Constitutionalism is a typically modernist project in that it seeks to dictate social order by means of institutional design. This project, however, fails in two ways. Empirically, constitutionalism is confronted with the fact that constitutions have limited control over their social environment. Epistemologically, constitutionalism has great difficulty in finding a convincing foundational relation between abstract constitutional provisions and constitutional norms for concrete situations. On the basis of this poor record, it is hard to comprehend how constitutionalism remains such an influential (...) factor in our polity. This article tries to explain our adherence to the philosophy of constitutional ordering by analysing its function in constitutional discourse. (shrink)
Soit K un corps de rang de Morley fini; s'il est de caractéristique p non nulle, tout sous-groupe simple définissable de GLn(K) est définissablement isomorphe à un groupe algébrique sur K; en toute caractéristique, tout sous-groupe définissable de GLn(K) est résoluble par fini, ou bien contient SL2(K).
This essay offers an attempt at a cross-cultural inquiry into cross-cultural inquiry by examining how one influential Chinese reformer, Tan Sitong (1865–1898), thought creatively about the possibilities of learning from differently situated societies. That is to say, rather than focusing on developing either Tan’s substantive ideas or elaborating a methodology for how such an approach might proceed, I mine his work for the methodological lessons it offers. I hope to offer both argument and example for the possibility not only that (...) culturally distinct ways of life can inform each other, but that such influence can include learning theoretical and practical means by which such engagement may be carried out. This .. (shrink)
Kok?Chor Tan argues for a conception of Liberal Cosmopolitanism that seeks to reconcile ideals of global justice and national partiality. I provide two objections to his luck egalitarian model of global justice: first, it fails to provide adequate space for legitimate cultural variation with respect to the understanding of and valuing of natural resources; and second, that its account of ideas of collective responsibility is restricted to a point at which it becomes unrecognizable and inefficacious. I conclude with some reflections (...) on the implications of my analysis for the more general question of whether or how national partiality and global justice can be reconciled. (shrink)
Quine claims that holism (i.e., the Quine-Duhem thesis) prevents us from defining synonymy and analyticity (section 2). In Word and Object, he dismisses a notion of synonymy which works well even if holism is true. The notion goes back to a proposal from Grice and Strawson and runs thus: R and S are synonymous iff for all sentences T we have that the logical conjunction of R and T is stimulus-synonymous to that of S and T. Whereas Grice and Strawson (...) did not attempt to defend this definition, I try to show that it indeed gives us a satisfactory account of synonymy. Contrary to Quine, the notion is tighter than stimulus-synonymy – particularly when applied to sentences with less than critical semantic mass (section 3). Now according to Quine, analyticity could be defined in terms of synonymy, if synonymy were to make sense: A sentence is analytic iff synonymous to self-conditionals. This leads us to the following notion of analyticity: S is analytic iff, for all sentences T, the logical conjunction of S and T is stimulus-synonymous to T; an analytic sentence does not change the semantic mass of any theory to which it may be conjoined (section 4). This notion is tighter than Quine's stimulus-analyticity; unlike stimulus-analyticity, it does not apply to those sentences from the very center of our theories which can be assented to come what may, even though they are not synthetic in the intuitive sense (section 5). Conclusion: We can have well-defined notions of synonymy and analyticity even if we embrace Quine's holism, naturalism, behaviorism, and radical translation. Quine's meaning skepticism is to be repudiated on Quinean grounds. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction: does information matter?; Paul Davies and Niels Henrik Gregersen; Part I. History: 2. From matter to materialism ... and (almost) back Ernan McMullin; 3. Unsolved dilemmas: the concept of matter in the history of philosophy and in contemporary physics Philip Clayton; Part II. Physics: 4. Universe from bit Paul Davies; 5. The computational universe Seth Lloyd; 6. Minds and values in the quantum universe Henry Pierce Stapp; Part III. Biology: 7. The concept of information (...) in biology John Maynard Smith; 8. Levels of information: Shannon-Bolzmann-Darwin Terrence W. Deacon; 9. Information and communication in living matter Bernd-Olaf Küppers; 10. Semiotic freedom: an emerging force Jesper Hoffmeyer; 11. Care on earth: generating informed concern Holmes Rolston; Part IV. Philosophy and Theology: 12. The sciences of complexity - a new theological resource? Arthur Peacocke; 13. God as the ultimate informational principle Keith Ward; 14. Information, theology and the universe John F. Haught; 15. God, matter, and information: towards a Stoicizing Logos christology Niels Henrik Gregersen; 16. What is the 'spiritual body'? Michael Welker; Index. (shrink)
