Inductive probabilistic reasoning is understood as the application of inference patterns that use statistical background information to assign (subjective) probabilities to single events. The simplest such inference pattern is direct inference: from “70% of As are Bs” and “a is an A” infer that a is a B with probability 0.7. Direct inference is generalized by Jeffrey’s rule and the principle of cross-entropy minimization. To adequately formalize inductive probabilistic reasoning is an interesting topic for artificial intelligence, as an autonomous system (...) acting in a complex environment may have to base its actions on a probabilistic model of its environment, and the probabilities needed to form this model can often be obtained by combining statistical background information with particular observations made, i.e., by inductive probabilistic reasoning. In this paper a formal framework for inductive probabilistic reasoning is developed: syntactically it consists of an extension of the language of first-order predicate logic that allows to express statements about both statistical and subjective probabilities. Semantics for this representation language are developed that give rise to two distinct entailment relations: a relation ⊨ that models strict, probabilistically valid, inferences, and a relation that models inductive probabilistic inferences. The inductive entailment relation is obtained by implementing cross-entropy minimization in a preferred model semantics. A main objective of our approach is to ensure that for both entailment relations complete proof systems exist. This is achieved by allowing probability distributions in our semantic models that use non-standard probability values. A number of results are presented that show that in several important aspects the resulting logic behaves just like a logic based on real-valued probabilities alone. (shrink)
Werner Jaeger's highly-acclaimed work treats paideia, the shaping of Greek character, as the basis for study of Hellenism as a whole, to explain the interaction between the historical process by which Greek character was formed and the intellectual process by which they constructed their ideal of the human personality. -/- .
David Lewis has proposed an analysis of lawhood in terms of membership of a system of regularities optimizing simplicity and strength in information content. This article studies his proposal against the broader background of the project of Humean supervenience. In particular, I claim that, in Lewis's account of lawhood, his intuition about small deviations from a given law in nearby worlds (in order to avoid backtracking and epiphenomena) leads to the conclusion that laws do not support (certain) counterfactuals and do (...) not bestow nomic necessity on (certain) facts induced by these laws. Support of counterfactuals and nomic necessity, however, are widely held to be important aspects of the concept of lawhood. In my view, therefore, it is not possible to abandon these criteria in any satisfactory analysis of the notion of laws of nature. In a final section, I suggest that the whole project of Humean supervenience is misleading. It does not sufficiently take notice of the important role that reasoning about contrary-to-fact situations plays in modern scientific practice. (shrink)
Abstract: This essay explores recent trends and major issues related to gay and lesbian philosophy in ethics (including issues concerning the morality of homosexuality, the natural function of sex, and outing and coming out); religion (covering past and present debates about the status of homosexuality and how biblical and qur'anic passages have been interpreted by both sides of the debate); the law (especially a discussion of the debates surrounding sodomy laws, same-sex marriage and its impact on transsexuals, and whether the (...) law should be used to enforce morality); scientific research into the origins of homosexuality (including discussion of arguments against such research); and metaphysics (especially the question of whether homosexuality is socially constructed during particular times and in particular cultures, or whether sexual orientation is an essential trait cutting across times and cultures). (shrink)
This article reviews the use of implantable radiofrequency identification (RFID) tags in humans, focusing on the VeriChip (VeriChip Corporation, Delray Beach, FL) and the associated VeriMed patient identification system. In addition, various nonmedical applications for implanted RFID tags in humans have been proposed. The technology offers important health and nonhealth benefits, but raises ethical concerns, including privacy and the potential for coercive implantation of RFID tags in individuals. A national discussion is needed to identify the limits of acceptable use of (...) implantable RFID tags in humans before their use becomes widespread and it becomes too late to prevent misuse of this useful but ethically problematic technology. (shrink)
The positive operator (valued) measures (POMs) allow one to generalize the notion of observable beyond the traditional one based on projection valued measures (PVMs). Here, we argue that this generalized conception of observable enables a consistent notion of unsharp reality and with it an adequate concept of joint properties. A sharp or unsharp property manifests itself as an element of sharp or unsharp reality by its tendency to become actual or to actualize a specific measurement outcome. This actualization tendency—or potentiality—of (...) a property is quantified by the associated quantum probability. The resulting single-case interpretation of probability as a degree of reality will be explained in detail and its role in addressing the tensions between quantum and classical accounts of the physical world will be elucidated. It will be shown that potentiality can be viewed as a causal agency that evolves in a well-defined way. (shrink)
Entanglement and non-locality are non-classical global characteristics of quantum states important to the foundations of quantum mechanics. Recent investigations have shown that environmental noise, even when it is entirely local in influence, can destroy both of these properties in finite time despite giving rise to full quantum state decoherence only in the infinite time limit. These investigations, which have been carried out in a range of theoretical and experimental situations, are reviewed here.
