Two successes of old quantum theory are particularly notable: Bohr’s prediction of the spectral lines of ionised helium, and Sommerfeld’s prediction of the fine-structure of the hydrogen spectral lines. Many scientific realists would like to be able to explain these successes in terms of the truth or approximate truth of the assumptions which fuelled the relevant derivations. In this paper I argue that this will be difficult for the ionised helium success, and is almost certainly impossible for the fine-structure success. (...) Thus I submit that the case against the realist’s thesis that success is indicative of truth is marginally strengthened. (shrink)
This paper follows up a debate as to the consistency of Newtonian cosmology. Whereas Malament (1995) has shown that Newtonian cosmology *is* not inconsistent, to date there has been no analysis of Norton’s claim (1995) that Newtonian cosmology *was* inconsistent prior to certain advances in the 1930s, and in particular prior to Seeliger’s seminal paper of 1895. In this paper I agree that there are assumptions, Newtonian and cosmological in character, and relevant to the real history of science, which are (...) inconsistent. But there are some important corrections to make to Norton’s account. Here I display for the first time the inconsistencies—four in total—in all their detail. Although this extra detail shows there to be several different inconsistencies, it also goes some way towards explaining why they went unnoticed for two hundred years. (shrink)
In epistemology and in philosophy of language there is fierce debate about the role of context in knowledge, understanding, and meaning. Many contemporary epistemologists take seriously the thesis that epistemic vocabulary is context-sensitive. This thesis is of course a semantic claim, so it has brought epistemologists into contact with work on context in semantics by philosophers of language. This volume brings together the debates, in a set of twelve specially written essays representing the latest work by leading figures in the (...) two fields. All future work on contextualism will start here. Contributors: Kent Bach, Herman Cappelen, Andy Egan, Michael Glanzberg, John Hawthorne, Ernest Lepore, Peter Ludlow, Peter Pagin, Georg Peter, Paul M. Pietroski, Gerhard Preyer, Jonathan Schaffer, Jason Stanley, Brian Weatherson, Timothy Williamson. (shrink)
Kirchhoff’s diffraction theory is introduced as a new case study in the realism debate. The theory is extremely successful despite being both inconsistent and not even approximately true. Some habitual realist proclamations simply cannot be maintained in the face of Kirchhoff’s theory, as the realist is forced to acknowledge that theoretical success can in some circumstances be explained in terms other than truth. The idiosyncrasy (or otherwise) of Kirchhoff’s case is considered.
The ubiquitous assertion that the early calculus of Newton and Leibniz was an inconsistent theory is examined. Two different objects of a possible inconsistency claim are distinguished: (i) the calculus as an algorithm; (ii) proposed explanations of the moves made within the algorithm. In the first case the calculus can be interpreted as a theory in something like the logician’s sense, whereas in the second case it acts more like a scientific theory. I find no inconsistency in the first case, (...) and an inconsistency in the second case which can only be imputed to a small minority of the relevant community. (shrink)
The semantic approach to scientific representation is now long established as a favourite amongst philosophers of science. One of the foremost strains of this approach-the model-theoretic approach (MTA)-is to represent scientific theories as families of models, all of which satisfy or 'make true' a given set of constraints. However some autho.rs (Brown 2002, Frisch 2005) have criticised the approach on the grounds that certain scientific theories are logically inconsistent, and there can be no models of an inconsistent set of constraints. (...) Thus it would seem that the MTA fails to represent inconsistent scientific theories at all, and this raises concerns about the way it represents in general. In a series of papers (1990, 1993, 1995) and a recent book (2003) da Costa and French have developed a variant of the MTA approach which they call 'partial structures', and which they claim can accommodate inconsistent theories. I assess this claim, looking to two theories which have been called 'inconsistent': Bohr's theory of the atom and classical electrodynamics. (shrink)