In this article we discuss the ethical dilemmas facing performance evaluators and the "evaluatees" whose performances are measured in a business context. The concepts of role morality and common morality are used to develop a framework of behaviors that are normally seen as the moral responsibilities of these actors. This framework is used to analyze, based on four empirical situations, why the implementation of a performance measurement system has not been as effective as expected. It was concluded that, in these (...) four cases, unethical behavior (i.e. deviations from the ethical behaviors identified in the framework) provided, at least to some extent, an explanation for the lower than expected effectiveness of the performance measurement procedures. At the end of the paper we present an agenda for further research through which the framework could be further developed and systematically applied to a broader set of cases. (shrink)
Are we perhaps in the "matrix", or anyway, victims of perfect and permanent computer simulation? No. The most convincing—and shortest—version of Putnam's argument against the possibility of our eternal envattment is due to Crispin Wright (1994). It avoids most of the misunderstandings that have been elicited by Putnam's original presentation of the argument in "Reason, Truth and History" (1981). But it is still open to the charge of question-begging. True enough, the premisses of the argument (disquotation and externalism) can be (...) formulated and defended without presupposing external objects whose existence appears doubtful in the light of the very skeptical scenario which Putnam wants to repudiate. However, the argument is only valid if we add an extra premiss as to the existence of some external objects. In order to avoid circularity, we should run the argument with external objects which must exist even if we are brains in a vat, e.g. with computers rather than with trees. As long as the skeptic is engaged in a discussion of the brain-in-a-vat scenario, she should neither deny the existence of computers nor the existence of causal relations; for if she does, she is in fact denying that we are brains in a vat. (shrink)
Can we conceive of a mind without body? Does, for example, the idea of the soul's immortality make sense? Certain versions of materialism deny such questions; I shall try to prove that these versions of materialism cannot be right. They fail because they cannot account for the mental vocabulary from the language of brains in the vat. Envatted expressions such as "I think", "I believe", etc., do not have to be reinterpreted when we translate them to our language; they are (...) semantically stable. By contrast, physical expressions from the vat language are semantically instable; due to Putnam's externalism they cannot be transported to our language without change. This contrast opens the way to a new understanding of what the immortality of the soul might be like: A brain in a vat (and its mental life) might survive what the brain calls "my physical body's death". (shrink)
Using as case studies two early diagrams that represent mechanisms of the cell division cycle, we aim to extend prior philosophical analyses of the roles of diagrams in scientific reasoning, and specifically their role in biological reasoning. The diagrams we discuss are, in practice, integral and indispensible elements of reasoning from experimental data about the cell division cycle to mathematical models of the cycle’s molecular mechanisms. In accordance with prior analyses, the diagrams provide functional explanations of the cell cycle and (...) facilitate the construction of mathematical models of the cell cycle. But, extending beyond those analyses, we show how diagrams facilitate the construction of mathematical models, and we argue that the diagrams permit nomological explanations of the cell cycle. We further argue that what makes diagrams integral and indispensible for explanation and model construction is their nature as locality aids: they group together information that is to be used together in a way that sentential representations do not. (shrink)
Commentary on: Olaf Blanke, Thomas Metzinger, Full-body illusions and minimal phenomenal selfhood, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 13, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 7-13, ISSN 1364-6613, DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2008.10.003.
