The paper provides some introductory comments and a preliminary translation of Avicenna’s Burhān, IV, 2. I shall first set the stage by outlining the structure of the book (sec. 1). I will then briefly introduce (sec. 2) a number of notions that are dealt with in the first treatise of the Burhān (e.g. definition, description). Burhān, IV, 2 is split into two parts: the first focuses mainly on Aristotle’s An. Post., B, 4, whereas the second covers some of the (...) topics of B, 5 and B, 6. Accordingly, sec. 3 will be devoted to a cursory presentation of Aristotle’s arguments in An. Post., B, 4 along with a more detailed discussion of its Avicennan counterpart, focusing on the indemonstrability of definition; sec. 4, finally, will be a presentation of the second part of the chapter, concerning the relationship between definition and division. An English translation of the entire chapter is appended to the paper and is accompanied by some notes. (shrink)
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become indispensable in modern business discourse; yet identifying and defining what CSR means is open to contest. Although such contestation is not uncommon with concepts found in the social sciences, for CSR it presents some difficulty for theoretical and empirical analysis, especially with regards to verifying that diverse application of the concept is consistent or concomitant. On the other hand, it seems unfeasible that the diversity of issues addressed under the CSR umbrella would yield to (...) a singular universal definition. Gallie, an eminent philosophical scholar, proposed the essentially contested concepts (ECC) theory in 1956 to address concepts that by their very nature engender perpetual disputes. He pointed out that there are certain concepts which by their very nature are inevitably contested and prescribed seven criteria for evaluating such concepts. This article examines these criteria to discover if CSR is an essentially contested concept and in that case, to construe if such a change in perception will resolve the definitional crisis. The analysis suggests that CSR is an ECC and this explains the potential for several conceptions of CSR, however, it does not totally obviate the need for a definition of its core or common reference point, if only to ensure that the contestants are dealing with an identical subject matter. (shrink)
In Boghossian's 1997 paper, 'Analyticity' he presented an account of a prioriknowledge of basic logical principles as available by inference from knowledge of their role in determining the meaning of the logical constants by implicit definitiontogether with knowledge of the meanings so-determined that we possess through ourprivileged access to meaning. Some commentators (e.g. BonJour (1998), Glüer (2003),Jenkins (2008)) have objected that if the thesis of implicit definition on which he relieswere true, knowledge of the meaning of the constants would (...) presuppose knowledge of the very logical principles knowledge of which the account purports to explain. Aconsequence would seem to be that implicit definition is incompatible with privilegedaccess. I argue that whilst it is possible for Boghossian to defend against theseobjections the form of argument he proposes does exhibit a subtle form of questionbegging such that it exhibits a transmission of warrant-failure. (shrink)
Socrates' greatest philosophical contribution was to have initiated the search for definitions. In Definition in Greek Philosophy his views on definition are examined, together with those of his successors, including Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Galen, the Sceptics and Plotinus. Although definition was a major pre-occupation for many Greek philosophers, it has rarely been treated as a separate topic in its own right in recent years. This volume, which contains fourteen new essays by leading scholars, aims to reawaken (...) interest in a number of central and relatively unexplored issues concerning definition. These issues are briefly set out in the Introduction, which also seeks to point out scholarly and philosophical questions which merit further study. (shrink)
Several scholars have argued that Wittgenstein held the view that the notion of number is presupposed by the notion of one-one correlation, and that therefore Hume's principle is not a sound basis for a definition of number. I offer a new interpretation of the relevant fragments on philosophy of mathematics from Wittgenstein's Nachlass, showing that if different uses of ‘presupposition’ are understood in terms of de re and de dicto knowledge, Wittgenstein's argument against the Frege-Russell definition of number (...) turns out to be valid on its own terms, even though it depends on two epistemological principles logicist philosophers of mathematics may find too ‘constructivist’. (shrink)
According to the standard view of definition, all defined terms are mere stipulations, based on a small set of primitive terms. After a brief review of the Hilbert-Frege debate, this paper goes on to challenge the standard view in a number of ways. Examples from graph theory, for example, suggest that some key definitions stem from the way graphs are presented diagramatically and do not fit the standard view. Lakatos's account is also discussed, since he provides further examples that (...) suggest many definitions are much more than mere convenient abbreviations. (shrink)
