In 1801 Hegel charged that, on Kant’s analysis, forces are ‘either purely ideal, in which case they are not forces, or else they are transcendent’. I argue that this objection, which Hegel did not spell out, reveals an important and fundamental line of internal criticism of Kant’s Critical philosophy. I show that Kant’s basic forces of attraction and repulsion, which constitute matter, are merely ideal because Kant’s arguments for them are circular and beg the question, and they have no determinate (...) connection to any of the basic forces of Newtonian physics. Hence they are mere Gedankendinge. I argue further, that real physical forces transcend Kant’s analysis by showing that his proof of Newton’s law of inertia is unsound. I then show that this apparently specific disagreement underlies the enormous philosophical shift from Kant’s anti-naturalist transcendental idealism to Hegel’s naturalistic use of regressive, quasi-transcendental arguments. (shrink)
This is a lively and clearly written introduction to the philosophy of naturalscience, organized around the central theme of scientific realism. It has two parts. 'Representing' deals with the different philosophical accounts of scientific objectivity and the reality of scientific entities. The views of Kuhn, Feyerabend, Lakatos, Putnam, van Fraassen, and others, are all considered. 'Intervening' presents the first sustained treatment of experimental science for many years and uses it to give a new direction to debates (...) about realism. Hacking illustrates how experimentation often has a life independent of theory. He argues that although the philosophical problems of scientific realism can not be resolved when put in terms of theory alone, a sound philosophy of experiment provides compelling grounds for a realistic attitude. A great many scientific examples are described in both parts of the book, which also includes lucid expositions of recent high energy physics and a remarkable chapter on the microscope in cell biology. (shrink)
E. J. Lowe, a prominent figure in contemporary metaphysics, sets out and defends his theory of what there is. His four-category ontology is a metaphysical system which recognizes four fundamental categories of beings: substantial and non-substantial particulars and substantial and non-substantial universals. Lowe argues that this system has an explanatory power which is unrivaled by more parsimonious theories and that this counts decisively in its favor. He shows that it provides a powerful explanatory framework for a unified account of causation, (...) dispositions, natural laws, natural necessity and many other related matters, thus constituting a full metaphysical foundation for naturalscience. (shrink)
Heinrich Rickert (1863-1936) was One of the leading neo-Kantian philosophers in Germany and a crucial figure in the discussions of the foundations of the social sciences in the first quarter of the twentieth century. His views were extremely influential, most significantly on Max Weber. The Limits of Concept Formation in NaturalScience is Rickert's most important work, and it is here translated into English for the first time. It presents his systematic theory of knowledge and philosophy of (...) class='Hi'>science, and deals particularly with historical knowledge and the problem of demarcating the natural from the human sciences. The theory Rickert develops is carefully argued and of great intrinsic interest. It departs from both positivism and neo-Hegelian idealism and is worked out by contrast to the views of others, particularly Dilthey and the early phenomenologists. (shrink)
Francis Bacon : a new interpretation of nature -- Thomas Hobbes' scientific approach to politics -- John Locke and the origins of political resistance -- The ethic and practice of modern naturalscience -- Critical theory and the critique of modernity -- Michel Foucault and the postmodern reaction.
In earlier work ( Cleland  , ), I sketched an account of the structure and justification of ‘prototypical’ historical naturalscience that distinguishes it from ‘classical’ experimental science. This article expands upon this work, focusing upon the close connection between explanation and justification in the historical natural sciences. I argue that confirmation and disconfirmation in these fields depends primarily upon the explanatory (versus predictive or retrodictive) success or failure of hypotheses vis-à-vis empirical evidence. The account (...) of historical explanation that I develop is a version of common cause explanation. Common cause explanation has long been vindicated by appealing to the principle of the common cause. Many philosophers of science (e.g., Sober and Tucker) find this principle problematic, however, because they believe that it is either purely methodological or strictly metaphysical. I defend a third possibility: the principle of the common cause derives its justification from a physically pervasive time asymmetry of causation (a.k.a. the asymmetry of overdetermination). I argue that explicating the principle of the common cause in terms of the asymmetry of overdetermination illuminates some otherwise puzzling features of the practices of historical natural scientists. (shrink)
In Inventing Human Science, ed. by Christopher Fox, Roy Porter, and Robert Wokler (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 184–231. Key words: Wolff, Bonnet, Godart, Krüger, Hartley, Priestley, history of psychology in the 17th and 18th centuries, history of experiment in psychology, psychology as a naturalscience, idea of a naturalscience.
