivity and individual experience. Rather than clarifying the concept of intersubjectivity, this further problematizes it. Drawing upon Max Weber's work, Schutz responds by developing a rigorous methodology for studying the social world. But having rejected Husserl's reduction and conflated life-world and natural attitude, Schutz's analysis moves at the level of daily life itself. Consequently, the explanatory categories he proposes appear as abstractions rather than as a way of describing lived experience. Schutz, it is concluded, initiates a scientistic sociology in which the commonsense structures of the natural attitude of everyday life are subverted and replaced by the more rigorous knowledge of the scientific attitude. Schutz's version of phenomenology is ultimately untrue to the spirit of Husserl's original project; and deploying his work as a clear-cut alternative to scientistic tendencies within sociology is not as straightforward as it might at first seem. (shrink)
George H. Mead and Alfred Schutz proposed foundations for an interpretative sociology from opposite standpoints. Mead accepted the objective meaning structure a priori. His problem became therefore the explanation of the individuality and creativity of human actors in his social behavioristic approach. In contrast, Schutz started from the subjective consciousness of an isolated actor as a result of a phenomenological reduction. He was concerned with the problem of explaining the possibility of this isolated actor’s perceiving other actors in their (...) existence, their concreteness, and the motives for their behavior. I treat these two approaches and their associated problems as equally relevant. My evaluation is based on their success in solving their specific problems. The aim is to decide which of the two approaches provides the more adequate foundation for an interpretative sociology. (shrink)
Can a phenomenology of culture be at the same time a philosophy of culture? In other words, can a descriptive exploration of acts and objects of culture serve at the same time as a critical reflection on those acts and objects? Or does cultural critique imply a separate and additional task, that of a normative examination of the explored cultural phenomena? What would be the founding values of such an examination? How would it be established? Furthermore, what would be the (...) importance of recognizing the distinct nature of this task compared to the exploratory-descriptive one? How would the two tasks relate to one another? Finally, is a full-fledged philosophy of culture, i.e. a critical exploration of cultural phenomena, needed? And if yes, why? These are the questions addressed by this paper. Answers are sought in a close examination of the work of Ernst Cassirer which involved both a phenomenology of cultural forms as well as an attempt at their normative-critical evaluation. And yet his work was criticized by many for its lack of an ethical dimension, a critique endorsed by another phenomenologist of culture, Alfred Schutz, whose work itself was accused for being non-critical. Beginning with a presentation of these two phenomenologies of culture this paper examines closely the charges directed against Cassirer's comprehensive philosophy of culture, namely, its idealism and its a-moralism. Through this examination the paper aims to shed light on a number of issues pertaining to the questions formulated above. (shrink)
Alfred Schutz was the outstanding representative of the phenomenological approach to the philosophy and methodology of the social sciences. An attempt is made here to explore one fundamental feature of Schutz's work: his theory of typification. That theory is found to be a development of Husserl's doctrine of the intentionality of consciousness and is shown to be concerned with the structure of pre-predicative experience as well as the process of abstraction and ideation as constitutive of the 'natural standpoint' of (...) daily life. (shrink)
Kohler's experiments with inverting goggles are often thought to support enactivism by showing that visual re-inversion occurs simultaneous with the return of sensorimotor skill. Closer examination reveals that Kohler's work does not show this. Recent work by Linden et al. shows that re-inversion, if it occurs at all, does not occur when the enactivist predicts. As such, the empirical evidence weighs against enactivism.
In this paper we raise three questions of clarification about Alfred Mele's fine recent book, Free Will and Luck. Our questions concern the following topics: (i) Mele's combination of 'luck' and 'Frankfurt-style' objections to libertarianism, (ii) Mele's stipulations about 'compatibilism' and the relation between questions about free action and questions about moral responsibility, and (iii) Mele's treatment of the Consequence Argument.