Pacifists and their opponents disagree not only about moral questions, but most often about factual questions as well. For example, they came to divergent descriptions of the crisis in Kosovo. According to my reconstruction of pacifism, this is not a surprise because the pacifist, legitimately, looks at the facts in the light of her system of value. Her opponent, in turn, looks at the facts in the light of alternative systems of value, and the quarrel between the two parties about (...) supposedly descriptive matters does not come to an end as there is no objective reality about the war in question that could settle the issue. If I am right, the pacifist's value-laden way of looking at reality can be reconstructed as an obedience to three epistemic imperatives. First, the Epistemic Imperative concerning Human Nature ("Resist against demonizing the other side; always try to understand the case from their point of view"). Second, the Epistemic Imperative concerning Non-Violent Alternatives ("Always search for non-violent alternatives to projected military action"). Third, the Epistemic Imperative concerning Uncontrolled Escalation ("Sharpen your attention for uncontrolled, irreversible side effects of military action, particularly for the danger of escalation to another world war"). Objective reality does not decide how far one should go in following these imperatives. Rather, the decision about this is our's—similarly as in case of the scientist who decides to search for common deep structure behind the chaos of the manifold. So the pacifist's epistemic imperatives can be compared to Kant's regulative principles that are necessary for guiding the scientific scrutiny of reality. (shrink)
We use quotation marks when we wish to refer to an expression. We can and do so refer even when this expression is composed of characters that do not occur in our alphabet. That's why Tarski, Quine, and Geach's theories of quotation don't work. The proposals of Davidson, Frege, and C. Washington, however, do not provide a plausible account of quotation either. (Section I). The problem is to construct a Tarskian theory of truth for an object language that contains quotation (...) marks, without appealing to quotation marks in the metalanguage. I propose to supply Tarski's truth definition with one axiom that determines the denotation of all expressions containing quotation marks. According to this axiom, quotation marks create a non-extensional context. Since admitting such contexts does not lead to any difficulties in the recursive truth characterization, we may indeed dispense with extensionalism. (Section II). Finally, I argue that we classify and denote expressions in the very same way that we classify and denote extralinguistic entities. Both tokens and types of written signs can be easily incorporated into the naturalist's worldview. (Section III). (shrink)
Does a pharmacist have a right to refuse to fill certain prescriptions? In this paper, I examine cases in which an employee might refuse to do something that is part of his or her job description. I will argue that in some of these cases, an employee does have a right of refusal and in other cases an employee does not. In those cases where the employee does not have a right of refusal, I argue that the refusals (if repeated) (...) are just cause for termination of employment. I argue that there are moral principles that support the different outcomes in the cases under consideration. I turn to pharmacy cases at the end of the paper and argue that they are analogous to cases where an employee does not have a right of refusal and thus fall under the principle that refusing to fill birth control prescriptions constitutes just cause for termination. (shrink)
Crispin Wright hat die bislang beste Rekonstruktion von Putnams Beweis gegen die skeptische Hypothese vom Gehirn im Tank vorgelegt. Aber selbst in Wrights Fassung hat der Beweis einen Mangel: Er wird mithilfe eines Prädikates wie z.B. "Tiger" geführt und funktioniert nur, wenn man sich darauf verlassen kann, dass es Tiger wirklich gibt. Aber die Skeptikerin bestreitet, über die Existenz von Tigern bescheid zu wissen. Das Problem lässt sich dadurch beheben, dass man den Beweis – statt mit dem extensionalen Begriff der (...) Referenz (wie bei Wright) – mit Intensionen führt. Zudem sollte der Beweis transzendental laufen, also einzig und allein auf den sprachlichen Voraussetzungen beruhen, die auch die Skeptikerin zur Formulierung ihrer Tank-Hypothese benötigt. -/- The best reconstruction of Putnam's brain-in-a-vat argument is due to Crispin Wright. But even Wright's version of the argument is not convincing. It employs predicates such as 'tiger' and reaches the conclusion only if we can rely upon the existence of tigers; and the skeptic disputes our knowledge regarding tigers. The problem is not insuperable: The argument must be run, not with the extensionalistic notion of reference (as in Wright's version), but with intensions. Furthermore, the argument should have a transcendental form; it should exclusively rely on conditions that are needed by the skeptic for formulating her own position. (shrink)
Let us imagine an ideal ethical agent, i.e., an agent who (i) holds a certain ethical theory, (ii) has all factual knowledge needed for determining which action among those open to her is right and which is wrong, according to her theory, and who (iii) is ideally motivated to really do whatever her ethical theory demands her to do. If we grant that the notions of omniscience and ideal motivation both make sense, we may ask: Could there possibly be an (...) ideal utilitarian, that is, an ideal ethical agent whose ethical theory says that our only moral obligation consists in maximizing utility? I claim that an ideal agent cannot be utilitarian. My reasoning against ideal utilitarianism will parallel Putnam's famous argument against the brains in a vat. Putnam argues that an envatted brain cannot describe its own situation because its words do not refer to brains and vats; I argue that an ideal utilitarian cannot entertain or communicate the beliefs necessary to being a utilitarian. (shrink)
