"But science in the making, science as an end to be pursued, is as subjective and psychologically conditioned as any other branch of human endeavor-- so much so that the question, What is the purpose and meaning of science? receives quite different answers at different times and from different sorts of people" (Einstein 1934, p. 112).
Plato on Knowledge and Forms brings together a set of connected essays by Gail Fine, in her main area of research since the late 1970s: Plato's metaphysics and epistemology. She discusses central issues in Plato's metaphysics and epistemology, issues concerning the nature and extent of knowledge, and its relation to perception, sensibles, and forms; and issues concerning the nature of forms, such as whether they are universals or particulars, separate or immanent, and whether they are causes. A specially written (...) introduction draws together the themes of the volume, which will reward the attention of anyone interested in Plato or in ancient metaphysics and epistemology. (shrink)
Kit Fine develops a Fregean theory of abstraction, and suggests that it may yield a new philosophical foundation for mathematics, one that can account for both our reference to various mathematical objects and our knowledge of various mathematical truths. The Limits of Abstraction breaks new ground both technically and philosophically.
Introducing a new and ambitious position in the field, Kit Fine’s Semantic Relationism is a major contribution to the philosophy of language. Written by one of today’s most respected philosophers Argues for a fundamentally new approach to the study of representation in language and thought Proposes that there may be representational relationships between expressions or elements of thought that are not grounded in the intrinsic representational features of the expressions or elements themselves Forms part of the prestigious new Blackwell/Brown (...) Lectures in Philosophy series, based on an ongoing series of lectures by today’s leading philosophers. (shrink)
The Peri ide^on (On Ideas) is the only work in which Aristotle systematically sets out and criticizes arguments for the existence of Platonic forms. Gail Fine presents the first full-length treatment in English of this important but neglected work. She asks how, and how well, Aristotle understands Plato's theory of forms, and why and with what justification he favors an alternative metaphysical scheme. She examines the significance of the Peri ide^on for some central questions about Plato's theory of forms--whether, (...) for example, there are forms corresponding to every property or only to some, and if only to some, then to which ones; whether forms are universals, particulars or both; and whether they are meanings, properties or both. Fine also provides a general discussion of Plato's theory of forms, and of our evidence about the Peri ide^on and its date, scope, and aims. While she pays careful attention to the details of the text, she also relates it to contemporary philosophical concerns. The book will be valuable for anyone interested in metaphysics ancient or modern. (shrink)
In this new edition, Arthur Fine looks at Einstein's philosophy of science and develops his own views on realism. A new Afterword discusses the reaction to Fine's own theory. "What really led Einstein . . . to renounce the new quantum order? For those interested in this question, this book is compulsory reading."--Harvey R. Brown, American Journal of Physics "Fine has successfully combined a historical account of Einstein's philosophical views on quantum mechanics and a discussion of some (...) of the philosophical problems associated with the interpretation of quantum theory with a discussion of some of the contemporary questions concerning realism and antirealism. . . . Clear, thoughtful, [and] well-written."--Allan Franklin, Annals of Science "Attempts, from Einstein's published works and unpublished correspondence, to piece together a coherent picture of 'Einstein realism.' Especially illuminating are the letters between Einstein and fellow realist Schrodinger, as the latter was composing his famous 'Schrodinger-Cat' paper."--Nick Herbert, New Scientist "Beautifully clear. . . . Fine's analysis is penetrating, his own results original and important. . . . The book is a splendid combination of new ways to think about quantum mechanics, about realism, and about Einstein's views of both."--Nancy Cartwright, Isis. (shrink)
Ben Fine traces the origins of social capital through the work of Becker, Bourdieu and Coleman and comprehensively reviews the literature across the social sciences. The text is uniquely critical of social capital, explaining how it avoids a proper confrontation with political economy and has become chaotic. This highly topical text addresses some major themes, including the shifting relationship between economics and other social sciences, the 'publish or perish' concept currently burdening scholarly integrity, and how a social science interdisciplinarity (...) requires a place for political economy together with cultural and social theory. (shrink)
“Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence” is a slogan that is popular among scientists and nonscientists alike. This article assesses its truth by using a probabilistic tool, the Law of Likelihood. Qualitative questions (“Is E evidence about H ?”) and quantitative questions (“How much evidence does E provide about H ?”) are both considered. The article discusses the example of fossil intermediates. If finding a fossil that is phenotypically intermediate between two extant species provides evidence that those species have (...) a common ancestor, does failing to find such a fossil constitute evidence that there was no common ancestor? Or should the failure merely be chalked up to the imperfection of the fossil record? The transitivity of the evidence relation in simple causal chains provides a broader context, which leads to discussion of the fine-tuning argument, the anthropic principle, and observation selection effects. (shrink)
Jonathan Weisberg (2010 ) argues that, given that life exists, the fact that the universe is fine-tuned for life does not confirm the design hypothesis. And if the fact that life exists confirms the design hypothesis, fine-tuning is irrelevant. So either way, fine-tuning has nothing to do with it. I will defend a design argument that survives Weisberg’s critique — the fact that life exists supports the design hypothesis, but it only does so given fine-tuning.
