While Saunders Mac Lane studied for his D.Phil in Göttingen, he heard David Hilbert's weekly lectures on philosophy, talked philosophy with Hermann Weyl, and studied it with Moritz Geiger. Their philosophies and Emmy Noether's algebra all influenced his conception of category theory, which has become the working structure theory of mathematics. His practice has constantly affirmed that a proper large-scale organization for mathematics is the most efficient path to valuable specific results—while he sees that the question of which results are (...) valuable has an ineliminable philosophic aspect. His philosophy relies on the ideas of truth and existence he studied in Göttingen. His career is a case study relating naturalism in philosophy of mathematics to philosophy as it naturally arises in mathematics. Introduction Structures and Morphisms Varieties of Structuralism Göttingen Logic: Mac Lane's Dissertation Emmy Noether Natural Transformations Grothendieck: Toposes and Universes Lawvere and Foundations Truth and Existence Naturalism Austere Forms of Beauty. (shrink)
Defending Poetry studies the tradition of poetic defence, or apologia, as it has been pursued and developed by three of the twentieth century's leading poet-critics: Joseph Brodsky, Seamus Heaney, and Geoffrey Hill. It begins with an extended introduction to philosophical debates over the ethical value of literature from Plato to Levinas and continues by situating these three poets as in one sense historically continuous with the defences of Horace, Sidney, Coleridge, and Shelley, but also as drastically other. This otherness (...) is bounded on one side by the example of T. S. Eliot's career-long contemplation of the ideal of poetic 'integrity', and on the other by a collective recognition of the twentieth century's great horrors, which seem to corrode all associations of art and the good. Through close readings of the poems and prose essays of Brodsky, Heaney, and Hill, Defending Poetry makes a timely intervention in current debates about literature's ethics, arguing that any ethics of literature ought to take into account not only poetry, but also the writings of poets on the value of poetry. (shrink)
The popularity of Deleuze and Guattari is an undeniable precedent in current theoretical exchanges, and it could be stated without much contention that one's theoretical positioning must at some point deal with the salient conceptual offerings of Deleuze and Guattari, especially their double-opus, Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus wherein a wealth of critique abounds. However, the significant trends concerning Deleuze and Guattari ‘scholarship’ may be jeopardised by the (ab)use of certain conceptual themes and methods in their work that are distorted (...) and employed by big business looking to secure their legacies of power by means of a control mechanism that looks to subjugate an entire world by means of (to borrow a term from Mihai Spariosu) ‘globalitarianism’. Our aim here will be to use McDonald's Corporation as an example of how the theoretical offerings of Deleuze and Guattari have been indirectly and hastily deployed for corporate ends, how these attempts are counter-Deleuzian, and to answer at least one of Žižek's criticisms against Deleuze. (shrink)
Donald MacKay's description of the embodiment of an efficacious conscious mind is reviewed as a version of non-reductive physicalism. Particular focus is given to MacKay's analysis of the emergence of consciousness in the capacity for self-evaluation which results from informational feedback regarding the results of action. Unique to MacKay's posthumously published Gifford Lectures is his analysis of agents in dialog as a particular form of an environmental feedback loop. His analysis of dialog is reviewed and expanded to encompass concepts (...) of a First and Second Order Theory of Mind. Finally, MacKay's view of the status of the soul is considered, and the particular role of dialogue as critical to the instantiation of soul is suggested. (shrink)
We undertake to bring a phenomenological perspective to bear on a challenge of contemporary law and clinical practice. In a wide variety of contexts, legal and medical professionals are called upon to assess the competence or capacity of an individual to exercise her own judgement in making a decision for herself. We focus on decisions regarding consent to or refusal of medical treatment and contrast a widely recognised clinical instrument, the MacCAT-T, with a more phenomenologically informed approach. While the MacCAT-T (...) focuses attention on individual cognitive performance criteria, an approach oriented by second-person phenomenology brings into view the complex role of time, others and identity in constituting the capacity for individual autonomous judgement. Our phenomenological analysis has consequences both for the practice of capacity assessments and for further research in this arena. Good practice in capacity assessment must attend to decision communities, distributed capacity, and temporal competence, while research on mental capacity will miss the phenomenon if it trains its focus ‘between the ears.’ We illustrate our approach by considering two recent cases of contested capacity: one involving cognitive disability in a dysfunctional decision community, the second presenting the possibility of competent decision-making under conditions of paranoid schizophrenia. (shrink)
