Max Weber (1864-1920), generally known as a founder of modern social science, was concerned with political affairs throughout his life. The texts in this edition span his career and include his early inaugural lecture The Nation State and Economic Policy, Suffrage and Democracy in Germany, Parliament and Government in Germany under a New Political Order, Socialism, The Profession and Vocation of Politics, and an excerpt from his essay The Situation of Constitutional Democracy in Russia, as well as other shorter (...) writings. Together they illustrate the development of his thinking on the fate of Germany and the nature of politics in the modern western state in an age of cultural 'disenchantment'. The introduction discusses the central themes of Weber's political thought, and a chronology, notes and an annotated bibliography place him in his political and intellectual context. (shrink)
This article examines the role of experimental generalizations and physical laws in neuroscientific explanations, using Hodgkin and Huxley’s electrophysiological model from 1952 as a test case. I show that the fact that the model was partly fitted to experimental data did not affect its explanatory status, nor did the false mechanistic assumptions made by Hodgkin and Huxley. The model satisfies two important criteria of explanatory status: it contains invariant generalizations and it is modular (both in James Woodward’s sense). Further, I (...) argue that there is a sense in which the explanatory heteronomy thesis holds true for this case. †To contact the author, please write to: SNF‐Professorship for Philosophy of Science, University of Basel, Missionsstrasse 21, 4003 Basel, Switzerland; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
The title of this book echoes a phrase used by the Washington Post to describethe American attempt to kill Saddam Hussein at the start of the war againstIraq. Its theme is the notion of targeting (skopos) as the name of an intentionalstructure in which the subject tries to confirm its invulnerability by aiming todestroy a target. At the center of the first chapter is Odysseus’s killing of the suitors;the second concerns Carl Schmitt’s Roman Catholicism and Political Form; thethird and fourth (...) treat Freud’s “Thoughts for the Times on War and Death” and“The Man Moses and Monotheistic Religion.” Weber then traces the emergenceof an alternative to targeting, first within military and strategic thinking itself(“Network Centered Warfare”), and then in Walter Benjamin’s readings of“Capitalism as Religion” and “Two Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin.”. (shrink)
The ICE-theory of technical functions Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-22 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9642-9 Authors E. Weber, Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Ghent University (UGent), Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent, Belgium T. A. C. Reydon, Institute of Philosophy, Leibniz University Hannover, Im Moore 21, 30167 Hannover, Germany M. Boon, Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands W. Houkes, Philosophy and Ethics, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB (...) Eindhoven, The Netherlands P. E. Vermaas, Department of Philosophy, Delft University of Technology, Jaffalaan 5, 2628 BX Delft, The Netherlands Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
This research replicates Weber's 1995 study of a large financial services firm that found that ethical subclimates exist within multi-departmental organizations, are influenced by the function of the department and the stakeholders served, and are relatively stable over time. Relying upon theoretical models developed by Thompson (1967) and Victor and Cullen (1998), hypotheses are developed that predict the ethical subclimate decision-making dimensions and type for diverse departments within a large steel manufacturing firm and that these ethical subclimate types will (...) be stable across the two periods of time when the data were collected. Employees were surveyed in 1995 and again in 1999 using Victor and Cullen's Ethical Climate Questionnaire. Response rates of 88 and 94 percent were achieved. Contrary to Weber's findings, our results imply that, in both samples, ethical subclimates may be determined by the strength of an organization's overall ethical climate, rather than the department's function. However, we did find support for Weber's earlier contention that these subclimates are relatively stable. Our results also suggest that differences may exist across industries, that is when comparing a large steel manufacturer, as we did in our study, with a large financial services organization, as Weber did in his 1995 study. (shrink)
This paper proposes a basic revision of the understanding of teleology in biological sciences. Since Kant, it has become customary to view purposiveness in organisms as a bias added by the observer; the recent notion of teleonomy expresses well this as-if character of natural purposes. In recent developments in science, however, notions such as self-organization (or complex systems) and the autopoiesis viewpoint, have displaced emergence and circular self-production as central features of life. Contrary to an often superficial reading, Kant gives (...) a multi-faceted account of the living, and anticipates this modern reading of the organism, even introducing the term self-organization for the first time. Our re-reading of Kant in this light is strengthened by a group of philosophers of biology, with Hans Jonas as the central figure, who put back on center stage an organism-centered view of the living, an autonomous center of concern capable of providing an interior perspective. Thus, what is present in nuce in Kant, finds a convergent development from this current of philosophy of biology and the scientific ideas around autopoeisis, two independent but parallel developments culminating in the 1970s. Instead of viewing meaning or value as artifacts or illusions, both agree on a new understanding of a form of immanent teleology as truly biological features, inevitably intertwined with the self-establishment of an identity which is the living process. (shrink)
The general view is that metaphysical explanation is asymmetric. For instance, if resemblance facts can be explained by facts about their relata, then, by the asymmetry of explanation, these latter facts cannot in turn be explained by the former. The question however is: is there any reason to hold on to the asymmetry? If so, what does it consist in? In the paper we approach these questions by comparing them to analogous questions that have been investigated for scientific explanations. Three (...) main asymmetry criteria have been proposed for the latter: (i) causation, (ii) unification, and (iii) explanatory dependence. We argue that the last criterion, but not the former two, can be of help to metaphysical explanation: metaphysical explanations are asymmetric if the explanatory dependence criterion (in modified format) holds of them. (shrink)
