This paper tracks the commitments of mechanistic explanations focusing on the relation between activities at different levels. It is pointed out that the mechanistic approach is inherently committed to identifying causal connections at higher levels with causal connections at lower levels. For the mechanistic approach to succeed a mechanism as a whole must do the very same thing what its parts organised in a particular way do. The mechanistic approach must also utilise bridge principles connecting different causal terms of different (...) theoretical vocabularies in order to make the identities of causal connections transparent. These general commitments get confronted with two claims made by certain proponents of the mechanistic approach: William Bechtel often argues that within the mechanistic framework it is possible to balance between reducing higher levels and maintaining their autonomy at the same time, whereas, in a recent paper, Craver and Bechtel argue that the mechanistic approach is able to make downward causation intelligible. The paper concludes that the mechanistic approach imbued with identity statements is no better candidate for anchoring higher levels to lower ones while maintaining their autonomy at the same time than standard reductive accounts are, and that what mechanistic explanations are able to do at best is showing that downward causation does not exist. (shrink)
Chomsky’s principle of epistemological tolerance says that in theoretical linguistics contradictions between the data and the hypotheses may be temporarily tolerated in order to protect the explanatory power of the theory. The paper raises the following problem: What kinds of contradictions may be tolerated between the data and the hypotheses in theoretical linguistics? First a model of paraconsistent logic is introduced which differentiates between week and strong contradiction. As a second step, a case study is carried out which exemplifies that (...) the principle of epistemological tolerance may be interpreted as the tolerance of week contradiction. The third step of the argumentation focuses on another case study which exemplifies that the principle of epistemological tolerance must not be interpreted as the tolerance of strong contradiction. The reason for the latter insight is the unreliability and the uncertainty of introspective data. From this finding the author draws the conclusion that it is the integration of different data types that may lead to the improvement of current theoretical linguistics and that the integration of different data types requires a novel methodology which, for the time being, is not available. (shrink)
Tomasello et al.'s two prerequisites, we argue, are not sufficient to explain the emergence of Joint Collaboration. An adequate account must include the human-specific capacity to communicate relevant information (that may have initially evolved to ensure efficient cultural learning). This, together with understanding intentional actions, does provide sufficient preconditions for Joint Collaboration without the need to postulate a primary human motive to share others' psychological states.
Starting from an overview of approaches to naturalized epistemology, the paper shows, firstly, that Quine's programme yields a sceptical paradox. This means that Quine's attempt to defeat scepticism itself yields a rather strong argument for scepticism and thus against his own programme of naturalized epistemology. Secondly, it is shown that this paradox can be solved by an approach called reflexive-heuristic naturalism. Finally, the paper also raises some fundamental problems which the solution proposed has to leave open.
We contrast two positions concerning the initial domain of actions that infants interpret as goal-directed. The 'narrow scope' view holds that goal-attribution in 6- and 9-month-olds is restricted to highly familiar actions (such as grasping) (). The cue-based approach of the infant's 'teleological stance' (), however, predicts that if the cues of equifinal variation of action and a salient action effect are present, young infants can attribute goals to a 'wide scope' of entities including unfamiliar human actions and actions of (...) novel objects lacking human features. It is argued that previous failures to show goal-attribution to unfamiliar actions were due to the absence of these cues. We report a modified replication of showing that when a salient action-effect is presented, even young infants can attribute a goal to an unfamiliar manual action. This study together with other recent experiments reviewed support the 'wide scope' approach indicating that if the cues of goal-directedness are present even 6-month-olds attribute goals to unfamiliar actions. (shrink)
While the analytical philosophy of science regards inconsistent theories as disastrous, Chomsky allows for the temporary tolerance of inconsistency between the hypotheses and the data. However, in linguistics there seem to be several types of inconsistency. The present paper aims at the development of a novel metatheoretical framework which provides tools for the representation and evaluation of inconsistencies in linguistic theories. The metatheoretical model relies on a system of paraconsistent logic and distinguishes between strong and weak inconsistency. Strong inconsistency is (...) destructive in that it leads to logical chaos. In contrast, weak inconsistency may be constructive, because it is capable of accounting for the simultaneous presence of seemingly incompatible structures. However, paraconsistent logic cannot grasp the dynamism of the emergence and resolution of weak inconsistencies. Therefore, the metatheoretical approach is extended to plausible argumentation. The workability of this metatheoretical model is tested with the help of a detailed case study on an analysis of discontinuous constituents in Government-Binding Theory. (shrink)
We present a streamlined axiom system of special relativity in firs-order logic. From this axiom system we ``derive'' an axiom system of general relativity in two natural steps. We will also see how the axioms of special relativity transform into those of general relativity. This way we hope to make general relativity more accessible for the non-specialist.