On Sept 15, 2008, ‘‘Dark Monday,’’ the world witnessed a radical reshaping of Wall Street. Lehman Brothers fell toward bankruptcy; Merrill Lynch was sold to its rival, Bank of America; and AIG pleaded for $40 billion in government relief. Those calamities marched in step with a dismal parade including the US government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the bailout of Bear Stearns, and the entire subprime debacle. We rightly blame Wall Street leaders for bungling business decisions, for misestimating (...) risk and overloading banks with single-strategy investments. We now are living with the aftermath of these business mistakes. But how about ethical mistakes? Were they, too, part of the crisis? (shrink)
I don’t propose to harp on the question of whether MacFarlane has the data right. Let us just assume, for the sake of argument, that he does. Let us further assume that his interpretation of the data is correct—i.e., that these judgments are assessments of the the whole clause and not simply of the prejacent. Granting all this—maybe a lot—we need a semantics for epistemic modals that will make sense of the judgments in this case, and in relevantly similar cases. (...) Mac- Farlane argues that contextualism about epistemic modals cannot make sense of the judgments. His central worry is that it can only get the truth-value judgments of speakers right by making the truth-conditions of epistemic modal claims outrageously strong—too strong to be assertable in cases where they are, in fact, assertable. We might call it the contextualist’s dilemma: either our semantics systematically fails to capture the truth-value judgments that people actually make, or it captures these judgments but turns users of epistemic modal sentences into irrational asserters. (shrink)
From the time of Descartes a strong tendency emerged to exclude the consideration of metaphysical questions as a necessary step towards developing truly scientific disciplines. Within human geography, positivism had a significant influence in moulding the discipline as "spatial science", resulting in a reductionist vision of humanity. Since the 1970s, in reaction to the limitations of this narrow vision and also to the deterministic perspective of marxism, humanistic approaches became important, but have failed to adequately deal with the exclusion of (...) metaphysical issues. The more recent emergence of postmodern influences within human geography, while being critical of the rigidities associated with Enlightenment thinking, and suggesting a greater tolerance of "difference", appears reluctant to reconsider the exclusion of metaphysics. This paper suggest that such a reconsideration could contribute significantly towards increasing human geography's capacity to help policy makers deal more adequately with some of the major issues facing humanity. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that maximizing act-consequentialism (MAC)—the theory that holds that agents ought always to act so as to produce the best available state of affairs—can accommodate both agent-centered options and supererogatory acts. Thus I will show that MAC can accommodate the view that agents often have the moral option of either pursuing their own personal interests or sacrificing those interests for the sake of the impersonal good. And I will show that MAC can accommodate the idea that (...) certain acts are supererogatory in the sense of not being morally required even though they are what the agent has most moral reason to do. These two theses are surprising in themselves, but even more surprising is how I arrive at them. I argue that anyone generally concerned to accommodate, in some coherent fashion, our pre-theoretical moral intuitions at both the normative and meta-ethical levels will have to give a certain account of agent-centered options and supererogatory acts and that this account is the very one that allows for the maximizing act-consequentialist to accommodate both. So my paper will not only be of interest to those concerned with the tenability of consequentialism, but also to anyone interested in giving a coherent account of our pre-theoretical moral intuitions. (shrink)
I argue that when empty space is seen in mirrors—that is, when perceptual specular experience is veridical—specular empty space is, like pictorial empty space, seen-in. I explain how the phenomenal expansiveness of specular reflections can nonetheless be reconciled with the see-through look of specular space.
