The paper discusses the version of entity realism presented by Ian Hacking in his book, Representing and Intervening. Hacking holds that an ontological form of scientific realism, entity realism, may be defended on the basis of experimental practices which involve the manipulation of unobservable entities. There is much to be said in favour of the entity realist position that Hacking defends, especially the pragmatist orientation of his approach to realism. But there are problems with the position. The (...) paper explores two issues that reflect negatively on Hacking’s version of the entity realist position. The first issue relates to the role of description in fixing the reference of theoretical terms. The second issue relates to Hacking’s claim that the argument for entity realism based on experiment is a different kind of argument from the standard argument for scientific realism based on the success of science. (shrink)
In the face of argument to the contrary, it is shown that there is defensible middle ground available for entity realism, between the extremes of scientific realism and empiricist antirealism. Cartwright's () earlier argument for defensible middle ground between these extremes, which depended crucially on the viability of an underdeveloped distinction between inference to the best explanation (IBE) and inference to the most probable cause (IPC), is examined and its defects are identified. The relationship between IBE and IPC is (...) clarified and a revised version of Cartwright's argument for defensible middle ground, which is free of the identified defects, is presented. (shrink)
There has been much discussion regarding the acceptable use of sedation for palliation. A particularly contentious practice concerns deep, continuous sedation given to patients who are not imminently dying and given without provision of hydration or nutrition, with the end result that death is hastened. This has been called ‘early terminal sedation’. Early terminal sedation is a practice composed of two legally and ethically accepted treatment options. Under certain conditions, patients have the right to reject hydration and nutrition, even if (...) these are life-sustaining. Patients are also entitled to sedation as palliation for intolerable, intractable suffering. Though early terminal sedation is thought to be rare at present, the changing nature of palliative medicine suggests its use will increase.Arguments regarding early terminal sedation have failed to recognize early terminal sedation as a distinct legal and ethical entity. It can be seen as both the simple sum of treatment refusal and sedation for palliation, analogous to terminal sedation. It can also be seen as an indivisible palliative treatment, more analogous to assisted suicide or euthanasia. But ultimately, it is wholly analogous neither to terminal sedation given when death is imminent, nor to assisted suicide or euthanasia. This paper contends that early terminal sedation should be considered as a distinct entity. Such a reconception promises to provide a way forward in the debate, practice and policy regarding this contentious area of palliative medicine. (shrink)
Inspired in Quine's well known slogans “To be is to be the value of a variable” and "No entity without identity", we provide a way of enabling that non-individual entities (as characterized in the text) can also be values of variables of an adequate "regimented" language, once we consider a possible meaning of the background theory Quine reports to ground his view. In doing that, we show that there may exist also entities without identity, and emphasize the importance of (...) paying attention to the metalanguage of scientific theories, for they may be also fundamental in determining the theory's ontological commitment. (shrink)
Hacking (1983) introduces an attempt to defend scientific realism on the basis of the reality of theoretical entities. This position, which is called entity realism, is based on disconnecting the reality of theoretical entities from the truth and explanatory power of theories that account for them. In this way, two problems can be avoided. First if theories about theoretical entities are rejected, the entities themselves do not have to go with them, and the realist thesis that we can have (...) knowledge of what exists in the world can be sustained. Second, theoretical entities, which will replace theories as the grounds for the realist position, would be protected from attacks on the validity of the inference to the best explanation which underlies classical or "theory" realism. In other words, theoretical entities would be able to survive the collapse of the inference to the best explanation. The subject of this paper is a critique of this line of defending realism. (shrink)
Quine has persuasively shown that the empiricist "dogma of reductionism", which is the belief that each meaningfiil statement of science can be reduced to statements about immediate sense experience, must be abandoned. However, Quine's methodology of ontology seems to incorporate an analogous physicalistic dogma according to which the identity conditions of each scientifically respectable sort of abstract objects can be reduced to the identity conditions of physical objects. This paper aims to show that the latter dogma must be abandoned, too. (...) In section 1, the reductionist methodology underlying Quine's prescript "No Entity without Identity" is reconstructed in detail. In section 2 and 3, this methodology is criticized on the ground that Quine's individuation of sets offendsagainst the reductive Criteria of adequacy for individuations that are presupposed by his criticism of the ontological recognition of intensional objects. Finally, in section 4 an alternative holistic conception of individuation is outlined. (shrink)
We discuss two named-entity recognition models which use characters and character n-grams either exclusively or as an important part of their data representation. The ﬁrst model is a character-level HMM with minimal context information, and the second model is a maximum-entropy conditional markov model with substantially richer context features. Our best model achieves an overall F1 of 86.07% on the English test data (92.31% on the development data). This number represents a 25% error reduction over the same model without (...) word-internal (substring) features. (shrink)
