The central problem in the interpretation of the quantum theory is how to understand the superposition of the eigenstates of an observable. To a considerable extent scientific practice here, especially as codified in versions of Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation, follows an interpretive principle that I have elsewhere called the Rule of Silence (Ref.1). That rule admonishes us not to talk about the values of an observable unless the state of the system is an eigenstate, or a mixture of eigenstates, of the (...) observable in question. With regard to the rule of silence, as in other matters bearing on the interpretation of the quantum theory, Einstein was one of the first to realize that there can be difficulties. They appear as soon as we look at something like an explosion; i.e., the interaction between a micro and a macrosystem that involves the amplification of a microphenomenon to macroscopic scale (Ref.2). John Bell describes the difficulty over the rule of silence this way. (shrink)
A fine book, but who’s it for? Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9582-9 Authors John Dupré, ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (Egenis), University of Exeter, Byrne House, St. German’s Road, Exeter, EX4 4PJ UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
A fine book, but who’s it for? Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9582-9 Authors John Dupré, ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (Egenis), University of Exeter, Byrne House, St. German’s Road, Exeter, EX4 4PJ UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Physical force strengths, particle masses, the early cosmic expansion speed and many other factors seem "fine tuned for life". Had they been slightly different, life’s evolution would have been impossible. The situation resembles catching a fish with an apparatus unable to catch ones slightly differently sized. One explanation is that the lake contains fish of many different sizes: multiple universes with randomized characteristics, most of them unobservable because observers cannot evolve in them. Another is that God created a fish (...) of the right size, a universe able to generate observers. The article defends these explanations against numerous ingenious objections. (shrink)
My aim in this study is not to praise Fischer's fine theory of moral responsibility, but to (try to) bury the "semi" in "semicompatibilism". I think Fischer gives the Consequence Argument (CA) too much credit, and gives himself too little credit. In his book, The Metaphysics of Free Will, Fischer gave the CA as good a statement as it will ever get, and put his finger on what is wrong with it. Then he declared stalemate rather than victory. In (...) my view, Fischer's view amounts to sophisticated compatibilism. It would be nice to be able to call it by its right name. In The Metaphysics of Free Will, Fischer develops his own version of Consequence Argument, which turns on two principles, one of which is the fixity of the past. FP: For any action K, agent S and time i, if it is true that is S were to do Y at t, some fact about that past relative to t would not have been a fact, then S cannot at t do Fat 1. 1 argue that the equipment needed to reject FP (and thereby defend the most plausible version of compatibilism) is needed to deal with the problem of fatalism. In addition, I argue that the rejection of FP is compatible with Fischer's approach to Frankfurt cases and with his account of transfer principles. (shrink)
We investigated the current-voltage I(V) characteristics of GaAs/AlAs double-barrier heterostructures. A fine periodic structure of the resonant tunnel current has been revealed. We attribute it to a sequence of the collective excitations, presumably of the coupled plasmon-phonon type, that are induced in the heavily doped collector region by hot electrons which escape from the quantum well. An oscillatory structure appears also in the valley regions of the I(V) curve under a high magnetic field parallel to the current. It is (...) due to the off-resonance tunnelling between the Landau-quantized states of the emitter and quantum well. Particular phonon-assisted processes in the tunnelling have been identified. (shrink)
The discovery that the universe is fine-tuned for life ? a discovery to which the phrase ?the anthropic principle? is often applied ? has prompted much extra-cosmic speculation by philosophers, theologians, and theoretical physicists. Such speculation is referred to as extra-cosmic because an inference is made to the existence either of one unobservable entity that is distinct from the cosmos and any of its parts (God) or of many such entities (multiple universes). In this article a case is mounted (...) for the sceptical position that cosmic fine-tuning does not support an inference to anything extra-cosmic. To that end three definitions of ?fine-tuned for life? are proposed: the ?slight difference? definition, the (unconditional) probability definition, and John Leslie?s conditional probability definition. These three definitions are the only ones suggested by the relevant literature on fine-tuning and the anthropic principle. Since on none of them do claims of fine-tuning warrant an inference to something extracosmic, it is concluded that there is no definition of ?fine-tuned for life? serving this function. (shrink)
Japanese Philosophy: A Sourcebook is a monumental achievement that must have taken many years of thoughtful planning and execution by a fine group of editors: James W. Heisig, Thomas P. Kasulis, and John C. Maraldo. Offering well over a thousand pages of invaluable resources for researchers and teachers at a very reasonable retail price, this volume will undoubtedly serve as an outstanding sourcebook for all those interested in Japanese philosophy, as well as religious thought, social ideology, and artistic (...) expressions stemming from the classical (Heian) and medieval (Kamakura) through the early modern (Tokugawa) and modern (Meiji and post-Meiji) periods. Key portions of some of the major writings by leading .. (shrink)
Before one can construct scales of minimal complexity in the Real Core Model, K(R), one needs to develop the fine-structure theory of K(R). In this paper, the fine structure theory of mice, first introduced by Dodd and Jensen, is generalized to that of real mice. A relative criterion for mouse iterability is presented together with two theorems concerning the definability of this criterion. The proof of the first theorem requires only fine structure; whereas, the second theorem applies (...) to real mice satisfying AD and follows from a general definability result obtained by abstracting work of John Steel on L(R). In conclusion, we discuss several consequences of the work presented in this paper relevant to two issues: the complexity of scales in K(R) and the strength of the theory ZF + AD + ¬ DC R. (shrink)
Frankfurt-style examples (FSEs) cast doubt on the initially plausible claim that an ability to do otherwise is necessary for moral responsibility. Following the lead of Peter van Inwagen and others, I argue that if we are careful in distinguishing events by causal origins, then we see that FSEs fail to show that one may be morally responsible for x, yet have no alternatives to x. I provide reasons for a fine-grained causal origins approach to events apart from the context (...) of moral responsibility, and respond to the objection that moral responsibility depends on abstract entities other than events. In response to John Martin Fischer and others, I argue that the alternatives available in recent FSEs are robust enough for moral responsibility. If one thinks that the ability to do otherwise is a necessary condition for moral responsibility, the FSEs give no reason to relinquish this belief. (shrink)
John Hasnas’s fine article, “Up from Flatland: Business Ethics in the Age of Divergence,” fails in its stated goal of challenging the mainstream business ethics community’s methods of analyzing normative issues. However, it achieves what is likely Hasnas’s true goal of alerting both business ethicists and managers of the bigger stakes now in play when the federal government indicts employees and seeks their employers’ cooperation in establishing the prosecutor’s case. While prosecutorial overreaching is a legitimate concern that deserves (...) to be highlighted, it requires no qualitative change in normative ethical analysis. That analysis now involves different inputs (greater stakes for firms and employees), but continues to involve a familiar but complicated weighing of shareholder interests against employee interests and, sometimes, a weighing of both against the requirements of the law. (shrink)
I begin by examining a recent debate between John McDowell and Christopher Peacocke over whether the content of perceptual experience is non-conceptual. Although I am sympathetic to Peacocke's claim that perceptual content is non-conceptual, I suggest a number of ways in which his arguments fail to make that case. This failure stems from an over-emphasis on the "fine-grainedness" of perceptual content - a feature that is relatively unimportant to its non-conceptual structure. I go on to describe two other (...) features of perceptual experience that are more likely to be relevant to the claim that perceptual content is non-conceptual. These features are 1) the dependence of a perceived object on the perceptual context in which it is perceived and 2) the dependence of a perceived property on the object it is perceived to be a property of. (shrink)
We seem perfectly able to perceive fine-grained shades of colour even without possessing precise concepts for them. The same might be said of shapes. I argue that this is in fact not the case. A subject can perceive a colour or shape only if she possesses a concept of that type of colour or shape. I provide new justification for this thesis, and do not rely on demonstrative concepts such as THIS SHADE or THAT SHAPE, a move first suggested (...) by John McDowell, but rejected by Christopher Peacocke and Richard Heck among others.1. (shrink)
Does strolling through an art museum, admiring the old masters, improve us morally and spiritually? Would government subsidies of "high art" (such as big-city opera houses) be better spent on local community art projects? In What Good are the Arts? John Carey--one of Britain's most respected literary critics--offers a delightfully skeptical look at the nature of art. In particular, he cuts through the cant surrounding the fine arts, debunking claims that the arts make us better people or that (...) judgements about art are anything more than personal opinion. Indeed, Carey argues that there are no absolute values in the arts and that we cannot call other people's aesthetic choices "mistaken" or "incorrect," however much we dislike them. Along the way, Carey reveals the flaws in the aesthetic theories of everyone from Emanuel Kant to Arthur C. Danto, and he skewers the claims of "high-art advocates" such as Jeannette Winterson. But Carey does argue strongly for the value of art as an activity and for the superiority of one art in particular: literature. Literature, he contends, is the only art capable of reasoning, and the only art that can criticize. Language is the medium that we use to convey ideas, and the usual ingredients of other arts--objects, noises, light effects--cannot replicate this function. Literature has the ability to inspire the mind and the heart towards practical ends far better than any work of conceptual art. Here then is a lively and stimulating invitation to debate the value of art, a provocative book that will pique the interest of anyone who loves painting, music, or literature. (shrink)