MacDonald and Kreitman (1991) propose a test of the neutral mutationrandom drift (NM-RD) hypothesis, the central claim of the neutral theory of molecular evolution. The test involves generating predictions from the NM-RD hypothesis about patterns of molecular substitutions. Alternative selection hypotheses predict that the data will deviate from the predictions of the NM-RD hypothesis in specifiable ways. To conduct the test Mac- Donald and Kreitman examine the evolutionary dynamics of the alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) gene in three species of Drosophila. The (...) test compares the number of DNA sequence changes between species and within species. The number of DNA differences is an indicator of the evolutionary rate of the Adh gene. Based on the test they conclude that there is strong evidence for adaptive protein evolution at particular sites in the gene. Understanding the test requires some basic knowledge about molecular terms and the predictions of neutral theory. The two important terms are fixed differences and polymorphisms. These are determined by comparing DNA sequences made up of thousands of individual nucleotide sites. A site that is unchanged within a species but different from a related species counts as a fixed difference. These are mutations that occur in some common ancestor of the lineage such that all descendants inherit the change. A site that differs within a species counts as a polymorphism. Determining the number of fixed differences and polymorphisms requires placing 1 each individual gene sequence onto a phylogenetic tree. A coalescent tree charts the ancestral relationships for a set of individual gene sequences. Sequences sampled from within a species form a within-species tree. The common ancestors of each within-species tree form a between-species tree. A detected difference counts as a polymorphism or a fixed difference depending on where it occurs in the phylogenetic tree (cf. Table 1). The test uses the numbers of polymorphisms and fixed differences as indicators of evolutionary rates.. (shrink)
The paper lays the groundwork for understanding Heidegger's original ethics in the context of embodiment. I draw upon Merleau-Ponty's account of the flesh to develop a new ontology of embodiment as the basis for ethics. This ontology is formulated by integrating three unique accounts of the embodiment, namely, Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology, Yuasa Yasuo's Eastern-based phenomenology of the body, and the emerging science of Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). In each of these accounts of embodiment, the flesh is revealed as simultaneously consisting of presence and (...) absence, incarnation and transcendence, being and consciousness. As a result, the Heideggerian approach to ethics, which is based upon the relationship we have with being, can be realized on many levels of embodiment. This makes the cultivation of a holistic ethos more feasible. Such an ethos overcomes the shortcomings in Heidegger's ethics and, in particular, those revealed by Levinas, Levin, Krell, and Caputo. (shrink)
Evolutionary applications of game theory present one of the most pedagogically accessible varieties of genuine, contemporary theoretical biology. We present here Oyun (OY-oon, http://charlespence.net/oyun), a program designed to run iterated prisoner’s dilemma tournaments, competitions between prisoner’s dilemma strategies developed by the students themselves. Using this software, students are able to readily design and tweak their own strategies, and to see how they fare both in round-robin tournaments and in “evolutionary” tournaments, where the scores in a given “generation” directly determine contribution (...) to the population in the next generation. Oyun is freely available, runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers, and the process of creating new prisoner’s dilemma strategies is both easy to teach and easy for students to grasp. We illustrate with two interesting examples taken from actual use of Oyun in the classroom. (shrink)
At the heart of MacIntyre's critique of modernity is the problem of moral truth. He argues that the 'Enlightenment project' of justifying morality has failed due to the breakdown of a concep tual scheme inherited from Aristotle, in which the idea of an essen tial human nature or function played a crucial part. Where modernity trades on moral fictions such as 'utility' and 'natural rights', Aris totle's scheme allows moral judgements to be matters of fact. Mac Intyre's denigration of modernity (...) draws attention to his own positive account of moral justification, which I examine from a position of scepticism about moral knowledge. I argue that, while there is much of value in his work - his critique of modern moral philosophy is remarkably cogent and helps clarify what is at stake in discussion of modernity - his account of the good life seems to be circular and his notion of rational progress is unpersuasive. Key Words: Aristotle ethics MacIntyre modernity truth. (shrink)
The representation of events, in primates at any rate, is a separate process from their emotional evaluation. The same holds for cognitive evaluation. Here too representation and evaluation are separate operations. Acknowledging the symmetry leads to the notion of free representation.
Inclusive education is central to contemporary discourse in special needs education. There are difficulties, however, in allowing the concept to be a key organising principle for educational provision. These difficulties are set out. It is argued that setting aside the preoccupation with inclusion would result in a clearer focus on core educational values and, in particular, on students' learning and development.
There are different kinds of uncertainty. I outline some of the various ways that uncertainty enters science, focusing on uncertainty in climate science and weather prediction. I then show how we cope with some of these sources of error through sophisticated modelling techniques. I show how we maintain confidence in the face of error.
Its relentless pursuit of the good provides act-consequentialism with one sort of intuitive ethical rationale. But more indirect forms of consequentialism promise more intuitive normative implications, for instance the evil of even beneficent murders. I favor a middle way which combines the intuitive rationale of act-consequentialism and the intuitive normative implications of the best indirect forms. Multiple-Act Consequentialism or ‘MAC’ requires direct consequentialist evaluation of the options of group agents. It holds that one should only defect from a group act (...) with good consequences if one can achieve better consequences by the defecting act alone than the entire group act achieves, and that when different beneficent group acts of which one is part specify roles which conflict, one should follow the role in the group act with better consequences. This paper develops MAC as a solution to the Trolley Problem. Section 1 concerns the relative advantages of direct and indirect consequentialisms. Section 2 develops MAC by a focus on competing conceptions of group agency. Section 3 applies MAC to the Trolley Problem. (shrink)
Byrne & Russon's account of program imitation in primates involves propositional attitudes (expectations and goals), which limits its falsifiability. Yet their account of priming shows exactly how imitation without attitudes would look. The challenge is to upgrade the notion of priming to give an account of low-level program imitation without invoking propositional attitudes.