How does deductive logic constrain probability? This question is difficult for subjectivistic approaches, according to which probability is just strength of (prudent) partial belief, for this presumes logical omniscience. This paper proposes that the way in which probability lies always between possibility and necessity can be made precise by exploiting a minor theorem of de Finetti: In any finite set of propositions the expected number of truths is the sum of the probabilities over the set. This is generalized to apply (...) to denumerable languages. It entails that the sum of probabilities can neither exceed nor be exceeded by the cardinalities of all consistent and closed (within the set) subsets. In general any numerical function on sentences is said to be logically coherent if it satisfies this condition. Logical coherence allows the relativization of necessity: A function p on a language is coherent with respect to the concept T of necessity iff there is no set of sentences on which the sum of p exceeds or is exceeded by the cardinality of every T-consistent and T-closed (within the set) subset of the set. Coherence is easily applied as well to sets on which the sum of p does not converge. Probability should also be relativized by necessity: A T-probability assigns one to every T-necessary sentence and is additive over disjunctions of pairwise T-incompatible sentences. Logical T-coherence is then equivalent to T-probability: All and only T-coherent functions are T-probabilities. (shrink)
This paper follows up a debate as to whether classical electrodynamics is inconsistent. Mathias Frisch makes the claim in Inconsistency, Asymmetry and Non-Locality (), but this has been quickly countered by F. A. Muller () and Gordon Belot (). Here I argue that both Muller and Belot fail to connect with the background assumptions that support Frisch's claim. Responding to Belot I explicate Frisch's position in more detail, before providing my own criticisms. Correcting Frisch's position, I find that I can (...) present the theory in a way both authors can agree upon. Differences then manifest themselves purely within the reasoning methods employed. Introduction Features of the Theory Frisch's Inconsistency Claim Defending Frisch 4.1 Muller 4.2 Belot Difficulties for Frisch and a Compromise Conclusion CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The interpretation of the calculus of probability as a logic of partial belief has at least two advantages: it makes the assignment of probabilities plausible in cases where classical frequentist interpretations must find such assignments meaningless, and it gives a clear meaning to partial belief and to consistency of partial belief.
behaviour from the rival manufacturer. We consider the case where franchise fees can be used to extract retailers' surplus. We show that vertical separation is in the collective, as well as individual, interest of manufacturers, and hence facilitates some collusion in the simple setting..
Discussing the relations between logic and probability, this book compares classical 17th- and 18th-century theories of probability with contemporary theories, explores recent logical theories of probability, and offers a new account of probability as a part of logic.
This article discusses the notion of inner experience and self-knowledge in PeterJohn Olivi. According to Olivi, each act of cognition is accompanied by some sort of self-awareness or self-experience. Therefore, the problem of an infinite regress of acts of self-awareness arises. Olivi tries to solve this problem by drawing on a theory of reflection which bears a striking resemblance to modern self-representational or dispositional accounts of (self-)consciousness. Thus, in order to be said to be »known« or »certain« (...) it is not necessary for each single act of intellect to be followed by a higher-order act ; Olivi argues that in many cases a simple first-order cognitive act suffices. (shrink)
On August 19, 1297, a young man of royal heritage died in the household of the Count of Provence and King of Naples at Brignoles, a short distance from Marseille. The young man was Louis of Anjou, a Franciscan friar and Bishop of Toulouse, who had renounced his inheritance and claim to the Kingdom of Naples to pursue a religious vocation. Only twenty-three years old when he died, Louis nevertheless had long been inspired by Franciscan spirituality, and less than eight (...) months before had realized his dream of professing vows within the Order of Friars Minor at the same time that he submitted to consecration as Bishop of Toulouse. In March of the following year, Peter of John Olivi, a native son of .. (shrink)
This paper offers an analysis of a hitherto neglected text on insoluble propositions dating from the late XiVth century and puts it into perspective within the context of the contemporary debate concerning semantic paradoxes. The author of the text is the italian logician Peter of Mantua (d. 1399/1400). The treatise is relevant both from a theoretical and from a historical standpoint. By appealing to a distinction between two senses in which propositions are said to be true, it offers an (...) unusual solution to the paradox, but in a traditional spirit that contrasts a number of trends prevailing in the XiVth century. It also counts as a remarkable piece of evidence for the reconstruction of the reception of English logic in italy, as it is inspired by the views of John Wyclif. Three approaches addressing the Liar paradox (Albert of Saxony, William Heytesbury and a version of strong restrictionism) are first criticised by Peter of Mantua, before he presents his own alternative solution. The latter seems to have a prima facie intuitive justification, but is in fact acceptable only on a very restricted understanding, since its generalisation is subject to the so-called revenge problem. (shrink)