Many named entities contain other named entities inside them. Despite this fact, the ﬁeld of named entity recognition has almost entirely ignored nested named entity recognition, but due to technological, rather than ideological reasons. In this paper, we present a new technique for recognizing nested named entities, by using a discriminative constituency parser. To train the model, we transform each sentence into a tree, with constituents for each named entity (and no other syntactic structure). We present results (...) on both newspaper and biomedical corpora which contain nested named entities. In three out of four sets of experiments, our model outperforms a standard semi-CRF on the more traditional top-level entities. At the same time, we improve the overall F-score by up to 30% over the ﬂat model, which is unable to recover any nested entities. (shrink)
In this paper, through external and internal observation (introspection), it is shown that the human mind (or spirit) can be defined as an evolving, conscious, triadic entity consisting of unitary-multiple components - intellect, sensitiveness, and power - which in turn are made of multiple ideas, sentiments, and actions, respectively. The three mind components are interdependent, each needing the support of the other two for its activity. This interdependence, which is linked to the problem of mind-body relationship, is explained by (...) the observational fact that no physical object can exist if not under particular patterns of forms/structures and associated movements/functions, patterns which are non-physical and represent the “activities” of that object. Conversely, no activity can exist if not associated to a structured and functioning physical object. “Intellect” and “sensitiveness” are regarded as the activities that necessarily arise from the extremely complex structure and physical functions of the brain and other body apparatuses (“power”). Mind can exert outwardly oriented activities, directed to external objects, or inwardly oriented activities, directed to mind itself. The latter activities give the awareness that mind is capable of undergoing evolution, i.e.,development of intellect, sensitiveness and actions. Evolution enables the mind to continuously transcend itself, and could be regarded as the source of “moral values”. Inward mind activity gives rise to moral thoughts, moral feelings and moral acts (counterpart of ideas, sentiments, and actions, produced by the outward mind activity). This conception of mind opens new perspectives in such diverse fields as ontology (the triadic nature might be extensible to all existing objects), ethics (identification of the “good” with the mind-evolution itself), and still others. (shrink)
This paper investigates whether the model of local rhetorical coherence suggested in Knott et al. (2001) can boost the performance of the Centering-based metrics of entity coherence employed by Karamanis et al. (2004) for the task of information ordering. Rhetorical coherence is integrated into the way Centering’s basic data structures are derived from the annotated features of the GNOME corpus. The results indicate that (a) the simplest metric continues to perform better than its competitors even when local rhetorical coherence (...) is taken into account, and (b) this extra coherence constraint decreases its performance. (shrink)
This paper shows that a simple two-stage approach to handle non-local dependencies in Named Entity Recognition (NER) can outperform existing approaches that handle non-local dependencies, while being much more computationally efﬁcient. NER systems typically use sequence models for tractable inference, but this makes them unable to capture the long distance structure present in text. We use a Conbel.
This essay discusses Polanyi sideas about the “comprehensive entity.” It shows how Polanyi’s philosophical perspective emphasizes comprehension. It outlines Polanyi’s careful approach to ontological questions and shows how Marjorie Grene and to some degree Polanyi linked the theory of tacit knowing to ideas in Continental philosophy about being-in-the-world. It suggests that Polanyi’s post-critical philosophical realism, like Peirce srealistn, is more akin to medieval realism than contelnporary discussions.
I propose a fourfold categorisation of entities according to whether or not they possess determinate identity-conditions and whether or not they are determinately countable. Some entities – which I call ‘individual objects’ – have both determinate identity and determinate countability: for example, persons and animals. In the case of entities of a kind K belonging to this category, we are in principle always entitled to expect there to be determinate answers to such questions as ‘Is x the same K as (...) y?’ and ’How many Ks are there satisfying condition C?’, even if we may sometimes be unable in practice to discover what these answers are. But other entities apparently lack either determinate identity, or determinate countability, or both. In these terms I try to explain certain important ontological differences between familiar macroscopic objects and various rather more esoteric entities, such as the ‘particles’ of quantum physics, quantities of material stuff, and tropes or property instances. (shrink)
Theodore Sider distinguishes two notions of global supervenience: strong global supervenience and weak global supervenience. He then discusses some applications to general metaphysical questions. Most interestingly, Sider employs the weak notion in order to undermine a familiar argument against coincident distinct entities. In what follows, I reexamine the two notions and distinguish them from a third, intermediate, notion (intermediate global supervenience). I argue that (a) weak global supervenience is not an adequate notion of dependence; (b) weak global supervenience does not (...) capture certain assumptions about coincidence relations; (c) these assumptions are better accommodated by the stronger notion of intermediate global supervenience; (d) intermediate global supervenience, however, is also not an adequate notion of dependence; and (e) strong global supervenience is an adequate notion of dependence. It also fits in with anti-individualism about the mental. It does not, however, serve to rebut arguments against coincident entities. (shrink)
