Given free information and unlimited processing power, should decision algorithms use as much information as possible? A formal model of the decision-making environment is developed to address this question and provide conditions under which informationally frugal algorithms, without any information or processing costs whatsoever, are optimal. One cause of compression that allows optimal algorithms to rationally ignore information is inverse movement of payoffs and probabilities (e.g., high payoffs occur with low probably and low payoffs occur with high probability). If inversely (...) related payoffs and probabilities cancel out, then predictors that correlate with payoffs and consequently condition the probabilities associated with different payoffs will drop out of the expected-payoff objective function, severing the link between information and optimal action rules. Stochastic payoff processes in which rational ignoring occurs are referred to as compressed environments, because optimal action depends on a reduced-dimension subset of the environmental parameters. This paper considers benefits and limitations of economic models versus other methods for studying links between environmental structure and the real-world success of simple decision procedures. Different methods converge on the normative proposition of ecological rationality, as opposed to axiomatic rationality based on informational efficiency and internal consistency axioms, as a superior framework for comparing the effectiveness of decision strategies and prescribing decision algorithms in application. (shrink)
Contents: Preface. Johannes BRANDL: Semantic Holism Is Here To Stay. Michael DEVITT: A Critique of the Case for Semantic Holism. Georges REY: The Unavailability of What We Mean: A Reply to Quine, Fodor and LePore. Joseph LEVINE: Intentional Chemistry. Louise ANTHONY: Conceptual Connection and the Observation/Theory Distinction. Gilbert HARMAN: Meaning Holism Defended. Kirk A. LUDWIG: Is Content Holism Incoherent? Anne BEZUIDENHOUT: The Impossibility of Punctate Mental Representations. Takashi YAGISAWA: The Cost of Meaning Solipsism. Alberto PERUZZI: Holism: The Polarized Spectrum. Jonathan (...)BERG: Inferential Roles, Quine, and Mad Holism. Jerry FODOR & Ernest LEPORE: Replies. (shrink)
Jonathan Berg argues for the Theory of Direct Belief, which treats having a belief about an individual as an unmediated relation between the believer and the individual the belief is about. After a critical review of alternative positions, Berg uses Grice's theory of conversational implicature to provide a detailed pragmatic account of substitution failure in belief ascriptions and goes on to defend this view against objections, including those based on an unwarranted "Inner Speech" Picture of Thought. The work (...) serves as a case study in pragmatic explanation, dealing also with methodological issues about context-sensitivity in language and the relation between semantics and pragmatics. (shrink)
Are any of our beliefs justified? Are they rational? The skeptic thinks that our epistemic justifications are undeserved. Nicholas Nathan confronts the skeptic and questions the value of his argument. Skeptical arguments are against justified and rational belief as well as for ignorance. Nathan argues that the truth value of trivial arguments are a matter of indifference. He tests this conjecture with a varied collection of counterexamples: arguments for ignorance, neo-Cartesian and infinite regress arguments, and also more critically (...) with arguments against justified and rational belief. (shrink)
A systematic study of rational or justified belief, which throws fresh light on current debates about foundations and coherence theories of knowledge, the validation of induction and moral scepticism. Dr Nathan focuses attention on the largely unsatisfiable desires for active and self-conscious assurance of truth liable to be engendered by philosophical reflection about total belief-systems and the sources of knowledge. He extracts a kernel of truth from the doctrine that a regress of justification is both necessary and impossible, contrasts (...) the resultant scepticism with more familiar complaints about the inapplicability of supposedly essential cognitive concepts and explores the feasibility of non-Humean modes of consolation. This is an original and carefully constructed book, which will interest professional philosophers and advanced students of epistemology. (shrink)
Beneath metaphysical problems there often lies a conflict between what we want to be true and what we believe to be true. Nathan provides a general account of the resolution of this conflict as a philosophical objective, showing that there are ways of thinking it through systematically with a view to resolving or alleviating it. The author also studies in detail a set of interrelated conflicts about the freedom and the reality of the will. He shows how difficult it (...) is to find a freedom either of decision or of action which is both an object of reflective desire and an object of rational belief. He also examines conflicts about volition as such, contending that the veridicality of volitional experience is no less easy to doubt than the veridicality of our experience of colors. In this context, arguments emerge for a voluntarist theory of the self. Nathan's important book will be essential reading for all philosophers interested in free will, volition, the self, and the methodology of metaphysics. (shrink)
