This article examines some of the contributions to the contemporary debate over the question of whether there is an important distinction to be made between the natural and the human sciences. In particular, the article looks at the arguments that Charles Taylor has put forward for the recognition of a radical discontinuity between these forms of science and then examines Richard Rorty's objections to Taylor's distinction and argues that Rorty misunderstands the reasons for this distinction and thereby misses the political (...) implications of failing to make such a distinction. In this regard, some arguments made by Anthony Giddens and John O'Neill, respectively, around Alfred Schutz's "postulate of adequacy" are used to show how the social sciences must be conceived so as to avoid consequences inimical to the reproduction and maintenance of participatory, democratic institutions. Additionally, the article uses O'Neill's argument that the Schutzian conceptualization of interpretive sciences can be critical in a way that Giddens and Jürgen Habermas require, while including a translation and accountability principle, to demonstrate how we ought to respect participatory, democratic forms. (shrink)
In this paper we explore the practice of interdisciplinarity by examining how the UK research councils addressed the problem of the sustainable city during the 1990s. In developing their research programmes, the councils recognised that the problems of the sustainable city transcended conventional disciplinary boundaries and that an interdisciplinary approach was needed. In practice, however, initially radical proposals to research the city as a complex combination of science and technology and society contracted into more cognate collaborations that emphasised either science (...) or technology or society, with the result that interdisciplinarity came to be located within research councils rather than between them. This, in turn, led to the development of a third kind of interdisciplinarity as the responsibility for making the connections between the research programmes was outsourced to the user communities—the local authorities. Unfortunately, local authorities struggled to find the resources to conduct this work so that the radical interdisciplinarity recommended at the start of the decade remained unaccomplished at the end. In describing these events we emphasise roles of paradigms and epistemic cultures in shaping research approaches and the complications they raise for the triangulation between approaches that is assumed in the idea of interdisciplinarity. We do not wish to be entirely negative, however, and conclude by suggesting some ways in which the quality and success of this much-needed interdisciplinary work could be increased. (shrink)
In this issue, we carry an article which we invited Prof. Marvin Minsky to write about his invention of the confocal scanning microscope. This is not a question of recognizing priority for a scientific insight or discovery. It is much more a question of raising the problem of how it can be possible that such an immensely important idea can go unrecognized for such a very long period. It may possibly be the case that after more research we find (...) that yet another person discovered the same idea. That does not matter. The fact is that Minsky invented such a microscope identical with the concept later developed extensively by Egger and Davidovits at Yale and by Shepherd and Wilson in Oxford and Brakenhoff and colleagues in Amsterdam etc. The circumstances are also remarkable in that Minsky only published his invention as a patent. Yet he not only built a microscope and made it work and it was the kind of prototype of which we would be proud but he showed it to a number of people who went away impressed but nevertheless failed to adopt the concept. (shrink)
What do corporations look like when they have integrity, and how can we move more companies in that direction? Corporate Integrity offers a timely, comprehensive framework- and practical business lessons - bringing together questions of organizational design, communication practices, working relationships, and leadership styles to answer this question. Marvin T. Brown explores the five key challenges facing modern businesses as they try to respond ethically to cultural, interpersonal, organizational, civic and environmental challenges. He demonstrates that if corporations are to (...) meet the needs of civil society, they must facilitate inclusive communication patterns based on mutual recognition and civic cooperation. Corporate Integrity is essential reading for professionals in organizational ethics, business leaders, and graduate students looking for practical and reflective insights into doing business with integrity and purpose. (shrink)