"There is no doubt that the wealth of new data and ideas offered in this exquisite book provides the deepest insights yet into the contemporary religious world of Jain laity. It will serve for some time as a paradigmatic monograph for future empirical studies of Jain religious life." --Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies -/- "Jains in the World is a significant and welcome ethnography of contemporary Jains in western India by the most prominent scholar of Jainism (...) in North America. This book is a must for scholars of South Asian religions and will provide scholars of Hindu traditions fine grounding both in a central dialectic of Jain thought and in contemporary Jain praxis." --International Journal of Hindu Studies -/- "A valuable addition to the literature on Jainism as a living faith. Since it has the additional merits of being clearly written, attractively illustrated, and free of unnecessary theoretical baggage, it should serve as a good introduction to this tradition for college students." --Journal of the American Oriental Society -/- "A must-read for understanding, by and large, the ritual world of the Jains. He has succeeded in proving that the concept of well-being is as central to the Jains' moral universe as their more entrenched pursuit of the goal of liberation of soul from karmic bondage."--History of Religions -/- "An essential read for students and scholars of Jainism. . . . it identifies and defines a realm of value in Jainism strongly alluded to by recent scholarship, but which, until now, had not been explicitly stated. For this reason Jains in the World will doubtless prove to be a fundamental turning point in the development of Jaina studies."-- The Journal of Religion -/- This book presents a detailed fieldwork-based study of the ancient Indian religion of Jainism. Drawing on field research in northern Gujarat and on the study of both ancient Sanskrit and Prakrit and modern vernacular Jain religious literature, John Cort provides a rounded portrait of the religion as it is practiced today. (shrink)
After modernism and postmodernism, it is argued, the everyday supposedly is where a democracy of taste is brought into being - the place where art goes to recover its customary and collective pleasures, and where the shared pleasures of popular culture are indulged, from celebrity magazines to shopping malls. John Roberts argues that this understanding of the everyday downgrades its revolutionary meaning and philosophical implications. Bringing radical political theory back to the centre of the discussion, he shows how notions (...) of cultural democratization have been oversimplified. Asserting that the everyday should not be narrowly identified with the popular, Roberts critiques the way in which the concept is now overly associated with consumption and 'ordinariness'. Engaging with the work of key thinkers including, Lukacs, Arvatov, Benjamin, Lefebvre, Gramsci, Barthes, Vaneigem, and de Certeau, Roberts shows how the concept of the everyday continues to be central to debates on ideology, revolution and praxis. He offers a lucid account of different approaches that developed over the course of the twentieth century, making this an ideal book for anyone looking for a politicised approach to cultural theory. John Roberts is a Senior Research Fellow in Fine Art at the University of Wolverhampton. He is the author of The Art of Interruption: Realism, Photography and the Everyday (Manchester University Press, 1997) and The Philistine Controversy (Verso, with Dave Beech, 2002), plus other books and numerous articles, in Radical Philosophy and elsewhere. (shrink)
The people and the value of their experience, by N. T. Pratt.--From kingship to democracy, by J. P. Harland.--Democracy at Athens, by G. M. Harper.--Athens and the Delian League, by B. D. Meritt.--Socialism at Sparta, by P. R. Coleman-Norton.--Tyranny, by M. Mac Laren.--Federal unions, by C. A. Robinson.--Alexander and the world state, by O. W. Reinmuth.--The Antigonids, by J. V. A. Fine.--Ptolemaic Egypt: a planned economy, by S. L. Wallace.--The Seleucids: the theory of monarchy, by G. Downey.--The political status (...) of the independent cities of Asia Minor in the Hellenistic period, by D. Magie.--The ideal states of Plato and Aristotle, by W. J. Oates.--Epilogue, by A. C. Johnson.--Bibliography (p. 225-233).--Index, by H. V. M. Dennis, III. (shrink)
This review of John Cooper's fine collection of essays Reason and Emotion focuses mainly on his paper "Contemplation and Happiness: A Reconsideration". In this article, Cooper alters his view -- found in his book Reason and Human Good in Aristotle - on the relation between the accounts of happiness in Books I and X of the Nicomachean Ethics. He now aims for an interpretation which avoids inconsistency between the accounts of happiness in Books I and X, an interpretation (...) which does not see Book X as allowing that the morally vicious thinker can be happy. I argue that Cooper does not succeed. For, on the one hand, he has Book I emphasise that all kinds of virtuous activity, and especially intellectual activity, are necessary for happiness. But in explaining how, for Aristotle, the unintellectual but morally virtuous kind of happy life can be happy, he asserts that Book X affirms that activity with a kinship to divine activity - for example, morally virtuous behavior on its own -- is sufficient for happiness. Hence, his interpretation has Book I assert and Book X deny that all kinds of virtuous behavior, and especially intellectual activity, are necessary for happiness. Also, by making activity with a kinship to divine activity sufficient for happiness in Book X, he commits Aristotle to happiness for the morally vicious thinker, since human intellectual activity on its own has a greater kinship to divine activity than morally virtuous action on its own. (shrink)
Recently there has been a surge of new Fregeans who claim that the direct designation theory, as understood by contemporary Russellians, does not, and cannot, account for the different cognitive significance of statements containing different but codesignative names or indexicals. Instead, they say we must use a fine grained notion of propositions; one which builds a mode of presentation into proposition in addition to including in them the object referred to by the name or indexical in the sentence expressing (...) the proposition. Thus we have Mark Richard, John Perry, and Mark Crimmins championing theories that build the mode of presentation into propositions, making the mode of presentation affect the truth conditions of belief reports. What is interesting, though, is that all three accept the direct designationalists claim that proper names, indexicals, and demonstratives are directly referential.I present four problems for the direct designation theorists and argue that the problem the new Fregeans use to motivate their move to include cognitive significance in propositions is the least basic of the four problems. I then provide an account of beliefs of singular propositions which does not require us to build modes of presentations into propositions and which solves the problems posed for the direct designation theory. (shrink)
The Christian Tradition has Consistently claimed that, somehow, God may be identified with the truth as such. The claim has a fine biblical pedigree: John’s gospel asserts that Christ, and therefore God, is truth (John 14:6, 16:13). It is prominent in the early church fathers, especially Augustine; and the medievals, including Anselm, largely followed his lead. Nor is the claim confined to the pre-Reformation era. It is also found in the Reformed Church’s Westminster Confession, for example.1 Despite (...) its pedigree, the claim that God is truth strikes modern sensibilities as bizarre, a gross category mistake. For example, many contemporary philosophers treat truth as a property of statements or .. (shrink)
"An invaluable guide to avoiding the stuff of science-fiction nightmares."--John Gilby, Times Higher Education -/- "Moral Machines is a fine introduction to the emerging field of robot ethics. There is much here that will interest ethicists, philosophers, cognitive scientists, and roboticists."-Peter Danielson, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews -/- "Written with an abundance of examples and lessons learned, scenarios of incidents that may happen, and elaborate discussions on existing artificial agents on the cutting edge of research/practice, Moral Machines goes beyond (...) what is known as computer ethics into what will soon be called the discipline of machine morality. Highly recommended."-G. Trajkovski, CHOICE -/- "...the book does succeed in making the essential point that the phrase 'moral machine' is not an oxymoron. It also provides a window onto an area of research with which psychologists are unlikely to be familiar and one from which, at some point, we may be able to learn quite a lot."-PsycCRITIQUES -/- "Moral Machines represents a valuable addition to, and extension of, the current literature on machine morality. As the development of autonomous artificial moral agents becomes closer to being realized, I suspect that this book will only gain in importance."--Metapsychology. (shrink)
I begin by examining a recent debate between John McDowell and Christopher Peacocke over whether the content of perceptual experience is non-conceptual. Although I am sympathetic to Peacocke’s claim that perceptual content is non-conceptual, I suggest a number of ways in which his arguments fail to make that case. This failure stems from an over-emphasis on the “fine-grainedness” of perceptual content – a feature that is relatively unimportant to its non-conceptual structure. I go on to describe two other (...) features of perceptual experience that are more likely to be relevant to the claim that perceptual content is non-conceptual. These features are 1) the dependence of a perceived object on the perceptual context in which it is perceived and 2) the dependence of a perceived property on the object it is perceived to be a property of. (shrink)
