A plausible desideratum for an account of the nature of objects, at, and across time, is that it accommodate the phenomenon of vagueness without locating vagueness in the world. A series of arguments have attempted to show that while universalist perdurantism – which combines a perdurantist account of persistence with an unrestricted mereological account of composition – meets this desideratum, endurantist accounts do not. If endurantists reject unrestricted composition then they must hold that vagueness is ontological. But if they embrace (...) unrestricted composition they are faced with the problem of the many, and cannot plausibly accommodate vagueness. This paper disambiguates two related sub-problems of the problem of the many, and argues that universalist perdurantism is not superior to universalist endurantism with respect to either of these. (shrink)
Earlier in the pages of this journal (p 481), Wendler and Miller offered the "net risks test" as an alternative approach to the ethical analysis of benefits and harms in research. They have been vocal critics of the dominant view of benefit-harm analysis in research ethics, which encompasses core concepts of duty of care, clinical equipoise and component analysis. They had been challenged to come up with a viable alternative to component analysis which meets five criteria. The alternative must (...) (1) protect research subjects; (2) allow clinical research to proceed; (3) explain how physicians may offer trial enrolment to their patients; (4) address the challenges posed by research containing a mixture of interventions and (5) define ethical standards according to which the risks and potential benefits of research may be consistently evaluated. This response argues that the net risks test meets none of these criteria and concludes that it is not a viable alternative to component analysis. (shrink)
This paper seeks to differentiate negative properties from positive properties, with the aim of providing the groundwork for further discussion about whether there is anything that corresponds to either of these notions. We differentiate negative and positive properties in terms of their functional role, before drawing out the metaphysical implications of proceeding in this fashion. We show that if the difference between negative and positive properties tabled here is correct, then negative properties are metaphysically contentious entities, entities that many philosophers (...) will be unwilling to countenance. (shrink)
The self-communication of being and the human person’s intellectual vocation to draw it gradually into logos are important themes in the writing of W. Norris Clarke. This paper addresses two related obstacles to understanding the person’s individual essence: (1) the limited intellectual reach of the potential knower, who has no access to another’s subjectivity, (2) the person’s inability to reveal her individual essence in any one act and the need for it to be gradually unfolded. These obstacles can be partially (...) surmounted through motivational narrative, as developed by Arthur Miller, wherein persons describe those actions to which they are uniquely inclined and that bring profound fulfillment. The privileged recipient has rich access into the narrator’s subjectivity and opportunity to see in the story an ontologically stable pattern of motivated behavior that expresses her individual essence. (shrink)
Metaphysics is supposed to tell us about the metaphysical nature of our world: under what conditions composition occurs; how objects persist through time; whether properties are universals or tropes. It is near orthodoxy that whichever of these sorts of metaphysical claims is true is necessarily true. This paper looks at the debate between that orthodox view and a recently emerging view that claims like these are contingent, by focusing on the metaphysical debate between monists and pluralists about concrete particulars. This (...) paper argues that we should be contingentists about monism and pluralism, and it defends contingentism against some necessitarian objections by offering an epistemology of contingent metaphysical claims. (shrink)
Here are some intuitions we have about the nature of space and time. There is something fundamentally different about the past, present, and future. What is definitive of the past is that the past events are fixed. What is definitive of the future is that future events are not fixed. What is definitive of the present is that it marks the objective ontological border between the past and the future and, by doing so, instantiates a particularly salient phenomenological property of (...) nowness. Call the combination of these intuitions according to which there exists an objective present, a fixed past, and an open future, the intuitive view. I argue that, given the intuitive view, the possibility of backwards causation—and hence, for instance, backwards time travel—is problematic. (shrink)
Recent work in personal identity has emphasized the importance of various conventions, or ‘person directed practices’ in the determination of personal identity. An interesting question arises as to whether we should think that there are any entities that have, in some interesting sense, conventional identity conditions. We think that the best way to understand such work about practices and conventions is the strongest and most radical. If these considerations are correct, persons are, on our view, conventional constructs: they are in (...) part constituted by certain conventions. A person exists only if the relevant conventions exist. A person will be a conscious being of a certain kind combined with a set of conventions. Some of those conventions are encoded in the being itself, so requiring the conventions to exist is requiring the conscious being to be organized in a particular way. In most cases the conventions in question are settled. There is no dispute about what the conventions are, and thus no dispute about which events a person can survive. These are cases where we take the conventions so much for granted, that it is easy to forget that they are there, and that they are necessary constituents of persons. Sometimes though, conventions are not settled. Sometimes there is a dispute about what the conventions should be, and thus a dispute about what events a person can survive. These are the traditional puzzle cases of personal identity. That it appears t h a t conventions play a part in determining persons’ persistence conditions only in these puzzle cases is explained by the fact that only in these cases are the conventions unsettled. Settled or not though, conventions are necessary constituents of persons. (shrink)
This book explores the various aspects of social justice--to each according to his rights, to each acording to his desert, and to each according to his need--comparing the writings of Hume, Spencer, and Kropotkin. Miller demonstrates that there are radical differences in outlook on social justice between societies, and that these differences can be explained by reference to features of the social structure.
