Manley and Wasserman (2008) have provided a convincing case against analyses of dispositions in terms of one conditional, and a very interesting positive proposal that links any disposition to a ‘suitable proportion’ of a particular set of precise conditionals. I focus on their positive proposal and ask just how precise those conditionals are to be. I argue that, contrary to what Manley and Wasserman imply in their paper, they must be maximally specific, describing in their antecedents complete centred worlds. This (...) suggests a natural semantics for dispositional expressions, which I briefly explore to argue that it lacks uniformity. I end by suggesting a variation on Manley and Wasserman's view which would preserve uniformity, though at the cost of some new puzzling questions. (shrink)
In this paper I want to discuss some basic problems of inductive logic, i.e. of the attempt to solve the problem of induction by means of a calculus of logical probability. I shall try to throw some light upon these problems by contrasting inductive logic, based on logical probability, and working with undefined samples of observations, with mathematical statistics, based on statistical probability, and working with representative random samples.
Metaphysicians of modality are increasingly critical of possible-worlds talk, and increasingly happy to accept irreducibly modal properties – and in particular, irreducible dispositions – in nature. The aim of this paper is to provide the beginnings of a modal semantics which uses, instead of possible-worlds talk, the resources of such an 'anti-Humean' metaphysics. One central challenge to an anti-Humean view is the context-sensitivity of modal language. I show how that challenge can be met and a systematic modal semantics provided, given (...) an independently plausible metaphysics of dispositional properties or potentialities. (shrink)
It is a familiar point that many ordinary dispositions are multi-track, that is, not fully and adequately characterisable by a single conditional. In this paper, I argue that both the extent and the implications of this point have been severely underestimated. First, I provide new arguments to show that every disposition whose stimulus condition is a determinable quantity must be infinitely multi-track. Secondly, I argue that this result should incline us to move away from the standard assumption that dispositions are (...) in some way importantly linked to conditionals, as presupposed by the debate about various versions of the ‘conditional analysis’ of dispositions. I introduce an alternative conception of dispositionality, which is motivated by linguistic observations about dispositional adjectives and links dispositions to possibility instead of conditionals. I argue that, because of the multi-track nature of dispositions, the possibility-based conception of dispositions is to be preferred. (shrink)
It is shown that the basic postulate of utilitarianism does not work when we must decide whether a person should be brought into existence. Utilitarianism must be supplemented by further axioms. Those proposed lead to the consequence that as far as the potential child's utility is concerned, it is morally preferable not to produce children at all. This consequence is accepted. It is still recommended when parents? utility is taken into account.
Inductivism is understood as the explication of the degree of confirmation as conditional logical probability. Inductivism is not recommendable in the form of Carnap's λ-system, but tenable in the form of Bayesianism. Objections directed at it are either irrelevant or can be taken account of within Bayesianism.
Popper's verisimilitude is the excess of truth content over falsity content. It is shown that hismeasures of truth and falsity content are at variance with his respectiveconcepts. It is further shown that both his actual measure of verisimilitude and measures based on measures of truth and falsity content consistent with his definition of the concepts, have undesirable properties. Moreover, any measure of verisimilitude based solely on content and truth value does not capture the notion of closeness to truth. A new (...) concept of verisimilitude is proposed, based on a metric in the space of state descriptions. (shrink)
Biological field stations proliferated in the Rocky Mountains region of the western United States during the early decades of the twentieth century. This essay examines these Rocky Mountain field stations as hybrid lab-field sites from the perspective of the field side of the dichotomy: as field sites with raised walls rather than as laboratories whose walls with the natural world have been lowered. Not only were these field stations transformed to be more like laboratories, but they were also embedded within (...) the particular regional environmental and institutional context of the Rocky Mountains. Using the University of Colorado’s Mountain Laboratory at Tolland and other contemporaneous sites as examples, this essay analyzes key features of these sites, including their location within transportation networks, buildings, equipment, personnel, scheduling, recreational and social activities, and other material and social practices on the ground. Considering both the distinctive and shared characteristics of the Rocky Mountain field stations in comparison to other types of field stations provides a more complete picture of the diversity and range of lab-field hybrid sites in the biological sciences in the early twentieth-century United States. (shrink)
