Information is a notion of wide use and great intuitive appeal, and hence, not surprisingly, different formal paradigms claim part of it, from Shannon channel theory to Kolmogorov complexity. Information is also a widely used term in logic, but a similar diversity repeats itself: there are several competing logical accounts of this notion, ranging from semantic to syntactic. In this chapter, we will discuss three major logical accounts of information.
I show that extant teleosemantic accounts of content are, declarations to the contrary notwithstanding, unable to secure univocal content attributions to simple mental states. I then sketch an alternative account which is free from this problem.
In the centenary year of Turing’s birth, a lot of good things are sure to be written about him. But it is hard to find something new to write about Turing. This is the biggest merit of this article: it shows how von Neumann’s architecture of the modern computer is a serendipitous consequence of the universal Turing machine, built to solve a logical problem.
Our limited a priori-reasoning skills open a gap between our finding a proposition conceivable and its metaphysical possibility. A prominent strategy for closing this gap is the postulation of ideal conceivers, who suffer from no such limitations. In this paper I argue that, under many, maybe all, plausible unpackings of the notion of ideal conceiver, it is false that ideal negative conceivability entails possiblity.
There has been much discussion of so-called teleosemantic approaches to the naturalization of content. Such discussion, though, has been largely confined to simple, innate mental states with contents such as ?There is a fly here.? Even assuming we can solve the issues that crop up at this stage, an account of the content of human mental states will not get too far without an account of productivity: the ability to entertain indefinitely many thoughts. The best-known teleosemantic theory, Millikan's biosemantics, offers (...) an account of productivity in thought. This paper raises a basic worry about this account: that the use of mapping functions in the theory is unacceptable from a naturalistic point of view. (shrink)
Representationalist theories of phenomenal consciousness have problems in accounting for pain, for at least two reasons. First of all, the negative affective phenomenology of pain (its painfulness) does not seem to be representational at all. Secondly, pain experiences are not transparent to introspection in the way perceptions are. This is reflected, e.g. in the fact that we do not acknowledge pain hallucinations. In this paper, I defend that representationalism has the potential to overcome these objections. Defenders of representationalism have tried (...) to analyse every kind of phenomenal character in terms of indicative contents. But there is another possibility: Affective phenomenology, in fact, depends on imperative representational content. This provides a satisfactory solution to the aforementioned difficulties. (shrink)
Miller (2005) and Miller (2008) argue that the branching picture of time is incompatible with the possibility of backwards time travel. In this paper I show that Miller’s conclusion is based on a hidden assumption which, while generally plausible, is unwarranted if time travel is possible. Branching time is, after all, compatible with time travel as Miller characterises it.
In this paper, using a multilevel approach, we defend the positive role of natural selection in the generation of organismal form. Despite the currently widespread opinion that natural selection only plays a negative role in the evolution of form, we argue, in contrast, that the Darwinian factor is a crucial (but not exclusive) factor in morphological organization. Analyzing some classic arguments, we propose incorporating the notion of ‘downward causation’ into the concept of ‘natural selection.’ In our opinion, this kind of (...) causation is fundamental to the operation of selection as a creative evolutionary process. (shrink)
This article explores the proposal offered by Ian Hacking for the distinction between natural and social sciences—a proposal that he has defined from the outset as complex and different from the traditional ones. Our objective is not only to present the path followed by Hacking's distinction, but also to determine if it constitutes a novelty or not. For this purpose, we deemed it necessary to briefly introduce the core notions Hacking uses to establish his strategic approach to (...) social sciences, under the assumption that they are less well known that the ones corresponding to his treatment of natural sciences. Key Words: Ian Hacking • natural sciences • social sciences • distinction. (shrink)
There is no known syntactic characterization of the class of finite definitions in terms of a set of basic definitions and a set of basic operators under which the class is closed. Furthermore, it is known that the basic propositional operators do not preserve finiteness. In this paper I survey these problems and explore operators that do preserve finiteness. I also show that every definition that uses only unary predicate symbols and equality is bound to be finite.
Abstract This article has two parts. The first is an explanation of the place of moral education in the history of the Spanish educational system, and the second briefly describes the research work of the Research Group on Moral Education from the University of Barcelona. The particular political and social context in which Spanish education has developed has caused moral education to acquire a special nature that is distinct even from that in other countries in the same geographical area. Moral (...) education in schools was and is constantly infiltrated with sectarian connotations which, in turn, distorted what should have been a matter discussed calmly and rationally in an ethical and pedagogical framework. To defend a model of education of morals and values like that which guides our research and pedagogy, is to defend the coexistence of diverse ideologies and beliefs. Schools cannot fail to offer the moral and ethical education proposed (in our judgement, indispensible in a democratic and pluralistic model of education) to all citizens alike, independent of their own beliefs or ideologies. (shrink)