Zoologist A. J. Cain began historical research on Linnaeus in 1956 in connection with his dissatisfaction over the standard taxonomic hierarchy and the rules of binomial nomenclature. His famous 1958 paper 'Logic and Memory in Linnaeus's System of Taxonomy' argues that Linnaeus was following Aristotle's method of logical division without appreciating that it properly applies only to 'analysed entities' such as geometric figures whose essential nature is already fully known. The essence of living things being unanalysed, there is no (...) basis on which to choose the right characters to define a genus nor on which to differentiate species. Yet Cain's understanding of Aristotle, which depended on a 1916 text by H. W. B. Joseph, was fatally flawed. In the 1990s Cain devoted himself to further historical study and softened his verdict on Linnaeus, praising his empiricism. The idea that Linnaeus was applying an ancient and inappropriate method cries out for fresh study and revision. (shrink)
We investigate the problem of how nonnatural entities are represented by examining university students’ concepts of God, both professed theological beliefs and concepts used in comprehension of narratives. In three story processing tasks, subjects often used an anthropomorphic God concept that is inconsistent with stated theological beliefs; and drastically distorted the narratives without any awareness of doing so. By heightening subjects’ awareness of their theological beliefs, we were able to manipulate the degree of anthropomorphization. This tendency to anthropomorphize may be (...) generalizable to other agents. God (and possibly other agents) is unintentionally anthropomorphized in some contexts, perhaps as a means of representing poorly understood.. (shrink)
We describe a machine learning system for the recognition of names in biomedical texts. The system makes extensive use of local and syntactic features within the text, as well as external resources including the web and gazetteers. It achieves an F- score of 70% on the Coling 2004 NLPBA/BioNLP shared task of identifying ﬁve biomedical named entities in the GENIA corpus.
It is argued that Minkowski space-time cannot serve as the deep structure within a ``constructive'' version of the special theory of relativity, contrary to widespread opinion in the philosophical community.
This paper examines the way in which causal relations are understood in the dominant model in contemporary medicine. It argues that the causal relation is not definable in terms of the condition relation, but that in general for conditions of an occurrence to be among its causes they must answer instrumental interests in a certain way, and there are further criteria for distinguishing 'the' cause of a disease (i.e., its etiological agent) from other causal factors, which are based upon instrumental (...) interests peculiar to medicine. It also argues that diseases are complex processes of which both clinical and underlying patho-physiological manifestations are proper parts (as contrasted with effects). (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to defend the claim that there is such a thing as direct perception, where by âdirect perceptionâ I mean perception unmediated by theorizing or concepts. The basis for my defense is a general philosophic perspective which I call âempiricist philosophyâ. In brief, empiricist philosophy (as I have defined it) is untenable without the occurrence of direct perception. It is untenable without direct perception because, otherwise, one can't escape the hermeneutic circle, as this phrase is (...) used in van Fraassen (1980). The bulk of the paper is devoted to defending my belief in direct perception against various objections that can be posed against it. I discuss various anticipations of my view found in the literature, eventually focusing on Ian Hacking's related conception of `entity realism' (Hacking 1983). Hacking has been criticized by a number of philosophers and my plan is to respond to these criticisms on behalf of entity realism (or more precisely on behalf of the claim that direct perception is a reality) and to then respond to other possible criticisms that can be launched against direct perception. (shrink)
Speculations from God’s position are illusory; we have no access to that position. Ontology concerns not with what exist as God ordains but with what exist as intelligible within the bounds of human understanding. It calls for analyzing not only nature but also the characteristics of our own thinking that make possible analysis and knowledge of nature, so that we do not inadvertently attribute our conceptual contributions to what exist naturally.
Hegel’s famous analyses of the ‘master-slave dialectic’, and the more general struggle for recognition which it is a part of, have been remarkably influential throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Bound up with the dominance of this idea, however, has been a corresponding treatment of sadism and masochism as complicit projects that are mutually necessary for one another in a manner that is structurally isomorphic with the way in which master and slave depend on one another. In clinical diagnoses it (...) is almost invariably asserted that sadism and masochism are causally connected, with one of these ‘pathologies’ being seen to derive from an inversion or displacement of the other. Deleuze, however, in Difference and Repetition, ‘Coldness and Cruelty’, and elsewhere, rejects the primacy of the master-slave dialectic for understanding social relations, at least insofar as it relies upon the themes of negativity, contradiction, opposition, and he also rejects the resultant treatment of sadism and masochism. Moreover, if his symptomatology of the latter (especially masochism) convinces us that the master-slave dialectic not only does not understand these ways of existing, but necessarily could not, then we are faced with an important challenge to any conception of social relations that is too closely tied to the dialectic of lordship and bondage as it is sometimes known. This paper, then, is composed of four sections: 1. an exposition of Hegel’s treatment of the master-slave dialectic; 2. a selective account of later understandings of social relations that are indebted to it; 3. a recital of Deleuze’s objections to the master-slave dialectic and its reliance upon three key components: contradiction, opposition, and negativity; and 4. an argument, extending Deleuze’s work, for the manner in which the master-slave dialectic has also been bound up with, and made possible, the belief in a ‘sado-masochistic’ unity (i.e. the way in which they are envisaged as complementary opposites, or as causally connected symptoms). (shrink)