Hermeneutics, or interpretation, is concerned with the generation, transmission, and acceptance of meaning within the lifeworld, and was the original method of the human sciences stemming, from F. Schleiermacher and W. Dilthey. The `hermeneutic philosophy' refers mostly to Heidegger. This paper addresses naturalscience from the perspective of Heidegger's analysis of meaning and interpretation. Its purpose is to incorporate into the philosophy of science those aspects of historicality, culture, and tradition that are absent from the traditional analysis (...) of theory and explanation, to re-orient the current discussion about scientific realism around the hermeneutics of meaning and truth in science, and to establish some relationship between the current philosophy of naturalscience and hermeneutical philosophy. The paper has particular relevance to the history and social studies of science and technology. (shrink)
The topic of cheating among college students has received considerable attention in the education and psychology literatures. But most of this research has been conducted with relatively small samples and individual projects have generally focused on students from a single campus. These studies have improved our understanding of cheating in college, but it is difficult to generalize their findings and it is also difficult to develop a good understanding of the differences that exist among different academic majors. Understanding such differences (...) may be important in developing improved strategies for combating college cheating. The objective of this paper is to examine the relation between cheating and the choice of academic major with a particular focus on naturalscience and engineering majors. The data source for this analysis is a study of over 4,000 students from 31 campuses which was conducted in the 1995–1996 academic year. (shrink)
The author proposes the thesis that all perception, including observation in naturalscience, is hermeneutical as well as causal; that is, the perceiver (or observer) learns to 'read' instrumental or other perceptual stimuli as one learns to read a text. This hermeneutical aspect at the heart of naturalscience is located where it might be least expected, within acts of scientific observation. In relation to the history of science, the question is addressed to what extent (...) the hermeneutical component within scientific observation opens naturalscience to the charge of reflecting merely cultural values, and of providing merely a culturally acceptable reading of the "Book of Nature", rather than, as the author states, one stating universal antecedent conditions of possibility of cultural activity itself. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the role of optimality reasoning in Aristotle’s naturalscience. By “optimality reasoning” I mean reasoning that appeals to some conception of “what is best” in order to explain why things are the way they are. We are first introduced to this pattern of reasoning in the famous passage at Phaedo 97b8-98a2, where (Plato’s) Socrates invokes “what is best” as a cause (aitia) of things in nature. This passage can be seen as the intellectual (...) ancestor of Aristotle’s own principle, expressed by the famous dictum “nature does nothing in vain but always what is best for the substance from among the possibilities concerning each kind of animal” (Progression of Animals II, 704b12-18). The paper is focused around exploring three questions that arise in connection with Aristotle’s use of this optimality principle: (1) How do we understand the concept of “the best” at work in the principle? (2) How does Aristotle conceive of “the range of possibilities”? And, finally, (3) what role does optimality reasoning play in Aristotle’s naturalscience? Is it a special form of demonstration in which the optimality principle functions as one of its premises, or is it a heuristic device that helps uncover those causally relevant features of a natural substances that ultimately serve as middle terms in demonstrations? In the final section I return to the comparison between Plato and Aristotle and argue that, while both see the natural world as the product of an optimizing agent and while both see this assumption as licensing a pattern of reasoning that appeals to a certain conception of “the best”, they disagree fundamentally over what the optimization agent is and how it operates. Thus, despite their general agreement, it would be a mistake to think that Aristotle simply took over Plato’s use of optimality reasoning without significant modifications. (shrink)
Kant was centrally concerned with issues in the philosophy of naturalscience throughout his career. The Metaphysical Foundations of NaturalScience presents his most mature reflections on these themes in the context of both his 'critical' philosophy, presented in the Critique of Pure Reason, and the naturalscience of his time. This volume presents a new translation, by Michael Friedman, which is especially clear and accurate. There are explanatory notes indicating some of the main (...) connections between the argument of the Metaphysical Foundations and the first Critique - as well as parallel connections to Newton's Principia. The volume is completed by an historical and philosophical introduction and a guide to further reading. (shrink)
My theme is thought experiment in naturalscience, and its relation to real experiment. I shall defend the thesis that thought experiments that do not lead to theorizing and to a real experiment are generally of much less value that those that do so. To illustrate this thesis I refer to three examples, from three very different periods, and with three very different kinds of status. The first is the classic thought experiment in which Galileo imagined that he (...) had, by pure thought, demolished Aristoteles' dogma that heavier bodies fall more quickly than light ones. I will show that he was mistaken. The second is the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paper purporting to show that quantum mechanics must be incomplete in its domain of application. This thought experiment is a very good one, not because its conclusions are correct, but precisely because it was fruitful, leading to theory and, above all, to a real experiment. Finally I discuss the modern string theory of everything, which, while it is regarded as a physical theory by its instigators, shares some properties of the least successful sort of thought experiment. