Can humans acquire knowledge of ultimate reality, even significant or comprehensive knowledge? I argue that for all we know we can, and that is so whether ultimate reality is divine or non-divine. My strategy involves arguing that we are ignorant, in the sense of lacking public or shared knowledge, about which possibilities, if any, obtain for humans to acquire knowledge of ultimate reality. This follows from a deep feature of our epistemic situation—that our current psychology strongly constrains (...) what we can conceive about the extent to which human intellectual and other psychological capacities might develop in the future. This mean that many possibilities for such development remain open to us epistemically, including the possibility that we might come to understand vastly more about ultimate reality than we currently do, even if ultimate reality is divine. I also argue that there is room to rationally hope that that is so. (shrink)
What is truth? -- Varieties of deflationism -- A defense of minimalism -- The value of truth -- A minimalist critique of Tarski -- Kripke's paradox of meaning -- Regularities, rules, meanings, truth conditions, and epistemic norms -- Semantics : what's truth got to do with it? -- The motive power of evaluative concepts -- Ungrounded reason -- The nature of paradox -- A world without 'isms' -- The quest for reality -- Being and truth -- Provenance of chapters.
The traditional disputants in the free will discussion--the libertarian, soft determinist, and hard determinist--agree that free will is a coherent concept, while disagreeing on how the concept might be satisfied and whether it can, in fact, be satisfied. In this innovative analysis, Richard Double offers a bold new argument, rejecting all of the traditional theories and proposing that the concept of free will cannot be satisfied, no matter what the nature of reality. Arguing that there is unavoidable conflict within (...) our understanding of moral responsibility and free choice, Double seeks to prove that when we ascribe responsibility, blame, or freedom, we merely express attitudes, rather than state anything capable of truth or falsity. Free will, he concludes, is essentially an incoherent notion. (shrink)
In The Quest for Reality: Subjectivism and the Metaphysics of Colour [Stroud, 2000], Barry Stroud carries out an ambitious attack on various forms of irrealism and subjectivism about color. The views he targets - those that would deny a place in objective reality to the colors - have a venerable history in philosophy. Versions of them have been defended by Galileo, Descartes, Boyle, Locke, and Hume; more recently, forms of these positions have been articulated by Williams, Smart, Mackie, (...) Ryle, and Hardin, among others. Stroud's aim is to argue not only that these writers fail to make their cases, but that no conceivable argument could ever convince us that colors are not a part of objective reality. (shrink)
Social reality is a key problem in the philosophy of social science. Outlining the major historical and contemporary issues raised by the social reality and social facts, this book has something to offer both philosophers and social scientists. To the former is shows how the well-worn topic of realism versus anti-realism assumes new and interestingly varied forms when social reality is substituted for physical reality. For the social scientist, the book offers conceptual clarification of key issues (...) in recent social science which are really philosophical issues. (shrink)
Some monothematic types of delusions may arise because subjects have unusual experiences. The role of this experiential component in the pathogenesis of delusion is still not understood. Focussing on delusions of alien control, we outline a model for reality testing competence on unusual experiences. We propose that nascent delusions arise when there are local failures of reality testing performance, and that monothematic delusions arise as normal responses to these. In the course of this we address questions concerning the (...) tenacity with which delusions are maintained, their often bizarre content, the patients' inability to dismiss them, and their often circumscribed character. (shrink)
We say "the grass is green" or "lemons are yellow" to state what everyone knows. But are the things we see around us really colored, or do they only look that way because of the effects of light rays on our eyes and brains? Is color somehow "unreal" or "subjective" and dependent on our human perceptions and the conditions under which we see things? Distinguished scholar Barry Stroud investigates these and related questions in The Quest for Reality. In this (...) long-awaited book, he examines what a person would have to do and believe in order to reach the conclusion that everyone's perceptions and beliefs about the color of things are "illusions" and do not accurately represent the way things are in the world as it is independently of us. Arguing that no such conclusion could be consistently reached, Stroud finds that the conditions of a successful unmasking of color cannot all be fulfilled. The discussion extends beyond color to present a serious challenge to many other philosophical attempts to discover the way things really are. A model of subtle, elegant, and rigorous philosophical writing, this study will attract a wide audience from all areas of philosophy. (shrink)