In The Principles of Mathematics, Russell writes: Whatever may be an object of thought, or may occur in any true or false proposition, or can be counted as one, I call a term. This, then, is the widest word in the philosophical vocabulary. I shall use as synonymous with it the words unit, individual and entity. The first two emphasize the fact that every term is one, while the third is derived from the fact that every term has being, (...) i.e. is in some sense. A man, a moment, a number, a class, a relation, a chimera, or anything else that can be mentioned, is sure to be a term'. Now in this remark, a certain extremely general, topic-neutral use of ‘object’ is singled out, a use in which the expression is treated as equivalent to (equally neutral) uses of ‘term’, ‘entity’, ‘unit’, ‘individual’, and ‘thing’. In addition, a claim is made to the effect that the content of the expression, with its emphasis on one, is such as to be adequate to comprehend the sum-total of existence, to include whatever there may be. The paper addresses the question of what this claim means, and whether it might be true. (shrink)
P. F. Strawson here presents a selection of his shorter writings from the 1970s to the 1990s in the two areas of philosophy to which he has contributed most notably: philosophy of language and Kantian studies. One of these essays is published here for the first time, and one for the first time in English; several others have been difficult to find. A new introduction offers an overview of the essays, their topics, and their interrelations. This book represents some of (...) the most fascinating work of one of the foremost philosophers of the late twentieth century. (shrink)
Selon une ontologie platonicienne, il faut qu’une exemplification platonicienne lie des particuliers physiques et un universel non localisé pour qu’i! y ait connexion entre propriété et choses. Dans cet article, je discute du lien d’exemplification platonicien, lequel a l’intéressante faculté de lier des entités localisées à une entité non localisée et donc, pour reprendre les mots d’Armstrong, la faculté de traverser le domaine du non spatialement localisé et celui du spatialement localisé. La littérature ne contient à peu près aucune discussion (...) de l’exemplification. J’en discute et signale une nouveau problème relatif à la connexion entre un universel platonicien et des particuliers physiques. (shrink)
The unity of the group mind is a psychoplastic unity. In the group mind subjects are integrated through an object and not objects through a subject. It follows, among many much more important consequences, that a scientific analysis and arrangement of the law relating to corporations should proceed in the manner practically indicated in the Law of Limited Companies, Corporations Sole, Trusts, Bankruptcy, Local Government, and so forth, that is to say, by the estatificatian of interests and not by the (...) pretended incorporation of people. (shrink)
Contents.--General characteristics of the outer consciousness.--The person of the outer consciousness.--The cosmic aspect of the outer consciousness.--The outer consciousness in ethics.--The teleology of the outer consciousness.--The outer consciousness and a future life.--Schopenhauer and the outer consciousness.--The psychology of outer consciousness.--Is superpersonality the looked-for principle?--Hobhouse's theory of mental evolution.--The organic analogy.--Conclusions.
Is there, or should there be, any place in contemporary philosophy of mind for the concept of an intentional object? Many philosophers would make short work of this question. In a discussion of what intentional objects are supposed to be, John Searle.
What makes a biological entity an individual? Jack Wilson shows that past philosophers have failed to explicate the conditions an entity must satisfy to be a living individual. He explores the reason for this failure and explains why we should limit ourselves to examples involving real organisms rather than thought experiments. This book explores and resolves paradoxes that arise when one applies past notions of individuality to biological examples beyond the conventional range, and presents a new analysis of (...) identity and persistence. The book's main purpose is to bring together two lines of research, theoretical biology and metaphysics, which have dealt with the same subject in isolation from one another. Wilson explains a new theory about biological individuality which solves problems which cannot be addressed by either field alone. He presents a more fine-grained vocabulary of individuation based on diverse kinds of living things, allowing him to clarify previously muddled disputes about individuality in biology. (shrink)
Common-sense reasoning about space is, ﬁrst and foremost, reasoning about things located in space. The ﬂy is inside the glass; hence the glass is not inside the ﬂy. The book is on the table; hence the table is under the book. Sometimes we may be talking about things going on in certain places: the concert took place in the garden; then dinner was served in the solarium. Even when we talk about “naked” (empty) regions of space—regions that are not occupied (...) by any macroscopic object and where nothing noticeable seems to be going on—we tipically do so because we are planning to move things around, or because we are thinking that certain actions or events did or should take place in certain sites as opposed to others. The sofa should go right here; the aircraft crashed right there. Spatial reasoning, whether actual or hypothetical, is typically reasoning about spatial entities of some sort. One might—and some people do—take this as a fundamental claim, meaning that spatial entities such as objects or events are fundamentally (cognitively, or perhaps even metaphysically) prior to space: there is no way to identify a region of space except by reference to what is or could be located or take place at that region. (This was, for instance, the gist of Leibniz’ contention against the Newtonian view that space is an individual entity in its own right, independently of whatever entities may inhabit it.) It is, however, even more interesting to see how far we can go in our understand-. (shrink)