Vagueness is an extremely widespread feature of language, famously associated with the sorites paradox. One instance of this paradox concludes that a single grain of sand is a heap of sand, by starting with a large heap of sand and invoking the plausible premise that if you take one grain of sand away from a heap of sand, then you still have a heap. The supervaluationist theory of vagueness states that a sentence is true if and only if it is (...) true on all ways of making it precise. This yields borderline case predications that are neither true nor false, but yet classical logic is preserved almost entirely. The sorites paradox is solved because the main premise comes out false – on each way of making 'heap' precise, there is some first grain that turns a heap into a non-heap – but there is no sharp boundary to 'heap' because it is a different grain on different ways of making 'heap' precise; so, there is no grain of which it is true to say it is that first grain. The theory has a range of merits in comparison with rival theories, such as the epistemic view or degree theories of vagueness. Objections have been made (and answers offered) in relation to its treatment of higher-order vagueness and what it says about truth and validity. Author Recommends Fine, Kit. 'Vagueness, Truth and Logic.' Synthese 30 (1975). 265–300. Reprinted in Keefe and Smith 1997. This is the classic text introducing supervaluationism as a treatment of vagueness. It provides both philosophical discussion and formal modelling, demonstrating the adherence to classical logic that the theory yields. Keefe, Rosanna and Peter Smith, eds. Vagueness: A Reader . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. This collection includes many classic papers on vagueness, including Fine's paper, cited above, a paper by Dummett that offers (but rejects) a precursor of the supervaluationist view, another less well-known early presentation of the view by Henyrk Mehlberg and discussion and defences of the main rival theories of vagueness. Keefe, Rosanna. Theories of Vagueness . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. This book defends a supervaluationist theory of vagueness. It discusses the phenomena of vagueness and what is required of a theory of vagueness, before considering and rejecting the major alternatives in turn. Williamson, Timothy. Vagueness . London: Routledge, 1994. This book defends the epistemic theory of vagueness, which maintains that vague predicates do have sharp boundaries, we just do not know where those boundaries lie. It also contains detailed discussions of opposing theories, including supervaluationism. Unger, Peter. 'The Problem of the Many.' Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5 (1980). Eds. P.A. French, T.E. Uehling Jr and H.K. Wettstein. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. This is the classic presentation of the Problem of the Many, to which a supervaluationist solution is relatively popular. This problem arises because frequently the boundaries of an object – say a cloud – are not sharply delineated. Each of the many ways of drawing the boundary seems to be an object of the type in question – say a cloud – hence the problem that there are many things when there should be just one. The supervaluationist, it seems, can say that there is just one cloud because that is true on each precisification. Williams, J. Robert G. 'An Argument for the Many.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (2006). 409–17. Detailed discussion of Unger's Problem of the Many, especially in relation to the supervaluationist solution. Shapiro, Stewart. Vagueness in Context . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. In this book, Shapiro employs a supervaluationist framework, without endorsing some of the central claims of the standard supervaluationist theory of vagueness. Online Materials http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/vagueness/ http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sorites-paradox/ http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/problem-of-many/ http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~arche/projects/vagueness/bibliography.shtml Sample Syllabus Week I: Introduction to Vagueness Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapters 1 and 2) Williamson, Vagueness (especially chapters 1 and 2) Week II: Supervaluationist Theory: logic and semantics Keefe, 'Vagueness: Supervaluationism.' Philosophy Compass 3.2 (2008): 315–24, 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00124.x Fine, 'Vagueness, Truth and Logic' Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapter 7) Week III: Higher Order Vagueness and the D Operator Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapter 8) Fara, Delia Graff. 'Gap Principles, Penumbral Consequence and Infinitely Higher-Order Vagueness.' Liars and Heaps . Ed. J.C. Beall. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. 195–221. Originally published under the name 'Delia Graff'. Week IV: Truth and Validity Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapter 8) Keefe, 'Supervaluationism and Validity.' Philosophical Topics 28 (2000). 93–105. Cobreros, 'Supervaluations and Logical Consequence: Retrieving the Local Perspective.' Studia Logica , Special Issue on Vagueness , 2009 Week V: Problem of the Many Unger, "The Problem of the Many" Williams, "An Argument for the Many" Week VI: Rival Theories Williamson, Vagueness (especially chapters 7 and 8) Keefe and Smith, Vagueness: A Reader (e.g. chapters 11, 14–6) Focus Questions 1 How important is it for a theory of vagueness to accommodate penumbral connections? Are there any putative penumbral connections that the supervaluationist cannot accommodate? 2 According to supervaluationism, what does it take for "Katie said that Hannah is tall" to be true? Does the view have implausible consequences for indirect speech reports when vague terms are used? 3 Is higher-order vagueness a problem for supervaluationism? 4 Is there more than one viable option for the account of validity in a supervaluationist framework? 5 Can a supervaluationist account of vagueness accommodate the full extent of context dependence exhibited in the use of vague predicates? (shrink)
In recent decades, there has been astonishing growth in scientific theorizing about multiverses. Once considered outré or absurd, multiple universe theories appear to be gaining considerable scientific respectability. There are, of course, many such theories, including (i) Everett’s (1957) many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, defended by Deutsch (1997) and others; (ii) Linde’s (1986) eternal inflation view, which suggests that universes form like bubbles in a chaotically inflating sea; (iii) Smolin’s (1997) fecund universe theory, which proposes that universes are generated (...) through black holes; (iv) the cyclic model, recently defended using string/M theory by Steinhardt and Turok (2007), which holds that distinct universes are formed in a never-ending sequence of Big Bangs and Big Crunches; and (v) Tegmark’s (2007) “Level IV” multiverse, which contains many universes governed by distinct mathematical and scientific laws. While not all of these preclude each other, the details and implications of each one are hotly contested.1 In one area within the philosophy of religion (the debate concerning the “fine-tuning” argument), scientific multiverse theories are widely held to be hostile to theism. This is because such theories appear to account for the relevant data – the biophilic parameters of the universe we inhabit – without appeal to an intelligent designer. Yet, in recent years, several philosophers2 and one physicist3 have offered reasons for thinking that if theism is true, the actual world comprises (or probably comprises) many universes. I first set out some requirements – both scientific and otherwise – for such a theory. I then survey some problems such theories are held to face, and some prospects they are thought to have. Finally, I examine arguments both for and against the claim that multiverse theories can help theists respond to the problem of evil.. (shrink)
Within the Cognitive Science of Religion, Justin Barrett has proposed that humans possess a hyperactive agency detection device that was selected for in our evolutionary past because ‘over detecting’ (as opposed to ‘under detecting’) the existence of a predator conferred a survival advantage. Within the Intelligent Design debate, William Dembski has proposed the law of small probability, which states that specified events of small probability do not occur by chance. Within the Fine-Tuning debate, John Leslie has asserted a (...) tidiness principle such that, if we can think of a good explanation for some state of affairs, then an explanation is needed for that state of affairs. In this paper I examine similarities between these three proposals and suggest that they can all be explained with reference to the existence of an explanation attribution module in the human mind. The forgoing analysis is considered with reference to a contrast between classical rationality and what Gerd Gigerenzer and others have called ecological rationality. (shrink)
Physical objects are coloured: roses are red, violets are blue, and so forth. In particular, physical objects have fine-grained shades of colour: a certain chip, we can suppose, is true blue (unique, or pure blue). The following sort of scenario is commonplace. The chip looks true blue to John; in the same (ordinary) viewing conditions it looks (slightly) greenish-blue to Jane. Both John and Jane are “normal” perceivers. Now, nothing can be both true blue and greenish-blue; since (...) the chip is true blue, it is not greenish-blue. Hence Jane, unlike John, is misperceiving the chip. Generalizing, the conclusion is that there is widespread misperception of fine-grained shades. According to Tye (2006), and Cohen, Hardin, and McLaughlin (2006), the previous paragraph amounts to a paradox: an apparently unacceptable conclusion has been drawn from apparently acceptable premises via apparently acceptable reasoning. (See also Hawthorne and Kovakovich 2006: 180-1.) Tye swallows the conclusion, aided by a dose of evolutionary speculation. Hardin (1988), on the other hand, rejects the first premise, and denies that physical objects are coloured. Cohen (2004) and McLaughlin (2003) claim that both Jane and John have the colour of the chip right. Our opening paragraph concealed a crucial parameter. In fact, the chip looks greenish-blue-relative-to- circumstances-C to Jane, and true-blue-relative-to-circumstances-C* to John, and the chip has both these relativized colours.1 All this ingenious philosophizing would be in vain, of course, if the conclusion of the opening paragraph were not puzzling or problematic. So, why is it supposed to be? According to Tye, the conclusion is puzzling because John and Jane are both “_normal_ perceivers” (xx). He seems to think that it is (prima facie) plausible to assume that there is no variation in perceptual accuracy among normal perceivers. But he does not explain why this assumption should be made.. (shrink)