Decades of empirical and theoretical research has produced an extensive literature on the ethical judgments construct. Given its importance to understanding people’s ethical choices, future research should explore the psychological processes that produce ethical judgments. In this paper, the authors discuss two steps needed to advance this effort. First, they note that the business ethics literature lacks a single, generally accepted definition of ethical judgments. After reviewing several extant definitions, the authors offer a definition of the construct and (...) discuss its advantages. Second, future ethical judgment research would benefit from greater integration between theories of ethical decision making and theories of social cognition. Drawing upon the Hunt–Vitell ( Journal of Macromarketing 6 (Spring), 5–15, 1986 ; In: N. C. Smith and J. A. Quelch (eds.), Ethics in Marketing . Irwin, Homewood, IL, pp. 775–784, 1992 ) model and the heuristic-systematic model (Chaiken, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39 (November), 752–766, 1980 ), the authors present a brief research agenda intended to stimulate research on the psychological processes behind ethical judgments. (shrink)
For the sake of developing and evaluating public policy decisions aimed at combating terrorism, we need a precise public definition of terrorism that distinguishes terrorism from other forms of violence. Ordinary usage does not provide a basis for such a definition, and so it must be stipulative. I propose essentially pragmatic criteria for developing such a stipulative public definition. After noting that definitions previously proposed in the philosophical literature are inadequate based on these criteria, I propose an (...) alternative, which I call the 'group-target' definition and which distinguishes terrorism from other forms of violence by the distinctive principle of discrimination used by terrorists to identify legitimate targets. I argue that this definition meets the criteria for a satisfactory public definition, and suggest that based on it there is good reason to suspect the adequacy of anti-terrorism policies that rely predominantly on forceful interdiction of terrorists. (shrink)
Gilmore proposes a new definition of ‘dead’ in response to Fred Feldman’s earlier definition in terms of ‘lives’ and ‘dies.’ In this paper, I critically examine Gilmore’s new definition. First, I explain what his definition is and how it is an improvement upon Feldman’s definition. Second, I raise an objection to it by noting that it fails to rule out the possibility of a thing that dies without becoming dead.
In this paper the role of incomprehensibility in the conceptualization of the DSM-IV definition of delusion is discussed. According to the analysis, the conceptual dependence of DSM-IV definition of delusion on incomprehensibility is manifested in several ways and infested with ambiguity. Definition of bizarre delusions is contradictory and gives room for two incompatible readings. Also the definition of delusion manifests internal inconsistencies and its tendency to account for delusions in terms of misinterpretation is bound to miss (...) the content of the traditional comprehension of delusionality. It is suggested that the ambiguities in defining delusions has to do with the question whether psychiatric practice is better accounted for in terms of the grammar of incorrectness or of incomprehensibility. (shrink)
The comments focus on a presumed circular reasoning in the operator hierarchy and the necessity of understanding life’s origin for defining life. Below it is shown that its layered structure prevents the operator hierarchy from circular definitions. It is argued that the origin of life is an insufficient basis for a definition of life that includes multicellular and neural network organisms.
This article attempts to explore ancient Chinese philosophical thought by analyzing how pioneering Chinese thinkers made judgments and inferences, and compares it to ancient Greek philosophy. It first addresses the starting-point and the object of cognition in Chinese ancient philosophy, then analyses how early thinkers construed definition and proposition, and finally discusses how they made inferences on the basis of definition and proposition. It points out that categorization is an important methodology in ancient Chinese philosophy, and that rectification (...) of names and the doctrine of the mean are key criteria in making judgments. (shrink)
Schrödinger's definition of life needs a slight modification to absorb the criticism of it. It is the comparison of the entropy level of a system before and after a process which makes one view it as living: we consider the stability of the deviation from the probable a sign of life. This explains why we do not hesitate to consider as remnants of living systems skeletons and fossils anywhere and physical culture on any archeological site.