This is a review of Peter Anstey's John Locke and Natural Philosophy, which is a masterful and well-argued study of Locke's philosophy of science that shall become both the standard and starting place, for scholars and students alike, for decades to come. Anstey's meticulous and thorough research, combined with his comprehensive knowledge of the history of natural philosophy, make this work a must-read for all who are interested in Locke, early modern philosophy, the history of the philosophy of (...) science, or early modern philosophy of science. His characteristically rigorous analysis and argumentation coupled with his easy and clear prose make this a highly readable and accessible work of scholarship. (shrink)
Abstract This paper studies Olivi's account of perceptual representation. It addresses two main questions: (1) how do perceptual representations originate? and (2) how do they represent their objects? Regarding (1), it is well known that Olivi emphasizes the activity of the soul in the production of perceptual representations. Yet it is sometimes argued that he overstresses the activity of the soul in a way that yields a philosophically problematic result. I argue that Olivi was well aware of the problem that (...) could be raised for his theory and that he sought to cope with it. Regarding (2), Pasnau argues that for Olivi, causal relationships with external objects determine the content of perceptual representations. I argue that, rather, perceptual representations are about their objects because they are their similitudes. This makes him an internalist about representational content. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to present a reconstruction of Olivi's account of signification of common names and to highlight certain intrusion of pragmatics into this account. The paper deals with the question of how certain facts, other than original imposition, may be relevant to determine the semantical content of an utterance, and not with the question of how we perform actions by means of utterances. The intrusion of pragmatics into Olivi's semantics we intend to point out may seem (...) minimal today, but was of a certain importance at his time. Even if the conventional codes still play a role in his explanation of how words acquire a semantical content, both the intention of the speaker and the communication context in which this intention is being effectuated are essential features of the actual signification of names. (shrink)
Peter Hare published two books about philosophy, both co-authored with his colleague Edward Madden. The first was Evil and the Problem of God, while the second was titled Causing, Perceiving and Believing: An Examination of the Philosophy of C. J. Ducasse (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel), published in 97 . Hare's choice of Ducasse for extended study tells us a great deal about Hare's own interests. Ducasse was a confessedly analytic philosopher who advocated several views extending classical American themes. From (...) metaphysics and epistemology to ethics and aesthetics, Ducasse struck Hare as a philosopher worthy of promotion and preservation.Hare and Madden had an interest in Ducasse for some years.1 However, there .. (shrink)
Frankfurt-style examples (FSEs) cast doubt on the initially plausible claim that an ability to do otherwise is necessary for moral responsibility. Following the lead of Peter van Inwagen and others, I argue that if we are careful in distinguishing events by causal origins, then we see that FSEs fail to show that one may be morally responsible for x, yet have no alternatives to x. I provide reasons for a fine-grained causal origins approach to events apart from the context (...) of moral responsibility, and respond to the objection that moral responsibility depends on abstract entities other than events. In response to John Martin Fischer and others, I argue that the alternatives available in recent FSEs are robust enough for moral responsibility. If one thinks that the ability to do otherwise is a necessary condition for moral responsibility, the FSEs give no reason to relinquish this belief. (shrink)
P.F. Strawson’s work on moral responsibility is well-known. However, an important implication of the landmark “Freedom and Resentment” has gone unnoticed. Specifically, a natural development of Strawson’s position is that we should understand being morally responsible as having externalistically construed pragmatic criteria, not individualistically construed psychological ones. This runs counter to the contemporary ways of studying moral responsibility. I show the deficiencies of such contemporary work in relation to Strawson by critically examining the positions of John Martin Fischer and (...) Mark Ravizza, R. Jay Wallace, and Philip Pettit for problems due to individualistic assumptions. (shrink)