Meta-ontology (in van Inwagen's sense) concerns the methodology of ontology, and a controversial meta-ontological issue is to what extent ontology can rely on linguistic analysis while establishing the furniture of the world. This paper discusses an argument advanced by some ontologists (I call them unifiers) against supporters of or coincident entities (I call them multipliers) and its meta-ontological import. Multipliers resort to Leibniz's Law to establish that spatiotemporally coincident entities a and b are distinct, by pointing at a predicate F (...) () made true by a and false by b . Unifiers try to put multipliers in front of a dilemma: in attempting to introduce metaphysical differences on the basis of semantic distinctions, multipliers either (a) rest on a fallacy of verbalism, entailed by a trade-off between a de dicto and a de re reading of modal claims, or (b) beg the question against unifiers by having to assume the distinction between a and b beforehand. I shall rise a tu quoque, showing that unifiers couldn't even distinguish material objects (or events) from the spatiotemporal regions they occupy unless they also resorted to linguistic distinctions. Their methodological aim to emancipate themselves from linguistic analysis in ontological businesses is therefore problematic. (shrink)
Minimal entities are, roughly, those that fall under notions defined by only deflationary principles. In this paper I provide an accurate characterization of two types of minimal entities: minimal properties and minimal facts. This characterization is inspired by both Schiffer's notion of a pleonastic entity and Horwich's notion of minimal truth. I argue that we are committed to the existence of minimal properties and minimal facts according to a deflationary notion of existence, and that the appeal to the inferential (...) role reading of the quantifiers does not dismiss this commitment. I also argue that deflationary existence is language-dependent existence—this clarifies why minimalists about properties and facts are not realists about these entities though their language may appear indistinguishable from the language of realists. (shrink)
This paper investigates reference to clausally introduced entities and proposes an explanation for why these are more readily available to immediate subsequent reference with a demonstrative pronoun than with the personal pronoun,it. New evidence is provided supporting proposals that such entities are typically activated, but not brought into focus, upon their introduction into a discourse. The study also provides further insight into the role of information structure, lexical semantics, presuppositional contexts, and syntactic structure in bringing an entity into focus (...) of attention. (shrink)
Using web standards, such as uniform resource identifiers (URIs), XML and HTTP, for naming and describing resources which are not information objects is the key difference between the Web as we know it today and the Semantic Web. Naming and interlinking this type of resources by HTTP URIs (instead of individual constants in a formal language) is the key feature which distinguishes traditional knowledge representation from web-scale knowledge representation. However, this use of URIs brought back attention to the old philosophical (...) problem of identity and reference in a new form. In this paper, we analyze the new version of the problem, provide a formal model for dealing with it when interlinking knowledge on the Web, and argue for the need of a distinction between the use of URIs for describing and accessing resources, and the use of URIs for fixing the reference . We show that in the current practice of linking data these roles are not clearly distinguished, and that this fact may cause unwanted effects and prevent some basic forms of data integration. We also discuss the role of an entity name system as a potential piece of infrastructure for fixing the reference in the Semantic Web. (shrink)
While scientific realism generally assumes that successful scientific explanations yield information about reality, realists also have to admit that not all information acquired in this way is equally well warranted. Some versions of scientific realism do this by saying that explanatory posits with which we have established some kind of causal contact are better warranted than those that merely appear in theoretical hypotheses. I first explicate this distinction by considering some general criteria that permit us to distinguish causal warrant from (...) theoretical warrant. I then apply these criteria to a specific case from particle physics, claiming that scientific realism has to incorporate the distinction between causal and theoretical warrant if it is to be an adequate stance in the philosophy of particle physics. (shrink)
Una estrategia recientemente utilizada por los defensores deI realismo científico ha sido derivar implicaciones ontológicas deI contexto manipulativo-experimental. EI artículo pretende comparar y valorar dos enfoques diferentes deI argumento de la manipulabilidad -I. Hacking y R. Harré-, cuya idea basíca es que, de cara a establecer la existencia de una entidad, manipularla puede ser tan importante corno observarla. Por último, a fin de evitar los aspectos más cuestionables de ambos enfoques, propongo entender la eficacia manipulativa corno obtención de informacion fiable. (...) The ‘manipulability argument’ has been reeently employed in favour of scientific realism. The underlying idea is that, in order to establish the existence of an entity, manipulating it is so important as observing it. Two different approaches to the ’manipulability argument’ are compared: Ian Hacking’s ‘experimental realism’ and Rom Harré’s ‘depth realism’. In order to avoid the most controversial aspects of both approaches, I suggest that manipulative efficacy be understood as the attainment of reliable information. (shrink)
We present a maximum-entropy based system for identifying Named Entities (NEs) in biomedical abstracts and present its performance in the only two biomedical Named Entity Recognition (NER) comparative evaluations that have been held to date, namely BioCreative and Coling BioNLP. Our system obtained an exact match f-score of 83.2% in the BioCreative evaluation and 70.1% in the BioNLP evaluation. We discuss our system in detail including its rich use of local features, attention to correct boundary identiﬁcation, innovative use of (...) external knowledge resources including parsing and web searches, and rapid adaptation to new NE sets. We also discuss in depth problems with data annotation in the evaluations which caused the ﬁnal performance to be lower than the optimal. (shrink)
