"But science in the making, science as an end to be pursued, is as subjective and psychologically conditioned as any other branch of human endeavor-- so much so that the question, What is the purpose and meaning of science? receives quite different answers at different times and from different sorts of people" (Einstein 1934, p. 112).
Two things about Hilary Putnam have not changed throughout his career: some (including Putnam himself) have regarded him as a “realist” and some have seen him as a philosopherwho changed his positions (certainly with respect to realism) almost continually. Apparently, what realism meant to him in the 1960s, in the late seventies and eighties, and in the nineties, respectively, are quite different things. Putnam indicates this by changing preﬁxes: scientiﬁc, metaphysical, internal, pragmatic, commonsense, but always realism. Encouraged by Putnam’s own (...) attempts to distinguish his views from one time to another, his work is often regarded as split between an early period of “metaphysical realism” (his characterization) and a later and still continuing period of “internal realism”. Late Putnam is understood to be a view that insists on the primacy of our practices, while the early period is taken to be a view from outside these, a “God’s Eye view”. As Putnam himself stresses (1992b), this way of dividing his work obscures continuities, the most important of which is a continuing attempt to understand what is involved in judging practices of inquiry, like science, as being objectively correct. Thus Putnam’s early and his current work appear to have more in common than the division between “early” and “late” suggests. In fact, Putnam’s earlier writings owe much of their critical force to his adopting the pragmatic perspective of an open-minded participant in practices of empirical inquiry, a stance not explicitly articulated in these writings but rather taken simply as a matter of course.1 Thus insofaras Putnam’s early writings defend a form of representational realism, they can be regarded as attempts to articulate a realist position at work inside our ordinary practices of making empirical judgments. For this reason, we begin our review of Putnam’s realisms by extracting from the early writings a core of principles that carries over into his current work but underwent signiﬁcantly different interpretations over time.. (shrink)
The central problem in the interpretation of the quantum theory is how to understand the superposition of the eigenstates of an observable. To a considerable extent scientific practice here, especially as codified in versions of Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation, follows an interpretive principle that I have elsewhere called the Rule of Silence (Ref.1). That rule admonishes us not to talk about the values of an observable unless the state of the system is an eigenstate, or a mixture of eigenstates, of the (...) observable in question. With regard to the rule of silence, as in other matters bearing on the interpretation of the quantum theory, Einstein was one of the first to realize that there can be difficulties. They appear as soon as we look at something like an explosion; i.e., the interaction between a micro and a macrosystem that involves the amplification of a microphenomenon to macroscopic scale (Ref.2). John Bell describes the difficulty over the rule of silence this way. (shrink)
(Draft copy published as “Science Made Up: Constructivist Sociology of Scientific Knowledge.” In P. Galison and D. Stump (eds.) The Disunity of Science: Boundaries, Contexts, and Power. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996, pp. 231-54.).
Montgomery Furth has written1, "given a suitable pair of individuals ... there is no reason of Aristotelian metaphysics why the very fire and earth that this noon composes Callias and distinguishes him from Socrates could not, by a set of utterly curious chances, twenty years from now compose Socrates ...". He does not specify what these "curious chances" might be. But we may suppose that Socrates eats Callias for his lunch and that, owing to the superiority of Callias' flesh and (...) bone, it is the matter of this which remains in Socrates after the period of twenty years. (shrink)
There are four broad grounds upon which the intelligibility of quantification over absolutely everything has been questioned—one based upon the existence of semantic indeterminacy, another on the relativity of ontology to a conceptual scheme, a third upon the necessity of sortal restriction, and the last upon the possibility of indefinite extendibility. The argument from semantic indeterminacy derives from general philosophical considerations concerning our understanding of language. For the Skolem–Lowenheim Theorem appears to show that an understanding of quanti- fication over absolutely (...) everything (assuming a suitably infinite domain) is semantically indistinguishable from the understanding of quantification over something less than absolutely everything; the same first-order sentences are true and even the same first-order conditions will be satisfied by objects from the narrower domain. From this it is then argued that the two kinds of understanding are indistinguishable tout court and that nothing could count as having the one kind of understanding as opposed to the other. (shrink)
I propose a new semantics for intuitionistic logic, which is a cross between the construction-oriented semantics of Brouwer-Heyting-Kolmogorov and the condition-oriented semantics of Kripke. The new semantics shows how there might be a common semantical underpinning for intuitionistic and classical logic and how intuitionistic logic might thereby be tied to a realist conception of the relationship between language and the world.