Two notable thought experiments are discussed in this article: Reid's thought experiment about whether a being supplied with tactile sensations alone could acquire the conception of extension and Strawson's thought experiment about whether a being supplied with auditory sensations alone could acquire the conception of mind-independent objects. The experiments are considered alongside Campbell's argument that only on the so-called relational view of experience is it possible for experiences to make available to their subjects the concept of mind-independent objects. I consider (...) how the three issues ought to be construed as raising questions about woulds, coulds, or shoulds. (shrink)
The received view of Kripke's Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language is that it fails as an interpretation because, inter alia, it ignores or overlooks what Wittgenstein has to say in the second paragraph of Philosophical Investigations 201. In this paper, I demonstrate that the paragraph in question is in fact fully accommodated within Kripke's reading, and cannot therefore be reasonably utilised to object to it. -/- In part one I characterise the objection; in part two I explain why it (...) fails; in part three I suggest why commentators might have been motivated to offer it; and in part four I claim that two commentators who have offered it also imply otherwise. (shrink)
This article discusses the theories of perception of Robert Kilwardby and Peter of John Olivi. Our aim is to show how in challenging certain assumptions of medieval Aristotelian theories of perception they drew on Augustine and argued for the active nature of the soul in sense perception. For both Kilwardby and Olivi, the soul is not passive with respect to perceived objects; rather, it causes its own cognitive acts with respect to external objects and thus allows the subject (...) to perceive them. We also show that Kilwardby and Olivi differ substantially regarding where the activity of the soul is directed to and the role of the sensible species in the process, and we demonstrate that there are similarities between their ideas of intentionality and the attention of the soul towards the corporeal world. (shrink)
James K.A. Smith argues that the ontology of participation associated with Radical Orthodoxy is incompatible with a Christian affirmation of the intrinsic being and goodness of creatures. In response, he proposes a Leibnizian view in which things are endowed with the innate dynamism of ‘force’. Creatures have a certain depth of being, and are intrinsically good, just because they each have an inner virtuality that they bring into expression. Such force is said to be a metaphysical component of the agent. (...) In this paper it is asked whether John Milbank's ontology of participation can be defended by distinguishing between two senses of being a subject. Perhaps it is possible for a creature to bring into expression what is an infused ‘alien’ gift rather than a metaphysical component – to be expressive subject, but not ontic subject, for divine power. However, while this distinction promises to make sense of the reception of an indwelling ‘other’ in grace, knowledge and love, neither proper substance nor proper existence can be received in this way. A creature must be the ontic subject for its being, after all. Still, divine being might proceed from God as radical indwelling gift, as non-ontic ground for ontic being. (shrink)
: In 2000, the Romanian journal Paideia published a series of essays to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the death of John Dewey. Three articles--by Peter Hlebowitsh, then the editor of Education and Culture; Daniel Tanner, then the president of the John Dewey Society; and William Schubert, past president of the JDS-- were prepared and translated into Romanian for publication. Paideia editor Nicolae Sacalis has contributed an article describing Dewey's influence in Romania. In "The Writings of (...) class='Hi'>John Dewey in Romania: Policy and Pedagogy," Sacalis describes the interest in pragmatism of the Romanian intellectuals of the 1920s and 1930s and how Dewey's writings became important to the government's education leaders and school practitioners. Dewey's popularity was so great that a comprehensive overview of his work was published to honor and acknowledge his eightieth birthday. The writings of Dewey were silenced thereafter but not forgotten. His works reappeared in the 1970s for a new generation of Romanian educators, and since the 1989 revolution, his writings have received even greater popularity, leading to the commemoration of his death by Paideia. (shrink)
Peter of John Olivi composed Question 57 of his Quaestiones in secundum librum Sententiarum (“Questions on the Second Book of the Sentences”) in the decade after William of Moerbeke had translated, not long before 1270, Aristotle’s On Rhetoric into Latin.2 It was above all Moerbeke’s translation that gave thirteenth-century Europe access to the analysis of the emotions that Aristotle had placed in Book Two of the work. Two earlier translations existed: one that Hermannus Alemannus had made from an (...) Arabic translation in 1256, and another that an anonymous translator had done from the Greek, sometime in the middle of the century.3 Few had read Hermannus’s version; and even fewer that of the unknown translator. In .. (shrink)