Quine claims that holism (i.e., the Quine-Duhem thesis) prevents us from defining synonymy and analyticity (section 2). In "Word and Object," he dismisses a notion of synonymy which works well even if holism is true. The notion goes back to a proposal from Grice and Strawson and runs thus: R and S are synonymous iff for all sentences T we have that the logical conjunction of R and T is stimulus-synonymous to that of S and T. Whereas Grice and Strawson (...) did not attempt to defend this definition, I try to show that it indeed gives us a satisfactory account of synonymy. Contrary to Quine, the notion is tighter than stimulus-synonymy -- particularly when applied to sentences with less than critical semantic mass (section 3). Now according to Quine, analyticity could be defined in terms of synonymy, if synonymy were to make sense: A sentence is analytic iff synonymous to self-conditionals. This leads us to the following notion of analyticity: S is analytic iff, for all sentences T, the logical conjunction of S and T is stimulus-synonymous to T; an analytic sentence does not change the semantic mass of any theory to which it may be conjoined (section 4). This notion is tighter than Quine's stimulus-analyticity; unlike stimulus-analyticity, it does not apply to those sentences from the very center of our theories which can be assented to come what may, even though they are not synthetic in the intuitive sense (section 5). (shrink)
In its reaction on the terroristic attacks of September 9th, 2001, the US-government threatened Afghanistan's Taleban with war in order to force them to extradite terrorist leader Bin Laden; the Taleban said that they would not surrender to this kind of blackmail – and so, they were removed from Kabul by means of military force. The rivalling versions of this story depend crucially on notions such as "terrorism" and "blackmail". Obviously you'll gain public support for your preferrend version of the (...) story if you are able to determine how those notions are to be used. So we had better reflect about their very meaning and about the moral implications of their proper usage. To gain a deeper understanding of our notions of "blackmail" and "terrorism" I shall propose an extreme thought experiment: Cassandra's plan. Cassandra foresees that sooner or later one of the nuclear powers might take the liberty to use atomic bombs. From fright she founds an NGO for blackmailing the statesmen who are in charge of nuclear weapons; she announces in public that all ministers and leaders of any government shall be hunted down, and executed, whose soldiers drop but one atomic bomb. (Cassandra's NGO keeps killer teams in constant training so as to increase the effect of the threat; this is being financiated from private donations). In my paper I shall raise two questions (without claiming to provide definite answers). First, would we have to say that Cassandra's NGO was a terrorist organisation? Second, would it be morally wrong if Cassandra blackmailed statesmen in the way indicated? (shrink)
The analytic/synthetic distinction can be conceived from two points of view: from within or from without; from the perspective of one's own language or from the perspective of the language of others. From without, the central question is which sentences of a foreign language are to be classified as analytic. From within, by contrast, the question concerning the synthetic and the analytic acquires a normative dimension: which sentences am I not permitted to reject—if I want to avoid talking nonsense? Both (...) perspectives on analytic sentences do not mutually exclude but supplement and illuminate each other. In "Two Dogmas", Quine's criticism of the analytic/synthetic distinction comes from within, whereas in Word and Object, Quine repeats his earlier criticism from without. His criticism is directed against Carnap's views on our understanding of theoretical terms. I challenge Quine's criticism in both of its versions and provide two definitions for analyticity that are immune to Quine's arguments. Using the first of these definitions (the one from without) I try to show how it is possible to distinguish (genuine) belief revision from linguistic change—even in case of a scientific revolution. (shrink)
My philosophical case study concerns textbook presentations of the theory of demand. Does this theory contain anything more than just a collection of tautologies? In order to determine its empirical content, it must be viewed holistically. But then, the theory implies false factual claims. We can avoid this result by embracing the theory’s normative character. The resulting consequences will be illuminated with the new autodetermination thesis recently proposed in the philosophy of physics by Oliver Timmer. Applying his ideas to the (...) theory of demand reveals that the statements of this discipline simultaneously concern both values and facts. (shrink)
When it became uncool to speak of beauty with respect to pieces of art, physicists started claiming that their results are beautiful. They say, for example, that a theory's beauty speaks in favour of its truth, and that they strive to perform beautiful experiments. What does that mean? The notion cannot be defined. (It cannot be defined in the arts either). Therefore, I elucidate it with examples of optical experimentation. Desaguliers' white synthesis, for example, is more beautiful than Newton's, and (...) the many colourful syntheses done by Viennese painter Ingo Nussbaumer exemplify even greater beauty. Here are some criteria (which, of course, do not implement a decision procedure concerning beauty in experiments): cleanliness, simplicity, intellectual clarity, symmetry. Similar criteria are relevant to our aesthetical judgements about some pieces of music. So we can assume that our notion of beauty conserning art is related to the one conserning scientific experiments. (shrink)
Activity-dependent processes play an active role in shaping the structure of neuronal circuitry and therefore contribute to neural and cognitive development. Neural constructivism claims to be able to account for increases in the complexity of cognitive representations in terms of directed growth of neurons. This claim is overstated, rests on biased nterpretations of the evidence, and is based on serious misapprehensions of the nature of somatic variation and selection.