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant's Metaphysical Foundations of NaturalScience (1786) provides metaphysical foundations for the application of mathematics to empirically given nature. The application that Kant primarily has in mind is that achieved in Isaac Newton's Principia (1687). Thus, Kant's first chapter, the Phoronomy, concerns the mathematization of speed or velocity, and his fourth chapter, the Phenomenology, concerns the empirical application of the Newtonian notions of true or absolute space, time, and motion. This paper concentrates on Kant's second and third (...) chapters—the Dynamics and the Mechanics, respectively—and argues that they are best read as providing a transcendental explanation of the conditions for the possibility of applying the (mathematical) concept of quantity of matter to experience. Kant again has in mind the empirical measures of this quantity that Newton fashions in the Principia, and he aims to make clear, in particular, how Newton achieves a universal measure for all bodies whatsoever by projecting the static quantity of terrestrial weight into the heavens by means of the theory of universal gravitation. Kant is not attempting to prove a priori what Newton has established empirically but, rather, to clarify the character of Newton's mathematization by building Newton's empirical measures into the very concept of matter that is articulated in the Metaphysical Foundations. (shrink)
In 1792 and 1798 Kant noticed two basic problems with hisMetaphysical Foundations of NaturalScience (MAdN) which opened a crucial gap in the Critical system as a whole. Why is theMAdN so important? I show that the Analogies of Experience form an integrated proof of transeunt causality. This is central to Kant's answer to Hume. This proof requires explicating the empirical concept of matter as the moveable in space, it requires the specifically metaphysical principle that every physical event (...) has an external cause, and it requires a metaphysical principle regarding the individuation of spatio-temporal things. These three doctrines are not defended in the firstCritique, but only in theMAdN. Kant's transcendental analysis of the conditions of experience thus requires the special metaphysics of theMAdN. This marks an important shift in Kant's view of the metaphysical basis of the transcendental philosophy. (shrink)
The hermeneutic-phenomenological approach to the natural sciences has a special interest in the interpretive phases of these sciences and in the circumstances, cognitive and social, that lead to divergent as well as convergent interpretations. It tries to ascertain the role of the hermeneutic circle in research; and to this end it has developed, over the past three decades or so, a number of adaptations of hermeneutic and phenomenological concepts to processes of experimentation and theory-making. The purpose of the present (...) essay is to show how appropriate these concepts are to an important current research program (solar neutrinos) and thus to point out what difference they make to our understanding of science as a whole. This goal is pursued by means of comparison. The program of social constructivism in naturalscience has produced alternative but parallel concepts, embodied in an alternative and parallel vocabulary. The contrast between this vocabulary and that of hermeneutics and phenomenology reveals, so I argue, the advantages of the latter. But actually it does more: It reveals as well the pre-understanding or prejudgment of science embedded in each approach. (shrink)
This article discusses whether ecology represents an alternative type of naturalscience, that is normatively committed. Central questions are:-how man and human action are integrated into the subject matter of ecology.
The epistemological status of health science, naturalscience, and clinical knowledge is explored. It is shown that ‘health science’, a term increasingly used in association with the clinical knowledge of the therapies, nursing, and other health occupations, is not fully a science in the sense of the natural sciences. It is rather a hybrid which relates applications of naturalscience, behavioral science, and the humanities to problems in health. The same may (...) be said of clinical knowledge which entails, as essentials, humanistic considerations involving the personal concerns of the patient, in addition to the more evident external aspects of diagnosis and treatment. The recent introduction of the term ‘health science’ reflects scientism in its approach to health issues. It also reflects confusion about the nature of clinical knowledge. Keywords: health science, clinical knowledge, naturalscience, behavioral science, humanism CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In his Phenomenology of Perception Merleau-Ponty maintains that our own existence cannot be understood by the methods of naturalscience; furthermore, because fundamental aspects of the world such as space and time are dependent on our existence, these too cannot be accounted for within naturalscience. So there cannot be a fully scientific account of the world at all. The key thesis Merleau-Ponty advances in support of this position is that perception is not, as he puts (...) it, . He argues that it has a fundamental intentionality which configures the perceived world as spatio-temporal in ways which are presupposed by naturalscience and which cannot therefore be explained by naturalscience. (shrink)
