Haack, S. Is truth flat or bumpy?--Chihara, C. S. Ramsey's theory of types.--Loar, B. Ramsey's theory of belief and truth.--Skorupski, J. Ramsey on Belief.--Hookway, C. Inference, partial belief, and psychological laws.--Skyrms, B. Higher order degrees of belief.--Mellor, D. H. Consciousness and degrees of belief.--Blackburn, S. Opinions and chances.--Grandy, R. E. Ramsey, reliability, and knowledge.--Cohen, L. J. The problem of natural laws.--Giedymin, J. Hamilton's method in geometrical optics and Ramsey's view of theories.
The aim of this paper is to demonstrate a prima facie tension between our commonsense conception of ourselves as thinkers and the connectionist programme for modelling cognitive processes. The language of thought hypothesis plays a pivotal role. The connectionist paradigm is opposed to the language of thought; and there is an argument for the language of thought that draws on features of the commonsense scheme of thoughts, concepts, and inference. Most of the paper (Sections 3-7) is taken up with the (...) argument for the language of thought hypothesis. The argument for an opposition between connectionism and the language of thought comes towards the end (Section 8), along with some discussion of the potential eliminativist consequences (Sections 9 and.. (shrink)
Abstract Philosophers have paid little attention to the kind of reduction involved in transforming an analytically intractable equation into solvable form. I argue that this practice is important because it involves the design of a basic level theory for use in a specific domain. The design process can lead to the construction of a new theory. As a result of my analysis, theory design emerges as an important category of analysis for scientific methodology. Similarities between design in technology and science (...) are explored to illuminate the heuristic function of such reductions. (shrink)
Chemists take mechanisms to be an important way of explaining chemical change. I examine the usefulness of the mechanism approach in the recent philosophical literature in explicating the explanatory use of mechanisms by organic chemists. I argue that chemists consider a mechanism to be explanatory because it accounts for the “dynamic process of bringing about” (Tabery 2004 , 10) chemical change. For chemists, mechanisms are causal explanations based on interventions that show “how some possibilities depend on others” (Woodward 2003 , (...) 375). Only possibilities are achievable because chemists face a number of challenges when they explain by means of a mechanism. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
In this paper I examine a well-known articulation of the skeptical view of human nature, a paper by Hull (1986). I then review a recent reply to Hull by Machery (2008). I show that Machery’s account of human nature is not very useful and is scientifically suspect. Finally, I introduce an alternative account of human nature—the “life-history trait cluster” conception of human nature—which I hold is scientifically sound, pragmatically useful, and makes sense of (at least some of) our intuitions about (...) human (or, more generally, species) nature. (shrink)
Demographic differences among consumer groups have become increasingly important to the development of marketing strategies. Marketers depend heavily on the sales force to implement strategies at the consumer level and, not surprisingly, different groups may view the salesperson’s role differently. Unfortunately, unethical sales practices targeted at various consumer groups, and especially at seniors, have been utilized as well. The purpose of this study is to provide initial empirical evidence of the ethical ideological make-up of four age segments outlined by Strauss (...) and Howe (1991, Generations: The History of America’s Future 1584–2069, Morrow, New York) and to examine the propensity for these groups (seniors, in particular) to respond differentially to potentially unethical sales tactics. Data were collected from 179 respondents representing the four generational age groups. MANOVA revealed that the seniors in this study were distinct with respect to ethical ideology and less accepting of unethical sales tactics. Managerial implications are discussed for sales organizations to maximize their effectiveness across consumer groups. (shrink)
The study of animal culture is a flourishing field, with culture being recorded in a wide range of taxa, including non-human primates, birds, cetaceans, and rodents. In spite of this research, however, the concept of culture itself remains elusive. There is no universally assented to concept of culture, and there is debate over the connection between culture and related concepts like tradition and social learning. Furthermore, it is not clear whether culture in humans and culture in non-human animals is really (...) the same thing, or merely loose analogues that go by the same name. The purpose of this paper is to explicate core desiderata for a concept of culture and then to construct a concept that meets these desiderata. The paper then applies this concept in both humans and non-human animals. (shrink)
Ramsey presents a new analysis and interpretation of the religious views of the nineteenth-century American philosopher William James. He argues that James was primarily motivated by religious concerns in his writings and that this fact has been obscured by the artificial scholarly division of his "philosophy," "psychology," and "religion"-- a symptom of the professionalization which James himself strenuously resisted in his own time.
