Cosmology has undergone a revolution in recent years. The exciting interplay between astronomy and fundamental physics has led to dramatic revelations, including the existence of the dark matter and the dark energy that appear to dominate our cosmos. But these discoveries only reveal themselves through small effects in noisy experimental data. Dealing with such observations requires the careful application of probability and statistics. But it is not only in the arcane world of fundamental physics that probability theory plays such an (...) important role. It has an impact in many aspects of our everyday life, from the law courts to the lottery. Why then do so few people understand probability? And why do so few people understand why it is so important for science? Why do so many people think that science is about absolute certainty when, at its core, it is actually dominated by uncertainty? This book attempts to explain the basics of probability theory, and illustrate their application across the entire spectrum of science. (shrink)
In a spellbinding narrative that skillfully weaves together cutting-edge research among today's foremost scientists, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku--author of the bestselling book Hyperspace --presents a bold, exhilarating adventure into the science of tomorrow. In Visions, Dr. Kaku examines in vivid detail how the three scientific revolutions that profoundly reshaped the twentieth century--the quantum, biogenetic, and computer revolutions--will transform the way we live in the twenty-first century. The fundamental elements of matter and life--the particles of the atom and the nucleus (...) of the cell--have now been decoded, closing one of the great chapters of scientific history. But this is just the preface to an even more far-reaching scientific revolution, as we make the transition from being passive observers of the mysteries of nature to becoming masters of nature, able to manipulate matter, life, and intelligence to remold the world around us. In the first part of Visions, Dr. Kaku discusses the cyber future, when millions of microprocessors are scattered throughout our environment; when the iron principle that has ruled the computer industry, Moore's Law, finally collapses, forcing scientists to adopt startling new designs like DNA computers and quantum computers; and when artificial intelligence systems finally arrive. In the next section, Dr. Kaku shows how the decoding of DNA will allow us to conquer devastating genetic diseases, defeat many cancers at the molecular level, synthesize new medicines using virtual reality, grow new organs, conquer aging and reshape our genetic inheritance. Finally, he explores how quantum physicists will perfect new ways to harness the cosmic energy of the universe--from molecular machines to supermagnets that may energize a second industrial revolution, to powerful fusion engines that one day may take us to the stars. What makes Michio Kaku's vision of the future of science so compelling and authoritative is that it is based on the groundbreaking research already underway at leading laboratories around the world. Weaving interviews with over 150 scientists--several of them Nobel laureates--into a rich, inspiring narrative, Dr. Kaku reveals the growing consensus among key scientists about how science will likely evolve through the early, middle, and late years of the twenty-first century. An intimate, thrilling tour through the next century of science, Visions is a riveting, essential map to how scientists will reshape our future. (shrink)
Military affairs have been affected by major changes in the 19902. The bipolar world of two superpowers has gone. The Cold War and the global military confrontation that accompanied it have ended. A new military and political order has emerged, but the world has not become more stable, indeed, wars and armed conflict have become much more common. Forecasting the contours of future armed conflict is the primary object of this work. Focusing on the impact of new technologies, General (...) Gareev considers whether war is still a "continuation of politics by other means" or whether political, ideological and technical transformations have broken that connection. He explores the linkage beween threats to Russian national interests and war as an instrument of policy, and concludes that there is very little prospect either of nuclear war or widespread conventional war. However, he does see local armed conflicts and local wars increasing, with greater emphasis on subversion. He argues that coming decades wil see a shift toward reliance upon indirect means to accomplish limited political ends, and analyzes both information warfare and the revolution in military affairs from this perspective. (shrink)
A cutting-edge survey of formal methods directed specifically at dealing with the deep mathematical problems engendered by the study of developing systems, in particular dealing with developing phase spaces, changing components, structures and functionalities, and the problem of emergence. Several papers deal with the modelling of particular experimental situations in population biology, economics and plant and muscle developments in addition to purely theoretical approaches. Novel approaches include differential inclusions and viability theory, growth tensors, archetypal dynamics, ensembles with variable structures, and (...) complex system models. The papers represent the work of theoreticians and experimental biologists, psychologists and economists. The areas covered embrace complex systems, the development of artificial life, mathematics, computer science, biology and psychology. (shrink)
In this paper we will offer a few examples to illustrate the orientation of contemporary research in data analysis and we will investigate the corresponding role of mathematics. We argue that the modus operandi of data analysis is implicitly based on the belief that if we have collected enough and sufficiently diverse data, we will be able to answer most relevant questions concerning the phenomenon itself. This is a methodological paradigm strongly related, but not limited to, biology, and we label (...) it the microarray paradigm. In this new framework, mathematics provides powerful techniques and general ideas which generate new computational tools. But it is missing any explicit isomorphism between a mathematical structure and the phenomenon under consideration. This methodology used in data analysis suggests the possibility of forecasting and analyzing without a structured and general understanding. This is the perspective we propose to call agnostic science, and we argue that, rather than diminishing or flattening the role of mathematics in science, the lack of isomorphisms with phenomena liberates mathematics, paradoxically making more likely the practical use of some of its most sophisticated ideas. (shrink)
In this paper we will offer a few examples to illustrate the orientation of contemporary research in data analysis and we will investigate the corresponding role of mathematics. We argue that the modus operandi of data analysis is implicitly based on the belief that if we have collected enough and sufficiently diverse data, we will be able to answer most relevant questions concerning the phenomenon itself. This is a methodological paradigm strongly related, but not limited to, biology, and we label (...) it the microarray paradigm . In this new framework, mathematics provides powerful techniques and general ideas which generate new computational tools. But it is missing any explicit isomorphism between a mathematical structure and the phenomenon under consideration. This methodology used in data analysis suggests the possibility of forecasting and analyzing without a structured and general understanding. This is the perspective we propose to call agnostic science , and we argue that, rather than diminishing or flattening the role of mathematics in science, the lack of isomorphisms with phenomena liberates mathematics, paradoxically making more likely the practical use of some of its most sophisticated ideas. (shrink)