Derek Parfit's “reductionist” account of personal identity (including the rejection of anything like a soul) is coupled with the rejection of a commonsensical intuition of essential self-unity, as in his defense of the counter-intuitive claim that “identity does not matter.” His argument for this claim is based on reflection on the possibility of personal fission. To the contrary, Simon Blackburn claims that the “unity reaction” to fission has an absolute grip on practical reasoning. Now David Lewis denied Parfit's claim that (...) reductionism contravenes common sense, so I revisit the debate between Parfit and Lewis, showing why Parfit wins it. Is reductionism about persons then inherently at odds with the unity reaction? Not necessarily; David Velleman presents a reductionist theory according to which fission does not conflict with the unity reaction. Nonetheless, relying on the distinction between person level descriptions of first-person states and the first-person perspective itself, I argue that Velleman's theory does not eliminate fission-based conflict with the unity reaction. Footnotesa * Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the philosophy departments at Rutgers University and Bowling Green State University. I am indebted to many members of these audiences, and to the other contributors to this volume, for their comments—especially Frank Arntzenius, Michael Bradie, David Copp, John Finnis, Jerry Fodor, Brian Loar, Barry Loewer, Colin McGinn, Fred Miller, Mark Moyer, David Oderberg, Marya Schechtman, David Schmidtz, David Sobel, and Sara Worley. Special thanks to David Sanford. I am also grateful to graduate students in my seminar at Bowling Green during the spring of 2003, for urging me to take seriously the grip of the unity reaction; I am especially grateful for the comments of Nico Maloberti, Jonathan Miller, John Milliken, Robyn Peabody, Jennifer Sproul, Jessica Teaman, and Sherisse Webb. (shrink)
“Great pain urges all animals, and has urged them during endless generations, to make the most violent and diversified efforts to escape from the cause of suffering. Even when a limb or other separate part of the body is hurt, we often see a tendency to shake it, as if to shake off the cause, though this may obviously be impossible.” —Charles Darwin.
Everyone wants wisdom and wealth. Nevertheless, our health often gives out before we achieve them. To lengthen our lives, and improve our minds, in the future we will need to change our our bodies and brains. To that end, we first must consider how normal Darwinian evolution brought us to where we are. Then we must imagine ways in which future replacements for worn body parts might solve most problems of failing health. We must then invent strategies to augment our (...) brains and gain greater wisdom. Eventually we will entirely replace our brains -- using nanotechnology. Once delivered from the limitations of biology, we will be able to decide the length of our lives--with the option of immortality-- and choose among other, unimagined capabilities as well. (shrink)
This paper approaches the question of corporate integrity and leadership from a civic perspective, which means that corporations are seen as members of civil society, corporate members are seen as citizens, and corporate decisions are guided by civic norms. Corporate integrity, from this perspective, requires that the communication patterns that constitute interpersonal relationships at work exhibit the civic norm of reciprocity and acknowledge the need for security and the right to participate. Since leaders are members of corporate relationships, their integrity (...) will be determined by the integrity of these interpersonal relationships, and by their efforts to improve them. (shrink)
Most people think computers will never be able to think. That is, really think. Not now or ever. To be sure, most people also agree that computers can do many things that a person would have to be thinking to do. Then how could a machine seem to think but not actually think? Well, setting aside the question of what thinking actually is, I think that most of us would answer that by saying that in these cases, what the computer (...) is doing is merely a superficial imitation of human intelligence. It has been designed to obey certain simple commands, and then it has been provided with programs composed of those commands. Because of this, the computer has to obey those commands, but without any idea of what's happening. (shrink)
The essence of a mental event such as self-deception lies in its function – its place in the life of an animal. But the function of self-deception corresponds to that of interpersonal deception. Therefore self-deception, contrary to Mele's thesis, is essentially isomorphic with interpersonal deception.
For two hundred years materialist philosophers have argued that man is some sort of machine. The claim began with French materialists of the Enlightenment such as Pierre Cabanis, Julien La Mettrie, and Baron d’Holbach (La Mettrie even wrote a book titled Man the Machine). Likewise contemporary materialists like Marvin Minsky, Daniel Dennett, and Patricia Churchland claim that the motions and modifications of matter are sufficient to account for all human experiences, even our interior and cognitive ones. Whereas the Enlightenment (...) philosophes might have thought of humans in terms of gear mechanisms and fluid flows, contemporary materialists think of humans in terms of neurological systems and computational devices. The idiom has been updated, but the underlying impulse to reduce mind to matter remains unchanged. (shrink)
A study of 513 executives researched decisions involving ethics, relationships and results. Analyzing personal values, organization role and level, career stage, gender and sex role with decisions in ten scenarios produced conclusions about both the role of gender, subjective values, and the other study variables and about situational relativity, gender stereotypes, career stages, and future research opportunities.
