Several forms of naturalism are currently extant. Proponents of the various approaches disagree on matters of strategy and detail but one theme is common: we have not received any revelations about the nature of the world -- including our own nature. Whatever knowledge we have has been acquired through a fallible process of conjecture and revision. This common theme will bring to mind the writings of Karl Popper and, in many respects, Popper is the father of contemporary naturalism. Along with (...) Popper, the form of naturalism that I would defend is realistic in the following sense: it considers the acquisition of knowledge of the nature of the world to be a pursuable long-term goal of our epistemic activities. (See Brown [1987, 1988, 1990].) Popper's central interest in truth has led him to object to the pervasive concern with concepts among contemporary philosophers. Truth, Popper insists, is the fundamental epistemic concern; propositions are the bearers of truth; and the evaluation of propositions should be at the center of our epistemic focus (e.g., 1965, pp. 18-21; 1972, pp. 123-24). Concern with concepts, Popper maintains, is a distraction. Yet, this leaves us in an odd position. When we study a particular subject matter, one of our main problems is to determine what kinds of entities and processes occur in that domain. But the kinds of entities and processes we attribute to a domain will be captured in the concepts we use for describing that domain and, from a naturalistic point of view, concepts are no more available through revelation than are propositions. As our knowledge develops, we must not only propose and evaluate propositions, we must also propose and evaluate concepts. (shrink)
Properties sometimes attributed to the “particle” aspect of a neutron, e.g., mass and magnetic moment, cannot straightforwardly be regarded in the Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics as localized at the hypothetical position of the particle. This is shown by examining a series of effects in neutron interferometry. A related thought-experiment also provides a variation of a recent demonstration that which-way detectors can appear to behave anomolously in the Bohm theory.
This book adds to the growing literature on thought experiments. There are numerous examples drawn from the sciences and philosophy. The principle claim is that thought experiments are a limiting case of real experiments. It is a moderate empiricist view, in contrast to, e.g., the Platonism of Brown or the strict empiricism of Norton. Highly recommended.
The theory of Brown, Woolhouse and Valdrè (1968) is extended to include the possibility of the nucleation of interface dislocations by prismatic punching and the condensation of point defects. It is shown that neither process can occur spontaneously (i.e. without the introduction of dislocations by another process such as deformation or irradiation) unless the misfit exceeds a critical value, estimated to be 0·05. Furthermore, unless the radius of the precipitate exceeds certain critical values, the processes will not occur because (...) the energy of the system is not thereby lowered. A comparison of the theory with experiment enables limits to be placed on the stress necessary to cause the generation of dislocations in a perfect lattice, and at an incoherent interface. In the former case the generation stress is higher than hitherto supposed; but in the latter case it appears that an incoherent interface behaves as an ideal source of dislocations, in the sense that when the energy of the system can be lowered by their generation, they will be formed. (shrink)
Among multiple legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is the premise that PPACA's “individual mandate” (requiring all individuals to obtain health insurance by 2014 or face civil penalties) is inviolate of Congress' interstate commerce powers because Congress lacks the power to regulate commercial “inactivity.” Several courts initially considering this argument have rejected it, but federal district courts in Virginia and Florida have concurred, leading to numerous appeals and prospective review of the United States Supreme Court. (...) Despite creative arguments, the dispositive constitutional question is not whether Congress' interstate commerce power extends to commercial inactivity. Rather, it is whether Congress may regulate individual decisions with significant economic ramifications in the interests of protecting and promoting the public's health. This article offers a counter-interpretation of the scope of Congress' interstate commerce power to regulate in furtherance of the public's health. (shrink)
Revisionist interpretation of Mill needs to be extended to deal with a residue of puzzles about his moral theory and its connection with his theory of liberty. The upshot shows his reinterpretation of his Benthamite tradition as a form of ‘philosophical utilitarianism’; his definition of the art of morality as collective self-defence; his ignoring of maximization in favour of ad hoc dealing in utilities; the central role of his account of the justice of punishment; the marginal role of the internal (...) sanction in his criterion of moral wrong; his deep respect for common-sense morality; and his restriction of the scope of morality so as to claim for the utilitarian tradition the whole realm of the aesthetics of conduct as part of a general theory of practical reason. (shrink)
In a comparison of the principles of special relativity and of quantum mechanics, the former theory is marked by its relative economy and apparent explanatory simplicity. A number of theorists have thus been led to search for a small number of postulates - essentially information theoretic in nature - that would play the role in quantum mechanics that the relativity principle and the light postulate jointly play in Einstein's 1905 special relativity theory. The purpose of the present paper is to (...) resist this idea, at least in so far as it is supposed to reveal the fundamental form of the theory. It is argued that the methodology of Einstein's 1905 theory represents a victory of pragmatism over explanatory depth; and that its adoption only made sense in the context of the chaotic state state of physics at the start of the 20th century - as Einstein well knew. (shrink)
In mill the principle of utility does not ascribe rightness or wrongness to anything. It governs not just morality but the whole art of life. It says that happiness is the only thing desirable as an end. But the meaning of this formulation is problematic, Since mill's theory of practical reason conceives this desirability as an end as generating reasons for action for all agents in a way implying impartiality between self and others, Whereas in the ordinary sense it does (...) not. This interpretation is supported by detailed textual analysis. (shrink)