This paper addresses the extent to which both Julian Barbour‘s Machian formulation of general relativity and his interpretation of canonical quantum gravity can be called timeless. We differentiate two types of timelessness in Barbour‘s (1994a, 1994b and 1999c). We argue that Barbour‘s metaphysical contention that ours is a timeless world is crucially lacking an account of the essential features of time—an account of what features our world would need to have if it were to count as being one in which (...) there is time. We attempt to provide such an account through considerations of both the representation of time in physical theory and in orthodox metaphysical analyses. We subsequently argue that Barbour‘s claim of timelessness is dubious with respect to his Machian formulation of general relativity but warranted with respect to his interpretation of canonical quantum gravity. We conclude by discussing the extent to which we should be concerned by the implications of Barbour‘s view. (shrink)
I argue that for those who follow Evans in finding indeterminacy of de re identity statements problematic, ontic vagueness within a three-dimensionalist metaphysics will raise some problems that are not faced by the four-dimensionalist. For the types of strategies used to avoid de re indeterminacy within the context of ontic vagueness at-at-time, that is, spatial vagueness, are problematic within a three-dimensionalist framework when put to use within the context of ontic vagueness across-time, that is temporal vagueness.
Newton’s argument for universal gravitation in the Principia eventually rested on the third “Rule of Philosophizing,” which warrants the generalization of “qualities of bodies.” An analysis of the rule and the history of its development indicate that the term ‘quality’ should be taken to include both inherent properties of bodies and relations among systems of bodies, generalized into `laws'. By incorporating law‐induction into the rule, Newton could legitimately rebuff objections to his theory by claiming that universal gravitation was justified by (...) his method even if he could not specify the cause of gravity . †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Duke University, 201 West Duke Building, Box 90743, Durham, NC 27708; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Despite growing scientific interest in the placebo effect and increasing understanding of neurobiological mechanisms (Finniss et al. 2010), theoretical conceptualization of the placebo effect remains primitive (Miller, Colloca, and Kaptchuk 2009). Mechanistic research on this phenomenon appears largely free-floating, with little guidance by any systematic theoretical paradigm. A partial explanation is the pervasive conceptual confusion that characterizes thinking about the placebo effect. The philosopher of science Adolf Grunbaum noted that "the medical and psychiatric literature on placebos and their effects (...) is conceptually bewildering, to the point of being a veritable Tower of Babel" (Grunbaum 1994, p. 286). .. (shrink)
I argue that two competing accounts of persistence, three and four dimensionalism, are in fact metaphysically equivalent. I begin by clearly defining three and four dimensionalism, and then I show that the two theories are intertranslatable and equally simple. Through consideration of a number of different cases where intuitions about persistence are contradictory, I then go on to show that both theories describe these cases in the same manner. Further consideration of some empirical issues arising from the theory of special (...) relativity lead me to conclude that the two theories are equally explanatory, and thus finally that they are metaphysically equivalent. (shrink)
This paper identifies problems with indexicalism and abverbialism about temporary intrinsic properties, and solves them by disentangling two senses in which a particular may possess a property simpliciter. The first sense is the one identified by adverbialists in which a particular possesses at all times the property as a matter of foundational metaphysical fact regardless of whether it is manifest. The second involves building on adverbialism to produce a semantics for property-manifestation according to which different members of a family of (...) second-order properties of the foundational property are relevant to property manifestation at different times. (shrink)