Utilitarianism has a curious history. Its most celebrated founders – Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill – were radical progressives, straddling the worlds of academic philosophy, political science, economic theory and practical affairs. They made innumerable recommendations for legal, social, political and economic reform, often (especially in Bentham’s case) described in fine detail. Some of these recommendations were followed, sooner or later, and many of their radical ideas have become close to articles of faith of western liberalism. Furthermore (...) many of these recommendations were made expressly to improve the condition of the deprived, or of oppressed groups. Yet the moral theory which inspired this reforming zeal is, at least officially, utilitarianism, and when we teach this theory to our students we feel it our duty to point out the horrors that could be justified by any theory which assesses the moral quality of actions in terms of the maximisation of good consequences over bad. No consequence is so bad that it cannot, in principle, be outweighed by a large aggregation of smaller goods. Hence there are circumstances in which utilitarianism can require slavery, the punishment of the innocent, and redistribution of resources from the poor to the rich, or from the disabled and the sick to the able bodied and healthy. Indeed, in the right circumstances, it can justify pretty much anything you think of. For all their intelligence and imagination neither Bentham nor Mill seemed to recognise or discuss these catastrophic possibilities. (shrink)
Chapter 1: "Reason for Hope (in the Post-modern World)" by Michael J. Murray Chapter 2: "Theistic Arguments" by William C. Davis Chapter 3: "A Scientific Argument for the Existence of God: The Fine- Tuning Design Argument" by Robin Collins Chapter 4: "God, Evil and Suffering" by Daniel Howard Snyder Chapter 5: "Arguments for Atheism" by John O'Leary Hawthorne Chapter 6: "Faith and Reason" by Caleb Miller Chapter 7: "Religious Pluralism" by Timothy O'Connor Chapter 8: "Eastern Religions" by (...) Robin Collins Chapter 9: "Divine Providence and Human Freedom" by Scott A. Davison Chapter 10: "The Incarnation and the Trinity" by Thomas D. Senor Chapter 11: "The Resurrection of the Body and the Life Everlasting" by Trenton Merricks Chapter 12: "Heaven and Hell" by Michael J. Murray Chapter 13: "Religion and Science" by W. Christopher Stewart Chapter 14: "Miracles and Christian Theism" by J. A. Cover Chapter 15: "Christianity and Ethics" by Frances Howard-Snyder Chapter 16: "The Authority of Scripture" by Douglas Blount.. (shrink)
On the back of the dust jacket of this fine book, one can barely make out two representations of a customized penny for our thoughts, drawn by John Haugeland. Accompanying Honest Abe on the heads side appear the words AExistential Commitment,@ AThought,@ and ASelf;@ while tails shows the Lincoln Memorial and E pluribus unum , surrounded by two unlikely additions: AConstituted Domain, @ and AObjects@. Haugeland explains: AThe basic Kantian/Heideggerian conclusion can be summed up this way: the constituted (...) objective world and the free constituting subject are intelligible only as two sides of one coin. @ Not everything with eyes and ears and a brain is a Afree constituting subject @; apes and dogs and dolphins don =t have ontologies because they don =t have thoughts; they don =t have thoughts because they don =t have the Acensoriousness@ in their cultures or social structures that provides the leverage for Understanding, distinguishing a true thought from a false thought, and without that, thoughts cannot really have content. There are, to be sure, important differences in the Umwelt or manifest image of different species, but cats have no more metaphysics than clams or chrysanthemums do. Objects are constituted by people only, and our ultimately moral sense of norms, of AExistential@ commitment, far from being a sort of ethical add-on to the factual world of objects and properties, is the very ground on which our capacity to know, and reflect upon, objects depends. (shrink)
One often hears the claim that fact-based versions of the correspondence theory of truth face a disruptive dilemma: ‘if all true propositions correspond to the same fact, the notion is useless, and if every [true] proposition corresponds to a distinct fact, then the notion becomes idle’ (Engel 2002, 21). The assumption underlying this claim is that all conceptions of facts can be assigned to either of two categories. The first includes those conceptions according to which facts are so coarse-grained that (...) they collapse into the One Great Fact that is the World itself. The second includes those conceptions that, by failing to individuate facts independently of the entities they are supposed to make true, end by regarding them as so fine-grained that they become identical to (the ‘tautological accusatives’ of) true propositions. The contention that these two alternatives exhaust the options available to the correspondence theorist is not, however, beyond suspicion. In this paper I side with those who are convinced that correspondence theorists can steer clear both of the Scyilla of the One Great Fact and of the Charybdis of the Identity Theory. The third way I shall endeavour to sketch is developed by bringing Stephen Schiffer’s theory of pleonastic entities to bear on the issue of the nature of facts. I shall suggest that by regarding facts as pleonastic entities whose principles of individuation are wholly determined by the hypostatizing practices that are constitutive of the possession of the corresponding concepts, one may hope to frame a (neo-Moorean) version of the correspondence theory that avoids the dilemma. Moreover, I shall argue that the ‘pleonastic’ version of the correspondence theory is in fact but a slightly inflated variant of the ‘conjunctive’ theory of truth defended by John Mackie, William Kneale and Wolfgang Künne – a variant whose main attractive lies in the fact that it is not afflicted by the problems of interpretation raised by the quantificational structure of its ontologically more parsimonious siblings. (shrink)
1. The “puzzle” Physical objects are coloured: roses are red, violets are blue, and so forth. In particular, physical objects have fine-grained shades of colour: a certain chip, we can suppose, is true blue (unique, or pure blue). The following sort of scenario is commonplace. The chip looks true blue to John; in the same (ordinary) viewing conditions it looks (slightly) greenish-blue to Jane. Both John and Jane are “normal” perceivers. Now, nothing can be both true blue (...) and greenish-blue; since the chip is true blue, it is not greenish-blue. Hence Jane, unlike John, is misperceiving the chip. Generalizing, the conclusion is that there is widespread misperception of fine-grained shades. According to Tye (2006), and Cohen, Hardin, and McLaughlin (2006), the previous paragraph amounts to a paradox: an apparently unacceptable conclusion has been drawn from apparently acceptable premises via apparently acceptable reasoning. (See also Hawthorne and Kovakovich 2006, 180-1.) Tye swallows the conclusion, aided by a dose of evolutionary speculation. Hardin (1988), on the other hand, rejects the first premise, and denies that physical objects are coloured. Cohen (2004) and McLaughlin (2003) claim that both Jane and John have the colour of the chip right. Our opening paragraph concealed a crucial parameter. In fact, the chip looks greenish-blue-relative-tocircumstances-C to Jane, and true-blue-relative-to-circumstances-C* to John, and the chip has both these relativized colours.1 All this ingenious philosophizing would be in vain, of course, if the conclusion of the opening paragraph were not puzzling or problematic. So, why is it supposed to be? According to Tye, the conclusion is puzzling because John and Jane are both “normal perceivers” (xx). He seems to think that it is (prima facie) plausible to assume.. (shrink)
1. The “puzzle” Physical objects are coloured: roses are red, violets are blue, and so forth. In particular, physical objects have fine-grained shades of colour: a certain chip, we can suppose, is true blue (unique, or pure blue). The following sort of scenario is commonplace. The chip looks true blue to John; in the same (ordinary) viewing conditions it looks (slightly) greenish-blue to Jane. Both John and Jane are “normal” perceivers. Now, nothing can be both true blue (...) and greenish-blue; since the chip is true blue, it is not greenish-blue. Hence Jane, unlike John, is misperceiving the chip. Generalizing, the conclusion is that there is widespread misperception of fine-grained shades. According to Tye (2006), and Cohen, Hardin, and McLaughlin (2006), the previous paragraph amounts to a paradox: an apparently unacceptable conclusion has been drawn from apparently acceptable premises via apparently acceptable reasoning. (See also Hawthorne and Kovakovich 2006, 180-1.) Tye swallows the conclusion, aided by a dose of evolutionary speculation. Hardin (1988), on the other hand, rejects the first premise, and denies that physical objects are coloured. Cohen (2004) and McLaughlin (2003) claim that both Jane and John have the colour of the chip right. Our opening paragraph concealed a crucial parameter. In fact, the chip looks greenish-blue-relative-to- circumstances-C to Jane, and true-blue-relative-to-circumstances-C* to John, and the chip has both these relativized colours.1 All this ingenious philosophizing would be in vain, of course, if the conclusion of the opening paragraph were not puzzling or problematic. So, why is it supposed to be? According to Tye, the conclusion is puzzling because John and Jane are both “normal perceivers” (xx). He seems to think that it is (prima facie) plausible to assume.. (shrink)
Oxford Studies vol. XIV contains five free-standing articles (on Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics), an exchange between Job van Eck and Christopher Rowe about a key passage in the Phaedo, and three lengthy review articles: Michael Wedin on David Bostock's Aristotle: Metaphysics Z and ; Gail Fine on R.J. Hankinson's The Sceptics ; and Anne Sheppard on John Dillon's Alcinous. Only the briefest sketch of the volume is possible.
Infinite Minds is the fourth book of John Leslie, which follows Value and Existence (1979), Universes (1989) and The End of the World (1996). Infinite Minds presents a very rich content, and covers a number of particularly varied subjects . Among these latter, one can notably mention: omniscience, the problem of Evil, the fine-tuning argument, observational selection effects, the identity of indiscernables, time, infiniteness, the nature of consciousness.