It is a widely held view in philosophy that propositions perform a plethora of different theoretical roles. Amongst other things, they are believed to be the semantic values of sentences in contexts, the objects of attitudes, the contents of illocutionary acts, and the referents of that-clauses. This assumption is often combined with the claim that propositions have their truth-values eternally. In this paper I aim to show that these two assumptions are incompatible: propositions cannot both fulfill the mentioned roles and (...) be eternally true or false. Following Kaplan and Lewis’s Operator Argument, I argue that compositional semantic values of sentences in contexts do not correspond to eternal propositions. Thus, either we regard the non-eternal entities that in fact realize the semantic role of propositions as also fulfilling the remaining propositional roles, or we abandon the assumption that there is a unique realizer of all the roles. The Operator Argument has recently come under attack, mainly for its tense-logical assumptions. However, rejecting these assumptions is not a sufficient defense of the compatibility of the two claims, since the extensional alternative to the tense-logical framework does not allow us to universally retain eternal propositions as compositional semantic values of sentences either. (shrink)
According to an attractive account of belief, our beliefs have centered content. According to an attractive account of communication, we utter sentences to express our beliefs and share them with each other. However, the two accounts are in conflict. We have to either change our understanding of belief or modify our theory of communication. In this paper, I explore the consequences of holding on to the claim that beliefs have centered content. If we do in fact express the centered content (...) of our beliefs, the content of the belief the hearer acquires cannot in general be identical to the content the speaker expresses. I sketch an alternative account of communication, the Recentering model, that accepts this consequence and explains how the expressed and the acquired content are related. (shrink)
This paper compares and contrasts two distinct techniques for measuring moral judgment: The Moral Judgment Interview and the Defining Issues Test. The theoretical foundations, accompanying advantages and limitations, as well as appropriate usage of these methodologies are discussed. Adaptation and use of the instruments for business ethics research is given special attention.
This paper examines how experimental scientists choose theoretical frameworks as well as their experimental systems for doing research. I start out with Kuhn's claim that there are no (single) algorithms that could determine the choices made by individual scientists. Samir Okasha has recently provided an argument for this claim in terms of social choice theory, which I briefly discuss. Then, I show why this problem is not relevant in an experimental science. There are social mechanisms in place that make sure (...) the community chooses the best framework and a matching experimental system. As historical evidence for this claim, I present the case of classical genetics. (shrink)
Going back at least to Duhem, there is a tradition of thinking that crucial experiments are impossible in science. I analyse Duhem's arguments and show that they are based on the excessively strong assumption that only deductive reasoning is permissible in experimental science. This opens the possibility that some principle of inductive inference could provide a sufficient reason for preferring one among a group of hypotheses on the basis of an appropriately controlled experiment. To be sure, there are analogues to (...) Duhem's problems that pertain to inductive inference. Using a famous experiment from the history of molecular biology as an example, I show that an experimentalist version of inference to the best explanation (IBE) does a better job in handling these problems than other accounts of scientific inference. Furthermore, I introduce a concept of experimental mechanism and show that it can guide inferences from data within an IBE-based framework for induction. Introduction Duhem on the Logic of Crucial Experiments ‘The Most Beautiful Experiment in Biology’ Why Not Simple Elimination? Severe Testing An Experimentalist Version of IBE 6.1 Physiological and experimental mechanisms 6.2 Explaining the data 6.3 IBE and the problem of untested auxiliaries 6.4 IBE-turtles all the way down Van Fraassen's ‘Bad Lot’ Argument IBE and Bayesianism Conclusions CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This collection opens a dialogue between process philosophy and contemporary consciousness studies. Approaching consciousness from diverse disciplinary perspectives—philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, neuropathology, psychotherapy, biology, animal ethology, and physics—the contributors offer empirical and philosophical support for a model of consciousness inspired by the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947). Whitehead’s model is developed in ways he could not have anticipated to show how it can advance current debates beyond well-known sticking points. This has trenchant consequences for epistemology and suggests fresh and (...) promising perspectives on such topics as the mind-body problem, the neurobiology of consciousness, animal consciousness, the evolution of consciousness, panpsychism, the unity of consciousness, epiphenomenalism, free will, and causation. (shrink)
Charles S. Peirce’s theory of proper names bears helpful insights for how we might think about his understanding of persons. Persons, on his view, are continuities, not static objects. I argue that Peirce’s notion of the legisign, particularly proper names, sheds light on the habitual and conventional elements of what it means to be a person. In this paper, I begin with an account of what philosophers of language have said about proper names in order to distinguish Peirce’s theory of (...) proper names from them. Then, I present Peirce’s semiotic theory of proper names, followed by some ways in which his theory can be applied to practical concerns, such as first impressions, name changing, identity, and temporary insanity. (shrink)
Exploring central philosophical issues concerning scientific research in modern experimental biology, this book clarifies the strategies, concepts, reasoning, approaches, tools, models and experimental systems deployed by researchers. It also integrates recent developments in historical scholarship, in particular, the New Experimentalism, making this work of interest to philosophers and historians of science as well as to biological researchers.