One striking feature of pornographic images is that they emphasize what is depicted and underplay the way it is depicted: the experience of pornography rarely involves awareness of the picture’s composition or of visual rhyme. There are various ways of making this distinction between what is depicted in a picture and the way the depicted object is depicted in it. Following Richard Wollheim, I call these two aspects, the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of pictorial representation ‘recognitional’ and ‘configurational’, respectively. Some pictures (...) emphasize one of these aspects while underplaying the other. Pornographic pictures try to trigger as little attention to the ‘configurational’ aspect as possible. Instead of examining pornography, where the ‘configurational’ aspect of experience is underplayed, I focus on a historical attempt to create images of the female body where the ‘recognigional’ element is the one that is underplayed and the ‘configurational’ elements of the picture form an essential part of our experience. The pictures I have in mind are André Kertész’s series of photographs from 1933, called Distortions. I argue that Kertész’s Distortions are in this respect the counterpoint of pornography: they may be the least pornographic representations of the female nude. Instead of ignoring the ‘configurational aspects of the picture, making the picture transparent and fully at the service of showing the female body and thus to trigger arousal, Kertész aims to achieve the exact opposite. His photographs strip the female body of all its sexual connotations and draw our attention to the formal features of the picture – which is quite a feat in the light of the subject matter of these pictures that normally draw our attention away from the formal features of pictures. (shrink)
I make three related proposals concerning the development of receptive communication in human infants. First, I propose that the presence of communicative intentions can be recognized in others' behaviour before the content of these intentions is accessed or inferred. Second, I claim that such recognition can be achieved by decoding specialized ostensive signals. Third, I argue on empirical bases that, by decoding ostensive signals, human infants are capable of recognizing communicative intentions addressed to them. Thus, learning about actual modes of (...) communication benefits from, and is guided by, infants' preparedness to detect infant-directed ostensive communication. (shrink)
This is a study of the way in which Levinas approaches the experience of human expression from two perspectives: firstly, as a pre-thematic or pre-cognitive ?experience,? which requires that he revisit Husserl's pre-objective intentionality and explore the relationship between the upsurge of sensation (?Urhylè?) and its ?intentionalization? as consciousness self-temporalizing. Thereafter, Levinas must contend with the implications of his own writing (his thematization and rhetoric), which includes his claims for the face. This implies that he must grapple with criticism to (...) the effect that he is providing a (foundationless) hermeneutics of face-to-face encounters (later, of an affective memory that repeats without recollected representations). Levinas acknowledges that his writing is a ?dramatique des phénomènes? and not a phenomenology of actions (Totality and Infinity, ?Preface?). How, then, to avoid charges of arbitrary description? How to step outside the primordiality of ?the phrase? (Lyotard) or the conceptualization that threatens claims to ?pure? phenomenology? This is really what is at stake in Levinas's second great work (1974). In this essay, I explore the role that ?substitution? plays in weaving together conceptuality and phenomenality. I contrast this with other forms of ?dramatization,? from narrative witnessing (Delbo, Kertesz), to minimalist sculpture (Giacometti). (shrink)
We present a streamlined axiom system of special relativity in first-order logic. From this axiom system we "derive" an axiom system of general relativity in two natural steps. We will also see how the axioms of special relativity transform into those of general relativity. This way we hope to make general relativity more accessible for the non-specialist.
I review recent evidence that very young, pre-verbal infants attribute belief-like states when anticipating the behavior of others. This evidence is drawn from infant performance on non-verbal false belief tasks. I argue that, contrary to typical interpretations, such evidence does not show that infants attribute belief-like states. Rather, it shows that infants apply an enhanced version of what Gergely ( 2011 ) calls the “teleological stance” to brief bouts of behavior. This requires them to parse behavioral sequences into goals (...) and rationally/informationally-constrained means of achieving them; however, it does not require the attribution of unobservable mental states, like beliefs, that are causally responsible for behavior. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to provide a logic-based conceptual analysis of the twin paradox (TwP) theorem within a first-order logic framework. A geometrical characterization of TwP and its variants is given. It is shown that TwP is not logically equivalent to the assumption of the slowing down of moving clocks, and the lack of TwP is not logically equivalent to the Newtonian assumption of absolute time. The logical connection between TwP and a symmetry axiom of special relativity is (...) also studied. (shrink)
Motivation and perspective for an exciting new research direction interconnecting logic, spacetime theory, relativity--including such revolutionary areas as black hole physics, relativistic computers, new cosmology--are presented in this paper. We would like to invite the logician reader to take part in this grand enterprise of the new century. Besides general perspective and motivation, we present initial results in this direction.
In natural sciences, the most interesting and relevant questions are the so-called why-questions. There are several different approaches to why-questions and explanations in the literature, however, most of the literature deals with why-questions about particular events, such as ``Why did Adam eat the apple?''. Even the best known theory of explanation, Hempel's covering law model, is designed for explaining particular events. Here we only deal with purely theoretical why-questions about general phenomena of physics, for instance ``Why can no observer move (...) faster than light?'' or ``Why are Kepler's laws valid?''. Here we are not going to develop a whole new theory of why-questions in physics. We will just touch upon some ideas and examples relevant to our subject. (shrink)
A part of relativistic dynamics is axiomatized by simple and purely geometrical axioms formulated within first-order logic. A geometrical proof of the formula connecting relativistic and rest masses of bodies is presented, leading up to a geometric explanation of Einstein’s famous E = mc 2. The connection of our geometrical axioms and the usual axioms on the conservation of mass, momentum and four-momentum is also investigated.
