Counterfactuals all the way down? Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9437-9 Authors Jim Woodward, History and Philosophy of Science, 1017 Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA Barry Loewer, Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA John W. Carroll, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8103, USA Marc Lange, Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB#3125—Caldwell Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3125, USA Journal (...) Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796 Journal Volume Volume 20 Journal Issue Volume 20, Number 1. (shrink)
JohnCarroll undertakes a careful philosophical examination of laws of nature, causation, and other related topics. He argues that laws of nature are not susceptible to the sort of philosophical treatment preferred by empiricists. Indeed he shows that emperically pure matters of fact need not even determine what the laws are. Similar, even stronger, conclusions are drawn about causation. Replacing the traditional view of laws and causation requiring some kind of foundational legitimacy, the author argues that these phenomena (...) are inextricably intertwined with everything else. This distinctively clear and detailed discussion of what it is to be a law will be valuable to a broad swathe of philosophers in metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of science. (shrink)
There is a longstanding definition of instantaneous velocity. It saysthat the velocity at t 0 of an object moving along a coordinate line is r if and only if the value of the first derivative of the object's position function at t 0 is r. The goal of this paper is to determine to what extent this definition successfully underpins a standard account of motion at an instant. Counterexamples proposed by Michael Tooley (1988) and also by John Bigelow and (...) Robert Pargetter (1990) are reinforced and illuminated by considering the presence or absence of changes to the object's motion. (shrink)
Some scientists try to discover and report laws of nature. And, they do so with success. There are many principles that were for a long time thought to be laws that turned out to be useful approximations, like Newton’s gravitational principle. There are others that were thought to be laws and still are considered laws, like Einstein’s principle that no signals travel faster than light. Laws of nature are not just important to scientists. They are also of great interest to (...) us philosophers, though primarily in an ancillary way. Qua philosophers, we do not try to discover what the laws are. We care about what it is to be a law, about lawhood, the essential difference between something’s being a law and something’s not being a law. It is one of our jobs to understand lawhood and convey our understanding to others. (shrink)
While narrative has been one of liveliest and most productive areas of research in literary theory, discussions of the nature of emotional responses to art and of the cognitive value of art tend to concentrate almost exclusively on the problem of fiction: How can we emote over or learn from fictions? Narrative, Emotion, and Insight explores what would happen if aestheticians framed the matter differently, having narratives—rather than fictional characters and events—as the object of emotional and cognitive attention. The book (...) thus opens up new possibilities for approaching questions about the ethical, educative, and cultural value of art. The nine essays in this volume introduce the study of narrative to contemporary aesthetics. (shrink)
An argument for realism (i.E., The ontological thesis that there exist universals) has emerged in the writings of david armstrong, Fred dretske, And michael tooley. These authors have persuasively argued against traditional reductive accounts of laws and nature. The failure of traditional reductive accounts leads all three authors to opt for a non-Traditional reductive account of laws which requires the existence of universals. In other words, These authors have opted for accounts of laws which (together with the fact that there (...) are laws) entail that realism is true. This argument for realism which emerges from the work of armstrong, Dretske, And tooley is discussed and criticized. Conclusions from the discussion question the tenability of all reductive accounts of laws. (shrink)
Ted Sider aptly and concisely states the self-visitation paradox thus: 'Suppose I travel back in time and stand in a room with my sitting 10-year-old self. I seem to be both sitting and standing, but how can that be?' (2001, 101). I will explore a relativist resolution of this paradox offered by, or on behalf of, endurantists.1 It maintains that the sitting and the standing are relative to the personal time or proper time of the time traveler and is intended (...) to yield the result that Ted is sitting at a certain initial personal/proper time but is not standing relative to that time. Similarly, it is also supposed to yield that Ted is standing relative to a later personal/proper time, but not sitting relative to that .. (shrink)
showing what makes causal facts both true and accessible enough for us to have the knowledge of them that we ordinarily take ourselves to have. Some current approaches to analyzing causation were once resisted. First, analyses that use the counterfactual conditional were viewed with suspicion because philosophers also sought (and still do seek) similar understanding of counterfactual facts. Since the same can be said for the other nomic concepts--causation, lawhood, explanation, chance, dispositions, and their conceptual kin--philosophy demonstrated a preference for (...) non-nomic definitions of causation, analytic completions of (S) with no nomic terms in the analysans. Recently, however, philosophers have been less demanding regarding what terms may be used. Attention has been given to analyzing causation in terms of chance, the counterfactual conditional, and lawhood. If we reserve the term ‘causal’ for the terms and concepts that have extremely obvious connections.. (shrink)
In his book Objects and Persons, Trenton Merricks has reoriented and ﬁne-tuned an argument from the philosophy of mind to support a selective eliminativism about macroscopic objects.1 The argument turns on a rejection of systematic causal overdetermination and the conviction that microscopic things do the causal work that is attributed to a great many (though not all) macroscopic things. We will argue that Merricks’ argument fails to establish his selective eliminativism.
