Acquaintance with the Absolute is the first collected volume of essays devoted to the thought of Yves r. Simon, a thinker widely regarded as one of the great teachers and philosophers of our time. Each piece in this collection of essays thoughtfully complements the others to offer a qualifiedly panoramic look at the work and thought of philosopher Yves R. Simon. The six essays presented not only treat some major areas of Simon’s thought, pointing out their lucidity (...) and originality, but also his underpinning metaphysics, so central to his thought. Rather than attempt to present all aspects of this patient, careful, and penetrating thinker, these essays select enough to situate Simon’s philosophical excavations – especially his moral, political and action theory – among contemporary Thomistic philosophy. In defending philosophy as a valid way of knowing, Simon gives us an approach we can use to avoid contemporary dilemmas in the philosophy of science. Simon holds that philosophical truths both justify scientific method as a way of knowing the real and provide a basis for distinguishing what is ontologically significant in a scientific theory from what is not. This view allows us to avoid the apparently irrational conclusions of quantum mechanics without reducing scientific theories to being mere projections of our conceptual systems. Though aspects of some of the essays are suited for students of Simon’s thought, the essays as a whole introduce the less familiar reader to this great thinking and, further, invite him or her to pursue Simon’s own texts. The volume is enhanced by the inclusion of a definitive Yves R. Simon bibliography 1923-1996. The annotated bibliography is cross-reference in detail, revealing the astonishing variety of topics Simon treated. (shrink)
Creative accounting, which generally involves the preparation of financial statements with the intention of misleading readers of those statements, is prima facie a form oflying, as defined by Bok.1 This paper starts by defining and illustrating creative accounting. It examines and rejects the arguments for considering creative accounting, in spite of its deceptive intent, as not being a form of lying. It then examines the ethical issues raised by creative accounting, in the light of the literature on the ethics of (...) lying. This literature includes the evaluation of various excuses and justifications for lying, and these are examined here in relation to creative accounting. It is concluded that even in circumstances in which creative accounting would arguably serve a worthy purpose, that purpose would be at least as well served by honest communication. (shrink)
The tradition of natural law is one of the foundations of Western civilization. At its heart is the conviction that there is an objective and universal justice which transcends humanity’s particular expressions of justice. It asserts that there are certain ways of behaving which are appropriate to humanity simply by virtue of the fact that we are all human beings. Recent political debates indicate that it is not a tradition that has gone unchallenged: in fact, the opposition is as old (...) as the tradition itself. By distinguishing between philosophy and ideology, by recalling the historical adventures of natural law, and by reviewing the theoretical problems involved in the doctrine, Simon clarifies much of the confusion surrounding this perennial debate. He tackles the questions raised by the application of natural law with skill and honesty as he faces the difficulties of the subject. Simon warns against undue optimism in a revival of interest in natural law and insists that the study of natural law beings with the analysis of “the law of the land.” He writes not as a polemicist but as a philosopher, and he writes of natural law with the same force, conciseness, lucidity and simplicity which have distinguished all his other works. (shrink)
Precautionary Criminalisation in an Age of Vulnerable Autonomy Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11572-012-9142-4 Authors Jonathan Simon, Adrian A Kragen Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA Journal Criminal Law and Philosophy Online ISSN 1871-9805 Print ISSN 1871-9791.
