We argue from the Church-Turing thesis (Kleene Mathematical logic. New York: Wiley 1967) that a program can be considered as equivalent to a formal language similar to predicate calculus where predicates can be taken as functions. We can relate such a calculus to Wittgenstein’s first major work, the Tractatus, and use the Tractatus and its theses as a model of the formal classical definition of a computer program. However, Wittgenstein found flaws in his initial great work and he explored these (...) flaws in a new thesis described in his second great work; the Philosophical Investigations. The question we address is “can computer science make the same leap?” We are proposing, because of the flaws identified by Wittgenstein, that computers will never have the possibility of natural communication with people unless they become active participants of human society. The essential difference between formal models used in computing and human communication is that formal models are based upon rational sets whereas people are not so restricted. We introduce irrational sets as a concept that requires the use of an abductive inference system. However, formal models are still considered central to our means of using hypotheses through deduction to make predictions about the world. These formal models are required to continually be updated in response to peoples’ changes in their way of seeing the world. We propose that one mechanism used to keep track of these changes is the Peircian abductive loop. (shrink)
In this paper we describe in some detail a formal computer model of inferential discourse based on a belief system. The key issue is that a logical model in a computer, based on rational sets, can usefully model a human situation based on irrational sets. The background of this work is explained elsewhere, as is the issue of rational and irrational sets (Billinge and Addis, in: Magnani and Dossena (eds.), Computing, philosophy and cognition, 2004; Stepney et al., Journey: Non-classical (...) philosophy—socially sensitive computing in journeys non-classical computation: A grand challenge for computing research, 2004). The model is based on the Belief System (Addis and Gooding, Proceedings of the AISB’99 Symposium on Scientific Creativity, 1999) and it provides a mechanism for choosing queries based on a range of belief. We explain how it provides a way to update the belief based on query results, thus modelling others’ experience by inference. We also demonstrate that for the same internal experience, different models can be built for different actors. (shrink)
The difficulties about other minds are deep and of central philosophical importance. This text explores attempts to apply Wittgenstein's concept of criteria in explaining how we can know other minds and their properties. It is shown that the use of criteria for this purpose is misguided.
One may gather from the arguments of two of the last papers published before his death that J. L. Mackie held the following three theses concerning the mind/body problem : (1) There is a distinct realm of mental properties, so a dualism of properties at least is true and materialism false.
Many believe that the Marxist philosophy of history entails that man is not free in a sense in which it seems obvious that he is. In particular it is held to be (1) materialistic, (2) holistic, (3) economistic, and (4) fatalistic. It is claimed, in short, that since the Marxist philosophy of history has these features, man is not capable of shaping his own (social) destiny if it is true. I show for each of these features either that it does (...) not entail what it is believed to entail or that it is not correctly attributed to the Marxist philosophy of history. (shrink)
Some issues raised by the notion of surveyability and how it is represented mathematically are explored. Wright considers the sense in which the positive integers are surveyable and suggests that their structure will be a weakly finite, but weakly infinite, totality. One way to expose the incoherence of this account is by applying Wittgenstein's distinction between intensional and extensional to it. Criticism of the idea of a surveyable proof shows the notion's lack of clarity. It is suggested that this concept (...) should be replaced by that of a feasible operation, as strict finitism aims to understand the boundaries of legitimate mathematical knowledge. (shrink)
Zusammenfassung Chomsky behauptet, daÃ das BewuÃtsein die Struktur eines grammatischen Ãbersetzungsapparates hat, Freud dagegen betrachtet es als einen unbewuÃten Geisteszustand. Es wird gezeigt, wie sich diese Theorien innerhalb einer Metaphysik des BewuÃtseins vereinbaren lassen, die nur bewuÃte GeisteszustÃ¤nde als grundlegend, Sinneswahrnehmungen, Bilder, Emotionen und dergleichen als sekundÃ¤r, und veranlagungsbedingte (natÃ¼rliche) GeisteszustÃ¤nde als tertiÃ¤r bezeichnet. Hervorzuheben wÃ¤re, daÃ grammatische Ãbersetzungsapparate und unbewuÃte GeisteszustÃ¤nde, wie alle menschlichen Veranlagungen, als Eigenheiten des KÃ¶rpers, welcher gewissen Gesetzen und Prinzipien unterliegt, zu analysieren sind.