The neuroscientific investigation of sex differences has an unsavoury past, in which scientific claims reinforced and legitimated gender roles in ways that were not scientifically justified. Feminist critics have recently argued that the current use of functional neuroimaging technology in sex differences research largely follows that tradition. These charges of ‘neurosexism’ have been countered with arguments that the research being done is informative and valuable and that an over-emphasis on the perils, rather than the promise, of such research threatens to (...) hinder scientific progress. To investigate the validity of these contrasting concerns, recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) investigations of sex differences and citation practices were systematically examined. In line with the notion of neurosexism, the research was found to support the influence of false-positive claims of sex differences in the brain, to enable the proliferation of untested, stereotype-consistent functional interpretations, and to pay insufficient attention to the potential plasticity of sex differences in both brain and mind. This, it is argued, creates a literature biased toward the presentation of sex differences in the brain as extensive, functionally significant, and fixed—and therefore implicitly supportive of a gender essentialist perspective. It is suggested that taking feminist criticisms into account would bring about substantial improvement in the quality of the science, as well as a reduction in socially harmful consequences. (shrink)
It is shown that certain natural constraints trivialize the concept of partial content and it is suggested, in the light of this difficulty, that the principle that partial content is preserved under the substitution of logical equivalents should be given up.
This manuscript proposes a proactive framework for preventing or mitigating disruptive ethical conflicts that often result from delayed or avoided conversations about the ethics of care. Four components of the framework are explained and illustrated with evidenced-based actions. Clinical implications of adopting a prevention-based, system-wide ethics framework are discussed. While some aspects of ethically-difficult situations are unique, system patterns allow some issues to occur repeatedly—often with lingering effects such as healthcare providers’ disengagement and moral distress (McAndrew et al. Journal of (...) Trauma Nursing 18(4):221–230, 2011), compromised inter-professional relationships (Rosenstein and O’Daniel American Journal of Nursing, 105(1):54–64, 2005), weakened ethical climates (Pauly et al. HEC Forum 24:1–11, 2012), and patient safety concerns (Cimiotti et al. American Journal of Infection Control 40:486–490, 2012). This work offers healthcare providers and clinical ethicists a framework for developing a comprehensive set of proactive, ethics-specific, and evidence-based strategies for mitigating ethical conflicts. Furthermore, the framework aims to encourage innovative research and novel ways of collaborating to reduce such conflicts and the moral distress that often results. (shrink)
In this article I flesh out support for observations that scientific accounts of social groups can influence the very groups and mental phenomena under investigation. The controversial hypothesis that there are hardwired differences between the brains of males and females that contribute to sex differences in gender-typed behaviour is common in both the scientific and popular media. Here I present evidence that such claims, quite independently of their scientific validity, have scope to sustain the very sex differences they seek to (...) explain. I argue that, while further research is required, such claims can have self-fulfilling effects via their influence on social perception, behaviour and attitudes. The real effects of the products of scientists’ research on our minds and society, together with the fact that all scientific hypotheses are subject to dispute and disconfirmation, point to a need for scientists to consider the ethical implications of their work. (shrink)
Towards the end of Theta.4 of the Metaphysics, Aristotle appears to endorse the obviously invalid modal principle that the truth of A will entail the truth of B if the possibility of A entails the possibility of B. I attempt to show how Aristotle's endorsement of the principle can be seen to arise from his accepting a non-standard interpretation of the modal operators and I indicate how the principle and its interpretation are of independent interest, quite apart from their role (...) in understanding Aristotle. (shrink)
A number of philosophers have recently become receptive to the idea that, in addition to scientific or causal explanation, there may be a distinctive kind of metaphysical explanation, in which explanans and explanandum are connected, not through some sort of causal mechanism, but through some constitutive form of determination. I myself have long been sympathetic to this idea of constitutive determination or ‘ontological ground’; and it is the aim of the present paper to help put the idea on a firmer (...) footing - to explain how it is to be understood, how it relates to other ideas, and how it might be of use in philosophy. (shrink)
“Mathematical objects are not exactly of our own making, but we actually have to do something to get them. There’s something out there which we prod, but there’s the prodding that’s also required. Numbers are not exactly out there or in us, but somehow in between.”.