Ursula Klein and E. C. Spary (eds): Materials and expertise in early modern Europe: Between market and laboratory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010, 408pp, $50 HB Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9462-8 Authors Jonathan Simon, LEPS-LIRDHIST (EA 4148), Université Lyon 1, Université de Lyon, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Humanity and the very notion of the human subject are under threat from postmodernist thinking which has declared not only the 'Death of God' but also the 'Death of Man'. This book is a revindication of the concept of humanity, rejecting contemporary social theory that seeks to diminish human properties and powers. Archer argues that being human depends on an interaction with the real world in which practice takes primacy over language in the emergence of human self-consciousness, thought, emotionality (...) and personal identity - all of which are prior to, and more basic than, our acquisition of a social identity. This original and provocative new book from leading social theorist Margaret S. Archer builds on the themes explored in her previous books Culture and Agency (CUP 1988) and Realist Social Theory (CUP 1995). It will be required reading for academics and students of social theory, cultural theory, political theory, philosophy and theology. (shrink)
This long-awaited book is the first English-language edition of.Simon’s first book, Critique de la connaissance morale (1934). Not only does this work clarify the first stages of Simon’s intellectual career, it is also a major contribution to moral philosophy. A Critique of Moral Knowledge addresses fundamental issues. How does moral knowledge differ from other practical knowledge? What is the relationship between the moral sense, moral philosophy, and cognition in action? Is politics moral philosophy or simply a neutral technique? (...) This elegant translation will be an important contribution to the conversation on philosophy, politics, religion, and ethics. (shrink)
For Yves R. Simon, philosophy has an affinity to science, not in the sense that philosophy is a mere metascience, a commentary on the sciences, but rather because it shares the same aim as science: the search for explanation. The philosophy Simon espouses is philosophical realism which, following Jacques Maritain, he prefers to call critical realism. Against the prejudice that only some version of philosophical idealism, be it critical or absolute, is capable of understanding positive science. Simon, (...) in Foresight and Knowledge, develops a philosophy of science form a realistic perspective. Philosophy of science or the critique of science, as it was known in France, is according to Simon, metahphysics in the exercise of its critical function. Simon selects as the central focus of the treatise the problem of determinism, causality, and chance. Simon shows that the concept “determinism” must be understood in different conceptual systems, such as a philosophy of nature and physics; in the latter, determinism is conceived as a possibility of certain and exact prediction. (shrink)
Yves R. Simon (1903-1961) was one of this century’s greatest students of the virtue of practical wisdom. Simon’s interest in this virtue ranged from ultimate theoretical and foundational concerns, such as the relationship between practical knowledge and science, to the most concrete and immediate questions regarding the role of practical wisdom in personal and social decision-making. These concerns occupied Simon from his earliest published writing to the final notes and correspondence he was working on at the moment (...) of his untimely death. Throughout his life, practical wisdom and its related philosophical ramifications emerge time and again at critical junctures, throwing into bold relief some of the deeper dimensions of questions as diverse as the nature of democracy, the concept of law, and the theory of work. Practical knowledge constitutes a unifying motif of Simon’s entire encyclopedic effort. This volume reconstructs what would have been Simon’s final sustained writing on practical knowledge. It includes reworking of some previously published material, especially the landmark 1961 essay, "Introduction to the Study of Practical Wisdom," possibly the best treatment of the concept of "command" in recent philosophical writing. But it also reproduces, in a form closely corresponding to Simon’s intention, material drawn from notes and schemata, concerning issues such as the relationship between moral science and wisdom, the nature of practical judgment, and the relationship between practical knowledge and Christian moral philosophy. Also included are previously unpublished letters to Jacques Maritain on the controversy surrounding the theoretical-practical and practico-practical syllogisms, as well as Maritain’s responses. The volume concludes with applications of Simon’s general theory to a critique of the concept of a social science and to the notion of Christian humanism. This volume will appeal to moral philosophers interested in a range of normative issues, as well as social scientists and readers concerned with the philosophical foundations of modern culture. Virtue moralist, in particular, will find in Simon one of the profoundest commentators on this tradition in normative ethics. (shrink)
Based on ten years of research, The Touch of the Past considers how historically traumatic events uniquely summon forgetting and remembrance. Within a specific focus on events of systemic mass violence, Roger Simon examines how testimonies of historic events influence learning as communities struggle with "difficult histories." The Touch of the Past is a serious and compelling contribution to research in education, historical consciousness, and memory/trauma studies.
