What does it mean to think critically about politics at a time when inequality is increasing worldwide, when struggles for the recognition of difference are eclipsing struggles for social equality, and when we lack any credible vision of an alternative to the present order? Philosopher Nancy Fraser claims that the key is to overcome the false oppositions of "postsocialist" commonsense. Refuting the view that we must choose between "the politics of recognition" and the "politics of redistribution," Fraser argues for an (...) integrative approach that encompasses the best aspects of both. (shrink)
Best known for having declared the death of God, Nietzsche was a thinker thoroughly absorbed in the Christian tradition in which he was born and raised. Yet while the atheist Nietzsche is well known, the pious Nietzsche is seldom recognised and rarely understood. Redeeming Nietzsche examines the residual theologian in the most vociferous of atheists. Fraser demonstrates that although Nietzsche rejected God, he remained obsessed with the question of human salvation. Examining his accounts of art, truth, morality and eternity, Nietzsche's (...) thought is revealed to be a series of experiments in redemption. (shrink)
Abstract Drawing on the features of “practical philosophy” described by Toulmin ( 1990 ), a “practical” ethic for animals would be rooted in knowledge of how people affect animals, and would provide guidance on the diverse ethical concerns that arise. Human activities affect animals in four broad ways: (1) keeping animals, for example, on farms and as companions, (2) causing intentional harm to animals, for example through slaughter and hunting, (3) causing direct but unintended harm to animals, for example by (...) cropping practices and vehicle collisions, and (4) harming animals indirectly by disturbing life-sustaining processes and balances of nature, for example by habitat destruction and climate change. The four types of activities raise different ethical concerns including suffering, injury, deprivation, and death (of individuals), decline of populations, disruption of ecological systems containing animals, and extinction of species. They also vary in features relevant to moral evaluation and decision-making; these include the number of animals affected, the duration of the effects, the likelihood of irreversible effects, and the degree to which the effects can be controlled. In some cases human actions can also provide benefits to animals such as shelter and health care. Four mid-level principles are proposed to make a plausible fit to the features of the four types of human activities and to address the major ethical concerns that arise. The principles are: (1) to provide good lives for the animals in our care, (2) to treat suffering with compassion, (3) to be mindful of unseen harm, and (4) to protect the life-sustaining processes and balances of nature. This “practical” approach arguably makes a better fit to the complex, real-life problems of animal ethics than the single foundational principles that have dominated much recent animal ethics philosophy. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-26 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9353-z Authors David Fraser, Animal Welfare Program, University of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, V6T 1Z4 Canada Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
Fixing Frege is one of the most important investigations to date of Fregean approaches to the foundations of mathematics. In addition to providing an unrivalled survey of the technical program to which Frege’s writings have given rise, the book makes a large number of improvements and clariﬁcations. Anyone with an interest in the philosophy of mathematics will enjoy and beneﬁt from the careful and well informed overview provided by the ﬁrst of its three chapters. Specialists will ﬁnd the book an (...) indispensable reference and an invaluable source of insights and new results. Although Frege is widely regarded as the father of analytic philosophy, his work on the foundations of mathematics was for a long time rather peripheral to the ongoing research. The main reason for this is no doubt Russell’s discovery in 1901 that the paradox now bearing his name can be derived in Frege’s logical system. But recent decades have seen a huge surge of interest in Fregean approaches to the foundations of mathematics. (The work of George Boolos, Kit Fine, Bob Hale, Richard Heck, Stewart Shapiro, and Crispin Wright is singled out for particular attention in the present monograph.) A variety of consistent theories have been discovered that can be salvaged from Frege’s inconsistent system, and foundational and philosophical claims have been made on behalf of many of these theories. Burgess claims quite plausibly that the signiﬁcance of any such modiﬁed Fregean theory will in large part depend on how much of ordinary mathematics it enables us to develop.1 His.. (shrink)
