Practitioners of the new ‘experimental philosophy’ have collected data that appear to show that some philosophical intuitions are culturally variable. Many experimental philosophers take this to pose a problem for a more traditional, ‘armchair’ style of philosophizing. It is argued that this is a mistake that derives from a false assumption about the character of philosophical methods; neither philosophy nor its methods have anything to fear from cultural variability in philosophical intuitions.
It is argued on a variety of grounds that recent results in 'experimental philosophy of language', which appear to show that there are significant cross-cultural differences in intuitions about the reference of proper names, do not pose a threat to a more traditional mode of philosophizing about reference. Some of these same grounds justify a complaint about experimental philosophy as a whole.
At the philosophical foundations of our best and deepest theory of the structure of reality, namely quantum mechanics, there is an intellectual scandal that reflects badly on most of this century’s leading physicists and philosophers of physics. One way of making the nature of the scandal plain is simply to observe that this paper  by Lockwood is untainted by it. Lockwood gives us an up to date investigation of metaphysics, and discusses the implications of quantum theory for some of (...) the bread and butter concepts of philosophy, such as reality, the self and causality. The scandal is that there is very little other work of that description in the literature, and what little there is, is systematically disregarded by mainstream thinking in both philosophy and physics. Despite the unrivalled empirical success of quantum theory, the very suggestion that it may be literally true as a description of nature is still greeted with cynicism, incomprehension and even anger. (shrink)
Quantum theory and the classical theory of computation were perfected in the 1930s, and fifty years later they were unified to form the quantum theory of computation. Here I want to tell you about a speculation — I can’t call it more than a “speculation” even though I know it’s true — about the kind of theory that might, in another fifty years’ time, supersede or transcend the quantum theory of computation. There are branches of science — in fact most (...) of them are branches of physics — that we expect, by their nature, to have philosophical implications. An obvious example is cosmology. There are other sciences, such as, say, aerodynamics, in which, no matter how startling or important our discoveries may become, we do not expect fundamental philosophical implications. So, various sciences fall at different places on a scale (Fig. 1) ranging from the most fundamental on the left to the least fundamental, the most derivative, on the right. (shrink)
I argue in this paper that the existence of sorites series of color patches – series of color patches arranged so that the patches on each end look different in color though no two adjacent patches do – shows that the relation of same phenomenal character as is not a transitive relation. I then argue that the intransitivity of same phenomenal character as conflicts with certain versions of intentionalism, the view that an experiences phenomenal character is exhausted, or fully determined (...) by its intentional content. Lastly, I consider various objections to the arguments and reply to them. (shrink)
This paper develops a model theoretic semantics for so called natural kind terms that reflects the viewpoint of (Kripke, 1980) and (Putnam, 1975). The semantics generates a formal counterpart of the K-mechanism investigated in (Salmon, 1981) and in unpublished work by Keith Donnellan.
The selection of wanted from unwanted messages requires discriminatory mechanisms of as great a complexity as those in normal perception, as is indicated by behavioral evidence. The results of neurophysiology experiments on selective attention are compatible with this supposition. This presents a difficulty for Filter theory. Another mechanism is proposed, which assumes the existence of a shifting reference standard, which takes up the level of the most important arriving signal. The way such importance is determined in the system is further (...) described. Neurophysiological evidence relative to this postulation is discussed. (shrink)
We argue that the epistemic theory of vagueness cannot adequately justify its key tenet-that vague predicates have precisely bounded extensions, of which we are necessarily ignorant. Nor can the theory adequately account for our ignorance of the truth values of borderline cases. Furthermore, we argue that Williamson’s promising attempt to explicate our understanding of vague language on the model of a certain sort of “inexact knowledge” is at best incomplete, since certain forms of vagueness do not fit Williamson’s model, and (...) in fact fit an alternative model. Finally, we point out that a certain kind of irremediable inexactitude postulated by physics need not be-and is not commonly-interpreted as epistemic. Thus, there are aspects of contemporary science that do not accord well with the epistemicist outlook. (shrink)
Of John Wheeler’s ‘Really Big Questions’, the one on which the most progress has been made is It From Bit? – does information play a significant role at the foundations of physics? It is perhaps less ambitious than some of the other Questions, such as How Come Existence?, because it does not necessarily require a metaphysical answer. And unlike, say, Why The Quantum?, it does not require the discovery of new laws of nature: there was room for hope that it (...) might be answered through a better understanding of the laws as we currently know them, particularly those of quantum physics. And this is what has happened: the better understanding is the quantum theory of information and computation. (shrink)
