Modality, morality and belief are among the most controversial topics in philosophy today, and few philosophers have shaped these debates as deeply as Ruth Barcan Marcus. Inspired by her work, a distinguished group of philosophers explore these issues, refine and sharpen arguments and develop new positions on such topics as possible worlds, moral dilemmas, essentialism, and the explanation of actions by beliefs. This 'state of the art' collection honours one of the most rigorous and iconoclastic of philosophical pioneers.
Marcus argues that moral dilemmas are real, but that they are not the result of inconsistent moral principles. Moral principles are consistent just in case there is some world where all principles are 'obeyable.' They are inconsistent just in case there is no world where all are 'obeyable.' What this logical point is meant to show is that moral dilemmas do not make moral codes inconsistent. She also discusses guilt, and argues that guilt is still appropriate even in cases (...) of conflict, even when the agent thinks the right thing to do is clear. (shrink)
How do models give us knowledge? The case of Carnot’s ideal heat engine Content Type Journal Article Category Original paper in Philosophy of Science Pages 309-334 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0029-3 Authors Tarja Knuuttila, Theoretical Philosophy, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 24, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland Mieke Boon, Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, Postbox 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 3.
Introduction: philosophy of science in practice Content Type Journal Article Category Editorial Article Pages 303-307 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0036-4 Authors Rachel Ankeny, School of History & Politics, University of Adelaide, Napier Building, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia Hasok Chang, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RH UK Marcel Boumans, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam, Valckenierstraat 65-67, 1018 XE Amsterdam, The Netherlands Mieke Boon, Department of Philosophy, University (...) of Twente, Postbox 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 3. (shrink)
Based on her earlier ground-breaking axiomatization of quantified modal logic, the papers collected here by the distinguished philosopher Ruth Barcan Marcus cover much ground in the development of her thought, spanning from 1961 to 1990. The first essay here introduces themes initially viewed as iconoclastic, such as the necessity of identity, the directly referential role of proper names as "tags", the Barcan Formula about the interplay of possibility and existence, and alternative interpretations of quantification. Marcus also addresses the (...) putative puzzles about substitutivity and about essentialism. The collection also includes influential essays on moral conflict, on belief and rationality, and on some historical figures. Many of her views have been incorporated into current theories, while others remain part of a continuing debate. (shrink)
The ICE-theory of technical functions Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-22 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9642-9 Authors E. Weber, Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Ghent University (UGent), Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent, Belgium T. A. C. Reydon, Institute of Philosophy, Leibniz University Hannover, Im Moore 21, 30167 Hannover, Germany M. Boon, Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands W. Houkes, Philosophy and Ethics, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB (...) Eindhoven, The Netherlands P. E. Vermaas, Department of Philosophy, Delft University of Technology, Jaffalaan 5, 2628 BX Delft, The Netherlands Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
Metaphysics and language: Quine, W. V. O. On the individuation of attributes. Körner, S. On some relations between logic and metaphysics. Marcus, R. B. Does the principle of substitutivity rest on a mistake? Van Fraassen, B. C. Platonism's pyrrhic victory. Martin, R. M. On some prepositional relations. Kearns, J. T. Sentences and propositions.--Basic and combinatorial logic: Orgass, R. J. Extended basic logic and ordinal numbers. Curry, H. B. Representation of Markov algorithms by combinators.--Implication and consistency: Anderson, A. R. Fitch (...) on consistency. Belnap, N. D., Jr. Grammatical propaedeutic. Thomason, R. H. Decidability in the logic of conditionals. Myhill, J. Levels of implication.--Deontic, epistemic, and erotetic logic: Bacon, J. Belief as relative knowledge. Wu, K. J. Believing and disbelieving. Kordig, C. R. Relativized deontic modalities. Harrah, D. A system for erotetic sentences. (shrink)
I argue that zombies are inconceivable. More precisely, I argue that the conceivability-intuition that is used to demonstrate their possibility has been misconstrued. Thought experiments alleged to feature zombies founder on the fact that, on the one hand, they _must_ involve first-person imagining, and yet, on the other hand, _cannot_. Philosophers who take themselves to have imagined zombies have unwittingly conflated imagining a creature who lacks consciousness with imagining a creature without also imagining the consciousness it may or may not (...) possess. (shrink)
Abstract: It is generally accepted that the most serious threat to the possibility of mental causation is posed by the causal self-sufficiency of physical causal processes. I argue, however, that this feature of the world, which I articulate in principle I call Completeness, in fact poses no genuine threat to mental causation. Some find Completeness threatening to mental causation because they confuse it with a stronger principle, which I call Closure. Others do not simply conflate Completeness and Closure, but (...) hold that Completeness, together with certain plausible assumptions, _entails_ Closure. I refute the most fully worked-out version of such an argument. Finally, some find Completeness all by itself threatening to mental causation. I argue that one will only find Completeness threatening if one operates with a philosophically distorted conception of mental causation. I thereby defend what I call naïve realism about mental causation. (shrink)
There has been much written in recent years about whether a pair of subjects could have visual experiences that represented the colors of objects in their environment in precisely the same way, despite differing significantly in what it was like to undergo them, differing that is, in their qualitative character. The possibility of spectrum inversion has been so much debated1 in large part because of the threat that it would pose to the more general doctrine of Intentionalism, according to which (...) the representational content of an experience fixes what it. (shrink)
Alternative readings of quantification are considered. The absence of an unequivocal translation into ordinary speech is noted. Some examples are cited which, in the opinion of the author, are a result of equivocal readings of quantification, or unnecessarily restrictive readings which obscure its primary function.