Abstract This essay examines the theory of ritual propriety presented in the Xúnzǐ and criticisms of Xunzi-like views found in the classical Daoist anthology Zhuāngzǐ . To highlight the respects in which the Zhuāngzǐ can be read as posing a critical response to a Xunzian view of ritual propriety, the essay juxtaposes the two texts' views of language, since Xunzi's theory of ritual propriety is intertwined with his theory of language. I argue that a Zhuangist critique of the presuppositions of (...) Xunzi's stance on language also undermines his stance on ritual propriety. Xunzi contends that state promulgation of anelaborate code of ritual propriety is a key to good social order ( zhi ) and that state regulation of language is a key to smooth communication and thus also good order. The Zhuāngzǐ provides grounds for doubting both contentions. Claiming that ritual propriety causally produces social order is analogous to claiming that grammar causally produces smooth linguistic communication, when in fact it is more likely our ability to communicate that allows us to develop shared rules of grammar. Humans have fundamental social and communicative capacities that undergird our abilities to speak a language or engage in shared ritual performances. It is these more fundamental capacities, not their manifestation in a particular system of grammar or ritual norms, that provide the root explanation of our ability to communicate or to live together harmoniously. The Xunzi-Zhuangzi dialectic suggests that ritual is indispensable, but normatively justified rituals will be less rigid, less comprehensive, less fastidious, and more spontaneous than a Xunzian theorist would allow. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-26 DOI 10.1007/s11841-012-0303-7 Authors Chris Fraser, Department of Philosophy, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527. (shrink)
"Only a wayfarer born under unruly stars would attempt to put into practice in our epoch of proliferating knowledge the Heraclitean dictum that `men who love wisdom must be inquirers into very many things indeed.'" Thus begins this remarkable interdisciplinary study of time by a master of the subject. And while developing a theory of "time as conflict," J. T. Fraser does offer "many things indeed"--an enormous range of ideas about matter, life, death, evolution, and value.
Correspondence: Chris Fraser (J) (Assistant Professor) Department of Philosophy Rm. 430, Fung King Hey Bldg. Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong Telephone: 852-9782-0560 Fax: 852-2603-5323 E-mail: email@example.com..
It has long been known that people’s causal judgments can have an impact on their moral judgments. To take a simple example, if people conclude that a behavior caused the death of ten innocent children, they will therefore be inclined to regard the behavior itself as morally wrong. So far, none of this should come as any surprise. But recent experimental work points to the existence of a second, and more surprising, aspect of the relationship between causal judgment and moral (...) judgment. It appears that the relationship can sometimes go in the opposite direction. That is, it appears that our moral judgments can sometimes impact our causal judgments. (Hence, we might first determine that a behavior is morally wrong and then, on that basis, arrive at the conclusion that it was the cause of various outcomes.). (shrink)
Quantum field theory (QFT) presents a genuine example of the underdetermination of theory by empirical evidence. There are variants of QFT—for example, the standard textbook formulation and the rigorous axiomatic formulation—that are empirically indistinguishable yet support different interpretations. This case is of particular interest to philosophers of physics because, before the philosophical work of interpreting QFT can proceed, the question of which variant should be subject to interpretation must be settled. New arguments are offered for basing the interpretation of QFT (...) on a rigorous axiomatic variant of the theory. The pivotal considerations are the roles that consistency and idealization play in this case. *Received June 2009; revised August 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Most philosophical discussion of the particle concept that is afforded by quantum field theory has focused on free systems. This paper is devoted to a systematic investigation of whether the particle concept for free systems can be extended to interacting systems. The possible methods of accomplishing this are considered and all are found unsatisfactory. Therefore, an interacting system cannot be interpreted in terms of particles. As a consequence, quantum field theory does not support the inclusion of particles in our ontology. (...) In contrast to much of the recent discussion on the particle concept derived from quantum field theory, this argument does not rely on the assumption that a particulate entity be localizable. (shrink)
Numbers and other mathematical objects are exceptional in having no locations in space or time or relations of cause and effect. This makes it difficult to account for the possibility of the knowledge of such objects, leading many philosophers to embrace nominalism, the doctrine that there are no such objects, and to embark on ambitious projects for interpreting mathematics so as to preserve the subject while eliminating its objects. This book cuts through a host of technicalities that have obscured previous (...) discussions of these projects, and presents clear, concise accounts of a dozen strategies for nominalistic interpretation of mathematics, thus equipping the reader to evaluate each and to compare different ones. The authors also offer critical discussion, rare in the literature, of the aims and claims of nominalistic interpretation, suggesting that it is significant in a very different way from that usually assumed. (shrink)
The form of nominalism known as 'mathematical fictionalism' is examined and found wanting, mainly on grounds that go back to an early antinominalist work of Rudolf Carnap that has unfortunately not been paid sufficient attention by more recent writers.
