In an attempt to improve upon Alexander Pruss’s work (2006, pp. 240-248), I (Weaver, 2012) have argued that if all purely contingent events could be caused and something like a Lewisian analysis of causation is true (per Lewis, 2004), then all purely contingent events have causes. I dubbed the derivation of the universality of causation the “Lewisian argument”. The Lewisian argument assumed not a few controversial metaphysical theses, particularly essentialism, an incommunicable-property view of essences (per Plantinga 2003), and the (...) idea that counterfactual dependence is necessary for causation. There are, of course, substantial objections to such theses. While I think a fight against objections to the Lewisian argument can be won, I develop, in what follows, a much more intuitive argument for the universality of causation which takes as its inspiration a result from Frederic Fitch’s work (1963) (with credit to who we now know was Alonzo Church (2009)) that if all truths are such that they are knowable, then (counter-intuitively) all truths are known. The resulting Church-Fitch proof for the universality of causation is preferable to the Lewisian argument since it rests upon far weaker formal and metaphysical assumptions than those of the Lewisian argument. (shrink)
Speculative logical theory, as provided in Hegel’s Science of Logic, consists of three main parts: the logic of being, the logic of essence, and the logic of the concept. The peculiar character of each logic’s starting-point determines the most general character of each logic’s development. The essay aims at making explicit the character of the starting-point of the third logic, the logic of the concept. This starting-point is exemplified by the category of universality. It is shown (a) that the (...) fundamental determination of this category is the harmonious unity of self-identity and full determinacy and (b) that this unity has necessarily the logical structure of “double shining.” The latter is described in detail and justification is provided as to why it is preferred from “single shining.” I conclude the paper by defending the structure of “double shining” against certain objections raised against it by F. Shick and C. Iber. (shrink)
One of the hallmarks of human cognition is the capacity to generalize over arbitrary constituents. Recently, Marcus (1998, 1998a, b; Cognition 66, p. 153; Cognitive Psychology 37, p. 243) argued that this capacity, called universal generalization (universality), is not supported by Connectionist models. Instead, universality is best explained by Classical symbol systems, with Connectionism as its implementation. Here it is argued that universality is also a problem for Classicism in that the syntax-sensitive rules that are supposed to (...) provide causal explanations of mental processes are either too strict, precluding possible generalizations; or too lax, providing no information as to the appropriate alternative. Consequently, universality is not explained by a Classical theory. (shrink)
This address to a philosophical conference on truth and faith in ethics engages in an extended critique of the account of truth in Bernard Williams, Truth and Truthfulness: an essay in genealogy (Princeton University Press, 2002). For any jurisprudential, moral or political theory that affirms natural law needs to respond first to sceptical denials that reason can discover any truths about what ends all human individuals or groups ought to pursue. But any such theory also needs to make clear how (...) it differs from, even when it coincides in moral judgment with, bodies of moral teaching self-identified as part of a divine revelation addressed to everyone. It also needs to show how truths of natural law provide grounds for rejecting, as well as for accepting, particular human claims to be the bearer of such a universal revelation. Parts I to III below address these issues through a critical examination of some contemporary philosophizing which, while acknowledging the warranted universality of the predicate “is true,” withhold that predicate from the principles of practical reason. Parts IV and V address another aspect of universality and particularity about which natural law theory needs to get clear: how the moral norms of natural law, properly as universal as human nature and the community of all people and peoples, nonetheless warrant strong loyalty to specific communities, above all one’s country and one’s marital family. The paper is now published in an edited version in The American Journal of Jurisprudence 53 (2008) 23-48. (shrink)
Various senses in which laws of nature are supposed to be "universal" are distinguished. Conditions designed to capture the content of the more important of these senses are proposed and the relations among these conditions are examined. The status of universality requirements is briefly discussed.
This paper concerns what Jerry Fodor calls a 'metaphysical mystery': How can there by macroregularities that are realized by wildly heterogeneous lower level mechanisms? But the answer to this question is not as mysterious as many, including Jaegwon Kim, Ned Block, and Jerry Fodor might think. The multiple realizability of the properties of the special sciences such as psychology is best understood as a kind of universality, where 'universality' is used in the technical sense one finds in the (...) physics literature. It is argued that the same explanatory strategy used by physicists to provide understanding of universal behavior in physics can be used to explain how special science properties can be heterogeneously multiply realized. (shrink)
There are certain logical abilities that any rational creature must have. I call this thesis the Universality of Logic (UL). Something like UL is presupposed in Quinean and Davidsonian uses of the Principle of Charity. Their arguments for the Principle of Charity might be thought of as top−down arguments, establishing UL on the basis of very general considerations about meaning and belief. In this paper, I intend to argue for UL constructively, from the bottom up, as it were, by (...) showing just why and how rationality demands certain specific logical abilities. I shall begin by looking at two sources of opposition to UL, in order to locate it better in the current philosophical landscape and underline the interest and importance of the thesis. Next, I shall deal with important methodological issues surrounding my arguments for UL. This will involve addressing such questions as: what is a rational creature?; and, what are logical abilities? As a result, we will be led to a certain weakening of UL. Then, I shall argue for the weakened version of UL constructively, by demonstrating the universality of certain particular logical abilities. Finally, I shall examine some of the consequences of UL for other areas of philosophy. (shrink)
This book is about one of the most baffling of all paradoxes--the famous Liar paradox. Suppose we say: "We are lying now." Then if we are lying, we are telling the truth; and if we are telling the truth we are lying. This paradox is more than an intriguing puzzle, since it involves the concept of truth. Thus any coherent theory of truth must deal with the Liar. Keith Simmons discusses the solutions proposed by medieval philosophers and offers his own (...) solutions and in the process assesses other contemporary attempts to solve the paradox. Unlike such attempts, Simmons' "singularity" solution does not abandon classical semantics and does not appeal to the kind of hierarchical view found in Barwise's and Etchemendy's The Liar. Moreover, Simmons' solution resolves the vexing problem of semantic universality--the problem of whether there are semantic concepts beyond the expressive reach of a natural language such as English. (shrink)
