Biologists and economists use models to study complex systems. This similarity between these disciplines has led to an interesting development: the borrowing of various components of model-based theorizing between the two domains. A major recent example of this strategy is economists’ utilization of the resources of evolutionary biology in order to construct models of economic systems. This general strategy has come to be called evolutionary economics and has been a source of much debate among economists. Although philosophers have developed literatures (...) on the nature of models and modeling, the unique issues surrounding this kind of interdisciplinary model building have yet to be independently investigated. In this paper, we utilize evolutionary economics as a case study in the investigation of more general issues concerning interdisciplinary modeling. We begin by critiquing the distinctions currently used within the evolutionary economics literature and propose an alternative carving of the conceptual terrain. We then argue that the three types of evolutionary economics we distinguish capture distinctions that will be important whenever resources of model-based theorizing are borrowed across distinct scientific domains. Our analysis of these model-building strategies identifies several of the unique methodological and philosophical issues that confront interdisciplinary modeling. (shrink)
Two essays on utilitarianism, written from opposite points of view, by J. J. C. Smart and Bernard Williams. In the first part of the book Professor Smart advocates a modern and sophisticated version of classical utilitarianism; he tries to formulate a consistent and persuasive elaboration of the doctrine that the rightness and wrongness of actions is determined solely by their consequences, and in particular their consequences for the sum total of human happiness. This is a revised version of (...) Professor Smart's famous essay 'an outline of a system of utilitarian ethics', first published in 1961 but long unobtainable. In Part II Bernard Williams offers a sustained and vigorous critique of utilitarian assumptions, arguments and ideals. He finds inadequate the theory of action implied by utilitarianism, and he argues that utilitarianism fails to engage at a serious level with the real problems of moral and political philosophy, and fails to make sense of notions such as integrity, or even human happiness itself. Both authors are agreed on utilitarianism's importance: it cuts across a number of different philosophical disputes and combines a systematic account of mata-ethical problems with a distinctive and substantive moral stand. It thus is, or involves, philosophy in both the traditional and the narrower, professional sense of the word, and is a key topic (often the first topic) in introductory philosophy courses. This book should also be of interest to welfare economists, political scientists and decision-theorists. (shrink)
REMARKS ON EVOLUTION AND TIME-SCALES, Graham Cairns-Smith; HODGSON'S BLACK BOX, Thomas Clark; DO HODGSON'S PROPOSITIONS UNIQUELY CHARACTERIZE FREE WILL?, Ravi Gomatam; WHAT SHOULD WE RETAIN FROM A PLAIN PERSON'S CONCEPT OF FREE WILL?, Gilberto Gomes; ISOLATING DISPARATE CHALLENGES TO HODGSON'S ACCOUNT OF FREE WILL, Liberty Jaswal; FREE AGENCY AND LAWS OF NATURE, Robert Kane; SCIENCE VERSUS REALIZATION OF VALUE, NOT DETERMINISM VERSUS CHOICE, Nicholas Maxwell; COMMENTS ON HODGSON, J.J.C. Smart; THE VIEW FROM WITHIN, Sean Spence; COMMENTARY ON HODGSON, Henry (...) Stapp. (shrink)
`In the grand tradition of classical social theory, Barry Smart challenges us to face up to the ambivalences of the contemporary moment and to take responsibility for our individual and social existence' - Douglas Kellner, University of California, Los Angeles ` a brilliant excursus through modern social theory, Smart’s book should be read and re-read for its careful analysis of the dilemmas of morality in postmodernism' - Bryan S. Turner, Deakin University Through a critical discussion of the 'ambivalent (...) fruits' of social analysis, exemplified in particular by the work of Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard, Baudrillard, Vattimo, Beck, Bourdieu, Goffman, Giddens, Levinas and Bauman, this book submits that an important responsibility of social enquiry today is to engage critically with the moral difficulties and ethical dilemmas which have arisen in relation to modernity. Facing Modernity offers a wide-ranging analysis of the ways in which issues of reflexivity, ethics and moral responsibility inform social and political thought. This is illustrated with the examples of risk society, modern forms of subjectivity and the problematic relationship between care of the self and a concern for others, the fashioning of the body, the idea and the practice of justice, and the communitarian call to regulate the pursuit of self interest and rediscover 'community'. A comprehensive overview of the ambiguities and moral dilemmas of modernity, this book will be essential reading for students of sociology, social theory and cultural studies. (shrink)