It is shown how a causal ordering can be defined in a complete structure, and how it is equivalent to identifying the mechanisms of a system. Several techniques are shown that may be useful in actually accomplishing such identification. Finally, it is shown how this explication of causal ordering can be used to analyse causal counterfactual conditionals. First the counterfactual proposition at issue is articulated through the device of a belief-contravening supposition. Then the causal ordering is used to provide modal (...) categories for the factual propositions, and the logical contradiction in the system is resolved by ordering the factual propositions according to these causal categories. (shrink)
It is often claimed that there can be no such thing as a logic of scientific discovery, but only a logic of verification. By 'logic of discovery' is usually meant a normative theory of discovery processes. The claim that such a normative theory is impossible is shown to be incorrect; and two examples are provided of domains where formal processes of varying efficacy for discovering lawfulness can be constructed and compared. The analysis shows how one can treat operationally and formally (...) phenomena that have usually been dismissed with fuzzy labels like 'intuition' and 'creativity'. (shrink)
Rights to life for unborn humans and to abortion with impunity are incompatible. This observation by the German legal philosopher Norbert Hoerster contains a fundamental criticism of the state regulation on abortion in Germany. The regulation regards abortion as unlawful, but declines to prosecute if the abortion is conducted within the first three months of pregnancy and the pregnant woman received counseling at least three days prior to terminating the pregnancy. In contrast to the German legislature, Hoerster is in favor (...) of setting the beginning of a right to life at birth. With this suggestion and the consequent demand for a general legalization of abortion, Hoerster himself has become the target of harsh criticism. The following article analyzes Hoerster's position and that of his opponents against the background of the current abortion debate in Germany. The consequences for dealing with the handicaps of Hoerster's suggested regulations will also be addressed. (shrink)
: Ursula Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" (1973), a staple of short fiction anthologies, was inspired by James's "The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life." In Le Guin's moral tale, a devastating bargain causes some citizens of Omelas to reject their apparently utopian community. Although critics have seen this rejection as a Jamesian act of pragmatism and free will, this essay examines the story in the context of "The Moral Philosopher" and other writings by James on (...) pragmatism, its moral consequences, free will, and faith to refute that conclusion. I argue, instead, that James's work suggests responses that reflect his thinking about the limits and meaning of possibility and about sustaining belief in a transcendent force. (shrink)
This paper provides an explanation of why sightings of black ravens increase the degree of warranted belief in the proposition that all ravens are black, while observations of white shoes do not. The explanation, which allows a Bayesian interpretation, rests on an assumption of the redundancy (i.e., lawfulness) of nature.
Human and machine discovery are gradual problem-solving processes of searching large problem spaces for incompletely defined goal objects. Research on problem solving has usually focused on search of an instance space (empirical exploration) and a hypothesis space (generation of theories). In scientific discovery, search must often extend to other spaces as well: spaces of possible problems, of new or improved scientific instruments, of new problem representations, of new concepts, and others. This paper focuses especially on the processes for finding new (...) problem representations and new concepts, which are relatively new domains for research on discovery.Scientific discovery has usually been studied as an activity of individual investigators, but these individuals are positioned in a larger social structure of science, being linked by the blackboard of open publication (as well as by direct collaboration). Even while an investigator is working alone, the process is strongly influenced by knowledge and skills stored in memory as a result of previous social interaction. In this sense, all research on discovery, including the investigations on individual processes discussed in this paper, is social psychology, or even sociology. (shrink)
Rips, in The Psychology of Proof, argues that, through the processes of evolution, logic (e.g., modus ponens) has become established in the human mind as the basis for thinking, and that production systems rest on this foundation. In this paper we defend the converse argument that, through evolution, a production system architecture has become the basis for human thinking, and that formal logics rest on this production system and the accompanying mechanisms for recognition and search. It is through the “automaticity” (...) of the execution of productions that we experience the compellingness of deductive arguments. (shrink)
We examined the dilemmas posed by the involvement of expert witnesses in court cases and the institutional constraints on the ethics of expert testimony. The causes for the incorporation of bad science into legal decisions, potential solutions to this dilemma, and the limitations of these solutions are considered. We concluded that law, science, and experts must respond to the problems posed by expert witnessing.
The task of axiomatizing physical theories has attracted, in recent years, some interest among both empirical scientists and logicians. However, the axiomatizations produced by either one of these two groups seldom appear satisfactory to the members of the other. It is the purpose of this paper to develop an approach that will satisfy the criteria of both, hence permit us to construct axiomatizations that will meet simultaneously the standards and needs of logicians and of empirical scientists.
