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).
Este libro, resultado de un esfuerzo compartido por diversas instituciones, investigadores y editores, encabezados por el Grupo de Investigación E Pluribus Unum? Ethnic Identities in Transnational Integration Processes in the Americas de la Universidad de Bielefeld, trata un tema central para el futuro de nuestras mestizas sociedades latinoamericanas: la necesaria construcción -en el presente que vivimos- de la interculturalidad en nuestra América Latina. Esto en el nuevo contexto donde los ..
This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in 1927, "The Last Judgment" -- the sequel to his better known work, "Daedalus" (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the "new biology" for human destiny. That vision served as a kind of (...) lifelong credo, one that infused and informed his diverse scientific work, political activities, and popular writing, and that gave unity and coherence to his remarkable career. (shrink)
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)
El texto es una crítica a las teorías contemporáneas que proclaman la incomparabilidad de los "proyectos civilizatorios" en el Tercer Mundo, puesto que existiría una diversidad tan amplia y tan profunda de culturas, que sería imposible encontrar un "metacriterio" histórico, desde el cual recién se p..
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)