Many metaphysicians tell us that our world is one in which persisting objects are four-dimensionally extended in time, and persist by being partially present at each moment at which they exist. Many normative theorists tell us that at least some of our core normative practices are justified only if the relation that holds between a person at one time, and that person at another time, is the relation of strict identity. If these metaphysicians are right about the nature of our (...) world, and these normative theorists are right about what justifies our normative practices, then we should be error theorists about the justification of at least some of our core normative practices and in turn, arguably we should eliminate those practices for which justification is lacking. This paper offers a way of resolving the tension between these two views that does not lead into the grips of error theory. It is a way that is amenable to “exceptionists” about persons: those who think there is something special about persons and the first-person perspective; that personhood cannot be explained naturalistically, and the first-person perspective is naturalistically irreducible. The conclusion is thus a conditional: given that one is an exceptionist, an attractive way to resolve this tension is to embrace the view that persons are sui generis ontological kinds. (shrink)
In chapter 8 of Miller 2003, I argued against the idea that Jackson and Pettit's notion of program explanation might help Sturgeon's non-reductive naturalist version of moral realism respond to the explanatory challenge posed by Harman. In a recent paper in the AJP[Nelson 2006, Mark Nelson has attempted to defend the idea that program explanation might prove useful to Sturgeon in replying to Harman. In this note, I suggest that Nelson's argument fails.
Our world is full of composite objects that persist through time: dogs, persons, chairs and rocks. But in virtue of what do a bunch of little objects get to compose some bigger object, and how does that bigger object persist through time? This book aims to answer these questions, but it does so by looking at accounts of composition and persistence through a new methodological lens. It asks the question: what does it take for two theories to be genuinely different, (...) and how can we know whether what seems like metaphysical disagreement is really just semantic disagreement? By offering a framework within which to explore issues of theoretical diversity, this book provides a novel way of thinking about the inter-relationship between composition and persistence. Ultimately, it argues for a new way of thinking about these issues, a way that does not preserve the standard theoretical dichotomies between four-dimensionalist theories on the one hand, and three-dimensionalist theories on the other. (shrink)
[Alan Weir] This paper addresses the problem of how to account for objective content-for the distinction between how we actually apply terms and the conditions in which we ought to apply them-from within a naturalistic framework. Though behaviourist or dispositionalist approaches are generally held to be unsuccessful in naturalising objective content or 'normativity', I attempt to restore the credibility of such approaches by sketching a behaviouristic programme for explicating objective content. /// [Alexander Miller] Paul Boghossian (1989, 1990) has argued, (...) on grounds concerning the holistic nature of belief fixation, that there are principled reasons for thinking that 'optimal conditions' versions of reductive dispositionalism about content cannot hope to satisfy a condition of extensional accuracy. I discern three separable strands of argument in Boghossian's work-the circularity objection, the open-endedness objection, and the certification objection-and argue that each of these objections fails. My conclusion is that for all that Boghossian has shown, 'optimal conditions' versions of reductive dispositionalism have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
This paper defends a version of strong conventionalism minus the ontological commitments of that view. It defends the claim that strictly speaking there are no persons, whilst explicating how to make sense of talk that is about (or purportedly about) persons, by appealing to features in common to conventionalist accounts of personal identity. This view has the many benefits of conventionalist accounts in being flexible enough to deal with problem cases, whilst also avoiding the various worries associated with the existence (...) of both persons and human animals occupying the same place at the same time to which conventionalist accounts are committed. (shrink)
The paper defends a combination of perdurantism with mereological universalism by developing semantics of temporary predications of the sort ’some P is/was/will be (a) Q’. We argue that, in addition to the usual application of causal and other restrictions on sortals, the grammatical form of such statements allows for rather different regimentations along three separate dimensions, according to: (a) whether ‘P’ and ‘Q’ are being used as phase or substance sortal terms, (b) whether ‘is’, ‘was’, and ‘will be’ are (...) the ‘is’, ‘was’, ‘will be’ of identity or of constitution, and (c) whether ‘Q’ is being used as a subject or predicate term. We conclude that this latitude is beneficial, as it conforms with linguistic reality (i.e., the multiple uses actually in place) and also enables one to turn what is ordinarily perceived as a problem for universalist perdurantism viz., a commitment to all sorts of weird and gerrymandered temporally extended entities, into an advantage, for the richness in questions allows us to make sense of the many different readings of sentences of the same grammatical form. (shrink)