Jan Greben criticized fine-tuning by taking seriously the idea that “nature is quantum mechanical”. I argue that this quantum view is limited, and that fine-tuning is real, in the sense that our current physical models require fine-tuning. Second, I examine and clarify many difficult and fundamental issues raised by Rüdiger Vaas’ comments on Cosmological Artificial Selection.
Could God have created a better universe? Well, the fundamental scientific laws and parameters of the universe have to be within a certain miniscule range, for a life-sustaining universe to develop: the universe must be ‘Fine Tuned’. Therefore the ‘embryonic universe’ that came into existence with the ‘big bang’ had to be either exactly as it was or within a certain tiny range, for there to develop a life-sustaining universe. If it is better that there exist a life-sustaining universe (...) than not, then it was better that the embryonic universe was one of this small set of very similar embryonic universes than that it was not. Furthermore, there are no firm grounds for claiming that of this small set of very similar embryonic universes, there is one which would have developed into a universe better than ours. Therefore there are no firm grounds for claiming that God could have created a better universe than ours. (shrink)
Roger White (God and design, Routledge, London, 2003) claims that while the fine-tuning of our universe, $\alpha $ , may count as evidence for a designer, it cannot count as evidence for a multiverse. First, I will argue that his considerations are only correct, if at all, for a limited set of multiverses that have particular features. As a result, I will argue that his claim cannot be generalised as a statement about all multiverses. This failure to generalise, I (...) will argue, is also a feature of design hypotheses. That is, design hypotheses can likewise be made insensitive or sensitive to the evidence of fine-tuning as we please. Second, I will argue that White is mistaken about the role that this evidence plays in fine-tuning discussions. That is, even if the evidence of fine-tuning appears to support one particular hypothesis more strongly than another, this does not always help us in deciding which hypothesis to prefer. (shrink)
The objective of this paper is analyzing to which extent the multiverse hypothesis provides a real explanation of the peculiarities of the laws and constants in our universe. First we argue in favor of the thesis that all multiverses except Tegmark’s “mathematical multiverse” are too small to explain the fine tuning, so that they merely shift the problem up one level. But the “mathematical multiverse" is surely too large. To prove this assessment, we have performed a number of experiments (...) with cellular automata of complex behavior, which can be considered as universes in the mathematical multiverse. The analogy between what happens in some automata (in particular Conway’s “Game of Life") and the real world is very strong. But if the results of our experiments can be extrapolated to our universe, we should expect to inhabit—in the context of the multiverse—a world in which at least some of the laws and constants of nature should show a certain time dependence. Actually, the probability of our existence in a world such as ours would be mathematically equal to zero. In consequence, the results presented in this paper can be considered as an inkling that the hypothesis of the multiverse, whatever its type, does not offer an adequate explanation for the peculiarities of the physical laws in our world. (shrink)
Fine-tuning arguments are a frequent find in the literature on quantum field theory. They are based on naturalness—an aesthetic criterion that was given a precise definition in the debates on the Higgs mechanism. We follow the history of such definitions and of their application at the scale of electroweak symmetry breaking. They give rise to a special interpretation of probability, which we call Gedankenfrequency. Finally, we show that the argument from naturalness has been extended to comparing different models of (...) the physics beyond the Standard Model and that naturalness in this case can at best be understood a socio-historic heuristic. (shrink)
It is shown how certain generic extensions of a fine structural model in the sense of Mitchell and Steel [MiSt] can be reorganized as relativizations of the model to the generic object. This is then applied to the construction of Steel's core model for one Woodin cardinal [St] and its generalizations.
This essay focuses on how we embody the language we speak: how an audience "reads" the body of a speaker as it both constructs the positionality of that speaking subject and construes that subject's discursive authority. Building on the work of Linda Brodkey and MichelleFine, I explore what is at stake when university students harass a faculty member by accusing that teacher of not embodying authority in the proper form (body).