Alfred Schutz''s influence on American sociologists and sociology in the 1960s and 1970s is traced through the examination of the work of two of his students, Helmut Wagner and Peter Berger, and of Harold Garfinkel with whom he met and corresponded over a number of years. The circumstances of Schutz''s own academic situation, particularly the short period of his academic career in the United States and his location at the New School, are examined to consider how and in what (...) ways he was constrained from exerting an even wider influence. The two major areas of influence in American sociology that are examined are the sociology of knowledge and the early development of ethnomethodology. (shrink)
Phenomenological sociology was founded at the beginning of 1930s by Alfred Schutz. His mundane phenomenology sought to combine impulses drawn from Husserl's transcendental phenomenology and Weber's action theory. It was made famous at the turn of 1960s and 1970s by Garfinkel's ethnomethodology and Berger & Luckmann's social constructionism. This paper deals with the notable accomplishments of Schutz and his followers and then proceeds to a shared shortcoming, which is that the phenomenological approach is unable to understand meaning in any (...) other way but as actors's knowledge. Therefore, phenomenological sociologists are forced to describe the actor's interpretations of meaning as transparent to the actor him/herself, even if they sometimes make heroic attempts to escape the limitations of the phenomenological conception. The limitation is apparent in Husserl's and Schutz's definition of meaning as a “reflective intentional act”, Garfinkel's use of the term “accounting” to refer to a signifying effect, and the way Berger and Luckmann describe their social theory as “sociology of knowledge”. Today, similar confusions are present in Michael Polanyi's “tacit knowledge”and in Giddens' structuration theory. (shrink)
The objective of this article is to show that Whitehead had a very important philosophy of education both on the formal level. The consistency found is well worth noting. I researched many of Whitehead's major works for his formal views and Lucian Price's Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead. In my opinion Price's book is the best available for the purpose of getting Whitehead's candid informal view of education. The paper is divided into sections according to the particular subject matter. (...) Since Whitehead describes education as the study of life and all of its manifestations . It is appropriate to cover some of these areas: the purpose of education, the role of science and speculation, education and civilization, and both the process of education and process education are reviewed. Whitehead's philosophy of education is sweeping in scope. In his philosophy we find the importance of experience, imagination, speculation, generalization, factual knowledge, specialization, relevance, intuition, novelty, curiosity, theory, practice, pleasure, harmony, freedom, discipline, technical and liberal education and unification. He, in fact, unifies all these seemingly different areas into a coherent philosophy of education. (shrink)
Encyclopedia entry for the British mathematician and American Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. Usefully summarizes his life and work for non-specialists and, more especially, interested persons outside of the philosophical disciplines per se.
Alfred Schutz's (Vienna 1899 — New York 1959) research into the philosophy of music certainly cannot be regarded as the most notable aspect of this writer, born and educated in Vienna, later a naturalized American citizen. Nor can it legitimately be maintained that Schutz's writings on the subject form a systematic corpus in his work. Schutz was above all a social scientist, strongly attracted, as were many writers of the first half of this century, to the project of aphilosophical (...) foundation within his field of expertise. In this project, where phenomenology is encountered, the question ofintersubjectivity together with that ofcommunication among individuals, plays a crucial role. It is, therefore, undoubtedly correct to consider Schutz's theoretical interests in music within this framework; thus music tends to assume a paradigmatic value, in the sense that the musical piece in its concrete temporal development, in the presence of performers and listeners, demonstrates in a truly exemplary manner, how the process of social relationship actually functions.Although mindful of this frame of reference, nontheless we feel it can be asserted that the works of Schutz which we are about to examine are in themselves interesting stimuli, independently of any organic connection with the author's general project. These stimuli have furthermore proveked a theoretical debate that is still going on in the USA. (shrink)
Alfred North Whitehead published no book or article strictly on aesthetics. Nonetheless, in his philosophical writings he mentions several times that aesthetic experience is the key to his metaphysics. In fundamental places of his philosophical system, moreover, he uses expressions like ‘aesthetic experience’, ‘aesthetic fact’, ‘aesthetic unity’, and ‘aesthetic order’. These expressions do not, however, refer to human conscious experience alone, but to all entities of the universe. That has led some scholars to the conviction that these terms are (...) used in a purely technical sense and therefore do not refer to the sphere of aesthetics. The author of the current article seeks to demonstrate that these terms do refer to the sphere of aesthetics. The argument set out here consists in three steps. In the first, the author presents Whitehead’s philosophical method of imaginative generalization. In the second step, the author presents the fundamental ontological unit (the actual occasion) of Whitehead’s philosophy, and points out that Whitehead describes it using aesthetic terms that are employed in a broad sense. In the third step the author presents Whitehead’s view of aesthetic understanding. At the end of the article, it is demonstrated that although Whitehead did not develop his analysis of aesthetic understanding into a consistent theory, it forms the background to all his metaphysical books. (shrink)