An extremum principle was postulated by Horne, Finkelstein, Shull, Zeilinger, and Bernstein in order to derive the physically allowable parameters for sinusoidal standing waves governing a neutron in a crystal which is immersed in a strong external magnetic field: “the expectation value of the total potential 〈V〉 is an extremum.” We show that this extremum principle can be obtained from the variational principle used by Schrodinger to derive his nonrelativistic wave equation. We rederive the solutions found by the above-mentioned authors (...) as well as some additional solutions. (shrink)
In his recent book, The Empirical Stance (2002), Bas van Fraassen elaborates on earlier suggestions of a religious view that has striking parallels withhis constructive empiricism. A particularly salient feature consists in the way in which he keeps a critical distance from theoretical formulations both in scienceand religion, thus preferring a mystical approach to religious experience. As an alternative, I suggest a view based on mediation by the word, both in the structureof reality and the encounter between persons. Without falling (...) prey to rationalist illusions, such an approach allows for true human knowledge as embedded intranscendent Wisdom. It implies a more radical break with the Enlightenment ideal of neutral and universal knowledge than van Fraassen’s program, as he stillmaintains a kind of immanent grounding of knowledge in the form of direct, unmediated experience, in spite of his rejection of classical foundationalism. Wecan thus overcome the antithetical ring that characterizes his notion of rationality understood as bridled irrationality and escape relativism without forgetting thelessons that we have learned from the collapse of positivism—lessons to which van Fraassen rightly draws our attention. (shrink)
My discussion is concerned with how symbolic power constitutively structures our very identities in relation to one another and at the bodily level of lived experience. Although many accounts of the self and of subjectivity as socially situated have difficulties in their explanations of agency, Zaners work suggests a basis upon which the selfs independence from others can be understood. His phenomenology of embodied subjectivity explains how the emerging self presupposes presence with others. At the same time, however, co-presence also (...) reveals the selfs distinct perspective and capacity for circumstantial possibilizing, that is to say, actualizing another possible than the actual. My aim is to examine critically the intersections between Zaners phenomenology and other theoretical accounts of the socially situated self. I also show how Zaners work contributes to these discussions a way of understanding the possibility of agency that is rooted in embodied experience. (shrink)
Two physical approaches—as distinct, under the classification of Mittelstaedt, from formal approaches—to the problem of individuation of quantum objects are considered, one formulated in spatiotemporal terms and one in quantum mechanical terms. The spatiotemporal approach itself has two forms: one attributed to Einstein and based on the ontology of space-time points, and the other proposed by Howard and based on intersections of world lines. The quantum mechanical approach is also provided here in two forms, one based on interference and another (...) based on a new Quantum Principle of Individuation (QPI). It is argued that the space-time approach to individuation fails and that the quantum approach offers several advantages over it, including consistency with Leibniz’s Principle of Identity of Indiscernibles. (shrink)
It is often assumed that contemporary physics is more hospitable to divine action (and human freedom) than classical mechanics. The article criticizes this assumption on the grounds of both physics and theology. Most currently discussed models of divine action do not challenge the physicalist assumption that physics provides a true and complete description of nature’s causal web. Thus they resemble physicalism-plus-God. Taking up suggestions from Herman Dooyeweerd and Henri Blocher, I propose an alternative framework for divine action in the world. (...) It takes creation as the starting-point to understand the world and leads to a non-reductionist, multidimensional picture of reality. (shrink)
