Histories of kinematics and Einstein’s relativity theory: A collage of historiographies Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9532-6 Authors Giora Hon, Department of Philosophy, University of Haifa, 31905 Haifa, Israel Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Can a theory turn back, as it were, upon itselfand vouch for its own features? That is, canthe derived elements of a theory be the veryprimitive terms that provide thepresuppositions of the theory? This form of anall-embracing feature assumes a totality inwhich there occurs quantification over thattotality, quantification that is defined bythis very totality. I argue that the Machprinciple exhibits such a feature ofall-embracing nature. To clarify the argument,I distinguish between on the one handcompleteness and on the other wholeness andtotality, (...) as different all-embracing features:the former being epistemic while the latter –ontological.I propose an analogy between the Mach principleas a possible selection principle in generalrelativity, and the vicious-circle principle infoundations of mathematics. I finally concludewith a consequence of this analogyvis-à-vis completeness and totality,viz., both should be constrained if they wereto be valid concepts for a physical theory. (shrink)
: Scientific observation is determined by the human sensory system, which generally relies on instruments that serve as mediators between the world and the senses. Instruments came in the shape of Heron's Dioptra, Levi Ben Gerson's Cross-staff, Egnatio Danti's Torqvetto Astronomico, Tycho's Quadrant, Galileo's Geometric Military Compass, or Kepler's Ecliptic Instrument. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, however, it was unclear how an instrument such as the telescope could be employed to acquire new information and expand knowledge about the (...) world. To exploit the telescope as a device for astronomical observations Galileo had to: 1. establish that telescopic images are not optical defects, imperfections in the eye of the observer, or illusions caused by lenses; 2. develop procedures for systematically handling errors that may occur during observation and measurement and methods of processing data. Galileo made it clear that in order to measure and interpret natural phenomena accurately, a suitable method and instrument would need to be developed. It is intriguing, therefore, to regard the Galilean telescope in this light and to discover the linkage established by Galileo among theory, method, and instrument—the telescope. Although the telescope was not invented through science, it is instructive to see how Galileo used optics to employ a theory-laden instrument for bridging the gulf between picture and scientific language, between drawing and reporting physical facts, and between merely sketching the world and actually describing it. (shrink)
: This study of the concept of orbit is intended to throw light on the nature of revolutionary concepts in science. We observe that Kepler transformed theoretical astronomy that was understood in terms of orbs [Latin: orbes] (spherical shells to which the planets were attached) and models (called hypotheses at the time), by introducing a single term, orbit [Latin: orbita], that is, the path of a planet in space resulting from the action of physical causes expressed in laws of nature. (...) To demonstrate the claim that orbit is a revolutionary concept we pursue three lines of argument. First we trace the origin of the term; second, we document its development and specify the meaning of the novel term as it was introduced into astronomy by Kepler in his Astronomia nova (1609). Finally, in order to establish in what sense the concept is revolutionary, we pay attention to the enduring impact that the concept has had on the relevant sciences, in this case astronomy and indeed physics. We claim that orbit is an instance of a revolutionary concept whose provenance and use can provide the insights we are seeking. (shrink)
Descartes’s Cogito, “I am thinking, therefore I exist,” is perhaps the most famous assertion in the history of philosophy. Thirteen hundred years earlier, St. Augustine formulated a similar claim, arguing “if I am mistaken, I am.” Did St. Augustine anticipate Descartes? We show that Descartes’s dictum is a novel insight and less vulnerable to criticism than the claim of St. Augustine. Whereas Descartes searched for one true proposition on which he could base scientificknowledge, St. Augustine sought to refute the skeptics (...) who had denied the possibility of knowledge. By a twist of irony, the skeptics and St. Augustine reached contradictory (ethical) conclusions based, however, on similar reasoning. (shrink)
Abstract One cannot discount experimental errors and turn the attention to the logicomathematical structure of a physical theory without distorting the nature of the scientific method. The occurrence of errors in experiments constitutes an inherent feature of the attempt to test theories in the physical world. This feature deserves proper attention which has been neglected. An attempt is made to address this problem.
Guo, Xiaodong 郭曉東, Comprehending Benevolence and Controlling Human Proclivity : A Study of Cheng Mingdao’s Philosophy from the Perspective of Moral Cultivation 識仁與定性 : 功夫論視域下的程明道哲學研究 Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11712-009-9143-8 Authors Tze-ki Hon, State University of New York, SUNY-Geneseo History Department 1 College Circle Geneseo NY 14454 USA Journal Dao Online ISSN 1569-7274 Print ISSN 1540-3009 Journal Volume Volume 9 Journal Issue Volume 9, Number 1.
