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.
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)
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.
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?
Eliminative materialism (or eliminativism) is the radical claim that our ordinary, common-sense understanding of the mind is deeply wrong and that some or all of the mental states posited by common-sense do not actually exist. Descartes famously challenged much of what we take for granted, but he insisted that, for the most part, we can be confident about the content of our own minds. Eliminative materialists go further than Descartes on this point, since they challenge of the existence of various (...) mental states that Descartes took for granted. (shrink)
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)
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: email@example.com. (shrink)
Along with the increasing popularity of connectionist language models has come a number of provocative suggestions about the challenge these models present to Chomsky's arguments for nativism. The aim of this paper is to assess these claims. We begin by reconstructing Chomsky's argument from the poverty of the stimulus and arguing that it is best understood as three related arguments, with increasingly strong conclusions. Next, we provide a brief introduction to connectionism and give a quick survey of recent efforts to (...) develop networks that model various aspects of human linguistic behavior. Finally, we explore the implications of this research for Chomsky's arguments. Our claim is that the relation between connectionism and Chomsky's views on innate knowledge is more complicated than many have assumed, and that even if these models enjoy considerable success the threat they pose for linguistic nativism is small. (shrink)
In chapter 3, we reflected on the view that the fallacies on the traditional list are inherently dialectical. The answer proposed there was that, with the possible exception of, e.g., begging the question and many questions, they are not. The aim of the present chapter is to cancel theispossibility by showing that begging the question and many questions are not in fact dialectical fallacies. The reason for this is not that question-begging and many questions aren’t (at least dominantly) dialectical practices. (...) The reason is that, dialectical or not, they are not fallacies. That begging the question, BQ for short, is a fallacy is an idea which originates with Aristotle. Given logic’s already long history, it should not be surprising that Aristotle’s views of these matters have in some ways been superseded. But the traditional view retains the original connection between conception and instantiation. Whereas BQ in Aristotle’s sense is said to be a fallacy in Aristotle’s sense, so too is BQ in the modern sense said to be a fallacy in the modern (i.e., EAUI) sense. As currently conceived of, BQ and fallacies can be characterized in the following ways. (shrink)
The philosophy of cognitive science has recently become one of the most exciting and fastest growing domains of philosophical inquiry and analysis. Until the early 1980s, nearly all of the models developed treated cognitive processes -- like problem solving, language comprehension, memory, and higher visual processing -- as rule-governed symbol manipulation. However, this situation has changed dramatically over the last half dozen years. In that period there has been an enormous shift of attention toward connectionist models of cognition that are (...) inspired by the network-like architecture of the brain. Because of their unique architecture and style of processing, connectionist systems are generally regarded as radically different from the more traditional symbol manipulation models. This collection was designed to provide philosophers who have been working in the area of cognitive science with a forum for expressing their views on these recent developments. Because the symbol-manipulating paradigm has been so important to the work of contemporary philosophers, many have watched the emergence of connectionism with considerable interest. The contributors take very different stands toward connectionism, but all agree that the potential exists for a radical shift in the way many philosophers think of various aspects of cognition. Exploring this potential and other philosophical dimensions of connectionist research is the aim of this volume. (shrink)
In accounting for the way we explain and predict behavior, two major positions are the theory-theory and the simulation theory. Recently, several authors have advocated a hybrid position, where elements of both theory and simulation are part of the account. One popular strategy for incorporating simulation is to note that we sometimes assign mental states to others by performing cognitive operations in ourselves that mirror what has occurred in the target. In this article, I argue that this way of thinking (...) about simulation is misguided. The confusion stems from a failure to appreciate how the application of any internal theory, including folk psychology, requires the employment of other cognitive sub-systems and mechanisms. Just as we need to use our visual system to see what another person is seeing, so too we sometimes need to use our own internal sub-systems to ascertain facts about another's mental states. In many such cases, our cognitive mechanisms are used more as ?fact-finders? rather than as simulators. After spelling all this out, I offer two ways to demarcate cognitive processes that are real simulation from those that are simply used in the application of a theory. (shrink)
Eliminative materialism is the position that common?sense psychology is false and that beliefs and desires, like witches and demons, do not exist. One of the most popular criticisms of this view is that it is self?refuting or, in some sense, incoherent. Hence, it is often claimed that eliminativism is not only implausible, but necessarily false. Below, I assess the merits of this objection and find it seriously wanting. I argue that the self?refutation objection is (at best) a misleading reformulation of (...) much more mundane objections to eliminativism and that, contrary to its advocates? endorsements, it adds nothing of genuine interest to the debate over the existence of prepositional attitudes. (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)
This paper argues that there is a general constraint on the evolution of culture. This constraint – what I am calling the Fundamental Constraint – must be satisfied in order for a cultural system to be adaptive. The Fundamental Constraint is this: for culture to be adaptive there must be a positive correlation between the fitness of cultural variants and their fitness impact on the organisms adopting those variants. Two ways of satisfying the Fundamental Constraint are introduced, structural solutions and (...) evaluative solutions. Because of the limitations on these solutions, this constraint helps explain why there is not more culture in nature, why the culture that does exist has the form it has, and why complex, cumulative culture is restricted to the human species. (shrink)