We give an overview of decidability results for modal logics having a binary modality. We put an emphasis on the demonstration of proof-techniques, and hope that this will also help in finding the borderlines between decidable and undecidable fragments of usual first-order logic.
We study the notion of H-dimension and the formally stronger k-variable property, as considered by Gabbay, Immerman and Kozen. We exhibit a class of flows of time that has H-dimension 3, and admits a finite expressively complete set of onedimensional temporal connectives, but does not have the k-variable property for any finite k.
New computer systems of discovery create a research program for logic and philosophy of science. These systems consist of inference rules and control knowledge that guide the discovery process. Their paths of discovery are influenced by the available data and the discovery steps coincide with the justification of results. The discovery process can be described in terms of fundamental concepts of artificial intelligence such as heuristic search, and can also be interpreted in terms of logic. The traditional distinction that places (...) studies of scientific discovery outside the philosophy of science, in psychology, sociology, or history, is no longer valid in view of the existence of computer systems of discovery. It becomes both reasonable and attractive to study the schemes of discovery in the same way as the criteria of justification were studied: empirically as facts, and logically as norms. (shrink)
This paper uses a proof of Gödels theorem, implemented on a computer, to explore how a person or a computer can examine such a proof, understand it, and evaluate its validity. It is argued that, in order to recognize it (1) as Gödel's theorem, and (2) as a proof that there is an undecidable statement in the language of PM, a person must possess a suitable semantics. As our analysis reveals no differences between the processes required by people and machines (...) to understand Gödel's theorem and manipulate it symbolically, an effective way to characterize this semantics is to model the human cognitive system as a Turing Machine with sensory inputs. La logistique n'est plus stérile: elle engendre la contradicion! – Henri Poincaré ‘Les mathematiques et la logique’. (shrink)
The ethics of conducting research in epidemic situations have yet to account fully for differences in the proportion and acuteness of epidemics, among other factors. While epidemics most often arise from infectious diseases, not all infectious diseases are of epidemic proportions, and not all epidemics occur acutely. These and other variations constrain the generalization of ethical decision-making and impose ethical demands on the individual researcher in a way not previously highlighted. This paper discusses a number of such constraints and impositions. (...) It applies the ethical principles enunciated by Emmanuel et al.1 to the controversial Pfizer study in Nigeria in order to highlight the particular ethical concerns of acute epidemic research, and suggest ways of meeting such challenges. The paper recommends that research during epidemics should be partly evaluated on its own merits in order to determine its ethical appropriateness to the specific situation. Snap decisions to conduct research during acute epidemics should be resisted. Community engagement, public notification and good information management are needed to promote the ethics of conducting research during acute epidemics. Individual consent is most at risk of being compromised, and every effort should be made to ensure that it is maintained and valid. Use of data safety management boards should be routine. Acute epidemics also present opportunities to enhance the social value of research and maximize its benefits to communities. Ethical research is possible in acute epidemics, if the potential challenges are thought of ahead of time and appropriate precautions taken. (shrink)
This paper elaborates on discussions in Germany regarding some of the ethical and legal issues in the area of the use and patenting of inventions involving human tissue. The issues discussed pertain to the benefits and problems regarding informed consent and the issue of property rights as they relate to the donation of cells and tissue.
Mazur & Booth fail to consider the conceptual complexities of dominance; it is unlikely that there is a motive to dominate in animals. Also, the lack of empirical evidence for a causal link between testosterone and dominance is obscured by the narrative reviewing procedure, which is prone to bias.