It is an unfortunate fact of academic life that there is a sharp divide between science and philosophy, with scientists often being openly dismissive of philosophy, and philosophers being equally contemptuous of the naivete ́ of scientists when it comes to the philosophical underpinnings of their own discipline. In this paper I explore the possibility of reducing the distance between the two sides by introducing science students to some interesting philosophical aspects of research in evolutionary biology, using biological (...) theories of the origin of religion as an example. I show that philosophy is both a discipline in its own right as well as one that has interesting implications for the understanding and practice of science. While the goal is certainly not to turn science students into philoso- phers, the idea is that both disciplines cannot but benefit from a mutual dialogue that starts as soon as possible, in the classroom. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of science has been criticized on several counts. On the one hand, it is claimed that it results in relativism of the worst sort since the political commitment to feminism is prima facie incompatible with scientific objectivity. On the other hand, when critics acknowledge that there may be some value in work that feminists have done, they comment that there is nothing particularly feminist about their accounts. I argue that both criticisms can be addressed through a better (...) understanding of the current work in feminist epistemology. I offer an examination of standpoint theory as an illustration. Harding and Wylie have suggested ways in which the objectivity question can be addressed. These two accounts, together with a third approach, ‘model-based objectivity’, indicate there is a clear sense in which we can understand how standpoint theory both contributes to a better understanding of scientific knowledge and can provide a feminist epistemology. (shrink)
Genes are often described by biologists using metaphors derived from computa- tional science: they are thought of as carriers of information, as being the equivalent of ‘‘blueprints’’ for the construction of organisms. Likewise, cells are often characterized as ‘‘factories’’ and organisms themselves become analogous to machines. Accordingly, when the human genome project was initially announced, the promise was that we would soon know how a human being is made, just as we know how to make airplanes and buildings. Impor- (...) tantly, modern proponents of Intelligent Design, the latest version of creationism, have exploited biologists’ use of the language of information and blueprints to make their spurious case, based on pseudoscientific concepts such as ‘‘irreducible complexity’’ and on flawed analogies between living cells and mechanical factories. However, the living organ- ism = machine analogy was criticized already by David Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. In line with Hume’s criticism, over the past several years a more nuanced and accurate understanding of what genes are and how they operate has emerged, ironically in part from the work of computational scientists who take biology, and in particular developmental biology, more seriously than some biologists seem to do. In this article we connect Hume’s original criticism of the living organism = machine analogy with the modern ID movement, and illustrate how the use of misleading and outdated metaphors in science can play into the hands of pseudoscientists. Thus, we argue that dropping the blueprint and similar metaphors will improve both the science of biology and its understanding by the general public. (shrink)
Since antiquity well into the beginnings of the 20th century geometry was a central topic for philosophy. Since then, however, most philosophers of science, if they took notice of topology at all, considered it as an abstruse subdiscipline of mathematics lacking philosophical interest. Here it is argued that this neglect of topology by philosophy may be conceived of as the sign of a conceptual sea-change in philosophy of science that expelled geometry, and, more generally, mathematics, from the central (...) position it used to have in philosophy of science and placed logic at center stage in the 20th century philosophy of science. Only in recent decades logic has begun to loose its monopoly and geometry and topology received a new chance to find a place in philosophy of science. (shrink)
This article critically reviews an outstanding collection of new essays addressing Edmund Husserl’s Crisis of European Sciences. In Science and the Life-World (Stanford, 2010), David Hyder and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger bring together an impressive range of first-rate philosophers and historians. The collection explicates key concepts in Husserl’s often obscure work, compares Husserl’s phenomenology of science to the parallel tradition of historical epistemology, and provocatively challenges Husserl’s views on science. The explications are uniformly clear and helpful, the comparative work (...) intriguing, and the criticisms interesting but uneven. The article also elaborates on Husserl’s phenomenological method as it relates to the historiography of science, and compares his views on mathematical idealisation to more recent work in the analytical tradition. (shrink)
Cosmological speculation about the ultimate nature of the universe, being necessary for science to be possible at all, must be regarded as a part of scientific knowledge itself, however epistemologically unsound it may be in other respects. The best such speculation available is that the universe is comprehensible in some way or other and, more specifically, in the light of the immense apparent success of modern natural science, that it is physically comprehensible. But both these speculations may be (...) false; in order to take this possibility into account, we need to adopt an hierarchy of increasingly contentless cosmological conjectures until we arrive at the conjecture that the universe is such that it is possible for us to acquire some knowledge of something, a conjecture which we are justified in accepting as knowledge since doing so cannot harm the pursuit of knowledge in any circumstances whatsoever. As a result of adopting such an hierarchy of increasingly contentless cosmological conjectures in this way, we maximize our chances of adopting conjectures that promote the growth of knowledge, and minimize our chances of taking some cosmological assumption for granted that is false and impedes the growth of knowledge. The hope is that as we increase our knowledge about the world we improve (lower level) cosmological assumptions implicit in our methods, and thus in turn improve our methods. As a result of improving our knowledge we improve our knowledge about how to improve knowledge. Science adapts its own nature to what it learns about the nature of the universe, thus increasing its capacity to make progress in knowledge about the world. This aim-oriented empiricist conception of science solves outstanding problems in the philosophy of science such as the problems of induction, simplicity and verisimilitude. (shrink)
This paper gives a philosophical outline of the initial foundations of politics as presented in the work of Plato and argues why this traditional philosophical approach can no longer serve as the foundation of politics. The argumentation is mainly based on the work of Latour (1993, 1997, 1999a, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008) and consists of five parts. In the first section I elaborate on the initial categorization of politics and science as represented by Plato in his Republic. In the (...) second section I discuss the gap between humans and non-humans and how they are tied together in actual real life political topics. In the third section I elaborate on the concepts of political and scientific discourse and how they are thought of as separated fields based on the ancient constitution of human society. In the fourth section I link the concepts of matter of fact and matter of concern. In a final section I present a redefinition of the nature of politics as represented in the work of Bruno Latour as an alternative foundation for the study of political systems. (shrink)
Functional reductionism concerning mental properties has recently been advocated by Jaegwon Kim in order to solve the problem of the 'causal exclusion' of the mental. Adopting a reductionist strategy first proposed by David Lewis, he regards psychological properties as being 'higher-order' properties functionally defined over 'lower-order' properties, which are causally efficacious. Though functional reductionism is compatible with the multiple realizability of psychological properties, it is blocked if psychological properties are subdivided or crosscut by neurophysiological properties. I argue that there is (...) recent evidence from cognitive neuroscience that shows that this is the case for the psychological property of fear. Though this may suggest that some psychological properties should be revised in order to conform to those of neurophysiology, the history of science demonstrates that this is not always the outcome, particularly with properties that play an important role in our folk theories and are central to human concerns. (shrink)
A variety of inaccurate claims about Gold's Theorem have appeared in the cognitive science literature. I begin by characterizing the logic of this theorem and its proof. I then examine several claims about Gold's Theorem, and I show why they are false. Finally, I assess the significance of Gold's Theorem for cognitive science.