It is often held that it is conceptually impossible to distinguish between a pain and a pain experience. In this article I present an argument which concludes that people make this distinction. I have done a web-based statistical analysis which is at the core of this argument. It shows that the intensity of pain has a decisive effect on whether people say that they 'feel a pain'(lower intensities) or 'have a pain' (greater intensities). This 'intensity effect'can be best explained by (...) people's varying confidence about their pain, and indicates that 'feeling pain' can be identified as introspective report and 'having pain' as an objective statement — analogous to the traditional sense modalities. However, if people have the ability to make both introspective and objective statements about pain, then it seems indeed the case that they distinguish the appearance from the reality of pain. (shrink)
Barry Stroud begins his investigation into the metaphysics of colour with a discussion of the elusiveness of the genuinely philosophical quest for reality. He insists upon a distinction between two ways in which the idea of a correspondence between perceptions or beliefs and the facts may be understood: first, as equivalent to the plain truth of the perceptions/beliefs in question; second, as conveying the metaphysical reality of the corresponding features of the world. I begin by voicing some suspicion (...) about this distinction. Then I go on to consider various aspects of his central argument against the likelihood of any successful unmasking explanation in connection with colour. The final moves of this argument seem to me to be unstable. Either his conclusion that the unmasker’s overall strategy is self-defeating is stronger than is warranted, or his insistence that no conclusive result is established in connection with the fundamental quest for reality is unduly cautious, depending on how precisely the dependence, which he rightly insists upon, of the identification of perceptions of colour upon some identification of colour properties themselves, is to be taken. (shrink)
Value, Reality, and Desire is an extended argument for a robust realism about value. The robust realist affirms the following distinctive theses. There are genuine claims about value which are true or false--there are facts about value. These value-facts are mind-independent - they are not reducible to desires or other mental states, or indeed to any non-mental facts of a non-evaluative kind. And these genuine, mind-independent, irreducible value-facts are causally efficacious. Values, quite literally, affect us. These are not particularly (...) fashionable theses, and taken as a whole they go somewhat against the grain of quite a lot of recent work in the metaphysics of value. Further, against the received view, Oddie argues that we can have knowledge of values by experiential acquaintance, that there are experiences of value which can be both veridical and appropriately responsive to the values themselves. Finally, these value-experiences are not the products of some exotic and implausible faculty of "intuition." Rather, they are perfectly mundane and familiar mental states - namely, desires. This view explains how values can be "intrinsically motivating," without falling foul of the widely accepted "queerness" objection. There are, of course, other objections to each of the realist's claims. In showing how and why these objections fail, Oddie introduces a wealth of interesting and original insights about issues of wider interest--including the nature of properties, reduction, supervenience, and causation. The result is a novel and interesting account which illuminates what would otherwise be deeply puzzling features of value and desire and the connections between them. (shrink)
Typical discussions of virtual reality (VR) fixate on technology for providing sensory stimulation of a certain kind. They thus fail to understand reality as the place wherein we live and work, misunderstanding it instead as merely a sort of presentation. The first half of the paper examines popular conceptions of VR. The most common conception is a shallow one according to which VR is a matter of simulating appearances. Yet there is, even in popular depictions, a second, more (...) subtle conception according to which VR is a matter of facilitating new kinds of interaction. The latter half of the paper turns to questions about the contemporary technology of Internet chatrooms. The fact that chatrooms can be used in certain ways suggests something about the prospects for VR. The penultimate section asks whether chatrooms may legitimately be thought of as places. (In a sense, they may.) The final section asks whether cybersex may legitimately be thought of as sex. (Again, yes.) Chatroom technology thus provides an argument for the second conception of VR over its much ballyhooed rival. (shrink)
The bookModeling Reality covers a wide range of fascinating subjects, accessible to anyone who wants to learn about the use of computer modeling to solve a diverse range of problems, but who does not possess a specialized training in mathematics or computer science. The material presented is pitched at the level of high-school graduates, even though it covers some advanced topics (cellular automata, Shannon's measure of information, deterministic chaos, fractals, game theory, neural networks, genetic algorithms, and Turing machines). These (...) advanced topics are explained in terms of well known simple concepts: Cellular automata - Game of Life, Shannon's formula - Game of twenty questions, Game theory - Television quiz, etc. The book is unique in explaining in a straightforward, yet complete, fashion many important ideas, related to various models of reality and their applications. Twenty-five programs, written especially for this book, are provided on an accompanying CD. They greatly enhance its pedagogical value and make learning of even the more complex topics an enjoyable pleasure. (shrink)
This book describes how understanding the structure of reality leads to the Theory of Everything Equation. The equation unifies the forces of nature and enables the merging of relativity with quantum theory. The book explains the big bang theory and everything else.