Over the years, a number of interpreters with an interest in economics have given some attention the work of Alfred Schutz. As intimated in this literature, the orientation of his delimited thought on economics stemmed from contacts with the Austrian school during his Vienna years. Probably because of this connection, there exists among these interpreters an inclination uncritically to align Schutz with the Austrians' thought. What will be argued in this paper is that in adopting such an uncritical position, (...) each of these readings fails adequately to situate Schutz's critique of economic analyses within the framework of his own social theory. It will become apparent that his treatment of economics turned out to be a mixture of defence and critique, and that his interpretation of the subject and the intellectual status he ascribed to it were considerably more ambivalent and ambiguous than has been noticed. In particular, Schutz expressed significant reservations about the highly circumscribed and artificial depictions of the world of human action that some economists espoused, especially within the confines of marginalist theory. When arraigned against the phenomenology of the life-world that he had developed, and against the "postulates" around which he had constructed his social theory, much of extant economics did not meet the requirements of a properly grounded social science. (shrink)
This article uses the writings of Alfred Schutz as catalysts to analyze three distinctive modes of transcendences operative in human experience. Particular attention is given to the role symbolic awareness plays in the formation and embodiment of moral value. I argue that Schutz''s theory of symbols is helpful in illuminating the way shared horizons of value meaning and collective moral purpose can occur in relation to cultural and geographical anonymity. I then draw upon the moral theory of H. Richard (...) Niebuhr to highlight the positive role that symbolic value horizons play in preventing ethnocentric world-views and in promoting common centers of discourse and visions of wholeness. (shrink)
To establish a starting point for a phenomenological theory of the science of primate ethology, this essay first reviews how the phenomenological philosophers Aron Gurwitsch and Maurice Merleau-Ponty made use of the Gestalt psychologist Wolfgang Köhler’s description of chimpanzee consciousness and its objects and then considers primate ethology in light of the theory of the cultural sciences in the work of Gurwitsch in addition to that of Alfred Schutz.
The auteur theory of film-making (usually attributed in film to the French director Francais Truffaut) is explored with specific reference to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. It is argued that Hitchcocks’s films, in particular his later films, present a common theme which is in fact quite consistent with the outlook of Phenomenological Existentialism, especially as it was espoused by the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger.To support this position, textual analyses of various films directed and produced by Hitchcock are (...) presented, including Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Wrong Man, and Vertigo. The effects of this approach and its philosophical implications far the film-going audience are also examined. (shrink)
Much of the early history of developmental and physiological genetics in Germany remains to be written. Together with Carl Correns and Richard Goldschmidt, Alfred Kühn occupies a special place in this history. Trained as a zoologist in Freiburg im Breisgau, he set out to integrate physiology, development and genetics in a particular experimental system based on the flour moth Ephestia kühniella Zeller. This paper is meant to reconstruct the crucial steps in the experimental pathway that led Kühn and (...) his collaborators at the University of Göttingen, and later at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes of Biology and Biochemistry in Berlin, to formulate, in their specific way, what later became known as the "one gene-one enzyme hypothesis." Special attention will be given to the interaction of the different parts of Kühn's Ephestia-based project, which were rooted in different research traditions. The paper retraces how, roughly between 1925 and 1945, these elements came to form a mixed experimental setup composed of genetic, embryological, physiological and, finally, biochemical constituents. Accordingly, emphasis is laid on the development of the terminology in which the results were cast, and how it reflected the hybrid state of an experimental system successively acquiring new epistemic layers. (shrink)