The thesis that the practice and evaluation of science requires social value-judgment, that good science is not value-free or value-neutral but value-laden, has been gaining acceptance among philosophers of science. The main proponents of the value-ladenness of science rely on either arguments from the underdetermination of theory by evidence or arguments from inductive risk. Both arguments share the premise that we should only consider values once the evidence runs out, or where it leaves uncertainty; they adopt (...) a criterion of lexical priority of evidence over values. The motivation behind lexical priority is to avoid reaching conclusions on the basis of wishful thinking rather than good evidence. The problem of wishful thinking is indeed real---it would be an egregious error to adopt beliefs about the world because they comport with how one would prefer the world to be. I will argue, however, that giving lexical priority to evidential considerations over values is a mistake, and unnecessary for adequately avoiding the problem of wishful thinking. Values have a deeper role to play in science than proponents of the underdetermination and inductive risk arguments have suggested. (shrink)
My purpose in this brief paper is to consider the implications of a radically different computer architecure to some fundamental problems in the foundations of Cognitive Science. More exactly, I wish to consider the ramifications of the 'Gödel-Minds-Machines' controversy of the late 1960s on a dynamically changing computer architecture which, I venture to suggest, is going to revolutionize which 'functions' of the human mind can and cannot be modelled by (non-human) computational automata. I will proceed on the presupposition that (...) the reader is familiar with some of the fundamentals of computational theory and mathematical logic. (shrink)
Epistemic trust is crucial for science. This article aims to identify the kinds of assumptions that are involved in epistemic trust as it is required for the successful operation of science as a collective epistemic enterprise. The relevant kind of reliance should involve working from the assumption that the epistemic endeavors of others are appropriately geared towards the truth, but the exact content of this assumption is more difficult to analyze than it might appear. The root of the (...) problem is that methodological decisions in science typically involve a complex trade-off between the reliability of positive results, the reliability of negative results, and the investigation's power (the rate at which it delivers definitive results). Which balance between these is the ‘correct’ one can only be determined in light of an evaluation of the consequences of all the different possible outcomes of the inquiry. What it means for the investigation to be ‘appropriately geared towards the truth’ thus depends on certain value judgments. I conclude that in the optimal case, trusting someone in her capacity as an information provider also involves a reliance on her having the right attitude towards the possible consequences of her epistemic work. 1 Introduction2 Epistemic Reliance within the Sciences3 Methodological Conventionalism4 Trust in Science5 Conclusions. (shrink)
Neuroethology is a branch of biology that studies the neural basis of naturally occurring animal behavior. This science, particularly a recent program called computational neuroethology, has a similar structure to the interdisciplinary endeavor of cognitive science. I argue that it would be fruitful to conceive of cognitive science as the computational neuroethology of humans. However, there are important differences between the two sciences, including the fact that neuroethology is much more comparative in its perspective. Neuroethology is a (...) biological science and as such, evolution is a central notion. Its target organisms are studied in the context of their evolutionary history. The central goal of this paper is to argue that cognitive science can and ought to be more comparative in its approach to cognitive phenomena in humans. I show how the domain of cognitive phenomena can be divided up into four different classes, individuated by the relative phylogenetic uniqueness of the behavior. I then describe how comparative evidence can enrich our understanding in each of these different arenas. (shrink)
The widespread impression that recent philosophy of science has pioneered exploration of the “social dimensions of scientific knowledge‘ is shown to be in error, partly due to a lack of appreciation of historical precedent, and partly due to a misunderstanding of how the social sciences and philosophy have been intertwined over the last century. This paper argues that the referents of “democracy‘ are an important key in the American context, and that orthodoxies in the philosophy of science tend (...) to be molded by the actual regimes of science organization within which they are embedded. These theses are illustrated by consideration of three representative philosophers of science: John Dewey, Hans Reichenbach, and Philip Kitcher. [Copyright &y& Elsevier]. (shrink)
Hasok Chang (Science & Education 20:317–341, 2011) shows how the recovery of past experimental knowledge, the physical replication of historical experiments, and the extension of recovered knowledge can increase scientific understanding. These activities can also play an important role in both science and history and philosophy of science education. In this paper I describe the implementation of an integrated learning project that I initiated, organized, and structured to complement a course in history and philosophy of the life (...) sciences (HPLS). The project focuses on the study and use of descriptions, observations, experiments, and recording techniques used by early microscopists to classify various species of water flea. The first published illustrations and descriptions of the water flea were included in the Dutch naturalist Jan Swammerdam’s, Historia Insectorum Generalis (1669) (Algemeene verhandeling van de bloedeloose dierkens. t’Utrrecht, Meinardus van Dreunen, ordinaris Drucker van d’Academie). After studying these, we first used the descriptions, techniques, and nomenclature recovered to observe, record, and classify the specimens collected from our university ponds. We then used updated recording techniques and image-based keys to observe and identify the specimens. The implementation of these newer techniques was guided in part by the observations and records that resulted from our use of the recovered historical methods of investigation. The series of HPLS labs constructed as part of this interdisciplinary project provided a space for students to consider and wrestle with the many philosophical issues that arise in the process of identifying an unknown organism and offered unique learning opportunities that engaged students’ curiosity and critical thinking skills. (shrink)
In Beauty and Revolution in Science, James McAllister advances a rationalistic picture of science in which scientific progress is explained in terms of aesthetic evaluations of scientific theories. Here I present a new model of aesthetic evaluations by revising McAllister’s core idea of the aesthetic induction. I point out that the aesthetic induction suffers from anomalies and theoretical inconsistencies and propose a model free from such problems. The new model is based, on the one hand, on McAllister’s original (...) model and on further developments by Theo Kuipers in his “Beauty, a Road to the Truth?”. On the other hand, it is based on empirical findings about affection and emotion, and a naturalistic aesthetic theory. The new model is thus a naturalistic model with a wider explanatory range and much more internal consistency that McAllister’s. (shrink)
This study examined how ethical case study content and the process for working through case material influenced training effectiveness. Specifically, the effects of behavioral modeling content and the use of forecasting prompt questions on knowledge acquisition and transfer were tested. Graduate students participating in a case-based ethics training course read a case where the main actor demonstrated key behaviors effectively (mastery model), some behaviors effectively and some ineffectively (mixed model), or no behaviors (no model). The students then responded to (...)forecasting or summarizing prompts. Results revealed a main effect for modeling content. Explicitly modeling key behaviors within a case improved constraint analyses, sensemaking, and decision ethicality on a transfer task. The mastery model using effective behaviors was most beneficial. Forecasting prompts resulted in better transfer performance when the main actor used a mix of ineffective and effective behaviors. Implications for designing ethics training programs are discussed. (shrink)
It is very well known that from the late-1960s onwards Feyerabend began to radically challenge some deeply-held ideas about the history and methodology of the sciences. It is equally well known that, from around the same period, he also began to radically challenge wider claims about the value and place of the sciences within modern societies, for instance by calling for the separation of science and the state and by questioning the idea that the sciences served to liberate and (...) ameliorate human societies. But what is less known is how, if at all, these two sets of challenges were connected, and why Feyerabend felt it important to raise them at all. In this chapter, my aim is to explore these issues by considering why Feyerabend used radical strategies to challenge the authority of science, and what purpose, if any, they were supposed to serve. Why, for instance, did Feyerabend defend alternative medicine, psychical abilities, astrology, magic and witchcraft and why did he argue that ‘Western science’ is complicit in environmental destruction, intellectual imperialism, social oppression, and spiritual destitution. Located in their historical and political context, such defences and arguments seem peculiar, not least because science was recognised not only as a central site of the intellectual and ideological competition between the West and the Soviet Union, but also because Western victory in that site was considered inevitable. What, then, did Feyerabend think he was trying to achieve by raising radical challenges to a central component of the cultural and intellectual prestige of the Western world grounded in appeals to practices and traditions which most would regard as eccentric at best and absurd at worst? My suggestion is that Feyerabend was making a subtler point than one might suppose. For the purpose of these radical challenges was to determine if the members of Western societies would in fact honour the epistemic standards – of tolerance, critical enquiry – which were identified as being characteristic of science and definitive of the social and political values of Western liberal democracy. I suggest that Feyerabend was trying to demonstrate that scientists were, too often, guilty of the same intolerant and dogmatic attitudes which were, according to prevailing propaganda, the property of illiberal totalitarian societies. Science does not reflect the superior epistemic and political values of Western societies but are, in fact, reflective of the same vices ascribed to the Soviet Union. If that is the case, then the sciences are not symbols of our epistemic and political values, but quite the reverse, hence Feyerabend’s talk of the ‘dogmatic’, ‘totalitarian’, ‘ratiofascist’ nature of modern science. But there is a positive upshot to Feyerabend’s challenge. For even if the sciences do not yet reflect the epistemic and political values of liberal democratic Western societies, they might yet be reformed so that they are. And there is a parallel between Feyerabend’s strategy and that of many of the other radicals of the time – student activists, environmentalists, and pacifists – namely to test the commitment to tolerance and deliberative debate of the establishment by asking it to seriously engage with ideas and convictions opposed to its own. For both science and society can become ‘tyrannical’ through the same means: by exempting themselves from critical scrutiny, by promoting self-serving ‘myths’ about themselves, and by derogating and excluding alternatives, including the ‘outsider’ perspectives they offer. The chapter concludes by suggesting that Feyerabend is distinctive in virtue of his willingness to offer radical criticisms of the authority of science such that it can fulfil its legitimate ideological role – namely, of symbolising and instantiating our core epistemic and political values – such that we can offer a sincere and meaningful answer to Feyerabend’s question ‘what’s so great about science?’. (shrink)
There is a growing chorus of voices in the scientific community calling for greater openness in the sharing of raw data that lead to a publication. In this commentary, we discuss the merits of sharing, common concerns that are raised, and practical issues that arise in developing a sharing policy. We suggest that the cognitive science community discuss the topic and establish a data-sharing policy.