This Introduction introduces readers to the concepts of political philosophy: authority, democracy, freedom and its limits, justice, feminism, multiculturalism, and nationality. Accessibly written and assuming no previous knowledge of the subject, it encourages the reader to think clearly and critically about the leading political questions of our time. THe book first investigates how politcial philosophy tackles basic ethical questions such as 'how should we live together in society?' It furthermore looks at political authority, discusses the reasons society needs politics in (...) the first place, explores the limitations of politics, and asks if there are areas of life that shouldn't be governed by politics. Moreover, the book explores the connections between political authority and justice, a constant theme in political philosophy, and the ways in which social justice can be used to regulate rather than destroy a market economy. In his travels through this realm, Miller covers why nations ar the natural units of government and wonders if the rise of multiculturalism and transnational co-operation will change all this, and asks in the end if we will ever see the formation of a world government. (shrink)
Did the Gulf War defend moral principle or Western oil interests? Is violent pornography an act of free speech or an act of violence against women? In Casuistry and Modern Ethics , Richard B. Miller sheds new light on the potential of casuistry--case-based reasoning--for resolving these and other questions of conscience raised by the practical quandaries of modern life. Rejecting the packaging of moral experience within simple descriptions and inflexible principles, Miller argues instead for identifying and making sense (...) of the ethically salient features of individual cases. Because this practical approach must cope with a diverse array of experiences, Miller draws on a wide variety of diagnostic tools from such fields as philosophy of science, legal reasoning, theology, literary theory, hermeneutics, and moral philosophy. Opening new avenues for practical reasoning, Miller's interdisciplinary work will challenge scholars who are interested in the intersections of ethics and political philosophy, cultural criticism, and debates about method in religion and morality. (shrink)
This volume is a direct result of a conference held at Princeton University to honor George A. Miller, an extraordinary psychologist. A distinguished panel of speakers from various disciplines -- psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and artificial intelligence -- were challenged to respond to Dr. Miller's query: "What has happened to cognition? In other words, what has the past 30 years contributed to our understanding of the mind? Do we really know anything that wasn't already clear to William James?" Each (...) participant tried to stand back a little from his or her most recent work, but to address the general question from his or her particular standpoint. The chapters in the present volume derive from that occasion. (shrink)
This article attempts to make sense of property contingentism, the view that the metaphysical nature of properties is contingent. That is, it is contingent whether properties are universals or tropes or some other kind of entity. The article argues that even if one thinks that necessities are exhausted by conceptual truths and a posteriori necessities, the sort of methodology that can lead one to endorse contingentism in various domains in metaphysics does not give us good grounds to suppose that the (...) nature of properties is contingent. (shrink)
My initial hope when I first saw Miller’s book was that here at least would be a work which satisfies the long standing need for a comprehensive introduction to contemporary metaethics which is accessible enough to be employed in advanced undergraduate courses and introductory graduate seminars. This hope was only partially realized, however, as Miller ends up oscillating between clear presentations of extant debates in the recent literature and his own extended attempts to determine where the truth of (...) the matter lies. The result is an interesting book that likely will appeal both to those looking for a classroom text in metaethics as well as to experts on the relevant issues. (shrink)