After some opening comments on how I think one should approach the philosophy of mind, I look at what relatively little Gilbert Ryle had to say explicitly about intentionality, that occurring almost exclusively in his several papers on phenomenology. Then, I discuss the notion of intentionality with respect to the doctrines of The Concept of Mind, although neither the word nor the idea, strictly speaking, appears anywhere in the book. Following more exposition of my own views, including an argument I (...) have made for a certain specific theory of intentionality, I close with some reflections on Ryle as a modern-day Aristotelian. (shrink)
Wittgenstien and Philosophy of Religion brings together leading Wittgenstein scholars with varying views on what the proper interpretation and acceptability of Wittgenstein's writings are on religion. The themes discussed include Wittgenstein's views on creation, magic and free will.
Syntactic and structural models specify relationships between their constituents but cannot show what outcomes their interaction would produce over time in the world. Simulation consists in iterating the states of a model, so as to produce behaviour over a period of simulated time. Iteration enables us to trace the implications and outcomes of inference rules and other assumptions implemented in the models that make up a theory. We apply this method to experiments which we treat as models of the particular (...) aspects of reality they are designed to investigate. Scientific experiments are constantly designed and re-designed in the context of implementation and use. They mediate between theoretical understanding and the practicalities of engaging with the empirical and social world. In order to model experiments we need to identify and represent features that all experiments have in common. We treat these features as parameters of a general model of experiment so that by varying these parameters different types of experiment can be modelled. (shrink)
Continuous recordings of brain electrical activity were obtained from a group of 176 patients throughout surgical procedures using general anesthesia. Artifact-free data from the 19 electrodes of the International 10/20 System were subjected to quantitative analysis of the electroencephalogram (QEEG). Induction was variously accomplished with etomidate, propofol or thiopental. Anesthesia was maintained throughout the procedures by isoflurane, desflurane or sevoflurane (N = 68), total intravenous anesthesia using propofol (N = 49), or nitrous oxide plus narcotics (N = 59). A set (...) of QEEG measures were found which reversibly displayed high heterogeneity of variance between four states as follows: (1) during induction; (2) just after loss of consciousness (LOC); (3) just before return of consciousness (ROC); (4) just after ROC. Homogeneity of variance across all agents within states was found. Topographic statistical probability images were compared between states. At LOC, power increased in all frequency bands in the power spectrum with the exception of a decrease in gamma activity, and there was a marked anteriorization of power. Additionally, a significant change occurred in hemispheric relationships, with prefrontal and frontal regions of each hemisphere becoming more closely coupled, and anterior and posterior regions on each hemisphere, as well as homologous regions between the two hemispheres, uncoupling. All of these changes reversed upon ROC. Variable resolution electromagnetic tomography (VARETA) was performed to localize salient features of power anteriorization in three dimensions. A common set of neuroanatomical regions appeared to be the locus of the most probable generators of the observed EEG changes. (shrink)
Philosophers who hold that the correct ontological analysis of things includes both properties and particulars have often been pressed to "show" the particular. If we are not acquainted with them, it is argued, then we should not suppose that they exist. I argue that, while we do have good and sufficient reasons for supposing there to be particulars, we are not acquainted with them. To suppose that we are acquainted with them is to treat particulars as if they were properties (...) and to fail to realize how radically different particulars are from properties. The relevance of these matters to some considerations of "simplicity" and the principles of empiricism is explored. (shrink)
According to the theory of dispositions here defended, to have a disposition is to have some (non-dispositional) property that enters into a law of a certain form. The theory does not have the crucial difficulty of the singular material implication account of dispositions, but at the same time avoids the unfortunate notion of 'reduction sentences'. It is further argued that no dispositional explanation is one of the covering-law type; but the theory shows how, for any dispositional explanation! To construct a (...) potential explanation of the covering-law type. The theory can also be applied fruitfully to human behavior, especially with respect to the issues of reasons and causes and of' rational' explanation. The success of the applicability of this theory of dispositions is further evidence of its adequacy. (shrink)
Philosophers, social thinkers, and social activists continue to puzzle over the notion of an historical law of development. What this paper attempts is: (1) a statement of what might reasonably be understood by the notion of an historical law of development as well as some historical background to the notion, (2) a discussion of the various logical possibilities regarding the status of historical laws of development, (3) an examination of the views of Karl Popper on historical laws of development and (...) social science, and (4) a suggestion or two concerning the connection between the analysis of the notion of an historical law of development and politics. (shrink)