This book advocates a radical shift of concern in philosophical, historical, and sociological studies of the sciences, and explores the consequences of such a shift. The historically-oriented first part of the work deals with the ways in which ranges of questions become real and cease to be real for communities of inquirers. The more philosophically-oriented second part of the work introduces the notion of absolute reality of questions, and addresses doubt about the claims of the sciences to have accumulated (...) absolutely real questions. It is argued that recent studies in the sociology and social history of the science pose strong challenges to the sciences by revealing how appeals to authority, vested interests, and rhetorical and aesthetic sensibilities play substantial roles in the practices of the sciences. The final chapter defends the pragmatic stance of the work, and of its companion, The Fortunes of Inquiry, and draws morals about the roles of criticism and reflection in the philosophy of science and in the sciences themselves. (shrink)
Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back—earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is (...) another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality—science. Packed with clever thought experiments, dazzling illustrations and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, graphic detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well. Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist and one of science education’s most passionate advocates, has spent his career elucidating the wonders of science for adult readers. But now, in a dramatic departure, he has teamed up with acclaimed artist Dave McKean and used his unrivaled explanatory powers to share the magic of science with readers of all ages. This is a treasure trove for anyone who has ever wondered how the world works. Dawkins and McKean have created an illustrated guide to the secrets of our world—and the universe beyond—that will entertain and inform for years to come. (shrink)
The author examines Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion to discover a variant of the usual teleological argument that abandons reliance on analogical reasoning. This second version, never refuted in the Dialogues, is termed "pragmaticist" in Peirce's sense. It relies on an abductive hypothesis that claims not logical proof but the power of instinctual conviction. The Dialogues' espousal of sound common sense may then be viewed as an imperfectly articulated precursor of Peirce's pragmaticist argument for the reality rather than the (...) existence of God. (shrink)
We summarize a recent search for quantum reality. The full anhomomorphic logic of coevents for an event set is introduced. The quantum integral over an event with respect to a coevent is defined. Reality filters such as preclusivity and regularity of coevents are considered. A quantum measure that can be represented as a quantum integral with respect to a coevent is said to 1-generate that coevent. This gives a stronger filter that may produce a unique coevent called the (...) “actual reality” for a physical system. What we believe to be a more general filter is defined in terms of a double quantum integral and is called 2-generation. It is noted that ordinary measures do not 1 or 2-generate coevents except in a few simple cases. Various general results are stated. (shrink)
