Measurement in soft systems generally cannot exploit physical sensors as data acquisition devices. The emphasis in this case is instead on how to choose the appropriate indicators and to combine their values so to obtain an overall result, interpreted as the value of a property, i.e., the measurand, for the system under analysis. This paper aims at discussing the epistemological conditions of the claim that such a process is a measurement, and performance evaluation is the case introduced to support the (...) analysis, performed in systematic comparison with the paradigm of measurement of physical quantities. Some background questions arising here are: – Are the chosen indicators appropriate performance indicators? – Do such indicators convey complete and non-redundant information on performance? – Does the chosen combination rule generate results suitably interpretable as performance values? And enlarging the focus: – Does the obtained value specifically convey information on the system under analysis, instead of some different entity (typically including the subject who is evaluating)? Operatively: would different subjects evaluate the same system in the same way? i.e., is the obtained information objective? – Does the obtained value convey information that is interpretable in the same way by different subjects? Operatively: would different subjects who have agreed on a decision procedure make the same decision from the same performance information? i.e., is the obtained information intersubjective? Any well founded positive answers to these questions significantly support a structural interpretation of measurement encompassing both physical and soft measurement. (shrink)
We formulate and investigate experimentally a model of how individuals choose between time sequences of monetary outcomes. The model assumes that a decision maker uses, sequentially, two criteria to screen options. Each criterion only permits a decision between some pairs of options, while the other options are incomparable according to that criterion. When the first criterion is not decisive, the decision maker resorts to the second criterion to select an alternative. We find that: (1) traditional economic models based on discounting (...) alone cannot explain a significant (almost 30%) proportion of the data no matter how much variability in the discount functions is allowed; (2) our model, despite considering only a specific (exponential) form of discounting, can explain the data much better solely thanks to the use of the secondary criterion; (3) our model explains certain specific patterns in the choices of the “irrational” people. We reject the hypothesis that anomalous behavior is due simply to random “mistakes” around the basic predictions of discounting theories: deviations are not random and there are clear systematic patterns of association between “irrational” choices. (shrink)
We study preferences over lotteries which do not necessarily satisfy completeness. We provide a characterization which generalizes Expected Utility theory. We show in particular that various sure-thing axioms are needed to guaranteee the representability in terms of utility intervals rather than numbers, and to provide a linear interval order representation which is very much in the spirit of Expected Utility theory.
Dans cet article, nous examinerons quelques aspects de la syntaxe du sujet dans les dialectes occitans du Piémont occidental, dans les dialectes francoprovençaux du Piémont occidental et du Val d’Aoste, y compris les parlers de Celle di Faeto (francoprovençal) dans les Pouilles et de Guardia Piemontese (occitan) en Calabre : l’existence de clitiques sujets, l’absence de l’accord entre verbe et sujet post-posé, l’inversion du verbe et du clitique sujet dans les constructions interrogatives. Toutes ces propriétés morphosyntaxiques qui apparaissent dans les (...) dialectes occitans et francoprovençaux caractérisent également les autres dialectes de l’Italie septentrionale (Bracco, Brandi et Cordin 1985, Poletto 1993, 2000, Rizzi 1986). En revanche, les dialectes occitans et francoprovençaux ne forment pas un groupe identifiable d’une manière univoque, mais ils se subdivisent en typologies grammaticales différentes. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the received view that the anti-nativist arguments of Book I of Locke’s Essay conclusively challenge nativism. I begin by reconstructing the chief argument of Book I and its corollary arguments. I call attention to their dependence on (what I label) “the Awareness Principle”, viz., the view that there are no ideas in the mind of which the mind either isn’t currently aware or hasn’t been aware in the past. I then argue that the arguments’ (...) dependence on this principle is question begging on two counts. Unless this principle is defended, Locke’s arguments beg the question against Descartes and Leibniz because their nativism implies the denial of the Awareness Principle. And even when Locke defended the principle, his arguments remain question begging because they presuppose the empiricism they aim to prove. The disclosure of the question-begging status of these arguments debunks a seemingly powerful way of attacking nativism. (shrink)
