The standpoint of realism has been widely used to argue in favour of, or against, particular physical theories. An analysis is made of the adequacy of such arguments, taking an argument by Einstein as a starting point.Some reflexions are given on relativism and invariance. Invariances can be seen as generators of both regularity and paradox in physics.
This comment on Sven Ove Hansson's article on the history of the journal Theoria elaborates and corrects Hansson's characterisation of the political standpoint of the Finnish philosopher Eino Kaila as "sympathetic towards the German regime". Although not an easy question, particularly considering Kaila's unfortunate publications during the Second World War, it is argued that the characterisation is plainly wrong if it refers to the mid-1930s.
The book under review is a collection of thirteen essays on the nature phenomenal concepts and the ways in which phenomenal concepts figure in debates over physicalism. Phenomenal concepts are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences (aka “qualia”) whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. There are recent arguments, originating in Descartes’ famous conceivability argument, that purport to show that phenomenal experience is irreducibly non-physical. Second, phenomenal (...) concepts are widely thought to be special and unique among concepts. Both the anti-physicalist arguments and physicalist replies to these arguments turn on views about the nature of phenomenal concepts. In this review I survey the many ways in which the essays in this volume are engaged (pro or con) with anti-physicalist arguments and the role phenomenal concepts play in these arguments. (shrink)
We propose to model preference change as the change of an agent’s preference state in response to the agent accepting a preference affect. The preference state of an agent is ruled by various inferential commitments. Accepting a preference affect will likely bring the preference state into inconsistency. The model shows how the preference state needs to be adjusted to restore consistency. In particular, it shows which path restoration will take, conditional on the previous preference state and the available dynamic information, (...) and it determines how the ensuing preference state will look like. (shrink)
Précis of memory: a philosophical study Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9639-4 Authors Sven Bernecker, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-4555, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Formal representations of values and norms are employed in several academic disciplines and specialties, such as economics, jurisprudence, decision theory, and social choice theory. Sven Ove Hansson closely examines such foundational issues as the values of wholes and the values of their parts, the connections between values and norms, how values can be decision-guiding and the structure of normative codes with formal precision. Models of change in both preferences and norms are offered, as well as a new method to (...) base the logic of norms on that of preferences. Hansson has developed a unified formal representation of values and norms that reflects both their static and their dynamic properties. This formalized treatment, carried out in terms of both informal value theory and precise logical detail, will contribute to the clarification of certain issues in the basic philosophical theory of values and norms. (shrink)
As part of the conference commemorating Theoria's 75th anniversary, a round table discussion on philosophy publishing was held in Bergendal, Sollentuna, Sweden, on 1 October 2010. Bengt Hansson was the chair, and the other participants were eight editors-in-chief of philosophy journals: Hans van Ditmarsch (Journal of Philosophical Logic), Pascal Engel (Dialectica), Sven Ove Hansson (Theoria), Vincent Hendricks (Synthese), Søren Holm (Journal of Medical Ethics), Pauline Jacobson (Linguistics and Philosophy), Anthonie Meijers (Philosophical Explorations), Henry S. Richardson (Ethics) and Hans Rott (...) (Erkenntnis). (shrink)
Should Probabilistic Design Replace Safety Factors? Content Type Journal Article Pages 151-168 DOI 10.1007/s13347-010-0003-6 Authors Neelke Doorn, Department of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, PO Box 5015, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands Sven Ove Hansson, Department of Philosophy and the History of Technology, Royal Institute of Technology, Teknikringen 78 B, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433 Journal Volume Volume 24 Journal Issue Volume 24, Number 2.
In this anthology, distinguished editors Sven Bernecker and Fred Dretske offer the most comprehensive review available of contemporary epistemology. They bring together the most important and influential writings in the field, including frequently neglected topics such as dominant responses to skepticism, introspection, memory, and testimony. Knowledge is divided into fifteen subject areas and includes forty-one readings by eminent contributors. An accessible introduction to each subject area outlines the problems discussed in the essays that follow so that students can focus (...) on analyzing them. (shrink)
What is the nature of consciousness? How is consciousness related to brain processes? This volume collects thirteen new papers on these topics: twelve by leading and respected philosophers and one by a leading color-vision scientist. All focus on consciousness in the "phenomenal" sense: on what it's like to have an experience. Consciousness has long been regarded as the biggest stumbling block for physicalism, the view that the mind is physical. The controversy has gained focus over the last few decades, and (...) phenomenal knowledge and phenomenal concepts--knowledge of consciousness and the associated concepts--have come to play increasingly prominent roles in this debate. Consider Frank Jackson's famous case of Mary, the super-scientist who learns all the physical information while confined in a black-and-white room. According to Jackson, if physicalism is true, then Mary's physical knowledge should allow her to deduce what it's like to see in color. Yet it seems intuitively clear that she learns something when she leaves the room. But then how can consciousness be physical? Arguably, whether this sort of reasoning is sound depends on how phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge are construed. For example, some argue that the Mary case reveals something about phenomenal concepts but has no implications for the nature of consciousness itself. Are responses along these lines adequate? Or does the problem arise again at the level of phenomenal concepts? The papers in this volume engage with the latest developments in this debate. The authors' perspectives range widely. For example, Daniel Dennett argues that anti-physicalist arguments such as the knowledge argument are simply confused; David Papineau grants that such arguments at least reveal important features of phenomenal concepts; and David Chalmers defends the anti-physicalist arguments, arguing that the "phenomenal concept strategy" cannot succeed. (shrink)
Among the many topics covered in Sven Bernecker’s impressive study of memory is the relation between memory and personal identity. Bernecker uses his grammatical taxonomy of memory and causal account to defend the claim that memory does not logically presuppose personal identity and hence that circularity objections to memory-based accounts of personal identity are misplaced. In my comment I investigate these claims, suggesting that the relation between personal identity and memory is more complicated than Bernecker’s analysis suggests. In particular, (...) I argue (1) that while he shows that some memories do not presuppose personal identity he fails to show that those that are appealed to in memory-based accounts of personal identity do not, and (2) that the features of his view that allow him to define memory without reference to personal identity also obscure important features of memory that must be part of a complete account. (shrink)