It seems to me that the ingredients of most theories both in Artificial Intelligence and in Psychology have been on the whole too minute, local, and unstructured to account–either practically or phenomenologically–for the effectiveness of common-sense thought. The "chunks" of reasoning, language, memory, and "perception" ought to be larger and more structured; their factual and procedural contents must be more intimately connected in order to explain the apparent power and speed of mental activities.
§3-1. Being in Pain................................................................................................ .............................................. 1 §3-2. Why does Persistent Pain lead to Suffering?.......................................................................................... .... 2 §3-3. The Machinery of Suffering........................................................................................... ............................ 4..
Some computer programs are expert at some games. Other programs can recognize some words. Yet other programs are highly competent at solving certain technical problems. However, each of those programs is specialized, and no existing program today shows the common sense or resourcefulness of a typical two-year-old child—and certainly, no program can yet understand a typical sentence from a child’s first-grade storybook. Nor can any program today can look around a room and then identify the things that meet its eyes.
Wigner found unreasonable the "effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences". But if the mathematics we use to describe nature is simply a carefully coded expression of our experience then its effectiveness is quite reasonable. Its effectiveness is built into its design. We consider group theory, the logic of symmetry. We examine the premise that symmetry is identity; that group theory encodes our experience of identification. To decide whether group theory describes the world in such an elemental way we catalogue (...) the detailed correspondence between elements of the physical world and elements of the formalism. Providing an unequivocal match between concept and mathematical statement completes the case. It makes effectiveness appear reasonable. The case that symmetry is identity is a strong one but it is not complete. The further validation required suggests that unexpected entities might be describable by the irreducible representations of group theory. (shrink)
Newell and Simon’s seminal Human Problem Solving (1972) characterized a problem in terms of a goal state, a starting state, and a set of transition rules which define legitimate transitions from one state to another.1 Problem solving thus becomes a process of searching through a set of alternative states (the "problem space") in an effort to find a path leading from starting state to the goal state. The search process can be guided by heuristic principles which function to reduce the (...) problem space by judging some alternatives to be more worthy of exploration than others. This characterization of a problem and the problem solving process fits well the nature of deductive proof construction. Premise(s) and conclusion play the role of starting state and goal state, and valid rules of transformation serve as rules of legitimate transition among states. In fact, Human Problem Solving empirically investigated three particular problem solving tasks, and one of these is proof construction.... in sentential logic using an inferencereplacement rule set. This empirical research identifies several strategies which facilitate problem solving, such as means-ends reasoning, difference reduction, and working backwards from goal toward starting state. As detailed below, these methods have obvious applications to proof construction as taught in logic textbooks. Newell and Simon’s aim was to explain and predict the actual behavior of problem solvers. Beyond this, however, their empirical findings have normative consequences for how problem solvers should behave if they want to be successful. Moreover, these findings can have normative pedagogical consequences for the teaching of proof construction. (shrink)
This is a revised version of AI Memo No. 616, MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. An earlier published version appeared in Music, Mind, and Brain: The Neuropsychology of Music (Manfred Clynes, ed.) Plenum, New York, 1981 Why Do We Like Music? Why do we like music? Our culture immerses us in it for hours each day, and everyone knows how it touches our emotions, but few think of how music touches other kinds of thought. It is astonishing how little curiosity we (...) have about so pervasive an "environmental" influence. What might we discover if we were to study musical thinking? (shrink)
President Kennedy once said, “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.” The purpose of my presentation this evening is to show why a strike against Iraq is dangerous, unjustified, and unnecessary. Since Saddam Hussein has not engaged in any aggressive behavior since the Gulf War, launching an attack would be pre-emptive in nature.