The Argument from Disagreement (AD) (Mackie, 1977) depends upon empirical evidence for ‘fundamental’ moral disagreement (FMD) (Doris and Stich, 2005; Doris and Plakias, 2008). Research on the Southern ‘culture of honour’ (Nisbett and Cohen, 1996) has been presented as evidence for FMD between Northerners and Southerners within the US. We raise some doubts about the usefulness of such data in settling AD. We offer an alternative based on recent work in moral psychology that targets the potential universality of morally significant (...) distinctions (e.g. means vs. side-effects, actions versus omissions). More specifically, we argue that a recent study showing that a rural Mayan population fails to perceive as morally significant the distinction between actions and omissions provides a plausible case of FMD between Mayans and Westerners. (shrink)
What is the simplest and most natural axiomatic replacement for the set-theoretic definition of the minimal fixed point on the Kleene scheme in Kripke’s theory of truth? What is the simplest and most natural set of axioms and rules for truth whose adoption by a subject who had never heard the word "true" before would give that subject an understanding of truth for which the minimal fixed point on the Kleene scheme would be a good model? Several axiomatic systems, old (...) and new, are examined and evaluated as candidate answers to these questions, with results of Harvey Friedman playing a significant role in the examination. (shrink)
Quine correctly argues that Carnap's distinction between internal and external questions rests on a distinction between analytic and synthetic, which Quine rejects. I argue that Quine needs something like Carnap's distinction to enable him to explain the obviousness of elementary mathematics, while at the same time continuing to maintain as he does that the ultimate ground for holding mathematics to be a body of truths lies in the contribution that mathematics makes to our overall scientific theory of the world. Quine's (...) arguments against the analytic/synthetic distinction, even if fully accepted, still leave room for a notion of pragmatic analyticity sufficient for the indicated purpose. (shrink)
Although the philosophical literature on the foundations of quantum field theory recognizes the importance of Haag’s theorem, it does not provide a clear discussion of the meaning of this theorem. The goal of this paper is to make up for this deficit. In particular, it aims to set out the implications of Haag’s theorem for scattering theory, the interaction picture, the use of non-Fock representations in describing interacting fields, and the choice among the plethora of the unitarily inequivalent representations of (...) the canonical commutation relations for free and interacting fields. (shrink)
This paper re-examines the question of whether quirks of early human foetal development tell against the view (conceptionism) that we are human beings at conception. A zygote is capable of splitting to give rise to identical twins. Since the zygote cannot be identical with either human being it will become, it cannot already be a human being. Parallel concerns can be raised about chimeras in which two embryos fuse. I argue first that there are just two ways of dealing with (...) cases of fission and fusion and both seem to be available to the conceptionist. One is the Replacement View according to which objects cease to exist when they fission or fuse. The other is the Multiple Occupancy View – both twins may be present already in the zygote and both persist in a chimera. So, is the conceptionist position tenable after all? I argue that it is not. A zygote gives rise not only to a human being but also to a placenta – it cannot already be both a human being and a placenta. Neither approach to fission and fusion can help the conceptionist with this problem. But worse is in store. Both fission and fusion can occur before and after the development of the inner cell mass of the blastocyst – the entity which becomes the embryo proper. The idea that we become human beings with the arrival of the inner cell mass leads to bizarre results however we choose to accommodate fission and fusion. (shrink)
One textbook may introduce the real numbers in Cantor’s way, and another in Dedekind’s, and the mathematical community as a whole will be completely indifferent to the choice between the two. This sort of phenomenon was famously called to the attention of philosophers by Paul Benacerraf. It will be argued that structuralism in philosophy of mathematics is a mistake, a generalization of Benacerraf’s observation in the wrong direction, resulting from philosophers’ preoccupation with ontology.