We extend the construction of a global square sequence in extender models from Zeman  to a construction of coherent non-threadable sequences and give a characterization of stationary reflection at inaccessibles similar to Jensen’s characterization in L.
It is widely held that propositions are structured entities. In The Nature and Structure of Content (2007), Jeff King argues that the structure of propositions is none other than the syntactic structure deployed by the speaker/hearers who linguistically produce and consume the sentences that express the propositions. The present paper generalises from King’s position and claims that syntax provides the best in-principle account of propositional structure. It further seeks to show, however, that the account faces serve problems pertaining to the (...)fine individuation of propositions that the account entails. The ‘fineness of cut’ problem has been raised by Collins (The unity of linguistic meaning, 2007) and others. King (Philos Stud 163(3):763–781, 2013) responds to these complaints in ways this paper rebuts. Thus, the very idea of structured propositions is brought into doubt, for the best in-principle account of such structure appears to fail. (shrink)
The Fine-Tuning Argument (FTA) is a variant of the Design Argument for the existence of God. In this paper the evidence of fine-tuning is explained and the Fine-Tuning Design Argument for God is presented. Then two objections are covered. The first objection is that fine-tuning can be explained in terms of the existence of multiple universes (the 'multiverse') plus the operation of the anthropic principle. The second objection is the 'normalizability problem'– the objection that the (...) class='Hi'>Fine-Tuning Argument fails because fine-tuning is not actually improbable. (shrink)
The universe appears fine-tuned for life. Bayesian confirmation theory is utilized to examine two competing explanations for this fine-tuning, namely design (theism) and the existence of many universes, in comparison with the ’null’ hypothesis that just one universe exists as a brute fact. Some authors have invoked the so-called ’inverse gambler’s fallacy’ to argue that the many-universes hypothesis does not explain the fine-tuning of ’this’ universe, but flaws in this argument are exposed. Nevertheless, the hypothesis of design, (...) being simpler, is arguably of higher prior probability and, therefore, to be preferred. The hypothesis of the single brute-fact universe is disconfirmed. (shrink)
The argument from fine tuning is supposed to establish the existence of God from the fact that the evolution of carbon-based life requires the laws of physics and the boundary conditions of the universe to be more or less as they are. We demonstrate that this argument fails. In particular, we focus on problems associated with the role probabilities play in the argument. We show that, even granting the fine tuning of the universe, it does not follow that (...) the universe is improbable, thus no explanation of the fine tuning, theistic or otherwise, is required. (shrink)
A frequent objection to the fine-tuning argument has been that although certain necessary conditions for life were admittedly exceedingly improbable, still, the many possible alternative sets of conditions were all equally improbable, so that no special significance is to be attached to the realization of the conditions of life. Some authors, however, have rejected this objection as fallacious. The object of this paper is to state the objection to the fine-tuning argument in a more telling form than has (...) been done hitherto, and to meet the charge of fallacy. (shrink)
Elliott Sober has recently argued that the cosmological design argument is unsound, since our observation of cosmic fine-tuning is subject to an observation selection effect (OSE). I argue that this view commits Sober to rejecting patently correct design inferences in more mundane scenarios. I show that Sober's view, that there are OSEs in those mundane cases, rests on a confusion about what information an agent ought to treat as background when evaluating likelihoods. Applying this analysis to the design argument (...) shows that our observation of fine-tuning is not rendered uninformative by an OSE. Design and the Anthropic Objection Previous responses to the Anthropic Objection Variations: experimental squads and survivor reunions Why there is no OSE in firing squad cases Application to the design argument. (shrink)
The fundamental constants that are involved in the laws of physics which describe our universe are finely tuned for life, in the sense that if some of the constants had slightly different values life could not exist. Some people hold that this provides evidence for the existence of God. I will present a probabilistic version of this fine-tuning argument which is stronger than all other versions in the literature. Nevertheless, I will show that one can have reasonable opinions such (...) that the fine-tuning argument doesn't lead to an increase in one's probability for the existence of God. The fine-tuning argument Objective versus subjective probability Observational selection effects The problem of old evidence Against the fine-tuning argument Many universes. (shrink)
Evidence for instances of astrophysical 'fine tuning' (or 'coincidences') is thought by some to lend support to the design argument (i.e. the argument that our universe has been designed by some deity). We assess some of the relevant empirical and conceptual issues. We argue that astrophysical fine tuning calls for some explanation, but this explanation need not appeal to the design argument. A clear and strict separation of the issue of anthropic fine tuning on one hand and (...) any form of Eddingtonian numerology and teleology on the other, may help clarify arguably the most significant issue in the philosophy of cosmology. (shrink)
This paper considers the Bayesian form of the fine-tuning argument as advanced by Richard Swinburne. An expository section aims to identify the precise character of the argument, and three lines of objection are then advanced. The first of these holds that there is an inconsistency in Swinburne's procedure, the second that his argument has an unacceptable dependence on an objectivist theory of value, the third that his method is powerless to single out traditional theism from a vast number (...) of competitors. In the final section of the paper the fine-tuning argument is considered, not now as self-standing, but as one of a number of theistic arguments taken together and applied in the manner of the final chapter of Swinburne's The Existence of God. It is argued that points already made also block the way for this line of thought. (shrink)
Proponents of the Fine-Tuning Argument frequently assume that the narrowness of the life-friendly range of fundamental physical constants implies a low probability for the origin of the universe ‘by chance’. We cast this argument in a more rigorous form than is customary and conclude that the narrow intervals do not yield a probability at all because the resulting measure function is non-normalizable. We then consider various attempts to circumvent this problem and argue that they fail.