Direct Realists believe that perception involves direct awareness of an object not dependent for its existence on the perceiver. Howard Robinson rejects this doctrine in favour of a Sense-Datum theory of perception. His argument against Direct Realism invokes the principle ‘same proximate cause, same immediate effect’. Since there are cases in which direct awareness has the same proximate cerebral cause as awareness of a sense datum, the Direct Realist is, he thinks, obliged to deny this causal principle. I suggest that (...) although Direct Realism is in more than one respect implausible, it does not succumb to Robinson’s argument. The causal principle is true only if ‘proximate cause’ means ‘proximate sufficient cause’, and the Direct Realist need not concede that there is a sufficient cerebral cause for direct awareness of independent objects. (shrink)
There is an apparent problem in identifying a basis for equality. This problem vanishes if what I call the ‘intuited response’ is successful. According to this response, there is no further explanation of the significance of the feature in virtue of which an individual matters, beyond the bare fact that it is the feature in virtue of which an individual matters. I argue against this claim, and conclude that if the problem of identifying a basis for equality is to be (...) resolved, it is necessary to defend a substantive account of the independent significance of some feature. (shrink)
In this paper we investigate Accardi's claim that the "quantum paradoxes" have their roots in probability theory and that, in particular, they can be evaded by giving up Bayes' rule, concerning the relation between composite and conditional probabilities. We reach the conclusion that, although it may be possible to give up Bayes' rule and define conditional probabilities differently, this contributes nothing to solving the philosophical problems which surround quantum mechanics.
Genetic testing is currently subject to little oversight, despite the significant ethical issues involved. Repeated recommendations for increased regulation of the genetic testing market have led to little progress in the policy arena. A 2005 Internet search identified 13 websites offering health-related genetic testing for direct purchase by the consumer. Further examination of these sites showed that overall, biotech companies are not providing enough information for consumers to make well-informed decisions; they are not consistently offering genetic counseling services; and some (...) sites even offer tests with little evidence of clinical value. This article aims to raise company and consumer awareness about the ethical concerns surrounding the direct-to-consumer marketing of health-related genetic tests. It also suggests ways that biotech companies can bring their services to the public in an ethically responsible manner, without increased regulatory oversight. (shrink)
The physician-patient relationship has changed over the last several decades, requiring a systematic reevaluation of the competing demands of patients, physicians, and families. In the era of genetic testing, using a model of patient care known as the family covenant may prove effective in accounting for these demands. The family covenant articulates the roles of the physician, patient, and the family prior to genetic testing, as the participants consensually define them. The initial agreement defines the boundaries of autonomy and benefit (...) for all participating family members. The physician may then serve as a facilitator in the relationship, working with all parties in resolving potential conflicts regarding genetic information. The family covenant promotes a fuller discussion of the competing ethical claims that may come to bear after genetic test results are received. (shrink)
Some Christians combine a doctrine about Christ which implies that there is more than one divine self with the doctrine that God revealed to the Jews a monotheism according to which there is just one divine self. I suggest that it is less costly for such Christians to achieve consistency by abandoning the second of these doctrines than to achieve it by abandoning the first.
Jerry Fodor and Ernie LePore argue against inferential role semantics on the grounds that either it relies on an analytic/synthetic distinction vulnerable to Quinean objections, or else it leads to a variety of meaning holism frought with absurd consequences. However, the slide from semantic atomism to meaning holism might be prevented by distinctions not affected by Quine's arguments against analyticity; and the absurd consequences Fodor and LePore attribute to meaning holism obtain only on an implausible construal of inferential roles.
I argue for two principles by combining which we can construct a sound cosmological argument. The first is that for any true proposition p's if 'there is an explanation for p's truth' is consistent then there is an explanation for p's truth. The second is a modified version of the principle that for any class, if there is an explanation for the non-emptiness ofthat class, then there is at least one non-member ofthat class which causes it not to be empty.
This essay presents a model-theoretic account of dispositional properties, according to which dispositions are not ordinary properties of real entities; dispositions capture the behavior of abstract, idealized models. This account has several payoffs. First, it saves the simple conditional analysis of dispositions. Second, it preserves the general connection between dispositions and regularities, despite the fact that some dispositions are not grounded in actual regularities. Finally, it brings together the analysis and the explanation of dispositions under a unified framework.