Misrecognition, taken seriously as unjust social subordination, cannot be remedied by eliminating prejudice alone. In this rejoinder to Richard Rorty, it is argued that a politics of recognition and a politics of redistribution can and should be combined. However, an identity politics that displaces redistribution and reifies group differences is deeply flawed. Here, instead, an alternative 'status' model of recognition politics is offered that encourages struggles to overcome status subordination and fosters parity of participation. Integrating this politics of recognition with (...) redistribution enables a coherent Left vision that could redress injustices of culture and of political economy simultaneously. (shrink)
Recent philosophy of language has been profoundly impacted by the idea that mainstream, model-theoretic semantics is somehow incompatible with deflationary accounts of truth and reference. The present article systematizes the case for incompatibilism, debunks circularity and “modal confusion” arguments familiar in the literature, and reconstructs the popular thought that truth-conditional semantics somehow “presupposes” a correspondence theory of truth as an inference to the best explanation. The case for compatibilism is closed by showing that this IBE argument fails to rule out (...) two kinds of deflationism: the position Field famously accused Tarski of having; and a less familiar version of the view that defines reference in terms of a deflated notion of truth. Finally, the distinction between unifying and constitutive explanation is used to forestall the response that correspondence theory is literally part of mainstream semantics. (shrink)
A key question for research on the evolutionary origins of morality concerns just what the target of an evolutionary explanation of morality should be. Some researchers focus on behaviors, others on systems of norms, yet others on moral emotions. Richard Joyce (2006) offers an evolutionary explanation for the trait of making moral judgments. Here, I defend Joyce’s account of moral judgment against two objections from Stephen Stich (2008). Stich’s first objection concerns the supposed universality of moral judgments as Joyce conceives (...) of them. I respond by undermining the empirical evidence upon which this objection is based. Stich’s second objection concerns the extent of the moral domain, which he takes to include far more than the considerations of harm and fairness central to Joyce’s account. In response, I outline several strategies for reconciling Stich’s observations with Joyce’s account. (shrink)
I aim to show how and why some definitions can be benignly circular. According to Lloyd Humberstone, a definition that is analytically circular need not be inferentially circular and so might serve to illuminate the application-conditions for a concept. I begin by tidying up some problems with Humberstone's account. I then show that circular definitions of a kind commonly thought to be benign have inferentially circular truth-conditions and so are malign by Humberstone's test. But his test is too demanding. The (...) inferences we actually use to establish the applicability of, e.g., colour concepts are designed to establish warranted assertability and not truth. Understood thus, dispositional analyses are not inferentially circular. (shrink)
A new axiomatization of set theory, to be called Bernays-Boolos set theory, is introduced. Its background logic is the plural logic of Boolos, and its only positive set-theoretic existence axiom is a reflection principle of Bernays. It is a very simple system of axioms sufficient to obtain the usual axioms of ZFC, plus some large cardinals, and to reduce every question of plural logic to a question of set theory.
Appointment as a director of a company board often represents the pinnacle of a management career. Worldwide, it has been noted that very few women are appointed to the boards of directors of companies. Blame for the low numbers of women of company boards can be partly attributed to the widely publicized "glass ceiling". However, the very low representation of women on company boards requires further examination. This article reviews the current state of women's representation on boards of directors and (...) summarizes the reasons as to why women are needed on company boards. Given that more women on boards are desirable, the article then describes how more women could be appointed to boards, and the actions that organizations and women could take to help increase the representation of women. Finally, the characteristics of those women that have succeeded in becoming members of company boards are described from an international perspective. Unfortunately, answers to the vexing question of whether these women have gained board directorships in their own right as extremely competent managers, or whether they are mere token female appointments in a traditional male dominated culture, remains elusive. (shrink)
This paper aims to make three contributions to decision theory. First there is the hope that it will help to re-establish the legitimacy of the problem, pace various recent analyses provided by Maitzen and Wilson, Slezak and Priest. Second, after pointing out that analyses of the problem have generally relied upon evidence that is conditional on the taking of one particular option, this paper argues that certain assumptions implicit in those analyses are subtly flawed. As a third contribution, the piece (...) aims to draw attention to an important similarity between Newcomb’s problem and the toxin puzzle. In short, both problems illustrate the fact that you can have a reason to intend to φ without having a reason to actually φ. (shrink)