In the philosophical and cognitive literature, the word ‘intention’ has been used with a variety of meanings which occasionally have been explicitly distinguished. I claim that an important cause of this polysemy is the fact that intentions are complex entities, endowed with an internal structure, and that sometimes different theories in the field are erroneously presented as if they were in conflict with each other, while they in fact just focus on different aspects of the phenomenon. The debate between Gallese’s (...) embodied simulation theory and Csibra and Gergely’s teleological stance hypothesis is discussed as a case in point, and some misunderstandings occurring in that debate are analyzed. The thesis that intentions are complex entities is argued for by shedding light on the following aspects of intentions: conscious control; perceptual (and not only motoric) representations of end-states; attributions of value to those representations; appreciation of the rational relationships between means and ends. (shrink)
Heyes's proposed study for testing whether chimpanzees have a theory of mind is (1) too strong because it requires that the animals apply mental concepts to the interpretation of both their own experiences and the behaviours of others, and (2) too weak because dispositional rather than representational understanding of “seeing” is sufficient to pass it.
Gergely and Csibra's theory, known as "natural pedagogy theory", is meant to explain how infants fast-learn generic knowledge from adults. In this paper, my goal is to assess the explanatory import of this theory in a particular case, namely the phenomena known as "A-not-B errors". I first propose a clarification of natural pedagogy theory's fundamental hypotheses. Then, I describe Topál et al.'s (Science, 321, 1831-1834, 2008) experiments, which consist in applying natural pedagogy theory's framework to the A-not-B errors. Finally, (...) I show that natural pedagogy theory, in its actual stage of development, does not suffice to choose between various interpretations of Topál et al.'s experimental results. (shrink)
Many argued (Accardi and Fedullo, Pitowsky) that Kolmogorov's axioms of classical probability theory are incompatible with quantum probabilities, and that this is the reason for the violation of Bell's inequalities. Szabó showed that, in fact, these inequalities are not violated by the experimentally observed frequencies if we consider the real, “effective” frequencies. We prove in this work a theorem which generalizes this results: “effective” frequencies associated to quantum events always admit a Kolmogorovian representation, when these events are collected through different (...) experimental setups, the choice of which obeys a classical distribution. (shrink)
We study the foundation of space-time theory in the framework of first-order logic (FOL). Since the foundation of mathematics has been successfully carried through (via set theory) in FOL, it is not entirely impossible to do the same for space-time theory (or relativity). First we recall a simple and streamlined FOL-axiomatization Specrel of special relativity from the literature. Specrel is complete with respect to questions about inertial motion. Then we ask ourselves whether we can prove the usual relativistic properties of (...) accelerated motion (e.g., clocks in acceleration) in Specrel. As it turns out, this is practically equivalent to asking whether Specrel is strong enough to “handle” (or treat) accelerated observers. We show that there is a mathematical principle called induction (IND) coming from real analysis which needs to be added to Specrel in order to handle situations involving relativistic acceleration. We present an extended version AccRel of Specrel which is strong enough to handle accelerated motion, in particular, accelerated observers. Among others, we show that~the Twin Paradox becomes provable in AccRel, but it is not provable without IND. (shrink)
The current study investigates the effects of green advertising and a corporation’s environmental performance on brand attitudes and purchase intentions. A 3 × 3 (firm’s environmental performance and its advertising efforts as independent variables) experiment using n = 302 subjects was conducted. Results indicate that the negative effect of a firm’s low performance on brand attitudes becomes stronger in the presence of green advertising compared to general corporate advertising and no advertising. Further, when the firm’s environmental performance is high, both (...) green and general corporate advertising result in more unfavorable brand attitudes than no advertising. The study’s counter-intuitive findings are explained by attribution theory. (shrink)
We review studies of an evolution operator ℒ for a discrete Langevin equation with a strongly hyperbolic classical dynamics and a Gaussian noise. The leading eigenvalue of ℒ yields a physically measurable property of the dynamical system, the escape rate from the repeller. The spectrum of the evolution operator ℒ in the weak noise limit can be computed in several ways. A method using a local matrix representation of the operator allows to push the corrections to the escape rate up (...) to order eight in the noise expansion parameter. These corrections then appear to form a divergent series. Actually, via a cumulant expansion, they relate to analogous divergent series for other quantities, the traces of the evolution operators ℒn. Using an integral representation of the evolution operator ℒ, we then investigate the high order corrections to the latter traces. Their asymptotic behavior is found to be controlled by sub-dominant saddle points previously neglected in the perturbative expansion, and to be ultimately described by a kind of trace formula. (shrink)