There is an argument against abortion that should be rejected. It is the argument that abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, and since the killing of an innocent human being is immoral, abortion is therefore immoral. The major premise should be corrected to read: ?Generally speaking, the killing of innocent human beings is immoral'; for in some situations morality demands the killing of the innocent. Moreover, given the deep structure of English and the differences between unborn and (...) born progeny, the question of whether a human fetus is a human being is best answered in the negative. (shrink)
Background. As the development and use of genetic tests have increased, so have concerns regarding the uses of genetic information. Genetic discrimination, the differential treatment of individuals based on real or perceived differences in their genomes, is a recently described form of discrimination. The range and significance of experiences associated with this form of discrimination are not yet well known and are investigated in this study. Methods. Individuals at-risk to develop a genetic condition and parents of children with specific genetic (...) conditions were surveyed by questionnaire for reports of genetic discrimination. A total of 27,790 questionnaires were sent out by mail. Of 917 responses received, 206 were followed up with telephone interviews. The responses were analyzed regarding circumstances of the alleged discrimination, the institutions involved, issues relating to the redress of grievances, and strategies to avoid discrimination. (shrink)
As a key concept in the social sciences, alienation refers to various mental states, often identified by such terms as ?powerlessness?, ?meaninglessness?, ?anomic?, etc. Recent advances in sociological theory permit us to indicate systematically the social conditions linked to these states. A simple though exhaustive typology of the social sources of alienation? is here presented. To illustrate the typology, examples of alienation are drawn from the writings of classical and contemporary social theorists.
Two interstellar aliens have come to assess the life-forms of Earth. The human life-forms will be entitled to rights--if the aliens can conclude that they think. Most such decisions are easy to make-- -- but this case is unusual.
This chapter attempts to explain why people become confused by questions about the relation between mental and physical events. When a question leads to confused, inconsistent answers, this may be because the question is ultimately meaningless or at least unanswerable, but it may also be because an adequate answer requires a powerful analytical apparatus. It is the author's view that many important questions about the relation between mind and brain are of that second kind, and that some of the necessary (...) technical and conceptual tools are becoming available as a result of work on the problems of making computer programs behave intelligently. We shall suggest a theory to explain why introspection does not give clear answers to these questions. Technical solutions to the questions will not be attempted, but there is probably some value in finding at least a clear explanation of why we are confused. (shrink)
Mathematical proofs generally allow for various levels of detail and conciseness, such that they can be adapted for a particular audience or purpose. Using automated reasoning approaches for teaching proof construction in mathematics presupposes that the step size of proofs in such a system is appropriate within the teaching context. This work proposes a framework that supports the granularity analysis of mathematical proofs, to be used in the automated assessment of students' proof attempts and for the presentation of hints and (...) solutions at a suitable pace. Models for granularity are represented by classifiers, which can be generated by hand or inferred from a corpus of sample judgments via machine-learning techniques. This latter procedure is studied by modeling granularity judgments from four experts. The results provide support for the granularity of assertion-level proofs but also illustrate a degree of subjectivity in assessing step size. (shrink)
We tend to think of knowledge in positive terms -- and of experts as people who know what to do. But a 'negative' way to seem competent is, simply, never to make mistakes. How much of what we learn to do -- and learn to think -- is of this other variety? It is hard to tell, experimentally, because knowledge about what not to do never appears in behavior. And it is also difficult to assess, psychologically, because many of (...) the judgments that we traditionally regard as positive -- such as beauty, humor, pleasure, and decisiveness -- may actually reflect the workings of unconscious double negatives. (shrink)
You don a comfortable jacket lined with sensors and muscle-like motors. Each motion of your arm, hand, and fingers is reproduced at another place by mobile, mechanical hands. Light, dexterous, and strong, these hands have their own sensors through which you see and feel what is happening. Using this instrument, you can "work" in another room, in another city, in another country, or on another planet. Your remote presence possesses the strength of a giant or the delicacy of a surgeon. (...) Heat or pain is translated into informative but tolerable sensation. Your dangerous job becomes safe and pleasant. (shrink)
This article advances the view that propositional logic can and should be taught within general education logic courses in ways that emphasizes its practical usefulness, much beyond what commonly occurs in logic textbooks. Discussion and examples of this relevance include database searching, understanding structured documents, and integrating concepts of proof construction with argument analysis. The underlying rationale for this approach is shown to have import for questions concerning the design of logic courses, textbooks, and the general education curriculum, particularly the (...) sequencing of formal and informal logic courses. (shrink)