This paper rejects a view of science called "methodological naturalism." -/- According to many defenders of mainstream science and Darwinian evolution, anti-evolution critics--creationists and intelligent design proponents--are conceptually and epistemologically confusing science and religion, a supernatural view of world. These defenders of evolution contend that doing science requires adhering to a methodology that is strictly and essentially naturalistic: science is essentially committed to "methodological naturalism" and assumes that all the phenomena it investigates are entirely natural (...) and consistent with the laws of physics. Thus encountering any unexplained phenomenon, science assumes a priori that there is some natural cause and will only test a natural hypothesis. Since by definition supernatural causes are assumed to be not subject to the constraints of physical or natural law as understood by science, supernatural hypotheses and explanations must be banned from proper science. Science simply can't say that God did, or did not do it. -/- I argue that the success of science is directly relevant to rational belief in supernatural causes, and that in fact science can and does say in particular cases that "God didn't do it." I suggest that pro-evolution proponents can better defend science and the theory of evolution by rejecting methodological naturalism. -/- . (shrink)
This article tries to create a bridge of understanding between cognitive scientists and phenomenologists who work on attention. In light of a phenomenology of attention and current psychological and neuropsychological literature on attention, I translate and interpret into phenomenological terms 20 key cognitive science concepts as examined in the laboratory and used in leading journals. As a preface to the lexicon, I outline a phenomenology of attention, especially as a dynamic three-part structure, which I have freely amended from the (...) work of phenomenologist and Gestalt philosopher Aron Gurwitsch (1901â1973). As a conclusion, I discuss the nature of subjectivity in attention and attention research, and whether attention might be the same as consciousness. (shrink)
In Book I, Part I, Section VII of the Treatise, Hume sets out to settle, once and for all, the early modern controversy over abstract ideas. In order to do so, he tries to accomplish two tasks: (1) he attempts to defend an exemplar-based theory of general language and thought, and (2) he sets out to refute the rival abstraction-based account. This paper examines the successes and failures of these two projects. I argue that Hume manages to articulate a plausible (...) theory of general ideas; indeed, a version of his account has defenders in contemporary cognitive science. But Hume fails to refute the abstraction-based account, and as a result, the early modern controversy ends in a stalemate, with both sides able to explain how we manage to speak and think in general terms. Although Hume fails to settle the controversy, he nevertheless advances it to a point from which we have yet to progress: the contemporary debate over abstract ideas in cognitive science has stalled on precisely this point. (shrink)
I want to make plausible the following claim:Analyzing scientific inquiry as a species of socially distributed cognition has a variety of advantages for science studies, among them the prospects of bringing together philosophy and sociology of science. This is not a particularly novel claim, but one that faces major obstacles. I will retrace some of the major steps that have been made in the pursuit of a distributed cognition approach to science studies, paying special attention to the (...) promise that such an approach holds out for bridging the rift between philosophy and the social studies of science. (shrink)
When he formulated the program of neurophenomenology, Francisco Varela suggested a balanced methodological dissolution of the hard problem of consciousness. I show that his dissolution is a paradigm which imposes itself onto seemingly opposite views, including materialist approaches. I also point out that Varela's revolutionary epistemological ideas are gaining wider acceptance as a side effect of a recent controversy between hermeneutists and eliminativists. Finally, I emphasize a structural parallel between the science of consciousness and the distinctive features of quantum (...) mechanics. This parallel, together with the former convergences, point towards the common origin of the main puzzles of both quantum mechanics and the philosophy of mind: neglect of the constitutive blindspot of objective knowledge. (shrink)
b>. Recent findings in cognitive science suggest that the epistemic subject is more complex and epistemically porous than is generally pictured. Human knowers are open to the world via multiple channels, each operating for particular purposes and according to its own logic. These findings need to be understood and addressed by the philosophical community. The current essay argues that one consequence of the new findings is to invalidate certain arguments for epistemic anti-realism.
We examine that both science and religion were original products of the human imagination. However, the approaches taken to develop these two explanations of life, were entirely different. The precepts of evolution are well established through the scientific method. This approach has led to the accumulation of immense amounts of evidence for biological evolution, and much scientific progress has been made to understand the pathways taken for the appearance of organisms and their macromolecular constituents. The existence of spiritual beings (...) has not and presumably cannot be documented via a scientific approach, no more than a fairy tale or a myth. However, science, education and knowledge coupled to proper actions are exactly what are needed to make the correct decisions so as to preserve and improve our common, shared biosphere which is currently confronted with two immense problems: human population growth and climate change. (shrink)
underpinning of the cognitive sciences. I argue, however, that it often fails to provide adequate explanations, in particular in conjunction with competence theories. This failure originates in the idealizations in competence descriptions, which either ?block? the cascade, or produce a successful cascade which fails to explain cognition.