In “Connectionism and the fats of folk psychology”, Forster and Saidel argue that the central claim of Ramsey, Stich and Garon (1991)—that distributed connectionist models are incompatible with the causal discreteness of folk psychology—is mistaken. To establish their claim, they offer an intriguing model which allegedly shows how distributed representations can function in a causally discrete manner. They also challenge our position regarding projectibility of folk psychology. In this essay, I offer a response to their account and show how (...) their model fails to demonstrate that our original argument was mistaken. While I will discuss several difficulties with their model, my primary criticism will be that the features of their model that are causally discrete are not truly distributed, while the features that are distributed are not really discrete. Concerning the issue of projectibility, I am more inclined to agree with Forster and Saidel and I offer a revised account of what we should have said originally. (shrink)
If Augustine's view of human sexuality is to be understood properly, it must be represented across the history of creation, fall and redemption. His notion of sexuality prior to the fall, although defective in its understanding of personal bodily presence, does integrate sexuality into the essentially human. His account of fallen sexuality expresses not a body-soul dualism but a disordering of the self which finds a partial and redemptive remedy in the "goods of marriage." His treatment of sexuality in relation (...) to redemption-in-course has a distinctively historical dimension that must be respected if sexuality is not to be left merely to the endless rhythms of nature, but drawn into the human story in its Christian telling. (shrink)
The commentaries have both drawn out the implications of, and challenged, our definition and operationalization of innovation. In this response, we reply to these concerns, discuss the differences between our operationalization and the preexisting operationalization if innovation, and make suggestions for the advancement of the challenging and exciting field of animal innovation.
The practice of surgical trainees operating in developing countries is gaining interest in the medical community. Although there has been little analysis about the ethical impact of these electives, there has been some concerns raised over the possible exploitation of trainees and their patients. An ethical review of this practice shows that care needs to be taken to prevent harm. Inexperienced surgeons learning surgical skills in developing countries engender greater risk of violating basic ethical principles. Advanced surgical trainees who have (...) already achieved surgical competence are best qualified to satisfy these ethical issues. All training programs need to develop a structured ethical review for international electives to protect their trainees and their patients from harm. (shrink)
By bootstrapping the output of the PC algorithm (Spirtes et al., 2000; Meek 1995), using larger conditioning sets informed by the current graph state, it is possible to define a novel algorithm, JPC, that improves accuracy of search for i.i.d. data drawn from linear, Gaussian, sparse to moderately dense models. The motivation for constructing sepsets using information in the current graph state is to highlight the differences between d-‐separation information in the graph and conditional independence information extracted from the sample. (...) The same idea can be pursued for any algorithm for which conditioning sets informed by the current graph state can be constructed and for which an orientation procedure capable of orienting undirected graphs can be extracted. Another plausible candidate for such retrofitting is the CPC algorithm (Ramsey et al, 2006), yielding an algorithm, JCPC, which, when the true graph is sparse is somewhat more accurate than JPC. The method is not feasible for discovery for models of categorical variables, i.e., traditional Bayes nets; with alternative tests for conditional independence it may extend to non-‐linear or non-‐Gaussian models, or both. (shrink)
Frank Ramsey was the greatest of the remarkable generation of Cambridge philosophers and logicians which included G. E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Maynard Keynes. Before his tragically early death in 1930 at the age of twenty-six, he had done seminal work in mathematics and economics as well as in logic and philosophy. This volume, with a new and extensive introduction by D. H. Mellor, contains all Ramsey's previously published writings on philosophy and the foundations of mathematics. (...) The latter gives the definitive form and defence of the reduction of mathematics to logic undertaken in Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica; the former includes the most profound and original studies of universals, truth, meaning, probability, knowledge, law and causation, all of which are still constantly referred to, and still essential reading for all serious students of these subjects. (shrink)
The author responds to the interpretations and criticisms of his thought as presented in the eleven essays in "Love and Society: Essays in the Ethics of Paul Ramsey" (Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press, 1974). He defends and refines his position on ethical theory, war and political ethics and medical ethics.