This paper opens with a presentation of the philosophical underpinning and rationale of the concept of physical literacy. This is followed by an articulation of the concept of physical literacy. Three subsequent sections then consider aspects of the concept in a little more detail. The first investigates the relationship of the physical literacy to the development of a sense of self and to establishing interaction with others. Here the philosophical approach is informed by writings on cognitive development and recent neurological (...) insights. The second considers the universality of the concept and looks briefly at the views of existentialists and of contemporary sociologists. The third section addresses the place of propositional knowledge in being physically literate. The implications of objectifying the body in descriptive language are weighed against the fact that verbally expressed understanding and knowledge are an integral part of Western culture. The debate presented is one of a series that has, over the last five years, mapped the author's work on developing the concept of physical literacy. The aspects chosen to be discussed here are three that have generated considerable interest and debate. In conclusion, there is a short reflection on the implications of the views discussed for education and physical education. (shrink)
of the tension between universality and singularity in the constitution of political community. Politics for Derrida refers to demands for universal justice, while friendship stands in for demands to recognize the incomparable uniqueness of each person. Derrida develops the incompatibility between these demands to its furthest extreme while arguing that democracy paradoxically requires meeting the demands of both claims. The result is a democracy that is never achieved but always present only in the form of a desire for (...) democracy. This article evaluates Derridas position that political community is simultaneously impossible and necessary in light of similar proposals by Judith Butler and Luce Irigaray. It also asks whether the political community Derrida imagines is one in which womens desires are represented. Key Words: Derrida friendship Irigaray politics sexual difference. (shrink)
Foucault's resistance to a universalist ethics, especially in his later writings, is well-known. Foucault thinks that ethical universalism presupposes a shared human essence, and that this presupposition makes it a straitjacket, an attempt to force people to conform to an externally imposed 'pattern'. Foucault's hostility may be warranted for one - perhaps the usual - conception of ethical universality. But there are other conceptions of ethical universality that are not vulnerable to Foucault's criticism, and that are ethically and (...) culturally important. I set out one such conception, and show why it matters. Paul Patton has argued that Foucault is best read as grounding his analyses of power in a 'conception of human being' traceable to Nietzsche. I explain why this does not amount to the ethical universalism that I sketch below. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical analysis of two central issues in Luigi Ferrajoli’s Principia iuris , and more generally of his theory of rights. One is the way in which ‘expectations’ play a crucial role in his deontic theory by establishing the logical basis for his guarantee-based conception of law and rights. The axiomatic way in which Ferrajoli arrives at his conception of fundamental rights is questioned, for it fails to give a full account of the nature of subjective rights. (...) The other issues discussed here is Ferrajoli’s own defence of the universality of fundamental rights, and how this is made to depend on a ‘normative technique’ that one can associate with legal discourse and modern law in Western societies. This, however, poses the problem of how this formal universalism can be reconciled with the intercultural dialogue that Ferrajoli also advocates. (shrink)
An important question one can ask of ethical theories is whether and how they aim to raise claims to universality. This refers to the subject area that they intend to describe or govern and also to the question whether they claim to be binding for all (moral) agents. This paper discusses the question of universality of Luciano Floridi’s information ethics (IE). This is done by introducing the theory and discussing its conceptual foundations and applications. The emphasis will be (...) placed on the ontological grounding of IE. IE’s claims to universality will be contrasted with those raised by discourse ethics. This comparison of two pertinent ethical theories allows for a critical discussion of areas where IE currently has room for elaboration and development. (shrink)
Jewish ethics like Judaism itself has often been charged with being "particularistic," and in modernity it has been unfavorably compared with the universality of secular ethics. This charge has become acute philosophically when the comparison is made with the ethics of Kant. However, at this level, much of the ethical rejection of Jewish particularism, especially its being beholden to a God who is above the universe to whom this God prescribes moral norms and judges according to them, is also (...) a rejection of Christian (or any other monotheistic) ethics, no matter how otherwise universal. Yet this essay argues that Jewish ethics that prescribes norms for all humans, and that is knowable by all humans, actually constitutes a wider moral universe than does Kantian ethics, because it can include non-rational human objects and even non-human objects altogether. This essay also argues that a totally egalitarian moral universe, encompassing all human relations, becomes an infinite, totalizing universe, which can easily become the ideological justification (ratio essendi) of a totalitarian regime. (shrink)
Philosophers today are inclined to propose virtues are either something subjective or something universal. However, Confucius and Aristotle, who made the most profound investigations into virtues, did not develop such theses. The deep-seated reason lies in their belief that there is always a possibility for a human being to become a man of practice, which cancels the need of proposing subjectivity thesis. The reason for their not raising the universality thesis of virtues is that they do not think that (...) virtues are directly universal to all contemporarily existing minds. Rather, in their view, virtues involve a possible universality that may present in a virtuous mind. We can summarize Aristotle’s view into the concept of possible universality of virtue understood in terms of the perfect state of mind, since he explains the perfect state of mind in terms of perfect state of activity, and makes his investigations with an eye to the interactions between people with similar states of virtues. The view of Confucius can be summarized into the concept of possible universality of virtue understood in terms of the history of mind, since his investigations are made from the point of view of the states of mind reached through virtuous practices, i.e., a historical process of human life in which one’s pre-dispositions and feelings gradually reach some state of natural harmony and gains continual enrichment, and with an eye to the interactions between virtuous people and common people. From that similarly expressed view we can reasonably infer that virtues do possess the character called by today’s philosophers as universality, but it is a possible universality whose possibility is based on practice and on the development of virtuous minds. (shrink)
