[Michael Friedman] This paper considers the extent to which Kant's vision of a distinctively 'transcendental' task for philosophy is essentially tied to his views on the foundations of the mathematical and physical sciences. Contemporary philosophers with broadly Kantian sympathies have attempted to reinterpret his project so as to isolate a more general philosophical core not so closely tied to the details of now outmoded mathematical-physical theories (Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics). I consider two such attempts, those of Strawson and McDowell, (...) and argue that they fundamentally distort the original Kantian impulse. I then consider Buchdahl's attempt to preserve the link between Kantian philosophy and the sciences while simultaneously generalizing Kant's doctrines in light of later scientific developments. I argue that Buchdahl's view, while not adequate as in interpretation of Kant in his own eighteenth century context, is nonetheless suggestive of an historicized and relativized revision of Kantianism that can do justice to both Kant's original philosophical impulse and the radical changes in the sciences that have occurred since Kant's day. /// [Graham Bird] Michael Friedman criticises some recent accounts of Kant which 'detach' his transcendental principles from the sciences, and do so in order to evade naturalism. I argue that Friedman's rejection of that 'detachment' is ambiguous. In its strong form, which I claim Kant rejects, the principles of Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics are represented as transcendental principles. In its weak form, which I believe Kant accepts, it treats those latter principles as higher order conditions of the possibility of both science and ordinary experience. I argue also that the appeal to naturalism is unhelpful because that doctrine is seriously unclear, and because the accounts Friedman criticises are open to objections independent of any appeal to naturalism. (shrink)
This is a rewarding book. In terms of area, it has one foot firmly planted in metaphysics and the other just as firmly set in the philosophy of science. Nature's Metaphysics is distinctive for its thorough and detailed defense of fundamental, natural properties as essentially dispositional and for its description of how these dispositional properties are thus suited to sustain the laws of nature as (metaphysically) necessary truths.
In this paper I outline my conception of the epistemology of science, by reference to my published papers, showing how the ideas presented there fit together. In particular I discuss the aim of science, scientific progress, the nature of scientific evidence, the failings of empiricism, inference to the best (or only) explanation, and Kuhnian psychology of discovery. Throughout, I emphasize the significance of the concept of scientific knowledge.
Large databases of linguistic annotations are used for testing linguistic hypotheses and for training language processing models. These linguistic annotations are often syntactic or prosodic in nature, and have a hierarchical structure. Query languages are used to select particular structures of interest, or to project out large slices of a corpus for external analysis. Existing languages suffer from a variety of problems in the areas of expressiveness, efficiency, and naturalness for linguistic query. We describe the domain of linguistic trees and (...) discuss the expressive requirements for a query language. Then we present a language that can express a wide range of queries over these trees, and show that the language is first-order complete over trees. (shrink)
This book is part of the Fundamentals in Philosophy series, edited by John Shand, offering introductions to core areas of philosophy which are “not mere bland expositions, and as such are original pieces of philosophy in their own right”. Alexander Bird’s book meets this remit admirably. In my review I shall concentrate on the philosophical argument of the work and set aside its merits as a student text though they compare well with rivals currently on offer.
This paper sketches a dispositionalist conception of laws and shows how the dispositionalist should respond to certain objections. The view that properties are essentially dispositional is able to provide an account of laws that avoids the problems that face the two views of laws (the regularity and the contingent nomic necessitation views) that regard properties as categorical and laws as contingent. I discuss and reject the objections that (i) this view makes laws necessary whereas they are contingent; (ii) this view (...) cannot account for certain kinds of laws of nature and their properties. (shrink)
Those who favour an ontology based on dispositions are thereby able to provide a dispositional essentialist account of the laws of nature. In part 1 of this paper I sketch the dispositional essentialist conception of properties and the concomitant account of laws. In part 2, I characterise various claims about the modal character of properties that fall under the heading ‘quidditism’ and which are consequences of the categoricalist view of properties, which is the alternative to the dispositional essentialist view. I (...) argue that quidditism should be rejected. In part 3, I address a criticism of a strong dispositional essentialist view, viz. that ‘structural’ (i.e. geometrical, numerical, spatial and temporal) properties must be regarded as categorical. (shrink)
Is the nature of explanation a metaphysical issue? Or has it more to do with psychology and pragmatics? To put things in a different way: what are primary relata in an explanation? What sorts of thing explain what other sorts of thing? David Lewis identiﬁes two senses of ‘explanation’ (Lewis 1986, 217–218). In the ﬁrst sense, an explanation is an act of explaining. I shall call this the subjectivist sense, since its existence depends on some subject doing the explaining. Hence (...) it is people who, in this sense, explain things. In the second of his two senses, Lewis says, quoting Sylvain Bromberger, that one may properly ask of an explanation “Does anyone know it? Who thought of it ﬁrst? Is it very complicated?” (Lewis 1986, 218; Bromberger 1965). In this second sense, no subject is needed, the explanation can remain unknown, perhaps for ever. So I call this the objectivist sense. (shrink)
Dispositional essentialists claim that dispositional properties are essentially dispositional: a property would not be the property it is unless it carried with it certain dispositional powers. Categoricalists about dispositional properties deny this, asserting that the same properties might have had different dispositional powers, had the contingent laws of nature been otherwise.
