Between June 1702 and December 1708 the astronomer, Kirch in Berlin and the philosopher, Leibniz in Hannover exchanged eleven letters. The letters from Leibniz to Kirch were published in 1900. The author will prove in this article, that the letters, which are kept in the Leibniz-Archives in Hannover, are Kirch's original answers to Leibniz. For first time, these letters will be published here in extracts.
August Weismann is famous for having argued against the inheritance of acquired characters. However, an analysis of his work indicates that Weismann always held that changes in external conditions, acting during development, were the necessary causes of variation in the hereditary material. For much of his career he held that acquired germ-plasm variation was inherited. An irony, which is in tension with much of the standard twentieth-century history of biology, thus exists – Weismann was not a Weismannian. I distinguish (...) three claims regarding the germ-plasm: (1) its continuity, (2) its morphological sequestration, and (3) its variational sequestration. With respect to changes in Weismann’s views on the cause of variation, I divide his career into four stages. For each stage I analyze his beliefs on the relative importance of changes in external conditions and sexual reproduction as causes of variation in the hereditary material. Weismann believed, and Weismannism denies, that variation, heredity, and development were deeply intertwined processes. This article is part of a larger project comparing commitments regarding variation during the latter half of the nineteenth century. (shrink)
As an undergraduate from 1964 to 1967, Gareth Evans, a British philosopher of language and mind, studied for the PPE degree (philosophy, politics and economics) at University College, Oxford, where his philosophy tutor was Peter Strawson. He was then a Senior Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford (1967–68) and a Kennedy Scholar visiting Harvard and Berkeley (1968–69). In 1968, less than a year after completing his degree, Evans was elected to a Fellowship at University College. He took up the position in (...) 1969, succeeding Strawson who had become Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at Oxford. During the 1970s, Evans and his University College colleague John McDowell played leading roles in developing a distinctive conception of truth-theoretic semantics, drawing on the work of Strawson, Michael Dummett, and especially Donald Davidson. Their co-edited collection, Truth and Meaning: Essays in Semantics, appeared in 1976. While philosophy of language enjoyed a central position in Oxford philosophy of that period, Evans did not share the view (regarded by Dummett as constitutive of analytic philosophy) that philosophy of language is foundational and so takes priority over philosophy of mind in the order of philosophical explanation. He attached particular importance to the mentalistic notion of understanding, and his work on the theory of reference was set within a theory of thought and especially thought about particular objects. Evans’s published work ranged over philosophy of language, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of psychology. In 1979 he was elected to the Wilde Readership in Mental Philosophy at Oxford. He died in August 1980, at the age of thirtyfour. His book, The Varieties of Reference (1982), incomplete at the time of his death, was edited and brought to publication by McDowell. A collection of thirteen of his papers and two shorter notes appeared in 1985 and a further note was published in 2004.. (shrink)
This essay attempts to elaborate a first thorough comparative analysis of August Cieszkowski and Nikolaj Berdjaev. Although the latter is well known as one of the most important Russian philosophers, the former is hardly known beyond the Polish borders. This general lack of recognition contrasts with the fact that Cieszkowski played a significant role in nineteenth century philosophy in Germany, France, Poland and Russia. A comparative analysis of Cieszkowski and Berdjaev will undergird the idea that Cieszkowski was not merely (...) a ‘marginal’ figure in the history of philosophy. This essay has sought the reasons why Berdjaev considered himself to a large extent as a disciple of Cieszkowski. The stress is put on the central aspects of both philosophers’ thinking: freedom, praxis and the way they relate to morality in general. (shrink)
A detailed chronology is offered for the writing of Frege's central philosophical essays from the early 1890s. Particular attention is given to (the distinction between) Sinn and Bedeutung. Suggestions are made as to the origin of the examples concerning the Morning Star/Evening Star and August Bebel's views on the return of Alsace-Lorraine. Likely sources are offered for Frege's use of the terms Bestimmungsweise, Art des Gegebenseins and Sinn und Bedeutung.