John was driving 150 km/h. The law says you cannot exceed 130 km/h, so John got fined. He got fined twice. “Why twice?” Because there were two speed detection devices—one at km 50 and one at km 100—so they caught him twice. “What if the devices were closer to each other, at km 50 and at km 60?” Same story: if they catch you twice, you get fined twice. “What if there was a third device in between, at (...) km 55?” Three devices, three measurements, three infractions—hence three fines. “But they could measure any number of times in between. What if they placed a device every kilometer?” They would fine you for each time a distinct device would measure an infraction. “But that is absurd. By that pattern, I could be fined uncountably many times for speed driving a single meter.”. (shrink)
Sir Harold Nicolson (1886-1968) is well known as a diarist, man of letters, diplomatic historian, gardener, and broadcaster. Nicolson's bestselling diaries and letters, his many biographies, including the highly acclaimed official life of King George V, and his numerous essays and broadcasts have made him, in the words of his friend and fellow MP Robert Bernays, an international figure of the 'second degree'. -/- Yet there was more to this urbane man than his finely observed diary, stylish writing, and Sissinghurst (...) Castle Garden in Kent, the joint creation of Nicolson and his wife, the writer V. Sackville-West. He also produced a rich and ambitious corpus of writing on the theory and practice of international relations. Nicolson's aristocratic background and upbringing in a diplomatic household, followed by an Oxford classical education and twenty years in diplomacy, combined to forge his distinctive philosophy of international affairs. As a young attaché in Constantinople before the Great War, and in Whitehall during the conflict, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and en poste in Persia and Germany throughout the 1920s, Nicolson was ideally placed to observe the maelstrom of international politics. As an anti-appeasement and wartime MP (1935-1945), he became a highly regarded authority on international relations. During and after World War II, he turned his mind to the issues of European integration, world government, and the ultimate possibility of global peace. Nicolson has been the subject of two fine biographies. -/- This is the first study of his contribution to international thought. He emerges from it as an important international thinker, alongside theorists as diverse as E. H. Carr and Leonard Woolf. Nicolson's international thought contains elements of realism and idealism, while retaining a distinctive character and a breadth and consistency that render it unique. (shrink)
Due to his laborious efforts, there are two strands of contemporary philosophical literature with which John Leslie is closely identified. The first concerns cosmic fine-tuning, the design argument, and the anthropic principle ; the second, the so-called ‘Doomsday Argument ’ to the effect that we have good grounds for expecting the human race soon to perish. In this book – just released in paperback – Leslie concentrates on ideas he first began pursuing over thirty years ago, most notably (...) in Value and Existence. According to Leslie, the best explanation (an explanation he thinks is only a bit more likely than not to be true) for the existence and nature of the world is that it is good that there exists a world with that nature. Indeed, every good world – every world worth thinking about – exists, insofar as some infinite divine mind has a complete complex of eternal thoughts that are that world. Leslie thinks that his pantheistic explanation has better resources than theism does for addressing a variety of problems for religious belief, including the problem of evil, the nature of immortality, and divine passibility. Furthermore, it is more in tune with two ideas that feature in contemporary physics: the holism of quantum mechanics and the fourdimensionalism that Einstein thought the theory of relativity suggested about the nature of time. (shrink)
Si nombreux sont les penseurs qui s’aceordent a dire que « notre epoque est celle de I’espace», là où la précedente avait été celle du temps et de I’histoire, les tentatives pour spatialiser nos concepts, et par là sortir des apories induites par la domination du temps (messianisme d’un avenir radieux ou nostalgie d’un passé idyllique) sont diverses (Deleuze, Foucault, Lacan, ete.). Avant eux Merleau-Ponty fut un des premiers à appeler de ses vœux eette spatialisation. C’est cette volonté de Merleau-Ponty (...) de spatialiser nos concepts que I’A. voudrait interroger. Quelle est la fonction de la topologie merleau-pontyenne et surtout quel en est le statut? N’assiste-t-on pas in fine à une difficulté de cette spatialisation de nos notions et ce faisant à un retour à un modèle temporel elassique ? Teiles sont les questions que se propose d’étudier cet article. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 'The sublime'. A short introduction to a long history Timothy M. Costelloe; Part I. Philosophical History of the Sublime: 1. Longinus and the ancient sublime Malcolm Heath; 2...And the beautiful? revisiting Edmund Burke's 'double aesthetics' Rodolphe Gasche; 3. The moral source of the Kantian sublime Melissa Meritt; 4. Imagination and internal sense: the sublime in Shaftesbury, Reid, Addison, and Reynolds Timothy M. Costelloe; 5. The associative sublime: Kames, Gerrard, Alison, and Stewart Rachel Zuckert; 6. The 'prehistory' (...) of the sublime in early modern France: an interdisciplinary perspective a Madeleine Martin; 7. The post-Kantian German sublime Paul Guyer; 8. The postmodern sublime: presentation and its limits David B. Johnson; Part II. Disciplinary and Other Perspectives: 9. The 'subtler sublime': in modern Dutch aesthetics John R. J. Eyck; 10. The first American sublime Chandos Michael Brown; 11. The environmental sublime Emily Brady; 12. Religion and the sublime Andrew Chignell and Matthew C. Halteman; 13. The British romantic sublime Adam Potkay; 14. The sublime and the fine arts Theodore Gracyk; 15. Architecture and the sublime Richard Etlin. (shrink)
I argue that the standard way of formalizing the fine-tuning argument for design is flawed, and I present an alternative formalization. On the alternative formalization, the existence of life is not treated as the evidence that confirms design; instead it is treated as part of the background knowledge, while the fact that fine tuning is required for life serves as the evidence. I argue that the alternative better captures the informal line of thought that gives the fine-tuning (...) argument its intuitive plausibility, and I show that the alternative formalization avoids all of the most prominent objections to the fine-tuning argument, including the objection from observation selection effects, the problem of old evidence, the problem of non-normalizable probability measures and a further objection due to Monton. I conclude that the alternative formalization is the one that attention should be focused on. (shrink)
An acceptable empiricist account of laws of nature would havesignificant implications for a number of philosophical projects. For example, such an account may vitiate argumentsthat the fundamental constants of nature are divinelydesigned so that laws produce a life permittinguniverse. On an empiricist account, laws do not produce the universe but are designed by us to systematize theevents of a universe which does in fact contain life; so any ``fine tuning'' of natural law has a naturalistic explanation.But there are problems (...) for the empiricist project. This paper develops a ``perspectival'' version of the Humean bestsystem approach and argues that this version solves the standard problems faced by the empiricist project.Furthermore, the paper argues, this version is best able to answer the proponents of divine design while leaving scientificlaw a suitably objective matter.[I]t is possible tocondense the enormous mass of results to a large extent – that is to find laws which summarize ...Richard Feynman (1963)It has become fashionable in some circles to argue thatscience is ultimately a sham, that we scientists read order into nature, not out of nature, and that the laws of physicsare our laws, not nature's. I believe this is arrant nonsense. You would be hard-pressed to convince a physicist thatNewton's inverse square law of gravitation is a purely cultural concoction. The laws of physics, I submit, reallyexist in the world out there, and the job of the scientist is to uncover them, not invent them. True, at any giventime, the laws you find in the textbooks are tentative and approximate, but they mirror, albeit imperfectly, a reallyexisting order in the physical world. Of course, many scientists do not recognize that in accepting the reality of anorder in nature-the existence of laws `out there' – they are adopting a theological world view. P. C. W. Davies (1995). (shrink)
The Myopic Anthropic Principle: an attempt to show that the popular anthropic reasoning of our time — often taken to show that laws of nature are fine-tuned by a god for us — should be seen merely as an indication of fine-tuning by us. This preference for short-sightedness in this case is shown (shown?) to support the best-system account of scientific law.
Force strengths, particle masses, etcetera, appear "fine tuned" for intelligent life. There may be many very diverse universes, observational selection explaining why we see a life-permitting one. The alternative is divine selection. The God hypothesis can explain how one and the same force strength or particle mass satisfies life’s many different requirements, and why there are life-encouraging laws of relativity and of quantum theory. It could also answer why any universe exists. God’s existence could be accounted for Platonically, by (...) its ethical requiredness. The most plausible world-view would then be Spinozistic, on lines explored in my recent book "Infinite Minds". (shrink)
The article presents a critique of John Searle's attack on computationalist theories of mind in his recent book, The Rediscovery of the Mind. Searle is guilty of caricaturing his opponents, and of ignoring their arguments. Moreover, his own positive theory of mind, which he claims "takes account of" subjectivity, turns out to offer no discernible advantages over the views he rejects.
