According to the “internal” conception (Quong), political liberalism aims to be publicly justifiable only to people who are reasonable in a special sense specified and advocated by political liberalism itself. One advantage of the internal conception allegedly is that it enables liberalism to avoid perfectionism. The paper takes issue with this view. It argues that once the internal conception is duly pitched at its fundamental, metatheoretical level and placed in its proper discursive context, it emerges that it comes at the (...) cost of public dogma. The paper examines this problem and argues that a plausible response to this problem is to go beyond the internal conception and adopt a more inclusive, dynamic conception. But this calls for a form of perfectionism. Thus, the internal conception of political liberalism, far from showing how liberalism can be had without perfectionism, effectively calls for perfectionism as a remedy for its problems. (shrink)
Is the assumption of a fundamental distinction between particulars and universals another unsupported dogma of metaphysics? F. P. Ramsey famously rejected the particular–universal distinction but neglected to consider the many different conceptions of the distinction that have been advanced. As a contribution to the (inevitably) piecemeal investigation of this issue three interrelated conceptions of the particular–universal distinction are examined: (i) universals, by contrast to particulars, are unigrade; (ii) particulars are related to universals by an asymmetric tie of exemplification; (iii) (...) universals are incomplete whereas particulars are complete. It is argued that these conceptions are wanting in several respects. Sometimes they fail to mark a significant division amongst entities. Sometimes they make substantial demands upon the shape of reality; once these demands are understood aright it is no longer obvious that the distinction merits our acceptance. The case is made via a discussion of the possibility of multigrade universals. (shrink)
This paper is a reexamination of Two Dogmas in the light of Quine's ongoing debate with Carnap over analyticity. It shows, first, that analytic is a technical term within Carnap's epistemology. As such it is intelligible, and Carnap's position can meet Quine's objections. Second, it shows that the core of Quine's objection is that he (Quine) has an alternative epistemology to advance, one which appears to make no room for analyticity. Finally, the paper shows that Quine's alternative epistemology is (...) itself open to very serious objections. Quine is not thereby refuted, but neither can Carnap's analyticity be dismissed as dogma. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss a certain kind of 'type confusion' which involves use of expressions of the wrong grammatical category, as in the string 'runs eats'. It is (nearly) universally accepted that such strings are meaningless. My purpose in this paper is to question this widespread assumption (or as I call it, 'the last dogma'). I discuss a range of putative reasons for accepting the last dogma: in §II, semantic and metaphysical reasons; in §III, logical reasons; and (...) in §IV, syntactic reasons. I argue that none of these reasons is conclusive, and that consequently we should be willing to question this last dogma of type confusions. (shrink)
The decision to get married, as well as choosing whom to marry, is of the utmost importance to most people. This decision consists of many amoral considerations, but an ethical relationship arises when a promise is made, especially a vow that binds for a lifetime and affects oneself, one’s spouse, one’s children, and society. This essay provides an account of ideal romantic marriage, arguing that John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty provides an excellent foundation for constructing such an account. Neither dead (...)dogma nor living truth is a healthy model for marriage, so a hybrid model of marriage, living dogma, is developed. The importance of the marital vow becomes apparent as the living dogma account is revealed, and this examination yields a model for how to decide when and whom to marry. (shrink)
In this paper I provide a metatheoretical analysis of speech perception research. I argue that the central turning point in the history of speech perception research has not been well understood. While it is widely thought to mark a decisive break with what I call "the alphabetic conception of speech," I argue that it instead marks the entrenchment of this conception of speech. In addition, I argue that the alphabetic conception of speech continues to underwrite speech perception research today and (...) moreover that it functions as a dogma which ought to be rejected. (shrink)
Since the 1930s, scientists studying the neurological disease scrapie had assumed that the infectious agent was a virus. By the mid 1960s, however, several unconventional properties had arisen that were difficult to reconcile with the standard viral model. Evidence for nucleic acid within the pathogen was lacking, and some researchers considered the possibility that the infectious agent consisted solely of protein. In 1982, Stanley Prusiner coined the term `prion' to emphasize the agent's proteinaceous nature. This infectious protein hypothesis was denounced (...) by many scientists as `heretical'.This essay asks why the concept of an infectious protein was considered controversial. Some biologists justified their evaluation of this hypothesis on the grounds that an infectious protein contradicted the `central dogma of molecular biology'. Others referred to vague theoretical constraints such as molecular biology's `theoretical structure' or `framework'. Examination of the objections raised by researchers reveals exactly what generalizations