'This is a smart and compelling book. Difficult ideas are presented in an accessible manner, with plenty of supporting illustrations…Students will enjoy the research material and other supporting material. A definite winner!'- Professor Jay Gubrium, University of Missouri This book gets to the heart of what the social sciences really know about the elusive and contradictory object of research: human reality. Drawing on a wide range of international examples and scenarios, Social Theory and Human Reality examines key sociological (...) concepts that we use to understand human behaviour such as: norms, rules and meanings; language and discourse; ritual; and personality and identity construction. Alasuutari clearly and convincingly demonstrates: - The constant interplay between routines and reflexivity that grounds social order - how the body and our bodily experiences mediate our social reality - that language plays a multi-faceted role as it describes, reflects and constructs human reality Building on the work started by Berger and Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality, this book is a lucid and contemporary analysis of the premises shared across the social sciences, and of the kaleidoscope of 'human reality'. This important book will be welcomed by students and scholars alike in the fields of Cultural Studies, Sociology and Anthropology. (shrink)
Questions about truth and questions about reality are intimately connected. One can ask whether reality includes numbers by asking ‘Are there numbers?’ But one can also ask what (arguably) amounts to the very same question by asking ‘Is the sentence “There are numbers” true?’ Such ‘semantic ascent’ makes it seem that the nature of reality can be investigated by investigating our true sentences. This line of thought was very much taken for granted in twentieth century philosophy, but (...) it is now beginning to be called into question. Just how much can we learn about the nature of reality by investigating our true sentences? Does, for example, the truth of ‘There is a prime number between ten and twenty’ mean that prime numbers exist? Does the truth of ‘Eating people is wrong’ mean that moral properties exist? Does the truth of 'Spiders give me the creeps' mean that the creeps exists? In From Truth to Reality, Heather Dyke brings together some of the foremost metaphysicians to examine approaches to truth, reality, and the connections between the two. This collection features new and previously unpublished material by JC Beall, Mark Colyvan, Michael Devitt, John Heil, Frank Jackson, Fred Kroon, D. H. Mellor, Luca Moretti, Alan Musgrave, Robert Nola, J. J. C. Smart, Paul Snowdon, and Daniel Stoljar. (shrink)
Contemporary physics, especially quantum theory, has raised profound questions about the relationship between the methods of science and the reality these methods seek to investigate. D'Espagnat investigates these questions as well as how we should answer them. Part I examines the practices of contemporary physicists and addresses the criticism philosophers of science have made of these practices. The doctrine of physical realism, adopted by most physicists and many philosophers of science, comprises Part II. Part III explores the consequences of (...) physical realism for our understanding of what science can seek to know of reality, and concludes by outlining the position contemporary physics indicates we should take. (shrink)
The reluctant revolutionary -- The patent slave -- The golden Dane -- The quantum atom -- When Einstein met Bohr -- The prince of duality -- Spin doctors -- The quantum magician -- A late erotic outburst -- Uncertainty in Copenhagen -- Solvay 1927 -- Einstein forgets relativity -- Quantum reality -- For whom Bell's theorem tolls -- The quantum demon.
The world we touch, see and hear is not the "real" world -- How the mind transforms the world : the life of the mind -- The time to create the mind's reality -- Priming consciousness -- Mixing and remixing the elements of experience -- The mind plays its little shell games -- A change of pace for a change of mind.