Concepts that include the participation and empowerment of workers are becoming increasingly important nowadays. In many of these concepts, the formal responsibility is delegated to teams. Does this imply that the normative responsibility for the actions of teams is also delegated? In this article we will reflect on the difference between holding a person accountable and bearing responsibility. A framework is elaborated in order to analyse the accountability and responsibility of teams. In this framework, the emergence of a collective mind, (...) and the organisational factors that influence the extent to which teams have the possibility of acting in a responsible way play an important role. It shows that teams can bear responsibilities that could never be carried by a group of individuals. The framework is used to analyse two sample cases with self-managing teams in production facilities. The authors discuss the implications for the theory and practice of self-managing teams and the allocation of responsibility between individuals, teams and the organisation. (shrink)
More and more organisations formulate a code of conduct in order to stimulate responsible behaviour among their members. Much time and energy is usually spent fixing the content of the code but many organisations get stuck in the challenge of implementing and maintaining the code. The code then turns into nothing else than the notorious "paper in the drawer", without achieving its aims. The challenge of implementation is to utilize the dynamics which have emerged from the formulation of the code. (...) This will support a continuous process of reflection on the central values and standards contained in the code. This paper presents an assessment method, based on the EFQM model, which intends to support this implementation process. (shrink)
Cognition and behavior are the result of neural processes occurring at multiple levels of organization. Synthetic computational approaches are capable of bridging the gaps between multiple organizational levels and contribute to our understanding of how neural structures give rise to specific dynamical states. Such approaches are indispensable for formulating the theoretical foundations of cognitive neuroscience.
Is there any argument for scepticism? The epistemic problem of the possibility of error. Arguments for scepticism rest on the assumption that knowledge claims are fallible. For this reason the concept of knowledge appears to be questionable. Since it is necessary to distinguish doubts from possible doubts, the arguments for scepticism appear to be unconvincing. If we take it into account that we know something that is immune to doubt, we should draw the conclusion that, contrary to scepticism, knowledge claims (...) have to be compatible with being fallible. Thus any knowledge claim is capable of being doubted. (shrink)
Microphotography was one of the earliest applications of photography in science: The first monograph on tissue organization illustrated with microphotographs was published in 1845. In the 1860s, a large number of introductions to scientific microphotography were published by anatomists. They argued that microphotography was a means of documenting the results of microscopic analysis, uncontaminated by the subjectivity of the observer. In the early decades of the 19th century, before the general acceptance of cell theory, such a technique was of special (...) importance, as no criteria were available to distinguish between important and superficial characters in the description of tissue microstructures. Microphotography was praised as the method of choice for documenting the scientific observations of microscopic material. Some of the microphotographic practices described in these early manuals, however, did not conform with the idea of a purely mechanical process of documentation. The authors of these manuals saw photography not as a technique which produced artifacts, but as a complete and reliable substitute for the original preparations. Thus, according to these authors, the artificial world of photography was seen as the actual representation of the microworld. Consequently, they tried to understand the microcosm by analyzing photographs instead of the microscopic preparation themselves. Such attitudes discredited the use of microphotography in the sciences. Consequently, the definitive breakthrough of scientific microphotography was delayed until the 1880s and was largely due to the efforts of Robert Koch, who made microphotography a central tool of bacteriology. (shrink)