Pluralism with respect to the structure of explanations of facts is not uncommon. Wesley Salmon, for instance, distinguished two types of explanation: causal explanations (which provide insight in the causes of the fact we want to explain) and unification explanations (which fit the explanandum into a unified world view). The pluralism which Salmon and others have defended is compatible with several positions about the exact relation between these two types of explanations. We distinguish four such positions, and argue in favour (...) of one of them. We also compare our results with the views of some authors who have recently written on this subject. (shrink)
This paper presents an adaptation of Lawrence Kohlberg's Moral Judgment Interview and Standard Issue Scoring method. The adaptation emphasizes four points: (1) a mixture of less familiar and more familiar moral dilemmas, (2) followup questions which probe managers' moral reasoning by focusing upon key organizational values, (3) the flexibility of utilizing either an oral or written interview method, and (4) a simpler, yet reliable, system for scoring the managers' responses and identifying their stage of moral reasoning. An empirical investigation found (...) that each adaptation could enhance the assessment of managers' moral reasoning. (shrink)
In the literature on scientific explanation, there is a classical distinction between explanations of facts and explanations of laws. This paper is about explanations of facts. Our aim is to analyse the role of unification in explanations of this kind. We discuss five positions with respect to this role, argue for two of them and refute the three others.
Recognition that biological systems are stabilized far from equilibrium by self-organizing, informed, autocatalytic cycles and structures that dissipate unusable energy and matter has led to recent attempts to reformulate evolutionary theory. We hold that such insights are consistent with the broad development of the Darwinian Tradition and with the concept of natural selection. Biological systems are selected that re not only more efficient than competitors but also enhance the integrity of the web of energetic relations in which they are embedded. (...) But the expansion of the informational phase space, upon which selection acts, is also guaranteed by the properties of open informational-energetic systems. This provides a directionality and irreversibility to evolutionary processes that are not reflected in current theory.For this thermodynamically-based program to progress, we believe that biological information should not be treated in isolation from energy flows, and that the ecological perspective must be given descriptive and explanatory primacy. Levels of the ecological hierarchy are relational parts of ecological systems in which there are stable, informed patterns of energy flow and entropic dissipation. Isomorphies between developmental patterns and ecological succession are revealing because they suggest that much of the encoded metabolic information in biological systems is internalized ecological information. The geneological hierarchy, to the extent that its information content reflects internalized ecological information, can therefore be redescribed as an ecological hierarchy. (shrink)
In this paper I compare the roles that the explicit and implicit educational theories of John Dewey and John Rawls play in their political works to show that Rawls’s approach is skeletal and inappropriate for defenders of democracy. I also uphold Dewey’s belief that education is valuable in itself, not only derivatively, contra Rawls. Next, I address worries for any educational theory concerning problems of distributive justice. Finally, I defend Dewey’s commitment to democracy as a consequence of the demands of (...) productive public inquiry and education. (shrink)
The naive set theory problem is to begin with a full comprehension axiom, and to find a logic strong enough to prove theorems, but weak enough not to prove everything. This paper considers the sub-problem of expressing extensional identity and the subset relation in paraconsistent, relevant solutions, in light of a recent proposal from Beall, Brady, Hazen, Priest and Restall . The main result is that the proposal, in the context of an independently motivated formalization of naive set theory, leads (...) to triviality. (shrink)
It has been claimed that the intentional stance is necessary to individuate behavioral traits. This thesis, while clearly false, points to two interesting sets of problems concerning biological explanations of behavior: The first is a general in the philosophy of science: the theory-ladenness of observation. The second problem concerns the principles of trait individuation, which is a general problem in philosophy of biology. After discussing some alternatives, I show that one way of individuating the behavioral traits of an organism is (...) by a special use of the concept of biological function, as understood in an enriched causal role (not selected effect) sense. On this view, a behavioral trait is essentially a special kind of regularity, namely a regularity that is produced by some regulatory mechanism. Regulatory mechanisms always require goal states, which can only be provided by functional considerations. As an example from actual (as opposed to folk) science, I examine the case of social behavior in nematodes. I show that the attempt to explain this phenomenon actually transformed it. This supports the view that scientific explanation does not explain an explanandum phenomenon that is given prior to the explanation; rather, the explanandum is changed by the explanation. This means that there could be a plurality of stances that have some heuristic value initially, but which will be abandoned in favor of a functional characterization eventually. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss an approach called grounded action cognition , which aims to provide a theory of the interdependencies between motor control and action-related cognitive processes, like perceiving an action or thinking about an action. The theory contrasts with traditional views in cognitive science in that it motivates an understanding of cognition as embodied , through application of Barsalou’s general idea of grounded cognition . To guide further research towards an appropriate theory of grounded action cognition we distinguish (...) between grounding qua acquisition and grounding qua constitution. On this basis, we distinguish three possible theoretical conceptions of grounded action cognition. In addition to these methodological and conceptual analyses, we draw on recent empirical evidence to motivate our inclination towards a particular theory. According to this theory certain representations are involved in action cognition and action perception that are not modality-specific as usually proposed by advocates of grounded cognition. Further, the evidence is in favor of our more specific theory stating that for some cognitive abilities, some motor abilites are constitutive. (shrink)
In the literature on scientific explanation two types of pluralism are very common. The first concerns the distinction between explanations of singular facts and explanations of laws: there is a consensus that they have a different structure. The second concerns the distinction between causal explanations and uni.cation explanations: most people agree that both are useful and that their structure is different. In this article we argue for pluralism within the area of causal explanations: we claim that the structure of a (...) causal explanation depends on the causal structure of the relevant fragment of the world and on the interests of the explainer. (shrink)