The usual, comparative, conception of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) takes it to be ampliative. In this paper I propose a conception of IBE (‘Holmesian inference’) that takes it to be a species of eliminative induction and hence not ampliative. This avoids several problems for comparative IBE (e.g. how could it be reliable enough to generate knowledge?). My account of Holmesian inference raises the suspicion that it could never be applied, on the grounds that scientific hypotheses are inevitably underdetermined (...) by the evidence (i.e. are inevitably ampliative). I argue that this concern may be resisted by acknowledging, as Timothy Williamson has shown, that all knowledge is evidence. This suggests an approach to resisting scepticism different from those (e.g. the reliabilist approach) that embrace fallibilism. (shrink)
In this paper I draw a connection between Kuhn and the empiricist legacy, specifically between his thesis of incommensurability, in particular in its later taxonomic form, and van Fraassen's constructive empiricism. I show that if it is the case the empirically equivalent but genuinely distinct theories do exist, then we can expect such theories to be taxonomically incommensurable. I link this to Hacking's claim that Kuhn was a nominalist. I also argue that Kuhn and van Fraassen do not differ as (...) much as might be thought as regards the claim that observation is theory laden. (shrink)
In ‘Finkish Dispositions’1 David Lewis proposes an analysis of dispositions which improves on the simple conditional analysis. In this paper I show that Lewis’ analysis still fails. I also argue that repairs are of no avail, and suggest why this is so.
Dispositional monism is the view that natural properties and relations are ‘pure powers’. It is objected that dispositional monism involves some kind of vicious or otherwise unpalatable regress or circularity. I examine ways of making this objection precise. The most pressing interpretation is that is fails to make the identities of powers determinate. I demonstrate that this objection is in error. It does however puts certain constraints on what the structure of fundamental properties is like. I show what a satisfactory (...) structure would be. (shrink)
I show that Armstrong’s view of laws as second-order contingent relations of ‘necessitation’ among categorical properties faces a dilemma. The necessitation relation confers a relation of extensional inclusion (‘constant conjunction’) on its relata. It does so either necessarily or contingently. If necessarily, it is not a categorical relation (in the relevant sense). If contingently, then an explanation is required of how it confers extensional inclusion. That explanation will need to appeal to a third-order relation between necessitation and extensional inclusion. The (...) same dilemma reappears at this level. Either Armstrong must concede that some properties are not categorical but have essential powers – or he is faced with a regress. (shrink)
Why, despite his enormous inﬂuence in the latter part of the twentieth century, has Kuhn left no distinctively Kuhnian legacy? I argue that this is because the development of Kuhn’s own thought was in a direction opposite to that of the mainstream of the philosophy of science. In the 1970s and 1980s the philosophy of science took on board the lessons of externalism as regards reference and knowledge, and became more sympathetic to a naturalistic approach to philosophical problems. Kuhn, on (...) the other hand, started out with a strong naturalistic streak, employing non-philosophical disciplines, primarily psychology, in order to build his accounts of scientiﬁc change and the nature of observation and scientiﬁc thought. But by the 1970s Kuhn’s work had taken on a much more purely philosophical, a priori, tone. His explanation of incommensurability moved from a psychological explanation to one embedded in the philosophy of language. Increasingly he gave his outlook a Kantian gloss. I suggest, nonetheless, that Kuhn’s most valuable contribution is to be found in The Structure of Scientiﬁc Revolutions and not in his later work, and that the naturalistic direction of the former has important links with connectionist research in cognitive science that deserve further study. 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Debates concerning the analysis of the concept of law of nature must address the following problem. On the one hand, our grasp of laws of nature is via our knowledge of their instances. And this seems not only an epistemological truth but also a semantic one. The concept of a law of nature must be explicated in terms of the things that instantiate the law. It is not simply that a piece of metal that conducts electricity is evidence for a (...) law that metals conduct electricity. It is also the case that to explicate what it is for there to be such a law requires, and requires little more than, alluding to the fact that the piece of metal conducting electricity is an instance of that law. This is the driving intuition behind regularity theories of laws — to understand the concept ‘law,’ as in ‘it is a law that metals conduct electricity’ one need only understand little more than what it is for something to be a metal and to conduct electricity and the concept of universal generalization. On this view a law just is a regularity (or some kind of regularity) among its instances. (shrink)
I argue for the claim that if Lewis’s regularity theory of laws were true, we could not know any positive law statement to be true. Premise 1: According to that theory, for any law statement true of the actual world, there is always a nearby world where the law statement is false (a world that differs with respect to one matter of particular fact). Premise 2: One cannot know a proposition to be true if it is false in a nearby (...) world (the epistemological safety principle). The conclusion that no law statement can be known to be true follows immediately from the two premises. (shrink)