This paper deals with the contention, coming from two main sources in scientific theory (theory of evolution and string theory), that the conclusions of these theories demonstrate the nonexistence of God. In response to this, the author seeks to show that neither of these arguments is sound; he is not particularly concerned here with proving the existence of God. In the course of the paper, a certain amount of confusion concerning the requirements which these two scientific theories would make of (...) believers is cleared up. The cosmological positions of Aquinas, Hume, Leibniz, Heidegger, Wittgenstein and Lonergan are mentioned, culminating in the ultimate question: ’why should there be any thing at all?’ Like all questions, it arises upon presuppositions. The author does not attempt to answer it here; but tries rather to elucidate its presuppositions. He points out that from naturalscience there neither is, nor can there be, evidence either to support or to undermine such presupposition. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Thoughts on the true estimation of living forces and assessment of the demonstrations that Leibniz and other scholars of mechanics have made use of in this controversial subject, together with some prefatory considerations pertaining to the force of bodies in general (1746-1749) Translated by Jeffrey B. Edwards and Martin Schönfeld; 2. Examination of the question whether the rotation of the Earth on its axis by which it brings about the alternation of day and night has (...) undergone any change since its origin and how one can be certain of this, which [question] was set by the Royal Academy of Sciences in Berlin as the prize question for the current year (1754) Translated by Olaf Reinhardt; 3. The question, whether the Earth is ageing, considered from a physical point of view (1754) Translated by Olaf Reinhardt; 4. Universal natural history and theory of the heavens or essay on the constitution and the mechanical origin of the whole universe according to Newtonian principles (1755) Translated by Olaf Reinhardt; 5. Succinct exposition of some meditations on fire (1755) Translated by Lewis White Beck; 6. On the causes of earthquakes on the occasion of the calamity that befell the western countries of Europe towards the end of last year (1756) Translated by Olaf Reinhardt; 7. History and natural description of the most noteworthy occurrences of the earthquake that struck a large part of the Earth at the end of the year 1755 (1756) Translated by Olaf Reinhardt; 8. Continued observations on the earthquakes that have been experienced for some time (1756) Translated by Olaf Reinhardt; 9. New notes to explain the theory of the winds, in which, at the same time, he invites attendance at his lectures (1756) Translated by Olaf Reinhardt; 10. Plan and announcement of a series of lectures on physical geography with an appendix containing a brief consideration of the question: whether the West winds in our regions are moist because they travel over a great sea (1757) Translated by Olaf Reinhardt; 11. New doctrine of motion and rest and the conclusions associated with it in the fundamental principles of naturalscience while at the same time his lectures for this half-year are announced (1758) Translated by Olaf Reinhardt; 12. Review of Silberschlag's work: theory of the fireball that appeared on 23 July 1762 (1764) Translated by Eric Watkins; 13. Notice of Lambert's correspondence (1782) Translated by Eric Watkins; 14. On the volcanoes on the Moon (1785) Translated by Olaf Reinhardt; 15. Something concerning the influence of the Moon on the weather (1794) Translated by Olaf Reinhardt; 16. Physical geography (1802). (shrink)
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)
Science has long claimed to discover the relations among the natural kinds of the universe that exist independently of our minds or ways of coping. Today, most philosophers adopt an antirealism that consists in rejecting this thesis. Contemporary antirealists argue that the independence thesis is not just false but incoherent . Thus, these antirealists say they are as realist as it makes sense to be. Such deflationary realists , as I shall call them, claim that the objects studied (...) by science are just as real as the baseballs, stones, and trees we encounter with our everyday coping practices, and no more.2 In contrast to deflationary realism, I shall defend a robust realism that argues that the independence claim makes sense, that science can in principle give us access to the functional components of the universe as they are in themselves3 in distinction from how they appear to us on the basis of our daily concerns, our sensory capacities, and even our way of making things intelligible.4.. (shrink)
The various aesthetic phenomena found repeatedly in the scientific enterprise stem from the role of God as artist. If the Creator is an artist, how and why natural scientists study the divine art work can be understood using theological aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The aesthetic phenomena considered here are as follows. First, science reveals beauty and the sublime in natural phenomena. Second, science discovers beauty and the sublime in the theories that are developed to (...) explain natural phenomena. Third, the search for beauty often guides scientists in their work. Fourth, where beauty is perceived, feelings of the sublime often also follow upon further contemplation. This linkage of beauty in science with truth and the sublime runs counter to most aesthetic theory since Kant. Scholarship in theological aesthetics has recently argued that the modern and postmodern elevation of the sublime over beauty is merely a preference that reveals a bias against transcendence—against God. If doing and understanding science can show this sundering of the sublime from the beautiful to be in error, science also gives evidence of transcendence. (shrink)
G. H. Schuberts Vorlesungsreihe Ã¼ber die Nachtseite der Naturwissenschaft ist wegen ihres Inhalts und wegen der Rolle, die sie in der deutschen Kultur und Politik wÃ¤hrend der Zeit der napoleonischen Beherrschung gespeilt hat, ein aufschlussreiches Erzeugnis der romantischen Wissenschaft. Schuberts Versuch, der den natÃ¼rlichen Erscheinungestets unvoreingenommen gerecht werden wollte, hat eine Vision der Natur und der Geschicht zur Folge gehabt, die den Deutschen eine neue Hoffnung auf die Zukunft ihres Vaterlandes erÃ¶ffnet hat. Schuberts Vorlesungen liefern dem Historiker Ã¼berdies einen fasinierenden (...) Blick auf die gesellschaftliche Resonanz der Naturwissenschaft in dem ersten Jahrzehnt des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. (shrink)
An effort is made in this essay to show the intrinsic hermeneutic nature of the natural sciences by means of a critical reflection on data taken from the history of classical mechanics and astronomy. The events which eventually would lead to the origin of Newton's mechanics are critically analyzed, with the aim of showing that and in what sense the natural sciences are essentially interpretive enterprises.