The thesis that mental states are physical states enjoys widespread popularity. After the abandonment of typeidentity theories, however, this thesis has typically been framed in terms of state tokens. I argue that token states are a philosopher’s fiction, and that debates about the identity of mental and physical state tokens thus rest on a mistake.
Using the example of contemporary Islamic fundamentalism, and especially the writings of Sayyid Qutb, this article raises questions about discourse ethics as a mode of conflict resolution. It appears that discourse ethics is only relevant when all parties have already agreed to settle disputes deliberatively and already share the notions of rational deliberation and individual autonomy. This raises questions not only about the capability of discourse ethics to incorporate a deep plurality of worldviews, but also about its capability to successfully (...) solve disputes. When confronting situations where the willingness to deliberate is absent, discourse ethics is left standing empty handed. This, I argue, is due to both the conceptual distinction between communicative action and strategic action, as well as the abstracted nature of Habermas's discourse ethics. (shrink)
In recent decades, a view of identity I call Sortalism has gained popularity. According to this view, if a is identical to b, then there is some sortal S such that a is the same S as b. Sortalism has typically been discussed with respect to the identity of objects. I argue that the motivations for Sortalism about object-identity apply equally well to event-identity. But Sortalism about event-identity poses a serious threat to the view that mental events are token identical (...) to physical events: A particular mental event m is identical with a particular physical event p only if there is a sortal S such that m and p are both Ss. If there is no such sortal, the doctrine of token-identity is not true. I argue here that we have no good reason for thinking that there is any such sortal. (shrink)
This article outlines a philosophy of science in practice that focuses on the engineering sciences. A methodological issue is that these practices seem to be divided by two different styles of scientific reasoning, namely, causal-mechanistic and mathematical reasoning. These styles are philosophically characterized by what Kuhn called ?disciplinary matrices?. Due to distinct metaphysical background pictures and/or distinct ideas of what counts as intelligible, they entail distinct ideas of the character of phenomena and what counts as a scientific explanation. It is (...) argued that the two styles cannot be reduced to each other. At the same time, although they are incompatible, they must not be regarded as competing. Instead, they produce different kinds of epistemic results, which serve different kinds of epistemic functions. Moreover, some scientific breakthroughs essentially result from relating them. This view of complementary styles of scientific reasoning is supported by pluralism about metaphysical background pictures. (shrink)
This article presents an overview of discussions in the philosophy of technology on epistemological relations between science and technology, illustrating that often several mutually entangled issues are at stake. The focus is on conceptual and ideological issues concerning the relationship between scientific and technological knowledge. It argues that a widely accepted hierarchy between science and technology, which echoes classic conceptions of epistêmê and technê, engendered the need of emancipating technology from science, thus shifting focus to epistemic aspects of engineering design (...) and design methodology at the cost of in-depth philosophical analysis of the role of scientific research in the engineering sciences. Consequently, the majority of current literature on this topic in the philosophy of technology presents technology as almost completely divided from and independent of science, thereby losing sight of the epistemic relations between contemporary scientific practices and technology. (shrink)
Philosophy of mathematics for the last half-century has been dominated in one way or another by Quine’s indispensability argument. The argument alleges that our best scientific theory quantifies over, and thus commits us to, mathematical objects. In this paper, I present new considerations which undermine the most serious challenge to Quine’s argument, Hartry Field’s reformulation of Newtonian Gravitational Theory.