Values and the scope of scientific inquiry, by M. Farber.--The phenomenology of epistemic claims: and its bearing on the essence of philosophy, by R. M. Zaner.--Problems of the Life-World, by A. Gurwitsch.--The Life-World and the particular sub-worlds, by W. Marx.--On the boundaries of the social world, by T. Luckmann.--Alfred Schutz on social reality and social science, by M. Natanson.--Homo oeconomicus and his class mates, by F. Machlup.--Toward a science of political economics, by A. Lowe.--Some notes on reality-orientation in (...) contemporary societies, by A. Brodersen.--The eclipse of reality, by E. Voegelin.--Alienation in Marx's Political economy and philosophy, by P. Merlan.--The problem of multiple realities: Alfred Schutz and Robert Musil, by P. L. Berger.--Phenomenology, history, myth, by F. Kersten.--The role of music in Leonardo's Paragone, by E. Winternitz.--Alfred Schutz bibliography (p. -306). (shrink)
Professor Hilary Putnam has been one of the most influential and sharply original of recent American philosophers in a whole range of fields. His most important published work is collected here, together with several new and substantial studies, in two volumes. The first deals with the philosophy of mathematics and of science and the nature of philosophical and scientific enquiry; the second deals with the philosophy of language and mind. Volume one is now issued in a new edition, including an (...) essay on the philosophy of logic first published in 1971. (shrink)
Introduction -- A default position -- Experience -- The character of experience -- Understanding-experience -- A note about dispositional mental states -- Purely experiential content -- An account of four seconds of thought -- Questions -- The mental and the nonmental -- The mental and the publicly observable -- The mental and the behavioral -- Neobehaviorism and reductionism -- Naturalism in the philosophy of mind -- Conclusion: The three questions -- Agnostic materialism, part 1 -- Monism -- The linguistic argument (...) -- Materialism and monism -- A comment on reduction -- The impossibility of an objective phenomenology -- Asymmetry and reduction -- Equal-status monism -- Panpsychism -- The inescapability of metaphysics -- Agnostic materialism, part 2 -- Ignorance -- Sensory spaces -- Experience, explanation, and theoretical integration -- The hard part of the mind-body problem -- Neutral monism and agnostic monism -- A comment on eliminativism, instrumentalism, and so on -- Mentalism, idealism, and immaterialism -- Mentalism -- Strict or pure process idealism -- Active-principle idealism -- Stuff idealism -- Immaterialism -- The positions restated -- The dualist options -- Frege's thesis -- Objections to pure process idealism -- The problem of mental dispositions -- Mental -- Shared abilities -- The sorting ability -- The definition of mental being -- Mental phenomena -- The view that all mental phenomena are experiential phenomena -- Natural intentionality -- E/c intentionality -- The experienceless -- Intentionality and abstract and nonexistent objects -- Experience, purely experiential content, and n/c intentionality -- Concepts in nature -- Intentionality and experience -- Summary with problem -- Pain and pain -- The neo-behaviorist view -- A linguistic argument for the necessary connection between pain and behavior -- A challenge -- The Sirians -- N.N. Novel -- An objection to the Sirians -- The Betelgeuzians -- The point of the Sirians -- Functionalism, naturalism, and realism about pain -- Unpleasantness and qualitative character -- The weather watchers -- The rooting story -- What is it like to be a weather watcher? -- The aptitudes of mental states -- The argument from the conditions for possessing the concept of space -- The argument from the conditions for language ability -- The argument from the nature of desire -- Desire and affect -- The argument from the phenomenology of desire -- Behavior -- A hopeless definition -- Difficulties -- Other-observability -- Neo-behaviorism -- The concept of mind. (shrink)
Descartes claims that God is a substance, and that mind and body are two different and separable substances. This paper provides some background that renders these claims intelligible. For Descartes, that something is real means it can exist in separation, and something is a substance if it does not depend on other substances for its existence. Further, separable objects are correlates of distinct ideas, for an idea is distinct (in an objective sense) if its object may be easily and clearly (...) separated from everything that is not its object. It follows that if our idea of God is our most distinct idea, as Descartes claims, then God must be a substance in the Cartesian sense of the term. Also, if we can have an idea of a thinking subject which does not in any sense refer to bodily things, and if bodily things are substances, then mind and body must be two different substances. (shrink)