Philosophers of science disagree on the extent to which epistemology transcends the social sphere in mature branches of science. In this paper I suggest a way of vindicating a key aspect of the transcendence thesis without questioning the social nature of science. Such vindication requires epistemological autonomy to prevail along channels having to do with (1) selection of research goals, (2) use of human subjects and public resources in research, (3) social interventions aimed at helping science (...) fulfill its epistemic goals, and (4) social interventions aimed at helping people and the community protect themselves from harmful scientific activity. This paper focuses on type (3), specifically on social pressure to diversify the points of view represented in scientific research. My exploration proceeds by contrasting two case studies involving pluralist enrichment of scientific research. Both encompass epistemological reform. In one (Feminist Biology) reform is pushed largely from outside the scientific sphere; in the other (Einstein's development of Special Relativity) reform originates largely from within. Examination of these cases shows why general pluralist arguments fail and also why social intervention in epistemological matters is a misguided activity - or so I argue. (shrink)
In this paper, I attempt to develop the account of intellectual virtues offered by Aristotle and St. Thomas in a way which recognizes faith as a good intellectual habit. I go on to argue that, as a practical matter, this virtue is needed not only in theology, where it provides the basis of further intellectual work, but also in the natural sciences, where it is required given the complexity of the subject matter and the cooperative nature of the enterprise.
We present an annotated bibliography of peer reviewed scientific research highlighting the human health, animal welfare, and environmental risks associated with genetic modification. Risks associated with the expression of the transgenic material include concerns over resistance and non-target effects of crops expressing Bt toxins, consequences of herbicide use associated with genetically modified herbicide-tolerant plants, and transfer of gene expression from genetically modified crops through vertical and horizontal gene transfer. These risks are not connected to the technique of genetic modification as (...) such, but would be present for any conventionally produced crops with the same heritable traits. In contrast, other risks are a direct consequence of the method used in gene manipulation. These come about because of the unstable nature of the transgene and vectors used to insert it, and because of unpredictable interactions between the transgene and the host genome. The debate over the release of genetically modified organisms is not merely a scientific one; it encompasses economics, law, ethics, and policy. Any discussion on these levels does, however, need to be informed by sound science. We hope that the scientific references provided here will provide a useful starting point for further debate. (shrink)
Medicine is unique in being a combination of naturalscience and human science in which both are essential. Therefore, in order to make sense of medical practice, we need to begin by drawing a clear distinction between the natural and the human sciences. In this paper, I try to bring the old distinction between the Geistes and Naturwissenschaften up to date by defending the essential difference between a realist explanatory theoretical study of nature including the body (...) in which the scientist discovers the causal properties of natural kinds and the interpretive understanding of human beings as embodied agents which, as Charles Taylor has convincingly argued, requires a hermeneutic account of self-interpreting human practices. (shrink)
There are close parallels between perception (the interpretation of sensory experience as representing physical objects) and hermeneutics (the interpretation of signs as having meaning). Perceptual illusions corresponds to ambiguities in texts; naive realism corresponds to fundamentalism; the scientist's reinterpretation of the "manifest image" to the global/local interplay of the "hermeneutic circle" in the interpretation of large texts.