Most recent work on the nature of experiment in physics has focused on "big science"--the large-scale research addressed in Andrew Pickering's Constructing Quarks and Peter Galison's How Experiments End. This book examines small-scale experiment in physics, in particular the relation between theory and practice. The contributors focus on interactions among the people, materials, and ideas involved in experiments--factors that have been relatively neglected in science studies. The first half of the book is primarily philosophical, with contributions from Andrew Pickering, (...)Peter Galison, Hans Radder, Brian Baigrie, and Yves Gingras. Among the issues they address are the resources deployed by theoreticians and experimenters, the boundaries that constrain theory and practice, the limits of objectivity, the reproducibility of results, and the intentions of researchers. The second half is devoted to historical case studies in the practice of physics from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth century. These chapters address failed as well as successful experimental work ranging from Victorian astronomy through Hertz's investigation of cathode rays to Trouton's attempt to harness the ether. Contributors to this section are Jed Z. Buchwald, Giora Hon, Margaret Morrison, Simon Schaffer, and Andrew Warwick. With a lucid introduction by Ian Hacking, and original articles by noted scholars in the history and philosophy of science, this book is poised to become a significant source on the nature of small-scale experiment in physics. (shrink)
This paper will focus on two textual articulations that emerged in the Immanuel “Beis-Yaakov” school segregation case. The first is a declaration of the Admor from Slonim that was published when the ultra-Orthodox fathers who refused to send their daughters to an integrated school were imprisoned. The second is a letter to the Supreme Court that was written by an Ashkenazi mother whose daughter attended the “Beis Yaakov” school. A semiotic reading of the articulations reveals several opposing characteristics. (...) The Admor’s audience is determined by his choices of medium and rhetoric, which guarantee hegemonic reading, corresponding with the textual code of his interpretive community. The letter, on the other hand, represents an attempt to break through communal borders, and therefore its writer cannot expect hegemonic reading. Yet, she makes a considerable effort to employ signifiers denoting her ultra-Orthodox affiliation. In light of the hindrances that usually prevent ultra-Orthodox women from contesting the authority of the community, the letter presents a rare feminine voice, which is vigorous enough to attempt subverting under the authoriality of the Admor, and might have a long run affect on the quest for equality. (shrink)
Drawing upon the work of Merleau-Ponty, Borrett et al. (2000) have attempted to model the primordial, "empty heads turned towards the world." Putting the issue of embodiment aside for another day, they propose two separate models, one of movement and the other of perception. While I am sympathetic to the point of their project, I argue in this commentary that their models are insufficiently vague. The following analytic abstractions to which they commit themselves seem seriously at odds with the nature (...) of their task: action versus perception; vision versus the other senses; spatial properties versus, for example, colour and meaning; and 'a controller' versus the body and its environment. (shrink)
This paper explores Ham's role as a maverick thinker, a pacifist and an innovator of religious pluralism in twentieth century Korea. Ham saw an individual's spiritual quest and the struggle for social justice as interrelated. As an idealist, Ham viewed human beings basically as moral beings, and perceived the Supreme Being or God not only as a transcendental being, but also as an imminent being both in the sense of existing everywhere and also in the sense of existing as `inner (...) voice'. On this basis, my paper examines Ham as an intermediary between East Asia and the West and between `losers' and `winners' in history, and assesses how he was shaped by, and responded to, the challenges of his time. Firstly, I will look at Ham's search for Korea's national identity under Japaneseimperialism and his determination to write an account of Korean history from the standpoint of the oppressed, in order to inspire his downhearted countrymen. I will also examine how, using his own Biblical interpretation of Korean history, Ham provided a mission and vision not only for oppressed Koreans under Japanese colonialism, but also for 'losers' and ordinary people everywhere. In the second section, I will further explore Ham's sense of pacifism by examining how Ham's ideas were open-ended not only towards the Asian classical philosophies of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Hinduism, but also towards traditional Christianity, the non-church movement, Quakerism, Western sciences and rationalism. I will also consider why he had to respond as an individual to the challenges both of society and of the historical era. In the third section, I will concentrate on how Ham's Christo-centric views had fundamentally altered to a more universal perspective and also how he asserted the necessity for the restoration of Christianity from the ceremonial and `weird' to the ethical and socially just. Lastly, I will look at Ham's definition of Jesus and why he used the new terminology the 'Ssial' instead of the archaic expressions 'people' or 'national.' By doing so, I will examine how Ham achieved what is one of the most difficult things in this world, to be a genuinely conscientious leader despite corrupt surroundings. (shrink)