Descartes maintained that sensations of color and the like misrepresent the material world in normal circumstances. Some prominent scholars have argued that, to explain this Cartesian view, we must attribute to Descartes a causal account of sensory representation. I contend that neither the arguments motivating this reading nor the textual evidence offered in its support is sufficient to justify such attribution. Both textual and theoretical reasons point in the direction of an (at least partial) internalist account of Descartes' views on (...) sensory representation. (shrink)
The standard view of Cartesian sensations (SV) is that they present themselves as purely qualitative features of experience (or qualia). Accordingly, Descartes view would be that in perceiving the color red, for example, we are merely experiencing the subjective feel of redness rather than seeming to perceive a property of bodies. In this paper, I establish that the argument and textual evidence offered in support of SV fail to prove that Descartes held this view. Indeed, I will argue that (...) there are textual and theoretical reasons for believing that Descartes held the negation of SV. Qualia aren't Descartes legacy. (shrink)
Evidence has long suggested that ‘hardwiring’ is a poor metaphor for brain development. But the metaphor may be an apt one for the dominant paradigm for researching sex differences, which pushes most neuroscience studies of sex/gender inexorably towards the ‘discovery’ of sex/gender differences, and makes contemporary gender structures appear natural and inevitable. The argument we forward in this paper is twofold. In the first part of the paper, we address the dominant ‘hardwiring’ paradigm of sex/gender research in contemporary neuroscience, which (...) is built on broad consensus that there are important ‘original’ sex differences in brain structure and function, organized by sex-differentiating prenatal hormone exposures. We explain why this consensus is both unscientific and unethical. In the second part of the paper, we sketch an alternative research program focused not on the origins of sex/gender differences but on variability and plasticity of brain/behavior. We argue that interventional experiments based on this approach will address more tractable questions, and lead to much more satisfactory results than the brain organization paradigm can provide. (shrink)
Traditionally, the key features of the family system of Eating Disorders (EDs) have been considered those originally outlined by Minuchin in his description of the "psychosomatic" family patterns of interaction. This controlled study tests two of the principal characteristics of Minuchin's model, namely enmeshment and rigidity, operationalised as extreme cohesion and low adaptability. Perceived and desired cohesion and adaptability, measured with the FACES III, were compared between 30 clinical families (mothers, fathers and daughters with an ED) and 30 non-clinical families. (...) Differences across ED family members were also considered, as well as differences between ED symptomatological subgroups (restricting anorectics vs EDs with bulimic symptoms). High cohesion scores were found in ED families, but similar findings were also reported in control families. Cohesion scores were significantly higher in restricting anorectics than in patients with bulimic symptoms. Adaptability was normal in both ED and control families. This study does not support Minuchin's observations on family enmeshment and rigidity. Although high levels of cohesion were found in ED families, the same relational pattern was found in the control families, suggesting that a tendency to a hyper-involvement of family members might be "normal" in some sociocultural contexts. (shrink)
Alison Simmons, in Simmons (1999), argues that Descartes in Meditation Six offered a teleological account of sensory representation. According to Simmons, Descartes’ view is that the biological function of sensations explains both why sensations represent what they do (i.e., their referential content) and why they represent their objects the way they do (i.e., their presentational content). Moreover, Simmons claims that her account has several advantages over other currently available interpretations of Cartesian sensations. In this paper, I argue that Simmons’ teleological (...) account cannot be sustained for both theoretical and textual reasons and that it does not have the advantages it is claimed to have. (shrink)
The old and recent debates on Cartesian essences have focused on the question of whether Descartes is a Platonist or a conceptualist about essences. I argue that this is a false dichotomy. An adequate account of Cartesian essences must accommodate and reconcile two central doctrines and texts in Descartes' philosophy. I will argue that recent conceptualist and Platonist interpretations neither accommodate these doctrines nor reconcile these texts. Such failures are not accidental since Descartes' doctrines of divine creation and simplicity render (...) it impossible for Descartes to be either a conceptualist or a Platonist. Failure to notice this fact explains why there has been no progress on this exegetical issue. (shrink)
Book Information What's Within. Nativism Reconsidered. What's Within. Nativism Reconsidered F. Cowie New York/Oxford Oxford University Press 1999 xvii + 334 Hardback US$35.00 By F. Cowie. Oxford University Press. New York/Oxford. Pp. xvii + 334. Hardback:US$35.00.