I examine different arguments that could be used to establish indeterminism of neurological processes. Even though scenarios where single events at the molecular level make the difference in the outcome of such processes are realistic, this falls short of establishing indeterminism, because it is not clear that these molecular events are subject to quantum mechanical uncertainty. Furthermore, attempts to argue for indeterminism autonomously (i.e., independently of quantum mechanics) fail, because both deterministic and indeterministic models can account for the empirically observed (...) behavior of ion channels. (shrink)
The paper has two aims. First, to show that we need social mechanisms to establish the policy relevance of causal claims, even if it is possible to build a good argument for those claims without knowledge of mechanisms. Second, to show that although social scientists can, in principle, do without social mechanisms when they argue for causal claims, in reality scientific practice contexts where they do not need mechanisms are very rare. Key Words: social mechanisms causal inference social (...) policy. (shrink)
This paper intends to give a philosophical analysis of the concepts of consciousness and rationality, and particularly to display the correlation existing between what is usually called the “normal state of consciousness” and what should be called the “normal state of rationality”. Eventually, it draws consequences for the correlation existing between “altered/aberrant states of consciousness” and “altered/aberrant rationality”. Although it argues from a broad phenomenological perspective, its grounding technicalities belong to the field of process thought, as fleshed out by the (...) later Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947). (shrink)
This article suggests a novel way to advance a current debate in the philosophy of mathematics. The debate concerns the role of diagrams and visual reasoning in proofs—which I take to concern the criteria of legitimate representation of mathematical thought. Drawing on the so-called ‘maverick’ approach to philosophy of mathematics, I turn to mathematical practice itself to adjudicate in this debate, and in particular to category theory, because there (a) diagrams obviously play a major role, and (b) category theory itself (...) addresses questions of representation and information preservation over mappings. We obtain a mathematical answer to a philosophical question: a good mathematical representation can be characterized as a category theoretic natural transformation. (shrink)
This paper begins an analysis of the real line using an inconsistency-tolerant (paraconsistent) logic. We show that basic field and compactness properties hold, by way of novel proofs that make no use of consistency-reliant inferences; some techniques from constructive analysis are used instead. While no inconsistencies are found in the algebraic operations on the real number field, prospects for other non-trivializing contradictions are left open.
There is a huge philosophical literature on scientific explanation, and no one seriously denies that the sciences explain in one way or another. But what about ontology? I will argue that ontological laws and ontological theories can explain. And I will point at the differences between ontological explanations and their scientific counterparts.
Vague predicates, on a paraconsistent account, admit overdetermined borderline cases. I take up a new line on the paraconsistent approach, to show that there is a close structural relationship between the breakdown of soritical progressions, and contradiction. Accordingly, a formal picture drawn from an appropriate logic shows that any cut-off point of a vague predicate is unidentifiable, in a precise sense. A paraconsistent approach predicts and explains many of the most counterintuitive aspects of vagueness, in terms of a more fundamental (...) inconsistency. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Federica Russo and Jon Williamson argue that an analysis of causality in terms of probabilistic relationships does not do justice to the use of mechanistic evidence to support causal claims. I will present Ronald Giere's theory of probabilistic causation, and show that it can account for the use of mechanistic evidence (both in the health sciences—on which Russo and Williamson focus—and elsewhere). I also review some other probabilistic theories of causation (of Suppes, Eells, (...) and Humphreys) and show that they cannot account for the use of mechanistic evidence. I argue that these theories are also inferior to Giere's theory in other respects. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Martha Nussbaums Aristotelian analysis of compassion and pity is faulty, largely because she fails to distinguish between (a) an emotions basic constitutive conditions and the associated constitutive or intrinsic norms, (b) extrinsic normative conditions, for instance, instrumental and moral considerations, and (c) the causal conditions under which emotion is most likely to be experienced. I also argue that her defense of compassion and pity as morally valuable emotions is inadequate because she treats a wide (...) variety of objections as all stemming from a common commitment to a Stoic conception of the good. I argue that these objections can be construed as neutral between conceptions of the good. I conclude by arguing that construed in this way there are nonetheless plausible replies to these objections. (shrink)
The Darwinian concept of natural selection was conceived within a set of Newtonian background assumptions about systems dynamics. Mendelian genetics at first did not sit well with the gradualist assumptions of the Darwinian theory. Eventually, however, Mendelism and Darwinism were fused by reformulating natural selection in statistical terms. This reflected a shift to a more probabilistic set of background assumptions based upon Boltzmannian systems dynamics. Recent developments in molecular genetics and paleontology have put pressure on Darwinism once again. Current work (...) on self-organizing systems may provide a stimulus not only for increased problem solving within the Darwinian tradition, especially with respect to origins of life, developmental genetics, phylogenetic pattern, and energy-flow ecology, but for deeper understanding of the very phenomenon of natural selection itself. Since self-organizational phenomena depend deeply on stochastic processes, self-organizational systems dynamics advance the probability revolution. In our view, natural selection is an emergent phenomenon of physical and chemical selection. These developments suggest that natural selection may be grounded in physical law more deeply than is allowed by advocates of the autonomy of biology, while still making it possible to deny, with autonomists, that evolutionary explanations can be modeled in terms of a deductive relationship between laws and cases. We explore the relationship between, chance, self-organization, and selection as sources of order in biological systems in order to make these points. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for modesty concerning what theoretical reason can accomplish in the moral dilemmas debate. Specifically, I contend that philosophers' conclusions for or against moral dilemmas are driven less by rational argument and more by how the moral world intuitively appears to them.
