Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) participated in two of the most significant developments in physics and in the philosophy of science in the 19th century: the proof that Euclidean geometry does not describe the only possible visualizable and physical space, and the shift from physics based on actions between particles at a distance to the field theory. Helmholtz achieved a staggering number of scientific results, including the formulation of energy conservation, the vortex equations for fluid dynamics, the notion of (...) free energy in thermodynamics, and the invention of the ophthalmoscope. His constant interest in the epistemology of science guarantees his enduring significance for philosophy. (shrink)
In 1887 Helmholtz discussed the foundations of measurement in science as a last contribution to his philosophy of knowledge. This essay borrowed from earlier debates on the foundations of mathematics (Grassmann / Du Bois), on the possibility of quantitative psychology (Fechner / Kries, Wundt / Zeller), and on the meaning of temperature measurement (Maxwell, Mach). Late nineteenth-century scrutinisers of the foundations of mathematics (Dedekind, Cantor, Frege, Russell) made little of Helmholtz's essay. Yet it inspired two mathematicians with an (...) eye on physics (Poincare and Holder), and a few philosopher-physicists (Mach, Duhem, Campbell). The aim of the present paper is to situate Helmholtz's contribution in this complex array of nineteenth-century philosophies of number, quantity, and measurement. (shrink)
The Marburg neo-Kantians argue that Hermann von Helmholtz's empiricist account of the a priori does not account for certain knowledge, since it is based on a psychological phenomenon, trust in the regularities of nature. They argue that Helmholtz's account raises the 'problem of validity' (Gueltigkeitsproblem): how to establish a warranted claim that observed regularities are based on actual relations. I reconstruct Heinrich Hertz's and Ludwig Wittgenstein's Bild theoretic answer to the problem of validity: that scientists and philosophers (...) can depict the necessary a priori constraints on states of affairs in a given system, and can establish whether these relations are actual relations in nature. The analysis of necessity within a system is a lasting contribution of the Bild theory. However, Hertz and Wittgenstein argue that the logical and mathematical sentences of a Bild are rules, tools for constructing relations, and the rules themselves are meaningless outside the theory. Carnap revises the argument for validity by attempting to give semantic rules for translation between frameworks. Russell and Quine object that pragmatics better accounts for the role of a priori reasoning in translating between frameworks. The conclusion of the tale, then, is a partial vindication of Helmholtz's original account. (shrink)
Hermann von Helmholtz was a leading figure of nineteenth-century European intellectual life, remarkable even among the many scientists of the period for the range and depth of his interests. A pioneer of physiology and physics, he was also deeply concerned with the implications of science for philosophy and culture. From the 1850s to the 1890s, Helmholtz delivered more than two dozen popular lectures, seeking to educate the public and to enlighten the leaders of European society and governments about (...) the potential benefits of science and technology to a developing modern society. David Cahan has selected fifteen of these lectures, which reflect the wide range of topics of crucial importance to Helmholtz and his audiences. Among the subjects discussed are the origins of the planetary system, the relation of natural science to science in general, the aims and progress of the physical sciences, the problems of perception, and academic freedom in German universities. This collection also includes Helmholtz's fascinating lectures on the relation of optics to painting and the physiological causes of harmony in music, which provide insight into the relations between science and aesthetics. Science and Culture makes available again Helmholtz's eloquent arguments on the usefulness, benefits, and, intellectual pleasures of understanding the natural world. With Cahan's Introduction to set these essays in their broader context, this collection makes an important contribution to the philosophical and intellectual history of Europe at a time when science played an increasingly significant role in social, economic, and cultural life. (shrink)
Begegnung mit einem Klassiker der Pädagogik: In zehn überschaubaren Kapiteln werden Stationen des Lebens und Schaffens von Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), dem Klassiker der Pädagogik schlechthin, so dargestellt, dass einerseits ...
Hyder constructs two historical narratives. First, he gives an account of Helmholtz's relation to Kant, from the famous Raumproblem, which preoccupied philosophers, geometers, and scientists in the mid-19th century, to Helmholtz's arguments in his four papers on geometry from 1868 to 1878 that geometry is, in some sense, an empirical science (chapters 5 and 6). Here, Hyder responds to the reading of Moritz Schlick, according to whom the "chief epistemological result" of Helmholtz's work is his argument that (...) "Euclidean space is not an inescapable form of our faculty of intuition, but a product of experience" (Schlick's note in Helmholtz 1977 , 35). Schlick's story papers over Helmholtz's deep relationship to Kant, especially in Helmholtz's early work. Hyder's work here puts this relationship at center stage, and contributes a much richer picture of the reasons for Helmholtz's later decision to turn away from the Kantian perspective. The second theme is the argument for the necessity of central forces to a determinate scientific description of physical reality, an abiding concern of Helmholtz's, and one that, as Hyder shows, has Kantian roots. Helmholtz's commitment to the necessity of central forces was key to his responses to rival views on electromagnetism, and is a deep and often under-appreciated element of his epistemology of science. (shrink)
Unter dieses Thema ein internationales Symposion in Berlin zu stellen, das zum Gedenken an Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht (1919-1999) veranstaltet wurde, erschien umso naheliegender, zumal Eggebrecht die Frage aWas ist Musik?o existenziell ...