This paper uses a partially ordered set of syntactic categories to accommodate optionality and licensing in natural language syntax. A complex but well-studied data set pertaining to the syntax of quantifier scope and negative polarity licensing in Hungarian is used to illustrate the proposal. The presentation is geared towards both linguists and logicians. The paper highlights that the main ideas can be implemented in different grammar formalisms, and discusses in detail an implementation where the partial ordering on categories is given (...) by the derivability relation of a calculus with residuated and Galois-connected unary operators. (shrink)
In his article Grush proposes a potentially useful framework for explaining motor control, imagery, and perception. In our commentary we will address two issues that the model does not seem to deal with appropriately: one concerns motor control, and the other, the visual and motor imagery domains. We will consider these two aspects in turn.
While much has been written on Descartes' theory of mind and ideas, no systematic study of his theory of sensory representation and misrepresentation is currently available in the literature. Descartes and the Puzzle of Sensory Misrepresentation is an ambitious attempt to fill this gap. It argues against the established view that Cartesian sensations are mere qualia by defending the view that they are representational; it offers a descriptivist-causal account of their representationality that is critical of, and differs from, all other (...) extant accounts (such as, for example, causal, teleofunctional and purely internalist accounts); and it has the advantage of providing an adequate solution to the problem of sensory misrepresentation within Descartes' internalist theory of ideas. In sum, the book offers a novel account of the representationality of Cartesian sensations; provides a panoramic overview, and critical assessment, of the scholarly literature on this issue; and places Descartes' theory of sensation in the central position it deserves among the philosophical and scientific investigations of the workings of the human mind. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the received view that the anti-nativist arguments of Book I of Locke's Essay conclusively challenge nativism. I begin by reconstructing the chief argument of Book I and its corollary arguments. I call attention to their dependence on (what I label) "the Awareness Principle", viz., the view that there are no ideas in the mind of which the mind either isn't currently aware or hasn't been aware in the past. I then argue that the arguments' (...) dependence on this principle is question begging on two counts. Unless this principle is defended, Locke's arguments beg the question against Descartes and Leibniz because their nativism implies the denial of the Awareness Principle. And even when Locke defended the principle, his arguments remain question begging because they presuppose the empiricism they aim to prove. The disclosure of the question-begging status of these arguments debunks a seemingly powerful way of attacking nativism. (shrink)
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In this article, I deal with the concept of aesthetics in its broader sense: the ability of feeling, thinking, and creating. My theory is that this aesthetics was born 40,000 years ago in the Paleolitical caves and that it has been characterizing human creativity from its remote origins up to now. Following this theory, we should not define human creativity as a greater cleverness than that of other living species; however, we should think of it as a refined aesthetic ability (...) of mind in connecting different worlds, enacting different levels of communication, and creating images and symbols. (shrink)
Even though residuation is at the core of Categorial Grammar (Lambek, 1958), it is not always immediate to realize how standard logical systems like Multi-modal Categorial Type Logics (MCTL) (Moortgat, 1997) actually embody this property. In this paper, we focus on the basic system NL (Lambek, 1961) and its extension with unary modalities NL() (Moortgat, 1996), and we spell things out by means of Display Calculi (DC) (Belnap, 1982; Goré, 1998). The use of structural operators in DC permits a sharp (...) distinction between the core properties we want to impose on the logical system and the way these properties are projected into the logical operators. We will show how we can obtain Lambek residuated triple \, / and of binary operators, and how the operators and introduced by Moortgat (1996) are indeed their unary counterpart.In the second part of the paper we turn to other important algebraic properties which are usually investigated in conjunction with residuation (Birkhoff, 1967): Galois and dual Galois connections. Again, DC let us readily define logical calculi capturing them. We also provide preliminary ideas on how to use these new operators when modeling linguistic phenomena. (shrink)
This contribution claims that the two fundamental notions of causation at work in the health sciences are manipulative and mechanistic, and investigates what kinds of evidence matter for the assessment of causal relations. This article is a development of our 2007 article, ?Plurality of Causality?, where we argue for a pluralistic account of causation with an eye to econometrics and a single medical example. The present contribution has a wider focus, and considers the notion of evidence within a whole range (...) of disciplines belonging to the health sciences. Section 1 addresses the relations between kinds of evidence and causal accounts, and it is shown how different notions of causation can be employed in various medical cases. Section 2 calls attention to issues crucial for any adequate epistemological theory of causation, such as the distinctions between types and tokens, observational and experimental regimes, explanation and prediction. Lastly, the notion of context is articulated, highlighted in its role in the assessment of causal links. All these issues are tackled in the framework of what we label a ?bottom?up? epistemology. (shrink)
A theater that heals is not a theater that offers answers and ?medicines? that guarantee to cure weaknesses and fragilities people meet but it is an open organization, which questions itself, which brings out ambivalence and ambiguity, diversity, weaknesses, and which leaves room for possible interpretations and narratives, the play of imagination, and the development of innovative and creative processes of people in society.