The Federalist, written by “Publius” (Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison) in 1787-1788 in defense of the proposed constitution of the United States, endorses a fundamental principle of political legitimacy: namely, “it is the reason of the public alone, that ought to control and regulate the government.” This essay argues that this principle—the rule of reason—may be traced back to Plato. Part I of the essay seeks to show that Plato's Statesman offers a clearer understanding of the rule of (...) reason than his more famous Republic, and it also indicates how this principle gave rise to the ideal of constitutionalism, which was adopted and reformulated by Aristotle, Polybius, and Cicero, as well as moderns including Locke and Montesquieu. Part II argues that The Federalist agrees with Plato when it argues that popular sovereignty must be tempered by the rule of reason. A proper distance should be maintained between the people and the actual exercise of power in order that political decisions be based on reason rather than passion. The people must therefore act through a federal system divided between national government and state governments, and these governments must themselves possess separated powers which control each other by means of checks and balances. Indeed, federalism itself may be viewed as a modern counterpart of Plato's “art of weaving,” which unites naturally disparate and opposed parts of the city-state into a concordant whole. In declaring, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary,” The Federalist concedes that politics is the art of the possible. But statesmanship is not an exercise in pragmatism devoid of principles. Here “Publius” shares Plato's vision of politics as a “second sailing,” that is, an attempt to approximate the ideal of rational governance as far as possible in ordinary politics. Footnotesa This paper was originally presented at a meeting of the Symposium on Political Thought at Bowling Green State University. I am very grateful to the participants for their helpful suggestions, including Peter Celello, Albert Dzur, Neil Englehart, Jefferson Holcomb, David Jackson, Melissa Miller, Terrence Watson, and Adam White. I also received valuable criticisms from David Keyt, Ellen Frankel Paul, and the other contributors to this volume. (shrink)
There is a definite stress on the primacy of An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding over A Treatise of Human Nature by the so-called New Humeans, who in turn, advocate the sceptical/causal realist interpretation of Hume's empiricism. This paper shows how there has been a deliberate attempt by them to omit and distort certain negative aspects of Hume's life in the belief that in order to accept their interpretations we must first acknowledge that, (1) the Enquiry is the superior text and, (...) (2) reject any criticisms suggesting that Hume only wrote it to help promote the Treatise and fulfil his ambitions for literary fame. (shrink)
Heated debate surrounds the question whether the relationship between physician-researcher and patient-subject is governed by a duty of care. Miller and Weijer argue that fiduciary law provides a strong legal foundation for this duty, and for articulating the terms of the relationship between physician-researcher and patient-subject.
The 'Art of Life' is John Stuart Mill's name for his account of practical reason. In this volume, eleven leading scholars elucidate this fundamental, but widely neglected, element of Mill's thought. Mill divides the Art of Life into three 'departments': 'Morality, Prudence or Policy, and Æsthetics'. In the volume's first section, Rex Martin, David Weinstein, Ben Eggleston, and Dale E. Miller investigate the relation between the departments of morality and prudence. Their papers ask whether Mill is a rule utilitarian (...) and, if so, whether his practical philosophy must be incoherent. The second section contains papers by Jonathan Riley and Wendy Donner, who explore the relation between the departments of morality and aesthetics. They discuss issues ranging from supererogation to aesthetic pleasure and humanity's relationship with nature. -/- The papers in the third section consider the Art of Life's axiological first principle, the principle of utility. Elijah Millgram contends that Mill's own life refutes his claim that the Art of Life has a single axiological first principle. Philip Kitcher maintains that Mill has a dynamic axiology requiring us to continually refine our conception of the good. In the final section, three papers address what it means to put the Art of Life into practice. Robert Haraldsson locates an 'Art of Ethics' in On Liberty that is in tension with the Art of Life. Nadia Urbinati plumbs the classical roots of Mill's view of the good life. Finally, Colin Heydt develops Mill's suggestion that we regard our own lives as works of art. (shrink)
Miller and Rodgers (2001) proposed a central nervous system based Ontogenetic Bonding System that operates across the life course to promote succorant, 1 affiliative, sexual, and nurturant bonds. I discuss features of this theoretical framework that can inform Depue & Morrone-Strupinsky's (D&M-S's) model. Most important, I suggest that the affiliative reward processes D&M-S describe are better conceptualized as subserving the affect/motivation of affection. Footnotes1 “Succorance” is a term coined by Murray (1938) to describe a general tendency to seek the (...) help and protection of others. (shrink)