Although regular polysemy [e.g. producer for product (John read Dickens) or container for contents (John drank the bottle)] has been extensively studied, there has been little work on why certain polysemy patterns are more acceptable than others. We take an empirical approach to the question, in particular evaluating an account based on rules against a gradient account of polysemy that is based on various radical pragmatic theories (Fauconnier 1985; Nunberg 1995). Under the gradient approach, possible senses become more acceptable as (...) they become more closely related to a word’s default meaning, and the apparent regularity of polysemy is an artefact of having many similarly structured concepts. Using methods for measuring conceptual structure drawn from cognitive psychology, Study 1 demonstrates that a variety of metrics along which possible senses can be related to a default meaning, including conceptual centrality, cue validity and similarity, are surprisingly poor predictors of whether shifts to those senses are acceptable. Instead, sense acceptability was better explained by rule-based approaches to polysemy (e.g. Copestake & Briscoe 1995). Study 2 replicated this finding using novel word meanings in which the relatedness of possible senses was varied. However, while individual word senses were better predicted by polysemy rules than conceptual metrics, our data suggested that rules (like producer for product) had themselves arisen to mark senses that, aggregated over many similar words, were particularly closely related. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with scientific reasoning in the engineering sciences. Engineering sciences aim at explaining, predicting and describing physical phenomena occurring in technological devices. The focus of this paper is on mathematical description. These mathematical descriptions are important to computer-aided engineering or design programs (CAE and CAD). The first part of this paper explains why a traditional view, according to which scientific laws explain and predict phenomena and processes, is problematic. In the second part, the reasons of these methodological (...) difficulties are analyzed. Ludwig Prandtl’s method of integrating a theoretical and empirical approach is used as an example of good scientific practice. Based on this analysis, a distinction is made between different types of laws that play a role in constructing mathematical descriptions of phenomena. A central assumption in understanding research methodology is that, instead of scientific laws, knowledge of capacities and mechanisms are primary in the engineering sciences. Another important aspect in methodology of the engineering sciences is that in explaining a phenomenon or process spatial regions are distinguished in which distinct physical behaviour occur. The mechanisms in distinct spatial regions are represented in a so-called diagrammatic model. The construction of a mathematical description of the phenomenon or process is based on this diagrammatic model. (shrink)
Rogers & McClelland's (R&M's) précis represents an important effort to address key issues in concepts and categorization, but few of the simulations deliver what is promised. We argue that the models are seriously underconstrained, importantly incomplete, and psychologically implausible; more broadly, R&M dwell too heavily on the apparent successes without comparable concern for limitations already noted in the literature.
Is the human tendency toward musicality better thought of as the product of a specific, evolved instinct or an acquired skill? Developmental and evolutionary arguments are considered, along with issues of domain-specificity. The article also considers the question of why humans might be consistently and intensely drawn to music if musicality is not in fact the product of a specifically evolved instinct.
In this article we, the authors, outline the thematic concerns of our special issue of the Journal of Global Ethics . We argue for a need to engage with notions of violence from an interdisciplinary and transformative perspective. The theoretical framework that provides such a perspective is critical theory, broadly construed. Critical theory has always been concerned with the relation between practice and theory, as well as notions of violence. It is therefore surprising to note that in the current critical (...) theoretical debates a sustained engagement with the theme of violence has largely been sidelined. We argue that critical theory is not only fruitful for the study of conflict and violence, but also that such practical issues can shed and help further develop critical theory itself. (shrink)
Unlike basic sciences, scientific research in advanced technologies aims to explain, predict, and (mathematically) describe not phenomena in nature, but phenomena in technological artefacts, thereby producing knowledge that is utilized in technological design. This article first explains why the covering-law view of applying science is inadequate for characterizing this research practice. Instead, the covering-law approach and causal explanation are integrated in this practice. Ludwig Prandtl's approach to concrete fluid flows is used as an example of scientific research in the engineering (...) sciences. A methodology of distinguishing between regions in space and/or phases in time that show distinct physical behaviours is specific to this research practice. Accordingly, two types of models specific to the engineering sciences are introduced. The diagrammatic model represents the causal explanation of physical behaviour in distinct spatial regions or time phases; the nomo-mathematical model represents the phenomenon in terms of a set of mathematically formulated laws. (shrink)
Criteria that aim to dichotomize cognition into rules and similarity are destined to fail because rules and similarity are not in genuine conflict. It is possible for a given cognitive domain to exploit rules without similarity, similarity without rules, or both (rules and similarity) at the same time.
The access problem for mathematics arises from the supposition that the referents of mathematical terms inhabit a realm separate from us. Quine’s approach in the philosophy of mathematics dissolves the access problem, though his solution sometimes goes unrecognized, even by those who rely on his framework. This paper highlights both Quine’s position and its neglect. I argue that Michael Resnik’s structuralist, for example, has no access problem for the so-called mathematical objects he posits, despite recent criticism, since he relies on (...) an indispensability argument. Still, Resnik’s structuralist does not provide an account of our access to traditional mathematical objects, and this may be seen as a problem. (shrink)