In the fusillade he lets fly against Foss (1984), Bourgeois (1987) sometimes hits a live target. I admit that I went beyond the letter of van Fraassen's The Scientific Image (1980), making inferences and drawing conclusions which are often absurd. I maintain, however, that the absurdities must be charged to van Fraassen's account. While I cannot redress every errant shot of Bourgeois, his essay reveals the need for further discussion of the concepts of the phenomena and the observables as (...) used by van Fraassen. (shrink)
Given that the mind is the brain, as materialists insist, those who would understand the mind must understand the brain. Assuming that arrays of neural firing frequencies are highly salient aspects of brain information processing (the vector functional account), four hurdles to an understanding of the brain are identified and inspected: indeterminacy, micro-specificity, chaos, and openness.
Like everyone with a scientific bent of mind, Dennett thinks our capacity for meaningful language and states of mind is the product of evolution (Dennett [1987, ch. VIII]). But unlike many of this bent, he sees virtue in viewing evolution itself from the intentional stance. From this stance, ?Mother Nature?, or the process of evolution by natural selection, bestows intentionality upon us, hence we are not Unmeant Meaners. Thus, our intentionality is extrinsic, and Dennett dismisses the theories of meaning of (...) Dretske, Fodor, Burge, Putnam, and Kripke on the grounds that each requires that our mental states, unlike those of artifacts, have meaning intrinsically. I argue that we are Unmeant Meaners, incidentally defending Dretske et al., though my goal is to test the explanatory virtue of the intentional stance as applied to the evolution of intentionality. (shrink)
Thesis: Art like science radically affects our perceiving and thinking, and the two are substantially alike in that together--along with an inherited "natural" language system with which they overlap--they enable us to articulate the world. Science has been advanced as the measure of all things: scientific realism. By implication, art pertains to beauty, science truth. Science effects conceptual break-throughs, changes our models of natural order. On the contrary (I argue), as a nonverbal symbol system art similarly affects paradigm-induced expectations. Substantively (...) there is no difference in the way each enables us to articulate or measure the world: symbolic realism. The myth of resemblance as a criterion of representation--imitation as a one-one relation--has, at least since the time of Plato, obscured this truth. Once the distinction between representational and nonrepresentational art falls, the true nature of artist (like scientist) as maker is illumined. The artist, the scientist (disciplinarian), the cosmologist (those responsible for the formulation of so-called natural languages--in time all of us) make the world or, what practically amounts to the same thing, the known, perceived world. This is the claim of the symbolic realist. Is symbolic realism itself only a watershed? What implication does this critique have for assessing the role of the philosopher today? (shrink)
Mele desires to believe that the self-deceived have consistent beliefs. Beliefs are not observable, but are instead ascribed within an explanatory framework. Because explanatory cogency is the only criterion for belief attribution, Mele should carefully attend to the logic of belief-desire explanation. He does not, and the consistency of his own account as well as that of the self-deceived, are the victims.
The noted psychologist, Doreen Kimura, has argued that we should not expect to find equal numbers of men and women in various professions because there is a natural sexual inequality of intellect. In rebuttal I argue that each of these mutually supporting theses is insufficiently supported by the evidence to be accepted. The social and ethical dimensions of Kimura's work, and of the scientific study of the nature-nurture controversy in general, are briefly discussed.
