Using the notorious bridge law “water is H 2 O” and the relation between molecular structure and quantum mechanics as examples, I argue that it doesn’t make sense to aim for specific definition(s) of intertheoretical or interdiscourse relation(s) between chemistry and physics (reduction, supervenience, what have you). Proposed definitions of interdiscourse and part-whole relations are interesting only if they provide insight in the variegated interconnected patchwork of theories and beliefs. There is “automatically” some sort of interdiscourse relation if different discourses (...) claim to have something to say about the same situation (event, system), which is the basis of (contingent) local supervenience relations, which, proper empirically support being provided, can be upgraded to ceteris paribus bridge laws. Because of the ceteris paribus feature, and the discourse dependence of event identification, there is at best only global supervenience of the “special sciences” on the physical (and of parts of physics on other parts of physics). (shrink)
Extrapolation of Steels & Belpaeme's (S&B) results show that colour is a culturalist category. Populations will only share the category of colour if it is built into the system. If “left to themselves” different populations may or may not stumble on the colour category. Populations that do not share a colour category may still be able to communicate in a wide variety of environments.
In this paper I try to make as much sense aspossible of, first, the extensive philosophicalliterature concerned with the status of `Wateris H2O' and, second, the implications ofPutnam's invention of Twin Earth, anotherpossible world stipulated to be just like Earth, except that water is XYZ, notH2O.
Reflectance physicalism only provides a partial picture of the ontology of color. Byrne & Hilbert’ account is unsatisfactory because the replacement of reflectance functions by productance functions is ad hoc, unclear, and only leads to new problems. Furthermore, the effects of color contrast and differences in illumination are not really taken seriously: Too many “real” colors are tacitly dismissed as illusory, and this for arbitrary reasons. We claim that there cannot be an all-embracing ontology for color.
: According to a consensus of psycho-physiological and philosophical theories, color sensations (or qualia) are generated in a cerebral "space" fed from photon-photoreceptor interaction (producing "metamers") in the retina of the eye. The resulting "space" has three dimensions: hue (or chroma), saturation (or "purity"), and brightness (lightness, value or intensity) and (in some versions) is further structured by primitive or landmark "colors"—usually four, or six (when white and black are added to red, yellow, green and blue). It has also been (...) proposed that there are eleven semantic universals—labeling the previous six plus the "intermediaries" of orange, pink, brown, purple, and gray. There are many versions of this consensus, but they all aim to provide ontological, epistemological and semantic blueprints for the brute fact of the reality of color ordained by Nature (evolution). In contrast to this consensus, we have argued that "seeing color" is not a matter of light waves impacting on our eyes, producing sensations to be categorized and labeled in the "color space" in the brain. While electrochemical events may unproblematically be regarded as the causal precondition for seeing color, the reception of sensations in "the color space" as semantically labeled natural categories, kinds, or information, is a "just so" story: it is Wittgenstein's beetle in a box. In contrast we consider that the authority of this consensus might better be regarded not as the result of the truth-tracking of nature, but as the sociohistorical outcome of philosophical presuppositions, scientific theories, experimental practices, technological apparatus, and their feed forward into the lifeworld. The question we shall therefore explore is whether, or to what extent, we ourselves are changed, as the conditions of production of color science change. Thus we are doing a kind of anthropology at two levels: of color science itself (and its effect on our own lifeworld), and of those studied by the "anthropology of color". As befits this stance we are agnostic about the theoretical entities of color science (cf. van Fraassen 2001), and within this new context, we propose to cross-cut object-and-subject, organism-and-environment (the bedrock of color science) in socio-historical ways. Our approach is in part inspired by, but not the same as, that of Gibson, in that we wish to pursue the notion of "social affordances" (Burmudez 1995). We suggest that color has become a naturalization through science-based technologies, which, through praxes and materializations, have become the perceptual and cultural entities that structure experience and understanding in the lifeworld. It is this naturalization that we shall refer to and characterize as "the historically inflected exosomatic organ". Consequently we shall explore the historical ontology of "color" without assuming an underlying biological constant (Dupré 2001). In part 1 we show the flimsiness of the evidence for the three dimensions of color, borrowed from physics, and fine-tuned to a "standard observer" (a "spectral creature" with a phenomenal "color space"). In part 2 we address the structuring of hue through the development of color circles and color spaces. This is followed by a review of the evidence for unique hues. Again the evidence is shown to be flimsy. We then show that an isolated domain of color is a particular kind of model, not a "natural given". In part 3, after reviewing what is referred to as "the isomorphy thesis," we discuss the exemplary case study of Berlin and Kay (1969). This illustrates the pull of stadial models presupposed by their evolutionary theory of color language. The Berlin and Kay paradigm proposes that American English color terms are incorrigible and can provide the universal metalanguage. We conclude by presenting an alternative account, namely that we ourselves are changed as the conditions of production of color science change. We argue that it is better to regard "seeing-color" as a historically inflected exosomatic organ that provides social affordances for those trained to grasp them. (shrink)
Contra Shepard we argue, first, that his presentation of a three-dimensional representational (psychological or phenomenal) colour space is at odds with many results in colour science, and, second, that there is insufficient evidence for Shepard's stronger claim that the three-dimensionality of colour perception has resulted from natural selection, moulded by the particulars of the solar spectrum and its variations. [Shepard].