The paper focuses on the essentials of psychoanalytic process and change and the question of how the neural correlates and mechanisms of psychodynamic psychotherapy can be investigated. The psychoanalytic approach aims at enabling the patient to “remember, repeat and work through” concerning explicit memory. Moreover, the relationship between analyst and patient establishes a new affective configuration which enables a reconstruction of the implicit memory. If psychic change can be achieved it corresponds to neuronal transformation. Individualized neuro-imaging requires controlling and measuring (...) of variables that must be defined. Two main methodological problems can be distinguished: The design problem addresses the issue of how to account for functionally related variables in an experimentally independent way. The translation problem raises the question of how to bridge the gaps between different levels of the concepts presupposed in individualized neuro-imaging (e.g. the personal level of the therapist and the client, the neural level of the brain). An overview of individualized paradigms, which have been used until now is given, including Operationalized Psychodynamic Diagnosis (OPD-2) and the Maladaptive Interpersonal Patterns Q-Start (MIPQS). The development of a new paradigm that will be used in fMRI experiments, the “Interpersonal Relationship Picture Set” (IRPS), is described. Further perspectives and limitations of this new approach concerning the design and the translation problem are discussed. (shrink)
The usual axioms and inference rules of deontic logic employ as a new primitive term an operator for ‘obligatory’ or for ‘permitted’. These axioms and inference rules are here derived from a language which instead of the operator contains a predicate ‘admissible’ defined on the set of state descriptions of an assertoric language. This approach eliminates the problem of constructing a deontic formalism of its own. The predicate version requires fewer and weaker decisions and is closer to intuitive notions than (...) the operator version. The solutions of some open problems of deontic logic flow automatically from the well-known rules of the assertoric predicate calculus. Special attention is given to the relations between deontic and assertoric statements.The proposed formulation of deontic logic suggests a natural generalization by proceeding from two to any number of degrees of admissibility. When there is a continuum of degrees of desirability, deontic logic becomes identical with the calculus of utilities. (shrink)
This paper examines how the 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace used biogeographical mapping practices to draw a boundary line between Malay and Papuan groups in the colonial East Indies in the 1850s. Instead of looking for a continuous gradient of variation between Malays and Papuans, Wallace chose to look for a sharp discontinuity between them. While Wallace's "human biogeography" paralleled his similar project to map plant and animal distributions in the same region, he invoked distinctive "mental and moral" features (...) as more decisive than physical ones. By following Wallace in the field, we can see his field mapping practices in action -- how he conquered the problem of local particularity in the case of human variation. His experiences on the periphery of expanding European empires, far from metropolitan centers, shaped Wallace's observations in the field. Taking his cues from colonial racial categories and his experiences collaborating with local people in the field, Wallace constructed the boundary line between the Malay and Papuan races during several years of work in the field criss-crossing the archipelago as a scientific collector. This effort to map a boundary line in the field was a bold example of using the practices of survey science to raise the status of field work by combining fact gathering with higher-level generalizing, although the response back in the metropole was less than enthusiastic. Upon his return to Britain in the 1860s, Wallace found that appreciation for observational facts he had gathered in the field was not accompanied by agreement with his theoretical interpretations and methods for doing human biogeography. (shrink)
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)
This paper examines the contents and institutional context of August Weismann's long essay on Amphimixis (1891). Therein he presented detailed discussions of his on-going studies of reduction division and parthenogenesis, but more to the point, he included an elaborate examination of Émile Maupas's two major publications in protozoology. To understand the relevance of this part to the other two, the author briefly reviews highpoints in earlier nineteenth century protozoology and concludes that only in the mid-1870s and 1880s did protozoa (...) add an important dimension to heredity theory. Otto Bütschli and then Maupas provided Weismann with a deeper understanding of how conjugation and fertilization were related but not identical processes. This allowed him to integrate the two into a fuller understanding of evolution by natural selection. (shrink)
Weismann's ideas on species transmutation were first expressed in his famous debate with Moritz Wagner on the mechanism of speciation. Wagner suggested that the isolation of a colony from its original source is a preliminary and necessary factor for speciation. Weismann accepted a secondary, facilitating role for isolation, but argued that natural and sexual selection are the primary driving forces of species transmutation, and are always necessary and often sufficient causes for its occurrence. The debate with Wagner, which occurred between (...) 1868 and 1872 within the framework of Darwin's discussions of geographical distribution, was Weismann's first public battle over the mechanism of evolution. This paper, which offers the first comprehensive analysis of this debate, extends previous analyses and throws light on the underlying beliefs and motivations of these early evolutionists, focusing mainly on Weismann's views and showing his commitment to what he later called "the all sufficiency of Natural Selection." It led to the crystallization of his ideas on the central and essential role of selection, both natural and sexual, in all processes of evolution, and, already at this early stage in his theoretical thinking, was coupled with sophisticated and nuanced approach to biological organization. The paper also discusses Ernst Mayr's analysis of the debate and highlights aspects of Weismann's views that were overlooked by Mayr and were peripheral to the discussions of other historians of biology. (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.