Physicalism is an empirical theory of the mind and its place in nature. So the physicalist must show that current neuroscience does not falsify physicalism, but instead supports it. Current neuroscience shows that a nervous system is what I call a vector function system. I provide a brief outline of the resources that empirical research has made available within the constraints of the vector function approach. Then I argue that these resources are sufficient, indeed apt, for the physicalist enterprise, by (...) offering a vector functional, hence physicalist, theory of the percept--the perceptual experience itself, a paradigm of phenomenally immediate, introspectively accessible consciousness. (shrink)
The basic premise of today's scientific medicine is that the ‘book of man’ is written in the language of the biological sciences, ultimately molecular genetics and biochemistry. The patient is a complex biological organism and disease is a deviation from the norm of somatic parameters. At the same time, many major contemporary diseases are reported to have psychosocial and environmental components in their etiology. Hence the challenge: how can a medical model be both scientific and conceptually well-suited to today's disease (...) burden? I argue that certain contemporary "postmodern" sciences support alternative, non-reductionist (self-organizational) premises. So doing, they offer an infrastructure for a medical model at once scientific and responsive to the diseases at hand. Keywords: biomedicine (biological medicine), natural science paradigm, Cartesian dualism, self-organization, postmodern sciences, self-referentiality CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In his book, The Scientific Image, van Fraassen lucidly draws an alternative to scientific realism, which he calls "Constructive Empiricism". In this epistemological theory, the concept of observability plays the pivotal role: acceptable theories may be believed only where what they say solely concerns observables. Van Fraassen develops a concept of observability which is, as he admits, vague, relative, science-dependent, and anthropocentric. I draw out unacceptable consequences of each of these aspects of his concept. Also, I argue against his assumption (...) that "empirical adequacy" is the same thing as "saving the phenomena", according to his sense of the expressions. (shrink)
An examination of the early history of Nobel Committee deliberations, coupled with a survey of discoveries for which prizes have been awarded to date – and, equally revealing, discoveries for which prizes have not been awarded – reveals a pattern. This pattern suggests that Committee members may have internalized the received, biomedical model and conferred awards in accord with the physicalistic premises that ground this model. I consider the prospect of a paradigm change in medical science and the possible repercussions (...) of such a change on the distribution of Nobel prizes within the domain of physiology or medicine. For expository purposes, I contrast a model based on a science of pathophysiology with one based on a science of pathopsychophysiology. I propose a means whereby members might minimize the potentially blinding effects of model-dependence and come to evaluate medical discoveries from an inter-model rather than an exclusively intra-model perspective. By bringing to light questions rarely asked and proposing answers, I seek to open a dialogue and furnish a vehicle by which the putative delimiting effects of model-dependence might be overcome. (shrink)
Boyer & Lienard's (B&L's) explanation of ritualized behavior is plausible because it fits so well with elementary facts about evolution of plasticity in our behavioral repertoire. Its scope, however, may be broader than its authors explicitly admit. Science itself may be illuminated as ritual behavior. Science, like other rituals, can sustain both healthy and pathological forms. (Published Online February 8 2007).
Behrendt's & Young's (B&Y's) persuasive scientific theory explains hallucinations, and is supported by a wide variety of psychological evidence, both normal and abnormal – unlike their philosophical thesis, Kantian idealism. I argue that the evidence cited by the authors in support of idealism actually favors realism. Fortunately, their scientific theory is separable from their philosophy, and is methodologically consistent with realism.
This paper examines today's received scientific medical model with respect to its ability to satisfy two conditions: (1) its explanatory adequacy relative to the full range of findings in the medical literature, including those indicating a correlation between psychosocial variables and disease susceptibility; and (2) the fit between its physicalist patient and disease concepts and what today's basic sciences, so-called sciences of complexity, tell us about the way matter, notably complex systems (e.g. patients), behave and the nature of scientific explanation. (...) I conclude that the received (biomedical) model falls short on both counts and to satisfy these conditions is to articulate a formal successor model. This successor must be guided by premises consistent with the findings and methods of today's basic sciences on which an applied science like medicine depends for its validity. Additionally, the successor model must be able to explain (and predict) the full range of clinical findings, both those that its predecessors explains and at least some of those that it does not. The aim of the paper is to identify such a model. (shrink)
We respond to Jack Vromen’s (this issue) critique of our discussion of the missing micro-foundations of work on routines and capabilities in economics and management research. Contrary to Vromen, we argue that (1) inter-level relations can be causal, and that inter-level causal relations may also obtain between routines and actions and interactions; (2) there are no macro-level causal mechanisms; and (3) on certain readings of the notion of routines and capabilities, these may be macro causes.
Gintis assumes the behavioral (=social) sciences are in disarray, and so proposes a theory for their unification. Examination of the unity of the physical sciences reveals he misunderstands the unity of science in general, and so fails to see that the social sciences are already unified with the physical sciences. Another explanation of the differences between them is outlined. (Published Online April 27 2007).