were being challenged by a protein model of infection.This two-part survey of scrapie and prion research reaches several conclusions: (1) A theoretical framework is present in molecular biology, exerting its influence in hypothesis formation and evaluation; (2) This framework consists of several related, yet separable, generalizations or `elements', including Francis Crick's Central Dogma and Sequence Hypothesis, plus notions concerning infection, replication, protein synthesis, and protein folding; (3) The term `central dogma' has stretched beyond Crick's original 1958 definition to encompass at least two other `framework elements': replication and protein synthesis; and (4) From the study of scrapie and related diseases, biological information has been delineated into at least two classes: sequential and what I call `conformational'.In Part I of this essay, a brief review of the central dogma, as outlined by both Francis Crick and James Watson, will be given. The developments in scrapie research from 1965 to 1972 will then be traced. This section will summarize many of the puzzling, non-viral-like properties of the scrapie agent. Alternative hypotheses to the viral explanation will also be presented, including early versions of a protein-only hypothesis. Part II of this essay will follow the developments in scrapie and prion research from the mid 1970s through 1991. The growing prominence of a protein-only model of infection will be balanced by continued objections from many researchers to a pathogen devoid of nucleic acid. These objections will help illuminate those generalizations in molecular biology that were indeed challenged by a protein-only model of infection. (shrink)
An assessment is offered of the recent debate on information in the philosophy of biology, and an analysis is provided of the notion of information as applied in scientific practice in molecular genetics. In particular, this paper deals with the dependence of basic generalizations of molecular biology, above all the ‘central dogma’, on the so-called ‘informational talk’ (Maynard Smith [2000a]). It is argued that talk of information in the ‘central dogma’ can be reduced to causal claims. In that (...) respect, the primary aim of the paper is to consider a solution to the major difficulty of the causal interpretation of genetic information: how to distinguish the privileged causal role assigned to nucleic acids, DNA in particular, in the processes of replication and protein production. A close reading is proposed of Francis H. C. Crick's On Protein Synthesis (1958) and related works, to which we owe the first explicit definition of information within the scientific practice of molecular biology. Introduction 1.1 The basic questions of the information debate 1.2 The causal interpretation (CI) of biological information and Crick's ‘central dogma’ Crick's definitions of genetic information The main requirement for (CI) Types of causation in molecular biology 4.1 Structural causation in molecular biology 4.2 Nucleic acids as correlative causal factors The ‘central dogma’ without the notion of information Concluding remarks This is a new version of this article as there were errors in the abstract and full text in the previous version. (shrink)
I present a reconstruction of F.H.C. Crick's two 1957 hypotheses "Sequence Hypothesis" and "Central Dogma" in terms of a contemporary philosophical theory of causation. Analyzing in particular the experimental evidence that Crick cited, I argue that these hypotheses can be understood as claims about the actual difference-making cause in protein synthesis. As these hypotheses are only true if restricted to certain nucleic acids in certain organisms, I then examine the concept of causal specificity and its potential to counter claims (...) about causal parity of DNA and other cellular components. I first show that causal specificity is a special kind of invariance under interventions, namely invariance of generalizations that range over finite sets of discrete variables. Then, I show that this notion allows the articulation of a middle ground in the debate over causal parity. (shrink)
An assessment is offered of the recent debate on information in the philosophy of biology, and an analysis is provided of the notion of information as applied in scientific practice in molecular genetics. In particular, this paper deals with the dependence of basic generalizations of molecular biology, above all the 'central dogma', on the socalled 'informational talk' (Maynard Smith [2000a]). It is argued that talk of information in the 'central dogma' can be reduced to causal claims. In that (...) respect, the primary aim of the paper is to consider a solution to the major difficulty of the causal interpretation of genetic information: how to distinguish the privileged causal role assigned to nucleic acids, DNA in particular, in the processes of replication and protein production. A close reading is proposed of Francis H. C. Crick's On Protein Synthesis () and related works, to which we owe the first explicit definition of information within the scientific practice of molecular biology. (shrink)
Has the emergence of post-positivism in philosophy of science changed the terms of the “is/ought“ dichotomy? If it has demonstrated convincingly that there are no “facts“ apart from the theoretical frames and evaluative standards constructing them, can such a cordon sanitaire really be upheld between “facts“ and values? The point I wish to stress is that philosophy of science has had a central role in constituting and imposing the fact/value dichotomy and a revolution in the philosophy of science should not (...) leave the dichotomy unaffected. The connection between post-positivism and naturalism will be my guiding thread in considering this “last dogma of positivism.“ First this essay will specify the sense of naturalism that it will take to be essential to the post-positivist philosophy of science: the deflation of the notion of the “purity“ of scientific knowledge. Then it will turn to the question of the implications that follow for the “autonomy“ of ethics, including the danger posed by a new form of scientistic reductionism. (shrink)