We argue that abduction does not work in isolation from other inference mechanisms and illustrate this through an inference scheme designed to evaluate multiple hypotheses. We use game theory to relate the abductive system to actions that produce new information. To enable evaluation of the implications of this approach we have implemented the procedures used to calculate the impact of new information in a computer model. Experiments with this model display a number of features of collective belief-revision leading to consensus-formation, (...) such as the influence of bias and prejudice. The scheme of inferential calculations invokes a Peircian concept of ‘belief’ as the propensity to choose a particular course of action. (shrink)
We argue from the Church-Turing thesis (Kleene Mathematical logic . New York: Wiley 1967) that a program can be considered as equivalent to a formal language similar to predicate calculus where predicates can be taken as functions. We can relate such a calculus to Wittgenstein’s first major work, the Tractatus , and use the Tractatus and its theses as a model of the formal classical definition of a computer program. However, Wittgenstein found flaws in his initial great work (...) and he explored these flaws in a new thesis described in his second great work; the Philosophical Investigations . The question we address is “can computer science make the same leap?” We are proposing, because of the flaws identified by Wittgenstein, that computers will never have the possibility of natural communication with people unless they become active participants of human society. The essential difference between formal models used in computing and human communication is that formal models are based upon rational sets whereas people are not so restricted. We introduce irrational sets as a concept that requires the use of an abductive inference system. However, formal models are still considered central to our means of using hypotheses through deduction to make predictions about the world. These formal models are required to continually be updated in response to peoples’ changes in their way of seeing the world. We propose that one mechanism used to keep track of these changes is the Peircian abductive loop. (shrink)
Voyeurism seems creepy. This paper considers whether these feelings are well-founded. It identifies a variety of ethically troubling features, including harmful consequences, deceit, and the violation of various religious, legal, and conventional norms. Voyeurism is something of a moral misdemeanor that seems worrisome when associated with these other failings. However, because voyeurism remains troubling even in the absence of harm or deceit, we must pay special attention to the ways complex social conventions can be used to show disrespect for others. (...) The discussion centers on the famous case of Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom, but much of the analysis applies to voyeurism more generally. (shrink)
Tom Kelly argues that instrumentalist aeeounts of epistemie rationality fail beeause what a person has reason to believe does not depend upon the eontent of his or her goals. However, his argument fails to distinguish questions about what the evidence supports from questions about what a person ought to believe. Once these are distinguished, the instrumentalist ean avoid Kelly’s objeetions. The paperconcludes by sketehing what I take to be the most defensible version of the instrumentalist view.
A recently published book, 'The Economics of Health Reconsidered' by Tom Rice, provides a strong critique of the role of markets in health care. Many of the issues of 'market failure' raised by Rice, however, have been, to varying extents, recognised previously in the health economics literature (at least outside the U.S.). What perhaps sets Rice's book apart from previous attempts to document such issues is its elegance and the methodical manner in which this critique is delivered. Significantly the critique (...) is based solely on conventional economic arguments. There has, however, been an emerging strand of the health economics literature not acknowledged in Rice's book which has approached some of these issues of market failure from a different perspective. Notably this research has involved, in part, borrowing from the ideas and methodological traditions of other disciplines. The emphasis in this work has been to expand the scope and the concerns of economic analysis in health care. (shrink)
Since its publication in 1976, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America has been recognized as a classic study of the career of the foremost political pamphleteer of the Age of Revolution, and a model of how to integrate the political, intellectual, and social history of the struggle for American independence. Foner skillfully brings together an account of Paine's remarkable career with a careful examination of the social worlds within which he operated, in Great Britain, France, and especially the United States. He (...) explores Paine's political and social ideas and the way he popularized them by pioneering a new form of political writing, using simple, direct language and addressing himself to a reading public far broader than previous writers had commanded. He shows which of Paine's views remained essentially fixed throughout his career, while directing attention to the ways his stance on social questions evolved under the pressure of events. This enduring work makes clear the tremendous impact Paine's writing exerted on the American Revolution, and suggests why he failed to have a similar impact during his career in revolutionary France. And it offers new insights into the nature and internal tensions of the republican outlook that helped to shape the Revolution. In a new preface, Foner discusses the origins of this book and the influences of the 1960s and 1970s on its writing. He also looks at how Paine has been adopted by scholars and politicians of many stripes, and has even been called the patron saint of the Internet. (shrink)