I have argued elsewhere that scientific realism is most significantly challenged neither by traditional arguments from underdetermination of theories by the evidence, nor by the traditional pessimistic induction, but by a rather different historical pattern: our repeated failure to conceive of alternatives to extant scientific theories, even when those alternatives were both (1) well-confirmed by the evidence available at the time and (2) sufficiently scientifically serious as to be later embraced by actual scientific communities. Here I use August Weismann's (...) defense of his influential germ-plasm theory of inheritance to support my claim that this pattern characterizes the history of theoretical scientific investigation generally. Weismann believed that the germ-plasm must become disintegrated into its constituent elements over the course of development, I argue, only because he failed to conceive of any possible alternative mechanism of ontogenetic differentiation. This and other features of the germ-plasm theory, I suggest, reflect a still more fundamental failure to imagine that the germ-plasm might be a productive rather than expendable resource for the cell. Weismann's case provides impressive support for the problem of unconceived alternatives while rendering its challenge to scientific realism deeper and sharper in a number of important ways. (shrink)
Johann August Eberhard gründet 1788 die Zeitschrift "Philosophisches Magazin", um die sog. Leibniz-Wolffsche Schulphilosophie gegen die zunehmend erfolgreichen Angriffe der kantischen Philosophie zu verteidigen. Zu diesem Zweck publizierte er insgesamt sieben Artikel, um seiner Leserschaft zu zeigen, dass die ältere Philosophie Leibnizens bereits eine gründliche Vernunftkritik enthalte, die der neueren Vernunftkritik Kants nicht nur ebenbürtig, sondern sogar überlegen sei. Als Anhänger der leibnizianischen Vernunftkritik war Eberhard vor allem deswegen von ihrer Überlegenheit überzeugt, weil man mit ihr noch eine dogmatische (...) Metaphysik alten Zuschnitts begründen und verteidigen könne. -/- Immanuel Kant, der aus arbeitsökonomischen Gründen nur selten auf Angriffe auf seine kritische Philosophie reagierte, fühlte sich von Eberhard so sehr herausgefordert, dass er – wie zuvor auch schon einmal bei Emanuel Swedenborg – eine Ausnahme machte. Während es für ihn bei seiner Auseinandersetzung mit Swedenborg gerade auf die deutliche Abgrenzung von dessen konkretistischer Auffassung vom mundus intelligibilis und von dessen Verwechslung von philosophischer Metaphysik mit spekulativem Okkultismus ankam, ging es bei seiner Auseinandersetzung mit Eberhard bloß um eine innerphilosophische Abgrenzung von einer anderen Konzeption der formalen Struktur und epistemischen Reichweite der menschlichen Vernunft. (shrink)
Johann August Schlettwein established a reputation during the later eighteenth century as Germany's foremost Physiocrat. Schlettwein's primarily literary reputation was lent authority by his direct participation in two practical Physiocratic experiments: the Markgraf of Baden's trial introduction of a single tax during the the early 1770s, and the creation of an Economic Faculty at the University of Giessen as part of a general financial reform in the state of Hessen-Darmstadt. It is this latter case which will be examined here, (...) where university reform was assigned an important role in the general reconstruction of state finances. But why should the reformers in Darmstadt have lighted upon a maverick figure such as Schlettwein to lead a Faculty which was in turn assigned a leading role in the reform of their state university? And given the apparent failure of Schlettwein to fulfil the hopes placed in him, to what can we attribute his generally lacklustre performance in Giessen? While the first of these questions can be fairly readily answered by considering the choices facing the state government, the second problem is more open: a number of possibilities suggest themselves. The fact that Physiocratic principles conflicted sharply with those governing cameralistic teaching in the German university could have been a significant obstacle; or it could have been that the role assigned to Schlettwein proved impossible, caught between the agenda of Physiocratic reform and that of the state government; or it might of course be that Schlettwein bore personally the major share of the blame. The Physiocratic programme was sweeping in its ambitions; but where it was put into practice (in Baden), or was lent an academic platform (in Giessen), it failed. By examining the reasons behind the failure in Gie?en we can perhaps learn something more of the scope of Physiocracy as a programme of reform in the eighteenth century and thence, indirectly, about the contemporary reception of Physiocratic ideas. (shrink)
John Lavery's The First Wounded, London Hospital, August 1914 records a memorable event in the First World War. This painting and the archives of the Royal London Hospital provide a fascinating insight into the nursing and medical care of these early war casualties.
In early August 2011, disturbances broke out in a number of English cities. What happened was broadcast globally, and all of a sudden it seemed as if all of the country was about to burst into flames. This short paper is offered by way of a ‘letter’ from England. It was written in late August 2011 and is an initial attempt to develop an understanding of why the disturbances broke out, what motivated the people who were involved and, (...) indeed, why things were confined to England. Cities elsewhere in Britain experienced nothing. The paper identifies a crisis in the English social imaginary. The disturbances are understood as a conjunctural response to this crisis, a response highlighting the interregnum in the English social imaginary. (shrink)
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)