Etwa im Jahre 1833 verfasst Heinrich Heine einen kurzen, Fragment gebliebenen Essay Verschiedenartige Geschichtsauffassung (der hier in polnischer Übersetzung mit abgedruckt wird), in dem er zwei Interpretationen des historischen Geschehens einander gegenüberstellt: Die Anhänger der einen legen dieses als „trostlosen Kreislauf” aus, in dem sich alle Vorgänge und Prozesse wie Jahreszeiten wiederholen, die Anhänger der anderen Geschichtsdeutung, „die mehr mit der Idee einer Vorsehung verwandt ist”, geben sich der Täuschung hin, als würden „alle irdischen Dinge einer schönen Vervollkommenheit entgegenreifen”. (...) Obwohl Heine an beiden Auffassungen Kritik übt, bekennt er sich doch selbst zehn Jahre später zu ebenso utopischen Ideen, indem er die künftige „Emanzipation des Fleisches” und den Anbruch einer „Demokratie gleichherrlicher, gleichheiliger, gleichbeseligter Götter” verkündet, d. h. einer neuen, glücklichen, sich selbst vergottenden Menschheit, die sündenlos das Leben und alle seine Freuden genießen soll. Diese naiven Vorstellungen verwirft er allerdings schnell und warnt nun als einer der ersten vor den Gefahren der anbrechenden kommunistischen Utopie. Offen bleibt bis heute die Frage, inwieweit Heines Essay auch Friedrich Nietzsche und dessen Idee von der „Wiederkunft des Gleichen” beeinflusst haben mag. Auch wenn Nietzsche hier mit Sicherheit aus verschiedenen Quellen geschöpft hatte, lässt sich doch nicht ausschließen, dass Heines Essay die Rolle einer Art Katalysator hätte spielen können, zumal nachgewiesen ist, dass er Adolf Strodtmanns Ausgabe von Heines Letzten Gedichten und Gedanken aus dem Jahre 1869 (wo die Schrift zum ersten Mal abgedruckt wurde) in seiner Bibliothek besaß. (shrink)
Arie L. Molenduk, Aus dem Dunklen ins Helle. Wissenschaft und Theologie im Denken von Heinrich Scholz. Mit unverouml;ffentlichten Thesenreihen von Heinrich Scholz und Karl Barth. (Amsterdam studies in theology, 8.) Amsterdam and Atlanta, Georgia:Rodopi, 1991. 390 pp. Hfl. 120/US $60.
A neighbor who strikes it rich evokes both admiration and envy, and a similar mix of emotions must be aroused in many neighborhoods of cognitive science when the residents look at the results of research in color perception. It provides what is probably the most widely acknowledged success story of any domain of scientific psychology: the success, against all expectation, of the opponent process theory of color perception. Initially proposed by a Ewald Hering, a nineteenth century physiologist, it drew its (...) inspiration from the existence of opposing muscle groups. Hering thought that analogous opposing processes could explain some aspects of color perception, but the resulting theory was more complicated and less intuitive than that proposed by the great Hermann von Helmholtz. Helmholtz carried his day, but in the long run Hering turned out to be right. (shrink)
In 1853, two decades after Goethe’s death, Hermann von Helmholtz, who had just become professor of anatomy at Königsberg, delivered an evaluation of the poet=s contributions to science.1 The young Helmholtz lamented Goethe=s stubborn rejection of Newton=s prism experiments. Goethe=s theory of light and color simply broke on the rocks of his poetic genius. The tragedy, though, was not repeated in biological science. In Helmholtz=s estimation, Goethe had advanced in this area two singular and “uncommonly fruitful” (...) ideas.2 The poet recognized, first, that the anatomical structures of various kinds of animals revealed a unity type underlying the superficial differences arising from variability of food, habit, and locality. His second lasting achievement was the related theory of the metamorphosis of organisms: the thesis that the various articulations within an organism developed out of a more basic kind of structure—that, for instance, the different parts of plants were metamorphosed leaves or that the various bones of the animal skull were but transformed vertebrae. These two general morphological conceptions, according to Helmholtz, grounded the biology flourishing at 1 mid-century. Goethe came to these ideas, Helmholtz shrewdly maintained, as the result of a poetically intuitive conception (anschauliche Begriffe).3 He described, for instance, Goethe=s immediate recognition, while playfully tossing around a sheep=s skull on the Lido in Venice, that the fused bones of the battered cranium consisted of transmuted vertebrae. This experience resulted in the poet=s vertebral theory of the skull, which became a standard conception in later morphology.4 Poetic intuition thus liberated an idea initially embedded in matter and made it available to the analytic understanding of the scientist. Forty years later, in 1892, at the meeting of the Goethe Society in Weimar, Helmholtz returned to reexamine the poet=s scientific accomplishments, and, it would seem, implicitly his own; for by the end of his career, Helmholtz himself had achieved a position in German culture only a few steps below that of Goethe.5 His evaluation of Goethe=s achievements in physical science was now more complex than his earlier assessment had been.. (shrink)
Introduction: Laughter as an expression of human nature in the Middle Ages and the early modern period: literary, historical, theological, philosophical, and psychological reflections -- Judith Hagen. Laughter in Procopius's wars -- Livnat Holtzman. "Does God really laugh?": appropriate and inappropriate descriptions of God in Islamic traditionalist theology -- Daniel F. Pigg. Laughter in Beowulf: ambiguity, ambivalence, and group identity formation -- Mark Burde. The parodia sacra problem and medieval comic studies -- Olga V. Trokhimenko. Women's laughter and gender politics (...) in medieval conduct discourse -- Madelon Köhler-Busch. Pushing decorum: uneasy laughter in Heinrich von Dem Türlîn's Diu crône -- Connie L. Scarborough. Laughter and the comic in a religious text -- John Sewell. The son rebelled and so the father made man alone: ridicule and boundary maintenance in The Nizzahon vetus -- Birgit Wiedl. Laughing at the beast: the judensau: anti-Jewish propaganda and humor from the Middle Ages to the early modern period -- Fabian Alfie. Yes . . . but was it funny? Cecco Angiolieri, Rustico Filippi and Giovanni Boccaccio -- Nicolino Applauso. Curses and laughter in medieval Italian comic poetry -- Feargal Béarra. Tromdhámh guaire: a context for laughter and audience in early modern Ireland -- Jean E. Jost. Humorous transgression in the non-conformist fabliaux: a Bakhtinian analysis of three comic tales -- Gretchen Mieszkowski. Chaucerian comedy: Troilus and Criseyde -- Sarah Gordon. Laughing and eating in the fabliaux -- Christine Bousquet-Labouérie. Laughter and medieval stalls -- Scott L. Taylor. Esoteric humor and the incommensurability of laughter -- Jean N. Goodrich. The function of laughter in The second shepherds' play -- Albrecht Classen. Laughing in late-medieval verse and prose narratives -- Rosa Alvarez perez. The workings of desire: Panurge and the dogs -- Elizabeth Chesney Zegura. Laughing out loud in the Heptaméron: a reassessment of Marguerite de Navarre's ambivalent humor -- Lia B. Ross. You had to be there: the elusive humor of the Sottie -- Kyle Diroberto. Sacred parody in Robert Greene's Groatsworth of wit -- Martha Moffitt Peacock. The comedy of the shrew: theorizing humor in early modern Netherlandish art -- Jessica Tvordi. The comic personas of Milton's Prolusion VI: negotiating masculine identity through self-directed humor -- John Alexander. Ridentum dicere verum (using laughter to speak the truth): laughter and the language of the early modern clown "pickelhering" in German literature of the late seventeenth century (1675-1700) -- Thomas Willard. Andreae's ludibrium: Menippean satire in The chymische hochzeit -- Diane Rudall. The comic power of illusion-allusion -- Allison P. Coudert. Laughing at credulity and superstition in the long eighteenth century. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction Christopher Gill, Tim Whitmarsh and John Wilkins: 1. Galen's library Vivian Nutton; 2. Conventions of prefatory self-presentation in Galen's On the Order of My Own Books Jason König; 3. Demiurge and emperor in Galen's world of knowledge Rebecca Flemming; 4. Shock and awe: the performance dimension of Galen's anatomy demonstrations Maud Gleason; 5. Galen's un-Hippocratic case-histories G. E. R. Lloyd; 6. Staging the past, staging oneself: Galen on Hellenistic exegetical traditions Heinrich von Staden; 7. (...) Galen and Hippocratic medicine: language and practice Daniela Manetti; 8. Galen's Bios and Methodos: from ways of life to paths of knowledge Ve;ronique Boudon-Millot; 9. Does Galen have a medical programme for intellectuals and the faculties of the intellect? Jacques Jouanna; 10. Galen on the limitations of knowledge R. J. Hankinson; 11. Galen and Middle Platonism Riccardo Chiaradonna; 12. 'Aristotle! What a thing for you to say!' Galen's engagement with Aristotle and Aristotelians Philip van der Eijk; 13. Galen and the Stoics, or: the art of not naming Teun Tieleman. (shrink)
But of all diversions, the theater is undoubtedly the most entertaining. Here we may see others act even when we cannot act to any great purpose ourselves. Skepticism about the possibility of autonomous action accounts in part for romanticism’s many theatrical failures—misfires precisely because they stage failures to act. Uncertain whether the playing out of the revolution in France underscored the capacity of people to act independently or confirmed their status as mere instruments of heteronymous forces, the romantic dramas of (...)Heinrich Von Kleist and William Wordsworth direct our attention not to the actions of characters but to the character of action. This uncertainty about the possibility of .. (shrink)
This paper is about the semantic analysis of referentially opaque verbs like seek and owe that give rise to nonspecific readings. It is argued that Montague's categorization (based on earlier work by Quine) of opaque verbs as properties of quantifiers runs into two serious difficulties: the first problem is that it does not work with opaque verbs like resemble that resist any lexical decomposition of the seek ap try to find kind; the second one is that it wrongly predicts de (...) dicto (i.e. narrow scope) readings due to quantified noun phrases in the object positions of such verbs. It is shown that both difficulties can be overcome by an analysis of opaque verbs as operating on properties. This is a strongly modified version of a paper entitled lsquoDo We Bear Attitudes towards Quantifiers?rsquo that I have presented at conferences in Gosen (Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft), Ithaca (SALT I), and Konstanz (Lexikon). I owe a special debt to Hans Kamp and Arnim von Stechow for shaping my views on the subject of this paper during the past ten years or so. Comments from and discussions with the following friends and colleagues have also led to considerable improvements: Heinrich Beck, Steve Berman, David Dowty, Veerle van Geenhoven, Fritz Hamm, Irene Heim, Wolfgang Klein, Angelika Kratzer, Michael Morreau, Barbara Partee, Mats Rooth, Roger Schwarzschild, Wolfgang Sternefeld, Emil Weydert, Henk Zeevat, and three referees. (shrink)
It is a well-known fact that Ernst Cassirer was inspired by his colleague, the biologist Jakob von Uexküll at the university of Hamburg. This paper claims this inspiration was double—affecting both Cassirer’s philosophical anthropology and Cassirer’s epistemology of biology, but in two rather different ways. Thus, the paper intends to shed light on a corner of the history of the development of German thought of the interwar period. It may also have an actual interest because both Cassirer and Uexküll enjoy, (...) for the time being and each in their way, a renaissance, e.g. in the recent field of biosemiotics. (shrink)
The most interesting and completely overlooked aspect of Ludwig von Mises’s theory of probability is the total absence of any explicit definition for probability in his theory. This paper examines Mises’s theory of probability in light of the fact that his theory possesses no definition for probability. It is argued, [...].
The physiologist and neo-Kantian philosopher Johannes von Kries (1853-1928) wrote one of the most philosophically important works on the foundation of probability after P.S. Laplace and before the First World War, his Principien der Wohrscheinlich-keitsrechnung (1886, repr. 1927). In this book, von Kries developed a highly original interpretation of probability, which maintains it to be both logical and objectively physical. After presenting his approach I shall pursue the influence it had on Ludwig Wittgenstein and Friedrich Waismann. It seems that von (...) Kries's approach had more potential than recognized in his time and that putting Waismann's and Wittgenstein's early work in a von Kries perspective is able to shed light on the notion of an elementary proposition. (shrink)
This article provides a summary overview of the ideas on medical anthropology and anthropological medicine of the German philosopher-psychiatrist Viktor Emil von Gebsattel (1883–1974), and discusses in more detail his views on the doctor-patient relationship. It is argued that Von Gebsattel''s warning against a dehumanization of medicine when the person of both patient and physician are not explicitly present in their relationship remains valid notwithstanding the modern emphasis on respect for patient (and provider) autonomy.
Preference is a key area where analytic philosophy meets philosophical logic. I start with two related issues: reasons for preference, and changes in preference, first mentioned in von Wright’s book The Logic of Preference but not thoroughly explored there. I show how these two issues can be handled together in one dynamic logical framework, working with structured two-level models, and I investigate the resulting dynamics of reason-based preference in some detail. Next, I study the foundational issue of entanglement between preference (...) and beliefs, and relate the resulting richer logics to belief revision theory and decision theory. (shrink)
In the paper it is shown that every physically sound Birkhoff – von Neumann quantum logic, i.e., an orthomodular partially ordered set with an ordering set of probability measures can be treated as partial infinite-valued Łukasiewicz logic, which unifies two competing approaches: the many-valued, and the two-valued but non-distributive, which have co-existed in the quantum logic theory since its very beginning.