The existence of neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) is not enough for philosophical purposes. On the other hand, there's more to NCC than meets the sceptic's eye. (I) NCC are useful for a better understanding of conscious experience, for instance: (1) NCC are helpful to explain phenomenological features of consciousness – e.g., dreaming. (2) NCC can account for phenomenological opaque facts – e.g., the temporal structure of consciousness. (3) NCC reveal properties and functions of consciousness which cannot be elucidated either (...) by introspective phenomenology or by psychological experiments alone – e.g., vision. (II) There are crucial problems and shortcomings of NCC: (1) Correlation implies neither causation nor identity. (2) There are limitations of empirical access due to the problem of other minds and the problem of self-deception, and (3) due to the restrictions provided by inter- and intraindividual variations. (4) NCC cannot be catched by neuroscience alone because of the externalistic content of representations. Therefore, NCC are not sufficient for a naturalistic theory of mind, (5) nor are they necessary because of the possibility of multiple realization. (III) Nevertheless, NCC are relevant and important for the mind-body problem: (1) NCC reveal features that are necessary at least for behavioral manifestations of human consciousness. (2) But NCC are compatible with very different proposals for a solution of the mind-body problem. This seems to be both advantageous and detrimental. (3) NCC restrict nomological identity accounts. (4) The investigation of NCC can refute empirical arguments for interactionism as a case study of John Eccles' dualistic proposals will show. (5) The discoveries of NCC cannot establish a naturalistic theory of mind alone, for which, e.g., a principle of supervenience and a further condition – and therefore philosophical arguments – are required. (shrink)
Introduction -- Religion and the philosophy of religion -- Religion and the world religions -- Philosophy and the philosophy of religion -- Philosophy of religion timeline -- Religious beliefs and practices -- Religious diversity and pluralism -- The diversity of religions -- Religious inclusivism and exclusivism -- Religious pluralism -- Religious relativism -- Evaluating religious systems -- Religious tolerance -- Conceptions of ultimate reality -- Ultimate reality : the absolute and the void -- Ultimate reality : a personal God -- (...) Arguments for God's existence: cosmological -- The argument from contingency -- The sufficient reason argument -- The Kalam argument -- A cosmological argument for atheism -- Arguments for God's existence : teleological -- Paley's design argument -- A fine-tuning argument -- An intelligent design argument -- Arguments for God's existence : ontological -- Anselm's ontological argument -- Plantinga's modal ontological argument -- Problems of evil -- Sketching the terrain -- Theoretical problems of evil -- The existential problem of evil -- Theodicies -- Science, faith, and reason -- Religion and science -- Religious belief and justification -- Religious experience -- The nature and diversity of religious experience -- Religious experience and justification -- Scientific explanations of religious experience -- The self, death, and the afterlife -- Conceptions of the self -- Reincarnation and karma -- Arguments for immortality -- Arguments against immortality. (shrink)
Up until fairly recently it was philosophical orthodoxy – at least within analytic aesthetics broadly construed – to hold that the appreciation and evaluation of works as art and moral considerations pertaining to them are conceptually distinct. However, following on from the idea that artistic value is broader than aesthetic value, the last 15 years has seen an explosion of interest in exploring possible inter-relations between the appreciative and ethical character of works as art. Consideration of these issues has a (...) distinguished philosophical history but as the Compass survey article suggests ('Art, Morality and Ethics: On the (Im)Moral Character of Art Works and Inter-Relations to Artistic Value.' Philosophy Compass 1.2 (2006): 129–43), it is only very recently that figures in the field have returned to it to develop more precisely what they take the relationships to be and why. Consensus is, unsurprisingly, lacking. The reinvigoration of the issues has led sophisticated formalists or autonomists to mount a more considered defence of the idea that aesthetic and literary values are indeed conceptually distinct from the justification or otherwise of the moral perspective or views endorsed in a work (Topic I). The challenges presented by such a defence are many but amongst them are appeals to critical practice (Lamarque and Olsen), scepticism about whether or not art really can give us bona fide knowledge (Stolnitz) and the recognition that truth often seems to be far removed from what it is we value in our appreciation of works (Lamarque). One way to motivate consideration of the relevance of a work's moral character to its artistic value concerns the phenomena of imaginative resistance. At least sometimes it would seem that, as Hume originally suggested, we either cannot or will not enter imaginatively into the perspective solicited by a work due to its morally problematic character (Topic II). In some cases, it would seem that as a matter of psychological fact, we cannot do so since it is impossible for us to imagine how it could be that a certain attitude or action is morally permissible or good (Walton). The question then is whether or not this is a function of morality in particular or constraints on imaginative possibility more generally and what else is involved. At other times, the phenomena seem to be driven by a moral reluctance to allow ourselves to enter into the dramatic perspective involved (Moran) or evaluation of the attitude expressed (Stokes). Nonetheless, it is far from obvious that this is so of all the attitudes or responses we judge to be morally problematic. After all, it looks like we can and indeed often do suspend or background particular cognitive and moral commitments in engaging with all sorts of works (Nichols and Weinberg). If the moral character of a work interacts with how we appreciate and evaluate them, then the pressing question is this: is there any systematic account of the relationship available to us? One way is to consider the relationship between our emotional responses to works and their moral character (Topic III). After all, art works often solicit various emotional responses from us to follow the work and make use of moral concepts in so doing (Carroll). Indeed, whether or not a work merits the sought for emotional responses often seems to be internally related to ethical considerations (Gaut). Yet, it is not obvious that we should apply our moral concepts or respond emotionally in our imaginative engagement with works as art as we should in real life (Kieran, Jacobson). A different route is via the thought that art can convey knowledge (Topic IV). There might be particular kinds of moral knowledge art distinctively suited to conveying (Nussbaum) or it may just be that art does so particularly effectively (Carroll, Gaut, Kieran). Either way where this can be tied to the artistic means and appreciation of a work it would seem that to cultivate moral understanding contributes to the value of a work and to betray misunderstanding is a defect. Without denying the relevance of the moral character of a work some authors have wanted to claim that sometimes the immoral aspect of a work can contribute to rather than lessen its artistic value (Topic V). One route is to claim that there is no systematic theoretical account of the relationship available and what the right thing to say is depends on the particular case involved (Jacobson). Another involves the claim that this is so when the defect connects up in an appropriate way to one of the values of art. Thus, it has been claimed, only where a work reveals something which adds to intelligibility, knowledge or understanding in virtue of its morally problematic aspect can this be so (Kieran). The latter position looks like it could in principle be held whilst nonetheless maintaining that the typical or standard relationship is as the moralists would have it. Yet perhaps allowing valence change for such reasons is less a mark of principled explanation and more a function of downright inconsistency or incoherence (Harold). The topics themselves and suggested readings given below follow the structure articulated above as further amplified in the Compass survey article. The design and structure given below can be easily compressed or expanded further. Author Recommends 1. Carroll, Noël. 'Art, Narrative and Moral Understanding.' Aesthetics and Ethics: Essay at the Intersection . Ed. Jerrold Levinson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. 126–60. This article develops the idea that engaging with narrative art calls on moral concepts and emotions and can thereby clarify our moral understanding. 2. Carroll, Noël. Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays . Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009. Part IV consists of six distinct essays on questions concerning the inter-relations between art and morality including the essay cited above and the author's articulation and defence of moderate moralism. 3. Gaut, Berys. 'The Ethical Criticism of Art.' Aesthetics and Ethics: Essay at the Intersection . Ed. Jerrold Levinson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. 182–203. 4. Gaut, Berys. Art, Emotion and Ethics . Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007. This monograph provides the most exhaustive treatment of the issues and defends the claim that, where relevant, whenever a work is morally flawed it is of lesser value as art and wherever it is morally virtuous the work's value as art is enhanced. Chapters 7 and 8 defend concern ethical knowledge and chapter 10 is a development of the article cited above concerning emotional responses. Chapter 3 also gives a useful conceptual map of the issues and options in the debate. 5. Jacobson, Daniel. 'In Praise of Immoral Art.' Philosophical Topics 25 (1997): 155–99. A wide ranging and extended treatment of relevant issues which objects to generalising moral treatments of our responses to art works and defends the idea that particular works can be better because of rather than despite their moral defects. 6. Kieran, Matthew. 'Forbidden Knowledge: The Challenge of Cognitive Immoralism.' Art and Morality . Ed. Sebastian Gardner and José Luis Bermúdez. London: Routledge, 2003. 56–73. A general argument for immoralism is elaborated by outlining when, where and why a work's morally problematic character can contribute to its artistic value for principled reasons (through enhancing moral understanding). 7. Kieran, Matthew. Revealing Art . London: Routledge, 2005. Chapter 4. This chapter argues against both aestheticism and straightforward moralism about art, elaborating a defence of immoralism in relation to visual art whilst ranging over issues from pornographic art to the nature and demands of different genres in art. 8. Lamarque, Peter. 'Cognitive Values in the Arts: Marking the Boundaries.' Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art. Ed. Matthew Kieran. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006, 127–39. This article concisely outlines and defends a sophisticated aestheticism that denies the importance of truth to artistic value. 9. Stolnitz, Jerome. 'On the Cognitive Triviality of Art.' British Journal of Aesthetics 32.3 (1992): 191–200. This article articulates and defends the claim that no knowledge of any interesting or significant kind can be afforded by works appreciated and evaluated as art. 10. Walton, Kendall. 'Morals in Fiction and Fictional Morality, I.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Suppl. 68 (1994): 27–51. This article builds on some comments from Hume to develop the idea that when engaging with fictions it seems impossible imaginatively to enter into radically deviant moral attitudes. Online Materials 'Aesthetics and Ethics: The State of the Art.' American Society of Aesthetics online (Jeffrey Dean): http://www.aesthetics-online.org/articles/index.php?articles_id=15 >. 'Art, Censorship and Morality' downloadable podcast of Nigel Warburton interviewing Matthew Kieran at Tate Britain (BBC/OU Open2.net as part of the Ethics Bites series): http://www.open2.net/ethicsbites/art-censorship-morality.html >. 