The article presents the first results we have obtained studying natural reasoning from a proof-theoretic perspective. In particular we focus our attention on monotonic reasoning. Our system consists of two parts: (i) A Formal Grammar – a multimodal version of classical Categorial Grammar – which while syntactically analysing linguistic expressions given as input, computes semantic information (In particular information about the monotonicity properties of the components of the input string are displayed.); (ii) A simple Natural Logic which derives (monotonicity) inferences (...) using as vehicle the parsed output. The monotonicity markers assigned in the lexicon are propagated through the proofs via a combination of the structural and the logical rules for the unary operators of Multimodal Categorial Grammar (MMCG) [Moo97]. We have chosen to work with an expressive ‘grammar logic’, in order to avoid the use of extra-logical marking devices and extra-logical structural reasoning. Having MMCG as parser, our system is able to make the derivations simply within the logic. This new approach makes the implementation of the theory an easier task. We have implemented the theoretical results, so far obtained, using Grail, a theorem prover for Categorial Grammar Logics [Moo98]. (shrink)
This paper proposes solutions to two semantic learnability problems that have featured prominently in the literature on language acquisition. Both problems have often been deemed unsolvable for language learners as a matter of logic, and they have accordingly been taken to motivate principles making sure they will not actually arise in the course of language acquisition. One problem concerns the acquisition of ambiguous sentences whose readings are related by entailment. Crain et al.'s (1994) Semantic Subset Principle is intended to preempt (...) the problem by preventing acquisition of the weaker reading before the stronger reading has been acquired. In contrast, we demonstrate that this very order of acquisition becomes feasible in principle if children can exploit non-truth-conditional evidence of various kinds or evidence from sentences containing downward entailing operators. The other learnability problem concerns the potential need for expunction of certain readings of ambiguous sentences from a child's grammar. It has often been assumed that, in the absence of negative evidence, such expunction is impossible, and Wexler and Manzini (1987) posit a Subset Principle to preempt the problematic learning scenario. We argue, however, that if the evidence available to the child includes dialogues, and if listeners are expected to interpret speakers' utterances charitably, then expunction of unavailable readings is possible in principle. (shrink)
This article focuses on the assessment of mechanistic relations with specific attention to medicine, where mechanistic models are widely employed. I first survey recent contributions in the philosophical literature on mechanistic causation, and then take issue with Federica Russo and Jon Williamson’s thesis that two types of evidence, probabilistic and mechanistic, are at stake in the health sciences. I argue instead that a distinction should be drawn between previously acquired knowledge of mechanisms and yet-to-be-discovered knowledge of mechanisms and that both (...) probabilistic evidence and manipulation are essential with respect to newly discovered mechanisms. (shrink)
In his short essay, “Some Character-Types Met With in Psycho-Analytic Work,” published in 1916 in the review Imago, Freud identifies Ibsen’s drama Rosmersholm (1886) as a perfect example of an Oedipus complex in a modern setting. The story is well known. After the suicide of his wife Beata, brought about by the impossibility of bearing children and by the misery of an existence sacrificed to social and religious duties, John Rosmer, a Protestant pastor, has lost his old faith and is (...) desirous of founding a new morality aimed at joy and tolerance. He lives in a completely spiritual relationship with the young maid Rebecca, the expression of a daring liveliness and unrestricted femininity. Their .. (shrink)