This book is concerned with the relationship between semantics and surface structure and in particular with the way in which each is mapped into the other. Jim Miller argues that semantic and syntactic structure require different representations and that semantic structure is far more complex than many analysts realise. He argues further that semantic structure should be based on notions of location and movement. The need for a semantic component of greater complexity is demonstrated by an examination of prepositions, (...) particles, adverbs and verb-prefixes, and is shown to accord with cross-language and historical facts. The volume goes on to consider the sort of rules that are required to map semantic structures onto syntax. Semantics and Syntax tackles fundamental issues and draws together many of the key concepts of traditional grammar and formal linguistics. The general framework for handling syntax, semantics and morphology that it outlines is perhaps a controversial one, but it will be recognized as challenging and original. (shrink)
A consensus in a scientific community is often used as a resource for making informed public-policy decisions and deciding between rival expert testimonies in legal trials. This paper contains a social-epistemic analysis of the high-profile Bendectin drug controversy, which was decided in the courtroom inter alia by deference to an emerging scientific consensus about the safety of Bendectin. Drawing on Miller’s theory of knowledge based consensus, I argue that the consensus in this case was not knowledge based, hence courts’ (...) deference to it was not epistemically justified. I draw sceptical lessons from this analysis regarding the value of scientific consensus as a desirable and reliable means of resolving scientific controversies in public life.. (shrink)
In the Statesman , Plato brings together--only to challenge and displace--his own crowning contributions to philosophical method, political theory, and drama. In his 1980 study, reprinted here, Mitchell Miller employs literary theory and conceptual analysis to expose the philosophical, political, and pedagogical conflict that is the underlying context of the dialogue, revealing that its chaotic variety of movements is actually a carefully harmonized act of realizing the mean. The original study left one question outstanding: what specifically, in the metaphysical (...) order of things, motivated the nameless Visitor from Elea to abandon bifurcation for his consummating non-bifurcatory division of fifteen kinds at the end of the dialogue? Miller addressed in a separate essay, first published in 1999 and reprinted here. In it, he opens the horizon of interpretation to include the new metaphysics of the Parmenides , the Philebus , and the "unwritten teachings." "This study demonstrates how the Statesman is the culminating expression of Plato's lifelong effort, both in Athens and in the Academy, to bring metaphysical insight to the unending political crisis of his times."The Philosopher in Plato's Statesman a trail-blazing work. While not every reader will agree with the lessons Miller himself draws from this approach, none should fail to be impressed by its interpretive power. All this is exciting stuff. The interpretive pathway on which Miller has embarked has the potential for changing the face of scholarship on the late Platonic dialogues. Parmenides [Publishing] is to be commended for making these two important contributions available under a single cover." -- Kenneth Sayre, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame "Miller casts considerable light on virtually every aspect of the dialogue. . . . All in all, this book is an outstanding contribution to our understanding of the Statesman." -- Stanley Rosen, Borden Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy, Boston University MITCHELL MILLER is Professor of Philosophy at Vassar College. He is the author of Plato's Parmenides. (shrink)
Why has little progress been made in resolving the debate about the concept of sexual perversion? I suggest that the stalemate is due to misunderstandings and poor methodology. I develop a new methodology for resolving disputes about the correct analysis of the contents of concepts where the disputes have social and political ramifications. When deciding between competing analyses of a concept, we should not just consider facts about our inferential and judgemental dispositions with respect to that concept; we should also (...) incorporate facts about its desired social function. This provides additional resources for making decisions about which analysis to choose, when information about our dispositions alone cannot determine an answer. (shrink)
There is a fundamental ontological difference between two kinds of entity: things and objects. Unlike things, objects are not identical to any fusion of particulars. Unlike things, objects do not have mereological parts. While things are ontologically innocent, objects are not. Objects are meaty. I defend the distinction between things and objects, and provide an account of the nature of objects.