This essay is concerned with concentrations of entities, which play an important—albeit often overlooked—role in scientific explanation. First, I discuss an example from molecular biology to show that concentrations can play an irreducible causal role. Second, I provide a preliminary philosophical analysis of this causal role, suggesting some implications for extant theories of causation. I conclude by introducing the concept of causation by concentration, a form of statistical causation whose widespread presence throughout the sciences has been unduly neglected and which (...) deserves to be studied in more depth. 1 Introduction2 Solving Lillie's Paradox: Lysogenic Induction in Phage λ3 Repressor Concentration and the Tuning of the Switch4 Concentration and Causality5 Preemption in Concentrations: Analysis and Implications6 Causation by Concentration: General Definition, Refinements, and Further Applications. (shrink)
In "Warrant and Proper Function" Plantinga argues that atheistic Naturalism is self-defeating. What is the probability that our cognitive faculties are reliable, given this Naturalism and an evolutionary explanation of their origins? Plantinga argues that if the Naturalist is modest enough to believe that it is irrational to have any belief as to the value of this probability, then he is irrational even to believe his own Naturalism. I suggest that Plantinga's argument has a false premise, and that even if (...) his argument were sound there would be reasons for doubting whether the Naturalist should respond to it by abandoning his Naturalism. (shrink)
While philosophers tend to consider a single type of causal history, biologists distinguish between two kinds of causal history: evolutionary history and developmental history. This essay studies the peculiarity of development as a criterion for the individuation of biological traits and its relation to form, function, and evolution. By focusing on examples involving serial homologies and genetic reprogramming, we argue that morphology (form) and function, even when supplemented with evolutionary history, are sometimes insufficient to individuate traits. Developmental mechanisms bring in (...) a novel aspect to the business of classification—identity of process-type—according to which entities are type-identical across individuals and natural kinds in virtue of the fact that they form and develop through similar processes. These considerations bear important metaphysical implications and have potential applications in several areas of philosophy. (shrink)
Kant is well known for his restrictive conception of proper science. In the present paper I will try to explain why Kant adopted this conception. I will identify three core conditions which Kant thinks a proper science must satisfy: systematicity, objective grounding, and apodictic certainty. These conditions conform to conditions codified in the Classical Model of Science. Kant’s infamous claim that any proper natural science must be mathematical should be understood on the basis of these conditions. In order to substantiate (...) this reading, I will show that only in this way it can be explained why Kant thought (1) that mathematics has a particular foundational function with respect to the natural sciences and (2) as such secures their scientific status. (shrink)
In this paper the importance of public affairs management in multinational corporations in India will be examined. After briefly discussing the state of the art in international business and society literature, a conceptual framework for public affairs management in multinational corporations will be developed. This framework serves as the theoretical basis for an empirical study among German multinational corporations in India. In the main part of this paper the results of this study will be presented and discussed. The (...) paper ends with a critical assessment and some major implications for future studies. (shrink)
The axiom of choice ensures precisely that, in ZFC, every set is projective: that is, a projective object in the category of sets. In constructive ZF (CZF) the existence of enough projective sets has been discussed as an additional axiom taken from the interpretation of CZF in Martin-Löf’s intuitionistic type theory. On the other hand, every non-empty set is injective in classical ZF, which argument fails to work in CZF. The aim of this paper is to shed some light on (...) the problem whether there are (enough) injective sets in CZF. We show that no two element set is injective unless the law of excluded middle is admitted for negated formulas, and that the axiom of power set is required for proving that “there are strongly enough injective sets”. The latter notion is abstracted from the singleton embedding into the power set, which ensures enough injectives both in every topos and in IZF. We further show that it is consistent with CZF to assume that the only injective sets are the singletons. In particular, assuming the consistency of CZF one cannot prove in CZF that there are enough injective sets. As a complement we revisit the duality between injective and projective sets from the point of view of intuitionistic type theory. (shrink)
I argue that intentionalism in aesthetics and in legal interpretation is vulnerable to a different sort of criticism than is found in the voluminous literature on the topic. Specifically, a kind of paradox arises for the intentionalist out of recognition of a second-order intention embedded in the social practices that characterize both art and law. The paper shows how this second-order intention manifests itself in each of the two enterprises, and argues that its presence entails the overriding centrality of the (...) public text, and hence a rejection of the interpretive stance distinctive of intentionalism itself. (shrink)