A contextualist account of modal assertions is sketched that makes their truth sensitive to the presuppositions of the conversation. Support for the account is mustered by considering its application to the context-sensitivity of assertions of subjunctive conditional sentences, explanation sentences, and knowledge sentences.
The self-visitation paradox is one paradox of time travel. As Ted Sider puts it, “Suppose I travel back in time and stand in a room with my sitting 10-year-old self. I seem to be both sitting and standing, but how can that be?” (2001, 101). So as not to beg any questions, let us label what is sitting B and what is standing C. The worry is about how B can be C in light of the looming contradiction that this (...) one person would be sitting and standing. Sider’s own approach is perdurantist, and holds that B is not C. My concern, though, is with solutions offered by, or on behalf of, endurantists–more 1 specifically, with solutions holding that B is C. The endurantist answer I shall criticize is a relativizer position maintaining that the sitting and the standing need to be relativized to the personal time or proper time of the time traveler. This manner of solution has been offered by Paul Horwich (1975, 433-435 ; 1987, 114-115) and also by Simon Keller and Michael Nelson (2001, 344). I will show that such a view has a linguistically suspect element and that there are three further reasons why relativizing only in this way falls short of solving the paradox. This will be enough to squash the relativizer position because it will not be clear how additional relativization could help, and furthermore any additional relativization would only make the linguistic matter worse. I will also present some considerations in favor of a non-contradiction endurantist alternative; this view eliminates the need for any relativization by denying that sitting and standing are contradictory properties. (shrink)
The backward induction argument purports to show that rational and suitably informed players will defect throughout a finite sequence of prisoner's dilemmas. It is supposed to be a useful argument for predicting how rational players will behave in a variety of interesting decision situations. Here, I lay out a set of assumptions defining a class of finite sequences of prisoner's dilemmas. Given these assumptions, I suggest how it might appear that backward induction succeeds and why it is actually fallacious. Then, (...) I go on to consider the consequences of adopting a stronger set of assumptions. Focusing my attention on stronger sets that, like the original, obey the informedness condition, I show that any supplementation of the original set that preserves informedness does so at the expense of forcing rational participants in prisoner's dilemma situations to have unexpected beliefs, ones that threaten the usefulness of backward induction. (shrink)
While narrative has been one of the liveliest and most productive areas of research in literary theory, discussions of the nature of emotional responses to art and of the cognitive value of art tend to concentrate almost exclusively on the problem of fiction: How can we emote over or learn from fictions? Narrative, Emotion, and Insight explores what would happen if aestheticians framed the matter differently, having narratives—rather than fictional characters and events—as the object of emotional and cognitive attention. The (...) book thus opens up new possibilities for approaching questions about the ethical, educative, and cultural value of art. The nine essays in this volume introduce the study of narrative to contemporary aesthetics. (shrink)
In this article we describe our approach to understanding wrongdoing in medical research and practice, which involves the statistical analysis of coded data from a large set of published cases. We focus on understanding the environmental factors that predict the kind and the severity of wrongdoing in medicine. Through review of empirical and theoretical literature, consultation with experts, the application of criminological theory, and ongoing analysis of our first 60 cases, we hypothesize that 10 contextual features of the medical environment (...) (including financial rewards, oversight failures, and patients belonging to vulnerable groups) may contribute to professional wrongdoing. We define each variable, examine data supporting our hypothesis, and present a brief case synopsis from our study that illustrates the potential influence of the variable. Finally, we discuss limitations of the resulting framework and directions for future research. (shrink)
The traditional model and the contextual unanimity model are two probabilistic accounts of general causation subject to many well-known problems; e.g. cases of epiphenomena, causes raising their own probability, effects raising the probability of the cause, et cetera. After reviewing these problems and raising a new problem for the two models, I suggest the beginnings of an alternative probabilistic account. My suggestion avoids the problems encountered by earlier models, in large part, by an appeal to singular causation.
Within the metaphysics literature on material objects, one widely held doctrine is that identity-over-time has causal commitments. Another is that identity-over-time is just identity (_simpliciter) as it relates one object that exists at two times. We argue that a tension exists between these two apparently sensible positions: Very roughly, if identity is the primary conceptual component of identity-over-time andÂ–as is plausibleÂ–identity is noncausal, then the conceptual origins of the causal commitments of identity-over-time become a mystery.
Some children living with life-shortening medical conditions may wish to attend school without the threat of having resuscitation attempted in the event of cardiopulmonary arrest on the school premises. Despite recent attention to in-school do-not-attempt-resuscitation (DNAR) orders, no assessment of state laws or school policies has yet been made. We therefore sought to survey a national sample of prominent school districts and situate their policies in the context of relevant state laws. Most (80%) school districts sampled did not have policies, (...) regulations, or protocols for dealing with student DNARs. A similar majority (76%) either would not honor student DNARs or were uncertain about whether they could. Frequent contradictions between school policies and state laws also exist. Consequently, children living with life-shortening conditions who have DNARs may not have these orders honored if cardiopulmonary arrest were to occur on school premises. Coordinated efforts are needed to harmonize school district, state, and federal approaches in order to support children and families' right to have important medical decisions honored. (shrink)