'Art, Morality and Ethics: On the (Im)Moral Character of Art Works and Inter-Relations to Artistic Value.' Philosophy Compass 1.2 (2006): 129–43 (Matthew Kieran): http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118557779/abstract >. 'Ethical Criticism of Art.' Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Ella Peek): http://www.iep.utm.edu/a/art-eth.htm >. 'Fascinating Fascism.' New York Review of Books Piece Discussing Leni Riefenstahl (Susan Sontag): http://www.nybooks.com/articles/9280 >. 'The Beheading of St. John the Baptist (1450s), Giovanni de Paolo' (Tom Lubbock): http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/great-works/great-works-the-beheading-of-st-john-the-baptist-1450s-giovanni-di-paolo-1684900.html >. Vladimir Nabokov and Lionel Trilling discuss Lolita (CBS): http://www.listal.com/video/3848698 >. Sample Syllabus Topic I Autonomism/Aestheticism • Anderson, James C. and Jeffrey T. Dean. 'Moderate Autonomism.' British Journal of Aesthetics 38.2 (1998): 150–66. • Beardsley, Monroe. Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Criticism . New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1958. Chapter 12. • Kant, Immanuel. The Critique of Judgement.Trans. James Creed Meredith . Oxford: Oxford UP, 1952 . • Lamarque, Peter. 'Cognitive Values in the Arts: Marking the Boundaries.' Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art . Ed. Matthew Kieran. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006, 127–39. • ——. 'Tragedy and Moral Value.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73.2 (1995): 239–49. • Lamarque, Peter and Stein Olsen. Truth, Fiction and Literature . Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994. Chapter 10. • Stolnitz, Jerome. 'On the Cognitive Triviality of Art.' British Journal of Aesthetics 32.3 (1992): 191–200. Topic II Imaginative Capacities, Intelligibility and Resistance • Moran, Richard. 'The Expression of Feeling in Imagination.' Philosophical Review 103.1 (1994): 75–106. • Nichols, Shaun. 'Just the Imagination: Why Imagining Doesn't Behave Like Believing'. Mind & Language 21.4 (2006): 459–74. • Stokes, Dustin. 'The Evaluative Character of Imaginative Resistance'. British Journal of Aesthetics 46.4 (2006): 387–405. • Tanner, Michael. 'Morals in Fiction and Fictional Morality, II'. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Suppl. Vol. 68 (1994): 51–66. • Walton, Kendall (1994). 'Morals in Fiction and Fictional Morality, I'. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Suppl. Vol. 68 (1994): 27–51. • Weinberg, Jonathan. 'Configuring the Cognitive Imagination.' New Waves in Aesthetics . Eds. K. Stock and K. Thomson-Jones. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. 203–23. Topic III Moralism and Emotions • Carroll, Noël. 'Moderate Moralism.' British Journal of Aesthetics 36.3 (1996): 223–37. • Carroll, Noël. 'Art, Narrative and Moral Understanding.' Aesthetics and Ethics: Essay at the Intersection . Ed. Jerrold Levinson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998.126–60. • Gaut, Berys. Art, Emotion and Ethics . Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007. Chapter 10. • ——. 'The Ethical Criticism of Art.' Aesthetics and Ethics: Essay at the Intersection . Ed. Jerrold Levinson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. 182–203. • Hume, David. 'Of the Standard of Taste.' Selected Essays . Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993 . 133–53. • Kieran, Matthew. 'Emotions, Art and Immorality.' Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Emotions . Ed. Peter Goldie. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 681–703. • Tolstoy, Leo. What is Art? . London: Penguin, 2004. Chapters 5 and 15. Topic IV Moralism and Knowledge • Aristotle. Poetics . Trans. M. Heath. London: Penguin, 1996 [367–322 BC]. • Carroll, Noël. 'The Wheel of Virtue: Art, Literature and Moral Knowledge.' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60.1 (2002): 3–26. • Gaut, Berys. Art, Emotion and Ethics . Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007. Chapters 7 and 8. • Gaut, Berys. 'Art and Cognition.' Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art . Ed. Matthew Kieran. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. 115–26. • Kieran, Matthew. 'Art, Imagination and the Cultivation of Morals.' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 54.4 (1996): 337–51. • Nussbaum, Martha. 'Finely Aware and Richly Responsible: Literature and the Moral Imagination.' Love's Knowledge . New York: Oxford UP, 1990. 148–68. • Plato. The Republic . Trans. D. Lee. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974. Book 10. Topic V Immoralist Contextualism • Harold, James. 'Immoralism and the Valence Constraint.' British Journal of Aesthetics 48.1 (2008): 45–64. • Jacobson, Daniel. 'In Praise of Immoral Art.' Philosophical Topics 25 (1997): 155–99. • ——. 'Ethical Criticism and the Vices of Moderation.' Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art . Ed. Matthew Kieran. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. 342–55. • John, Eileen. 'Artistic Value and Moral Opportunism.' Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art . Ed. Matthew Kieran. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. 331–41. • Kieran, Matthew. 'Forbidden Knowledge:The Challenge of Cognitive Immoralism.' Art and Morality . Ed. Sebastian Gardner and José Luis Bermúdez. London: Routledge, 2003. 56–73. • Kieran, Matthew. Revealing Art . London: Routledge, 2005. Chapter 4. • Patridge, Stephanie. 'Moral Vices as Artistic Virtues: Eugene Onegin and Alice.' Philosophia 36.2 (2008): 181–93. Focus Questions 1. What is the strongest argument for the claim that the moral character of a work is not relevant to its artistic value? Does artistic or literary criticism tend to concern itself with the truth or morality of works? If so, in what ways? If not, why do you think this is? 2. What different explanations might there be for difficulty with or resistance to imaginatively entering into attitudes you take to be immoral? How might this relate to the way our imaginings work as contrasted with belief? How might different literary or artistic treatments of the same subject matter make a difference? 3. How do narrative works draw on our moral concepts and responses? Can we suspend our normal moral commitments or application of moral concepts in responding emotionally to art works? Should we respond emotionally to art works as we ought to respond to real world events we witness? Why? Why not? 4. How, if at all, do art works convey moral understanding? How, if at all, is this related to the kinds of moral knowledge art works can teach or reveal to us? When, where and why might this be tied to the artistic value of a work? How can we tell where a work enhances our moral understanding as opposed to misleading or distorting it? 5. What art works do you value overall as art which commend or endorse moral values and attitudes that you do not? Is appreciation of them always marred or lessened by the morally dubious aspect? If not, what explains the differences in evaluation? What, if anything, might you learn by engaging with works which endorse moral attitudes or apply moral concepts different from those you take to be justified? How, if at all, might this connect up with what makes them valuable as art? (shrink)
I compare a Lewisian defence of monism with Kit Fine's defence of pluralism. I argue that the Lewisian defence is, at present, the clearer in its explanatory intent and ontological commitments. I challenge Fine to explain more fully the nature of the entities that he postulates and the relationship between continuous material objects and the parts of those rigid embodiments in terms of which he proposes to explain crucial, modal and sortal, features of those objects.
It has notoriously been supposed that the doctrine of determinism conflicts with the belief in human freedom. Yet it is not readily apparent how indeterminism, the denial of determinism, makes human freedom any less problematic. It has sometimes been suggested that the arrival of quantum mechanics should immediately have solved the problem of free will and determinism. It was proposed, perhaps more often by scientists than by philosophers, that the brain would need only to be fitted with a device for (...) amplifying indeterministic quantum phenomena for the bogey of determinism to be defeated. Acts of free will could then be those that were initiated by such indeterministic nudges. Recently there has been some inclination to revive such a story as part of the fallout from the trend for chaos theory. Chaotic systems in the brain, being indefinitely sensitive to the precise details of initial conditions, seem to provide fine candidates for the hypothetical amplifiers of quantum events. (shrink)
One of the first books to address what has come to be known as the philosophy of cosmology, Universes asks, "Why does the universe exist?", arguing that the universe is "fine tuned for producing life." For example, if the universe's early expansion speed had been smaller by one part in a million, then it would have recollapsed rapidly; with an equivalently tiny speed increase, no galaxies would have formed. Either way, this universe would have been lifeless.
Carter’s anthropic principle reminds us that intelligent life can find itself only in life-permitting times, places or universes. The principle concerns a possible observational selection effect, not a designing deity. It has no special concern with humans, nor does it say that intelligent life is inevitable and common. Barrow and Tipler, who discuss all this, are not biologically ignorant. As argued in "Universes" (Leslie, 1989) they may well be right in thinking that "fine tuning" of force strengths and particle (...) masses, without which life would be impossible, proves the reality of God or else of multiple universes plus observational selection. (shrink)
This paper reports the results of a survey of 842 undergraduate business students in four nations - the United States of America (the USA), the Peoples' Republic of China (the PRC), Japan, and the Republic of Korea (the ROK). This survey asked students to respond to four scenarios with potentially unethical business behavior and a string of questions related to the importance of ethics in business strategy and in personal behaviors. Based on arguments related to differences in recent historical experiences, (...) the authors suggest that student responses may be as different within the East Asian (Confucian) environment as they are between this environment as a whole and the USA. Survey results indicate a greater perception of ethical problems and more importance placed on ethics per se in business practices, as well as less of an emphasis on social harmony (a key distinguishing characteristic of Confucian values identified in prior research) on the part of USA students. At the same time, substantial national differences in response are also witnessed within the set of East Asian students. A priori expectations as to the manner in which these East Asian responses should vary based on differences in recent historical experiences are partially, but not fully, supported. The authors argue that the key value of the reported research rests on a demonstration that national differences within a common cultural (e.g., East Asian or Confucian) area can be as great as differences across cultural (East vs. West) areas and that practitioners of global business must fine-tune their expectations as to acceptable business and personal actions to accommodate specific national historical experiences to be effective. (shrink)
All right, first off I need to disappoint some people who despise reading the fine print on things or just plain love to speed-read only large fonts: this is not only not my last lecture, I m not even retiring anytime soon. So sorry to those of you poised to shout Good riddance to bad rubbish! at the end of this soliloquy. You re going to have to be patient a while longer.
The vicious person may have considerable enjoyment – much of their life may be, to use a notion that Don Giovanni draws on in one of his arias, diverting. But happiness has to be assessed not in terms of particular pleasurable episodes, but in more holistic terms, over a life taken as a whole. And many moral philosophers, including the atheist Scottish philosopher David Hume in the eighteenth century, have argued that vice can’t make you happy in the long run.