In this article, I examine the ramified-type theory set out in the first edition of Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica. My starting point is the ?no loss of generality? problem: Russell, in the Introduction (Russell, B. and Whitehead, A. N. 1910. Principia Mathematica, Volume I, 1st ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 53?54), says that one can account for all propositional functions using predicative variables only, that is, dismissing non-predicative variables. That claim is not self-evident at all, hence a problem. (...) The purpose of this article is to clarify Russell's claim and to solve the ?no loss of generality? problem. I first remark that the hierarchy of propositional functions calls for a fine-grained conception of ramified types as propositional forms (?ramif-types?). Then, comparing different important interpretations of Principia?s theory of types, I consider the question as to whether Principia allows for non-predicative propositional functions and variables thereof. I explain how the distinction between the formal system of the theory, on the one hand, and its realizations in different epistemic universes, on the other hand, makes it possible to give us a more satisfactory answer to that question than those given by previous commentators, and, as a consequence, to solve the ?no loss of generality? problem. The solution consists in a substitutional semantics for non-predicative variables and non-predicative complex terms, based on an epistemic understanding of the order component of ramified types. The rest of the article then develops that epistemic understanding, adding an original epistemic model theory to the formal system of types. This shows that the universality sought by Russell for logic does not preclude semantical considerations, contrary to what van Heijenoort and Hintikka have claimed. (shrink)
One of the central questions of Jacques Derrida's later writings concerns the sources of religion. At times he gives explicit priority to the universal dimension of religion. In other places, however, he considers the primacy of faith in its concrete, historical context. This paper will clarify Derrida's relationship to universality and historicity by first comparing his notion of "messianicity without messianism" to that of Walter Benjamin's "weak Messianism." After drawing out these differences, I will focus on Derrida's later writings. (...) I will show that much of the ambiguity of Derrida's thinking on religion can be resolved by turning to his work on khōra, the Greek word for "space" or "matter." The rhetoric of khōra can allow us to think through a twofold logic, one that includes the universal/historical distinction and exceeds its alternatives. (shrink)
Abstract Universality, rather than partiality, is the characteristic of Confucian jen. This article puts forward three arguments to clarify confusion of interpretation: (1) that jen, rather than shu, is the main thread running through the whole system of Confucianism, and that by its two procedures of chung and shu, it presents itself as an integration of one's self with others; (2) that jen, as love, does not signify a natural preference, but an ethical refinement of an ordinary feeling of (...) fondness, that it derives from such a feeling but goes beyond it, and that it functions as a universal commitment which begins with family affection but is not limited to it; (3) that jen, as universal love, is deontological in motive, not only in contrast to a mutuality of love but also in opposition to a utilitarianism of love. (shrink)
Abstract Lawrence Kohlberg's theory postulates a universal model of moral development. According to Kohlberg's cognitive?development theory, moral judgement represents underlying thought organisation rather than specific responses. Although the specific content of moral judgement may vary among cultures, the basic structures are said to be universal. Our cross?sectional study has been undertaken to test the validity of Kohlberg's measure in a Polish sample. The data were gathered between 1985?87. The sample includes 291 men and women, 15?80 years of age. This paper (...) presents the results of the Polish study, which generally support Kohlberg's claim of cross?cultural universality. (shrink)
University of Keele, England This article analyzes the strategies and means by which universalist claims about human nature become successful in science. Of specific interest are the conditions under which claims of this sort are taken to be inherently superior to those which are particularistic or context-specific (a hierarchy of values which we term "universality bias"). We trace the birth of universalists claims in neglected fields, their growth through methodological agreements and the use of invisible referents, and their roots (...) in multiple audiences with different evaluation criteria. Our analysis complements philosophical and political critiques of theories about human nature and demonstrates the historical specificity of universalist claims. (shrink)
A number of writers have suggested that laws of nature must be universal in space and time. Just what this claim amounts to is the focus of the present study. I consider and compare a number of interpretations of the requirement, with especial reference to an example by Tooley which seems paradigmatic of the antithesis of universality in space and time. I also sketch a number of other concepts of "local", "global", and "universal", each of which should (...) be kept distinct from "universality in space and time". I leave open the issue whether or not laws must satisfy any of the requirements. (shrink)
Alain Badiou argues in “Rancière and Apolitics” that Rancière has appropriated his central idea of equality from Badiou’s own work. We argue that Badiou’s characterisation of Rancière’s project is correct, but that his self-characterisation is mistaken. What Badiou’s ontology of events opens out onto is not necessarily equality, but instead universality. Equality is only one form of universality, but there is nothing in Badiou’s thought that prohibits the (multiple) universality he positsfrom being hierarchical. In the end, then, (...) Badiou’s thought moves in a Maoist direction while Rancière’s in an anarchist one. (shrink)
Giving attention both to the history of modern science and to current work in the natural sciences, the importance of requiring that natural laws be treated as universal with respect to space and time is discussed critically. It is concluded that the view that such a requirement be taken as a definitional criterion characterizing laws of nature--or science itself--is not justified, and that the deductive advantages of universality can be preserved with local laws using scope limitations or (...) sortal techniques. (shrink)
The criterion of computational universality for an architecture should be replaced by the notion of compliancy, where a model built within an architecture is compliant to the extent that the model allows the architecture to determine the processing. The test should be that the architecture does easily – that is, enables a compliant model to do – what people do easily.