The supervenience and multiple realizability of biological properties have been invoked to support a disunified picture of the biological sciences. I argue that supervenience does not capture the relation between fitness and an organism's physical properties. The actual relation is one of causal dependence and is, therefore, amenable to causal explanation. A case from optimality theory is presented and interpreted as a microreductive explanation of fitness difference. Such microreductions can have considerable scope. Implications are discussed for reductive physicalism in evolutionary (...) biology and for the unity of science. (shrink)
Larry Temkin has shown that Derek Parfit’s well-known Mere Addition Paradox suggests a powerful argument for the intransitivity of the relation “better than.” The crux of the argument is the view that equality is essentially comparative, according to which the same inequality can be evaluated differently depending on what it is being compared to. The comparative view of equality should be rejected, I argue, and hence so too this argument for intransitivity.
Is there a specifically "Hobbesian moment" in the extremely complex history of the idea of conscience? In order to answer this question and to understand why Hobbes's conception of conscience was so innovative, one needs to look at the materials he used to build his system, including the medieval doctrine of synderesis. The article examines the way this doctrine was both perpetuated and altered in Renaissance England.
In this article we criticize two recent articles that examinethe relation between explanation and unification. Halonen and Hintikka (1999), on the one hand,claim that no unification is explanation. Schurz (1999), on the other hand, claims that all explanationis unification. We give counterexamples to both claims. We propose a pluralistic approach to the problem:explanation sometimes consists in unification, but in other cases different kinds of explanation(e.g., causal explanation) are required; and none of these kinds is more fundamental.
A number of neo-Kantians have suggested that an act may be morally worthy even if sympathy and similar emotions are present, so long as they are not what in fact motivates right action–so long as duty, and duty alone, in fact motivates. Thus, the ideal Kantian moral agent need not be a cold and unfeeling person, as some critics have suggested. Two objections to this view need to be answered. First, some maintain that motives cannot be present without in fact (...) motivating. Such non-motivating reasons, it is claimed, are incoherent. Second, if such motives are not in fact motivating, then nonetheless the moral agent's performance of right action will be objectionably cold and unfeeling. While the first objection is not compelling, since the alternative according to which all motives in fact motivate but differ in strength suffers from the very same problems attributed to the neo-Kantian view, the second has force, and any account of moral worth must make room for motives such as sympathy actually motivating right action. (shrink)
The design argument was rebutted by David Hume. He argued that the world and its contents (such as organisms) were not analogous to human artifacts. Hume further suggested that there were equally plausible alternatives to design to explain the organized complexity of the cosmos, such as random processes in multiple universes, or that matter could have inherent properties to self-organize, absent any external crafting. William Paley, writing after Hume, argued that the functional complexity of living beings, however, defied naturalistic explanations. (...) In effect he dared anyone to come up with an alternative to his inference to design, and hence a designer, outside of nature. Charles Darwin explained the apparent design of functional complexity by his theory of natural selection. Asa Gray, however, in essays as well as in correspondence with Darwin argued that natural selection allowed for a type of ‘evolutionary teleology’ in which design at most could be considered the result of universal principles. F.E. Hicks updated Hume by specifically objecting to the use of design arguments by Paley. Hicks argued that the apparent design seen in nature reflected order at a deep level in nature. The design argument was briefly revived by Lawrence Henderson early in the twentieth century but he ultimately concluded that design and teleology were not necessarily mutually entailing and he retracted his design argument in favor of one that he termed ‘natural teleology’. The current claims of ‘intelligent design’ have the same logical problems that have beset previous design arguments. If design is divorced from teleology and its discontents put behind us, then there is a possibility that the latter can have a place in the development of theories to explain the phenomena of emergent complexity. (shrink)
This paper asks whether statutory social insurance programs, which provide contributory tax-based income support to people with disabilities, are compatible with the disability rights movement's ideas. Central to the movement that led to the Americans with Disabilities Act is the insight that physical or mental conditions do not disable; barriers created by the environment or by social attitudes keep persons with physical or mental differences from participating in society as equals.The conflict between the civil rights approach and insurance seems apparent. (...) A person takes out insurance to deal with tragedy, such as premature death, or damage, such as accidental harm to an automobile or home. Social insurance, for example, the United States Social Security old-age and disability programs, consists of government-run insurance to cover risks of advanced age and disability for which the private market has not provided affordable coverage. But the civil rights approach to disability posits that disability is not a risk, not tragedy, and not a damage or defect. Instead it is a maladaptation of society to human variation. This paper argues that a justification remains for social insurance under the civil rights approach to disability, and further suggests that expansion of social insurance for disability is both compatible with disability rights principles and supported by wise public policy. (shrink)
Instances of explanatory reduction are often advocated on metaphysical grounds; given that the only real things in the world are subatomic particles and their interaction, we have to try to explain everything in terms of the laws of physics. In this paper, we show that explanatory reduction cannot be defended on metaphysical grounds. Nevertheless, indispensability arguments for reductive explanations can be developed, taking into account actual scientific practice and the role of epistemic interests. Reductive explanations might be indispensable to address (...) some epistemic interest answering a specific explanation-seeking question in the most accurate, adequate and efficient way. Just like explanatory pluralists often advocate the indispensability of higher levels of explanation pointing at the pragmatic value of the explanatory information obtained on these higher levels, we argue that explanatory reduction—traditionally understood as the contender of pluralism—can be defended in a similar way. The pragmatic value reductionist, lower level explanations might have in the biomedical sciences and the social sciences is illustrated by some case studies. (shrink)
In a recent article, Emil Badici contends that the inclosure schema substantially fails as an analysis of the paradoxes of self-reference because it is question-begging. The main purpose of this note is to show that Badici's critique highlights a necessity condition for the success of dialectic about paradoxes. The inclosure argument respects this condition and remains solvent.
