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John Symons [42]John William David Symons [1]
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Profile: John Symons (University of Kansas)
  1. John Symons, A Sketch of the History and Methodology of Ontology in the Analytic Tradition.
    The analytic tradition is sometimes criticized as being narrowly focused on language, logic or conceptual analysis to the detriment of deeper investigations into ontological, metaphysical or moral questions.1 More specifically, analytic philosophy has been associated with a positivist attitude which favored replacing the philosophy’s traditional focus on fundamental questions with an obsequiously deferential relationship to mathematics and the natural sciences. While this line of criticism obscures the historical reality and contemporary diversity of the analytic tradition, it is certainly true that (...)
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  2. John Symons, Epistemic Logic.
    Epistemic logic is the logic of knowledge and belief. It provides insight into the properties of individual knowers, has provided a means to model complicated scenarios involving groups of knowers and has improved our understanding of the dynamics of inquiry.
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  3. John Symons, Functionalism and Fallibility.
    Functionalism in the philosophy of mind rests on the claim that mental states are multiply realizable; mental states can be realized by or instantiated in a variety of distinct physical structures. To see them as multiply realizable we take mental states as causal roles rather than particular physical structures. As such, functionalism can be contrasted with metaphysical accounts which treat mental states as instances of a mental substance. Instead of puzzling over the relationship between mental and physical kinds, functionalists understand (...)
     
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  4. John Symons, Review of Giandomenico Sica (Ed.) What is Category Theory? Polimetrica, 2006. [REVIEW]
    Giandomenico Sica’s volume is a collection of eleven papers on category theory by philosophers, mathematicians, and mathematical physicists. In addition to papers of direct interest to philosophers of mathematics, the volume contains some introductory expositions of category theory along with a valuable discussion of the relationship between category theory and physics by Bob Coecke. While there are several technically difficult papers, the volume as a whole is reasonably accessible to those with some familiarity with the basics of category theory. The (...)
     
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  5. John Symons, Teleology in Biology: Haddox on the Basic Principles of the Living World.
    was a detailed analysis of the methodology of biological investigation. The dissertation examined case studies involving enzymes, proteins, catalysis and other matters apparently far removed from his later work on Mexican and Chicano thought. However, Haddox’s existential engagement with basic philosophical questions is evident throughout this work.
     
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  6. Vincent Fella Hendricks & John Symons (forthcoming). Limiting Skepticism. Logos and Episteme.
     