I defend against criticism the following claims concening Thomas Kuhn: (i) there is a strong naturalist streak in The structure of scientific revolutions, whereby Kuhn used the results of a posteriori enquiry in addressing philosophical questions; (ii) as Kuhn's career as a philosopher of science developed he tended to drop the naturalistic elements and to replace them with more traditionally philosophical a prior approaches; (iii) at the same there is a significant residue of positivist thought in Kuhm, which Kuhn did (...) not recognise as such; (iv) the naturalist elements referred to in (i) are the most original and fruitful elements of Kuhn's thinking; (v) the positivistic elements referred to in (iii) vitiated his thought and acted as factors in preventing Kuhn from developing the naturalistic elemtns and from following the path taken by much subsequent philosophy of science. Preston presents an alternative reading of Kuhn which emphasizes the Wittgensteinian elements in Kuhn. I argue that this alternative view is, descriptively, poorly supported by the textual evidence and the facts of the history of philosophy of science in the twentieth century. I provide some defence of the naturalistic approach and related themes. (shrink)
This paper concerns the relationship between dispositions and ceteris paribus laws. Dispositions are related to conditionals. Typically a fragile glass will break if struck with force. But possession of the disposition does not entail the corresponding simple (subjunctive or counterfactual) conditional. The phenomena of finks and antidotes show that an object may possess the disposition without the conditional being true. Finks and antidotes may be thought of as exceptions to the straightforward relation between disposition and conditional. The existence of these (...) phenomena is easy to demonstrate at the macro-Ievel. But do they exist at the fundamental level also? While fundamental finkish dispositions may be excluded fairly straightforwardly, the existence of fundamental antidotes is more open. Nonetheless I conclude that the phenomenon is likely to be less widespread than at the macro level and that fundamental antidotes may be eliminable. According to the dispositional essentialist, the laws of nature can be explained by taking natural properties to be essentially dispositional. This account can be extended to show that the existence of finks and antidotes explains ceteris paribus laws. Consequently the existence or otherwise of fundamental finks and antidotes sheds some light on the question of whether fundamental laws may also be ceteris paribus laws. (shrink)
I argue that the naturalism of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientiﬁc Revolutions, which he himself later ignored, is worthy of rehabilitation. A naturalistic conception of paradigms is ripe for development with the tools of cognitive science. As a consequence a naturalistic understanding of world-change and incommensurability is also viable.
Let us call a property that is essentially dispositional a potency.1 David Armstrong thinks that potencies do not exist. All sparse properties are essentially categorical, where sparse properties are the explanatory properties of the type science seeks to discover. An alternative view, but not the only one, is that all sparse properties are potencies or supervene upon them. In this paper I shall consider the differences between these views, in particular the objections Armstrong raises against potencies.
This essay critically examines the idea that "identity " or "difference " might be proper objects of principles of respect. The author suggests that this idea makes sense only at the cost of the egalitarianism to which its adherents usually subscribe. The essay also shows that liberal interpretations of respect can evade this problem and reaches this conclusion on the basis of an analysis of the concept of respect and its connections with notions of status.
Slavoj iek's writings on Krzysztof Kies´lowski and Andrej Tarkovskij represent direct challenges to the Central and Eastern European tradition of spiritual art and to dominant aesthetic concepts as such. He refuses to separate the solemn films of Kies´lowski and Tarkovskij from popular culture and stresses their import as ethical statements by their directors. Despite this ethical emphasis, iek makes an important contribution to philosophical aesthetics. He implicitly defines art as a suspension of reality which reveals time in its fragility and (...) potentiality. Defining iek's aesthetics in terms of suspension helps to explain his partiality for Kies´lowski and Tarkovskij and bears comparison to the Russian tradition of philosophical aesthetics, in particular Aleksej Losev and Alexander Bakshy. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that it is not a priori that all the laws of nature are contingent. I assume that the fundamental laws are contingent and show that some non-trivial, a posteriori, non-basic laws may nonetheless be necessary in the sense of having no counterinstances in any possible world. I consider a law LS (such as 'salt dissolves in water') that concerns a substance S. Kripke's arguments concerning constitution show that the existence of S requires that a certain (...) deeper level law or variants thereof hold. At the same time, that law and its variants may each entail the truth of LS. Thus the existence of S entails LS. Consequently there is no world in which S exists and fails to obey LS. I consider the conditions concerning the fundamental laws that would make this phenomenon ubiquitous. I conclude with some consequences for metaphysics. (shrink)
Aleksej Losev''s definition of myth centres onthe concept of detachment. In modern timesdetachment has most often figured in thecontext of philosophical aesthetics, where itis a cognitive category akin to Kant''s``disinterestedness'''' or the Russian formalists''``estrangement.'''' However Losev''s usage alsomakes reference to the ontological sense ofdetachment as contemplativeascent (cf. Meister Eckhardt''sAbgeschiedenheit). Thus, Losev''s concept ofmyth combines both senses of detachment,binding perceptual attitude and being togetherin a double movement of resignation from theworld and union with meaning; this movementliterally makes sense out of reality. (...) Ittherefore bears comparison to the treatment ofdistanciation in contemporary hermeneutics,where detachment is a key condition ofunderstanding. By investigating Losev''sconnections to other Russian thinkers, theauthor makes a case for a distinct Russiantradition of hermeneutic philosophy (V. Ivanov,G. Shpet, A. Bakshy, A. Losev). (shrink)
Hobbes' geometrical disputes are significant since they highlight several important strands in his thought - issues concerning the right to make definitions, his anti-clericalism, the maker's knowledge argument and his objections to algebra. These are examined, and the foundational position, according to Hobbes, of geomentry in relation to philosophy, science and technology, explained and discussed.