One of the functions of scientific knowledge is to provide the theories and laws we need in order to understand the world. My article deals with the epistemic aspect of understanding, i.e., with understanding as unification. The aim is to explicate what we have to do in order to make our scientific knowledge contribute to an increase of the degree to which the particular events we have observed, fit into our world-picture. The analysis contains two parts. First I define the (...) concept of scientific epistemic explanation. Explanations of these type are the appropriate instruments for increasing the degree of unification of the particular events we have observed. In the second, largest part of the article I analyze the construction process of scientific epistemic explanations, focusing on the application of scientific theories. (shrink)
We advance a theory of inductive reasoning based on similarity, and <span class='Hi'>test</span> it on arguments involving mammal categories. To measure similarity, we quantified the overlap of neural activation in left Brodmann area 19 and the left ventral temporal cortex in response to pictures of different categories; the choice of of these regions is motivated by previous literature. The theory was tested against probability judgments for 40 arguments generated from 9 mammal categories and a common predicate. The results are interpreted (...) in the context of Hume’s thesis relating similarity to inductive inference. (shrink)
This article has three aims. The first is to give a partial explication of the concept of unification. My explication will be partial because I confine myself to unification of particular events, because I do not consider events of a quantitative nature, and discuss only deductive cases. The second aim is to analyze how unification can be reached. My third aim is to show that unification is an intellectual benefit. Instead of being an intellectual benefit unification could be an intellectual (...) harm, i.e., a state of mind we should try to avoid by all means. By calling unification an intellectual benefit, we claim that this form of understanding has an intrinsic value for us. I argue that unification really has this alleged intrinsic value. (shrink)
The factors which have brought society to its present pass and impasse contain forces which, when released and constructively utilized, form the positive basis of an educational philosophy and practice that will recover and will develop our original national ideals. The basic principle in that philosophy and practice is that we should use that method of experimental action called natural science to form a disposition which puts a supreme faith in the experimental use of intelligence in all situations of life.In (...) the past, ethical theories have been presented as self-sufficient and holistic. Philosophers have historically been either deontologists, consequentialists, virtue ethicists, divine command theorists, or .. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that in recent literature on mechanistic explanations, authors tend to conflate two distinct features that mechanistic models can have or fail to have: plausibility and richness. By plausibility, we mean the probability that a model is correct in the assertions it makes regarding the parts and operations of the mechanism, i.e., that the model is correct as a description of the actual mechanism. By richness, we mean the amount of detail the model gives about the (...) actual mechanism. First, we argue that there is at least a conceptual reason to keep these two features distinct, since they can vary independently from each other: models can be highly plausible while providing almost no details, while they can also be highly detailed but plainly wrong. Next, focusing on Craver's continuum of ?how-possibly,? to ?how-plausibly,? to ?how-actually? models, we argue that the conflation of plausibility and richness is harmful to the discussion because it leads to the view that both are necessary for a model to have explanatory power, while in fact, richness is only so with respect to a mechanism's activities, not its entities. This point is illustrated with two examples of functional models. (shrink)
John Searle claims that social-scientific laws are impossible because social phenomena are physically open-ended. William Butchard and Robert D’Amico have recently argued that, by Searle’s own lights, money is a social phenomena that is physically closed. However, Butchard and D’Amico rely on a limited set of data in order to draw this conclusion, and fail to appreciate the implications of Searle’s theory of social ontology with regard to the physical open-endedness of money. Money is not physically open-ended in the strong (...) sense that Butchard and D’Amico require, and their argument for the possibility of social-scientific laws fails as a result. (shrink)
Incommensurability of scientific theories, as conceived by Thomas Kuhnand Paul Feyerabend, is thought to be a major or even insurmountable obstacletothe empirical comparison of these theories. I examine this problem in light ofaconcrete case from the history of experimental biology, namely the oxidativephosphorylation controversy in biochemistry (ca. 1961-1977). After a briefhistorical exposition, I show that the two main competing theories which werethe subject of the ox-phos controversy instantiate some of the characteristicfeatures of incommensurable theories, namely translation failure,non-corresponding predictions, and different (...) claims about what kinds ofentitiesexist in the world. By examining how the controversy was eventually resolved, Ithen show that at least this pair of incommensurable theories couldneverthelessbe empirically compared. (shrink)
I defend the view that single experiments can provide a sufficient reason for preferring one among a group of hypotheses against the widely held belief that “crucial experiments” are impossible. My argument is based on the examination of a historical case from molecular biology, namely the Meselson-Stahl experiment. “The most beautiful experiment in biology”, as it is known, provided the first experimental evidence for the operation of a semi-conservative mechanism of DNA replication, as predicted by Watson and Crick in 1953. (...) I use a mechanistic account of explanation to show that this case is best construed as an inference to the best explanation (IBE). Furthermore, I show how such an account can deal with Duhem's well-known arguments against crucial experiments as well as Van Fraassen's “bad lot” argument against IBE. (shrink)