It is about the pure theoretical system of EDWs (almost without applications to any particular sciences - cognitive science, physics or biology). I constructed the conditions of the possibility for any EDWs (that exist or possible to exist) given by 13 propositions that represent the axiomatic-hyperontological framework in 13 parts. In general, these propositions refer to the abstract entities andtheir interactions. Being is the only entity that is an epistemological world. In this short book, I deal with the hyperontology (...) of the hyperverse, no more or less than “pure philosophy". (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that a proper understanding of the justification of perceptual beliefs leaves open the possibility that normal humans, unaided by microscopes, could genuinely know, by direct observation, of the existence of a theoretical entity like an electron. A particular theory of justification called perceptual responsibilism is presented. If successful, this kind of view would undercut one line of argument that has been given (for example, by Bas van Fraassen) in support of scientific anti-realism. Various (...) objections to the idea that electrons can be directly observed are also considered. (shrink)
The first question to be addressed about fictional entities is: are there any? The usual grounds given for accepting or rejecting the view that there are fictional entities come from linguistic considerations. We make many different sorts of claims about fictional characters in our literary discussions. How can we account for their apparent truth? Does doing so require that we allow that there are fictional characters we can refer to, or can we offer equally good analyses while denying that there (...) are any fictional entities? (shrink)
Belief in propositions no longer brings about the sorts of looks it did when Quine's affinity for desert landscapes held sway in the Anglo-American philosophical scene. People are doing work in the metaphysics of propositions, trying to figure out what sorts of creatures propositions are. In philosophers like Frege, Russell, and Moore we have strong shoulders upon which to stand. But, there is much more work that needs to be done. I will try to do a bit of that work (...) here. In the paper, I will probe the notion that propositions are structured entities, and that it is useful to think of their structure as resembling the structure of the sentences which express them. First, I will speak briefly to the issue of why one might find it rational to believe that propositions exist. In the second part of the paper, I will argue that we should think of propositions as having structure. In the last section, I will examine the nature of the structure of propositions. I will consider a recent account given by Jeffrey King of the nature of the relation that unifies constituents. I conclude by sketching my own view of the relation that holds between propositional constituents in virtue of which they compose a proposition. 1 I Why Believe in Propositions? Propositions are taken to be abstract entities that are a) the primary bearers of truth and falsity, b) the objects of our propositional attitudes, and c) the referents of "that-. (shrink)
Modal Platonism utilizes “weak” logical possibility, such that it is logically possible there are abstract entities, and logically possible there are none. Modal Platonism also utilizes a non-indexical actuality operator. Modal Platonism is the EASY WAY, neither reductionist nor eliminativist, but embracing the Platonistic language of abstract entities while eliminating ontological commitment to them.
We put forward a possible new interpretation and explanatory framework for quantum theory. The basic hypothesis underlying this new framework is that quantum particles are conceptual entities. More concretely, we propose that quantum particles interact with ordinary matter, nuclei, atoms, molecules, macroscopic material entities, measuring apparatuses, in a similar way to how human concepts interact with memory structures, human minds or artificial memories. We analyze the most characteristic aspects of quantum theory, i.e. entanglement and non-locality, interference and superposition, identity and (...) individuality in the light of this new interpretation, and we put forward a specific explanation and understanding of these aspects. The basic hypothesis of our framework gives rise in a natural way to a Heisenberg uncertainty principle which introduces an understanding of the general situation of ‘the one and the many’ in quantum physics. A specific view on macro and micro different from the common one follows from the basic hypothesis and leads to an analysis of Schrödinger’s Cat paradox and the measurement problem different from the existing ones. We reflect about the influence of this new quantum interpretation and explanatory framework on the global nature and evolutionary aspects of the world and human worldviews, and point out potential explanations for specific situations, such as the generation problem in particle physics, the confinement of quarks and the existence of dark matter. (shrink)
Some entities, such as fictional characters, propositions, properties, events and numbers are prima facie promising candidates for owing their existence to our linguistic and conceptual practices. However, it is notoriously hard to pin down just what sets such allegedly “language-created” entities apart from ordinary entities. The present paper considers some of the features that are supposed to distinguish between entities of the two kinds and argues that, on an independently plausible account of what it takes to individuate objects, the criteria (...) let in more than friends of the strategy might be happy with. (shrink)
Statues and lumps of clay are said by some to coincide - to be numerically distinct despite being made up of the same parts. They are said to be numerically distinct because they differ modally. Coincident objects would be non-modally indiscernible, and thus appear to violate the supervenience of modal properties on nonmodal properties. But coincidence and supervenience are in fact consistent if the most fundamental modal features are not properties, but are rather relations that are symmetric as between coincident (...) entities, relations such as "opposite-possibly surviving being squashed". (shrink)
The paper attempts at yielding a language-independent argument in favour of fictional entities, that is, an argument providing genuinely ontological reasons in favour of such entities. According to this argument, ficta are indispensable insofar as they are involved in the identity conditions of semantically-based entities we ordinarily accept, i.e. fictional works. It will also be evaluated to what extent this argument is close to other arguments recently provided to the same purpose.