What is the definition of life? Artificial life environments provide an interesting test case for this classical question. Understanding what such systems can tell us about biological life requires negotiating the tricky conceptual boundary between virtual and real life forms. Drawing from Wittgenstein’s analysis of the concept of a game and a Darwinian insight about classification, I argue that classifying life involves both causal and pragmatic elements. Rather than searching for a single, sharp definition, these considerations suggest that (...) life is a cluster concept with fuzzy boundaries and that there are multiple legitimate ways to make the notion precise for different scientific purposes. This pluralist, realist account avoids unnecessary border disputes by emphasizing how science negotiates such questions in relation to theory and evidence. I also discuss several objections to this approach, including a “moral hesitation” some have to allowing broader application of the concept of life to include artificial life. (shrink)
Abstract: The optimum definition of the term "genocide" has been hotly contested almost since the term was coined. Definitional boundaries determine which acts are covered and excluded and thus to a great extent which cases will benefit from international attention, intervention, prosecution, and reparation. The extensive legal, political, and scholarly discussions prior to this article have typically (1) assumed "genocide" to be a fixed social object and attempted to define it as precisely as possible or (2) assumed the need (...) for a fixed convention and sought to stipulate the range of events that should be denoted by the term. Even if its meaning is a matter of convention, however, "genocide" is not a fixed object but varies by context and evolves in methods and forms over time. In fact, as relevant laws, legal interpretations, and political commitments develop, so do would-be perpetrators modify what genocide is in order to avoid political and legal consequences. This article advances an approach to a definition of "genocide" that allows even legal definitions to keep pace with this evolutionary process. (shrink)
Richard Wollheim threatened George Dickie's institutional definition of art with a dilemma which entailed that the theory is either redundant or incomprehensible and useless. This article modifies the definition to avoid such criticism. First, it shows that the definition's concept of the artworld is not vague when understood as a conventional system of beliefs and practices. Then, based on Gaut's cluster theory, it provides an account of reasons artworld members have to confer the status of a candidate (...) for appreciation. An authorised member of an artworld has a good reason to confer the status on an object if it satisfies a subset of criteria respected as sufficient within this artworld. The first horn of the dilemma is averted because explaining the reasons behind conferral cannot eliminate references to the institution, and the second loses its sharpness, as accepting partial arbitrariness of the conferral does not deprive the theory of its explanatory power. (shrink)
The Idea behind Tarski's Definition of Truth. In Tarski's presentations of his truth-definition, the steps of the construction are not sufficiently explained. It is not clear, on what general strategy the construction is based, what the fundamental ideas are, how some crucial steps work, and especially how the transition from the definition of satisfaction to the definition of truth should be understood. The paper shows that the account given in the model-theoretic literature, which is supported by (...) Tarski's lemmata A and B, is unsatisfactory, because Tarski's notion of truth can't be interpreted as ‘truth independent of the assignment of values to the variables’. Moreover, a satisfactory account of all the crucial steps is given. (shrink)
The Office of Research Integrity found in 2011 that Vipul Bhrigu, a postdoctoral researcher who sabotaged a colleague’s research materials, was guilty of misconduct. However, I argue that this judgment is ill-considered and sets a problematic precedent for future cases. I first discuss the current federal definition of research misconduct and representative cases of research misconduct. Then, because this case recalls a debate from the 1990s over what the definition of “research misconduct” ought to be, I briefly recapitulate (...) that history and reconsider the Bhrigu case in light of that history and in comparison to other cases involving tampering. Finally, I consider what the aim of a definition of research misconduct ought to be, and argue that the precedent set by the reasoning in this case is problematic. (shrink)
The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees embody fundamental provisions of refugee law. However, since the adoption of these documents the world has changed dramatically and the laws are not developing fast enough in order to catch up with dynamically changing contemporary situations. The application and interpretation of definition of a refugee was developed through traditional practice of Western states, which was influenced by two world wars and (...) the Cold War, when refugees from Africa or Asia were uncommon. The Qualification Directive specifically aims at ensuring that the member states apply common qualification criteria for persons who need international protection in line with the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The author supports the statement that the Qualification Directive in principle aims at bringing back under the definition of refugee those, who have been left outside of its scope during the last decades as a result of the restrictive interpretation and application of the definition of refugee. (shrink)
Internal protection alternative (further—IPA) as the element of refugee definition is interpreted very differently in the practice of the State Parties to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (further—Geneva Convention). Thus it is important to regulate this concept clearly in the EC directive 2004/83/EB (further—Qualification directive) and its coming amendments. The definition of the IPA concept does not contain adequate criteria for assessing the level and effectiveness of protection required, in line (...) with the Geneva Convention and the ECHR, thus allowing Member States to reject claims and return applicants to their country of origin despite the lack of effective protection. Moreover, this concept is defined in a broad and vague manner which creates a risk of diverse recognition practices. (shrink)
The recent redefinition of 'planet' that excludes Pluto as a planet led to controversy that provides a case study of how competing scientific definitions can be supported by characteristic types of evidence. An argumentation scheme from Hastings is used to analyze argument from verbal classification as a form of inference used in rational argumentation. The Toulmin-style format is compared to more recently developed ways of modeling such cases that stem from advances in argumentation technology in artificial intelligence. Using these tools, (...) it is shown how argumentation schemes, in particular argument from verbal classification and argument from definition to verbal classification, apply to cases of scientific argumentation. (shrink)
In several disciplines within science—evolutionary biology, molecular biology, astrobiology, synthetic biology, artificial life—and outside science—primarily ethics—efforts to define life have recently multiplied. However, no consensus has emerged. In this article, I argue that this is no accident. I propose a dilemma showing that the project of defining life is either impossible or pointless. The notion of life at stake in this project is either the folk concept of life or a scientific concept. In the former case, empirical evidence shows that (...) life cannot be defined. In the latter case, I argue that, although defining life may be possible, it is pointless. I conclude that scientists, philosophers, and ethicists should discard the project of defining life. (shrink)
According to David Charles, in the Meno Socrates fleetingly distinguishes the signification from the essence question, but, in the end, he conflates them. Doing so, Charles thinks, both leads to Meno's paradox and prevents Socrates from answering it satisfactorily. I argue that Socrates doesn't conflate the two questions, and that his reply to Meno's paradox is more satisfactory than Charles allows.
