At the beginning of the third millennium we are entering a new era. I call it "The Integration/Disintegration Era" because the Integration/ Disintegration Problem is one of the basic problems our world is facing today. Philosophy attempts to work out an integrated view of the universe, of human nature, and of society. The specific philosophical science which has concerned itself with integration/ disintegration, is Integratism. This is the common denominator of different particular problems in the integration /disintegration of the universe, (...) society and personality; and it supplies a possible philosophical solution to the general problem of disintegration. The main concept of integratism is integration [Lat. integer, complete]. My theoretical and empirical study of various aspects of integration/ disintegration problems in modern science and education has led to the formulation of a new, rather systematic and, I believe, quite useful conception of contemporary integratism that contributes not only to the attempt to develop a theory of integration/disintegration processes in various biological and social systems but also to practical problems of developing contemporary integrated educational systems. Further concepts of contemporary integratism are: integrative level, IDon, adaptive disintegration, ADon, disadaptive disintegration, adaptive reintegration, sanosphere, pathosphere, etc. The philosophy of integratism might provide a possible philosophical solution to the general problem of disintegration and in this way assign priority to certain particular problems concerning the disintegration of the world. (shrink)
Infants have been described as 'statistical learners' capable of extracting structure (such as words) from patterned input (such as language). Here, we investigated whether prior knowledge influences how infants track transitional probabilities in word segmentation tasks. Are infants biased by prior experience when engaging in sequential statistical learning? In a laboratory simulation of learning across time, we exposed 9- and 10-month-old infants to a list of either disyllabic or trisyllabic nonsense words, followed by a pause-free speech stream composed of a (...) different set of disyllabic or trisyllabic nonsense words. Listening times revealed successful segmentation of words from fluent speech only when words were uniformly disyllabic or trisyllabic throughout both phases of the experiment. Hearing trisyllabic words during the pre-exposure phase derailed infants' abilities to segment speech into disyllabic words, and vice versa. We conclude that prior knowledge about word length equips infants with perceptual expectations that facilitate efficient processing of subsequent language input. (shrink)
Standard objections to the notion of a hedged, or ceteris paribus, law of nature usually boil down to the claim that such laws would be either 1) irredeemably vague, 2) untestable, 3) vacuous, 4) false, or a combination thereof. Using epidemiological studies in nutrition science as an example, I show that this is not true of the hedged law-like generalizations derived from data models used to interpret large and varied sets of empirical observations. Although it may be ‘in principle impossible’ (...) to construct models that explicitly identify all potential causal interferers with the relevant generalization, the view that our failure to do so is fatal to the very notion of a cp-law is plausible only if one illicitly infers metaphysical impossibility from epistemic impossibility. I close with the suggestion that a model-theoretic approach to cp-laws poses a problem for recent attempts to formulate a Mill-Ramsey-Lewis theory of cp-laws. (shrink)
Emergence is a notorious philosophical term of art. A variety of theorists have appropriated it for their purposes ever since George Henry Lewes gave it a philosophical sense in his 1875 Problems of Life and Mind. We might roughly characterize the shared meaning thus: emergent entities (properties or substances) ‘arise’ out of more fundamental entities and yet are ‘novel’ or ‘irreducible’ with respect to them. (For example, it is sometimes said that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.) Each (...) of the quoted terms is slippery in its own right, and their specifications yield the varied notions of emergence that we discuss below. There has been renewed interest in emergence within discussions of the behavior of complex systems and debates over the reconcilability of mental causation, intentionality, or consciousness with physicalism. (shrink)
In Cambridge History of Philosophy, 18701945, ed. by Thomas Baldwin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 93106. Key words: new psychology, psychology as a discipline, Spencer, Maudsley, Lewes, Brentano, Wundt, James.
Emergent properties have been described by Mill, Lewes, Broad, Morgan and others, as novel, nonadditive, nonpredictable and nondeducible within a hierarchical context. I have developed a more definitive concept of a hierarchy that can be used to inspect the phenomenon of emergence in a new and detailed manner. A hierarchy is held together by descending constraints and new features can arise when an upper level entity restrains its components in new combinations that are not expected when viewing these components (...) alone. Examples of emergent features are (i) matching anticodons and amino acids by aminoacetyl-tRNA synthetase enzymes appearing early among the first forms of life, (ii) negative feedback in end-product inhibition first occurring in microbes, (iii) memory in animals and (iv) apical cells in plants. Until recently, life was considered only in terms of physics and chemistry, but now it is known to have a third aspect of information that along with the descendant constraints in its hierarchical organization makes emergentism possible within a reductionist’s framework. (shrink)
“The ‘fallacy of composition’ that drives a felicitous wedge between micro and macro, between the individual and the aggregate, and gives rise to emergent phenomena in economics, non-algorithmic ways – as conjectured originally by John Stuart Mill…, George Herbert Lewes … , and codified by Lloyd Morgan … in his popular Gifford Lectures - may yet be tamed by unconventional models of computation.” --K. Vela Velupillai (2008, p. 21).
Transactions and Encounters examines a diverse range of emerging technologies in the Victorian era. Such topics are explored as the popular craze for microscopes the uncanny possibilities of the telephone the jostling for authority between literature and science, with scenes by and including Dickens and Lewes, Huxley and Gosse the weird imaginary around androgynous barnacles and the competing versions of a mind-reading act. These essays combine to produce an invigorating and involving attempt to re-cast understandings of 19th century encounters between (...) the cultural and scientific spheres. (shrink)
The Religion of Humanity, first expounded by the founder of Positivism, Auguste Comte, focused the minds of a wide range of prominent Victorians on the possibility of replacing Christianity with an alternative religion based on scientific principles and humanist values. This new book traces the impact of Comte's 'religion' on Victorian Britain, showing how its ideas were championed by John Stuart Mill and George Henry Lewes before being institutionalised by Richard Congreve and Frederic Harrison, the leaders of the two main (...) centres of Positivist worship. Widely discussed by scientists, philosophers, and theologians, it also attracted the attention of numerous literary figures, including Matthew Arnold, Walter Pater, and Leslie Stephen, achieving its widest circulation through the works of George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and George Gissing. A wide-ranging and interdisciplinary contribution to the history of ideas, this book sheds new light on a significant but hitherto neglected strand of Victorian thought. (shrink)