Both cognitive science and phenomenology accept the primacy of the organism-environment system and recognize that cognition should be understood in terms of an embodied agent situated in its environment. How embodiment is seen to shape our world, however, is fundamentally different in these two disciplines. Embodiment, as understood in cognitive science, reduces to a discussion of the consequences of having a body like ours interacting with our environment and the relationship is one of contingent causality. Embodiment, as understood phenomenologically, represents (...) the condition of intelligibility of certain terms in our experience and, as such, refers to one aspect of that background which presupposes our understanding of the world. The goals and approach to modeling an embodied agent in its environment are also fundamentally different dependent on which relationship is addressed. These differences are highlighted and are used to support our phenomenologically based approach to organism-environment interaction and its relationship to brain function. (shrink)
I offer some reasons for the theory that, compared with human beings, non-human animals have some but lesser intrinsic value. On the basis of this theory, I first argue that we do not know how to compare an animal's claim to be free from a more serious type of harm (e.g., death), and a human's claim to be free from some lesser type of harm (e.g., non-fatal morbidity). For we need to take account of these parties' intrinsic value, and their (...) competing types of claim. Yet, there exists no known way for making such comparison, when a human's intrinsic value is higher than that of an animal, whereas the type of claim an animal has is morally weightier than the type of claim a human has. Second, I explain why utilitarianism is unhelpful in making such comparison. Third, in the case where some animals can be sacrificed for saving a larger number of humans, it is crucial to ask whether animals have the right to life, and I argue that this question is more perplexing than we might think. My conclusion is that the various difficulties mentioned above have a deeper source than we have so far acknowledged, and that this reflects that the moral reality is less tidy and more complex than many theories portray. (shrink)
Current cognitive science models of perception and action assume that the objects that we move toward and perceive are represented as determinate in our experience of them. A proper phenomenology of perception and action, however, shows that we experience objects indeterminately when we are perceiving them or moving toward them. This indeterminacy, as it relates to simple movement and perception, is captured in the proposed phenomenologically based recurrent network models of brain function. These models provide a possible foundation from which (...) predicative structures may arise as an emergent phenomenon without the positing of a representing subject. These models go some way in addressing the dual constraints of phenomenological accuracy and neurophysiological plausibility that ought to guide all projects devoted to discovering the physical basis of human experience. (shrink)
Contextualist theorists have recently defended the views (a) that metaphor-processing can be treated on a par with other meaning changes, such as narrowing or transfer, and (b) that metaphorical contents enter into “what is said” by an utterance. We do not dispute claim (a) but consider that claim (b) is problematic. Contextualist theorists seem to leave in the hands of context the explanation about why it is that some meaning changes are directly processed, and thus plausibly form part of “what (...) is said”, while some others are not. While granting the role of context in this respect, we contend that there are that there are elements that play an instrumental role in providing direct access to the metaphorical content, namely, the conventionality of the expressions and the salience of the concepts involved. We will start by criticizing Recanati’s and Relevance Theory’s accounts of metaphor. Then we examine the claims of Carston’s and Giora’s two-process accounts that set the stage for a revision of the main elements involved, namely, the properties of conventionality and salience. Finally we examine a number of representative examples, explaining why some cases involve a direct access to the metaphorical content and others require an intermediate non-figurative interpretation. (shrink)
This paper argues that product and advertisement are neither completely dependent nor completely independent. The advertisement of a bad product cannot be good. The advertisement of a good product is not necessarily good. In the case where consumer sovereignty cannot be assumed, the goodness of an advertisement depends solely on the goodness of the product. In the case where consumer sovereignty can be assumed, the goodness of an advertisement depends first on whether the product is good, and if so, whether (...) the advertisement preserves individual autonomy. (shrink)
SmartData is a research program to develop web-based intelligent agents that will perform two tasks: securely store an individual’s personal and/or proprietary data, and protect the privacy and security of the data by only disclosing it in accordance with instructions authorized by the data subject. The vision consists of a web-based SmartData agent that would serve as an individual’s proxy in cyberspace to protect their personal or proprietary data. The SmartData agent (which ‘houses’ the data and its permitted uses) would (...) be transmitted to, or stored in a database, not the personal data itself. In effect, there would be no personal or proprietary raw data out in the open—it would instead be housed within a SmartData agent, much like we humans carry information in our heads; extending the analogy, it would be the human-like clone that would be transmitted or stored, not the raw data. The binary string representative of a SmartData agent would be located in local or central databases. Organizations requiring access to any of the data resident within the agent would query it once it had been activated. In this paper, we provide a preliminary overview of the SmartData concept, and describe the associated research and development that must be conducted in order to actualize this vision. (shrink)