Fixing Frege is one of the most important investigations to date of Fregean approaches to the foundations of mathematics. In addition to providing an unrivalled survey of the technical program to which Frege’s writings have given rise, the book makes a large number of improvements and clariﬁcations. Anyone with an interest in the philosophy of mathematics will enjoy and beneﬁt from the careful and well informed overview provided by the ﬁrst of its three chapters. Specialists will ﬁnd the book an (...) indispensable reference and an invaluable source of insights and new results. Although Frege is widely regarded as the father of analytic philosophy, his work on the foundations of mathematics was for a long time rather peripheral to the ongoing research. The main reason for this is no doubt Russell’s discovery in 1901 that the paradox now bearing his name can be derived in Frege’s logical system. But recent decades have seen a huge surge of interest in Fregean approaches to the foundations of mathematics. (The work of George Boolos, Kit Fine, Bob Hale, Richard Heck, Stewart Shapiro, and Crispin Wright is singled out for particular attention in the present monograph.) A variety of consistent theories have been discovered that can be salvaged from Frege’s inconsistent system, and foundational and philosophical claims have been made on behalf of many of these theories. Burgess claims quite plausibly that the signiﬁcance of any such modiﬁed Fregean theory will in large part depend on how much of ordinary mathematics it enables us to develop.1 His.. (shrink)
Aquinas’s Fifth Way is usually taken to be an adumbration of Paley-like design arguments. Paley-like design arguments have fallen on hard times over the past few centuries, and most contemporary defenders of design arguments in support of theism favor some version of the fine-tuning argument. But fine-tuning designarguments, like Paley’s design argument, are consistent with atomism. And all such arguments are vulnerable to the objection that, given a long enough stretch of time and a sufficient number of universes, (...) there would be no need to posit a designer. In this paper we argue that a deep understanding of Aquinas’s Fifth Way depends upon understanding his hylomorphic account of the nature of composite substance, an account that is inconsistent with atomism. We argue that if one grants hylomorphism, Aquinas’s Fifth Way is difficult to resist. And we defend Aquinas’s hylomorphism against several common objections. (shrink)
It is commonly assumed that there is some sort of tacit ’inference’ involved when we form the belief that intentional activity on the part of some (perhaps unidentified) person is causally relevant to the occurrence of some event. Against this "inferential model" of design belief formation I argue that in many ordinary cases we do not ’infer’ design beliefs at all, but that they form spontaneously and ’properly’ whenever certain conditions are met. This alternative model has a respectable historical precedent, (...) better matches our introspective judgments about design beliefs, and helps resolve a puzzling objection to the standard "fine-tuning" argument. (shrink)
In this paper I consider one of the influential challenges to the notion that perceptual experience might be completely conceptually structured, a challenge that rests on the idea that conceptual structure cannot do justice to the fineness of grain of perceptual experience. In so doing, I canvass John McDowell's attempt to meet this challenge by appeal to the notion of demonstrative concepts and review some criticisms recently leveled at McDowell's deployment of demonstrative concepts for this purpose by Sean D. (...) Kelly. Finally, I suggest that, though Kelly's criticisms might challenge McDowell's original presentation of demonstrative concepts, a modified notion of demonstrative concepts is available to the conceptualist that is proof against Kelly's criticisms. (shrink)
From the relative obscurity in which Levinas's work languished until very recently, Emmanuel Levinas must now be judged as one of the most influential figures in contemporary Continental philosophy. There is no better guide than John Lewelyn to lead one through the thickets of Levinas's prose. Bursting with questions, multiple references, cascading citations and multilingual puns and nuances, this book is the compelling record of intellectual obsession. Taking as its guiding thre the theme of genealogy, the book gives a (...) broadly chronological and impressively manageable presentation of the whole sweep of the Levinas's work. Balanced and finely grained, Llewelyn confronts questions of method, Heidegger, phenomenology, the theme of sensibility, religion, enjoyment, feminity, eros, justice and the political. The book reaches a stunning climax in a series of chapters that give a hestitant but tolerant discussion of the question of God in Levinas, the relation to Levinasian ethics to Nietzschean genealogy, and an extraordinary discussion of metaphor that leads into a wholly original analysis of Levinas's poetics and metaphorics. The book concludes with a sensitive reading of the autobiographical epigraphs to Levinas's Otherwise than Being... and a consideration of the Holocaust. (shrink)
Is intentionality possible without representation? This paper considers the conditions under which intentionality without representation could occur and what sort of perceptual content such intentionality would have. In addition, it considers the constraints on non-representational intentional content in organisms that have representation. The paper is divided into three parts. The first section compares and contrasts two opposed positions on non-representational intentionality, those of Herbert Dreyfus and John Searle. The second section reviews a neurobiological model that accommodates the possibility of (...) non-representational perceptual content. The final section provides a puzzle for theories of non-representational perceptual content, specifically in connection with the perception of representations. The puzzle of representation and perception illustrates a further need for all theories of perception, both philosophical and scientific: to provide a more finely developed definition of the notion of representation. (shrink)
In Section IV above we start with texts whose prima facie import speaks so strongly for the Identity Thesis that any interpretation which stops short of it looks like a shabby, timorous, thesis-saving move. What else could Socrates mean when he declares with such conviction that ‘no evil’ can come to a good man (T19), that his prosecutors ‘could not harm’ him (T16(a)), that if a man has not been made more unjust he has not been harmed (T20), that ‘all (...) of happiness is in culture and justice’ (T16(a)), that living well is ‘the same’ as living justly (T15)? But then doubts begin to creep in. Recalling that inflation of the quantifier is normal and innocuous in common speech (“that job means everything to him, he'll do anything to get it, will stick at nothing ”) we ask if there is really no chance at all that ‘no evil’ in T19, ‘not harmed’ in T20 might be meant in the same way? The shift from ‘no harm’ at T16(a) to ‘no great harm’ at T16(b), once noticed, strengthens the doubt. It gets further impetus in T21(b) when to explain how ‘all of happiness is in culture and justice’ he depicts a relation (that recurs more elaborately in T22) which, though still enormously strong, is not quite as strong as would be required by identity. The doubt seeps into T15 when we note that current usage did allow just that relation as a respectable use of ‘the same’. At that point we begin to wonder if resort to the Identity Thesis might not be just a first approximation to a subtler, more finely nuanced, doctrine which would give Socrates as sound a foundation for what we know he wants to maintain at all costs - the Sovereignty of Virtue - without obliterating the eudaemonic value of everything else in his world. We cast about for a credible model of such a relation of virtue to happiness and hit on that multicomponent pattern sketched on p. 9 above. We ascertain that this will afford a comprehensively coherent eudaemonist theory of rational action, while its rival would not, and will fit perfectly a flock of texts in Section V which the latter will not fit at all. Are we not entitled to conclude that this is our best guide to the true relation of virtue to happiness in Socrates' thought - the one for which he would have declared if he had formulated explicitly those two alternative theses and made a reasoned choice between them? (shrink)
William Walker's original analysis of John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding offers a challenging and provocative assessment of Locke's importance as a thinker, bridging the gap between philosophical and literary-critical discussion of his work. He presents Locke as a foundational figure who defines the epistemological and ontological ground on which eighteenth-century and Romantic literature operate and eventually diverge. He is revealed as a crucial figure for emerging modernity, less the familiar empiricist innovator and more the proto-Nietzschean thinker whose (...) text fosters hitherto unsuspected instabilities and promotes a new kind of rhetorical force to counterbalance them. Walker's reading of Locke is at once finely attentive to the text and engagingly resourceful in placing the Essay in its broadest philosophical and historical context. (shrink)
The paper develops a Platonic and Spinozistic metaphysics. With an unprovable yet absolute necessity, the cosmos exists just because of the ethical need for it. We, and all the intricate structures of our universe, exist as intricately structured thoughts in a divine mind. This mind could contain infinitely many other universes as well, and minds of the same kind could exist in infinite number. Evidence for this is supplied by the finely tuned orderliness of our universe, and by the sheer (...) fact that any universe exists. (shrink)
The term “spontaneous self-organisation” (SSO for short) is used to describe the emergence of an object or structure “by itself” within a dynamical system. While usage of the term will no doubt vary somewhat, in this paper I will take it to have three key features: 1. The appearance of the object does not require a special, “fine-tuned” initial state. 2. There is no need for interaction with an external system. 3. The object is likely to appear in a (...) reasonably short time. The first two conditions say that the object arises from the dynamics of the system alone, without any help. The third condition says that, for an object s to appear by spontaneous self-organisation, its appearance should not just a matter of dumb luck (e.g. a monkey with a typewriter just happening to produce Hamlet), nor just from waiting long enough (e.g. a monkey typing for long enough that Hamlet was likely to appear), or any combination of the two. What is “reasonably short” in this context? The time needed for spontaneous self-organisation should be much shorter than the expected time required to assemble the object purely at random from its components. Note that, for very large and intricate systems, the random-assembly time will be unimaginably vast, so that the appearance of such objects in merely billions of years will count as spontaneous self-organisation. (shrink)
Freivalds defined an acceptable programming system independent criterion for learning programs for functions in which the final programs were required to be both correct and "nearly" minimal size, i.e., within a computable function of being purely minimal size. Kinber showed that this parsimony requirement on final programs limits learning power. However, in scientific inference, parsimony is considered highly desirable. A lim-computablefunction is (by definition) one calculable by a total procedure allowed to change its mind finitely many times about its output. (...) Investigated is the possibility of assuaging somewhat the limitation on learning power resulting from requiring parsimonious final programs by use of criteria which require the final, correct programs to be "not-so-nearly" minimal size, e.g., to be within a lim-computable function of actual minimal size. It is shown that some parsimony in the final program is thereby retained, yet learning power strictly increases. Considered, then, are lim-computable functions as above but for which notations for constructive ordinals are used to bound the number of mind changes allowed regarding the output. This is a variant of an idea introduced by Freivalds and Smith. For this ordinal notation complexity bounded version of lim-computability, the power of the resultant learning criteria form finely graded, infinitely ramifying, infinite hierarchies intermediate between the computable and the lim-computable cases. Some of these hierarchies, for the natural notations determining them, are shown to be optimally tight. (shrink)