This article discusses two central methodological postulates (adequacy and subjective meaning) pertaining to the social sciences brought forward by Alfred Schütz, and as presented by Lester Embree’s ‘Economics in the Context of Alfred Schütz’s Theory of Science’. The relationship between the postulates and the actual practice of economics is discussed. The author shows how Schütz’s writings describe a spectrum of methods that ranges from low abstraction and an attempt to understand individual plans and purposes on the one hand (...) to highly abstract and aggregate modeling on the other. It is argued that the distribution of economic contributions is heavily skewed toward the latter. The second part of the article presents recent work by economists who have resisted this trend, and who have begun to expand our understanding of economic processes by taking seriously the notion of economics as a social science. (shrink)
This paper combines Alfred Shultz and Herbert Simon's theories of action in order to understand the grey area between dynamic and completely unstructured decision making better. As a result I have put together a specific scheme of how choice elements are represented from an agent's personal experience, so as to create a bridge between the phenomenological and cognitive-procedural approaches of decision making. I first look at the key points of their original models relating Alfred Schutz's “provinces of meaning” (...) and Herbert Simon's “satisficing” mechanism. I then consider the particular concept of intentionality and reasoning by analogy for different choice settings. Finally I have suggested a perspective based on creative behaviour and sense-making for ill-structured conditions. (shrink)
Alfred Loisy (1857-1940), the excommunicated French modernist priest and historian of religions, and Franz Cumont (1868-1947), the Belgian historian of religions and expert in pagan mystery cults, conducted a lively correspondence in which they intensively exchanged ideas. One of their favorite subjects for discussion was the dependence of St Paul on the pagan mysteries. Loisy dealt with this early 20 th century moot point for Protestant, Catholic and non-religious scholars in his publications, while Cumont always remained silent. This study (...) of their unpublished letters sheds new light on the strategies lying behind their publications. It reveals what they chose not to say, and what they meant by what they did say. (shrink)
The mathematical background and content of Greek philosophy, by F. S. C. Northrop.--The one and the many in Plato, by R. Demos.--An introduction to the De modis significandi of Thomas of Erfurt, by S. Buchanan.--Truth by convention, by W. V. Quine.--Logical positivism and speculative philosophy, by H. S. Leonard.--The nature and status of time and passage, by P. Weiss.--Causality, by S. Kerby--iller.--The compound individual, by C. Hartshorne.--The good, by O. H. Lee.
I argue that agent-causal libertarianism has a strong initial rejoinder to Mele's luck argument against it, but that his claim that it has yet to be explained how agent-causation yields responsibility-conferring control has significant force. I suggest an avenue of response. Subsequently, I raise objections to Mele's criticisms of my four-case manipulation argument against compatibilism.
Think of the last thing someone did to you to seriously harm or offend you. And now imagine, so far as you can, becoming fully aware of the fact that his or her action was the causally inevitable result of a plan set into motion before he or she was ever even born, a plan that had no chance of failing. Should you continue to regard him or her as being morally responsible—blameworthy, in this case—for what he or she did? (...) Many have thought that, intuitively, you should not. Recently, Alfred Mele has employed this line of thought to mount what many have taken to be a powerful argument for incompatibilism: the “Zygote Argument”. However, in interesting new papers, John Martin Fischer and Stephen Kearns have each independently argued that the Zygote Argument fails. As I see it, the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns reveal some important questions about how the argument is meant to be—or how it would best be—understood. Once we make a slight (but important) modification to the argument, however, I think we will be able to see that the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns do not detract from its substantial force. (shrink)
Time’s arrow is necessary for progress from a past that has already happened to a future that is only potential until creatively determined in the present. But time’s arrow is unnecessary in Einstein’s so-called block universe, so there is no creative unfolding in an actual present. How can there be an actual present when there is no universal moment of simultaneity? Events in various places will have different presents according to the position, velocity, and nature of the perceiver. Standing against (...) this view is traditional common sense since we normally experience time’s arrow as reality and the present as our place in the stream of consciousness, but we err to imagine we are living in the actual present. The present of our daily experience is actually a specious present, according to E. Robert Kelly (later popularized by William James), or duration, according to Henri Bergson, an habitus, as elucidated by Kerby (1991), or, simply, the psychological present (Adams, 2010) – all terms indicating that our experienced present so consists of the past overlapping into the future that any potential for acting from the creative moment is crowded out. Yet, for philosophers of process from Herakleitos onward, it is the philosophies of change or process that treat time’s arrow and the creative fire of the actual present as realities. In this essay, I examine the most well known but possibly least understood process cosmology of Alfred North Whitehead to seek out this elusive but actual present. In doing so, I will also ask if process philosophy is itself an example of the creative imagination and if this relates to doing science. I conclude Whitehead's process philosophy falls short of allowing for the actual creative spontaneity of a dynamic (eternal) present. (shrink)