Social play is naturally characterized in intentional terms. An evolutionary account of social play could help scientists to understand the evolution of cognition and intentionality. Alexander Rosenberg (1990) has argued that if play is characterized intentionally or functionally, it is not a behavioral phenotype suitable for evolutionary explanation. If he is right, his arguments would threaten many projects in cognitive ethology. We argue that Rosenberg's arguments are unsound and that intentionally and functionally characterized phenotypes are a proper domain for ethological (...) investigation. (shrink)
Kant claims that the nominal definition of truth is: “Truth is the agreement of cognition with its object”. In this paper, I analyse the relevant features of Kant's theory of definition in order to explain the meaning of that claim and its consequences for the vexed question of whether Kant endorses or rejects a correspondence theory of truth. I conclude that Kant's claim implies neither that he holds, nor that he rejects, a correspondence theory of truth. Kant's claim (...) is not a generic way of setting aside a correspondence definition of truth, or of considering it uninformative. Being the nominal definition of truth, the formula “truth is the agreement of cognition with its object” illustrates the meaning of the predicate “is true” and people's ordinary conception of truth. True judgements correspond to the objects they are about. However, there could be more to the property of truth than correspondence. (shrink)
A fundamental problem in artificial intelligence is that nobody really knows what intelligence is. The problem is especially acute when we need to consider artificial systems which are significantly different to humans. In this paper we approach this problem in the following way: we take a number of well known informal definitions of human intelligence that have been given by experts, and extract their essential features. These are then mathematically formalised to produce a general measure of intelligence for arbitrary machines. (...) We believe that this equation formally captures the concept of machine intelligence in the broadest reasonable sense. We then show how this formal definition is related to the theory of universal optimal learning agents. Finally, we survey the many other tests and definitions of intelligence that have been proposed for machines. (shrink)
The central argument in the Euthyphro is the one Socrates advances against the definition of piety as "what all the gods love." The argument turns on establishing that a loved thing (philoumenon) is 1) a loved thing because it is loved (phileitai), not 2) loved because it is a loved thing. I suggest that this claim can be understood and found acceptable if we take "because" to be used equivocally in it. Despite the equivocation, Socrates' argument is valid, showing (...) that Euthyphro cannot offer this definition consistently with his view that the gods have as a reason for loving pious things that they are pious things. (shrink)
Whistleblowing has been defined often and in differing ways in the literature. This paper has as its main purposes to clarify the meaning of whistleblowing and to speak for a narrow interpretation of it. A restrictive, general purpose definition is provided which contains six necessary elements: act of disclosure, actor, disclosure subject, target, disclosure recipient, and outcome.Whistleblowing is characterised as a dissenting act of public accusation against an organisation which necessitates being disloyal to that organisation. The definition differs (...) from others in many ways but especially by its emphasis on dissent, by being based on the ethical dilemma of conflicting loyalties, and by the strict way that dilemma is formulated in terms of confidentiality and proprietary rights over information. These features result in a definition in which motive has no part, and which requires a free choice decision to make disclosure to an external party. (shrink)
I defend Kant’s definition of analyticity in terms of concept “containment”, which has engendered widespread scepticism. Kant deployed a clear, technical notion of containment based on ideas standard within traditional logic, notably genus/species hierarchies formed via logical division. Kant’s analytic/synthetic distinction thereby undermines the logico-metaphysical system of Christian Wolff, showing that the Wolffian paradigm lacks the expressive power even to represent essential knowledge, including elementary mathematics, and so cannot provide an adequate system of philosophy. The results clarify the extent (...) to which analyticity sensu Kant can illuminate the problem of a priori knowledge generally. (shrink)
In the history of philosophy, especially its recent history, a number of definitions of necessity have been ventured. Most people, however, find these definitions either circular or subject to counterexamples. I will show that, given a broadly Fregean conception of properties, necessity does indeed have a noncircular counterexample-free definition.