Genes are thought to have evolved from long-lived and multiply-interactive molecules in the early stages of the origins of life. However, at that stage there were no replicators, and the distinction between interactors and replicators did not yet apply. Nevertheless, the process of evolution that proceeded from initial autocatalytic hypercycles to full organisms was a Darwinian process of selection of favourable variants. We distinguish therefore between Neo-Darwinian evolution and the related Weismannian and Central Dogma divisions, on the one hand, (...) and the more generic category of Darwinian evolution on the other. We argue that Hull’s and Dawkins’ replicator/interactor distinction of entities is a sufficient, but not necessary, condition for Darwinian evolution to take place. We conceive the origin of genes as a separation between different types of molecules in a thermodynamic state space, and employ a notion of reproducers. (shrink)
Philosophers have alleged that paraphrases of metaphors are inadequate. They have presented this inadequacy as a datum predicted by, and thus a reason to accept, particular accounts of ‘metaphorical meanings.’ But to what, specifically, does this inadequacy claim amount? I argue that, if this assumption is to have any bearing on the metaphor debate, it must be construed as the comparative claim that paraphrases of metaphors are inadequate compared to paraphrases of literal utterances. But the evidence philosophers have offered does (...) not support the comparative inadequacy of paraphrases of metaphors. I offer my own empirical evidence against the inadequacy assumption. (shrink)
In “Against Arguments from Reference” (Mallon et al., 2009), Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols, and Stephen Stich (hereafter, MMNS) argue that recent experiments concerning reference undermine various philosophical arguments that presuppose the correctness of the causal-historical theory of reference. We will argue three things in reply. First, the experiments in question—concerning Kripke’s Gödel/Schmidt example—don’t really speak to the dispute between descriptivism and the causal-historical theory; though the two theories are empirically testable, we need to look at quite different data (...) than MMNS do to decide between them. Second, the Gödel/Schmidt example plays a different, and much smaller, role in Kripke’s argument for the causal-historical theory than MMNS assume. Finally, and relatedly, even if Kripke is wrong about the Gödel/Schmidt example—indeed, even if the causal-historical theory is not the correct theory of names for some human languages—that does not, contrary to MMNS’s claim, undermine uses of the causalhistorical theory in philosophical research projects. (shrink)
Current epistemological orthodoxy has it that knowledge is incompatible with luck. More precisely: Knowledge is incompatible with epistemic luck (of a certain, interesting kind). This is often treated as a truism which is not even in need of argumentative support. In this paper, I argue that there is lucky knowledge. In the first part, I use an intuitive and not very developed notion of luck to show that there are cases of knowledge which are “lucky” in that sense. In the (...) second part, I look at philosophical conceptions of luck (modal and probabilistic ones) and come to the conclusion that knowledge can be lucky in those senses, too. I also turns out that a probabilistic notion of luck can help us see in what ways a particular piece of knowledge or belief can be lucky or not lucky. (shrink)
This essay reconsiders Davidson’s critical attribution of the scheme–content distinction to Quine’s naturalized epistemology. It focuses on Davidson’s complaint that the presence of this distinction leads Quine to mistakenly construe neural input as evidence. While committed to this distinction, Quine’s epistemology does not attempt to locate a justificatory foundation in sensory experience and does not then equate neural intake with evidence. Quine’s central epistemological task is an explanatory one that attempts to scientifically clarify the route from stimulus to science. Davidson’s (...) critical remarks wrongly assign concerns to Quine’s view that it does not have and further obscures the status of his naturalized conception of epistemology. (shrink)
Should a theory of meaning state what sentences mean, and can a Davidsonian theory of meaning in particular do so? Max Kölbel answers both questions affirmatively. I argue, however, that the phenomena of non-homophony, non-truth-conditional aspects of meaning, semantic mood, and context-sensitivity provide prima facie obstacles for extending Davidsonian truth-theories to yield meaning-stating theorems. Assessing some natural moves in reply requires a more fully developed conception of the task of such theories than Kölbel provides. A more developed conception is also (...) required to defend his positive answer to the first question above. I argue that, however Kölbel might elaborate his position, it can’t be by embracing the sort of cognitivist account of Davidsonian semantics to which he sometimes alludes. (shrink)
Environmental revelationism is the view that there are preferred means of knowing the value and structure of nature, and these means are characterized by experiences of awe or ceremonial feelings of reverence. This paper outlines the dogmatic consequences of this view.