In this paper we show that some standard topological constructions may be fruitfully used in the theory of closure spaces (see , ). These possibilities are exemplified by the classical theorem on the universality of the Alexandroff's cube for T 0-closure spaces. It turns out that the closure space of all filters in the lattice of all subsets forms a generalized Alexandroff's cube that is universal for T 0-closure spaces. By this theorem we obtain the following characterization of the (...) consequence operator of the classical logic: If is a countable set and C: P() P() is a closure operator on X, then C satisfies the compactness theorem iff the closure space ,C is homeomorphically embeddable in the closure space of the consequence operator of the classical logic.We also prove that for every closure space X with a countable base such that the cardinality of X is not greater than 2 there exists a subset X of irrationals and a subset X of the Cantor's set such that X is both a continuous image of X and a continuous image of X. (shrink)
This essay seeks to demonstrate that there are no compelling reasons to exclude non-Western artefacts from the domain of art. Any theory of art must therefore account for the universality of the concept of art. It cannot simply start from ‘our’ art traditions and extend these conceptions to other cultures, since this would imply cultural appropriation, nor can it resolve the matter simply by formulating separate criteria for non-Western art, since this would imply that there is no unity in (...) the concept of art. At first sight, cluster theories of art seem capable of accounting for the universality of art since they (can) start from a broad cross-cultural range of artworks and nowhere seem to extend one conception of art to other conceptions. Yet cluster theories remain unsatisfactory, because they can neither avoid misapplication of the proposed criteria, nor clarify the unity in the concept of art. (shrink)
We are experiencing a new phase of the crisis of the universality in the transmodern era. In the XXIst century there is room for the common search for the human unity starting from the acceptance of our fundamental diversity and the experiencing of an insular, local universality in the Digital Realm of the Net. There are good reasons to consider the Human Being has a ground non generic universality, inviting us to search the human integrality as a (...) process, not as a result and to accept that the digital natives are naturally adapted to the Transmodern Era. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to make apparent Hannah Arendt’s thought on the practical dimension of universality alluded throughout her works. The issue of universality has been one of the most pivotal questions in political philosophy until today. Beneath of her philosophical endeavor there is always her deep concern for it. In this article I will show the practical dimension of universality unintentionally pursued by Arendt and its political implications. By harshly criticizing Plato Arendt successfully shows (...) how violent the truth claim in the political realm can be. What Arendt is critical of is the attitude to dictate philosophical ideals in politicalrealm, the attitude I named the “Philosopher King Complex.” Arendt’s bitter criticism of this attitude makes believe that she is critical of any claim of universality in the political realm, but her praise of Socrates clearly shows that she does not altogether blame the claim itself. We also need to note the debate with Gershom Scholem. Scholem’s charge that Arendt dealt with the Eichmann case from a humanitarian, universalistic viewpoint while neglecting the Jewish perspective could be serious considering Arendt’s emphasis on the pariah’s perspective. Arendt’s standpoint, however, includes both a particularistic view as a Jew and auniversalistic view as a human at the same time. This is possible because Arendt correctly understood the role of speech. Arendt’s use of Pastor Grueber’s example in Eichmann in Jerusalem implies that she believes in the power of speech to relate our consciousness to reality and to make communication possible. To retain human plurality along with universality, it is necessary but not sufficient to focus on speech alone. In this regard we learn a lesson from the Habermas-Henrich debate: that self-relation of consciousness plays the role of establishing self-identity. A successful example of combining these two insights is Arendt’s position since she delivered her hermeneutic insights in the language of philosophy of consciousness. Albrecht Wellmer’s unjustifiable charge of Arendt’s concept of judgment to be “mystic” is an example of misunderstanding of her peculiar position. If we admit this, we can say that Arendt establishes aposition to give an answer to the question “is democracy a universal truth?”: democracy, as far as it is a political truth, is neither equivalent to a universal truth as a mathematical one, nor just a particular cultural opinion of westerners. This interpretation of Arendt puts her position near to liberal-communitarian views of Michael Sandel or Charles Taylor. Sandel criticizes Arendt to be universalistic, but in fact his position is quite near to hers. For example, his method of analogy is almost the same as her concept of exemplary validity. Rather, it seems to me that Arendt provides more solid theoretical ground than Taylor or Sandel does. For Arendt’s position stands on a firm understanding of the power of speech and on an insight of self-relation of consciousness. (shrink)
When we are touched by the beauty of something, we cannot help judging that the experienced feeling of pleasure ought to be shared by others. In Kantian terms, a pure judgement of taste requires or demands everyone else's assent. I examine some of the major intricacies of Kant's account and aim to correct some distorted views of it. I argue that the autonomy (or heautonomy) of the judgement of taste is not presupposed but made possible by the modal requirement as (...) such, i.e. by the subjective necessity to be universally shared—a necessity that is not moral, as several commentators hold, but strictly epistemological. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
I present a puzzle for absolutely unrestricted quantification. One important advantage of absolutely unrestricted quantification is that it allows us to entertain perfectly general theories. Whereas most of our theories restrict attention to one or another parcel of reality, other theories are genuinely comprehensive taking absolutely all objects into their domain. The puzzle arises when we notice that absolutely unrestricted theories sometimes impose incompatible constraints on the size of the universe.
Discussions of the foundations of Classical Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics (SM) typically focus on the problem of justifying the use of a certain probability measure (the microcanonical measure) to compute average values of certain functions. One would like to be able to explain why the equilibrium behavior of a wide variety of distinct systems (different sorts of molecules interacting with different potentials) can be described by the same averaging procedure. A standard approach is to appeal to ergodic theory to justify this (...) choice of measure. A different approach, eschewing ergodicity, was initiated by A. I. Khinchin. Both explanatory programs have been subjected to severe criticisms. This paper argues that the Khinchin type program deserves further attention in light of relatively recent results in understanding the physics of universal behavior. (shrink)
The traditional tripartite and tetrapartite analyses describe the conceptual components of propositional knowledge from a universal epistemic point of view. According to the classical analysis, since truth is a necessary condition of knowledge, it does not make sense to talk about “false knowledge” or “knowing wrongly.” There are nonetheless some natural languages in which speakers ordinarily make statements about a person’s knowing a given subject matter wrongly. In this paper, we first provide a brief analysis of “knowing wrongly” in Turkish. (...) Then, taking Allan Hazlett’s recent account of the gap between traditional analyses of knowledge and actual epistemic practices of real cognitive agents as a point of departure, we spell out a non-universalist and non-extensionalist perspective on the value of “knowing wrongly.”. (shrink)