Addis (1981) has criticized a proposal of ours (Wilson [1969b]) for analysing disposition predications in terns of the horseshoe of material implication, and has proposed a related but significantly different analysis. This paper restates the original proposal, and defends it against Addis's criticisms. It is further argued that his proposal will not do as a general account of disposition predications; that, however, if it is suitably qualified, then it does account for certain special sorts of disposition predication; but (...) that so understood, it can be seen to be but a special case of ours. (shrink)
Tom Regan (this issue) criticizes my thesis that obligation toward the environment is grounded in a world view and thereby has a moral overridingness which mere interests and desires do not have. He holds that my approach is too subjectivistic. I counter, first, by explaining that phenomenology, which I use in my analysis of moral obligation, is not subjectivistic in the way emotivism or prescriptivism inethics is subjectivistic. Second, I argue that world views are products of learning and experience of (...) one shared world, that most world views share large areas of agreement, and that they can be argued for and criticized. (shrink)
This is an extremely thorough revision of the leading textbook of bioethics. The authors have made many improvements in style, organization, argument and content. These changes reflect advances in the bioethics literature over the past five years. The most dramatic expansions of the text are in the comprehensiveness with which the authors treat different currents in ethical theory and the greater breadth and depth of their discussion of public policy and public health issues. In every chapter, readers will find new (...) material and refinements of old discussions. This is evident in the many new sections on topics like communitarianism, ethics of care, relationship-based accounts, casuistry, case-based reasoning, principle-based common-morality theories, the justification of assistance in dying, rationing through priorities in the health care budget, and virtues in professional roles. The most extensive revisions are in chapters 1, 2 and 8. (shrink)
Paul Collins travels the globe piecing together the missing body and soul of one of our most enigmatic founding fathers: Thomas Paine. A typical book about an American founding father doesn’t start at a gay piano bar and end in a sewage ditch. But then, Tom Paine isn’t your typical founding father. A firebrand rebel and a radical on the run, Paine alone claims a key role in the development of three modern democracies. In death, his story turns truly bizarre. (...) Shunned as an infidel by every church, he had to be interred in an open field on a New York farm. Ten years later, a former enemy converting to Paine’s cause dug up the bones and carried them back to Britain, where he planned to build a mausoleum in Paine’s honor. But he never got around to it. So what happened to the body of this founding father? Well, it got lost. Paine’s missing bones, like saint’s relics, have been scattered for two centuries, and their travels are the trail of radical democracy itself. Paul Collins combines wry, present-day travelogue with an odyssey down the forgotten paths of history as he searches for the remains of Tom Paine and finds them hidden in, among other places, a Paris hotel, underneath a London tailor's stool, and inside a roadside statue in New York. Along the way he crosses paths with everyone from Walt Whitman and Charles Darwin to sex reformers and hellfire ministers—not to mention a suicidal gunman, a Ferrari dealer, and berserk feral monkeys. In the end, Collins’s search for Paine’s body instead finds the soul of democracy—for it is the story of how Paine’s struggles have lived on through his eccentric and idealistic followers. (shrink)
In this article, I seek to make sense of the oft-invoked idea of 'public emergency' and of some of its (supposedly) radical moral implications. I challenge controversial claims by Tom Sorell, Michael Walzer, and Giorgio Agamben, and argue for a more discriminating understanding of the category and its moral force.
Wesley Salmon and John Earman have presented influential Bayesian reconstructions of Thomas Kuhn’s account of theory-change. In this paper I argue that all attempts to give a Bayesian reading of Kuhn’s philosophy of science are fundamentally misguided due to the fact that Bayesian confirmation theory is in fact inconsistent with Kuhn’s account. The reasons for this inconsistency are traced to the role the concept of incommensurability plays with reference to the ‘observational vocabulary’ within Kuhn’s picture of scientific theories. The upshot (...) of the discussion is that it is impossible to integrate both Kuhn’s claims and Bayesianism within a coherent account of theory-change. (shrink)