In a recent article M. Colyvan has argued that Quinean forms of scientific realism are faced with an unexpected upshot. Realism concerning a given class of entities, along with this route to realism, can be vindicated by running an indispensability argument to the effect that the entities postulated by our best scientific theories exist. Colyvan observes that among our best scientific theories some are inconsistent, and so concludes that, by resorting to the very same argument, we may incur a commitment (...) to inconsistent entities. Colyvan’s argument could be interpreted, and in part is presented, as a reductio of Quinean scientific realism; yet, Colyvan in the end manifests some willingness to bite the bullet, and provides some reasons why we shouldn’t feel too uncomfortable with those entities. In this paper we wish to indicate a way out to the scientific realist, by arguing that no indispensability argument of the kind suggested by Colyvan is actually available. To begin with, in order to run such an indispensability argument we should be justified in believing that an inconsistent theory is true; yet, in so far as the logic we accept is a consistent one it is arguable that our epistemic predicament could not be possibly one in which we are justified in so believing. Moreover, also if our logic admitted true contradictions, as Dialetheism does, it is arguable that Colyvan’s indispensability argument could not rest on a true premise. As we will try to show, dialetheists do not admit true contradictions for cheap: they do so just as a way out of paradox, namely whenever we are second-level ignorant as to the metaphysical possibility of evidence breaking the parity among two or more inconsistent claims; Colyvan’s examples, however, are not of this nature. So, even under the generous assumption that Dialetheism is true, we will conclude that Colyvan’s argument doesn’t achieve its surprising conclusion. (shrink)
Stephen Schiffer holds that propositions are pleonastic entities. I will argue that there is a substantial difference between propositions and fictional characters, which Schiffer presents as typical pleonastic entities. My conclusion will be that if fictional characters are typical pleonastic entities, then Schiffer fails to show that propositions are pleonastic entities.
The aim of this paper is to argue that some objections raised by Jantzen (Synthese, 2010 ) against the separation of the concepts of ‘counting’ and ‘identity’ are misled. We present a definition of counting in the context of quasi-set theory requiring neither the labeling nor the identity and individuality of the counted entities. We argue that, contrary to what Jantzen poses, there are no problems with the technical development of this kind of definition. As a result of being able (...) to keep counting and identity apart for those entities, we briefly suggest that one venerable tradition concerning the nature of quantum particles may be consistently held. According to that tradition, known as the Received View on particles non-individuality, quantum particles may be seen as entities having both features: (i) identity and individuality do not apply to them, (ii) they may be gathered in collections comprising a plurality of them. (shrink)
In this paper I develop five worries concerning Cartwright’s realism about entities and capacities. The first is that while she was right to insist on the ontic commitment that flows from causal explanation, she was wrong to tie these commitments solely to the entities that do the causal explaining. This move obscured the nature of causal explanation and its connection to laws. The second worry is that when she turned her attention to causal inference, by insisting on the motto of (...) ‘the most likely cause’, she underplayed her powerful argument for realism. For she focused her attention on an extrinsic feature of causal inference (or, indeed, of any ampliative inference), that is the demand of high probability, leaving behind the intrinsic qualities that causal explanation should have in order to provide the required understanding. The third worry is that her objections to Inference to the Best Explanation were unnecessarily tied to her objections about the falsity of fundamental laws. The fourth worry is that though her argument for positing capacities and being realist about them was supposed to take strength from its parallel with Sellars’s powerful argument for the indispensable explanatory role of positing unobservable entities, there are important disanalogies between the two arguments which cast doubt on the indispensability of capacities. The final (fifth) worry is that laws—perhaps brute regularities—might well have to come back from the front door, since they are still the most plausible candidates for explaining why objects have the capacities to do what they can do. (shrink)
This article discusses the argument we cannot have knowledge of abstract entities because they are not part of the causal order. The claim of this article is that the argument fails because of equivocation. Assume that the “causal order” is concerned with contingent facts involving time and space. Even if the existence of abstract entities is not contingent and does not involve time or space it does not follow that no truths about abstract entities are contingent or involve time or (...) space. I argue that it is the latter which is required to obtain the desired conclusion. (shrink)
The claim is that some collective entities can be thought of as part of the moral realm by virtue of their status as objects of moral concern. Collectivities are defined in terms of irreducibly corporate action and distinctive conditions of persisting identity. Their lack of sentience does not preclude moral concern, and their raison d'être may render moral concern for them appropriate. Recent attempts by Pettit, McMahon, and Broome to limit the moral realm to individuals are considered. They are rebutted (...) on the grounds that they rest heavily on pre-existing moral intuitions; they ascribe a stronger thesis than is necessary to the sponsors of the moral significance of non-individuals; and they wrongly assume that what has value for individuals must have value because it has value for individuals. Collectivities can have moral importance even if they lack the intrinsic moral importance attaching to human beings, and substantial consequences follow from that fact. In particular, routine appeals to the distinctness of persons become more problematic when collectivities, themselves composed entirely of persons, have independent moral significance which needs to be taken into account. That will affect both assessment of moral consequences and the process of moral decision-making. (shrink)