In introducing his argument - which resumes and develops the philosophical analysis of the phenomenon of globalisation advanced in his book Westward Passage (forthcoming from Verso, London-New York) - Giacomo Marramao takes the film Babel, by the Mexican director Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu, as the point of departure for his discussion: the film depicts the globalised world as a complex space at once interdependent and differentiated in character, constituted like a mosaic, composed of a multiplicity of "asynchronic" ways and forms of (...) life which are brought together by the manifold flux of events that traverse them. This cinematographic depiction perfectly captures the disconcerting bi-logic of globalisation: the logic through which the mix of the global market and of digital technologies operating in "real time" generates an increasing diaspora of identities. The Babel of our contemporary world thereby reveals itself as a kind of planetary extension of the world of Kakania described by Robert Musil: a cacophonous compendium of proliferating and mutually untranslatable languages. In order to conceptualise, and produce a suitably fluid and dynamic account, of this new "world picture," we must not only dissolve the spurious dilemma between universalism and relativism, but move beyond the current impasse encouraged by a normative political philosophy which tends to reify "cultural identities" and "struggles for recognition" by treating these as givens rather than as problems. The philosophical approach pursued in the following discussion attempts to liberate the concept of "the universal" - despite the etymology of the word - from the logic of the reductio ad unum, and apply it instead to the realm of multiplicity and difference. Developing a double phenomenology of the increasingly homogenising phenomenon of the market on the one hand and of the internally conflicted pandemic of identitarian and communitarian approaches on the other, the author indicates a variety of universalising tendencies whose potential can only fully be evaluated in the context of a new theory and practice of translation. Marramao's proposal for a universalism of difference is predicated on the failure of the two principal models of "democratic" inclusion that have previously been attempted in the West: the republican or assimilationist model (that of a Republique founded upon what could be called a universalism of indifference) and the "strong" multiculturalism model (the so-called Londonistan model that derives from a mosaic of differences that also provides fertile ground for the growth of fundamentalist ideas). But to advance beyond the antagonistic complicity generated by this dilemma calls for a re-enchantment of the political: the only way in which we may be able to read the prognostic signs of our present. (shrink)
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study found that even though children from all East Asian countries outperformed American children, American students reported higher self-evaluation of their math and science abilities than did students from East Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Japan (Mullis, Martin, Gonzalez, & Chrostowski, 2004). Such cross-cultural differences in self-appraisal ﬁt the stereotype of the modest East Asian and contribute to the received view that East Asians have less positive self-concepts than Americans. This view (...) was summarized recently by Heine, Lehman, Markus, and Kitayama (1999) as follows: ‘‘The need for positive self-regard, as it is currently conceptualized, is not a universal, but rather is rooted in significant aspects of North American culture’’ (p. 766; but cf. Sedikides, Gaertner, & Vevea. (shrink)
The basic computer components are universal. Whatever can be built from transistors can also be built from vacuum tubes, relays, fluidic elements, McCulloch-Pitts neurons, connectionist neurons, or from any of the other kinds of neuron Marvin Minsky proved universal in his 1954 Princeton PhD dissertation.
In Menciusiia6 all humans are said to have ‘a heart that does not bear the suffering of others’. I argue that this statement is illustrated, rather than proven, by the example of our reaction to a child about to fall into a well. This illustration can be located at the most basic level of ethical universals (it is a universal example): basic ethical training; further steps in a ladder of reflection are universal reflection on ethical norms themselves, which may finally (...) be related universally to non-ethical concerns. (shrink)
Are social sciences that are indigenous to the West necessarily universal for other cultures? This collection of South Asian scholarship draws on the experiences of the region to discuss this question in depth.
Adams and Dziobiak proved that any finite-to-finite universal quasivariety must be Q-universal, and then asked whether a somewhat weaker hypothesis could lead to the same conclusion. We show that their original hypothesis cannot be weakened to its naturally extreme form.
Eminent science writer James Trefil examines the very underpinnings of scientific thought. He recounts the story of mankind's fascinating exploration beyond the earth and the simplistic beauty of the universal principles that govern the cosmos.
In this paper I criticize Cartwright's analysis of capacities and offer an alternative analysis. I argue that Cartwright's attempt to connect capacities to her condition CC fails because individuals can exercise capacities only in certain contexts. My own analysis emphasizes three features of capacities: 1) Capacities belong to individuals; 2) Capacities are typically not metaphysically fundamental properties of individuals, but can be explained by referring to structural properties of individuals; and 3) Laws are best understood as ascriptions of capacities.
Fodor argues that our minds must have epistemic limitations because there must be endogenous constraints on the class of concepts we can acquire. However, his argument for the existence of these endogenous constraints is falsified by the phenomenon of the deferential acquisition of concepts. If we allow for the acquisition of concepts through deferring to experts and scientific instruments, then our conceptual capacity will be without endogenous constraints, and there will be no reason to think that our minds are epistemically (...) bounded. (shrink)
The formula of universal law (FUL) is a natural starting point for philosophers interested in a Kantian perspective on the morality of abortion. I argue, however, that FUL does not yield much in the way of promising or substantive conclusions regarding the morality of abortion. I first reveal how two philosophers' (Hare's and Gensler's) attempts to use Kantian considerations of universality and prescriptivity fail to provide analyses of abortion that are either compelling or true to Kant=s understanding of FUL. (...) I then turn to some recent interpretations of Kant=s FUL contradiction in conception (CC) and contradiction in will (CW) tests. I argue that none of the interpretations of the CC testBincluding the practical interpretation favored by KorsgaardBdoes much to reveal moral problems with maxims of abortion. The CW test (as developed by Herman) is more helpful. Nevertheless, I argue that neither by considering abortion maxims as a subset of maxims of convenience killing, nor by considering such maxims as maxims of refusing to aid, can the CW test generate a general prohibition of abortion. At best, the CW test illuminates the abortion issue because by forcing us to think about how killing a fetus differs from killing other human beings, what attitudes we may reasonably have toward a fetus, and whether Kant's moral theory must be amended to do justice to the problem of abortion. But to pursue these questions, we must look beyond FUL; Kant’s formula of humanity and doctrine of virtue may well have more to offer. (shrink)