Finland is internationally known as one of the leading centers of twentieth century analytic philosophy. This volume offers for the first time an overall survey of the Finnish analytic school. The rise of this trend is illustrated by original articles of Edward Westermarck, Eino Kaila, Georg Henrik von Wright, and Jaakko Hintikka. Contributions of Finnish philosophers are then systematically discussed in the fields of logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, history of philosophy, ethics and social philosophy. Metaphilosophical reflections on (...) the nature of philosophy are highlighted by the Finnish dialogue between analytic philosophy, phenomenology, pragmatism, and critical theory. (shrink)
The renewed interest in the foundations of quantum statistical mechanics in recent years has led us to study John von Neumann’s 1929 article on the quantum ergodic theorem. We have found this almost forgotten article, which until now has been available only in German, to be a treasure chest, and to be much misunderstood. In it, von Neumann studied the long-time behavior of macroscopic quantum systems. While one of the two theorems announced in his title, the one he calls the (...) “quantum H-theorem,” is actually a much weaker statement than Boltzmann’s classical H-theorem, the other theorem, which he calls the “quantum ergodic theorem,” is a beautiful and very non-trivial result. It expresses a fact we call “normal typicality” and can be summarized as follows: For a “typical” finite family of commuting macroscopic observables, every initial wave function ψ0 from a micro-canonical energy shell so evolves that for most times t in the long run, the joint probability distribution of these observables obtained from ψt is close to their micro-canonical distribution. (shrink)
This paper examines Helmholtz's attempt to use empirical psychology to refute certain of Kant's epistemological positions. Particularly, Helmholtz believed that his work in the psychology of visual perception showed Kant's doctrine of the a priori character of spatial intuition to be in error. Some of Helmholtz's arguments are effective, but this effectiveness derives from his arguments to show the possibility of obtaining evidence that the structure of physical space is non-Euclidean, and these arguments do not depend on (...) his theory of vision. Helmholtz's general attempt to provide an empirical account of the "inferences" of perception is regarded as a failure. (shrink)
From a historico-cultural point of view the notion of normativity is closely tied to the apparently descriptive category of normality. This relation seems even tighter on the level of experience. As Husserl shows that normality, in the form of concordance and optimality, is a constitutive feature of experience itself. But in what sense can we speak of normativity in the realm of experience? Husserl himself saw no need to pose this question. But to explain the possibility of normal and coherent (...) perception one needs more than merely formal criteria (like concordance and its adjustment to an optimum): one must also take into account the attentional nature of perception. In this regard, the present paper will consider Husserl’s early treatment of attention and integrate it with its genetic implications on the level of affection. Doing so shows that subjective experience is characterized by a preference- structure, motivated by the embodied subject’s individual and cultural horizons of interest. It is this that allows one to speak of a precursor to normativity in the realm of experience. Moreover it can be argued that interest not only influences perception from the lowest level, but can be seen as a precondition for any current attention. Thus to speak of normativity in experience in this stronger sense, means not only that perception already contains traces of intersubjective norms; it also means that such norms determine what you can see at all. --------------------------------------------------------------------------Aus kulturgeschichtlicher Perspektive steht der Begriff Normativität in einer engen Verbindung mit der vermeintlich deskriptiven Kategorie der Normalität. Erweist sich diese Relation aber bereits auf der Ebene der sinnlichen Erfahrung als grundlegend, hat dies weitreichende Konsequenzen. Wie Husserl zeigt, ist Normalität im Sinne der formalen Kriterien von Einstimmigkeit und Optimalität selbst konstitutiv für jede Erfahrung. Um darüber hinaus die Normativität innerhalb der Erfahrung in den Blick zu bekommen, soll in diesem Beitrag die phänomenologische Beschreibung um einen wichtigen Aspekt ergänzt werden: die Aufmerksamkeit. Zu den formalen Normalitätskriterien muss eine konkrete subjektive Präferenz hinzu treten, die eine Differenzierung der Wahrnehmungsinhalte leistet. Anders lässt sich eine normale und kohärente Erfahrung nicht hinreichend erklären. Husserls frühe Arbeiten zur Aufmerksamkeit und Intentionalität sollen daher mit späteren genetischen Analysen zu einer umfassenderen Konzeption von Aufmerksamkeit verbunden werden. Hierbei wird deutlich, dass jede subjektive Erfahrung durch ihre präferenzielle Struktur charakterisiert ist, die sowohl von individuellen als auch kulturellen Interessenshorizonten des leiblichen Subjekts motiviert ist. Dies erlaubt es, von einer rudimentären Form der Normativität innerhalb der Erfahrung zu sprechen. Diese immer schon intersubjektiven Interessensdimensionen beeinflussen weiterhin jedes Aufmerksamkeitsverhalten von den untersten Stufen der Wahrnehmung bis hin zu höheren Geistesakten. Normativität in einem starken Sinne meint damit nicht nur, dass sich die Spuren intersubjektiver Normen bereits innerhalb der Wahrnehmung finden lassen. Vielmehr bestimmen diese Normen, was wir im Einzelfall überhaupt sehen können. (shrink)
Constructivism rejects the metaphysical position that “truth”, and thus knowledge in science, can represent an “objective” reality, independent of the knower. It modifies the role of knowledge from “true” representation to functional viability. In this interview, Ernst von Glasersfeld, the leading proponent of Radical Constructivism underlines the inaccessibility of reality, and proposes his view that the function of cognition is adaptive, in the biological sense: the adaptation is the result of the elimination of all that is not adapted. There is (...) no rational way of knowing anything outside the domain of our experience and we construct our world of experiences. In addition to these philosophical claims, the interviewee provides some personal insights; he also gives some suggestions about better teaching and problem solving. These are the aspects of constructivism that have had a major impact on instruction and have modified the manner many of us teach. The process of teaching as linguistic communication, he says, needs to change in a way to involve actively the students in the construction of their knowledge. Because knowledge is not a transferable commodity, learning is mainly identified with the activity of the construction of personal meaning. This interview also provides glimpses on von Glasersfeld’s life. (shrink)
Research into learners' ideas about science suggests that students often have alternative conceptions about important science concepts. Because of this dissatisfaction, constructivism has been adopted as a theoretical framework by many teachers and researchers, and it has had a curricular influence in many countries. Constructivism is much more than an educational doctrine and we are aware that a ‘science war’ about the possibility of objectivity is in progress. ‘Constructivism’ cannot necessary be a package deal: it must be possible to accept (...) educational suggestions deemed useful without buying all the epistemology or the metaphysical implications. The claim that cognitive agents understand the world by constructing mental representations of it can be a shared suggestion for changing science instruction. Many teachers are much more concerned in finding productive teaching methods than about philosophical questions as if knowledge must be considered an objective representation of the real world or not. We have to ponder if some ideas from the constructivist theory of instruction can help instructors to become better teachers. The pragmatic suggestions that come from the constructivist theory of instruction developed by von Glasersfeld, the leading proponent of radical constructivism, could be a good start in this␣search. (shrink)