Auguste Comte (1798–1857) is the founder of positivism, a philosophical and political movement which enjoyed a very wide diffusion in the second half of the nineteenth century. It sank into an almost complete oblivion during the twentieth, when it was eclipsed by neopositivism. However, Comte's decision to develop successively a philosophy of mathematics, a philosophy of physics, a philosophy of chemistry and a philosophy of biology, makes him the first philosopher of science in the modern sense, and his constant attention (...) to the social dimension of science resonates in many respects with current points of view. His political philosophy, on the other hand, is even less known, because it differs substantially from the classical political philosophy we have inherited. Comte's most important works are (1) the Course on Positive Philosophy (1830-1842, six volumes, translated and condensed by Harriet Martineau as The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte); (2) the System of Positive Polity, or Treatise on Sociology, Instituting the Religion of Humanity, (1851-1854, four volumes); and (3) the Early Writings (1820-1829), where one can see the influence of Saint-Simon, for whom Comte served as secretary from 1817 to 1824. The Early Writings are still the best introduction to Comte's thought. In the Course, Comte said, science was transformed into philosophy; in the System, philosophy was transformed into religion. The second transformation met with strong opposition; as a result, it has become customary to distinguish, with Mill, between a “good Comte” (the author of the Course) and a “bad Comte” (the author of the System). Today's common conception of positivism corresponds mainly to what can be found in the Course. (shrink)
Abstract: If, like Hegel and Dewey, one takes a historicist, anti-Platonist view of moral progress, one will be dubious about the idea that moral theory can be more than the systematization of the widely-shared moral intuitions of a certain time and place. One will follow Shelley, Dewey, and Patricia Werhane in emphasizing the role of the imagination in making moral progress possible. Taking this stance will lead one to conclude that although philosophy is indeed relevant to applied ethics, it is (...) not more relevant than many other fields of study (such as history, law, political science, anthropology, literature, and theology). (shrink)
The great irony of the work of right-to-life advocates who sought in vain to prolong Terri Schiavo's life is that all the publicity about the case has triggered a surge in the number of people completing advance declarations, making it clear that they do not wish to continue to live in circumstances like those in which Schiavo lived for the fifteen years before her death. Thus, the fight over the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube is likely to significantly increase the (...) number of feeding tubes removed. More broadly, the case has revived interest in the full range of right-to-die questions, including issues like active voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide-which, because they require a patient to be competent to make decisions, raise ethical questions very different from those at issue in the Schiavo case. (shrink)
This is exciting medical researchers because it means that, at least in theory, the cells from an early embryo could eliminate the need for organ transplants entirely, cure leukaemia, enable people with diabetes to manufacture insulin, treat Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, and repair the nerve systems of quadriplegics. Though these prospects are still far from realisation, results achieved by Oliver Brustle at the University of Bonn Medical Centre have brought them a step closer. In an article published in Science on (...) July 30, Brustle reported that he was able to repair the damaged nervous systems of rats using cells taken from embryos. (shrink)
Wisdom -- because he understands that ideas are best taught not by giving them a monopoly (which is how evolutionary theory is currently presented in all high school biology textbooks) but by being played off against well-supported competing ideas.
The Annual European Meeting of the Association for Symbolic Logic, generally known as the Logic Colloquium, is the most prestigious annual meeting in the field. Many of the papers presented there are invited surveys of recent developments. Highlights of this volume from the 2005 meeting include three papers on different aspects of connections between model theory and algebra; a survey of recent major advances in combinatorial set theory; a tutorial on proof theory and modal logic; and a description of Bernay's (...) philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
The paper shows epistemological, methodological and ontological peculiarities of chemistry taken as a classificatory science of materials using experimental methods. Without succumbing to standard interpretations of physical science, chemical methods of experimental investigation, classification, reference, theorizing, prediction and production of new entities are developed one by one as first steps towards a philosophy of chemistry. Chemistry challenges traditional concepts of empirical object, empirical predicate, reference frame and theory, but also the distinction commonly drawn between natural science and technology. Due to (...) its many peculiarities, I propose to treat chemistry philosophically as a special type of science, apart from other sciences. (shrink)
There seems little doubt that there are interesting and theoretically relevant distinctions to be made between different types of presuppositions within this heterogeneous set. But the study of these distinctions is of interest primarily in light of the intuition that the members of this set share some common feature: that there is some singular phenomenon of presupposition to be described and explained. This paper is concerned with what presuppositions have in common, and offers an alternative to the current standard view.
What country has the most advanced animal protection legislation in the world? If you guessed the United States, go to the bottom of the class. The United States lags far behind all 25 nations of the European Union, and most other developed nations as well, such as Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. To gauge just how far behind the United States is, consider these three facts.