In his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant’s desiderata for a supreme principle of practical reasoning and morality require that the subjective conditions under which some action is thought of as justified via some maxim be sufficient for judging the same action as justified by any agent in those conditions. This describes the kind of universalization conditions now known as moral supervenience. But when he specifies his “formula of universal law” (FUL) Kant replaces this condition with a quite different (...) kind of universality: the judgment that some agent could rationally (i.e., without willing the frustration of his own valued ends) will his adoption of some maxim under the condition that this would cause all agents in his world to adopt it as well. Our wills typically lack this efficacy, so requiring that our wills conform to what would be rational for a hypothetical agent in this situation to will is a heteronomous requirement. Several intuitively wrong maxims pass Kant’s test but fail the test of supervenience, because they generate no contradiction in a world of universal compliance but do so in non-ideal worlds, demonstrating the inadequacy of the FUL and the logical superiority of moral supervenience. (shrink)
Vera & Simon (1993a) have argued that the theories and methods known as situated action or situativity theory are compatible with the assumptions and methodology of the physical symbol systems hypothesis and do not require a new approach to the study of cognition. When the central criterion of computational universality is added to the loose definition of a symbol system which Vera and Simon provide, it becomes apparent that there are important incompatibilities between the two approaches such that situativity (...) theory cannot be subsumed within the symbol systems approach. Symbol systems and situativity theoretic approaches are, and should be seen to be, competing approaches to the study of cognition. (shrink)
In just a few years, children achieve a stable state of linguistic competence, making them effectively adults with respect to: understanding novel sentences, discerning relations of paraphrase and entailment, acceptability judgments, etc. One familiar account of the language acquisition process treats it as an induction problem of the sort that arises in any domain where the knowledge achieved is logically underdetermined by experience. This view highlights the cues that are available in the input to children, as well as childrens skills (...) in extracting relevant information and forming generalizations on the basis of the data they receive. Nativists, on the other hand, contend that language-learners project beyond their experience in ways that the input does not even suggest. Instead of viewing language acqusition as a special case of theory induction, nativists posit a Universal Grammar, with innately specified linguistic principles of grammar formation. The nature versus nurture debate continues, as various poverty of stimulus arguments are challenged or supported by developments in linguistic theory and by findings from psycholinguistic investigations of child language. In light of some recent challenges to nativism, we rehearse old poverty-of stimulus arguments, and supplement them by drawing on more recent work in linguistic theory and studies of child language. (shrink)
It follows from Humean principles of plenitude, I argue, that island universes are possible: physical reality might have 'absolutely isolated' parts. This makes trouble for Lewis's modal realism; but the realist has a way out. First, accept absolute actuality, which is defensible, I argue, on independent grounds. Second, revise the standard analysis of modality: modal operators are 'plural', not 'individual', quantifiers over possible worlds. This solves the problem of island universes and confers three additional benefits: an 'unqualified' principle of compossibility (...) can be accepted; the possibility of nothing can be accommodated; and the identity of indiscernible worlds can be decisively refuted. (shrink)
Against the standard interpretation of Aristotle as a moderate realist about universals, I argue that he knew of and rejected this position and that he held that universals do not exist independently of the mind, but have a mind-independent basis in relations of commensurability and causality between particulars and their attributes.
Since its formal definition over sixty years ago, category theory has been increasingly recognized as having a foundational role in mathematics. It provides the conceptual lens to isolate and characterize the structures with importance and universality in mathematics. The notion of an adjunction (a pair of adjoint functors) has moved to center-stage as the principal lens. The central feature of an adjunction is what might be called "internalization through a universal" based on universal mapping properties. A recently developed "heteromorphic" (...) theory of adjoint functors allows the concepts to be more easily applied empirically. This suggests a conceptual structure, albeit abstract, to model a range of selectionist mechanisms (e.g., in evolution and in the immune system). Closely related to adjoints is the notion of a "brain functor" which abstractly models structures of cognition and action (e.g., the generative grammar view of language). (shrink)
We face grave global problems. We urgently need to learn how to tackle them in wiser, more effective, intelligent and humane ways than we have done so far. This requires that universities become devoted to helping humanity acquire the necessary wisdom to perform the task. But at present universities do not even conceive of their role in these terms. The essays of this book consider what needs to change in the university if it is to help humanity acquire the wisdom (...) it so urgently needs. (shrink)
Laws in the special sciences are usually regarded to be non-universal. A theory of laws in the special sciences faces two challenges. (I) According to Lange's dilemma, laws in the special sciences are either false or trivially true. (II) They have to meet the ?requirement of relevance?, which is a way to require the non-accidentality of special science laws. I argue that both challenges can be met if one distinguishes four dimensions of (non-) universality. The upshot is that I (...) argue for the following explication of special science laws: L is a special science law just if (1) L is a system law, (2) L is quasi-Newtonian, and (3) L is minimally invariant. (shrink)
In this article, I derive a weak version of Kant's categorical imperative within an informal game-theoretic framework. More specifically, I argue that Hobbesian agents would choose what I call the weak principle of universalization, if they had to decide on a rule of conflict resolution in an idealized but empirically defensible hypothetical decision situation. The discussion clarifies (i) the rationality requirements imposed on agents, (ii) the empirical conditions assumed to warrant the conclusion, and (iii) the political institutions that are necessary (...) to implement the derived principle. The analysis demonstrates the moral significance of the weak principle of universalization and its epistemic advantage over the categorical imperative. (shrink)
Many scientists, if pushed, may be inclined to hazard the guess that the universe is comprehensible, even physically comprehensible. Almost all, however, would vehemently deny that science has already established that the universe is comprehensible. It is, nevertheless, just this that I claim to be the case. Once one gets the nature of science properly into perspective, it becomes clear that the comprehensibility of the universe is as secure an item of current scientific knowledge as anything theoretical in science can (...) be, more secure, indeed, than the most firmly established fundamental theories of physics, such as quantum theory or Einstein's general theory of relativity. (shrink)
Rousseau's general will is mostly interpreted as promoting social unity at the expense of plurality. Conversely, this article argues that the general will depends on, and preserves, plurality for its formation and legitimacy. The general and the particular are not fixed opposites, for Rousseau, but are interdependent and contextually defined. The Rousseauian universal anticipates Laclau's notion of universality. The absence of any natural foundations for society deprives the universal of any pre-given identity. Likewise, the Laclauian universal names the lack (...) of ultimate ground for society. To prevent either sectarianism or despotism, the universal has to be constructed politically. Rousseau's contingent general will supplements the lack of universality, as diverse groups and individuals construct common values and political objectives that unify them across divisions without suppressing their difference. Due to its originary lack, the general will remains for ever incomplete. That incompleteness conditions the questioning, ambiguity and openness to change characterizing democracy. Key Words: democracy • equality • freedom • general will • Ernesto Laclau • particular • plurality • Jean-Jacques Rousseau • sovereignty • universal. (shrink)