I present a novel objection to fine-tuning arguments for God's existence: the metaphysical possibility of different psychophysical laws allows any values of the physical constants to support intelligent life forms, like protons and electrons in love.
There is an ongoing debate over cosmological fine-tuning between those holding that design is the best explanation and those who favor a multiverse. A small group of critics has recently challenged both sides, charging that their probabilistic intuitions are unfounded. If the critics are correct, then a growing literature in both philosophy and physics lacks a mathematical foundation. In this paper, I show that just such a foundation exists. Cosmologists are now providing the kinds of measure-theoretic arguments needed to (...) make the case for fine-tuning. Introduction Probability and infinite sets 2.1 No probability function 2.2 Arbitrary and wrong probability functions The measure of the universe The coarse-tuning objection Arbitrariness and error Conclusion. (shrink)
I offer an interpretation and a partial defense of Kit Fine's ‘Argument from Passage’, which is situated within his reconstruction of McTaggart's paradox. Fine argues that existing A-theoretic approaches to passage are no more dynamic, i.e. capture passage no better, than the B-theory. I argue that this comparative claim is correct. Our intuitive picture of passage, which inclines us towards A-theories, suggests more than coherent A-theories can deliver. In Finean terms, the picture requires not only Realism about tensed (...) facts, but also Neutrality, i.e. the tensed facts not being ‘oriented towards’ one privileged time. However unlike Fine, and unlike others who advance McTaggartian arguments, I take McTaggart's paradox to indicate neither the need for a more dynamic theory of passage nor that time does not pass. A more dynamic theory is not to be had: Fine's ‘non-standard realism’ amounts to no more than a conceptual gesture. But instead of concluding that time does not pass, we should conclude that theories of passage cannot deliver the dynamicity of our intuitive picture. For this reason, a B-theoretic account of passage that simply identifies passage with the succession of times is a serious contender. (shrink)
The Fine-tuning argument takes the existence of life as evidence that an agent had a hand in making the universe. The argument is thought to hinge on the claim that ‘fine-tuning’ of various parameters is required for life to evolve. Jonathan Weisberg argues that even granting that life can provide evidence for design, further data about the fine-tuning required add nothing to the case. Weisberg charges the argument rests on unsupported assumptions about a designer’s preference for a (...)fine-tuned universe (over and above favouring life). I argue that he is mistaken. The assumptions that Weisberg grants (for the sake of argument) are sufficient to make fine-tuning relevant to design. (shrink)
In this article I examine a common objection to the fine-tuning argument (an objection which may be referred to as the atheistic many universes (AMU) objection). A reply to this objection due to Roger White has been the subject of much controversy; White's reply has been criticized by Rodney Holder, on the one hand, and Neil Manson and Michael Thrush on the other. In this paper I analyze Holder's work in an effort to determine whether the AMU objection successfully (...) defeats the fine-tuning argument. I conclude that the fine-tuning argument can be reformulated so as to avoid the AMU objection. (shrink)
The discovery that the universe is fine-tuned for life ? a discovery to which the phrase ?the anthropic principle? is often applied ? has prompted much extra-cosmic speculation by philosophers, theologians, and theoretical physicists. Such speculation is referred to as extra-cosmic because an inference is made to the existence either of one unobservable entity that is distinct from the cosmos and any of its parts (God) or of many such entities (multiple universes). In this article a case is mounted (...) for the sceptical position that cosmic fine-tuning does not support an inference to anything extra-cosmic. To that end three definitions of ?fine-tuned for life? are proposed: the ?slight difference? definition, the (unconditional) probability definition, and John Leslie?s conditional probability definition. These three definitions are the only ones suggested by the relevant literature on fine-tuning and the anthropic principle. Since on none of them do claims of fine-tuning warrant an inference to something extracosmic, it is concluded that there is no definition of ?fine-tuned for life? serving this function. (shrink)