nnas' article is the first of three in a "Symposium on Ancient Ethics." She begins with the observation that ancient ethics are "eudaemonist" in form. That is, they assume "that each of us has a vague and unarticulated idea of an overall or final goal in our life," which we label eudaimonia or happiness, "and the task of ethical theory is to give each person a clear, articulated, and correct account of this overall goal and how to achieve it" (p. (...) 241; Annas defends this generalization, which is controversial as applied to Stoic and Epicurean ethics, in her The Morality of Happiness [Oxford, 1993]). Furthermore, whereas modern ethical theories (e.g., those of Kant and Sidgwick) typically distinguish between "moral reasoning" and "prudential reasoning," ancient ethical theories do not. How come? One "widespread" and "traditional" view (pp. 244, 245) is that ancient ethics assimilate morality to prudence: "ethical theory guides the agent from an intuitive, restrictive view of what is in her interests (money, power) to a more expanded and elevated view (the virtues)" (p. 244). This interpretation is sometimes joined with the claim that the Greeks took for granted what Nicholas White terms "fusionism": the view that individual good is not ultimately distinct from social or collective good (p. 245). However, Annas notes, ancient Greek literature provides ample illustration that "fusionism" was not taken for granted. (shrink)
In this note I respond to Hartley Slater's argument 12 to the e ect that there is no such thing as paraconsistent logic. Slater's argument trades on the notion of contradictoriness in the attempt to show that the negation of paraconsistent logics is merely a subcontrary forming operator and not one which forms contradictories. I will show that Slater's argument fails, for two distinct reasons. Firstly, the argument does not consider the position of non-dialethic paraconsistency which rejects the possible truth (...) of any contradictions. Against this position Slater's argument has no bite at all. Secondly, while the argument does show that for dialethic paraconsistency according to which contradictions can be true, certain other contradictions must be true, I show that this need not deter the dialethic paraconsistentist from their position. (shrink)
This paper shows that a VP in English is only a VP at the outset of a derivation, and that VP- preposing in English is in fact preposing of the internal arguments of the verb, followed by remnant movement of the original VP. Therefore, English looks much more like German (Muller (1998)), than it appears at first glance The evidence for the non-constituency of the verb and its original arguments in preposed position comes from its solution to what has been (...) termed Pesetsky’s Paradox, in that an object of a preposed VP can bind into an adverbial at the end of a sentence. The paradox results from the incompatibility of the phenomenon with the conjunction of two assumptions: (i) binding requires c-command; (ii) only constituents move.. Assumption (i) requires the object to be higher than the adverbial, but the preposing of the verb and object to the exclusion of the adverbial would then require that a non-constituent (the verb and object) prepose. The paradoxical nature of the phenomenon rests on the two assumptions, and the paper presents additional evidence that binding requires c-command, showing the contrasts between topicalized VPs and topicalized PPs. The full set of binding phenomena can be accounted for with a ccommand requirement on binding, but cannot be accounted for with a rival account of command that makes reference to grammatical functions, known as o-command within HPSG (Pollard and Sag (1992, 1994) or ranking (Bresnan (2002)) or f-command (Dalrymple (1999)). (shrink)
If through rotation of a hollow sphere one produces a Coriolis ﬁeld inside of it, then a centrifugal ﬁeld is produced [...] that is not the same as the one that would occur in a rotating rigid system with the same Coriolis ﬁeld. One can therefore not think of rotational forces as produced by the rotation of the ﬁxed stars ….
Newton’s laws of motion imply that any plurality of particles whatsoever considered as a whole obeys Newton’s laws. Nevertheless, I define a Newtonian composite object as an object for the purposes of Newtonian mechanics in which the atoms act in casual dependence on one another in such a way that the whole is structurally stable in many interactions. An elastic solid object is a type of a Newtonian composite object in which each atom is in stable spatial equilibrium relative to (...) the others — it can only move slightly relative to its position in the lattice of inter-atomic spatial relations. It is easy to generalize the notion of Newtonian composite object and define a general composite object. (shrink)
Practical wisdom has received scant attention in business ethics. Defined as a disposition toward cleverness in crafting morally excellent responses to, or in anticipation of, challenging particularities, practical wisdom has four psychological components: knowledge, emotion, thinking, and motivation. People’s experience, reflection, and inspiration are theorized to determine their capacity for practical wisdom-related performance. Enhanced by their abilities to engage in moral imagination, systems thinking, and ethical reframing, this capacity is realized in the form of wisdom-related performance. This can be manifested (...) either in wise business decisions or through their performance as mentors, advice givers, or dispute handlers. (shrink)
Updates Open Letter to my MP: Lynne Jones Why large IT development projects are problematic The mathematics of searching for a design Richard Feynman wrote: Getting requirements right from the start is impossible Are problems unique to IT projects? Physical constraints Implications for Government policy What can be done? Some suggested prerequisites: requirements for openness A precedent for this proposal: The internet How the internet grew Implications for government policy (continued) Are some projects exceptions? Concluding Comment NOTE: Related comment..
The International Union of History and Philosophy of Science organizing the 10th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science is at its cross-road: the alternative is mass-performance or creative exchange of ideas. The program is criticized because the thematic center in History and Philosophy of Science has been shifted too far into the realm of micro-fields of Logic and the time reduction for presentation and discussion of papers to 20 minutes should be reconsidered. Several outstanding papers are shortly (...) discussed: Martin-Löw on "Formalized Tarski-Semantics of Type Theory", Hoyningen-Huene on "Feyerabend and Kuhn", Leroux on "Helmholtz and Hertz", and Muller on "Bell meets Dirac". Finally the visiting-program is gratefully appreciated. (shrink)