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  7. John Symons & Jack Horner (forthcoming). Software Intensive Science. Philosophy and Technology:1-17.
    This paper argues that the difference between contemporary software intensive scientific practice and more traditional non-software intensive varieties results from the characteristically high conditionality of software. We explain why the path complexity of programs with high conditionality imposes limits on standard error correction techniques and why this matters. While it is possible, in general, to characterize the error distribution in inquiry that does not involve high conditionality, we cannot characterize the error distribution in inquiry that depends on software. Software intensive (...)
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  8. Paco Calvo & John Symons (eds.) (2014). The Architecture of Cognition: Rethinking Fodor and Pylyshyn's Systematicity Challenge. The Mit Press.
    Philosophers and cognitive scientists reassess systematicity in the post-connectionist era, offering perspectives from ecological psychology, embodied and distributed cognition, enactivism, and other methodologies.
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  9. John Symons (ed.) (2014). Daniel Dennett. Routledge.
    SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY PRICE! (Valid until 3 months after publication) Daniel Dennett has been one of the central voices in the philosophy of mind for at least the past forty years. Unlike most philosophers of his generation, Dennett’s work has resonated far and wide. It has powerfully influenced the development of cognitive science, robotics, developmental psychology, and artificial intelligence. Indeed, his work has led to many new lines of inquiry. For example, he has developed a theory of consciousness which provides an (...)
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  10. John Symons & Fabio Boschetti (2013). How Computational Models Predict the Behavior of Complex Systems. Foundations of Science 18 (4):809-821.
    In this paper, we argue for the centrality of prediction in the use of computational models in science. We focus on the consequences of the irreversibility of computational models and on the conditional or ceteris paribus, nature of the kinds of their predictions. By irreversibility, we mean the fact that computational models can generally arrive at the same state via many possible sequences of previous states. Thus, while in the natural world, it is generally assumed that physical states have a (...)
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  11. John Symons, Juan Manuel Torres & Olga Plomb (eds.) (2011). New Approaches to the Unity of Science, Vol. 1: Otto Neurath and the Unity of Science. Springer.
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  12. John Symons (2010). Emergence and Reflexive Downward. Principia 6 (1):183-201.
    This paper responds to Jaegwon Kim's powerful objection to the very possibility of geninely novel emergent properties. Kim argues that the incoherence of reflexive downward causation means that the causal power of an emergent phenomenon is ultimately reducible to the causal powers of the causal powers of its constituents. I offer a simple argument showing how to claracterize emergent properties in terms of the effects of structural relations on the causal powers of their constituents.
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  13. John Symons (2010). Ontology and Methodology in Analytic Philosophy. In Roberto Poli & Johanna Seibt (eds.), Theory and Applications of Ontology: Philosophical Perspectives. Springer Verlag. 349--394.
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  14. John Symons (2010). Semantics for Epistemology. In Sven Bernecker & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Routledge Companion to Epistemology. New York: Routledge.
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  15. John Symons (2010). The Individuality of Artifacts and Organisms. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32.
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  16. Francisco Garzon & John Symons (eds.) (2009). Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Psychology. Routledge.
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  17. John Symons & Paco Calvo (eds.) (2009). The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology. Routledge.
    The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology is an invaluable guide and major reference source to the major topics, problems, concepts and debates in philosophy of psychology and is the first companion of its kind. A team of renowned international contributors provide forty-two chapters organised into eight clear parts: historical background the status of psychological theories models of the mind behaviour, development and the brain thought and language perception and consciousness the inner world psychology and the Self. The Companion covers (...)
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  18. Paco Calvo & John Symons, Radical Embodiment and Morphological Computation: Against the Autonomy of (Some) Special Sciences.
    An asymmetry between the demands at the computational and algorithmic levels of description furnishes the illusion that the abstract profile at the computational level can be multiply realized, and that something is actually being shared at the algorithmic one. A disembodied rendering of the situation lays the stress upon the different ways in which an algorithm can be implemented. However, from an embodied approach, things look rather different. The relevant pairing, I shall argue, is not between implementation and algorithm, but (...)
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  19. John Symons (2008). A Computational Modeling Strategy for Levels. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):608-620.
    Rather than taking the ontological fundamentality of an ideal microphysics as a starting point, this article sketches an approach to the problem of levels that swaps assumptions about ontology for assumptions about inquiry. These assumptions can be implemented formally via computational modeling techniques that will be described below. It is argued that these models offer a way to save some of our prominent commonsense intuitions concerning levels. This strategy offers a way of exploring the individuation of higher level properties in (...)
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  20. John Symons (2008). Book Reviews. [REVIEW] Studia Logica 89 (2):285-289.
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  21. John Symons (2008). Computational Models of Emergent Properties. Minds and Machines 18 (4):475-491.
    Computational modeling plays an increasingly important explanatory role in cases where we investigate systems or problems that exceed our native epistemic capacities. One clear case where technological enhancement is indispensable involves the study of complex systems.1 However, even in contexts where the number of parameters and interactions that define a problem is small, simple systems sometimes exhibit non-linear features which computational models can illustrate and track. In recent decades, computational models have been proposed as a way to assist us in (...)
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  22. John Symons (2008). Intuition and Philosophical Methodology. Axiomathes 18 (1):67-89.
    Intuition serves a variety of roles in contemporary philosophy. This paper provides a historical discussion of the revival of intuition in the 1970s, untangling some of the ways that intuition has been used and offering some suggestions concerning its proper place in philosophical investigation. Contrary to some interpretations of the results of experimental philosophy, it is argued that generalized skepticism with respect to intuition is unwarranted. Intuition can continue to play an important role as part of a methodologically conservative stance (...)
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  23. Johan van Benthem, Vincent F. Hendricks & John Symons (2008). Editorial. Synthese 160 (1):1-3.
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  24. John Symons (2007). The Complexity of Information-Processing Tasks in Vision. In Carlos Gershenson, Diederik Aerts & Bruce Edmonds (eds.), Worldviews, Science, and Us: Philosophy and Complexity. World Scientific. 300.
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  25. Johan van Benthem, Vincent F. Hendricks & John Symons (2007). Editorial. Synthese 154 (1):1-3.
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  26. Vincent F. Hendricks & John Symons (2006). Where's the Bridge? Epistemology and Epistemic Logic. Philosophical Studies 128 (1):137 - 167.
    Epistemic logic begins with the recognition that our everyday talk about knowing and believing has some systematic features that we can track and re‡ect upon. Epistemic logicians have studied and extended these glints of systematic structure in fascinating and important ways since the early 1960s. However, for one reason or another, mainstream epistemologists have shown little interest. It is striking to contrast the marginal role of epistemic logic in contemporary epistemology with the centrality of modal logic for metaphysicians. This article (...)
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  27. John Symons (2006). Where's the Bridge? Epistemology and Epistemic Logic. Philosophical Studies 128 (1):137 - 167.
    Epistemic logic begins with the recognition that our everyday talk about knowing and believing has some systematic features that we can track and reflect upon. Epistemic logicians have studied and extended these glints of systematic structure in fascinating and important ways since the early 1960s. However, for one reason or another, mainstream epistemologists have shown little interest. It is striking to contrast the marginal role of epistemic logic in contemporary epistemology with the centrality of modal logic for metaphysicians. This article (...)
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  28. Johan van Benthem, Vincent F. Hendricks & John Symons (2006). Editorial. Synthese 148 (1):1-3.
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  29. Daniel Kolak & John Symons (2004). The Results Are In: The Scope and Import of Hintikka's Philosophy. In. In D. Kolak & J. Symons (eds.), Quantifiers, Questions and Quantum Physics. Springer. 209--271.
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  30. Shahid Rahman & John Symons (2004). Logic, Epistemology and the Unity of Science: An Encyclopedic Project in the Spirit of Neurath and Diderot. In. In S. Rahman J. Symons (ed.), Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science. Kluwer Academic Publisher. 3--15.
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  31. John Symons (2004). Entre darwinisme et biopolitique, le naturalisme en chantier. Multitudes 2 (2):15-26.
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  32. John Symons (2004). Editorial Note. Synthese 138 (1):V-VII.
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  33. Jaakko Hintikka & John Symons (2003). Systems of Visual Identification in Neuroscience: Lessons From Epistemic Logic. Philosophy of Science 70 (1):89-104.
    The following analysis shows how developments in epistemic logic can play a nontrivial role in cognitive neuroscience. We argue that the striking correspondence between two modes of identification, as distinguished in the epistemic context, and two cognitive systems distinguished by neuroscientific investigation of the visual system (the "where" and "what" systems) is not coincidental, and that it can play a clarificatory role at the most fundamental levels of neuroscientific theory.
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  34. Noretta Koertge, Janet A. Kourany, Ronald N. Giere, Peter Gildenhuys, Thomas A. C. Reydon, Stéphanie Ruphy, Samir Okasha, Jaakko Hintikka & John Symons (2003). 10. Simulated Experiments: Methodology for a Virtual World Simulated Experiments: Methodology for a Virtual World (Pp. 105-125). [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 70 (1).
     