Biological fitness is a foundational concept in the theory of natural selection. Natural selection is often defined in terms of fitness differences as “any consistent difference in fitness (i.e., survival and reproduction) among phenotypically different biological entities” (Futuyma 1998, 349). And in Lewontin’s (1970) classic articulation of the theory of natural selection, he lists fitness differences as one of the necessary conditions for evolution by natural selection to occur. Despite this foundational position of fitness, there remains much debate over the (...) nature of fitness, especially whether fitness differences can truly be said to cause evolutionary change. In recent years these debates have crystalized into two camps: (1) causalists, who see fitness differences as being one of the causes of evolutionary change, and (2) statisticalists, who deny the causal efficacy of fitness and instead hold that “fitness is a mere statistical, noncausal property of trait types” (Walsh 2010, 148). (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the implications of recent empirical research on concept representation for the philosophical enterprise of conceptual analysis. I argue that conceptual analysis, as it is commonly practiced, is committed to certain assumptions about the nature of our intuitive categorization judgments. I then try to show how these assumptions clash with contemporary accounts of concept representation in cognitive psychology. After entertaining an objection to my argument, I close by considering ways in which conceptual analysis might be altered (...) to accord better with the empirical work. (shrink)
The propensity interpretation of fitness (PIF) is commonly taken to be subject to a set of simple counterexamples. We argue that three of the most important of these are not counterexamples to the PIF itself, but only to the traditional mathematical model of this propensity: fitness as expected number of offspring. They fail to demonstrate that a new mathematical model of the PIF could not succeed where this older model fails. We then propose a new formalization of the PIF that (...) avoids these (and other) counterexamples. By producing a counterexample-free model of the PIF, we call into question one of the primary motivations for adopting the statisticalist interpretation of fitness. In addition, this new model has the benefit of being more closely allied with contemporary mathematical biology than the traditional model of the PIF. (shrink)
Philosophical work on perception traditionally concerns whether perceptual acquaintance with things in the world is compatible with the possibility of illusions and hallucinations. Given that you cannot tell definitively if you are hallucinating, how are you ever acquainted with things like tomatoes, barns, collisions, colors, sounds, and odors?
Fitness plays many roles throughout evolutionary theory, from a measure of populations in the wild to a central element in abstract theoretical presentations of natural selection. It has thus been the subject of an extensive philosophical literature, which has primarily centered on the way to understand the relationship between fitness values and reproductive outcomes. If fitness is a probabilistic or statistical quantity, how is it to be defined in general theoretical contexts? How can it be measured? Can a single conceptual (...) model for fitness be offered that applies in all biological cases, or must fitness measures be case-specific? Philosophers have explored these questions over the last several decades, largely in the context of an influential definition of fitness proposed in the late 1970s: the propensity interpretation. This interpretation as first described undeniably suffers from significant difficulties, and debate regarding the tenability of amendments and alternatives to it remains unsettled. (shrink)
We argue that current discussions of criteria for actual causation are ill-posed in several respects. (1) The methodology of current discussions is by induction from intuitions about an infinitesimal fraction of the possible examples and counterexamples; (2) cases with larger numbers of causes generate novel puzzles; (3) "neuron" and causal Bayes net diagrams are, as deployed in discussions of actual causation, almost always ambiguous; (4) actual causation is (intuitively) relative to an initial system state since state changes are relevant, but (...) most current accounts ignore state changes through time; (5) more generally, there is no reason to think that philosophical judgements about these sorts of cases are normative; but (6) there is a dearth of relevant psychological research that bears on whether various philosophical accounts are descriptive. Our skepticism is not directed towards the possibility of a correct account of actual causation; rather, we argue that standard methods will not lead to such an account. A different approach is required. (shrink)
Reciprocal altruism was originally formulated in terms of individual selection and most theorists continue to view it in this way. However, this interpretation of reciprocal altruism has been challenged by Sober and Wilson (1998). They argue that reciprocal altruism (as well as all other forms of altruism) evolves by the process of group selection. In this paper, we argue that the original interpretation of reciprocal altruism is the correct one. We accomplish this by arguing that if fitness attaches to (at (...) minimum) entire life cycles, then the kind of fitness exchanges needed to form the group-level in such situations is not available. Reciprocal altruism is thus a result of individual selection and when it evolves, it does so because it is individually advantageous. (shrink)