In reply to Wierzbicka's advocacy of semantic primitives we argue that talk of the semantic primitives (like to see) repeats the fallacies addressed in the target article at a higher level. In reply to Malcolm's plea for a Wittgensteinian grammar of colour words, we argue that he uses words like “we” and “us” too easily, falling into the trap of “silly relativism.” In reply to McManus's science of word counts, we reiterate the nineteenth-century criticism that this method is based (...) on an illegitimate application of seemingly rigorous statistical methods. (shrink)
In this paper I present a historiography of the recent emergence of philosophy of chemistry. Special attention is given to the interest in this domain in Eastern Europe before the collapse of the USSR. It is shown that the initial neglect of the philosophy of chemistry is due to the unanimous view in philosophy and philosophy of science that only physics is a proper science (to put in Kant's words). More recently, due to the common though incorrect assumption that chemistry (...) can in principle be reduced to physics, the neglect continued, even when interest in sciences such as biology and psychology entered more strongly in philosophy of science. It is concluded that chemistry is an autonomous science and is perhaps a more typical science than physics. (shrink)
Williams's comments raise the questions I'll here address: what sort of wes are there?, what goes with the 'we of science and logic'?, and what goes with the 'parochial us'? The quotations from Williams suggest that there are two wes, the contrastive and inclusive we.
According to Putnam the reference of natural kind terms is fixed by the world, at least partly; whether two things belong to the same kind depends on whether they obey the same objective laws. We show that Putnam's criterion of substance identity only “works” if we read “objective laws” as “OBJECTIVE LAWS”. Moreover, at least some of the laws of some of the special sciences have to be included. But what we consider to be good special sciences and what not (...) depends upon our values. Hence, “objective laws” cannot be read as “OBJECTIVE LAWS”. It follows that the reference of natural kind terms cannot be fixed by the world, not even partly. The final conclusion applies to a variety of realisms. (shrink)
The book is an “introductory” reconstruction of Davidson on interpretation —a claim to be taken with a grain of salt. Writing introductory books has become an idol of the tribe. This is a concise book and reflects much study. It has many virtues along with some flaws. Ramberg assembles themes and puzzles from Davidson into a more or less coherent viewpoint. A special virtue is the innovative treatment of incommensurability and of the relation of Davidson’s work to hermeneutic themes. The (...) weakness comes in a certain unevenness. While generally convincing and well written, the book has low points which may leave the reader confused or unconvinced. Davidson is the hero in this book, and our hero is sometimes over idealized. (shrink)
Probably colour is the best worked-out example of allegedly neurophysiologically innate response categories determining percepts and percepts determining concepts, and hence biology fixing the basic categories implicit in the use of language. In this paper I argue against this view and I take C. L. Hardin's Color for Philosophers  as my main target. I start by undermining the view that four unique hues stand apart from all other colour shades (Section 2) and the confidence that the solar spectrum is (...) naturally divided into four categories (Section 3). For such categories to be truly universal, they have to be true for all peoples and in Section 4 I show that Berlin and Kay's  widely quoted theory of basic colour categories is not sufficiently supported to lend it any credibility. Having disposed of the view that inspection of language or ?pure? perception unveils the universal colour categories. I turn to neurophysiological and psychophysical theories of colour vision to see whether they provide a more solid basis for deciding what the innate response categories are. In Section 5 I show that Hardin's account of the opponent-process theory neither supports his view that ?colour-coding?takes place early in the visual neural pathway, nor his view that knowledge of colour vision science will help us solve many philosophical mysteries about colour. In Section 6 I give a more detailed review of what is known today about the neurophysiology of colour vision and I show that there's nothing in the brain which could be called a colour module, let alone a module with homunculi for particular basic colour categories. In Section 7 I show that psychophysical models do not support such rigid constraints on category formation either. Hence (Section 8), at least in the case of colour, current science supports a plasticity in the formation of categories that goes far beyond the requirements of those naturalistic philosophers who would like to ground primitive concepts in biology. (shrink)
In this paper I evaluate the soundness of the prototype paradigm, in particular its basic assumption that there are pan-human psychological essences or core meanings that refer to basic-level natural kinds, explaining why, on the whole, human communication and learning are successful. Instead I argue that there are no particular pan-human basic elements for thought, meaning and cognition, neither prototypes, nor otherwise. To illuminate my view I draw on examples from anthropology. More generally I argue that the prototype paradigm exemplifies (...) two assumptions that dominate cognitive science: (1) If human beings use words they mean something particular and what they mean can be discovered by scientific methods. (2) There is a fixed number of domains of categorization, each made up of a fixed number of basic <span class='Hi'>categories</span>. I suggest that these two assumptions lead to Brave New World. (shrink)