Like every major new technology, genetic engineering is affecting the hopes and fears of many people. The risks involved are perceived differently by different groups. One group regards genetic engineering as a simple extension of older techniques with no special risks, e.g. traditional breeding. This conservative denial of special risks is confronted with a different kind of conservatism from a group which, in the name of the preservation of nature, opposes any kind of genetic engineering. A third group, rooted in (...) the liberal tradition, is prepared to accept the risks of genetic engineering as long as they are outweighed by prospective benefits. The liberal as well as the two conservative approaches, however, face serious difficulties in trying to develop a sound ethical argument concerning genetic engineering. In order to avoid these difficulties, an ethical approach focused on paradigmatic examples of good and evil is proposed. Such examples constitute rules of moral description, much as standards of measurement constitute rules of physical description. These rules are elaborated and interpreted in processes of social learning. In the present state of development of genetic engineering, such social learning requires appropriate institutional procedures. (shrink)
It has been suggested (cf. Sinha et al. in Science 329:418, 2010) that the Born rule for quantum probability could be violated. It has also been suggested that, in a generalized version of quantum mechanical probability theory such as that proposed by Sorkin (Mod. Phys. Lett. A 9:3119, 1994) there might occur deviations from the predictions of quantum probability in cases where more than two paths are available to a self-interfering system. These would lead to additional contributions to interference. Here, (...) these ideas, some in the theoretical context and some in the experimental context, are briefly reviewed and pragmatically extended to situations involving bipartite systems, so that corresponding interference enhancement due to entanglement might be witnessed. (shrink)
Recent years have seen a surge in accounts motivated by information theory that consider language production to be partially driven by a preference for communicative efficiency. Evidence from discourse production (i.e., production beyond the sentence level) has been argued to suggest that speakers distribute information across discourse so as to hold the conditional per-word entropy associated with each word constant, which would facilitate efficient information transfer (Genzel & Charniak, 2002). This hypothesis implies that the conditional (contextualized) probabilities of linguistic units (...) affect speakers’ preferences during production. Here, we extend this work in two ways. First, we explore how preceding cues are integrated into contextualized probabilities, a question which so far has received little to no attention. Specifically, we investigate how a cue's maximal informativity about upcoming words (the cue's effectiveness) decays as a function of the cue's recency. Based on properties of linguistic discourses as well as properties of human memory, we analytically derive a model of cue effectiveness decay and evaluate it against cross-linguistic data from 12 languages. Second, we relate the information theoretic accounts of discourse production to well-established mechanistic (activation-based) accounts: We relate contextualized probability distributions over words to their relative activation in a lexical network given preceding discourse. (shrink)
Previous research has identified two moral orientations in people's reasoning about moral dilemmas: an orientation to rights, fairness, and justice and another based on care, compassion and concern for others and the self. To investigate the association of political violence and ethnic conflict with children's preferred moral orientation, two studies were conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the first with 10-12-year-olds and the second with 6-8- and 9-11-year-olds. In the first study, children's solutions to dilemmas involving animal characters were most likely (...) to reflect an orientation to care and concern rather than to justice and fairness. In the second study, children who responded to stories involving humans were even more likely to offer solutions from the care perspective than those who heard stories about animals. No consistent gender differences were observed. These results were generally similar to those from North American samples; however, the content of Bosnian children's responses also reflected their experiences with displacement and their concerns about the role of physical power in conflict resolution. (shrink)