Claims that science should be more democratic than it is frequently arouse opposition. In this essay, I distinguish my own views about the democratization of science from the more ambitious theses defended by Paul Feyerabend. I argue that it is unlikely that the complexity of some scientific debates will allow for resolution according to the methodological principles of any formal confirmation theory, suggesting instead that major revolutions rest on conflicts of values. Yet these conflicts should not be dismissed (...) as irresoluble. (shrink)
A chief aim of the science of consciousness is to discover general principles that determine exactly which states of phenomenal consciousness occur in exactly which conditions. In this paper I argue that making progress towards the discovery of such principles requires developing a new regimented language for describing phenomenal states. This language should allow us to describe phenomenal states in a way that is commensurable with our descriptions of physical states. I suggest one way of doing this. My approach (...) extends and sharpens the language used in the scientific literature to describe phenomenal states. The end result is a representational language of consciousness without the metaphysical baggage of a representational theory of consciousness. (shrink)
Public discussions of science are often marred by two pernicious phenomena: a widespread rejection of scientific findings (e.g., the reality of anthropogenic climate change, the conclusion that vaccines do not cause autism, or the validity of evolutionary theory), coupled with an equally common acceptance of pseudoscientific notions (e.g., homeopathy, psychic readings, telepathy, tall tales about alien abductions, and so forth). The typical reaction by scientists and science educators is to decry the sorry state of science literacy among (...) the general public, and to call for more science education as the answer to both problems. But the empirical evidence concerning the relationship between science literacy, rejection of science and acceptance of pseudoscience is mixed at best. In this chapter I argue that—while certainly important—efforts at increasing public knowledge of science (science education) need to be complemented by attention to common logical fallacies (philosophy), cognitive biases and dissonance (psychology), and the role of ideological commitments (sociology). Even this complex, multi-disciplinary approach to science education will likely only yield measurable results in the very long term. Meanwhile science remains, as Carl Sagan famously put it, a candle in the dark, delicate and in need of much nurturing. (shrink)
The notion of levels has been widely used in discussions of cognitive science, especially in discussions of the relation of connectionism to symbolic modeling of cognition. I argue that many of the notions of levels employed are problematic for this purpose, and develop an alternative notion grounded in the framework of mechanistic explanation. By considering the source of the analogies underlying both symbolic modeling and connectionist modeling, I argue that neither is likely to provide an adequate analysis of processes (...) at the level at which cognitive theories attempt to function: One is drawn from too low a level, the other from too high a level. If there is a distinctly cognitive level, then we still need to determine what are the basic organizational principles at that level. (shrink)
This is a lively and clearly written introduction to the philosophy of natural science, organized around the central theme of scientific realism. It has two parts. 'Representing' deals with the different philosophical accounts of scientific objectivity and the reality of scientific entities. The views of Kuhn, Feyerabend, Lakatos, Putnam, van Fraassen, and others, are all considered. 'Intervening' presents the first sustained treatment of experimental science for many years and uses it to give a new direction to debates about (...) realism. Hacking illustrates how experimentation often has a life independent of theory. He argues that although the philosophical problems of scientific realism can not be resolved when put in terms of theory alone, a sound philosophy of experiment provides compelling grounds for a realistic attitude. A great many scientific examples are described in both parts of the book, which also includes lucid expositions of recent high energy physics and a remarkable chapter on the microscope in cell biology. (shrink)
How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality , Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science. Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in (...) philosophy, Theory and Reality covers logical positivism the problems of induction and confirmation Karl Popper's theory of science Thomas Kuhn and "scientific revolutions" the views of Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, and Paul Feyerabend and challenges to the field from sociology of science, feminism, and science studies. The book then looks in more detail at some specific problems and theories, including scientific realism, the theory-ladeness of observation, scientific explanation, and Bayesianism. Finally, Godfrey-Smith defends a form of philosophical naturalism as the best way to solve the main problems in the field. Throughout the text he points out connections between philosophical debates and wider discussions about science in recent decades, such as the infamous "science wars." Examples and asides engage the beginning student a glossary of terms explains key concepts and suggestions for further reading are included at the end of each chapter. However, this is a textbook that doesn't feel like a textbook because it captures the historical drama of changes in how science has been conceived over the last one hundred years. Like no other text in this field, Theory and Reality combines a survey of recent history of the philosophy of science with current key debates in language that any beginning scholar or critical reader can follow. (shrink)
Science provides us with the methodological key to wisdom. This idea goes back to the 18th century French Enlightenment. Unfortunately, in developing the idea, the philosophes of the Enlightenment made three fundamental blunders: they failed to characterize the progress-achieving methods of science properly, they failed to generalize these methods properly, and they failed to develop social inquiry as social methodology having, as its basic task, to get progress-achieving methods, generalized from science, into social life so that humanity (...) might make progress towards an enlightened world. Instead, the philosophes developed social inquiry as social science. This botched version of the Enlightenment idea was further developed throughout the 19th century, and built into academia in the early 20th century with the creation of university departments of social science. As a result, academia today seeks knowledge but does not devote reason to the task of helping humanity make progress towards a better, wiser world. Our current and impending global crises are the outcome. We urgently need to bring about a revolution in universities throughout the world so that the blunders of the Enlightenment are corrected, and universities take up their proper task of helping humanity make progress towards a wiser world. (shrink)
The prehistory of science and technology studies -- The Kuhnian revolution -- Questioning functionalism in the sociology of science -- Stratification and discrimination -- The strong programme and the sociology of knowledge -- The social construction of scientific and technical realities -- Feminist epistemologies of science -- Actor-network theory -- Two questions concerning technology -- Studying laboratories -- Controversies -- Standardization and objectivity -- Rhetoric and discourse -- The unnaturalness of science and technology -- The public (...) understanding of science -- Expertise and public participation -- Political economies of knowledge. (shrink)
Scientific Realism is the optimistic view that modern science is on the right track: that the world really is the way our best scientific theories describe it to be. In his book, Stathis Psillos gives us a detailed and comprehensive study, which restores the intuitive plausibility of scientific realism. We see that throughout the twentieth century, scientific realism has been challenged by philosophical positions from all angles: from reductive empiricism, to instrumentalism and modern skeptical empiricism. Scientific Realism explains that (...) the history of science does not undermine the notion of scientific realism, and instead makes it reasonable to accept scientific as the best philosophical account of science, its empirical success, its progress and its practice. Anyone wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the state of modern science and why scientific realism is plausible, should read this book. (shrink)
This volume introduces readers to emergence theory, outlines the major arguments in its defence, and summarizes the most powerful objections against it. It provides the clearest explication yet of this exciting new theory of science, which challenges the reductionist approach by proposing the continuous emergence of novel phenomena.
Without scientific theory, the technology developments of recent years would not have been possible. In this exceptionally clear and engaging introduction to philosophy of science, James Ladyman explores the scope of natural science and its implications for human life. With the focus firmly upon realism, he discusses how fundamental philosophical questions can be answered by science and how scientific theory can confirm and inform our basic and intrinsic knowledge.