Without doubt Michel Foucault was one of the 20th century's towering intellectuals. His work on organization of knowledge, sexuality, power, discipline, medicine, madness, identity, and politics has left an idelible mark on contemporary thinking in these fields. Edited by one of the world's most distinguished Foucault scholars, Barry Smart, this collection sets Foucault's work in the the appropriate historical and intellectual context by orgaizing the material thematically with introductions that quide the reader through the complexities of the essays. These (...) volumes will be essential reading wherever the work of Foucault is debated and applied. (shrink)
World Philosophies is a comprehensive survey of the world's philosophical and religious traditions by one of our foremost religious thinkers. Ninian Smart discusses notable figures such as Plato and Kierkegaard in the West, the Buddha and Mao Zedong in Asia, Tempels and Knibanga in Africa, and Rodo and Royce in America. Covering a wide range of topics including Indian ideas of testimony and evidence, Chinese notions of moral development, Buddhist concepts of cosmology and Latin American critiques of materialism, (...) class='Hi'>Smart sheds new light on the astonishing diversity of philosophies that have developed throughout history. (shrink)
SUPPOSE that I report that I have at this moment a roundish, blurry-edged after-image which is yellowish towards its edge and is orange towards its centre. What is it that I am reporting?l One answer to this question might be that I am not reporting anything, that when I say that it looks to me as though there is a roundish yellowy orange patch of light On the wall I am expressing some sort of temptation, the temptation to say that (...) there is a roundish yellowy orange patch on the wall (though I may know that there is not such a patch on the wall). This is perhaps Wittgenstein's view in the Philosophical Investigations (see paragraphs 367, 370). Similarly, when I "report" a pain, I am not really reporting anything (or, if you like, I am reporting in a queer sense of "reporting"), but am doing a sophisticated sort of wince. (See paragraph 244: "The verbal expression of pain replaces crying and docs not describe it." Nor docs it describe anything else?)2 I prefer most of the time to discuss an afterimage rather than a pain, because the word "pain" brings in something which is irrelevant to my purpose: the notion of "distress." I think that "he is in pain" entails "he is in distress," that is, that he is in a certain agitation-condition.3 Similarly, to say "I am in pain" may be to do more than "replace pain behavior": it may be partly to report something, though this something is quite nonmysterious, being an agitation-condition, and so susceptible of behavioristic analysis. The suggestion I wish if possible to avoid is a different one, namely that "I am in pain" is a genuine report, and that what it reports is an irreducibly psychical something. And similarly the suggestion I wish to resist is also that to say "I have a yellowish orange after-image" is to report something irreducibly psychical. (shrink)
The identity theory of mind holds that states and processes of the mind are identical to states and processes of the brain. Strictly speaking, it need not hold that the mind is identical to the brain. Idiomatically we do use ‘She has a good mind’ and ‘She has a good brain’ interchangeably but we would hardly say ‘Her mind weighs fifty ounces’. Here I take identifying mind and brain as being a matter of identifying processes and perhaps states of the (...) mind and brain. Consider an experience of pain, or of seeing something, or of having a mental image. The identity theory of mind is to the effect that these experiences just are brain processes, not merely correlated with brain processes. (shrink)
In this article I try to refute the so-called "libertarian" theory of free will, and to examine how our conclusion ought to modify our common attitudes of praise and blame. In attacking the libertarian view, I shall try to show that it cannot be consistently stated. That is, my dscussion will be an "analytic-philosophic" one. I shall neglect what I think is in practice an equally powerful method of attack on the libertarian: a challenge to state his theory in such (...) a way that it will fit in the modern biology and psychology, which are becoming increasingly physicalistic. (shrink)