n diesem Kapitel soll das Problem ›Was genstand dieses Kapitels. Wir werden sehen, ist Kunst?‹, wie es sich für die analytische dass sich diese Adäquatheitsbedingungen aus Kunstphilosophie stellt, erläutert und eine Reiunserer Auffassung von analytischer Philosohe von »Adäquatheitsbedingungen« für seine phie heraus begründen lassen. Dieses zweite möglichen Lösungen formuliert werden. Adä- Kapitel bereitet also gewissermaßen den theoquatheitsbedingungen sind dabei Anforderunretischen Boden für die Folgekapitel. gen, die wir an eine potentielle Problemlösung Wie aus der Charakterisierung der analystellen und die eine Bewertung (...) der verschietischen Philosophie im ersten Kapitel bereits denen vorgebrachten Lösungsvorschläge zudeutlich geworden sein sollte, ist ein Charaklassen. Solche Adäquatheitsbedingungen erteristikum der analytischen Philosophie in jegeben sich zum Teil aus der Wissenschaftsdem Fall in der arbeitsteiligen Organisation ihgeschichte einer Disziplin: Vorgebrachte Lö- rer Forschungsanstrengungen zu sehen – ein sungsvorschläge können bestimmte Aspekte Charakteristikum, das Rudolf Carnap bereits eines Problems erhellen, stoßen bei anderen im Vorwort zu seiner Habilitationsschrift Aspekten aber unter Umständen auf neue Pro-. (shrink)
We discuss the content and significance of John von Neumann’s quantum ergodic theorem (QET) of 1929, a strong result arising from the mere mathematical structure of quantum mechanics. The QET is a precise formulation of what we call normal typicality, i.e., the statement that, for typical large systems, every initial wave function ψ0 from an energy shell is “normal”: it evolves in such a way that |ψt ψt| is, for most t, macroscopically equivalent to the micro-canonical density matrix. The QET (...) has been mostly forgotten after it was criticized as a dynamically vacuous statement in several papers in the 1950s. However, we point out that this criticism does not apply to the actual QET, a correct statement of which does not appear in these papers, but to a different (indeed weaker) statement. Furthermore, we formulate a stronger statement of normal typicality, based on the observation that the bound on the deviations from the average specified by von Neumann is unnecessarily coarse and a much tighter (and more relevant) bound actually follows from his proof. (shrink)
We extend the topos-theoretic treatment given in previous papers of assigning values to quantities in quantum theory, and of related issues such as the Kochen-Specker theorem. This extension has two main parts: the use of von Neumann algebras as a base category (Section 2); and the relation of our generalized valuations to (i) the assignment to quantities of intervals of real numbers, and (ii) the idea of a subobject of the coarse-graining presheaf (Section 3).
Describing the methodology of a prominent mathematician can be an over-ambitious task, especially if the mathematician in question has made crucial contributions to almost the whole of mathematical science. John von Neumann’s case study falls within this category. Nonetheless, we can still provide a clear picture of von Neumann’s methodology of science. Recent literature has clarified its key feature—the opportunistic approach to axiomatics—and has laid out its main principles. To be honest, this work can hardly be superseded. What I would (...) like to do is to complete the picture by adding one more step and emphasizing a point so far neglected, namely the role of Hilbert’s ideal in von Neumann’s epistemology. Von .. (shrink)
Abstract Von Neumann (1932, Ch. 5) argued by means of a thought experiment involving measurements of spin observables that the quantum mechanical quantity is conceptually equivalent to thermodynamic entropy. We analyze Von Neumann's thought experiment and show that his argument fails. Over the past few years there has been a dispute in the literature regarding the Von Neumann entropy. It turns out that each contribution to this dispute (Shenker 1999, Henderson 2001, Hemmo 2003) addressed a different special case. In this (...) paper we generalize the discussion and examine the full matrix of possibilities that are relevant for the evaluation and understanding of Von Neumann’s argument. (shrink)
This is an essay about language, thought, and culture in general, and about Ancient Greek and Classical Chinese in particular. It is about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which says that language influences the mind, and applies this hypothesis to Greek and Chinese. It is also an essay in comparative philosophy as well as a contribution to the history of ideas. From the language side, I rely on the nineteenth-century German linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, and from the culture side on the contemporary (...) French sinologist François Jullien. Combining their ideas, I give substance to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and explain some of Jullien's claims about the historical and political developments of Chinese culture. The central .. (shrink)
We undertake the comparison between Ludwig von Bertalanffy's General Systems Theory and Alexandr Bodganov's Tektology as two theories proposing a holistic interpretation of reality and claiming to solve problems which are unsolvable via conventional philosophic and scientific theories and methodologies. Basic misunderstandings by some Soviet authors regarding the nature of these theories — especially in the case of Tektology — are pointed out. The comparison is made in what concerns the general origins and purposes of the theories, their approaches to (...) the problem of organization, their treatment of mathematics and their understanding of the cybernetic concept of regulation.We contend that Tektologycontains — some 15 years earlier — all the basic concepts which will be later developed by the General Theory of Systems. As we shall see, Tektology is the ultimate expansion of any theory of systems. This fact is widely ignored in contemporary specialized literature. (shrink)
In the BODY WORLDS exhibitions currently touring the United States, Gunther von Hagens displays human cadavers preserved through plastination. Whole bodies are playfully posed and exposed to educate the public. However, the educational aims are ambiguous, and some aspects of the exhibit violate human dignity. In particular, the signature cards attached to the whole-body plastinates that bear the title, the signature of Gunther von Hagens, and the date of creation mark the plastinates as artwork and von Hagens as the artist (...) in a gesture that strips the personal dignity from the donors. I conclude that the educational use of cadavers is compatible with respect for dignity if: 1) the utility of such use is great enough; 2) there are no other ways of achieving these ends; and 3) every effort is made to honor the dignity of the donors. (shrink)