I argue that the standard way of formalizing the fine-tuning argument for design is flawed, and I present an alternative formalization. On the alternative formalization, the existence of life is not treated as the evidence that confirms design; instead it is treated as part of the background knowledge, while the fact that fine tuning is required for life serves as the evidence. I argue that the alternative better captures the informal line of thought that gives the fine-tuning (...) argument its intuitive plausibility, and I show that the alternative formalization avoids all of the most prominent objections to the fine-tuning argument, including the objection from observation selection effects, the problem of old evidence, the problem of non-normalizable probability measures and a further objection due to Monton. I conclude that the alternative formalization is the one that attention should be focused on. (shrink)
William Dembski claims that the fine-tuning supports the inference that the universe was designed. His ‘design inference’ is based on the identification of two features of the fine-tuning. Dembski claims that it is a ‘specified’ event of small (a priori) probability. Specification, in this context, is the ability to describe an event without using any knowledge of the actual event itself. I argue that we currently do not have the ability to describe accurately the fine-tuning of the (...) universe without using any knowledge of the fine-tuning itself. If we cannot generate a specification, then the fine-tuning is not a specified event, so the ‘design inference’ is not justified. (shrink)
A version of the fine-tuning argument (FTA) considered in a previous essay is replaced by an improved version, which is then refuted. Advocates of FTA must proclaim that there is no world ensemble, that a great many alternatives to the physical constants of our universe are physically possible and roughly equal in probability to them, and that alternate hypothetical worlds are all, or almost all, uninteresting in comparison to our universe. But no reason has been produced to believe ’any’ (...) of these claims, and so FTA, even in its improved version, can still be dismissed as unsupported, doubtful, and weak. (shrink)
Fine-tuning arguments attempt to infer God’s existence from the empirical fact that life would not be possible if any of approximately two-dozen fundamental laws and properties of the universe had been even slightly different. In this essay, I consider a version that relies on the following principle: if an observation O is more likely to occur under hypothesis H1 than under hypothesis H2, then O supports accepting H1 over H2. I argue that this particular application of this principle is (...) vulnerable to straightforward counterexamples and attempt to explain the proper application conditions for this principle. (shrink)
McGrew, McGrew and Vestrup (MMV) have argued that the fine-tuning anthropic principle argument for the existence of God fails because no probabilities can be assigned to the likelihood that physical constants fall in some finite interval. In particular, the fine-tuning argument that, say, some constant must lie in the range (1.000,1.001) in order for intelligent life to be possible is no better than a seemingly absurd coarse-tuning argument based on the need for that constant to lie in the (...) range (0.001, 10000000). The author of this piece defends the coarse tuning argument as a rational piece of reasoning, and, further, argues that the countable additivity assumption in the MMV paper can be dropped in favor of finite additivity. (shrink)
The most common objection to fine tuning arguments for theism is that there are, or might be, multiple universes among which the fundamental physicalconstants and parameters vary. This essays describes the two main variants of this objection and argues that they both fail.
Theism is a far simpler hypothesis, and so a priori more probably true, than naturalism, understood as the hypothesis that the existence of this law-governed universe has no explanation. Theism postulates only one entity (God) with very simple properties, whereas naturalism has to postulate either innumerable entities all having the same properties, or one very complicated entity with the power to produce the former. If theism is true, it is moderately probable that God would create humanoid beings and so humanoid (...) bodies; but laws of nature would have to have very special properties if they are to bring about the existence of humanoid bodies. Given laws of the present form, the constants of the laws and variables of the boundary conditions of the universe would need to be extremely fine-tuned. So the evidence of the existence of humanoid bodies adds further to the probability of theism as against naturalism. (edited). (shrink)
In this paper, I evaluate the adequacy of various multiverse hypotheses relative to classical theism in explaining the fine tuning of the universe to life and the fine tuning of our life to the universe. I conclude that, despite its rational attractiveness in explaining the fine tuning of the universe to us in a more conclusive and arguably simpler manner than the God hypothesis, due to its failure to explain the continuing fine tuning of us to (...) the universe, we should discard even the explanatorily strongest multiverse hypothesis, what I call the ’maximal multiverse’ hypothesis, and instead believe in the God hypothesis. (shrink)