The Monstrosity of Christ provides an exchange between the Slovenian theorist Slavoj Žižek and the British theologian John Milbank. Both authors argue that Christianity is the religion of ‘absolute truth,’ but provide very different accounts of this. Milbank argues that Christianity is true insofar as only the incarnation of Christ mediates the paradoxical metaphysical participation of the finite within the infinite. Žižek argues that the crucifixion of Christ constitutes the death of God, demonstrating that there is no providential or transcendent (...) reality supervening on human history. This realization constitutes the universal truth of Christianity. (shrink)
Abstract Theories are metaphysically equivalent just if there is no fact of the matter that could render one theory true and the other false. In this paper I argue that if we are judiciously to resolve disputes about whether theories are equivalent or not, we need to develop testable criteria that will give us epistemic access to the obtaining of the relation of metaphysical equivalence holding between those theories. I develop such ?diagnostic? criteria. I argue that correctly inter-translatable theories are (...) metaphysically equivalent, and what we need are ways of determining whether a putative translation is correct or not. To that end I develop a number of tools we can employ to discern whether a translation is a correct one. (shrink)
This commentary examines the ethics and law in the United States as they relate to the foregoing of life sustaining treatment when such treatment is deemed medically inappropriate. In particular the article highlights the procedural approach when there is disagreement between physicians and surrogates or patients as exemplified in Texas Law. This approach, although worthy in concept, may in practice invite opposition and dissatisfaction as it may be perceived as coercive and pitting the weak against powerful adversaries and interests, in (...) addition to discouraging the exercise of professional virtues. Too inflexible an approach erodes trust, and furthermore the Texas law allows hospital ethics committees to move from an advisory non judgmental role to a quasi legal court with real legal power but no credentialing or oversight. (shrink)
Ian Hacking is one of the most original and influential thinkers alive today. His Taming of Chance (Cambridge UP, 1990) was named to The Modern Library’s list of the 100 most important non-fiction books written in English since 1900. In 2001, he was the first Anglophone ever to be elected to a permanent chair at the Collège de France. Though he started in highly technical fields such as logic, statistical theory and formal philosophy of science, he soon moved on to (...) other domains, eventually making important contributions to the philosophy of language, Wittgenstein scholarship, the philosophical study of mental illness, the history of philosophy and more. This recent collection of Hacking’s work provides further confirmation of both the breadth and depth of his thought. (shrink)
Let R be an o-minimal expansion of (R. <. +) and (ϕk)k∈N be a sequence of positive real numbers such that limk→+∝ ƒ(ϕk)/ϕk+1 = 0 for every ƒ: R → R definable in R. (Such sequences always exist under some reasonable extra assumptions on R, in particular, if R is exponentially bounded or if the language is countable.) Then (R. (S)) is d-minimal, where S ranges over all subsets of cartesian powers of the range of ϕ.
Two problems in the paper by EGR are considered. One is the lack of any direct confirmatory evidence for the elegant rational reconstruction. The second is a significant gap in the historical account, just at the critical point in Einstein's discovery process -- namely, the reanalysis of simultaneity. In addition, the EGR account appears in danger of being overly focused on the electrodynamical aspect of special relativity to the exclusion of optical null experiments, and in particular to the exclusion of (...) the role of the 1887 Michelson-Morely interferometer experiment. The author disagrees with Miller on the Kantian aspects of Poincare, and on the role of Anschauungen, preferring to sketch instead a more important role for a Mach-like analysis of fundamental scientific concepts. It is argued that Miller has misconstrued the difference between an axiomatic theory and a "theory of principle" in Einstein's approach. Finally, some suggestions are made as to how the gap in our analysis of Einstein's revolution in simultaneity might be reexamined. (shrink)