This article is an investigation of parallel themes in Heinrich Hertz's philosophy science and Kant's theory of schemata, symbols and regulative ideas. It is argued that Hertz's "pictures" bears close similarities to Kantian "schemata", that is, they are rules linking concepts to intuitions and provide them with their meaning. Kant's distinction between symbols and schemata is discussed and related to Hertz's three pictures of mechanics. It is argued that Hertz considered his own picture of mechanics (the "hidden mass" picture) (...) as symbolic in a different way than the force and energy pictures. In the final part of the article it is described how Harald Høffding soon after the publication of Hertz's Principles of Mechanics developed a general theory of analogical reasoning, relying on the ideas of Hertz and Kant. (shrink)
In his last papers about deontic logic, von Wright sustained that there is no genuine logic of norms. We argue in this paper that this striking statement by the father of deontic logic should not be understood as a death sentence to the subject. Rather, it indicates a profound change in von Wright's understanding about the epistemic and ontological role of logic in the field of norms. Instead of a logical constructivism of deontic systems revealing a necessary structure of prescriptive (...) discourse, which marked his earlier efforts, he adopted the view that such systems should be seem as mere objects of comparison, i.e. as providing practical standards of rationality for normgiving activity. Within such view he proposed an interpretation of standard deontic logic in such a way to free deontic logicians from the philosophical difficulties related to the so-called Jørgensen's dilemma and deontic paradoxes. This effort, as we claim in the present paper, is an application of Wittgenstein's therapeutic method to dissolve philosophical difficulties caused by the use of logical tools to model relations between norms. (shrink)
In this essay Clarence Joldersma explores radical constructivism through the work of its most well-known advocate, Ernst von Glasersfeld, who combines a sophisticated philosophical discussion of knowledge and truth with educational practices. Joldersma uses Joseph Rouse's work in philosophy of science to criticize the antirealism inherent in radical constructivism, emphasizing that Rouse's Heideggerian critique differs from the standard realist defense of modernist epistemology. Next, Joldersma develops an alternative conception of truth, in terms of disclosure, based on Lambert Zuidervaart's work in (...) aesthetics. Joldersma concludes by arguing that this notion of truth avoids the pitfalls of both realism and antirealism, giving educational theorists a way forward to accept some of the major insights of constructivism with respect to learning and teaching without having to relinquish a robust notion of truth. (shrink)
Around 1989, a striking letter written in March 1956 from Kurt Gödel to John von Neumann came to light. It poses some problems about the complexity of algorithms; in particular, it asks a question that can be seen as the first formulation of the P=?NP question. This paper discusses some of the background to this letter, including von Neumann's own ideas on complexity theory. Von Neumann had already raised explicit questions about the complexity of Tarski's decision procedure for elementary algebra (...) and geometry in a letter of 1949 to J. C. C. McKinsey. The paper concludes with a discussion of why theoretical computer science did not emerge as a separate discipline until the 1960s. (shrink)
This article makes use of the thinking of both Max Scheler and Dietrich von Hildebrand in attempting properly to understand the nature of humility. The article examines how gratitude and truthfulness are both present, in an essentially integrated fashion, when a person exists in a humble state. Also addressed is the converse proposition, namely, that gratitude and truthfulness are absent in theperson who exists in a proud state and are replaced in that person by their respective opposites, ingratitude and mendacity. (...) The article begins with a discussion of Scheler’s view of humility as gratitude, then investigates von Hildebrand’s notion that humility is truth. In presenting their ideas, the article identifies three distinct ways in which von Hildebrand’s analysis of humility in terms of truthfulnesscomplements and expands upon Scheler’s analysis of humility in terms of gratitude. These three distinct yet complementary ways are, respectively, ontological, psychological, and ethical in nature. (shrink)
How does the Umwelt concept of Jakob von UexkuÈll ®t into current discussions within theoretical biology, philosophy of biology, biosemiotics, and Arti®cial Life, particularly the research on `autonomous systems' and robots? To investigate this question, the approach here is not historical UexkuÈll scholarship exposing the original core of philosophical ideas that provided an important background for the original conception of the Umwelt in the writings of Jakob von UexkuÈll (some of which seem incompatible with a modern evolutionist perspective); rather, I (...) will show that some aspects of his thoughts are still interesting and provide inspiration in contemporary biology, cognitive science, and other ®elds. Therefore, I will also draw upon his son Thure von UexkuÈll's re¯ections in his further development of the Umwelt theory, which is not anti-evolutionary (his father's approach was anti-Darwinian, which is not the same as anti-evolutionary though often interpreted as such). Speci®cally, I will investigate the plausibility of three theses: (1) The Umwelt theory of Jakob von UexkuÈll, even though his theoretical biology was often characterized as being thoroughly vitalist, can in the context of contemporary science, more adequately be interpreted as a branch of qualitative organicism in theoretical biology. Qualitative organicism is a position which claims, ®rst, a kind of middle road position, that is, on the one hand, there are no mysterious or non-material vital powers in organisms (non-vitalism), but on the other hand, the characteristic properties of living beings cannot be fully accounted for by physics and chemistry because these properties are nonreducible emergent properties (emergentism); second, that some of these emergent properties have an experiential, phenomenal, or subjective character which plays a major role in the dynamics of the living system. Modern biosemiotics (inspired by C. S. Peirce and Jakob von UexkuÈll, instituted by.. (shrink)
There is no doubt that Carl Menger and Ludwig von Mises can be considered as two of the most representative and influential members of the Austrian school of economics. However, given the fact that this school is well known for being a methodological school, it might be surprizing to note how far these two prominent economists apparently stand on methodological questions. While Menger frequently insisted that "no essential differences between the ethical and the natural sciences exists, but at most only (...) one of degree"1, Mises emphasizes the alleged gulf between social and natural sciences to the point of adopting what he called a "methodological dualism". As a consequence of this dualism, Mises did not hesitate when it comes to the analysis of human action to refer to laws "derived a priori" that "permit of no exception" because they belong to "an aprioristic and universally valid theory" 2. Such an uncompromising apriorism was so contrary to the empiricist mood of.. (shrink)