This paper discusses the reasons for the success of the new growth theory. Given that the NGT does not appear to say much new about empirical reality, that its essential ideas have been known for a long time, and that it does not really make contact with a large literature on institutions and economic change, its strong success may arguably be seen as surprising. Or, at least, its success may appear peculiar to Lakatosian methodologists, and others who emphasize notions such (...) as ?novel facts?. The reason for the success of the NGT is argued to lie in its constituting a case of strong heuristic progress: it brought growth through knowledge accumulation within the confines of neoclassical economics, and thus demonstrated the continued viability of this research tradition. (shrink)
The object of this essay is to demonstrate a logical connection between beliefs and values. It is argued that such a connection can be established only if one keeps in mind the question: What is minimally required in order that it makes sense to speak of beliefs and values at all? Thus, the concept of minimal rationality is indispensable to the task at hand. A particular example of a logical connection between a belief and a value is examined, which leads (...) to a formal rule (Rule of Minimal Rationality) which expresses in general the logical connection between beliefs and values. This rule is elaborated to include attempted activities as well as activities simpliciter, activities having been discovered as essential to any logical connection between beliefs and values. Finally, some interesting implications and promising applications of the Rule of Minimal Rationality are outlined. (shrink)
I address the issue of justifiable profits from distinct perspectives in economics, strategy research and ethics. Combining insights from Austrian economics, the resource-based perspective, and finders, keepers ethics, I argue that strategy is about the discovery of hitherto unexploited possibilities for exchange. To the extent that strategy is about the discovery/creation ex nihilo of products, ways of producing products, etc., the resulting profits are argued to be justifiable from a finders, keepers perspective.
Quartz & Sejnowski's (Q&S's) main accomplishment is the presentation of increasing complexity in the developing brain. Although this cuts a colorful swath through current theories of learning, it leaves the central question untouched: How does the environment direct neural structure? In answer, Q&S offer us only Hebb's half-century-old suggestion once again.
Peirce measures the testability of scientific hypotheses by these oft-repeated standards: "money, time, energy, thought". His concept of testability is outlined and developed. It is found to be strikingly different, but not incompatible with, the positivist-empiricist concept of testability- in-principle. Peirce's concept of testability is, however, much richer than the received positivist-empiricist concept, and plays a larger, more central role in the logic of science, as Peirce sees it. In particular, Peirce's concept, in its role in his theory of the (...) economy of research, shows how the acceptance of scientific hypotheses is itself a function of economic factors, and thus is not value-neutral. (shrink)
The rise of the knowledge economy has far-reaching implications for the nature of economic organization as well as firm strategy. Not surprisingly, thinking in management studies as well as in economics has been profoundly affected by these changes. Thus, management thinking in particular has been increasingly characterized by a schism between those who advocate 'knowledge' or 'capabilities-based' approaches in the strategy and organization fields and those who adopt more economics-influenced approaches, notably the economics of organization. -/- This book is a (...) sustained attempt to overcome this schism. Its basic argument is that knowledge-based and organizational economics approaches are not substitutes but complements. In particular, organizational economics has much to contribute with respect to furthering the understanding of efficient organization and strategy in the emerging knowledge economy. This theme is taken through several theoretical as well as empirical variations. Themes such as the incentive liabilities of flat, 'knowledge-based' organizations and the role of complementary HRM practices for fostering knowledge sharing and creation are extensively treated. The book thus contains important implications for knowledge management, organizational design, and firm strategy." -/- The book encompasses nine chapters which critically examine current thinking on strategy, and organization. The reasoning is non-technical. While primarily aimed at a management studies audience, economists and other social scientists will also benefit from it, including Advanced Students, Academics, and Researchers. (shrink)
Because the reciprocal theory of Mazur & Booth dominates the static basal model, given the evidence they present, it is worth considering the implications for women's equality, supposing it true. Testosterone might well give males a competitive edge, and hence higher status, creating an inequality that mere social legislation would be ill-suited to address. Further research on the role of testosterone is needed.