Church's and Turing's theses dogmatically assert that an informal notion of effective calculability is adequately captured by a particular mathematical concept of computability. I present an analysis of calculability that is embedded in a rich historical and philosophical context, leads to precise concepts, but dispenses with theses.To investigate effective calculability is to analyze symbolic processes that can in principle be carried out by calculators. This is a philosophical lesson we owe to Turing. Drawing on that lesson and recasting work of (...) Gandy, I formulate boundedness and locality conditions for two types of calculators, namely, human computing agents and mechanical computing devices (discrete machines). The distinctive feature of the latter is that they can carry out parallel computations. The analysis leads to axioms for discrete dynamical systems (representing human and machine computations) and allows the reduction of models of these axioms to Turing machines. Cellular automata and a variety of artificial neural nets can be shown to satisfy the axioms for machine computations. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to further our understanding of mechanisms conceived of as ontologically separable from laws. What opportunities are there for a mechanistic perspective to be independent of, or even more fundamental than, a law perspective? Advocates of the mechanistic view often play with the possibility of internal and external reliability, or with the paralleling possibilities of enforcing, counteracting, redirecting, etc., the mechanisms’ power to produce To further this discussion I adopt a trope ontology. It is independent of (...) the notion of law, and can easily be adapted to account for such characteristics of mechanisms. The idea of tropes as mechanisms is worked out in some detail. According to the resulting picture, there is still an opportunity to link mechanisms and laws. But while the predominant law view conceives of mechanistic approaches as special kinds of law accounts, this study indicates that the converse may be true. Law accounts are special cases of mechanistic accounts, and they work only in those worlds where the mechanisms are of the right kind. (shrink)
It is well understood that Wittgenstein defends religious faith against positivistic criticisms on the grounds of its logical independence. But exactly how are we to understand the nature of that independence? Most scholars take Wittgenstein to equate language-games with belief-systems, and thus to assert that religions are logical schemes founded on their own basic beliefs and principles of inference. By contrast, I argue that on Wittgenstein’s view, to have religious faith is to hold fast to a certain picture of the (...) world according to which one orients one’s actions and attitudes, possibly even in dogmatic defiance of contrary evidence. Commitment to such a picture is grounded in passion, not intellection, and systematic coherence is largely irrelevant. (shrink)
One of the major historical effects of Quine’s attacks upon the analytic-synthetic distinction has been to popularise the belief that philosophy is continuous with science. Currently, most philosophers believe that such continuity is an inevitable consequence of naturalism. This article argues that though Quine’s semantic holism does imply that there is no sharp distinction between truths discoverable by scientific investigation and truths discoverable by philosophical investigation, it also implies that there is a perfectly sharp and natural distinction between natural science (...) and naturalistic philosophy. (shrink)
Ever since Gettier 1963 convinced English-speaking philosophers that justified true belief does not suffice for knowledge, many epistemologists have been searching for the elusive “fourth condition” of knowledge: the condition that must be added to justification, truth, and belief, in order to get a set of non-trivial conditions that are individually necessary and jointly sufficient for knowledge.1 The problem of finding such conditions is generally known as the “Gettier problem”. Many different fourth conditions have been proposed and subsequently counterexampled, and (...) some philosophers have suggested that some of the other three conditions may need to be revised as well. But recently, several philosophers have suggested that the Gettier problem is insoluble, and that the theory of knowledge should proceed in a more modest way: not by trying to specify a set of non-trivial conditions that are individually necessary and jointly sufficient for knowledge, but rather by trying to figure out whatever we can about knowledge, and in particular to figure out the role that knowledge, and knowledge ascription, play in our lives. Williamson 2000 has developed an epistemological view that falls within this latter, more modest approach to the theory of knowledge, and his work has been immediately and justly influential. (shrink)
Conceptualism, like any other philosophical doctrine of comparable scope, has both ontological and epistemological aspects. Ontologically, however, conceptualism does not differ significantly from certain forms of nominalism. 1 At its root lies an epistemological thesis: All objects of sensory intuition are localized in space and time. 2 In this paper, I wish to explore some of the consequences of this thesis.