A careful analysis of Salmon’s Theoretical Realism and van Fraassen’s Constructive Empiricism shows that both share a common origin: the requirement of literal construal of theories inherited by the Standard View. However, despite this common starting point, Salmon and van Fraassen strongly disagree on the existence of unobservable entities. I argue that their different ontological commitment towards the existence of unobservables traces back to their different views on the interpretation of probability via different conceptions of induction. In fact, inferences to (...) statements claiming the existence of unobservable entities are inferences to probabilistic statements, whence the crucial importance of the interpretation of probability. (shrink)
After discussing the distinction between artifacts and natural entities, and the distinction between artifacts and technology, the conditions of the traditional account of moral agency are identified. While computer system behavior meets four of the five conditions, it does not and cannot meet a key condition. Computer systems do not have mental states, and even if they could be construed as having mental states, they do not have intendings to act, which arise from an agent’s freedom. On the other hand, (...) computer systems have intentionality, and because of this, they should not be dismissed from the realm of morality in the same way that natural objects are dismissed. Natural objects behave from necessity; computer systems and other artifacts behave from necessity after they are created and deployed, but, unlike natural objects, they are intentionally created and deployed. Failure to recognize the intentionality of computer systems and their connection to human intentionality and action hides the moral character of computer systems. Computer systems are components in human moral action. When humans act with artifacts, their actions are constituted by the intentionality and efficacy of the artifact which, in turn, has been constituted by the intentionality and efficacy of the artifact designer. All three components – artifact designer, artifact, and artifact user – are at work when there is an action and all three should be the focus of moral evaluation. (shrink)
Tumors, abscesses, cysts, scars, fractures are familiar types of what we shall call pathological continuant entities. The instances of such types exist always in or on anatomical structures, which thereby become transformed into pathological anatomical structures of corresponding types: a fractured tibia, a blistered thumb, a carcinomatous colon. In previous work on biomedical ontologies we showed how the provision of formal definitions for relations such as is_a, part_of and transformation_of can facilitate the integration of such ontologies in ways which have (...) the potential to support new kinds of automated reasoning. We here extend this approach to the treatment of pathologies, focusing especially on those pathological continuant entities which arise when organs become affected by carcinomas. (shrink)
The paper is focused on some aspects of experimental realism of Ian Hacking, and especially on his manipulability criterion of existence. The problem is here related to chemical molecules, the objects of interest in chemical research. The authors consider whether and to what extent this criterion has been applied in experimental practice of chemistry. They argue that experimentation on is a fundamental criterion of existence of entities in chemistry rather than experimentation with. Some examples regarding studies of structures of complex (...) compounds, taken from organic chemistry, are presented to support the authors' considerations. Chemists' laboratory practice depends strongly on the way that representations of entities on (or with) the experiments are used. The authors show that this point has not been given sufficient attention by the new experimentalists. (shrink)
This paper examines four arguments in support of Frege's theory of incomplete entities, the heart of his semantics and ontology. Two of these arguments are based upon Frege's contributions to the foundations of mathematics. These are shown to be question-begging. Two are based upon Frege's solution to the problem of the relation of language to thought and reality. They are metaphysical in nature and they force Frege to maintain a theory of types. The latter puts his theory of incomplete entities (...) in the paradoxical position of maintaining that it is no theory at all. Moreover, his metaphysics rules out well-known suggestions for avoiding this difficulty. (shrink)
Finite spirits can be plausibly viewed as entities postulated by a theory, comparable to the position on mental states and processes developed in the latter part of the twentieth century. This position is developed here by reference to the account in the synoptic gospels of the exorcism of the Gadarene demoniacs. The role played by specifying causal relationships between postulated entities and objects whose existence is not in doubt is examined. Also, various features of theories are discussed in relation to (...) this example, viz. theory-laden description, classifying theories as naturalistic or supernaturalistic, kinds of evidence, and the importance of the method of hypothesis (or abduction) in critically scrutinizing the claims of religion. (Published Online August 11 2004). (shrink)
Certain correspondences appear between the classifications and between the classes of various entities at molecular genetic level: types of fundamental correspondences between classifications and between classes of normal entities, on the one hand, and of mutant entities on the other hand; ranks of correspondences between classifications and between classes of entities. The concept of universality of the genetic code was reformulated on the basis of the above correspondences.