language-theoretic attempt to ground a post-liberal theory of democracy on Kant's intuitions concerning subjective autonomy is flawed because it leaves unexamined the internally contradictory experiential content of the Cartesian subject's experience of self. This case is made through reference to aspects of Habermas reconstructions of Kant and Mead; iek's criticisms of Kant, Heidegger and Habermas; and Honneth's idea that autonomy, for the post-Cartesian self, involves the ability of the subject to come to terms with the experience of negativity. The article (...) concludes by arguing that a post-liberal account of democracy needs to leave behind the Kantian notion of autonomous subjectivity and base itself on a fundamentally different, post-individualist understanding of the self. Key Words: autonomy critical theory democratic theory Jürgen Habermas Axel Honneth subjectivity Slavojiek. (shrink)
I present an attempt at an explication of the ecological theory of interspecific competition, including its explanatory role in community ecology and evolutionary biology. The account given is based on the idea that law-like statements play an important role in scientific theories of this kind. I suggest that the principle of competitive exclusion is such a law, and that it is evolutionarily invariant. The principle's empirical status is defended and implications for the ongoing debates on the existence of biological laws (...) are discussed. (shrink)
Recent discussion of the statistical character of evolutionary theory has centered around two positions: (1) Determinism combined with the claim that the statistical character is eliminable, a subjective interpretation of probability, and instrumentalism; (2) Indeterminism combined with the claim that the statistical character is ineliminable, a propensity interpretation of probability, and realism. I point out some internal problems in these positions and show that the relationship between determinism, eliminability, realism, and the interpretation of probability is more complex than previously assumed (...) in this debate. Furthermore, I take some initial steps towards a more adequate account of the statistical character of evolutionary theory. (shrink)
In response to recent recommendations for the teaching of principled moral reasoning in business school curricula, this paper assesses the viability of such an approach. The results indicate that, while business students' level of moral reasoning in this sample are like most 18- to 21-year-olds, they may be incapable of grasping the concepts embodied in principled moral reasoning. Implications of these findings are discussed.
My purpose in this paper is to argue that we are not vulnerableto inescapable wrongdoing occasioned by tragic dilemmas. I directmy argument to those who are most inclined to accept tragicdilemmas: those of broadly Nietzschean inclination who reject``modern moral philosophy'''' in favor of the ethical ideas of theclassical Greeks. Two important features of their project are todeny the usefulness of the ``moral/nonmoral distinction,'''' and todeny that what are usually classified as moral reasons always oreven characteristically ``trump'''' nonmoral reasons in anadmirable (...) agent''s deliberations.I show critics of modern moral philosophy such as BernardWilliams that their acceptance of tragic dilemmas underminestheir project of denying the moral/nonmoral distinction and thepriority of moral reasons. The possibility of tragic dilemmasrequires an account of practical deliberation in which moralreasons appear as already in-force obligations, with blame andguilt ready to be invoked, while nonmoral reasons appear as merereasons. This makes moral reasons importantly different fromnonmoral reasons in how they achieve their deliberative weight,and also makes them characteristically weightier. Thus,accommodating tragic dilemmas reinforces the moral/nonmoraldistinction and the priority of moral reasons, the very thingsthese critics want to deny. By accepting the possibility oftragic dilemmas, these critics are undermining their own project.The standard normative theories are dead set against tragicdilemmas, and the critics of modern moral philosophy shouldreject tragic dilemmas for the good of their project. Thus we allshould reject tragic dilemmas. (shrink)
Although the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct emphasizes the importance of education in ethics, very little is known about how and when the Code and the topic of ethics can be presented to enhance the effectiveness of ethics-oriented education. The purpose of this research was to provide preliminary evidence about the ethical development of students prior to, and immediately following, such courses. We found that: (1) accounting students, after taking an auditing course which emphasized the AICPA Code, reasoned at higher (...) levels than students who had not taken the course; (2) there were no differences in moral reasoning levels when accounting and non-accounting majors were compared prior to an auditing course; and (3) there was a significant relationship between the Seniors' levels of ethical development and the choice of an ethical versus unethical action. It was concluded that an auditing course emphasizing the 'spirit' of the Code can have a positive impact on the ethical behaviour of some of the future members of the accounting profession. (shrink)
In this discussion note I clarify the motivation behind my original paper "Social Mechanisms, Causal Inference and the Policy Relevance of Social Science." I argue that one of the tasks of philosophers of social science is to draw attention to methodological problems that are often forgotten or overlooked. Then I show that my original paper does not make the mistake or fallacy that Daniel Steel suggests in his comment on it. Key Words: social mechanisms causal inference social policy.