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  35. John Symons (2003). Somos fronterizos. Multitudes 1 (1):79-89.
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  36. John Symons (2002). Emergence and Reflexive Downward Causation. Principia 6 (1):183-202.
     
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  37. John Symons (2002). Information, Representation, and the Dynamic Systems Approach to Language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (5):640-641.
    Shanker & King (S&K) provide a criticism of information-theoretic approaches to language, but the real obstacle to their dynamicist approach is the argument that representations are an indispensable part of any cognitive theory. Since the dynamicist approach has a prima facie anti-representationalist bent, the authors must show why dynamicist views can provide adequate explanations of intelligent behavior.
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  38. John Symons (2001). Explanation and Complexity. Minds and Machines 11 (4):455-455.
  39. John Symons (2001). Explanation, Representation and the Dynamical Hypothesis. Minds and Machines 11 (4):521-541.
    This paper challenges arguments that systematic patterns of intelligent behavior license the claim that representations must play a role in the cognitive system analogous to that played by syntactical structures in a computer program. In place of traditional computational models, I argue that research inspired by Dynamical Systems theory can support an alternative view of representations. My suggestion is that we treat linguistic and representational structures as providing complex multi-dimensional targets for the development of individual brains. This approach acknowledges the (...)
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  40. John Symons (2001). On Dennett. Wadsworth/Thompson Learning.
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  41. John Symons (2001). What Can Neuroscience Explain? Brain and Mind 2 (2):243-248.
    Horgan’s perceptive discussion of Freudian psychology, Prozac and evolutionary biology cannot mitigate the problems that seriously weaken his book (Horgan, 1999). While he certainly manages to deflate some of the more outrageous hype surrounding the scientific and often not-so-scientific study of the mind, his criticism of the brain and behavioral sciences contains a number of flaws, some of which I will address below. My response focuses on his discussion of neuroscience. As we shall see, the three mysteries that Horgan believes (...)
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