Because complex environmental problems are relegated to scientific experts, the ethical questions that are embedded in these problems are often hidden or distorted in scientific and administrative methodology and communication. The administrative process requires that facts and values be separated. Those values that cannot simply be ignored are usually translated into technical economic language and settled in terms of economic costs and benefits. Calls for regulatory reform-i.e., to reduce or eliminate environmental regulation--create additional pressures on analysts that encourage them to (...) focus on quantitative questions at the expense of qualitative ones. Distortion can also result from the use of standard risk assessment procedures and from the improper placement of burden of proof on govemment agencies. The greatest problem, nevertheless, is the narrow scientific training of technical experts which frequently leaves them unprepared to deal with the ethical and value issues in environmental public policy. (shrink)
A categorical, higher dimensional algebra and generalized topos framework for Łukasiewicz–Moisil Algebraic–Logic models of non-linear dynamics in complex functional genomes and cell interactomes is proposed. Łukasiewicz–Moisil Algebraic–Logic models of neural, genetic and neoplastic cell networks, as well as signaling pathways in cells are formulated in terms of non-linear dynamic systems with n-state components that allow for the generalization of previous logical models of both genetic activities and neural networks. An algebraic formulation of variable ‘next-state functions’ is extended to a Łukasiewicz–Moisil (...) Topos with an n-valued Łukasiewicz–Moisil Algebraic Logic subobject classifier description that represents non-random and non-linear network activities as well as their transformations in developmental processes and carcinogenesis. The unification of the theories of organismic sets, molecular sets and Robert Rosen’s (M,R)-systems is also considered here in terms of natural transformations of organismal structures which generate higher dimensional algebras based on consistent axioms, thus avoiding well known logical paradoxes occurring with sets. Quantum bionetworks, such as quantum neural nets and quantum genetic networks, are also discussed and their underlying, non-commutative quantum logics are considered in the context of an emerging Quantum Relational Biology. (shrink)
What motivated British colonialism? What motivated renaissance Florentines to finance their state? Why did Brazilian men find mixed-race women so attractive? What promotes falsity in reports of human affairs? Why did historical-mindedness develop in ancient Greece and China, but not India? When homosexual communities developed, why did gay men pursue sexual strategies so different from those of lesbians? Why does a Heian-period Japanese description of fear of snakes sound so familiar to a Westerner? Why have rebels tended to be youngest (...) rather than eldest siblings? To each of these(and many others) questions, part of the answer lies in specific, identifiable features of human nature. Thus human nature is and should be a substantial concern to anyone trying to understand the past. But human nature is also an object of scientific study. This paper explores a portion of this convergence of humanistic and scientific concerns by outlining and illustrating interrelations between human nature and history. Exploration of the interrelations between history and human nature requires a detailed understanding of what human nature is. And whatever human nature may be, it is a product of human evolution. Accordingly, key concepts in evolutionary psychology are presented to provide theoretical tools for understanding the centerpiece of human nature, the human mind. As much as the study of history may benefit from an understanding of human nature, the study of history and the use of historical materials may also promote the scientific study of human nature. Examples are given and several suggestions are presented to forward this task. Finally, an argument is made for a sort of back engineering in which historical events and conditions are traced to the specific features of human nature that motivated, facilitated, or shaped them. Insofar as this task is achieved, it closes the gap between recorded history and evolutionary history, between the humanities and the sciences. (shrink)
Symmetry-breaking Hopf bifurcation problems arise naturally in studies of pattern formation. These equivariant Hopf bifurcations may generically result in multiple solution branches bifurcating simultaneously from a fully symmetric equilibrium state. The equivariant Hopf bifurcation theorem classifies these solution branches in terms of their symmetries, which may involve a combination of spatial transformations and temporal shifts. In this paper, we exploit these spatio-temporal symmetries to design non-invasive feedback controls to select and stabilize a targeted solution branch, in the event that it (...) bifurcates unstably. The approach is an extension of the Pyragas delayed feedback method, as it was developed for the generic subcritical Hopf bifurcation problem. Restrictions on the types of groups where the proposed method works are given. After addition of the appropriately optimized feedback term, we are able to compute the stability of the targeted solution using standard bifurcation theory, and give an account of the parameter regimes in which stabilization is possible. We conclude by demonstrating our results with a numerical example involving symmetrically coupled identical nonlinear oscillators. (shrink)
J. S. Bell's classic 1966 review paper on the foundations of quantum mechanics led directly to the Bell nonlocality theorem. It is not widely appreciated that the review paper contained the basic ingredients needed for a nonlocality result which holds in certain situations where the Bell inequality is not violated. We present in this paper a systematic formulation and evaluation of an argument due to Stairs in 1983, which establishes a nonlocality result based on the Bell-Kochen-Specker “paradox” in quantum mechanics.
J. Angelo Corlett’s response to Leigh Turner defends the current practice of anonymous refereeing in scholarly journals. In reply to him: a slightly refined proposal for signed referees’ reports, with temporarily blind refereeing, would restore to the process of publication, in philosophy at least, the sense of responsibility for rational debate, cooperation, mutual criticism, and simple courtesy which is expected among colleagues in public academic relations, and would also allow more credit for the difficult task for refereeing. Personal observation of (...) the quality of referees’ reports suggests that a gathering of anecdotal evidence would show the need for reform. (shrink)
Working within weak subsystems of second-order arithmetic Z2 we consider two versions of the Baire Category theorem which are not equivalent over the base system RCA0. We show that one version (B.C.T.I) is provable in RCA0 while the second version (B.C.T.II) requires a stronger system. We introduce two new subsystems of Z2, which we call RCA+ 0 and WKL+ 0, and show that RCA+ 0 suffices to prove B.C.T.II. Some model theory of WKL+ 0 and its importance in view of (...) Hilbert's program is discussed, as well as applications of our results to functional analysis. (shrink)