A journey of a thousand miles begins, obviously, with a single step. But isn’t it equally obvious that a step of a single metre must begin with a single millimetre? And before you can begin the last micron of that millimetre, don’t you have to get through 999 other microns first? And so ad infinitum? That “ad infinitum” bit is what worried the philosopher Zeno of Elea. Can our every action really consist of sub actions each consisting of sub sub (...) actions ... so that before we can move at all, we have to perform a literally infinite number of distinct, consecutive actions? (shrink)
Using panel data of 4,244 company years, we examine whether and how corporate social performance (CSP) affects a firm’s capacity to achieve profitable sales in foreign markets. Based on our extension of instrumental stakeholder theory into the international arena, we hypothesized a U-shaped relationship between CSP and multinationality. Results supported our contention that multinational enterprises (MNEs) need to be substantially committed to social performance objectives if they are to recoup the cost of their CSP investments, and improve their capacity to (...) compete in foreign markets. MNEs engaged in intermediate levels of CSP achieve lower levels of multinationality than firms operating at either anchor of the social performance continuum. In addition, this study demonstrates that CSP moderates a well-established relationship in international business literature – the relationship between R&D investment and a firm’s multinationality. Implications for research and practice are discussed. (shrink)
At the beginning of this special issue of Acta Biotheoretica carrying the above title, we present a brief overview on currently important topics that have been brought up during the last “European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology” in Edinburgh. After emphasizing the need for a “synthetic biology” also from the side of theory, model building and analysis, we survey most plenary talks of this Conference and a selected series of eigth review articles, which are mainly related to corresponding minisymposia, (...) reflecting the current state of the art and the lively discussion within this interdisciplinary field. (shrink)
Radical Millianism agrees with less radical varieties in claiming that ordinary proper names lack “descriptive senses” and that the semantic content of such a name is just its referent but differs from less radical varieties of Millianism in claiming that any pair of sentences differing only in the exchange of coreferential names cannot differ in truth-value. This is what makes Radical Millianism radical. The view is surprisingly popular these days, and it is popular despite the fact that, until very recently, (...) there was not a single argument for it. Theodore Sider and David Braun (2006) have tried to provide the missing argument, but, I argue, their attempt fails. I conclude that we (still) have no reason to be Radical Millians. (shrink)
One of the logical problems with which Arthur Prior struggled is the problem of finding, in Prior’s own phrase, a “logic for contingent beings.” The difficulty is that from minimal modal principles and classical quantification theory, it appears to follow immediately that every possible object is a necessary existent. The historical development of quantified modal logic (QML) can be viewed as a series of attempts---due variously to Kripke, Prior, Montague, and the fee-logicians---to solve this problem. In this paper, I review (...) the extant solutions, finding them all wanting. Then I suggest a new solution inspired by Kripke’s theory of rigid designation and Kaplan’s logic of demonstratives, the latter in particular. It turns out that the basic mechanism of Kaplan’s logic can be exploited to yield a version of QML that will serve as a viable logic for contingent beings. This result, as I show, sheds new light on the problems of singular negative existential propositions, the question of actualism, the question of the existence of the contingent a priori, the relation between logical truth and necessity, and various modal problems and paradoxes going back to Chrysippus, Ramsey, and Moore. (shrink)
Science in the modern sense began with Galileo's conception of a law of nature: a universal statement about reality, expressed in unambiguous symbols and tested by what he aptly called 'ordeals' (we would call them crucial experiments). Ever since then, a recurrent theme in the history of science has been the tension between two great purposes that are implicit in Galileo's conception: science as a means of making predictions and giving us control of the world; and science as a means (...) of understanding what the world is really like. (shrink)
The subsystem S of Parry's AI  (obtained by omitting modus ponens for the material conditional) is axiomatized and shown to be strongly complete for a class of three valued Kripke style models. It is proved that S is weakly complete for the class of consistent models, and therefore that Ackermann's rule is admissible in S. It also happens that S is decidable and contains the Lewis system S4 on translation — though these results are not presented here. S is (...) arguably the most relevant relevant logic known at this time to be decidable. (shrink)
My first meeting with Kenneth I nada was in 1964, when I passed through Hawai‘i, on my way back from India, at the invitation of Charlie Moore, Editor of Philosophy East and West and Director of that summer’s East-West Philosophers’ Conference. Acting for Moore, who was ill at the time of my arrival, Ken, a member of the UH Philosophy faculty, was kind enough to take me on a tour of the UH-Manoa campus; he did so with considerable good will. (...) I subsequently joined the department in 1967 and appreciated very much having Ken as a colleague. Although he left the University of Hawai‘i after ten years to join the faculty at the State University of New York in Buffalo in 1969, we had subsequent occasion to meet at .. (shrink)
Clahsen's view on language is intimately linked with the Chomskian distinction between competence and performance. He uses performance to verify theoretical assumptions about the underlying structure of competence. Using mostly off-line tasks, he may fail to answer the question of how language is generated and perceived in natural situations.