In this paper, I try to show that externalist compatibilism in the debate on personal autonomy and manipulated freedom is as yet untenable. I will argue that Alfred R. Mele’s paradigmatic, history-sensitive externalism about psychological autonomy in general and autonomous deliberation in particular faces an insurmountable problem: it cannot satisfy the crucial condition of adequacy “H” for externalist theories that I formulate in the text. Specifically, I will argue that, contrary to first appearances, externalist compatibilism does not resolve the (...) CNC manipulation problem. After briefly reflecting on the present status of responses to the manipulation problem in the debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists of various stripes, I will draw the over-all pessimistic conclusion that no party deals with this problem satisfactorily. (shrink)
Aron Gurwitsch's critique of Schutz's essay The Stranger is the starting point for this consideration of Schutz's relationship with phenomenology. This relationship is based on Schutz's emphasis on the value of the average as a phenomenological structure. In opposing sociology to philosophy, Gurwitsch takes this value as inferior in comparison with what he sees as cardinal issues of transcendental phenomenology. What Gurwitsch finds incompatible with phenomenological inquiry – the idea and practice of the natural attitude within the social sphere – (...) Schutz turns into the core of his philosophy. The phenomenology of the natural attitude is as essentially philosophical as any reflectively practiced human science. The problem of how everydayness is constituted requires a phenomenological insight that leads the explorer – through reconstructing the meaning in terms of the mundane – straight to the origin. (shrink)
I seek to reply to the thoughtful and penetrating comments by William Rowe, Alfred Mele, Carl Ginet, and Ishtiyaque Haji. In the process, I hope that my overall approach to free will and moral responsibility is thrown into clearer relief. I make some suggestions as to future directions of research in these areas.
This paper argues the case for a renewed interest in Schutz's work by extending his theory of the conscious subject to the feminist concern with the issue of domination. We present a theoretical analysis of the subjective and intersubjective experiences of individuals relating to each other as dominant and subordinate; as our theoretical point of departure we use Schutz's concepts of the we-relation, the assumption of reciprocity of perspectives, typification, working, taken-for-grantedness, and relevance. Schutz's sociology of the conscious subject is (...) striking in its lack of any extended consideration of power, perhaps one reason why support for his work has diminished since the mid-1970s. Our overlayering of feminist sociological theory's interest in domination with Schutz's concerns about subjectivity and intersubjectivity produces an elaboration and a critique of Schutz and expands feminist understanding of relationships of domination. (shrink)
This article, after briefly discussing Alfred Tarski's influential theory of truth, turns to a more recent theory of truth, a deflationary, or minimalist, theory. One of the chief elements of a deflationary, or minimalist, theory of truth is that it replaces the question of what truth is with the question of what “true” does. After setting out the central features of the minimalist theory of truth, the article explains the motivation for opting for such a position. In addition, it (...) provides some reasons for thinking that such a theory of truth is “minimal” or “deflationary” in the way that contemporary truth theorists have claimed it to be. (shrink)
This article outlines the work of a group of US mathematicians called the American Postulate Theorists and their influence on Tarski's work in the 1930s that was to be foundational for model theory. The American Postulate Theorists were influenced by the European foundational work of the period around 1900, such as that of Peano and Hilbert. In the period roughly from 1900???1940, they developed an indigenous American approach to foundational investigations. This made use of interpretations of precisely formulated axiomatic theories (...) to prove such metatheoretic properties as independence, consistency, categoricity and, in some cases, completeness of axiom sets. This approach to foundations was in many respects similar to that later taken by Tarski, who frequently cites the work of American Postulate Theorists. Their work served as paradigm examples of the theories and concepts investigated in model theory. The article also examines the possibility of a more specific impetus to Tarski's model theoretic investigation, arising from his having studied in 1927???1929 a paper by C. H. Langford proving completeness for various axiom sets for linear orders. This used the method of elimination of quantifiers. The article concludes with an examination of one example of Langford's methods to indicate how their correct formulation seems to call for model-theoretic concepts. (shrink)