F.A. Hayekâs theory of cultural evolution has often been regarded as incompatible with his earlier works. Since it lacks an elaborated theory of individual learning, we try to back his arguments by starting with his thoughts on individual perception described in hisTheory of Mind. With a focus on the current discussion concerning biological and cultural selection theories, we argue hisTheory of Mind leads to two different stages of societal evolution with well-defined learning processes, respectively. The first learning process describes his (...) Morality of Small Groups, in which Hayekâs thoughts coincide with learning theories that do not allow for the perception of behavior from outside the group. His second stage of cultural evolution, the Open Society, involves a different kind of learning behavior. We connect this notion with a model of local interaction in which the cultural learning aspect is addressed by a distinction between interaction and learning neighborhoods. This results in a situation in which individuals change their strategy and âdepending on the radius of interaction and learning neighborhoodâeventually may adopt new strategies that lead to higher payoffs. (shrink)
There is a thriving debate over what aspects of our capacity to produce and understand language are special. My concern here is a key part of this wider debate: Is speech special? In particular, my focus is on speech perception, and whether it is special. This isn’t just one but a number of different questions. Too frequently, these very different questions are not clearly distinguished and kept apart. I discuss a framework for distinguishing various versions of the question, Is speech (...) perceptually special? Focusing on a particular class of questions, I make a proposal about the sense in which speech is perceptually special. According to this account, the capacity to perceive speech is an acquired perceptual skill, and involves learning to hear language-specific types of biologically-significant sounds. This account illuminates the significance of interlocution in understanding what makes the perception of speech distinctive. (shrink)
This paper shows how business ethics as a concept may be approached from a cognitive viewpoint. Following F. A. Hayek''s cognitive theory, I argue that moral behavior evolves and changes because of individual perception and action. Individual moral behavior becomes a moral rule when prominently displayed by members of a certain society in a specific situation. A set of moral rules eventually forms the ethical code of a society, of which business ethics codes are only a part. By focusing on (...) the concept of "limited" or "dispersed knowledge" that underlies the cognitive approach, I show that universal ethical norms that should lead to defined outcomes cannot exist. This approach moreover shows the limits of deliberate rule-setting. Attempts to deliberately impose universal ethical rules on societies may turn out to be harmful for societal development and lead to an abuse of governmental power. (shrink)
Several philosophers have argued that the factivity of knowledge poses a problem for epistemic contextualism (EC), which they have construed as a knowability problem. On a proposed minimalistic reading of EC’s commitments, Wolfgang Freitag argues that factivity yields no knowability problem for EC. I begin by explaining how factivity is thought to generate a contradiction out of paradigmatic contextualist cases on a certain reading of EC’s commitments. This reductio results in some kind of reflexivity problem for the contextualist when (...) it comes to knowing her theory: either a knowability problem or a statability problem. Next, I set forth Freitag’s minimalistic reading of EC and explain how it avoids the reductio, the knowability problem and the statability problem. I argue that despite successfully evading these problems, Freitag’s minimalistic reading saddles EC with several other serious problems and should be rejected. I conclude by offering my own resolution to the problems. (shrink)
"Symmetry" was one of the most important methodological themes in 20th-century physics and is probably going to play no lesser role in physics of the 21st century. As used today, there are a variety of interpretations of this term, which differ in meaning as well as their mathematical consequences. Symmetries of crystals, for example, generally express a different kind of invariance than gauge symmetries, though in specific situations the distinctions may become quite subtle. I will review some of the various (...) notions of "symmetry" and highlight some of their uses in specific examples taken from Pauli's scientific oevre. This paper is based on a talk given at the conference "Wolfgang Pauli's Philosophical Ideas and Contemporary Science", May 20.-25. 2007, at Monte Verita, Ascona, Switzerland. (shrink)
Zusammenfassung LÃ¤Ãt sich Wissenschaftstheorie mittels Wissenschaftsgeschichte Ã¼berprÃ¼fen? Die VorschlÃ¤ge und AnsÃ¤tze Wolfgang Detels hierzu* werden einer kritischen PrÃ¼fung unterzogen. Es wird gezeigt, daÃ seine Darstellungen der normenlogischen Struktur solcher ÃberprÃ¼fungsversuche ihren Gegenstand nicht treffen: sie geben die angesprochenen AnsÃ¤tze, etwa von Kuhn oder Lakatos, nicht mehr wieder.
This volume represents a magnum opus by Wolfgang Weidlich, summarizing his long work in the area of sociodynamics. It lays out the origins and development of his ideas on this topic, presents a variety of applications drawn from his previous work, and offers some new insights and suggestions. For those acquainted with Professor Weidlich’s work it is a satisfying summing up. For those unacquainted with it, the book provides a good overview and discussion of what is involved in it, (...) both its weaknesses and its strengths. It has a definite predecessor, Weidlich’s 1983 book with his frequent coauthor, Günter Haag, Concepts and Models of a Quantitative Sociology, but goes well beyond the arguments and models presented in that volume. (shrink)
Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958) was one of the greatest physicists of the past century. He played a leading role in the development of modern physics and was known for his ruthless intellectual integrity. Pauli first became famed through the publication of his encyclopaedia article on the theory of relativity (Pauli, 1921) when he was still a student of Sommerfeld's. Einstein much admired this article, which remained a classic.
This review mostly discusses Künne's positive proposal about truth, his Modest Account. In particular, I discuss propositional quantification, which is required for Künne's formulation of the Modest Account, and under what conditions this kind of quantification is acceptable. I argue that it requires a view of propositions which he rejects, (but I accept).