For the last 100 years historians have denigrated the psychology of the Critique of Pure Reason. In opposition, PatriciaKitcher argues that we can only understand the deduction of the categories in terms of Kant's attempt to fathom the psychological prerequisites of thought, and that this investigation illuminates thinking itself. Kant tried to understand the "task environment" of knowledge and thought: Given the data we acquire and the scientific generalizations we make, what basic cognitive capacities are necessary to (...) perform these feats? What do these capacities imply about the inevitable structure of our knowledge? Kitcher specifically considers Kant's claims about the unity of the thinking self; the spatial forms of human perceptions; the relations among mental states necessary for them to have content; the relations between perceptions and judgment; the malleability essential to empirical concepts; the structure of empirical concepts required for inductive inference; and the limits of philosophical insight into psychological processes. (shrink)
David Marr's theory of vision has been widely cited by philosophers and psychologists. I have three projects in this paper. First, I try to offer a perspicuous characterization of Marr's theory. Next, I consider the implications of Marr's work for some currently popular philosophies of psychology, specifically, the "hegemony of neurophysiology view", the theories of Jerry Fodor, Daniel Dennett, and Stephen Stich, and the view that perception is permeated by belief. In the last section, I consider what the phenomenon of (...) vision must be like for Marr's project to succeed. (shrink)
Overview -- Locke's internal sense and Kant's changing views -- Personal identity amd its problems -- Rationalalist metaphysics of mind -- Consciousness, self-consciousness, and cognition -- Strands of Argument in the Duisburg Nachlass -- A transcendental deduction for a priori concepts -- Synthesis : why and how? -- Arguing for apperception -- The power of apperception -- "I-think" as the destroyer of rational psychology -- Is Kant's theory consistent? -- The normativity objection -- Is Kant's thinker (as such) a free (...) and responsible agent? -- Kant our contemporary. (shrink)
Philip Kitcher is one of the leading figures in the philosophy of science today. Here he collects, for the first time, many of his published articles on the philosophy of biology, spanning from the mid-1980's to the present. The book's title refers to Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian monk who was one of the first scientists to develop a theory of heredity. Mendel's work has been deeply influential to our understanding of our selves and our world, just as the study (...) of genetics today will have a profound and long-term impact on future scientific research. Kitcher's articles cover a broad range of topics with similar philosophical and social significance: sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, species, race, altruism, genetic determinism, and the rebirth of creationism in Intelligent Design. Kitcher's work on the intersection of biology and the philosophy of science is both unprecedented and wide-ranging, and will appeal not only to philosophers of science, but to scholars and students across disciplines. (shrink)
Few musical works loom as large in Western culture as Richard Wagner's four-part Ring of the Nibelung. In Finding an Ending, two eminent philosophers, Philip Kitcher and Richard Schacht, offer an illuminating look at this greatest of Wagner's achievements, focusing on its far-reaching and subtle exploration of problems of meanings and endings in this life and world. Kitcher and Schacht plunge the reader into the heart of Wagner's Ring, drawing out the philosophical and human significance of the text (...) and the music. They show how different forms of love, freedom, heroism, authority, and judgment are explored and tested as it unfolds. As they journey across its sweeping musical-dramatic landscape, Kitcher and Schacht lead us to the central concern of the Ring--the problem of endowing life with genuine significance that can be enhanced rather than negated by its ending, if the right sort of ending can be found. The drama originates in Wotan's quest for a transformation of the primordial state of things into a world in which life can be lived more meaningfully. The authors trace the evolution of Wotan's efforts, the intricate problems he confronts, and his failures and defeats. But while the problem Wotan poses for himself proves to be insoluble as he conceives of it, they suggest that his very efforts and failures set the stage for the transformation of his problem, and for the only sort of resolution of it that may be humanly possible--to which it is not Siegfried but rather Brünnhilde who shows the way. The Ring's ending, with its passing of the gods above and destruction of the world below, might seem to be devastating; but Kitcher and Schacht see a kind of meaning in and through the ending revealed to us that is profoundly affirmative, and that has perhaps never been so powerfully and so beautifully expressed. (shrink)
Despite kemp smith's claims to the contrary, I show that there is good reason to believe that kant was aware of hume's attack on personal identity. My interpretive claim is that we can make sense of many of kant's puzzling remarks in the subjective deduction by assuming that he was trying to reply to hume's challenge. My substantive claim is that kant succeeds in defending a notion of the self as a continuing sequence of informationally interdependent states.