If the legitimacy of international humanitarian and human rights law lies, in part at least, in its capacity to confront dehumanising actions in the modern world, we may speak of the limits of this achievement. It is well known that people who commit genocide or crimes against humanity typically dehumanise those against whom their crimes are committed and that the humanitarian and human rights dimensions of international law were developed in response to the radicalisation of this phenomenon. The expanded scope (...) of international criminal justice caught a cosmopolitan imagination because it seemed to restore an idea of humanity in the face of organised attempts to eradicate the very idea of universal humanity. It also caught a cosmopolitan imagination because it seemed to restore the humanity of the perpetrators as well. They were no longer to be treated as beasts liable to the 'punishment' of the victors but to be brought to trial, held accountable for their deeds and converted back into responsible human beings. Today, however, I suggest that we face a double temptation: in confronting those who commit crimes against humanity to represent them as inhuman monsters rather than responsible human beings; in our compassion for victims of crimes against humanity, it is to represent them merely as victims and not as moral and political subjects. In either case, there can arise a reversal of the problem we are trying to address. I do not suggest this tendency is inevitable but where it is present it indicates an insufficiently reflective relation to international law. I address the problem of reversal through a discussion of three authors (Rawls, Habermas and Arendt) and three issues ('pariah peoples', 'criminal states' and 'monstrous perpetrators'). (shrink)
This paper lays the foundations for a democratic defence of the argument that at least some non-citizens are entitled to claim rights of political participation with regard to states in which they are not resident. First I outline a distinctively democratic case for granting participatory rights to certain non-resident non-citizens, based upon the central claim that in a democracy those who are governed ought to have the opportunity to participate in the exercise of government. I offer support for extending rights (...) of participation to some non-resident non-citizens by addressing two possible democratic objections, relating to political equality and reciprocity. (shrink)
At the end of Republic 5, Plato distinguishes epistêmê from doxa, knowledge from belief. In Posterior Analytics 1.33, Aristotle provides his own distinction between epistêmê and doxa. I explore his way of distinguishing them and compare it with Plato's.
According to David Charles, in the Meno Socrates fleetingly distinguishes the signification from the essence question, but, in the end, he conflates them. Doing so, Charles thinks, both leads to Meno's paradox and prevents Socrates from answering it satisfactorily. I argue that Socrates doesn't conflate the two questions, and that his reply to Meno's paradox is more satisfactory than Charles allows.
Sociology requires a robust theory of how local circumstances create social order. When we analyze social structures not recognizing that they depend on groups with collective pasts and futures that are spatially situated and that are based on personal relations, we avoid a core sociological dimension: the importance of local context in constituting social worlds. Too often this has been the sociological stance, both in micro-sociological studies that examine interaction as untethered from local traditions and in research that treats culture (...) as autonomous from action and choice. Building on theories of action, group dynamics, and micro-cultures, I argue that a sociology of the local solves critical theoretical problems. The local is a stage on which social order gets produced and a lens for understanding how particular forms of action are selected. Treating ethnographic studies as readings of ongoing cultures, I examine how the continuing and referential features of group life (spatial arenas, relations, shared pasts) generate action and argue that local practices provide the basis for cultural extension, influencing societal expectations through the linkages among groups. (shrink)