Some social scientists and philosophers (e.g., James Coleman and Jon Elster) claim that all social facts are best explained by means of a micro-explanation. They defend a micro-reductionism in the social sciences: to explain is to provide a mechanism on the individual level. The first aim of this paper is to challenge this view and defend the view that it has to be substituted for an explanatory pluralism with two components: (1) structural explanations of P-, O- and T-contrasts between social (...) facts are more efficient than the competing micro-explanations; and (2) whether a plain social fact (as opposed to a contrast) is best explained in a micro-explanation or a structural explanation depends on the explanatory interest. The second aim of the paper is to show how this explanatory pluralism is compatible with ontological individualism. This paper is motivated by our conviction that explanatory pluralism as defended by Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit is on the right track, but must be further elaborated. We want to supplement their contribution, by (1) introducing the difference between explanations of facts and explanations of contrasts; (2) giving examples from the social sciences, instead of mainly from the natural sciences or common sense knowledge; and (3) emphasizing the pragmatic relevance of explanations on different levels –social, psychological, biological, etc. – which is insufficiently done by Jackson and Pettit. (shrink)
Explanatory pluralism has been defended by several philosophers of history and social science, recently, for example, by Tor Egil Førland in this journal. In this article, we provide a better argument for explanatory pluralism, based on the pragmatist idea of epistemic interests. Second, we show that there are three quite different senses in which one can be an explanatory pluralist: one can be a pluralist about questions, a pluralist about answers to questions, and a pluralist about both. We defend the (...) last position. Finally, our third aim is to argue that pluralism should not be equated with “anything goes”: we will argue for non-relativistic explanatory pluralism. This pluralism will be illustrated by examples from history and social science in which different forms of explanation (for example, structural, functional, and intentional explanations) are discussed, and the fruitfulness of our framework for understanding explanatory pluralism is shown. (shrink)
In a recent paper on realism and pragmatism published in this journal, Osmo Kivinen and Tero Piiroinen have been pleading for more methodological work in the philosophy of the social sciences—refining the conceptual tools of social scientists—and less philosophically ontological theories. Following this de-ontologizing approach, we scrutinize the debates on social explanation and contribute to the development of a pragmatic social science methodology. Analyzing four classic debates concerning explanation in the social sciences, we propose to shift the debate away from (...) (a) the ontologizing defenses of forms of social explanation, and (b) a winner-takes-all-approach. Instead, we advocate (c) a pragmatic approach towards social explanation, elaborating a rigorous framework for explanatory pluralism detached from the debates on social ontology. (shrink)
In a 2008 paper, Walmsley argued that the explanations employed in the dynamical approach to cognitive science, as exemplified by the Haken, Kelso and Bunz model of rhythmic finger movement, and the model of infant preservative reaching developed by Esther Thelen and her colleagues, conform to Carl Hempel and Paul Oppenheim’s deductive-nomological model of explanation (also known as the covering law model). Although we think Walmsley’s approach is methodologically sound in that it starts with an analysis of scientific practice rather (...) than a general philosophical framework, we nevertheless feel that there are two problems with his paper. First, he focuses only on the deductivenomological model and so neglects the important fact that explanations are causal. Second, the explanations offered by the dynamical approach do not take the deductive-nomological format, because they do not deduce the explananda from exceptionless laws. Because of these two points, Walmsley makes the dynamical explanations in cognitive science appear problematic, while in fact they are not. (shrink)
This paper outlines some of the new epistemological and ontological assumptions of contemporary technoscience thereby reframing the question of an epochal break. Important aspects are the question of a new techno-rationality, but also the constitution of a âNew World Order Inc.â, with its new âpolitics of life itselfâ, the reconfiguration of categories such as race, class and gender in technoscience, as well as the amalgamation of everyday life, technoscience and culture. Given the difficulties of âprovingâ a new episteme (or even (...) epoch), I change perspective by reflecting on the epistemological vantage point from which the interpretation of technoscience as a new episteme or epoch becomes (im)plausibleâconfronting traditional approaches of philosophy and history of science and technology assessment (TA) with interventional approaches, such as postcolonial and feminist cultural studies of technoscience. (shrink)
The autocell proposal for the emergence of life and natural selection through the interaction of two reciprocally coupled self-organizing processes specifically provides a protein-first model for the origin of life that can be explored by computer simulations and experiment. Beyond the specific proposal it can be considered more generally as a thought experiment in which the principles deduced for the autocell could apply to other possible detailed chemical scenarios of catalytic polymers and protometabolism, including living systems emerging within membranelike barriers. (...) The autocell model allows for the analysis of the emergence of not only agency and purpose but also of interpretation and semiosis as true living systems arise. (shrink)