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In this paper we discuss the compatibility of Alexander Bird's dispositional essentialism with one of our most fundamental physical principles - the principle of least action. Joel Katzav argues that this principle presupposes the contingency of its holding (that is, it presupposes that the system could have followed paths other than that which minimises action), and that this is ruled out by dispositional essentialism. However, Bird argues that only the logical possibility of paths different to the actual path followed is (...) required, and as dispositional essentialism only rules out the metaphysical possibility, Katzav's argument fails. Although we accept Bird's response, on the face of it he is still open to a number of objections; in particular, it looks as though the actual paths being those that minimise the action of the system would be simply a cosmic coincidence, as even if there were a 'principle of least action' disposition, each particular would have to instantiate it contingently. In this paper we discuss what kind of disposition would be required to explain this fundamental principle, and conclude that if one particular instantiates it, it is metaphysically necessary that it be instantiated by all particulars in that world; it turns out that the cosmic coincidence is not so cosmic after all, and so Bird's dispositional essentialism is not threatened. (shrink)
This article is a defence of the Fact-Value distinction against considerations brought up by Ruth Anna Putnam in three articles in Philosophy, especially her ‘Perceiving Facts and Values’ January 1998. I defend metaphysical realism about facts and anti-realism about values against Putnam' intermediate position about both and I relate the matter to the logic of imperatives. The motivations of scientists or historians to select fields of investigation are irrelevant to the objectivity of their hypotheses, and so is the goodness or (...) badness of the social consequences of their work though these may affect their motivations. (shrink)
In this paper I show that David Armstrong is wrong to claim that the regularity theorist must be an inductive sceptic by demonstrating that even those who support worldly ontologies devoid of metaphysical glue (or as Hume might say, necessary connections ‘in the objects’) can justifiably make many inductive inferences. As well as branding the regularity theorist an inductive sceptic, Armstrong also claims that regularity theory (RT) laws have no explanatory value whatsoever. I try to show that Armstrong is also (...) wrong in this respect, and that as a matter of fact, observed regularities are best explained by laws of this kind, or at least something like them. (shrink)
Suppose that a ruler controls a weapon capable of instantly and painlessly destroying the human race. Now it is empirically certain that there would be some suﬀering before all those alive on any proposed destruction day were to die in the natural course of events. Consequently the use of the weapon is bound to diminish suﬀering, and would be the rulerÂ’s duty on NU grounds.
The paper begins by considering David Armstrong's beautiful paper 'The Headless Woman Illusion and the Defence of Materialism', which conjectures how we get the illusion that there are non-physical qualia. There are discussions of other metaphysical illusions, that there is a passage of time, that we have libertarian free will, and that consciousness is ineffable (which last also relates to Armstrong), and of their possible explanations. Moral: avoid appeal to so called intuition or phenomenology.
Though all of the principal features of Rawls's definition of civil disobedience are in varying degrees unacceptable, one of these consists of the fertile but unargued suggestion that civil disobedience is a mode of address. The first half of the paper tests this by construing civil disobedience as a vehicle of non?natural meaning (but not necessarily of linguistic non?natural meaning) and so as operating the Gricean mechanism of a hierarchy of intentions and beliefs. This feature is absent from other definitions (...) but is essential if other kinds of conscientious illegality are to be contrasted. In the second half a definition is arrived at through rejections or modifications of the other Rawlsian conditions and by reference to some recent accounts of force and violence. It is hoped that the definition has the double advantage of being broadly congruent with our intuitions and of supplying a theoretical underpinning for what it includes and excludes. (shrink)
The pursuit of linguistic analysis should mean that philosophers pay attention to the facts: in particular, the philosophy of religion cannot ignore the comparative study of religion, social anthropology, etc. A main aim should be to discover a ?grammar? of religious experience, which may help to illuminate the reasons for certain patterns of religious belief, etc. Here it is necessary to resist the functionalist views of some social anthropologists, stemming from the conviction that religion is an illusion and from a (...) conflation of reasons and causes. But in so far as a functionalist approach applies, it can help to exhibit the accidental and ?non?religious? features of a given religion. (shrink)