This paper concerns Jean Piaget's (1896–1980) philosophy of science and, in particular, the picture of scientific development suggested by his theory of genetic epistemology. The aims of the paper are threefold: (1) to examine genetic epistemology as a theory concerning the growth of knowledge both in the individual and in science; (2) to explicate Piaget's view of ‘scientific progress’, which is grounded in his theory of equilibration; and (3) to juxtapose Piaget's notion of progress with Thomas Kuhn's (1922–1996). (...) Issues of scientific continuity, scientific realism and scientific rationality are discussed. It is argued that Piaget's view highlights weaknesses in Kuhn's ‘discontinuous’ picture of scientific change. (shrink)
Both Popper and van Fraassen have used evolutionary analogies to defend their views on the aim of science, although these are diametrically opposed. By employing Price's equation in an illustrative capacity, this paper considers which view is better supported. It shows that even if our observations and experimental results are reliable, an evolutionary analogy fails to demonstrate why conjecture and refutation should result in: (1) the isolation of true theories; (2) successive generations of theories of increasing truth-likeness; (3) empirically (...) adequate theories; or (4) successive generations of theories of increasing proximity to empirical adequacy. Furthermore, it illustrates that appeals to induction do not appear to help. It concludes that an evolutionary analogy is only sufficient to defend the notion that the aim of science is to isolate a particular class of false theories, namely those that are empirically inadequate. (shrink)
The renowned philosopher Jerry Fodor, a leading figure in the study of the mind for more than twenty years, presents a strikingly original theory on the basic constituents of thought. He suggests that the heart of cognitive science is its theory of concepts, and that cognitive scientists have gone badly wrong in many areas because their assumptions about concepts have been mistaken. Fodor argues compellingly for an atomistic theory of concepts, deals out witty and pugnacious demolitions of rival theories, (...) and suggests that future work on human cognition should build upon new foundations. This lively, conversational, and superbly accessible book is the first volume in the Oxford Cognitive Science Series, where the best original work in this field will be presented to a broad readership. Concepts will fascinate anyone interested in contemporary work on mind and language. Cognitive science will never be the same again. (shrink)
History, Philosophy and Science Teaching argues that science teaching and science teacher education can be improved if teachers know something of the history and philosophy of science and if these topics are included in the science curriculum. The history and philosophy of science have important roles in many of the theoretical issues that science educators need to address: the goals of science education; what constitutes an appropriate science curriculum for all students; (...) how science should be taught in traditional cultures; what integrated science is; how scientific literacy can be promoted; and the conflict which can occur between science curriculum and deep-seated religious or cultural values and knowledge. In part, answers to these questions hinge on views about the nature of science, views that are best informed by historical and philosophical study. Outlining the history of liberal, or contextual, approaches to the teaching of science, Michael Matthews elaborates contemporary curriculum developments that explicitly address questions about the nature and the history of science. He provides examples of classroom teaching and develops useful arguments on constructivism, multicultural science education and teacher education. The book will appeal to school and university science teachers, educators of science teachers, and historians and philosophers of science. (shrink)
Is there a universal set of rules for discovering and testing scientific hypotheses? Since the birth of modern science, philosophers, scientists, and other thinkers have wrestled with this fundamental question of scientific practice. Efforts to devise rigorous methods for obtaining scientific knowledge include the twenty-one rules Descartes proposed in his Rules for the Direction of the Mind and the four rules of reasoning that begin the third book of Newton's Principia , and continue today in debates over the very (...) possibility of such rules. Bringing together key primary sources spanning almost four centuries, Science Rules introduces readers to scientific methods that have played a prominent role in the history of scientific practice. Editor Peter Achinstein includes works by scientists and philosophers of science to offer a new perspective on the nature of scientific reasoning. For each of the methods discussed, he presents the original formulation of the method selections written by a proponent of the method together with an application to a particular scientific example and a critical analysis of the method that draws on historical and contemporary sources. The methods included in this volume are Cartesian rationalism with an application to Descartes' laws of motion Newton's inductivism and the law of gravity two versions of hypothetico-deductivism -- those of William Whewell and Karl Popper -- and the nineteenth-century wave theory of light Paul Feyerabend's principle of proliferation and Thomas Kuhn's views on scientific values, both of which deny that there are universal rules of method, with an application to Galileo's tower argument. Included also is a famous nineteenth-century debate about scientific reasoning between the hypothetico-deductivist William Whewell and the inductivist John Stuart Mill and an account of the realism-antirealism dispute about unobservables in science, with a consideration of Perrin's argument for the existence of molecules in the early twentieth century. (shrink)
Cognitive systems research has predominantly been guided by the historical distinction between emotion and cognition, and has focused its efforts on modelling the “cognitive” aspects of behaviour. While this initially meant modelling only the control system of cognitive creatures, with the advent of “embodied” cognitive science this expanded to also modelling the interactions between the control system and the external environment. What did not seem to change with this embodiment revolution, however, was the attitude towards affect and emotion in (...) cognitive science. This paper argues that cognitive systems research is now beginning to integrate these aspects of natural cognitive systems into cognitive science proper, not in virtue of traditional “embodied cognitive science”, which focuses predominantly on the body’s gross morphology, but rather in virtue of research into the interoceptive, organismic basis of natural cognitive systems. (shrink)
This third volume of Paul Feyerabend's philosophical papers, which gathers together work originally published between 1960 and 1980, offers a range of his characteristically exciting treatments of classic questions in the philosophy of science. It includes his previously untranslated paper 'The Problem of Theoretical Entities', and the important lecture 'Knowledge without Foundations', in which he develops the perspective on early philosophy and science put forward by Karl Popper. Other themes discussed include theoretical pluralism, the nature of scientific method, (...) the relationship between theory and observation, the distinction between science and myth, and the opposition between 'rationalism' and relativism. Several papers from the 1970s detail his increasing preoccupation with the social status of science and with the decline (as he perceived it) in quality within the philosophy of science itself. The volume is completed by a substantial introduction and a comprehensive list of Feyerabend's works. (shrink)
The term phenomenology can be used in a generic sense to cover a variety of areas related to the problem of consciousness. In this sense it is a title that ranges over issues pertaining to first-person or subjective experience, qualia, and what has become known as "the hard problem" (Chalmers 1995). The term is sometimes used even more generally to signify a variety of approaches to studying such issues, including contemplative, meditative, and mystical studies, and transpersonal psychology.(1) Within the disciplines (...) of philosophy and psychology, however, phenomenology has a more specialized meaning. In this case it refers to the methodology and philosophy initiated by the philosopher Edmund Husserl at the beginning of the twentieth-century and developed in various ways by theorists such as Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Schutz. I restrict the scope of this review to phenomenology in this more specialized sense. In the light of several recent publications, the general questions I address are: What is and what ought to be the relationship between phenomenology and cognitive science? and What, if any, recent contributions has phenomenology made to the science of consciousness? (shrink)
Introduction : science versus pseudoscience and the "demarcation problem" -- Hard science, soft science -- Almost science -- Pseudoscience -- Blame the media? -- Debates on science : the rise of think tanks and the decline of public intellectuals -- Science and politics : the case of global warming -- Science in the courtroom : the case against intelligent design -- From superstition to natural philosophy -- From natural philosophy to modern science (...) -- The science wars I : do we trust science too much? -- The science wars II : do we trust science too little? -- Who's your expert? -- Conclusion : so, what is science after all? (shrink)
The concept of emergence is widely used in both the philosophy of mind and in cognitive science. In the philosophy of mind it serves to refer to seemingly irreducible phenomena, in cognitive science it is often used to refer to phenomena not explicitly programmed. There is no unique concept of emergence available that serves both purposes.
In this paper I try to explain a strange omission in Hume’s methodological descriptions in his first Enquiry. In the course of this explanation I reveal a kind of rationalistic tendency of the latter work. It seems to contrast with “experimental method” of his early Treatise of Human Nature, but, as I show that there is no discrepancy between the actual methods of both works, I make an attempt to explain the change in Hume’s characterization of his own methods. This (...) attempt leads to the question about his interpretation of the science of human nature. I argue that his view on this science was not a constant one and that initially he identified this science with his account of passions. As this presupposes the primacy of Book 2 of his Treatise I try to find new confirmations of the old hypothesis that this Book had been written before the Book 1, dealing with understanding. Finally, I show that this discussion of Hume’s methodology may be of some interest to proponents of conceptual analysis. -/- . (shrink)
Continental philosophies of science tend to exemplify holistic themes connecting order and contingency, questions and answers, writers and readers, speakers and hearers. Such philosophies of science also tend to feature a fundamental emphasis on the historical and cultural situatedness of discourse as significant; relevance of mutual attunement of speaker and hearer; necessity of pre-linguistic cognition based in human engagement with a common socio-cultural historical world; role of narrative and metaphor as explanatory; sustained emphasis on understanding questioning; truth seen (...) as horizonal, aletheic, or perspectival; and a tolerance for paradoxical and complex forms of expression. Continental philosophy of science is thus more comprehensive than philosophy of science in the analytic tradition, including (and as analytic philosophy of science does not tend to include) perspectives on the history of science as well as the social and practical dimensions of scientific discovery. Where analytic philosophy is about reducing or, indeed, eliminating the perennial problems of philosophy, Continental philosophy is all about thinking and that will mean, as both Heidegger and Nietzsche emphasize, making such problems more not less problematic. (shrink)
Editor James Fetzer presents an analytical and historical introduction and a comprehensive bibliography together with selections of many of Carl G. Hempel's most important studies to give students and scholars an ideal opportunity to appreciate the enduring contributions of one of the most influential philosophers of science of the 20th century.