In this paper, I compare John Locke’s “memory theory” of personal identity and Memento (directed by Christopher Nolan). I argue that the plot of Memento is ambiguous, in that the main character (Leonard Shelby, played by Guy Pearce) seems to have two histories. As such, Memento is but a series of puzzle cases that intend to illustrate that, although our memories may not be chronologically related to one another, and may even be fused with the memories of other persons, (...) those memories still constitute personal identity. Just as Derek Parfit argues, perhaps there is no personal identity as such, since only survival (in some degree) matters to us. In Memento, Leonard Shelby is not identity to his former self, but survives to some extent. (shrink)
John Campbell argues that visual attention to objects is the means by which we can refer to objects, and that this is so because conscious visual attention enables us to retrieve information about a location. It is argued here that while Campbell is right to think that we visually attend to objects, he does not give us sufficient ground for thinking that consciousness is involved, and is wrong to assign an intermediary role to location. Campbell’s view on sortals is (...) also queried, as is his espousal of the so-called Referential View of Experience. (shrink)
A book symposium on Peter, Carruthers. Phenomenal Consciousness: A Naturalistic Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Contents: Author's précis Colin Allen, Evolving Phenomenal Consciousness - Carruthers's reply. José Luis Bermúdez, Commentary - Carruthers's reply - Reply to Carruthers: Properties, first-order representationalism and reinforcement. Joseph Levine, Commentary - Carruthers's reply. William Seager, Dispositions and Consciousness - Carruthers's reply.
Vol. 13 of John Dewey, The Later Works, brings this edition of Dewey's Collected Works to the fateful years 1938-1939. It contains three main texts Experience and Education, Freedom and Culture, and Theory of Valuation, plus essays and miscellany. The editors, Jo Ann Boydston and Barabara Levine, provide twenty-five pages of Appendices, and Steven M. Cahn has written and excellent Introduction. The hardback version includes a scholarly apparatus featured in each of the volumes of the series.
Peter Hare and Edward Madden's collaborative book Evil and the Concept of God (968) has become a staple in literature about the problem of evil and remains frequently cited by supporters and critics alike. The major concepts of the work arose out of earlier papers in which they first began to formulate their arguments about the problem of evil. Their article "Evil and Unlimited Power" embodies many of their arguments against quasi-theist attempts to resolve the problem of evil.1 Assembled (...) from these and other papers, their compendium frames a thorough synthesis of the long history of debate regarding the problem of evil, and contributes their own exhaustive, point-by-point attack on modern defenders of three main .. (shrink)
n 1909, the 50th anniversary of both the publication of Origin of the Species and his own birth, John Dewey published "The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy." This optimistic essay saw Darwin's advance not only as one of empirical or theoretical biology, but a logical and conceptual revolution that would shake every corner of philosophy. Dewey tells us less about the influence that Darwin exerted over philosophy over the past 50 years and instead prophesied the influence it would (or (...) should) take in the future. I will discuss this landmark paper and the key lessons Dewey draws from Darwinism for philosophy, and give a preliminary assessment of how well we've done so far. (Dewey would be largely disappointed.). (shrink)
In recent years, pragmatism in general and John Dewey in particular have been of increasing interest to philosophers of science. Dewey's work provides an interesting alternative package of views to those which derive from the logical empiricists and their critics, on problems of both traditional and more recent vintage. Dewey's work ought to be of special interest to recent philosophers of science committed to the program of analyzing ``science in practice.'' The core of Dewey's philosophy of science is his (...) theory of inquiry---what he called ``logic.'' There is a major lacuna in the literature on this point, however: no contemporary philosophers of science have engaged with Dewey's logical theory, and scholars of Dewey's logic have rarely made connections with philosophy of science. This paper aims to fill this gap, to correct some significant errors in the interpretation of key ideas in Dewey's logical theory, and to show how Dewey's logic provides resources for a philosophy of science. (shrink)