We discuss contract theory from a combined Austrian/new institutional view. In the latter view, the world is seen as shot through with ignorance and transaction costs, but, as a tendency, entrepreneurial activity responds to the problems caused by these. All modelling must critically reflect this. This ontological commitment is contrasted to various isolations characteristic of contract theory, specifically the modelling strategy of introducing often ad hoc and unexplained constraints that suppress margins and possibilities of entrepreneurial actions that would be open (...) to real-world decision-makers. We illustrate this by means of, for example, the treatment of asymmetric information under complete contracting and the notion of control rights under incomplete contracting. (shrink)
Foss's critique of van Fraassen's constructive empiricism is shown to be completely wide of the mark (Foss 1984, van Fraassen 1980). Foss misunderstands van Fraassen's use of the terms 'observable', 'phenomena', 'empirical adequacy', and 'epistemic community'. He misconstrues constructive empiricism as making knowledge, and perhaps existence, dependent on the observer. On the basis of this error, he attempts to reduce constructive empiricism to skepticism. None of his criticisms are to the point.
People rely on reason to think about and navigate the abstract world of human relations in much the same way they rely on maps to study and traverse the physical world. Starting from that simple observation, renowned geographer Gunnar Olsson offers in Abysmal an astonishingly erudite critique of the way human thought and action have become deeply immersed in the rhetoric of cartography and how this cartographic reasoning allows the powerful to map out other people’s lives. A spectacular reading (...) of Western philosophy, religion, and mythology that draws on early maps and atlases, Plato, Kant, and Wittgenstein, Thomas Pynchon, Gilgamesh , and Marcel Duchamp, Abysmal is itself a minimalist guide to the terrain of Western culture. Olsson roams widely but always returns to the problems inherent in reason, to question the outdated assumptions and fixed ideas that thinking cartographically entails. A work of ambition, scope, and sharp wit, Abysmal will appeal to an eclectic audience—to geographers and cartographers, but also to anyone interested in the history of ideas, culture, and art. (shrink)
We defend a contextualist account of deontic judgments as relativized both to (i) information and to (ii) standards or ends, against recent objections that turn on practices of moral disagreement. Kolodny & MacFarlane argue that information-relative contextualism cannot accommodate the connection between deliberation and advice; we suggest in response that they misidentify the basic concerns of deliberating agents. For pragmatic reasons, semantic assessments of normative claims sometimes are evaluations of propositions other than those asserted. Weatherson, Schroeder and others have raised (...) parallel objections to standard-relative contextualism; we argue for a parallel solution. (shrink)
Recent work in experimental philosophy shows that folk intuitions about moral responsibility are sensitive to a surprising variety of factors. Whether people take agents to be responsible for their actions in deterministic scenarios depends on whether the deterministic laws are couched in neurological or psychological terms (Nahmias et. al. 2007), on whether actions are described abstractly or concretely, and on how serious moral transgression they seem to represent (Nichols & Knobe 2007). Finally, people are more inclined to hold an agent (...) responsible for bringing about bad than for bringing about good side effects that the agent is indifferent about (Knobe 2003). Elsewhere, we have presented an analysis of the everyday concept of moral responsibility that provides a unified explanation of paradigmatic cases of moral responsibility, and accounts for the force of both typical excuses and the most influential skeptical arguments against moral responsibility or for incompatibilism. In this article, we suggest that it also explains the divergent and apparently incoherent set of intuitions revealed by these new studies. If our hypothesis is correct, the surprising variety of judgments stems from a unified concept of moral responsibility. -Knobe, J. (2003) Intentional Action and Side Effects in Ordinary Language. Analysis 63, pp.190–93. -Nahmias, E.; Coates, J.; Kvaran. T. (2007) Free will, moral responsibility, and mechanism: experiments on folk intuitions. Midwest studies in Philosophy XXXI -Nichols, S.; Knobe, J. (2007) Moral responsibility and determinism: the cognitive science of folk intuitions, Noûs 41:4, 663-685. (shrink)