This is an unpublished talk written for a meeting of French philosophers. The paper describes the evolution versus creationism/intelligent design controversy in the U.S. A number of philosophers and scientists try to resolve this issue by sharply distinguishing the realm of science versus any talk of the supernatural. These pro-evolutionists often appeal to science's essential commitment to "methodological naturalism," the view that scientific methodology is essentially committed to naturalism and cannot meaningfully entertain hypotheses concerning the supernatural. I criticize (...) methodological naturalism, suggesting that such an appeal is misguided and counterproductive. I suggest an alternative view of the supernatural consistent with scientific knowledge. (shrink)
This book is an extensive survey and critical examination of the literature on the use of expert opinion in scientific inquiry and policy making. The elicitation, representation, and use of expert opinion is increasingly important for two reasons: advancing technology leads to more and more complex decision problems, and technologists are turning in greater numbers to "expert systems" and other similar artifacts of artificial intelligence. Cooke here considers how expert opinion is being used today, how an expert's uncertainty is or (...) should be represented, how people do or should reason with uncertainty, how the quality and usefulness of expert opinion can be assessed, and how the views of several experts might be combined. He argues for the importance of developing practical models with a transparent mathematic foundation for the use of expert opinion in science, and presents three tested models, termed "classical," "Bayesian," and "psychological scaling." Detailed case studies illustrate how they can be applied to a diversity of real problems in engineering and planning. (shrink)
This article critically examines the views that psychology ?rst came into existence as a discipline ca. 1879, that philosophy and psychology were estranged in the ensuing decades, that psychology ?nally became scienti?c through the in?uence of logical empiricism, and that it should now disappear in favor of cognitive science and neuroscience. It argues that psychology had a natural philosophical phase (from antiquity) that waxed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that this psychology transformed into experimental psychology ca. 1900, that (...) philosophers and psychologists collaboratively discussed the subject matter and methods of psychology in the ?rst two decades of the twentieth century, that the neobehaviorists were not substantively in?uenced by the Vienna Circle, that the study of perception and cognition in psy- chology did not disappear in the behaviorist period and so did not reemerge as a result of arti?cial intelligence, linguistics, and the computer analogy, that although some psychologists adopted the language-of-thought approach of traditional cognitive science, many did not, and that psychology will not go away because it contributes independently of cognitive science and neuroscience. (shrink)
Few philosophers of science have influenced as many readers as Thomas S. Kuhn. Yet no comprehensive study of his ideas has existed--until now. In this volume, Paul Hoyningen-Huene examines Kuhn's work over four decades, from the days before The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to the present, and puts Kuhn's philosophical development in a historical framework. Scholars from disciplines as diverse as political science and art history have offered widely differing interpretations of Kuhn's ideas, appropriating his notions of paradigm (...) shifts and revolutions to fit their own theories, however imperfectly. Hoyningen-Huene does not merely offer another interpretation--he brings Kuhn's work into focus with rigorous philosophical analysis. Through extended discussions with Kuhn and an encyclopedic reading of his work, Hoyningen-Huene looks at the problems and justifications of his claims and determines how his theories might be expanded. Most significantly, he discovers that The Structure of Scientific Revolutions can be understood only with reference to the historiographic foundation of Kuhn's philosophy. Discussing the concepts of paradigms, paradigm shifts, normal science, and scientific revolutions, Hoyningen-Huene traces their evolution to Kuhn's experience as a historian of contemporary science. From here, Hoyningen-Huene examines Kuhn's well-known thesis that scientists on opposite sides of a revolutionary divide "work in different worlds," explaining Kuhn's notion of a world-change during a scientific revolution. He even considers Kuhn's most controversial claims--his attack on the distinction between the contexts of discovery and justification and his notion of incommensurability--addressing both criticisms and defenses of these ideas. Destined to become the authoritative philosophical study of Kuhn's work, Reconstructing Scientific Revolutions both enriches our understanding of Kuhn and provides powerful interpretive tools for bridging Continental and Anglo-American philosophical traditions. (shrink)
Philosophers frequently struggle with the relation of metaphysics to the everyday world, with its practical value, and with its relation to empirical science. This paper distinguishes several different models of the relation between philosophical ontology and applied (scientific) ontology that have been advanced in the history of philosopy. Adoption of a strong participation model for the philosophical ontologist in science is urged, and requirements and consequences of the participation model are explored. This approach provides both a principled view (...) and justification of the role of the philosophical ontologist in contemporary empirical science as well as guidelines for integrating philosophers and philosophical contributions into the practice of science. (shrink)
Quantum theory can be regarded as a rationally coherent theory of the interaction of mind and matter and it allows our conscious thoughts to play a causally e cacious and necessary role in brain dynamics It therefore provides a natural basis created by scientists for the science of consciousness As an illustration it is explained how the interaction of brain and consciousness can speed up brain processing and thereby enhance the survival prospects of conscious organisms as compared to similar (...) organisms that lack consciousness As a second illustration it is explained how within the quantum framework the consciously experi enced I directs the actions of a human being It is concluded that contemporary science already has an adequate framework for incorporat ing causally e cacious experiential events into the physical universe in a manner that puts the neural correlates of consciousness into the theory in a well de ned way explains in principle how the e ects of consciousness per se can enhance the survival prospects of organisms that possess it allows this survival e ect to feed into phylogenetic de velopment and explains how the consciously experienced I can direct human behaviour.. (shrink)
Philosophy of Science: Contemporary Readings is a comprehensive anthology that draws together leading philosophers writing on the major themes in the philosophy of science. Sections are: Science and Philosophy; Explanation; Causation and Laws; Scientific Theories and Conceptual Change; Scientific Realism; Testing and Confirmation of Theories; and Science in Context. Each section is prefaced by an introductory essay by the editors. The readings are designed to complement Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge 2000), though the (...) anthology can also be used as a stand-alone volume. (shrink)
Psychology is the study of thinking, and cognitive science is the interdisciplinary investigation of mind and intelligence that also includes philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. In these investigations, many philosophical issues arise concerning methods and central concepts. The Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science contains 16 essays by leading philosophers of science that illuminate the nature of the theories and explanations used in the investigation of minds. Topics discussed include representation, mechanisms, reduction, perception, (...) consciousness, language, emotions, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology. Key Features - Comprehensive coverage of philosophy of psychology and cognitive science - Distinguished contributors: leading philosophers in this area - Contributions closely tied to relevant scientific research. (shrink)
E. J. Lowe, a prominent figure in contemporary metaphysics, sets out and defends his theory of what there is. His four-category ontology is a metaphysical system which recognizes four fundamental categories of beings: substantial and non-substantial particulars and substantial and non-substantial universals. Lowe argues that this system has an explanatory power which is unrivaled by more parsimonious theories and that this counts decisively in its favor. He shows that it provides a powerful explanatory framework for a unified account of causation, (...) dispositions, natural laws, natural necessity and many other related matters, thus constituting a full metaphysical foundation for natural science. (shrink)