Constructor theory seeks to express all fundamental scientific theories in terms of a dichotomy between possible and impossible physical transformations–those that can be caused to happen and those that cannot. This is a departure from the prevailing conception of fundamental physics which is to predict what will happen from initial conditions and laws of motion. Several converging motivations for expecting constructor theory to be a fundamental branch of physics are discussed. Some principles of the theory are suggested and its potential (...) for solving various problems and achieving various unifications is explored. These include providing a theory of information underlying classical and quantum information; generalising the theory of computation to include all physical transformations; unifying formal statements of conservation laws with the stronger operational ones (such as the ruling-out of perpetual motion machines); expressing the principles of testability and of the computability of nature (currently deemed methodological and metaphysical respectively) as laws of physics; allowing exact statements of emergent laws (such as the second law of thermodynamics); and expressing certain apparently anthropocentric attributes such as knowledge in physical terms. (shrink)
The Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations (MIBBI) project aims to foster the coordinated development of minimum-information checklists and provide a resource for those exploring the range of extant checklists.
The reach of explanations -- Closer to reality -- The spark -- Creation -- The reality of abstractions -- The jump to universality -- Artificial creativity -- A window on infinity -- Optimism -- A dream of Socrates -- The multiverse -- A physicist's history of bad philosophy -- Choices -- Why are flowers beautiful? -- The evolution of culture -- The evolution of creativity -- Unsustainable -- The beginning.
I argue for the possibility of a creative relationship between man and nature which will inform the basic decision makings that confront us in the concrete concems of environmental ethics today. This relationship, which I call “natural reverence,” is essentially an attitudinal one which recognizes the togethemess of man and nature in freedom. Contrasting Kant’s treatment of the sublime with certain ideas to be found in Indian philosophy-namely, the idea of a radical discontinuity, thought to obtain between “reality” and “nature” (...) (māyā in Vedānta), and the idea of karman as involving modes of human making-I show the manner in which nature can become value laden and how we can work with nature in a manner analogous to that of an artist working with his/her medium in a kind of creative play. (shrink)
Difficulties over probability have often been considered fatal to the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. Here I argue that the Everettian can have everything she needs from `probability' without recourse to indeterminism, ignorance, primitive identity over time or subjective uncertainty: all she needs is a particular *rationality principle*. The decision-theoretic approach recently developed by Deutsch and Wallace claims to provide just such a principle. But, according to Wallace, decision theory is itself applicable only if the correct attitude to a (...) future Everettian measurement outcome is subjective uncertainty. I argue that subjective uncertainty is not to be had, but I offer an alternative interpretation that enables the Everettian to live without uncertainty: we can justify Everettian decision theory on the basis that an Everettian should *care about* all her future branches. The probabilities appearing in the decision-theoretic representation theorem can then be interpreted as the degrees to which the rational agent cares about each future branch. This reinterpretation, however, reduces the intuitive plausibility of one of the Deutsch-Wallace axioms (Measurement Neutrality). (shrink)
I present a proof of the quantum probability rule from decision-theoretic assumptions, in the context of the Everett interpretation. The basic ideas behind the proof are those presented in Deutsch's recent proof of the probability rule, but the proof is simpler and proceeds from weaker decision-theoretic assumptions. This makes it easier to discuss the conceptual ideas involved in the proof, and to show that they are defensible.
In their paper “Vagueness, Ignorance, and Margins for Error” Kenton Machina and Harry Deutsch criticize the epistemic theory of vagueness. This paper answers their objections. The main issues discussed are: the relation between meaning and use; the principle of bivalence; the ontology of vaguely specified classes; the proper form of margin for error principles; iterations of epistemic operators and semantic compositionality; the relation or lack of it between quantum mechanics and theories of vagueness.
An analysis is made of Deutsch's recent claim to have derived the Born rule from decision-theoretic assumptions. It is argued that Deutsch's proof must be understood in the explicit context of the Everett interpretation, and that in this context, it essentially succeeds. Some comments are made about the criticism of Deutsch's proof by Barnum, Caves, Finkelstein, Fuchs, and Schack; it is argued that the flaw which they point out in the proof does not apply if the Everett (...) interpretation is assumed. (shrink)
A major problem facing no-collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics in the tradition of Everett is how to understand the probabilistic axiom of quantum mechanics (the Born rule) in the context of a deterministic theory in which every outcome of a measurement occurs. Deutsch claims to derive a decision-theoretic analogue of the Born rule from the non-probabilistic part of quantum mechanics and some non-probabilistic axioms of classical decision theory, and hence concludes that no probabilistic axiom is needed. I argue that (...)Deutsch’s derivation begs the question. (shrink)