As science deals with invariants and history with dated events, the phrase “historical science” might be thought to be an oxymoron. However, the prevalence in the natural sciences and economics of differential equations filled with time derivatives should persuade us of the legitimacy of joining history with science. The combination can, in fact, take several forms. This paper examines some of the ways inwhich history and economics can be fashioned into economic history, and the reasons why they need to be (...) so joined.A particularly important source of historicity in economics is that boundedly rational economic actors represent the economic scene in radically different ways from time to time, and these changes occur as a function of natural and social events, social influences on perception, and the molding of human motives by the social environment, which is itself time dependent. For these and other reasons, many of thembound closely to basic human characteristics, the dynamic movements of the economic system depend not only on invariant laws, but on continually changing boundary conditions as weIl. (shrink)
Campbell's analysis of the evolution of human sex differences to include selection pressures on the female is generally welcomed. This commentary raises some specific issues about the evidence cited: the impact of paternal death on survival prospects; a possible mechanism underlying a sex difference in fear; the selective advantage of dominance hierarchies; and the absence of evidence that testosterone causes human aggression.
A hierarchical ordering of approaches afflicts environmental thinking. An ethics of individualism unjustly overrides social/political philosophy in environmental debates. Dialectics helps correct this imbalance. In dialectical fashion, a synthesis emerges between conflicting approaches to dialectics and to nature from: Marxism (Levins and Lewontin), anarchism (Bookchin), and Native Americanism (Black Elk). Conflicting (according to Marxists) and cooperative (according to anarchists) forces both operate in nature. Ethics (anarchist), political theory (Marxist), and spirituality (Native American) constitute the interconnected interpretative domains of a dialectically (...) informed ecophilosophy. In a world painted too often in blacks and whites, ecological dialectics colors the picture a more realistic gray. (shrink)
Cambridge professor Simon Blackburn is best known to the general public as the author of several books of popular philosophy such as ink, Being Good andTruth: a Guide for the Perplexed. Academic philosophers also know him as the author of one of the most important books of contemporary moral philosophy, Ruling Passions, and as a former editor of the leading journal Mind.
Hugh Everett III died of a heart attack in July 1982 at the age of 51. Almost 26 years later, a New York Times obituary for his PhD advisor, John Wheeler, mentioned him and Richard Feynman as Wheeler’s most prominent students. Everett’s PhD thesis on the relative state formulation of quantum mechanics, later known as the “Many Worlds Interpretation”, was published (in its edited form) in 1957, and later (in its original, unedited form) in 1973, and since then has given (...) rise to one of the most radical schools of thought in the foundations of quantum theory. Several years ago two conferences held in Oxford and in the Perimeter Institute celebrated the occasion of 50 years to the first publication of Everett’s thesis. The book Many worlds? grew out from contributions to these conferences, but, as its editors emphasize, it is more than mere conference proceedings. Instead, an attempt was made to assemble an impressive collection of papers which together illustrate the promise of the many worlds interpretation and the obstacles it faces. 23 papers divided into six sections follow an introduction by Simon Saunders, one of Oxford’s fiercest Everettians. The first four sections cover two thorny issues that have been flagged by contemporary opponents to the many worlds interpretation, namely, the problem of ontology and the problem of probability, while the fifth discusses alternatives to Everett such as Bohmian mechanics and information–theoretic approaches to quantum theory. The sixth section seems to be a wild card, hosting several papers unrelated to each other, including one of the most interesting contributions to this volume on the history of Everett’s thesis and his (some may say all too) short academic career. Each section concludes with transcripts of the discussion session that took place after the talks, thus giving an additional emphasis to the points of contention. Apart from general comments on the volume, in what follows I would like to concentrate on few papers I found especially illuminating. Start with ontology.. (shrink)
Fifty years ago, Herbert Simon (1955, 1997) complained that the available models of rational choice were not feasible decision procedures for agents like us. These models involved variants on the theme of maximizing expected utility: the rational action for an agent is the one that is most likely to bring about outcomes that the agent prefers. Simon’s complaints about these models included the now-familiar notions that human beings do not manage probabilities well, that we have at (...) best radically incomplete utility functions, and that we lack the cognitive resources to calculate the expected utilities of even a few alternatives. (shrink)