This book explores how people's subjective, felt experiences of their bodies in action provide part of the fundamental grounding for human cognition and language. Cognition is what occurs when the body engages the physical and cultural world and must be studied in terms of the dynamical interactions between people and the environment. Human language and thought emerge from recurring patterns of embodied activity that constrain ongoing intelligent behavior. We must not assume cognition to be purely internal, symbolic, computational, and disembodied, (...) but seek out the gross and detailed ways that language and thought are inextricably shaped by embodied action. Embodiment and Cognitive Science describes the abundance of empirical evidence from many disciplines, including work on perception, concepts, imagery and reasoning, language and communication, cognitive development, and emotions and consciousness, that support the idea that the mind is embodied. (shrink)
The cyclical theory f time, which is better known under the name of the 'theory of eternal recurrence,' is usually associated with certain ancient thinkers--in particular, Pythagoreans and Stoics. The most famous among those who have tried to revive the theory in the modern era is unquestionably Friedrich Nietzsche. It is less well known that the theory was defended also by C.S. Peirce and, as late as 1927, by the French historian of science, Abel Rey. The contemporary discussion of (...) the problem of the direction of time has a direct bearing on the problem of eternal recurrence. The primary purpose of this paper is to evaluate critically the theory itself and then to show how this critical analysis can be applied to Peirce's own version of this theory. (shrink)
Social constructivists maintain that we invent the properties of the world rather than discover them. Is reality constructed by our own activity? Or, more provocatively, are scientific facts--is everything --constructed? Social Constructivism and the Philosophy of Science is a clear assessment of this critical and increasingly important debate. Andre Kukla presents a comprehensive discussion of the philosophical issues involved and analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of a range of constructivist arguments, illustrating the divide between the sociology and the philosophy (...) of science through examples as varied as laboratory science, time, and criminality. He argues that current philosophical objections to constructivism are drastically inconclusive, while offering and developing new objections. Throughout, Kukla distinguishes between the social causes of scientific beliefs and the view that all ascertainable facts are constructed. (shrink)
Debate over the nature of science has recently moved from the halls of academia into the public sphere, where it has taken shape as the "science wars." At issue is the question of whether scientific knowledge is objective and universal or socially mediated, whether scientific truths are independent of human values and beliefs. Ronald Giere is a philosopher of science who has been at the forefront of this debate from its inception, and Science without Laws offers (...) a much-needed mediating perspective on an increasingly volatile line of inquiry. Giere does not question the major findings of modern science: for example, that the universe is expanding or that inheritance is carried by DNA molecules with a double helical structure. But like many critics of modern science, he rejects the widespread notion of science--deriving ultimately from the Enlightenment--as a uniquely rational activity leading to the discovery of universal truths underlying all natural phenomena. In these highly readable essays, Giere argues that it is better to understand scientists as merely constructing more or less abstract models of limited aspects of the world. Such an understanding makes possible a resolution of the issues at stake in the science wars. The critics of science are seen to be correct in rejecting the Enlightenment idea of science, and its defenders are seen to be correct in insisting that science does produce genuine knowledge of the natural world. Giere is utterly persuasive in arguing that to criticize the Enlightenment ideal is not to criticize science itself, and that to defend science one need not defend the Enlightenment ideal. Science without Laws thus stakes out a middle ground in these debates by showing us how science can be better conceived in other ways. (shrink)
John Bickle's Psychoneural reduction: the new wave (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998) aims to resurrect reductionism within philosophy of mind. He develops a new model of scientific reduction, geared to enhancing our understanding of how theories in neuroscience and cognitive science are interrelated. I put this discussion in context, and assess the prospects for new wave reductionism, both as a general model of scientific reduction and as an attempt to defend reductionism in the philosophy of mind.
Because its business is to resolve disputed issues, the law very often calls on those fields of science where the pressure of commercial interests is most severe. Because the legal system aspires to handle disputes promptly, the scientific questions to which it seeks answers will often be those for which all the evidence is not yet in. Because of its case-specificity, the legal system often demands answers of a kind science is not well-equipped to supply; and, for related (...) reasons, constitutes virtually the entire market for certain fields of forensic science and for certain psychiatric specialties. Because of its adversarial character, the law tends to draw in scientists who are more willing than most to give an opinion on less-than-overwhelming evidence; and the more often such a witness testifies, the more unbudgeably confident he may become in his opinion. Legal rules can make it impossible to bring potentially useful scientific information to light, and the legal penchant for “indicia” and the like can transform scientific subtleties into legal shibboleths. And because of its concern for precedent, and the desideratum of finality, the law sometimes lags behind scientific advances. (shrink)
When scientists choose one theory over another, they reject out of hand all those that are not simple, unified or explanatory. Yet the orthodox view of science is that evidence alone should determine what can be accepted. Nicholas Maxwell thinks he has a way out of the dilemma.
Abstract: This paper responds to the question posed in the announcement of the conference at Brooklyn Law School at which it was presented: if and how [the inquiry into the reliability of proffered scientific testimony mandated by Daubert] relates to 'truth,' and whose view of the truth should prevail. The first step is to sketch the legal history leading up to Daubert, and to explore some of the difficulties Daubert brought in its wake; the next, to develop an account of (...) truth in the sciences that combines a full acknowledgment of the fallibility and incompleteness of the scientific enterprise with a robustly objective conception of truth - which helps us understand why the legal system often gets less than the best out of science; and finally, exploring the concept of legal truth, to show how false scientific clams sometimes get entrenched as legally reliable. (shrink)
Trust is a central concept in the philosophy of science. We highlight how trust is important in the wide variety of interactions between science and society. We claim that examining and clarifying the nature and role of trust (and distrust) in relations between science and society is one principal way in which the philosophy of science is socially relevant. We argue that philosophers of science should extend their efforts to develop normative conceptions of trust that (...) can serve to facilitate trust between scientific experts and ordinary citizens. The first project is the development of a rich normative theory of expertise and experience that can explain why the various epistemic insights of diverse actors should be trusted in certain contexts and how credibility deficits can be bridged. The second project is the development of concepts that explain why, in certain cases, ordinary citizens may distrust science, which should inform how philosophers of science conceive of the formulation of science policy when conditions of distrust prevail. The third project is the analysis of cases of successful relations of trust between scientists and non-scientists that leads to understanding better how ‘postnormal’ science interactions are possible using trust. (shrink)
It is commonly thought that Hume endorses the claim that causal cognition can be fully explained in terms of nothing but custom and habit. Associative learning does, of course, play a major role in the cognitive psychology of the Treatise. But Hume recognizes that associations cannot provide a complete account of causal thought. If human beings lacked the capacity to reflect on rules for judging causes and effects, then we could not (as we do) distinguish between accidental and genuine regularities, (...) and Hume could not (as he does) carry out his science of human nature. One might reply that what appears to be rule-governed behavior might emerge from associative systems that do not literally employ rules. But this response fails: there is a growing consensus in cognitive science that any adequate account of causal learning must invoke active, controlled cognitive processes. (shrink)