The anti-metaphysical attitude of the neo-positivist movement is notorious. It is an essential mark of what its members regarded as the scientific world view. The paper focuses on a metaphysical variation of the scientific world view as proposed by Heinrich Scholz and his Münster group, who can be regarded as a peripheral part of the movement. They used formal ontology for legitimizing the use of logical calculi. Scholz's relation to the neo-positivist movement and his contributions to logic and foundations (...) are discussed. His heuristic background can be drawn from a set of six methodological ‘articles of faith’, formulated in 1942 and published here for the first time. I would like to thank Gudrun Mikus (Paderborn) for her assistance in collecting the material, Neil Tennant (Ohio State University, Columbus) for his efforts to improve the paper not only in lingual aspects, and Christian Thiel (Erlangen) and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Many works intended to introduce interpretive issues in quantum mechanics present John von Neumann as having a view in which measurement produces a physical collapse in the system being measured. In this paper I argue that such a reading of von Neumann is inconsistent with what von Neumann actually says. I show that much of what he says makes no sense on the physical collapse reading, but falls into place if we assume he does not have such a view. I (...) show that the physical collapse view is based on an understanding of ‘state’ which von Neumann does not share. Introduction The standard reading of von Neumann The standard reading of von Neumann and Chapter VI The Chapter VI argument The Chapter V argument The Chapters III and IV argument Conclusion. (shrink)
In the work of Lorenz we find an initial phase of great concordance with Uexkülls theory of animals’ surrounding-world (Umweltlehre), followed by a progressive distance and by the occurrence of more and more critical statements. The moment of greater cohesion between Lorenz and Uexküll is represented by the work Der Kumpan, which is focused on the concept of companion, functional circles, social Umwelt. The great change in Lorenz’ evaluation of Uexküll is marked by the conference of 1948 Referat über Jakob (...) von Uexküll, where Lorenz highlights the vitalist position of Uexküll. In the works of the years after World War II, the influence of the Estonian Biologist greatly diminishes, even though Lorenz continues to express his admiration for particular studies and concepts of Uexküll. References to Uexküll’s work are less and far in between, while the difference is highlighted between the uexküllian theoretical frame (vitalistic) and Lorenz’s one (Darwinian and evolutionist). The two main critical lines of argument developed by Lorenz in this process are the biological and the epistemological one: on the biological side Lorenz heavily criticizes Uexküll’s vitalism and his faith in harmonizing forces and supernatural factors (which leads to concepts such as the perfect fusion of all biological species in their environment and the absence of rudimentary organs). On the epistemological side, Lorenz, arguing from the point of view of the critical realism, accuses Uexküll of postulating the separateness of all living beings, a separateness which is due to the Kantian idea that every subject of knowledge and action is imprisoned in the transcendental circle of its representations and attitudes. (shrink)
Problem: What is it that Ernst von Glasersfeld brought to mathematics education with radical constructivism? Method: Key ideas in the author’s early thinking are related to ideas that are central in constructivism, with the aim of showing their importance in math education. Results: The author’s initial thinking about constructivism began with Toulmin’s view of thinking as evolving. Ernst showed how Piaget’s genetic epistemology implied an epistemology that was not about ontology. Continuing with an analysis of the way radical and trivial (...) constructivism were received by the mathematics education community, implications of Ernst’s ideas are considered. Implications: These include the need to consider major changes in ways content is introduced to children, to consider carefully the language used to describe children’s emerging mathematical ideas, and to consider new conjectures and also how we think about the foundations of mathematics. Ultimately the value of RC is the way it reinspires belief in the possibility and importance of human growth. (shrink)
I analyze the two main theses of Helmholtz's "The Applicability of the Axioms to the Physical World," in which he argued that the axioms of Euclidean geometry are not, as his neo-Kantian opponents had argued, binding on any experience of the external world. This required two argumentative steps: 1) a new account of the structure of our representations which was consistent both with the experience of our (for him) Euclidean world and with experience of a non-Euclidean one, and 2) (...) a demonstration of why geometric propositions are essentially connected to material and temporal aspects of experience. The effect of Helmholtz's discussion is to throw into relief an intermediate category of metrological objects--objects which are required for the properly theoretical activity of doing physical science (in this sense, a priori requirements for doing science), all while being recognizably contingent aspects of experience. (shrink)
Much of the recent discussion of problematic aspects of quantum-mechanical measurement centers around that feature of quantum theory which is called "the projection postulate." This is roughly the claim that a change of a certain sort occurs in the state of a physical system when a measurement is made on the system. In this paper an argument for the projection postulate due to von Neumann is considered. Attention is focused on trying to provide an understanding of the notion of "the (...) state of a physical system" which is compatible with the argument von Neumann offers. An attempt is made to formulate the argument in terms of an objectivistic interpretation of probability concepts. It is seen that such an interpretation does not provide a suitable way of understanding the argument. An attempt is made to illustrate the source of this failure in terms of a non-quantum-mechanical example. (shrink)
‘Gnosticism and Modern Nihilism’ (published in Social Research , 1952) is indeed one of Hans Jonas’ most famous essays, to which its author reserved very deep attention during his philosophical career. As a former pupil of Martin Heidegger and Rudolf Bultmann, Jonas started to deal with religious topics, and specifically with Gnosticism, from the very outset of his philosophical career in the 1920s. After gaining recognition thanks to his remarkable philosophical-existential interpretation of Gnosticism, he returned to the modern age and (...) its philosophical characters. Principally, Jonas discovered that modern philosophy up to Heidegger and Sartre suffered from a peculiar spiritual disease – namely, nihilism – that he had already traced in ancient Gnosticism and that he intended to reject. Therefore, Jonas’ acquaintance with ancient religion and thinking gave him a deep insight into the modern age and provided him with a first glimpse of what was later to become his biological philosophy. However, whoever could imagine that the idea of tracing similarities between Gnosticism and modern thinking came to Jonas at the beginning of 1950 from the famous philosopher and biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy? In this article, I shall endeavour to demonstrate this thesis by quoting from unpublished documents. However, I shall also try to prove that Jonas did not follow von Bertalanffy’s advice completely. The overall aim is, therefore, both to highlight the origins of an essential turning point in the thinking of Hans Jonas, and, on such a basis, to outline the innovation and originality of his philosophical contribution. (shrink)
Unter the general heading of 'as-experiences' (to see X as Y) a distinction is drawn between epistemologically neutral (N-experiences) and epistemologically bound (B-experiences). N- and B-experiences move across the scale of O- and S-experiences; the distinction between 0- and S-experiences is a distinction in degree with regard to the subject's involvement in as-experiences. Constitutive and non-constitutive aspects are distinguished, and a conceptual connection is shown between constitutive aspects of an object and Rylean categories.