Richard Hare described the "ethical fanatic" as an agent who appeared to be able to rationally universalize morally horrendous values by "fanatically" accepting the consequences of those values even if their universalization harmed the original agent. This challenges the project of basing ethics on universalization tests, as advocated by Hare, Immanuel Kant, and others. Hare later argued that fanatics are irrational by appealing to a "principle of prudence," but this violates his meta-principle of not basing fundamental ethical principles upon intuitions (...) which are not themselves shown to be required by reason. This failure is corrected by using the concept of "pragmatic implication" to show that any agent's reliance upon any ethical principle commits her to a higher-ordered principle which justifies commitment to the original principle. This threatens an infinite regress, which can only be closed by a unique meta-principle. It is shown that all possible alternatives to this principle fail to actually end the regress, and all strategies of ignoring the regress also entail practical inconsistency. Hence, ethical universalization tests are not empty; they support unique ethical principles whose content does not depend upon the particular values of actual agents. (shrink)
According Leibniz's thesis of universal expression, each substance expresses the whole world, i.e. all other substances, or, as Leibniz frequently states, from any given complete individual notion (which includes, in internal terms, everything truly attributable to a substance) one can "deduce" or "infer" all truths about the whole world. On the other hand, in Leibniz's view each (created) substance is internally individuated, self-sufficient and independent of other (created) substances. What may be called Leibniz's expression problem is, how to reconcile these (...) views with each other, that is, how a substance that expresses the whole world, even in the sense that the whole world can be "inferred" from its complete individual notion, can be self-sufficient and internally individuated. The purpose of this paper is to give an exact account of this tricky problem of universal expression, an account that retains substances' self-sufficiency under the constraint that all truths about the whole world are to be obtained from complete individual notions. It will also be shown how the explication of universal expression to be given accounts for Leibniz's thesis of universal change, i.e. the view that any change in any substance is reflected as a real, internal change in each and every other substance. (shrink)
Although the search for universal human traits is necessarily the principle focus of researchers in evolutionary psychology, the habitual reliance on undergraduate students introduces profound doubts concerning resulting data. Furthermore, the absence of relevant data from foraging societies undermines claims of cross-cultural universality in this paper and in many others.
For forty years I have argued that we urgently need to bring about a revolution in academia so that the basic task becomes to seek and promote wisdom. How did I come to argue for such a preposterously gigantic intellectual revolution? It goes back to my childhood. From an early age, I desired passionately to understand the physical universe. Then, around adolescence, my passion became to understand the heart and soul of people via the novel. But I never discovered how (...) to tell stories in order to tell the truth. So, having failed to become a physicist, and failed to become a novelist, I studied philosophy at Manchester University and then, in six weeks of inspiration, discovered that the riddle of the universe is the riddle of our desires. Philosophy should be about how to live, and should not just do conceptual analysis. I struggled to reconcile the two worlds of my childhood ambitions, the physical universe and the human world. I decided they could be reconciled with one another if one regarded the two accounts of them, physics and common sense, as myths, and not as literal truths. But then I discovered Karl Popper: truth is too important to be discarded. I revised my ideas: physics seeks to depict truly only an aspect of all that there is; in addition, there is the aspect of the experiential features of the world as we experience it. I was immensely impressed with Popper’s view that science makes progress, not by verification, but by ferocious attempted falsification of theories. I was impressed, too, with his generalization of this view to form critical rationalism. Then it dawned on me: Popper’s view of science is untenable because it misrepresents the basic aim of science. This is not truth as such; rather it is explanatory truth – truth presupposed to be unified or physically comprehensible. We need, I realized, a new conception of science, called by me aim-oriented empiricism, which acknowledges the real, problematic aims of science, and seeks to improve them. Then, treading along a path parallel to Popper’s, I realized that aim-oriented empiricism can be generalized to form a new conception of rationality, aim-oriented rationality, with implications for all that we do. This led on to a new conception of academic inquiry. From the Enlightenment we have inherited the view that academia, in order to help promote human welfare, must first acquire knowledge. But this is profoundly and damagingly irrational. If academia really does seek to help promote human welfare, then its primary tasks must be to articulate problems of living, and propose and critically assess possible solutions – possible actions, policies, political programmes, philosophies of life. The pursuit of knowledge is secondary. Academia needs to promote cooperatively rational problem solving in the social world, and needs to help humanity improve individual and institutional aims by exploiting aim-oriented rationality, arrived at by generalizing the real progress-achieving methods of science. We might, as a result, get into life some of the progressive success that is such a marked feature of science. Thus began my campaign to promote awareness of the urgent need for a new kind of academic inquiry rationally devoted to helping humanity create a wiser world. (shrink)
I argue for the thesis (UL) that there are certain logical abilities that any rational creature must have. Opposition to UL comes from naturalized epistemologists who hold that it is a purely empirical question which logical abilities a rational creature has. I provide arguments that any creatures meeting certain conditions—plausible necessary conditions on rationality—must have certain specific logical concepts and be able to use them in certain specific ways. For example, I argue that any creature able to grasp theories must (...) have a concept of conjunction subject to the usual introduction and elimination rules. I also deal with disjunction, conditionality and negation. Finally, I put UL to work in showing how it could be used to define a notion of logical obviousness that would be well suited to certain contexts—e.g. radical translation and epistemic logic—in which a concept of obviousness is often invoked. (shrink)
Although the success of Habermas’s theory of communicative action depends on his dialogical model of understanding in which a theorist is supposed to participate in the debate with the actors as a ‘virtual participant’ and seek context-transcendent truth through the exchange of speech acts, current literature on the theory of communicative action rarely touches on the difficulties it entails. In the first part of this paper, I will examine Habermas’s argument that understanding other cultural practices requires the interpreter to virtually (...) participate in the “dialogue” with the actors as to the rationality of their cultural practice and discuss why, according to Habermas,such dialogue leads to the “context-transcendent truth”. In the second part, by using a concrete historical example, I will reconstruct a “virtual dialogue” between Habermas and Michael Polanyi as to the rationality of scientific practice and indicate why Habermas’s dialogical model of understanding based on the methodology of virtual participation cannot achieve what it professes to do. (shrink)