The philosophical ramifications of modern science—physical, biological, and formal and mathematical—figure centrally in Royce's philosophy. Even the most cursory of glances at his corpus reveals a systematic and deep engagement with many of the leading developments in nineteenth-century science, from the nebular hypothesis, or evolution in both its Darwinian and Spencerian forms, to the work of Cantor and Dedekind. It would perhaps not be going too far to suggest that, from his first to last writings, the development of Royce's philosophy (...) is in no small measure driven by an attempt to come to terms with these developments. And yet, while this has received some attention from the scholarly community, it remains an .. (shrink)
This essay addresses the process philosophy of the German fin-de-siècle philosopher and sociologist Georg Simmel. While Simmel’s contribution to sociological process analysis has been widely acknowledged, his more subtle philosophical contributions have largely gone unnoticed. In the essay, Simmel’s philosophical process thinking is discussed by focusing on three themes. The first is what he calls his “relativistic” mode of thinking, a way of considering entities in terms of processes and dynamic relations. The second one is his Lebensphilosophie, lifephilosophy, philosophy that (...) tries to view life as such in its continuous, fluctuating becoming. In the third section, Simmel’s view of philosophy itself as process is discussed. For Simmel, philosophy is not cut up in crystallized notions, systems, or sublime results, but amounts to process. Therefore what philosophy is can be specified only within philosophical practices; philosophy cannot be defined before engaging in the actual practice of doing philosophy. (shrink)
This essay, an analysis of the “Newman-Perrone Paper on Development” (1847), argues that previous studies have inflated the differences between the two thinkers with the result that the significant influence of Newman’s theory of development on Perrone’s theology and, subsequently, on the definition of the Immaculate Conception has been overlooked.
In this paper we purport to qualify the claim, advanced by Appelbaum (1999) that speech perception research, in the last 70 years or so, has endorsed a view on the nature of speech for which no evidence can be adduced and which has resisted falsification through active ad hoc “theoretical repair” carried by speech scientists. We show that the author’s qualms on the putative dogmatic status of speech research are utterly unwarranted, if not misconstrued as a whole. On more general (...) grounds, the present article can be understood as a work on the rather underdeveloped area of the philosophy and history of Linguistics. (shrink)
Summary Some leading ideas of the constructivist protophysics are discussed on the basis of P. Janich's Protophysik der Zeit. After having reviewed the contents of the second edition Janich's claim that analytical philosophy of science is purely affirmative and not critical towards science in its historical appearence is refuted. In the next section the principles of constructivist methodology of physics are criticised, and the claim is refuted that prescriptions for measurement cannot without circularity be shown to be invalid by experimental (...) results. In the last section we discuss Janich's foundation of time measurement in a mathematical frame similar to that for extensive systems. Thus the relation between Janich's and the ordinary account is cleared up. (shrink)
This study charts the development of creed formulation in Judaism from its inception with Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) to the beginning of the 16th century, when systematic attention to the problem disappeared from the agenda of Jewish intellectuals. Kellner describes, analyzes, and compares the dogmatic systems of Maimonides, Duran, Crescas, Albo, Bibago, Abravanel, and many others, and provides English translations of several previously unexamined or untranslated texts.