Over recent decades there has been a growing interest in the question of whether computer programs are capable of genuinely creative activity. Although this notion can be explored as a purely philosophical debate, an alternative perspective is to consider what aspects of the behaviour of a program might be noted or measured in order to arrive at an empirically supported judgement that creativity has occurred. We sketch out, in general abstract terms, what goes on when a potentially creative program is (...) constructed and run, and list some of the relationships (for example, between input and output) which might contribute to a decision about creativity. Specifically, we list a number of criteria which might indicate interesting properties of a program’s behaviour, from the perspective of possible creativity. We go on to review some ways in which these criteria have been applied to actual implementations, and some possible improvements to this way of assessing creativity. (shrink)
This article explores the role of surface ambiguities in referring expressions, and how the risk of such ambiguities should be taken into account by an algorithm that generates referring expressions, if these expressions are to be optimally effective for a hearer. We focus on the ambiguities that arise when adjectives occur in coordinated structures. The central idea is to use statistical information about lexical co-occurrence to estimate which interpretation of a phrase is most likely for human readers, and to avoid (...) generating phrases where misunderstandings are likely. Various aspects of the problem were explored in three experiments in which responses by human participants provided evidence about which reading was most likely for certain phrases, which phrases were deemed most suitable for particular referents, and the speed at which various phrases were read. We found a preference for ‘‘clear’’ expressions to ‘‘unclear’’ ones, but if several of the expressions are ‘‘clear,’’ then brief expressions are preferred over non-brief ones even though the brief ones are syntactically ambiguous and the non-brief ones are not; the notion of clarity was made precise using Kilgarriff's Word Sketches. We outline an implemented algorithm that generates noun phrases conforming to our hypotheses. (shrink)
v. 1. Darwinism and politics ; The principles of state interference -- v. 2. Darwin and Hegel -- v. 3. Natural rights -- v. 4. Studies in political and social ethics ; Plato -- v. 5. Philosophical studies -- v. 6. Miscellaneous writings..
Structural realism is an attempt to balance the competing demands of the No Miracles Argument and the Pessimistic Meta-Induction. In this paper I trace the development of the structuralist idea through the work of one of its leading advocates, John Worrall. I suggest that properly thought through what the structuralist is offering or should be offering is not an account of how to divide up a theory into two parts—structure and ontology—but (perhaps surprisingly) a certain kind of theory of meaning—semantic (...) holism. I explain how a version of structural realism can be developed using Davidson’s theory of meaning and some advantages this has over the Ramsey-sentence version of structuralism. (shrink)
Orthodox physicalism has a problem with mental causation. If physics is complete and mental events are not identical to physical events (as multiple-realisation arguments imply) it seems as though there is no causal work for the mental to do. This paper examines some recent attempts to overcome this problem by analysing causation in terms of counterfactuals or conditional probabilities. It is argued that these solutions cannot simultaneously capture the force of the completeness of physics and make room for mental causation.
In this paper I argue for a view of groups, things like teams, committees, clubs and courts. I begin by examining features all groups seem to share. I formulate a list of six features of groups that serve as criteria any adequate theory of groups must capture. Next, I examine four of the most prominent views of groups currently on offer—that groups are non-singular pluralities, fusions, aggregates and sets. I argue that each fails to capture one or more of the (...) criteria. Last, I develop a view of groups as realizations of structures. The view has two components. First, groups are entities with structure. Second, since groups are concreta, they exist only when a group structure is realized. A structure is realized when each of its functionally defined nodes or places are occupied. I show how such a view captures the six criteria for groups, which no other view of groups adequately does, while offering a substantive answer to the question, “What are groups?”. (shrink)