To counter the tendency of making Confucianism “localized” and thereby turning Confucianism research into research of local social history, the author criticizes this tendency and thinks it is unilateral to emphasize or stress the importance of a small unit’s locality, but ignore the oneness of the distribution of Confucianism and the universality of Confucian thought. The thesis emphasizes that the main schools of Confucianism in the Song and Ming Dynasties are all not local ones and cannot be reduced to (...) reflections of some local need and social structure. The author points out that we need to self-examine the following phenomena: aggrandizing the function of local social structure to culture and thought, coming down academic schools to reflections of local social benefits, opposing this kind of research to the research of thought itself, thus rejecting philosophical research and analysis of thought itself. (shrink)
The mnemonic arts and the idea of a universal language that would capture the essence of all things were originally associated with cryptology, mysticism, and other occult practices. And it is commonly held that these enigmatic efforts were abandoned with the development of formal logic in the seventeenth century and the beginning of the modern era. In his distinguished book, Logic and the Art of Memory Italian philosopher and historian Paolo Rossi argues that this view is belied by an examination (...) of the history of the idea of a universal language. Based on comprehensive analyses of original texts, Rossi traces the development of this idea from late medieval thinkers such as Ramon Lull through Bruno, Bacon, Descartes, and finally Leibniz in the seventeenth century. The search for a symbolic mode of communication that would be intelligible to everyone was not a mere vestige of magical thinking and occult sciences, but a fundamental component of Renaissance and Enlightenment thought. Seen from this perspective, modern science and combinatorial logic represent not a break from the past but rather its full maturity. Available for the first time in English, this book (originally titled Clavis Universalis ) remains one of the most important contributions to the history of ideas ever written. In addition to his eagerly anticipated translation, Steven Clucas offers a substantial introduction that places this book in the context of other recent works on this fascinating subject. A rich history and valuable sourcebook, Logic and the Art of Memory documents an essential chapter in the development of human reason. (shrink)
In this article we take issue with theory theory and simulation theory accounts of folk psychology committed to (i) the belief-desire (BD) model and (ii) the assumption of universality (AU). Recent studies cast doubt on the compatibility of these commitments because they reveal considerable cross-cultural differences in folk psychologies. We present both theory theory and simulation theory with the following dilemma: either (i) keep the BD-model as an account of the surface properties of specific explicit folk psychologies and give (...) up AU in light of the cross-cultural evidence; or (ii) defend AU with respect to core capacities underlying different culture-specific folk psychologies, and explain why the BD-model will be genuinely explanatory at this level. (shrink)
Universality has become a predominant focus of critique. To take just three examples: the purported universality of Western values has been exposed as a major justification for violent imperial enterprises, feminist thought has exposed so-called universal norms as having a specifically masculine provenance and nature, and the study of whiteness has largely been the exposure of specifically white features of institutions, practices, arts, norms, and laws that have been taken to be universal and colorless. All these examples follow (...) the general Marxian form of critique that is guided by the proposition that all existing universalities conceal a factional interest. Universalities that function effectively and guide .. (shrink)
Like the dominant moral philosophers in the Western tradition, Mahatma Gandhi reaches moral conclusions that emphasize universality, impartiality, and detachment. This is in apparent contrast to feminist philosophers who have put forth a scheme for reaching moral conclusions that gives centrality to feeling, experience, and interdependence. In the following, I show that Gandhi shares significant agreement with feminists in spite of the kinds of moral conclusions he reaches. The crucial difference between Gandhi and the feminist critics lies in how (...) the distinctiveness of the other is understood. For Gandhi, I show, that the distinctiveness of others which evokes our affection is significant only in so far as it is a starting point that aides us in reaching the highest form of moral concern—a kind of agape (unselfish love for all). (shrink)
Since the publication of Brent Berlin and Paul Kay's Basic color terms in 1969 there has been continuing debate as to whether or not there are linguistic universals in the restricted domain of color naming. In this paper I am primarily concerned with the attempt to explain the existence of basic color terms in languages. That project utilizes psychological and ultimately physiological generalizations in the explanation of linguistic regularities. The main problem with this strategy is that it cannot account for (...) a particular subset of basic color words: words that the Berlin-Kay tradition calls “composite”. The existence of such words does not compromise the claim that there are basic color words. It does suggest that such words—and basic terms in general—require a more complex type of explanatory strategy than much contemporary work on color naming supposes. It is my main contention that the central problems with the Berlin-Kay tradition arise from the difficulty of linking conceptually and empirically disparate domains: linguistic, psychological, physiological. What is needed is not an attempt to reduce color naming to biology or to culture but, rather, an adequate conceptual account of how people may come to have and use basic color terms—an account which stands between the biological and the cultural. (shrink)
There is now increasing evidence for significant ?moral universals??that is, patterns of ethical principles that are recognized by virtually every human society. James Q. Wilson has assembled an engaging collection of this evidence for the existence of a ?moral sense.? At least in regard to the universality of the key features of sympathy and a sense of fairness or reciprocity, Wilson is right. Indeed, these features are even more universal than Wilson realizes: they extend to our closest nonhuman (...) relatives as well. Yet the claim that these facts are best accounted for by positing the existence of a ?moral sense? remains vague. Particularly when we consider what Wilson calls ?the universal aspiration,? the basis of this tendency in our moral thinking is as likely to lie in our capacity to reason as in our moral sentiments. (shrink)
This article explores Schelling’s view concerning the eventual reconciliation of modern individuality and society. It is argued that in Schelling’s speculations on this subject, aesthetic models play a prominent role: on the level of society by expressing the need for a new mythology; on the level of the individual by formulating a normative ideal in which the individual is modelled after the work of artand its creator: the artistic genius. This normative view on modern individuality is quite ambivalent. It summons (...) the individual to abandon its individuality and to have it determined by universality. But, since Schelling wants the individual to be a real individuality, his position comes down to the quest for an “individual universal.” Relying on a close-reading of Schelling’s System des transzendentalenIdealismus, the Philosophie der Kunst, and the Stuttgarter Privatvorlesungen, the paradigm of this extraordinary position is shown to be the work of art. (shrink)