The intention of the article is to offer stakeholders affected by mergers a criterion from which moral arguments may be generated for the organization of each individual case. The criterion: "Any operation causing legitimate interests to suffer vital infringement should be avoided in a merger process." A vital infringement of these interests is assumed when the merger undermines unique positive opportunities or considerable impairment in the future, impossible to overcome for the person affected without an unacceptable level of difficulty. Therefore, (...) we mainly concentrate on implicit contracts – which should be based on the principle pacta sunt servanda as well. These contracts are mandatory to run an economy that produces increasingly more knowledge-based goods. (shrink)
The development of an ethics program is a method frequently used for organising responsible behaviour within organisations. For such a program, certain preconditions have to be created in the structure, culture and strategy. In this organisational context, managers have to take their decisions in a responsible way. This process of decision-making, embedded in an ethics program, is the main focus of this article. Ethics programs often influence decision-making in a formal way; certain norms and types of behaviour are formalised and (...) controlled within the organisation. Subsequently, individual managers have to infer the meaning of responsible behaviour from the demands laid down in the ethics program. Such a formal ethics program has some important advantages but the dangers of such an approach are often ignored. This article discusses both the advantages and disadvantages of a formal ethics program and adds two alternative ways of stimulating responsible behaviour in the organisation. In a monological approach the reflections of the decision makers on their own values are central in differentiating between right and wrong. In a dialogical approach, the communications between decision makers and other stakeholders involved are the foundations for determining a responsible solution. Because each approach is appropriate for certain issues, a well-chosen combination is justified. Such an ethics program should be strict on certain issues but leave room for reflection and interaction on other issues. (shrink)
It is shown that the method of operationaldefinition of theoretical terms applied inphysics may well support constructivist ideasin cognitive sciences when extended toobservational terms. This leads to unexpectedresults for the notion of reality, inductionand for the problem why mathematics is sosuccessful in physics.A theory of cognitive operators is proposedwhich are implemented somewhere in our brainand which transform certain states of oursensory apparatus into what we call perceptionsin the same sense as measurement devicestransform the interaction with the object intomeasurement results. Then, (...) perceivedregularities, as well as the laws of nature wewould derive from them can be seen asinvariants of the cognitive operators concernedand are by this human specific constructsrather than ontologically independent elements.(e.g., the law of energy conservation can bederived from the homogeneity of time and bythis depends on our mental time metricgenerator). So, reality in so far it isrepresented by the laws of nature has no longeran independent ontological status. This isopposed to Campbell's `natural selectionepistemology'. From this it is shown that thereholds an incompleteness theorem for physicallaws similar to Gödels incompletenesstheorem for mathematical axioms, i.e., there isno definitive or object `theory of everything'.This constructivist approaches to cognitionwill allow a coherent and consistent model ofboth cognitive and organic evolution. Whereasthe classical view sees the two evolutionrather dichotomously (for ex.: most scientistssee cognitive evolution converging towards adefinitive world picture, whereas organicevolution obviously has no specific focus (the`pride of creation'). (shrink)
Summary Influenced by the account of K. Popper and, moreover, of C. G. Hempel and P. Oppenheim, it is generally assumed, that a prediction can be logically deduced from hypotheses, i. e. lawlike propositions, and initial conditions. It is not clear, in which respect a prediction can correctly be supposed to be a proposition which is either true or false. From a logical point of view, serious difficulties arise in assuming that the deductive-nomological model consists of a valid argument. Further (...) objections to this account are developed with regard to lawlike propositions. Since a lawlike proposition is â by definition â not true or definitely true, but only supposed to be true, it cannot function as a true premise among other true premises for the purpose of deduction. Special difficulties arise with regard to predictions: A predictive argument does not give any reason for the truth of the predictionK, but only â if at all â for the prediction of the truth ofK. In the latter case, the conclusion K clearly does not consist of a proposition (which could be either true or false) but rather of a predicting proposition. (shrink)