In philosophischen wie nichtphilosophischen Darstellungen wird heutzutage der Ursprung des Leib-Seele-Problems überwiegend mit dem kartesischen Dualismus in Verbindung gebracht. Es wird die Meinung vertreten, daß erst durch Descartes’ Aufteilung des Menschen (und damit der Welt) in die beiden einander ausschließenden Substanzen der res extensa und der res cogitans das philosophische Grundübel in die Leib-Seele-Philosophie gekommen sei.1 Folgerichtig ist man fest davon überzeugt, daß sich das Problem nur lösen läßt, wenn man es an der Wurzel packt und konsequent Descartes’ ontologischen Dualismus (...) verwirft. Ein Herumdoktern an den Symptomen nach Art des Okkasionalismus oder der Leibnizschen Lehre von der prästabilierten Harmonie wird demgegenüber als metaphysisch suspekt und aussichtslos angesehen. Zwar ist inzwischen die Hoffnung, durch bloßen Anti-Cartesianismus ans Ziel zu kommen, etwas geschwunden, nachdem man feststellen mußte, daß die anfänglich so vielversprechende Kritik des Behaviourismus an Descartes nicht zum Ziel führte. Und auch mit der nächsten, von der Identitätstheorie hervorgerufenen großen Welle der Descartes-Kritik sind die Lösungen bis heute nicht so befriedigend ausgefallen, wie man sie gerne hätte. Die Überzeugung ist aber weiterhin stark, daß eine Lösung für das Leib-Seele-Problem zuallererst die Verwerfung des kartesischen Dualismus erfordert. (shrink)
Shenker has claimed that Von Neumann's argument for identifying the quantum mechanical entropy with the Von Neumann entropy, S() = – ktr( log ), is invalid. Her claim rests on a misunderstanding of the idea of a quantum mechanical pure state. I demonstrate this, and provide a further explanation of Von Neumann's argument.
: Understanding Helmholtz's philosophy of science requires attention to his experimental practice. I sketch out such a project by showing how experiment shapes his theory of perception in three ways. One, the theory emerged out of empirical and experimental research. Two, the concept of experiment fills a critical conceptual gap in his theory of perception. Experiment functions not merely as a scientific technique, but also as a general epistemological strategy. Three, Helmholtz's experimental practice provides essential clues to the (...) interpretation of his theory of perception. A case study from experimental investigation of hearing shows how he designed such studies in accordance with the epistemological commitments of the theory of perception. Yet, while the theory was important to his experiments, the soundness of the experimental strategy was epistemically independent of those commitments. Secondly, the case study illustrates how Helmholtz consistently held that causal inferences underwrite reference to a real, but indirectly experienced external world. (shrink)
This paper critically examines Heidegger’s 1959 dialogue, A Conversation from [von] Language – Between a Japanese and an Inquirer, across three distinct levels: as (1) a cross-cultural comparative exchange, (2) a meta-philosophical/ontological analysis of the fundamental relation between language and thought, and (3) a methodological inquiry into the phenomenology and hermeneutics of conversation. Despite the problematic nature of Heidegger’s explicit comparative engagement, I contend that his questioning of the possibility of “a conversation from house to house” provides a substantial clarification (...) of the meta-philosophical difficulties inherent in comparative and cross-cultural philosophy. At the same time, his thinking with respect to hermeneutics provides a methodological clue to the possibility of and the normative conditions for understanding across such cultural differences. (shrink)
Berkeley and Helmholtz proposed different indirect mechanisms for size perception: Berkeley, that size was conditioned to various cues, independently of perceived distance; Helmholtz, that it was unconsciously calculated from angular size and perceived distance. The geometrical approach cannot explain size-distance paradoxes (e.g., moon illusion). The dorsal/ventral solution is dubious for close displays and untestable for far displays.
This paper shows how different axiomatic and constructive approaches within quantum field theory can be understood in terms of the so-called ,picture theory' of Heinrich Hertz. Each approach will count as a different picture due to the different status of the various concepts (symbols) they are employing, like observables, gauge invariance, confinement or the space-time continuum. An important difference with the original Hertzian approach is the fact that the different approaches in quantum field theory have partially overlapping, partially supplementing (...) domains of application. This also marks some of the parallels and differences with contemporary debates on structural realism and model-theoretic approaches in the philosophy of physics. The objection that the talk about different pictures just relies on the fact that quantum field theory is unfinished will be countered. Finally, the Hertzian approach will be briefly elaborated and embedded into its philosophical successor projects of Cassirer and Goodman. German Dieser Aufsatz zeigt, wie verschiedene axiomatische und konstruktive Ansätze in der Quantenfeldtheorie mit Hilfe der sogenannten ,,Bildtheorie“ von Heinrich Hertz verstanden werden können. Aufgrund der unterschiedlichen Stellungen der verschiedenen Konzepte (Symbole), die diese Ansätze benutzen - wie etwa Observable, Eichinvarianz, Confinement oder Raum-Zeit-Kontinuum - wird jeder als ein eigenes Bild zu betrachten sein. Ein wichtiger Unterschied zu Hertz' ursprünglicher Fassung der Bildtheorie sind dabei die unterschiedlichen Anwendungsbereiche der Ansätze in der Quantenfeldtheorie. Diese überschneiden sich zum Teil, zum Teil ergänzen sie einander. Dadurch ergeben sich für die bildtheoretische Interpretation wichtige Parallelen und Unterschiede zu anderen Positionen in der Philosophie der Physik, insbesondere zum Strukturrealismus und zur Modell-Theorie. Neben diesen diskutiere ich den Einwand, dass die Redeweise von verschiedenen Bildern in der Quantenfeldtheorie nur deshalb möglich sei, weil die Theorie noch nicht abgeschlossen ist. Schließlich erweitere ich die Hertzsche Bildtheorie und setze sie dabei in Beziehung zu ihren philosophischen Nachfolgeprojekten bei Cassirer und Goodman. (shrink)
In Explanation and Understanding von Wright argues that if, as he suggests, a practical inference schema is adopted as an explanation model for actions, then it follows that historical explanations are non?causal. My criticisms are principally directed against his version of the Logical Connection Argument which attempts to show that the verification of the action description to be explained and the verification of the intention description which explains it are interdependent. Von Wright blurs the important distinctions (1) between acting with (...) an intention and acting intentionally; (2) between intention to perform an action and intention to bring about a consequence of it; and (3) between verification of intention descriptions in general and of a description of a specific intention. The ?conclusion? of his practical inference schema cannot be the appropriate historical explanandum and the explaining procedure that he suggests is shown to be ultimately circular. (shrink)