Do Buddhist ‘moral’ principles, such as generosity, equanimity, and compassion, consistently map onto Greek and, more generally, Western ‘virtues’? In other words, is it at all possible to talk about a Buddhist ‘virtue ethics’? Should equanimity, for instance, be understood as having the same function in Buddhist moral thought as temperance has for Plato, Aristotle, or the Stoics? Does the Buddha’s effort to embody certain cardinal virtues (sīla) resemble the classical Greek and Roman pursuit of a life of personal flourishing (...) (eudaimonia)? And, to take one step further – Is Buddhism’s perceived enlightened attitude toward the environment suggestive of a new ethics aimed at confronting the global ecological crisis? Buddhism, Virtue, and Environment, a volume co-authored by David Cooper and Simon James, addresses these questions and concerns in a systematic and philosophically sophisticated way. (shrink)
This paper explores Simon Stevin’s l’Arithmétique of 1585, where we find a novel understanding of the concept of number. I will discuss the dynamics between his practice and philosophy of mathematics, and put it in the context of his general epistemological attitude. Subsequently, I will take a close look at his justificational concerns, and at how these are reflected in his inductive, a postiori and structuralist approach to investigating the numerical field. I will argue that Stevin’s renewed conceptualisation (...) of the notion of number is a sort of “existential closure” of the numerical domain, founded upon the practice of his predecessors and contemporaries. Accordingly, I want to make clear that l’Aritmetique have to be read not as an ontological analysis or exploration of the numerical field, but as an explication of a mathematical ethos. In this sense, this article also intends to make a specific contribution to the broader issue of the “ethics of geometry.”. (shrink)
Herbert Simon (1916–2001) was definitely 20th century’s most influential proponent of bounded rationality. His work was of a highly philosophical nature, but—as made clear time and again in this book—his ideas did not originate in philosophy at all. If the present collection of essays has any value to the philosophically oriented reader, it lies in the way it shows how a traditionally philosophical topic as human rationality and action cannot be claimed by philosophy alone. Even more, it shows that (...) important contributions to the issue were made in a highly applied context. Therefore, even if Models of a Man: Essays in Memory of Herbert Simon is all but a philosophy textbook (only one contribution is by a ‘professional philosopher’), it is of interest to anyone taking Simon’s influence in philosophy seriously. (shrink)
This article attempts to respond to Simon Critchley's claim in a recent debate with Richard Rorty, that the latter, by not fully recognizing its indebtedness to Levinas, misunderstands the political import of the work of Jacques Derrida. I maintain, pace Critchley, that trying to push the Derrida-Levinas connection too far will not only further compound Rorty's view of Derrida as a thinker devoid of political efficacy, but that it will moreover serve to obscure the significant differences which exist (...) between Levinas and Derrida - differences which cannot be overlooked in any serious discussion of the two thinkers in question. In the second half, I try to convince Critchley that what separates Derrida from Levinas is precisely what hooks him up with Rorty at a political level. Both, I argue, are committed to a civic religion of social hope. In so doing, I try to convince Rorty that his caricature of Derrida as a private writer without political consequence, ought now to be seriously reconsidered. Key Words: community Critchley democracy Derrida ethics justice law Levinas politics religion Rorty sentiment singularity social hope. (shrink)
This article evaluates the structural conception of interests developed by Margaret Archer as part of her dualist version of critical realism. It argues that this structural analysis of interests is untenable because, first, Archer’s account of the causal influence of interests on agents is contradictory and, second, Archer fails to offer a defensible account of her claim that interests influence agents by providing reasons for action. These problems are explored in relation to Archer’s theoretical and empirical (...) work. I argue for an alternative account of interests that focuses on agents’ understandings of their interests and problems with these understandings. (shrink)
The highlight of Simon Critchley's small book On Humor (2002) is the inclusion of seven beautiful prints by Charles Le Brun at the start of each chapter. Le Brun's captivating drawings are zoomorphic studies of the human face, each in relation to a different animal.
Shepard promotes the important view that evolution constructs cognitive mechanisms that work with internalized aspects of the structure of their environment. But what can this internalization mean? We contrast three views: Shepard's mirrors reflecting the world, Brunswik's lens inferring the world, and Simon's scissors exploiting the world. We argue that Simon's scissors metaphor is more appropriate for higher-order cognitive mechanisms and ask how far it can also be applied to perceptual tasks. [Barlow; Kubovy & Epstein; Shepard].