Striving to boldly redirect the philosophy of science, this book by renowned philosopher PhilipKitcher examines the heated debate surrounding the role of science in shaping our lives. Kitcher explores the sharp divide between those who believe that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is always valuable and necessary--the purists--and those who believe that it invariably serves the interests of people in positions of power. In a daring turn, he rejects both perspectives, working out a more realistic image (...) of the sciences--one that allows for the possibility of scientific truth, but nonetheless permits social consensus to determine which avenues to investigate. He then proposes a democratic and deliberative framework for responsible scientists to follow. Controversial, powerful, yet engaging, this volume will appeal to a wide range of readers. Kitcher's nuanced analysis and authorititative conclusion will interest countless scientists as well as all readers of science--scholars and laypersons alike. (shrink)
This paper attempts to understand kant's obscure remarks that certain parts of natural science are a priori or have something akin to an a priori status. i argue that kant does not claim that propositions of physics are fully a priori, that the notion of a proposition's being a priori "given an empirical concept" can be explicated, that kant's attempted defense of the status of parts of dynamics is deeply flawed because of his commitments about a priority, but that his (...) account of natural science contains some important insights. (shrink)
Hilbert's program attempts to show that our mathematical knowledge can be certain because we are able to know for certain the truths of elementary arithmetic. I argue that, in the absence of a theory of mathematical truth, Hilbert does not have a complete theory of our arithmetical knowledge. Further, while his deployment of a Kantian notion of intuition seems to promise an answer to scepticism, there is no way to complete Hilbert's epistemology which would answer to his avowed aims.
Recent debates about Intelligent Design have brought into high relief the huge schism between those who believe in Darwin and the power of science to understand the world, and those who look through the prism of religious faith. Why, asks eminent philosopher Philip Kitcher, does this debate continue to rage given that the scientific consensus in favor of Darwin is overwhelming? This accessible and elegant essay attempts to answer this question. Kitcher first presents the compelling evidence on behalf (...) of Darwin's evolutionary theory, bringing out with unprecedented clarity the structure of the reasoning that has convinced almost all educated people of its merits during the past century and a half. He then sets the current debate about Intelligent Design in historical context, showing that ID theory is really dead science. Explaining the scientific issues in an elegant and accessible way, Kitcher shows how crucial discoveries successively undermined the Creationist views about life on earth that were once considered scientific orthodoxy. Finally, Kitcher goes on to analyze the recurrent opposition to Darwinian ideas, arguing that they do present a genuine threat to those forms of religion that invoke divine providence. A Darwinian understanding of the history of life makes popular forms of religious faith, including most versions of Christianity and Judaism, hard to sustain. The dispute about Intelligent Design emerges as a symptom of a much deeper problem - the clash between the deep impulses to religion and the discoveries of the natural and human sciences. Kitcher contends that we cannot resolve that clash either by denying these discoveries or by brusquely overriding the underlying impulses. Somehow, we must develop a version of secular humanism that will prove genuinely satisfying. (shrink)
In the brilliant final section of Reasons and Persons , Derek Parfit presents a puzzle about how the goodness of states of affairs relates to the quality of the lives led by people in those states. Stripped to barest essentials, the puzzle runs as follows: if the value of a state is obtained simply by aggregating the quantity of whatever makes life worth living, then a world in which a significant number of people (say ten billion) enjoy lives of very (...) high quality would be inferior to a world in which a vastly greater number of people have lives that are barely worth living (the.. (shrink)
Three recent, influential critiques (Stich 1978; Fodor 1981c; Block 1980) have argued that various tasks on the agenda for computational psychology put conflicting pressures on its theoretical constructs. Unless something is done, the inevitable result will be confusion or outright incoherence. Stich, Fodor, and Block present different versions of this worry and each proposes a different remedy. Stich wants the central notion of belief to be jettisoned if it cannot be shown to be sound. Fodor tries to reduce confusion in (...) computational psychology by dismissing some putative tasks as impossible. Block argues that the widespread faith in functionalism is just not warranted. I argue that all these critiques are misguided because they depend on holding cognitive psychology to taxonomic standards that other sciences routinely rise above. (shrink)
There are a number of controversies surrounding the Human Genome Project (HGP). Some criticisms are based on the contention that the full human sequence will be scientifically worthless; others stem from short-term worries about the social impact of genetic testing and the release of genetic information about individuals. I argue that, properly understood, the HGP is a valuable scientific project with a misleading name, that the moral issues surrounding the short-term difficulties are relatively straightforward but that there are (...) problems of practical politics in implementing the obvious solutions. Finally, I suggest that the HGP serves as the occasion for raising deeper philosophical questions about our commitment to improve the quality of human lives. (shrink)