Saul Kripke has made fundamental contributions to a variety of areas of logic, and his name is attached to a corresponding variety of objects and results. 1 For philosophers, by far the most important examples are ‘Kripke models’, which have been adopted as the standard type of models for modal and related non-classical logics. What follows is an elementary introduction to Kripke’s contributions in this area, intended to prepare the reader to tackle more formal treatments elsewhere.2 2. WHAT IS A (...) MODEL THEORY? Traditionally, a statement is regarded as logically valid if it is an instance of a logically valid form, where a form is regarded as logically valid if every instance is true. In modern logic, forms are represented by formulas involving letters and special symbols, and logicians seek therefore to define a notion of model and a notion of a formula’s truth in a model in such a way that every instance of a form will be true if and only if a formula representing that form is true in every model. Thus the unsurveyably vast range of instances can be replaced for purposes of logical evaluation by the range of models, which may be more tractable theoretically and perhaps practically. Consideration of the familiar case of classical sentential logic should make these ideas clear. Here a formula, say (p & q) ∨ ¬p ∨ ¬q, will be valid if for all statements P.. (shrink)
Metalinguistic descriptivism is the view that proper names are semantically equivalent to descriptions featuring their own quotations (e.g., ?Socrates? means ?the bearer of ?Socrates??). The present paper shows that Millians can actually accept an inferential version of this equivalence thesis without running afoul of the modal argument. Indeed, they should: for it preserves the explanatory virtues of more familiar forms of descriptivism while avoiding objections (old and new) to Kent Bach's nominal description theory. We can make significant progress on Frege's (...) puzzle and Plato's beard without committing ourselves one way or the other on the semantic values of proper names. The view on offer can also be motivated by analogy with Tarski's schema T, inviting the idea that the equivalence between a name and the associated nominal description has more to do with the semantics of representational locutions than it does with names per se. My response to the modal argument exploits the Kripkean distinction between reference at a world and reference in a world, and can be accepted by metalinguistic descriptivists and Millians alike. (shrink)
The argument from potential has been hard to assess because the versions presented by friends and those presented by enemies have born very little resemblance to each other. I here try to improve this situation by attempting to bring both versions into enforced contact. To this end, I sketch a more detailed analysis of the modern concept of potential than any hitherto attempted. As one would expect, arguments from potential couched in terms of that notion are evident non-starters. I then (...) ask how the modern notion of potential needs to be supplemented in order to produce a more convincing argument. I then enquire whether the supplementations utilised in the most distinguished recent presentations of the argument have anything better than an ad hoc role to play in contemporary metaphysics. I conclude that the rehabilitation of the argument is unlikely; in any event, the onus of proof seems to be on the friend of that argument to show that it is uncontrived. Finally, I argue that the (modern) notion of potential has an important role to play in any plausible account of foetal value. (shrink)
Adaptationist accounts of morality attempt to explain the evolution of morality in terms of the selective advantage that judging in moral terms secured for our ancestors (e.g. Ruse 1998; Joyce 2006; Street 2006). So-called by-product explanations of morality have been presented as an alternative to adaptationist accounts (e.g. Prinz 2009; Ayala 2010; cf. Darwin 2004/1871). In assessing the relationship between adaptationist and by-product accounts, care must be taken to distinguish several related but importantly different notions: innateness, adaptation, exaptation, spandrel, and (...) by-product. (shrink)
A revision of a sermon on the evils of calling model theory “semantics”, preached at Notre Dame on Saint Patrick’s Day, 2005. Provisional version: references remain to be added. To appear in Mathematics, Modality, and Models: Selected Philosophical Papers, coming from Cambridge University Press.
Dummett's case against platonism rests on arguments concerning the acquisition and manifestation of knowledge of meaning. Dummett's arguments are here criticized from a viewpoint less Davidsonian than Chomskian. Dummett's case against formalism is obscure because in its prescriptive considerations are not clearly separated from descriptive. Dummett's implicit value judgments are here made explicit and questioned. ?Combat Revisionism!? Chairman Mao.