Husserl argues in the Crisis that the prevalent tradition of positive science in his time had a philosophical core, called by him "Galilean science", that mistook the quest for objective theory with the quest for truth. Husserl is here referring to Gottingen science of the Golden Years. For Husserl, theory "grows" out of the "soil" of the prescientific, that is, pretheoretical, life-world. Scientific truth finally is to be sought not in theory but rather in the pragmatic-perceptual praxes (...) of measurement. Husserl is faulted for taking measuring processes to be "infinitely perfectible". The dependence of new scientific phenomena on the existence of prior "prescientific" inductive praxis is analyzed, also Husserl's residual objectivism and failure to appreciate the hermeneutic character of measurement. Though not a scientific (theory-)realist, neither was he an instrumentalist, but he was a scientific (phenomena-)realist. (shrink)
This paper aims at a partial rehabilitation of E. A. Moody''s characterization of the 14th century as an age of rising empiricism, specifically by contrasting the conception of the naturalscience of psychology found in the writings of a prominent 13th-century philosopher (Thomas Aquinas) with those of two 14th-century philosophers (John Buridan and Nicole Oresme). What emerges is that if the meaning of empiricism can be disengaged from modern and contemporary paradigms, and understood more broadly in terms of (...) a cluster of epistemic doctrines concerned with the methodology of knowing, it characterizes very appropriately some of the differences between the ways in which late-medieval thinkers both understood and practised the science of psychology. In particular, whereas Aquinas thinks psychology is about reasoning demonstratively to the real nature of the soul from its evident operations (thereby assimilating psychology to metaphysics), Buridan and Oresme, both of whom doubt whether real animate natures can be known empirically, focus on giving detailed accounts of those operations themselves (thereby assimilating psychology to physics). (shrink)
Are there natural kinds of things around which our theories cut? The essays in this volume offer reflections by a distinguished group of philosophers on a series of intertwined issues in the metaphysics and epistemology of classification.
This paper aims at a partial rehabilitation of E. A. Moody's characterization of the 14th century as an age of rising empiricism, specifically by contrasting the conception of the naturalscience of psychology found in the writings of a prominent 13th-century philosopher (Thomas Aquinas) with those of two 14th-century philosophers (John Buridan and Nicole Oresme). What emerges is that if the meaning of empiricism can be disengaged from modern and contemporary paradigms, and understood more broadly in terms (...) of a cluster of epistemic doctrines concerned with the methodology of knowing, it characterizes very appropriately some of the differences between the ways in which late-medieval thinkers both understood and practised the science of psychology. In particular, whereas Aquinas thinks psychology is about reasoning demonstratively to the real nature of the soul from its evident operations (thereby assimilating psychology to metaphysics), Buridan and Oresme, both of whom doubt whether real animate natures can be known empirically, focus on giving detailed accounts of those operations themselves (thereby assimilating psychology to physics). (shrink)
This paper evaluates the Natural-Kinds Argument for cognitive extension, which purports to show that the kinds presupposed by our best cognitive science have instances external to human organism. Various interpretations of the argument are articulated and evaluated, using the overarching categories of memory and cognition as test cases. Particular emphasis is placed on criteria for the scientific legitimacy of generic kinds, that is, kinds characterized in very broad terms rather than in terms of their fine-grained causal roles. Given (...) the current state of cognitive science, I conclude that we have no reason to think memory or cognition are generic natural kinds that can ground an argument for cognitive extension. (shrink)
Although George Berkeley himself made no major scientific discoveries, nor formulated any novel theories, he was nonetheless actively concerned with the rapidly evolving science of the early eighteenth century. Berkeley's works display his keen interest in natural philosophy and mathematics from his earliest writings (Arithmetica, 1707) to his latest (Siris, 1744). Moreover, much of his philosophy is fundamentally shaped by his engagement with the science of his time. In Berkeley's best-known philosophical works, the Principles and Dialogues, he (...) sets up his idealistic system in opposition to the materialist mechanism he finds in Descartes and Locke. In De Motu, Berkeley refines and extends his philosophy of science in the context of a critique of the dynamic accounts of motion offered by Newton and Leibniz. And in Siris, Berkeley's flirtation with neo-Platonism draws inspiration from the fire theory of Boerhaave as well as Newton's aetherial speculations in the Queries of the Optics. In examining Berkeley's critical engagement with the natural philosophy of his time, we will thus improve our understanding of not just his philosophy of science, but of his philosophical corpus as a whole. (shrink)
In the vast literature on human rights and natural law one finds arguments that draw on science or mathematics to support claims to universality and objectivity. Here are two such arguments: 1) Human rights are as universal (i.e., valid independently of their specific historical and cultural Western origin) as the laws and theories of science; and 2) principles of natural law have the same objective (metahistorical) validity as mathematical principles. In what follows I will examine these (...) arguments in some detail and argue that both are misplaced. A section of the paper will be devoted to a discussion of arguments relying on the historical and cultural specificity (and intrinsic superiority) of Western science. The conclusion is that both science and mathematics offer little help to anyone wanting to make use of them as paradigms of universality, objectivity, and rationality. Finally, I will draw some consequences for the idea of human rights. (shrink)