In this paper Russian Symbolist philosophy is represented primarily by Viacheslav Ivanov (1866--1949), but its conclusions are intended to be valid for other philosophers we classify as Symbolist, including Nikolai Berdiaev and S. L. Frank. It is posited that, by comparing Ivanov''s cosmology, aesthetics, and anthropology to those of Martin Heidegger, one can reconceive of Symbolist philosophy as an existential hermeneutic. This, it is claimed, can help to identify a common basis among the Symbolist philosophers, and also to place Russian (...) thought in the context of modern European philosophy and vice versa. (shrink)
Descriptions of how managers think about the moral questions that come up in their work lives are analyzed to draw out the moral assumptions to which they commonly refer. The moral standards thus derived are identified as (1) honesty in communication, (2) fair treatment, (3) special consideration, (4) fair competition, (5) organizational responsibility, (6) corporate social responsibility, and, (7) respect for law. It is observed that these normative standards assume the cultural form of social conventions but because managers invoke them (...) as largely private intuitions, their cultural status remains precarious and unclear. This is the second in a research series of three papers. (shrink)
When managers use moral expressions in their communications, they do so for several, sometimes contradictory reasons. Based upon analyses of interviews with managers, this article examines seven distinctive uses of moral talk, sub-divided into three groupings: (1) managers use moral talk functionally to clarify issues, to propose and criticize moral justifications, and to cite relevant norms; (2) managers also use moral talk functionally to praise and to blame as well as to defend and criticize structures of authority; finally (3) managers (...) use moral talk dysfunctionally to rationalize morally ambiguous behavior and to express frustrations. The article concludes with several practical recommendations. (shrink)
In my 'Dispositions and Antidotes', The Philosophical Quarterly, 48 (1998), I raise an objection to the conditional analysis of dispositions, both in its simple formulation and in a more sophisticated version due to David Lewis, The Philosophical Quarterly, 47 (1997). The objection suggests that a disposition may be continuously present and the appropriate stimulus occur without the manifestation occurring, because some outside influence, an antidote, interferes. Gundersen in The Philosophical Quarterly, 50 (2000), argues that my objection rests on an equivocation (...) about which object possesses the disposition and more particularly on an equivocation about the context in which the events referred to take place, and that when the equivocation is resolved the counter-example disappears. I respond by showing that the counter-example does remain if we take contextual and mereological issues into account, and I conclude by remarking that the difference with Lewisdepends on whether certain features are seen as significant for the semanticsand metaphysics of dispositions or as merely characteristic of the pragmaticsof common usage. (shrink)
Driven by competitive pressure, organizations are empowering employees to use their judgment, creativity, and ideas in pursuit of enhanced organizational performance and both employee and shareholder satisfaction. This empowerment offers both benefits and potential harm. This article explores the benefits and harm associated with role, reward, process and governance empowerment and makes recommendations for minimizing the harm while maximizing the benefits.
Peirce conceived of methodology, or methodeutic, as he preferred to call it, as one of the three major parts of logic taken broadly--the other two being the theory of signs and formal logic. Unlike these two, however, his theory of methodology remained mostly programmatic, and there is little more than fragmentary suggestions about it scattered through his writings. But by gathering them together and pursuing their insights, it is possible to indicate how he might have divided and developed it: 1) (...) The nature of scientific discourse and how it differs from non-scientific. 2) The logic of inquiry, both heuristic and systematic, according to the modes of argument as deductive, inductive, or abductive (i.e. hypothesis) or a combination or all three. 3) The assurance of science considered in the factors that thwart or promote inquiry. (shrink)