The discovery that the universe is fine-tuned for life ? a discovery to which the phrase ?the anthropic principle? is often applied ? has prompted much extra-cosmic speculation by philosophers, theologians, and theoretical physicists. Such speculation is referred to as extra-cosmic because an inference is made to the existence either of one unobservable entity that is distinct from the cosmos and any of its parts (God) or of many such entities (multiple universes). In this article a case is mounted for (...) the sceptical position that cosmic fine-tuning does not support an inference to anything extra-cosmic. To that end three definitions of ?fine-tuned for life? are proposed: the ?slight difference? definition, the (unconditional) probability definition, and John Leslie?s conditional probability definition. These three definitions are the only ones suggested by the relevant literature on fine-tuning and the anthropic principle. Since on none of them do claims of fine-tuning warrant an inference to something extracosmic, it is concluded that there is no definition of ?fine-tuned for life? serving this function. (shrink)
People see five kinds of views in epistemology and ontology as hinging on there being words a person can learn only by private ostensive definitions, through direct acquaintance with his own sensations: skepticism about other minds, 2. skepticism about an external world, 3. foundationalism, 4. dualism, and 5. phenomenalism. People think Wittgenstein refuted these views by showing, they believe, no word is learnable only by private ostensive definition. I defend these five views from Wittgenstein’s attack.
The paper begins with a defence of a new definition of privacy as the absence of undocumented personal knowledge. In the middle section, I criticise alternative accounts of privacy. Finally, I show how my definition can be worked into contemporary American Law.
Paul Boghossian advocates a version of the analytic theory of a priori knowledge. His defense of an "epistemic" notion of analyticity is based on an implicit definition account ofthe meaning of the logical constants. Boghossian underestimates the power of the classical Quinean criticisms, however; the challenge to substantiate the distinction between empirical and non-empirical sentences, as forcefully presented in Two Dogmas, still stands, and the regress from Truth by Convention still needs to be avoided. Here, Quine also showed that (...) there are no implicit definers for the logical constants. Moreover, even if they existed, their epistemic analyticity would, on Boghossian's own account, be doubtful. (shrink)
The paper argues that the theory of Implicit Definition cannot give an account of knowledge of logical principles. According to this theory, the meanings of certain expressions are determined such that they make certain principles containing them true; this is supposed to explain our knowledge of the principles as derived from our knowledge of what the expressions mean. The paper argues that this explanation succeeds only if Implicit Definition can account for our understanding of the logical constants, and (...) that fully understanding a logical constant in turn requires the ability to apply it correctly in particular cases. It is shown, however, that Implicit Definition cannot account for this ability, even if it draws on introduction rules for the logical constants. In particular, Implicit Definition cannot account for our ability to apply negation in particular cases. Owing to constraints relating to the unique characterisation of logical constants, invoking the notion of rejection does not remedy the situation. Given its failure to explain knowledge of logic, the prospects of Implicit Definition to explain other kinds of a priori knowledge are even worse. (shrink)
Self-awareness represents the capacity of becoming the object of one’s own attention. In this state one actively identifies, processes, and stores information about the self. This paper surveys the self-awareness literature by emphasizing definition issues, measurement techniques, effects and functions of self-attention, and antecedents of self-awareness. Key self-related concepts (e.g., minimal, reflective consciousness) are distinguished from the central notion of self-awareness. Reviewed measures include questionnaires, implicit tasks, and self-recognition. Main effects and functions of self-attention consist in selfevaluation, escape from (...) the self, amplification of one's subjective experience, increased self-knowledge, self-regulation, and inferences about others' mental states (Theory-of-Mind). A neurocognitive and socioecological model of self-awareness is described in which the role of face-to-face interactions, reflected appraisals, mirrors, media, inner speech, imagery, autobiographical knowledge, and neurological structures is underlined. (shrink)