Woolcock, Peter G A topic much exercising the minds of religious believers at the moment is whether or not science and religion are natural enemies. The Religion and Ethics program on the ABC's Radio National, for example, has recently provided access on its website to a series of articles on the topic, with titles such as Science or Naturalism? The Contradictions of Richard Dawkins; Christianity and the Rise of Western Science; Did Darwin Defeat God?; Does (...) class='Hi'>Science Make Belief in God Obsolete?; Does Science Preclude Belief in Science; Genesis Created Science; Lawrence Krauss's Deficiencies; Theology Must Save Science from Naturalism, just to mention a few. As these titles suggest, the Religion and Ethics program is clearly on a mission to defend religion against the onslaught of philosophical materialism, presenting (as it does) only articles that argue either for the compatibility of science and religion or for the dependence of science on religion. My aim here is to redress the balance. Yes, science and religion are best understood as natural enemies. (shrink)
Throughout his career David Hull has sought to bring the philosophy of science into closer contact with science and especially with biological science (Hull 1969, 1997b). This effort has taken many forms. Sometimes it has meant ‘either explaining basic biology to philosophers or explaining basic philosophy to biologists’ (Hull 1996, p. 77). The ﬁrst of these tasks, simple as it sounds, has been responsible for revolutionary changes. It is well known that traditional philosophy of science, modeled (...) as it was on theoretical physics, proved inadequate when philosophers turned their attention to biological science. Biological examples have driven major revisions of accounts of reduction (Hull 1974; Schaffner 1993, Ch. 9), laws of nature (Beatty et al. 1997), theories (Lloyd 1988) and natural kinds (Wilson 1999, Part III). Nor is explaining basic philosophy to biologists a task to be looked down upon. It is useful, not because philosophy has all the answers, but because scientists must think about how to do science, that is doing philosophy of science and scientists frequently reinvent philosophical views with known ﬂaws. Early in his career Hull found biological systematists in the grip of a crude operationalism about scientiﬁc concepts and said so in the pages of Systematic Zoology (Hull 1968). For the next thirty years, as biologists debated the nature of species and the correct principles of classiﬁcation, Hull added a philosophical note at the same congresses and in the same journals (Hull 1970, 1976, 1980, 1997a, 1999). (shrink)
Naturalism is currently the most vibrantly developing approach to philosophy, with naturalised methodologies being applied across all the philosophical disciplines. One of the areas naturalism has been focussing upon is the mind, traditionally viewed as a topic hard to reconcile with the naturalistic worldview. A number of questions have been pursued in this context. What is the place of the mind in the world? How should we study the mind as a natural phenomenon? What is the significance of cognitive (...)science research for philosophical debates? In this book, philosophical questions about the mind are asked in the context of recent developments in cognitive science, evolutionary theory, psychology, and the project of the naturalisation. Much of the focus is upon what we have learned by studying natural mental mechanisms as well as designing artificial ones. In the case of natural mental mechanisms, this includes consideration of such issues as the significance of deficits in these mechanisms for psychiatry. The significance of the evolutionary context for mental mechanisms as well as questions regarding rationality and wisdom is also explored. Mechanistic and functional models of the mind are used to throw new light on discussions regarding issues of explanation, reduction and the realisation of mental phenomena. Finally, naturalistic approaches are used to look anew at such traditional philosophical issues as the correspondence of mind to world and presuppositions of scientific research. (shrink)
Ever since Greek antiquity "disembodied knowledge" has often been taken as synonymous with "objective truth." Yet we also have very specific mental images of the kinds of bodies that house great minds--the ascetic philosopher versus the hearty surgeon, for example. Does truth have anything to do with the belly? What difference does it make to the pursuit of knowledge whether Einstein rode a bicycle, Russell was randy, or Darwin flatulent? Bringing body and knowledge into such intimate contact is occasionally seen (...) as funny, sometimes as enraging, and more often just as pointless. Vividly written and well illustrated, Science Incarnate offers concrete historical answers to such skeptical questions about the relationships between body, mind, and knowledge. Focusing on the seventeenth century to the present, Science Incarnate explores how intellectuals sought to establish the value and authority of their ideas through public displays of their private ways of life. Patterns of eating, sleeping, exercising, being ill, and having (or avoiding) sex, as well as the marks of gender and bodily form, were proof of the presence or absence of intellectual virtue, integrity, skill, and authority. Intellectuals examined in detail include René Descartes, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Ada Lovelace. Science Incarnate is at once very funny and deeply serious, addressing issues of crucial importance to present-day discussions about the nature of knowledge and how it is produced. It incorporates much that will interest cultural and social historians, historians of science and medicine, philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists. (shrink)