: This essay critiques Chad Hansen’s "mass noun hypothesis," arguing that though most Classical Chinese nouns do function as mass nouns, this fact does not support the claim that pre-Qin thinkers treat the extensions of common nouns as mereological wholes, nor does it explain why they adopt nominalist semantic theories. The essay shows that early texts explain the use of common nouns by appeal to similarity relations, not mereological relations. However, it further argues that some early texts do characterize the (...) relation between individuals and collections as a mereological relation. (shrink)
The discovery of the note cards for Quine’s previously unpublished 1946 lecture on nominalism provides an obvious occasion for commenting on the differences between the issue of nominalism as Quine first publicized it to a wide philosophical audience and the issue of nominalism as debated among Quine’s successors today. Yet as I read and reread the text of Quine’s lecture, I found myself struck less by the differences between Quine’s position there and the positions of present-day writers than by differences (...) between Quine’s position there and the positions of Quine himself in later writings — and not his writings from many years later but his writings from the next few years, and especially one of his writings from the very next year, his notorious joint paper with Goodman. (shrink)
In this era when results of empirical scientific research are being appealed to all across philosophy, when we even find moral philosophers invoking the results of brain scans, many profess to practice "naturalized epistemology," or to be "epistemological naturalists." Such phrases derive from the title of a well-known essay by Quine, but Paul Gregory's thesis in the work under review is that there is less connection than is usually assumed between Quine's variety of naturalized epistemology and what is today taken, (...) by opponents and proponents alike, to constitute epistemological naturalism. To put it bluntly, as Gregory does in the opening sentence of his introduction, Quine "has not been well understood." If there is less connection between the Quinian and other epistemological naturalisms than there has often been taken to be, on Gregory's account there is also much more connection between Quine's position on epistemology and his positions on other contentious issues. (shrink)
: Decisions about funding health services are crucial to controlling costs in health care insurance plans, yet they encounter serious challenges from intellectual property protection—e.g., patents—of health care services. Using Myriad Genetics' commercial genetic susceptibility test for hereditary breast cancer (BRCA testing) in the context of the Canadian health insurance system as a case study, this paper applies concepts from social contract theory to help develop more just and rational approaches to health care decision making. Specifically, Daniels's and Sabin's "accountability (...) for reasonableness" is compared to broader notions of public consultation, demonstrating that expert assessments in specific decisions must be transparent and accountable and supplemented by public consultation. (shrink)
The question, "Which modal logic is the right one for logical necessity?," divides into two questions, one about model-theoretic validity, the other about proof-theoretic demonstrability. The arguments of Halldén and others that the right validity argument is S5, and the right demonstrability logic includes S4, are reviewed, and certain common objections are argued to be fallacious. A new argument, based on work of Supecki and Bryll, is presented for the claim that the right demonstrability logic must be contained in S5, (...) and a more speculative argument for the claim that it does not include S4.2 is also presented. (shrink)
This essay applies John Searle’s account of weakness of will to explore the classical Chinese problem of weak-willed action. Searle’s discussion focuses on the shortcomings of the Western classical model of rationality in explaining weakness of will, so he naturally says little about the practical ethical problem of overcoming weak-willed action, the focus of the relevant Chinese texts. Yet his theory of action, specifically his notion of the Background, suggests a compelling approach to the practical issue, one that converges with (...) a plausible account of the classical Chinese conception of agency. On this approach, the practical problem is due to weaknesses of the self in carrying out intentions. The key to overcoming the problem lies not in restructuring the agent’s affective states, as suggested by prominent interpreters of Chinese thought such as David Nivison, but in strengthening the agent’s Background capacities, much as we do when mastering new skills. (shrink)
There are statements of the form “There are no Fs” that we would like to count as true, yet it is hard to see how they could be true (at least, operating within the semantic framework of structured propositions). The relevant Fs are general terms that we take to be semantically fundamental or primitive, especially those native to metaphysical discourse. A case can be made the problem is no less difficult than the corresponding problem for singular terms.
Blair proposes that fluid intelligence, working memory, and executive function form a unitary construct: fluid cognition. Recently, our group has utilized a combined correlational–experimental cognitive neuroscience approach, which we argue is beneficial for investigating relationships among these individual differences in terms of neural mechanisms underlying them. Our data do not completely support Blair's strong position. (Published Online April 5 2006).
Adapated from talks at the UCLA Logic Center and the Pitt Philosophy of Science Series. Exposition of material from Fixing Frege, Chapter 2 (on predicative versions of Frege’s system) and from “Protocol Sentences for Lite Logicism” (on a form of mathematical instrumentalism), suggesting a connection. Provisional version: references remain to be added. To appear in Mathematics, Modality, and Models: Selected Philosophical Papers, coming from Cambridge University Press.
My contribution to the symposium on Goedel’s philosophy of mathematics at the spring 2006 Association for Symbolic Logic meeting in Montreal. Provisional version: references remain to be added. To appear in an ASL volume of proceedings of the Goedel sessions at that meeting.