This book is an important collection of new essays on various topics relating to realism and its rivals in metaphysics, logic, metaethics, and epistemology. The contributors include some of the leading authors in these fields and in several cases their essays constitute definitive statements of their views. In some cases authors write in response to the essays of other contributors, in other cases they proceed independently. Although not primarily historical this collection includes discussions of philosophers from the middle ages to (...) the present day, from Aquinas to Wittgenstein. No one seriously interested in questions about realism, whether as a general philosophical outlook or as a particular position within specific debates, can afford to be without this collection. (shrink)
The chapter deals with the notion of phenomenal realness, which was first systematically explored by Albert Michotte. Phenomenal realness refers to the impression that a perceptual object is perceived to have an autonomous existence in our mind-independent world. Perceptual psychology provides an abundance of phenomena, ranging from amodal completion to picture perception, that indicate that phenomenal realness is an independent perceptual attribute that can be conferred to perceptual objects in different degrees. The chapter outlines a theoretical framework that appears particularly (...) well-suited for dealing with corresponding phenomena. According to this framework, perception can be understood as a triggering of conceptual forms by sensor inputs. It is argued that the attribute of phenomenal realness is based on specific types of internal evaluation functions which deal with the segregation of causes conceived as ‘external’ from those conceived as ‘internal’. These evaluation functions integrate different internal sources of ‘knowledge’ about the potential causes for the activation of conceptual forms and provide markers by which conceptual forms can be tagged as ‘external world objects’. (shrink)
This paper utilizes the theories of metaphor of George Lakoff, Mark Johnson and Julian Jaynes to extend Jaynes' metaphor theory of consciousness by treating consciousness as an operator that works with 'covert behavior' so that humans can integrate temporally discontinuous percepts with concepts based on metaphoric extensions of the embodied schemas of direct and immediate perception and thereby transcend the limitations of direct perception. A theory of first-person expressions and covert behavior to account for self-conscious awareness as language-based is advanced. (...) Subjectivity and objectivity are metaphors based on schemas of perception. (shrink)
Is matter real? Are persons real? Is time real? This Very Short Introduction discusses what, if anything, is "real" by looking at a variety of arguments from philosophy, physics, and cognitive science. The book shows that the question "what is real?" is not some esoteric puzzle that only philosophers ponder. Scientists also ask this question when they investigate whether candidates for the fundamental constituents of matter are actually "out there" or just a mere abstraction from a successful theory and cognitive (...) scientists ask it when trying to find out which set of the bewildering array of data processed by our brain could constitute the basis for the self. -/- Contents: -/- Introduction 1. What is real? Dreams and simulations 2. Is matter real? 3. Are persons real? 4. Is time real? Conclusion. (shrink)
This book highlights Kant's fundamental contrast between the mechanistic and dynamical conceptions of matter, which is central to his views about the foundations of physics, and is best understood in terms of the contrast between objects of sensibility and things in themselves.
An essential resource for understanding cutting edge developments in contemporary education. Using real life examples of educational technology, it explains why rhetorical relations must replace cognitive process as the central focus of education.
Aim of the lectures -- Early Brahmanical literature -- Panini's grammar -- A passage from the Chandogya Upanisad -- The structures of languages -- The Buddhist contribution -- Vaisesika and language -- Verbal knowledge -- The contradictions of Nagarjuna -- The reactions of other thinkers -- Sarvastivada Samkhya -- The Agamasastra of Gaudapada -- Sankara -- Kashmiri Saivism -- Jainism -- Early Vaisesika -- Critiques of the existence of a thing before its arising -- Nyaya -- Mimamsa -- The Abhidharmakosa (...) bhasya of Vasubandhu -- The Abhidharmasamuccaya of Asanga and its bhasya -- Bhartrhari -- The problem of negation -- Dignaga and verbal knowledge -- The Bodhisattvabhumi -- Prajnakaragupta -- Indian thinkers and the correspondence principle -- Appendix. The Mahaprajnaparamitasastra and the Samkhya tanmatras. (shrink)
In this sweeping survey, acclaimed science writers Paul Davies and John Gribbin provide a complete overview of advances in the study of physics that have revolutionized modern science. From the weird world of quarks and the theory of relativity to the latest ideas about the birth of the cosmos, the authors find evidence for a massive paradigm shift. Developments in the studies of black holes, cosmic strings, solitons, and chaos theory challenge commonsense concepts of space, time, and matter, and demand (...) a radically altered and more fully unified view of the universe. (shrink)