The paper distinguishes between two kinds of mathematics, natural mathematics which is a result of biological evolution and artificial mathematics which is a result of cultural evolution. On this basis, it outlines an approach to the philosophy of mathematics which involves a new treatment of the method of mathematics, the notion of demonstration, the questions of discovery and justification, the nature of mathematical objects, the character of mathematical definition, the role of intuition, the role of diagrams in mathematics, and (...) the effectiveness of mathematics in naturalscience. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that differences between the ‘new moral science’ of the seventeenth century and scholastic natural law theory originated primarily from the skeptical challenge the former had to face. Pufendorf’s project of a scientia practica universalis is the paramount expression of an anti-skeptical moral science, a ‘science’ that is both explanatory and normative, but also anti-dogmatic insofar as it tries to base its laws on those basic phenomena of human life which, supposedly, are (...) immune to skeptical doubt. The main scholastic legacy to the new moral science is the dichotomy between an ‘intellectualist’ and a ‘voluntarist’ view of natural law (or between lex immanens and lex imposita). Voluntarism lies at the basis of both theological views, such as Calvinism, and political views, such as those of Hobbes and Locke. The need to counterbalance the undesirable implications of extreme voluntarism may account for much of the developments in ethics and politics during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.Scottish natural jurisprudence, which tried to find a middle way between skepticism and extreme voluntarism, is less secular and more empirical than received wisdom admits. There emerged, as one of its ‘accidental’ outcomes, a systematic, self-contained and empirical economic theory from the search for an empirically based normative theory of social life. The basic assumption of such a theory, namely, the notion of societal laws as embedded in trans-individual mechanisms, derives from the voluntarist view of natural law as ‘imposed’ law.Later discussions of social issues in terms of ‘economic’ and ‘ethical’ reasons originated partly from a misreading ofthe Scottish natural jurisprudential framework of economic theory. Starting with this reconstruction, I try to shed some light on recent discussions about the role of ethics in economics. (shrink)
Michael Friedman's book develops a new and complete reading of this work and reconstructs Kant's main argument clearly and in great detail, explaining its relationship to both Newton's Principia and eighteenth-century scientific thinkers ...
This is the text of the Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in Social Anthopology 1999 (To appear in the Proceedings of the British Academy). In it, I argue that to approach society and culture in a naturalistic way, the domain of the social sciences must be reconceptualised by recognising only entities and processes of which we have a naturalistic understanding. These are mental representations and public productions, the processes that causally link them, the causal chains that bond these links, and the complex webs (...) of such causal chains that criss-cross human populations over time and space. Such causal chains may distribute and stabilise representations and productions throughout a human population, thereby generating culture. The lecture introduces several conceptual tools useful for such a naturalistic approach, and illustrates their use with the case study of ritual activity in a Southern Ethiopian household. (shrink)
Combining the methods of the modern philosopher with those of the historian of ideas, Knud Haakonssen presents an interpretation of the philosophy of law which Adam Smith developed out of - and partly in response to - David Hume's theory of justice. While acknowledging that the influences on Smith were many and various, Dr Haakonssen suggests that the decisive philosophical one was Hume's analysis of justice in A Treatise of Human Nature and the second Enquiry. He therefore begins with a (...) thorough investigation of Hume, from which he goes on to show the philosophical originality of Smith's new form of natural jurisprudence. At the same time, he provides an over all reading of Smith's social and political thought, demonstrating clearly the exact links between the moral theory of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, the Lectures on Jurisprudence, and the sociohistorical theory of The Wealth of Nations. This is the first full analysis of Adam Smith's jurisprudence; it emphasizes its normative and critical function, and relates this to the psychological, sociological, and histroical aspects which hitherto have attracted most attention. Dr Haakonssen is critical of both purely descriptivist and utilitarian interpretations of Smith's moral and political philosophy, and demonstrates the implausibility of regarding Smith's view of history as pseudo-economic or 'materialist'. (shrink)
The work is a charitable study on what the internationally renowned presenter and author, Howard Sobel, views to be largely the truth about moral thought and talk. Discussions and observations from David Humes own writings oftentimes reinforce and elaborate the authors notions and there is an assertive attempt to weave logical thinking into the book. Applications to such mathematical concepts as game theory, decision-making, and conditionals are dispersed throughout so as to enlighten the theory behind the ideas.