O'Brien & Opie's connectionist interpretation of “vehicle,” “process,” and “explicit representation” depends heavily on the notions of “information” and “information processing” that underlie the classic account. When the “cognitivist” assumptions, shared by both accounts, are removed, the connectionist versus classic contrast appears to be between behavioral and linguistic accounts.
Relatively few authors attempt to assess individuals’ moral responsibility for collective action within organizations. I draw on fairly technical recent work by Seamus Miller, Christopher Kutz, and Tracy Isaacs in the field of collective responsibility to see what normative lessons can be prepared for people considering entry into large hierarchical, compartmentalized organizations like businesses or the military. I will defend a view shared by Isaacs that group members’ responsibility for collective action depends on intentions to contribute to particular collective (...) actions, against Miller and Kutz’s more inculpating standards. Miller and Kutz fail to achieve their goal of articulating a variable standard for measuring individual responsibility within organizations, for reasons suggesting we might not be able to do better with their theoretical commitments than a threshold warning for all potential entrants to be wary of the groups they enter. Isaacs sketches an approach that is more successful at creating a variable standard for assessing high echelon actors; I build on and refine her theory to argue that organization members can be held responsible for their unique interpretations of the organization mission and unique contributions to their role duties. High echelon actors may share personal responsibility for their subordinates’ behavior when they have created the conditions for those actions through their unique orders. (shrink)
HOWTO get Mac-On-Linux (MOL) running under Debian when using a BenH kernel. In the Debian way, grasshopper. The good news is that getting a basic MOL running takes about 6 commands. The bad news is that to get everything working under MOL will almost certainly involve a recompile, some extra packages, some script editing, and a bunch of MOL reboots. But hopefully this makes all that easier.
It is shown that coherence conditions for monoidal categories concerning associativity are analogous to coherence conditions for symmetric strictly monoidal categories, where associativity arrows are identities. Mac Lane's pentagonal coherence condition for associativity is decomposed into conditions concerning commutativity, among which we have a condition analogous to naturality and a degenerate case of Mac Lane's hexagonal condition for commutativity. This decomposition is analogous to the derivation of the Yang-Baxter equation from Mac Lane's hexagon and the naturality of commutativity. The pentagon (...) is reduced to an inductive definition of a kind of commutativity. (shrink)
There is a whole discussion around the genuine/non genuine appurtenance of the Fractal Art to the Art (Ken Keller, Tad Boniecki, Noel Huntley a.o.). Fractal Art is a new way to manipulate shapes, colors and light. It is a subclass of the visual digital art that could describe as that art form produced using a computer (PC, Mac), fractal and graphical software and output devices (monitors, plotters, printers etc.) or using fractal rules and traditional painting techniques (example: Pollock) as essential (...) tools in the creative process. It is crucial to understand that the use of a computer is not a sine qua non condition, even most of the fractal artworks were digitally realized. Fractal Art is an experimental art, engaging in a new way the relations between Creator and Work. Fractal Art has a genuine equilibrium between “pragmatic” and “theoretic”. It is rather about “discovering” than “manufacturing”, rather “evocation” than “mimesis”. The conclusion has to be: Fractal Art is a genuine art form. (shrink)
The people and the value of their experience, by N. T. Pratt.--From kingship to democracy, by J. P. Harland.--Democracy at Athens, by G. M. Harper.--Athens and the Delian League, by B. D. Meritt.--Socialism at Sparta, by P. R. Coleman-Norton.--Tyranny, by M. Mac Laren.--Federal unions, by C. A. Robinson.--Alexander and the world state, by O. W. Reinmuth.--The Antigonids, by J. V. A. Fine.--Ptolemaic Egypt: a planned economy, by S. L. Wallace.--The Seleucids: the theory of monarchy, by G. Downey.--The political status of (...) the independent cities of Asia Minor in the Hellenistic period, by D. Magie.--The ideal states of Plato and Aristotle, by W. J. Oates.--Epilogue, by A. C. Johnson.--Bibliography (p. 225-233).--Index, by H. V. M. Dennis, III. (shrink)
This conceptual paper addresses Management Accounting and Control Systems (MACS) from a communication process perspective as opposed to a functionaldesign perspective. Its arguments originate from a social-constructionist perspective on the organization. Its line of argument is that building a social theoryof a social phenomenon such as MACS, demands that attention be paid to the characteristics of the communication process. An existing theoretical frameworkthat does the same is Giddens’ structuration theory, but it is only partly satisfactory because it refuses to consider (...) communication-as-interaction from a dynamiccontextual perspective, instead falling back on an argument related to the behavioural aspects of agency. An alternative is a semiotic-based communicationperspective that includes context as well as addresses the epistemological level of a MACS theory based on communication. The semiotic model of Jakobson is provided and developed as a specific alternative. (shrink)