Some argue that humans should enhance their moral capacities by adopting institutions that facilitate morally good motives and behaviour. I have defended a parallel claim: that we could permissibly use biomedical technologies to enhance our moral capacities, for example by attenuating certain counter-moral emotions. John Harris has recently responded to my argument by raising three concerns about the direct modulation of emotions as a means to moral enhancement. He argues (1) that such means will be relatively ineffective in bringing (...) about moral improvements, (2) that direct modulation of emotions would invariably come at an unacceptable cost to our freedom, and (3) that we might end up modulating emotions in ways that actually lead to moral decline. In this article I outline some counter-intuitive potential implications of Harris' claims. I then respond individually to his three concerns, arguing that they license only the very weak conclusion that moral enhancement via direct emotion modulation is sometimes impermissible. However I acknowledge that his third concern might, with further argument, be developed into a more troubling objection to such enhancements. (shrink)
John Bickle's new book on philosophy and neuroscience is aptly subtitled 'a ruthlessly reductive account'. His 'new wave metascience' is a massive attack on the relative autonomy that psychology enjoyed until recently, and goes even beyond his previous (Bickle, J. (1998). Psychoneural reduction: The new wave. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.) new wave reductionsism. Reduction of functional psychology to (cognitive) neuroscience is no longer ruthless enough; we should now look rather to cellular or molecular neuroscience at the lowest possible level (...) for explanations of memory, consciousness and attention. Bickle presents a fascinating set of experimental cases of such molecule-to-mind explanations. This book qualifies as a showcase of naturalism in the philosophy of mind. Naturally, many of the traditional conceptual approaches in the philosophy of mind are given short shrift, but - in Bickle's metascientific scheme - the role of philosophy of science also seems reduced to explicating laboratory findings. The present reviewers think that this reductionism suffers from overstretching; in particular, the idea of 'explanation in a single bound' from molecule to mind is a bit too ruthless. Still, Bickle's arguments are worth serious attention. (shrink)
Newly re-printed, Sydney Hook’s classic (1939) work on Dewey appears with an Introduction by Richard Rorty. Hook may help us see how Dewey fit into his own time. That story is important. The new printing may also help us see how Dewey fits into our time. Rorty lauds more recent treatments of Dewey’s work, especially Robert Westbrook’s intellectual biography John Dewey and American Democracy (1991), and Steven Rockefeller’s John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism (1991) gets honorable mention. (...) Specific comments focus on Alan Ryan’s John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism (1995). “It may be that Dewey and Hook witnessed, as Alan Ryan suggests, ... ‘the high tide of American liberalism,’ but if this is so, then America has lost its soul.”1 Even future-focused pragmatists need to look back to Dewey and Hook. They were “Americans” who, in the final words of the Hook volume, “still had hope for what America may yet be.”. (shrink)
"When John Dewey died in 1952, he was memorialized as America's most famous philosopher, revered by liberal educators and deplored by conservatives, but universally acknowledged as his country's intellectual voice. Many things conspired to give Dewey an extraordinary intellectual eminence: He was immensely long-lived and immensely prolific; he died in his ninety-third year, and his intellectual productivity hardly slackened until his eighties." "Professor Alan Ryan offers new insights into Dewey's many achievements, his character, and the era in which his (...) scholarship had a remarkable impact. He investigates the question of what an American audience wanted from a public philosopher - from an intellectual figure whose credentials came from his academic standing as a philosopher, but whose audience was much wider than an academic one." "Ryan argues that Dewey's "religious" outlook illuminates his politics much more vividly than it does the politics of religion as ordinarily conceived. He examines how Dewey fit into the American radical tradition, how he was and was not like his transatlantic contemporaries, why he could for so long practice a form of philosophical inquiry that became unfashionable in England after 1914 at the latest."--BOOK JACKET. (shrink)
The political and philosophical problems John Rawls set out to solve arise out of the identity and conflicts of interests between citizens. There is identity of interests because social cooperation makes possible for everyone a life that is much better than one outside of society. There is a conflict of interests because people all prefer a larger to a smaller share of the benefits of social cooperation, and people have ideological differences. The problem a theory of justice has to (...) solve is how, in the face of these conflicts, effective social cooperation can come about on terms that are justifiable to all. (shrink)