The Newcomb problem is analysed here as a type of common cause problem. In relation to such problems, if you take the dominated option your expected outcome will be good and if you take the dominant option your expected outcome will be not so good. As is explained, however, these arenot conventional conditional expected outcomes but `conditional evidence expected outcomes' and while in the deliberation process, the evidence on which they are based is only hypothetical evidence.Conventional conditional expected outcomes are (...) more sensitive to your current epistemic state in that they are based purely on actual evidence which is available to you during the deliberation process. So although they are conditional on a certain act being performed, they are not based on evidence that you would have only if that act is performed. Moreover, for any given epistemic state during the deliberation process, your conventional conditional expected outcome for the dominant option will be better than that for the dominated option. The principle of dominance is thus in perfect harmony with the conventional conditional expected outcomes. In relation to the Newcomb problem then, the evidence unequivocally supports two-boxing as the rational option. Yet what is advanced here is not simply a two-boxing strategy. To see why, two stages to the problem need to be recognised. The first stage is that which occurs before the information used by the predictor in making his predictions has been gained. The second stage is after this point. Provided that you are still in the first stage, you have an opportunity to influence whether or not the predictor places the $1m in the opaque box. To maximise the probability that it is, you need to commit yourself to one-boxing. (shrink)
Recent debate in metaethics over evolutionary debunking arguments against morality has shown a tendency to abstract away from relevant empirical detail. Here, I engage the debate about Darwinian debunking of morality with relevant empirical issues. I present four conditions that must be met in order for it to be reasonable to expect an evolved cognitive faculty to be reliable: the environment, information, error, and tracking conditions. I then argue that these conditions are not met in the case of our evolved (...) faculty for moral judgement. (shrink)
Drawing primarily on the Mòzǐ and Xúnzǐ, the article proposes an account of how knowledge and error are understood in classical Chinese epistemology and applies it to explain the absence of a skeptical argument from illusion in early Chinese thought. Arguments from illusion are associated with a representational conception of mind and knowledge, which allows the possibility of a comprehensive or persistent gap between appearance and reality. By contrast, early Chinese thinkers understand mind and knowledge primarily in terms of competence (...) or ability, not representation. Cognitive error amounts to a form of incompetence. Error is not explained as a failure to accurately represent the mind-independent reality due to misleading or illusory appearances. Instead, it can be explained metaphorically by appeal to part-whole relations: cognitive error typically occurs when agents incompetently respond to only part of their situation, rather than the whole. (shrink)
1 Choice conjecture In axiomatizing nonclassical extensions of classical sentential logic one tries to make do, if one can, with adding to classical sentential logic a finite number of axiom schemes of the simplest kind and a finite number of inference rules of the simplest kind. The simplest kind of axiom scheme in effect states of a particular formula P that for any substitution of formulas for atoms the result of its application to P is to count (...) as an axiom. The simplest kind of onepremise inference rule in effect states of a particular pair of formulas P and Q that for any substitution of formulas for atoms, if the result of its application to P is a theorem, then the result of its application to Q is to count as a theorem; similarly for many-premise rules. Such are the schemes and rules of all the best-known modal and tense logics, for instance. Sometimes it is difficult to find such simple schemes and rules (though it is usually even more difficult to prove that none exist). In that case one may resort to less simple schemes or less simple rules. There is no generally recognized rigorous definition of "next simplest kind" of scheme. (In the case of schemes, one fact that makes a rigorous definition difficult is that, if the logic in question is axiomatizable at all, which is to say, if the set of formulas wanted as theorems is recursively enumerable, then by Craig’s trick one can always get a primitive recursive set of schemes of the simplest kind, even if one cannot get a finite set. Intuitively, some primitive recursive sets are much simpler than others, but it is difficult to reduce this intuition to a rigorous definition.) Neither is there any generally recognized definition of "next simplest kind" of rule, and hence there is no fully rigorous enunciation of the choice conjecture, the conjecture that schemes of the next simplest kind can always be avoided in favor of rules of the next simplest kind and vice versa. Nonetheless, there are cases where intuitively one does recognize that the schemes or rules in a given axiomatization are only slightly more complex than the simplest kind, including cases where one does have a choice between adopting slightly-more-complex-than-simplest schemes and adopting slightly-more-complex-than-simplest rules. In tense logic early examples of slightly more complex rules are found in  and : there is one example of the embarrassed use of such rules in the former, and many examples of the enthusiastic use of such rules in the latter and its sequels. Accordingly the rules in question have come to be called "Gabbay-style" rules.. (shrink)
Paul Seabright argues that strong reciprocity was crucial in the evolution of large-scale cooperation. He identifies three potential evolutionary explanations for strong reciprocity. Drawing (like Seabright) on experimental economics, I identify and elaborate a fourth explanation for strong reciprocity, which proceeds in terms of partner choice, costly signaling, and competitive altruism.
Hintikka and Sandu have recently claimed that Frege's notion of function was substantially narrower than that prevailing in real analysis today. In the present note, their textual evidence for this claim is examined in the light of relevant historical and biographical background and judged insufficient.