By linking the concepts of homology and morphological organization to evolvability, this paper attempts to (1) bridge the gap between developmental and phylogenetic approaches to homology and to (2) show that developmental constraints and natural selection are compatible and in fact complementary. I conceive of a homologue as a unit of morphological evolvability, i.e., as a part of an organism that can exhibit heritable phenotypic variation independently of the organism’s other homologues. An account of homology therefore consists in explaining (...) how an organism’s developmental constitution results in different homologues/characters as units that can evolve independently of each other. The explanans of an account of homology is developmental, yet the very explanandum is an evolutionary phenomenon: evolvability in a character-by-character fashion, which manifests itself in phylogenetic patterns as recognized by phylogenetic approaches to homology. While developmental constraints and selection have often been viewed as antagonistic forces, I argue that both are complementary as they concern different parts of the evolutionary process. Developmental constraints, conceived of as the presence of the same set of homologues across phenotypic change, pertain to how heritable variation can be generated in the first place (evolvability), while natural selection operates subsequently on the produced variation. (shrink)
Background: One of the all-time questions in evolutionary biology regards the evolution of organismal shapes, and in particular why certain forms appear repeatedly in the history of life, others only seldom and still others not at all. Recent research in this field has deployed the conceptual framework of constraints and natural selection as measured by quantitative genetic methods. -/- Scope: In this paper I argue that quantitative genetics can by necessity only provide us with useful statistical sum- maries that (...) may lead researchers to formulate testable causal hypotheses, but that any inferential attempt beyond this is unreasonable. Instead, I suggest that thinking in terms of coordinates in phenotypic spaces, and approaching the problem using a variety of empirical methods (seeking a consilience of evidence), is more likely to lead to solid inferences regarding the causal basis of the historical patterns that make up most of the data available on phenotypic evolution. (shrink)
We show that three fundamental information-theoretic constraints -- the impossibility of superluminal information transfer between two physical systems by performing measurements on one of them, the impossibility of broadcasting the information contained in an unknown physical state, and the impossibility of unconditionally secure bit commitment -- suffice to entail that the observables and state space of a physical theory are quantum-mechanical. We demonstrate the converse derivation in part, and consider the implications of alternative answers to a remaining open question (...) about nonlocality and bit commitment. (shrink)
. How does the doctrine of double effect apply to business decisions to sell products which may be harmful to consumers? Lawrence Masek believes that some authors have misapplied the doctrine to this type of decision and, as a consequence, have committed themselves to placing unwarranted constraints on businesses. Seeking to correct this mistake, Masek presents his account of how the doctrine applies here, an account which is rather permissive but which, he claims, nevertheless preserves the virtues of the (...) doctrine. It will be seen, though, that his attempt to loosen these putatively unnecessary constraints by appealing to consumer autonomy and an intuition about the morality of producing harmful products leaves the doctrine of double effect irrelevant to this type of decision. His argument that the doctrine is less restrictive in this context than others suppose leads ultimately to the conclusion that the doctrine does not constrain this kind of business decision at all. (shrink)
This paper introduces considerations about constraints in the construction of measures of an agent's freedom. It starts with motivating the exercise from both the philosophical and the informational point of view. Then it presents two rankings of opportunity sets based on information about the extent of options and the constraints that a decision maker faces. The first ranking measures freedom as variety of choice; the second as non-restrictedness in choice.
The contributions to this special issue on cognitive development collectively propose ways in which learning involves developing constraints that shape subsequent learning. A learning system must be constrained to learn efficiently, but some of these constraints are themselves learnable. To know how something will behave, a learner must know what kind of thing it is. Although this has led previous researchers to argue for domain-specific constraints that are tied to different kinds/domains, an exciting possibility is that kinds/domains (...) themselves can be learned. General cognitive constraints, when combined with rich inputs, can establish domains, rather than these domains necessarily preexisting prior to learning. Knowledge is structured and richly differentiated, but its “skeleton” must not always be preestablished. Instead, the skeleton may be adapted to fit patterns of co-occurrence, task requirements, and goals. Finally, we argue that for models of development to demonstrate genuine cognitive novelty, it will be helpful for them to move beyond highly preprocessed and symbolic encodings that limit flexibility. We consider two physical models that learn to make tone discriminations. They are mechanistic models that preserve rich spatial, perceptual, dynamic, and concrete information, allowing them to form surprising new classes of hypotheses and encodings. (shrink)
The assumptions that are made about the features of the world that are relatively changeable by agents and those that are not (constraints) play a central role in determining normative conclusions. In this way, normative reasoning is deeply dependent on accounts of the empirical world. Successful normative reasoning must avoid the naturalization of constraints and seek to attribute correctly to agents what is and is not in their power to change. Recent discourse on global justice has often come (...) to unjustified conclusions about agents obligations due to a narrow view of what is changeable and by whom. (shrink)
This essay considers arguments for and against syntactical constraints on the proper formalization of definitions, originally owing to Alfred Tarski. It discusses and refutes an application of the constraints generalized to include a prohibition against not only object-place but also predicate-place variables in higher-order logic in a criticism of a recent effort to define the concept of heterologicality in a strengthened derivation of Grelling's paradox within type theory requirements. If the objections were correct, they would offer a more (...) general moral for the proper formal definition of terms in philosophical logic. The criticism nevertheless seems mistaken both in the substance and specific application with respect to legitimate synctactical constraints on definitions of key concepts in the case of Grelling's paradox. As such, the critique provides no justification for overturning previous conclusions concerning the possibility of resurrecting a type-observant version of Grelling's heterologicality paradox. (shrink)
The roles of linguistic, cognitive, and social-pragmatic processes in word learning are well established. If statistical mechanisms also contribute to word learning, they must interact with these processes; however, there exists little evidence for such mechanistic synergy. Adults use co-occurrence statistics to encode speech–object pairings with detailed sensitivity in stochastic learning environments (Vouloumanos, 2008). Here, we replicate this statistical work with nonspeech sounds and compare the results with the previous speech studies to examine whether exclusion constraints contribute equally to (...) the statistical learning of speech–object and nonspeech–object associations. In environments in which performance could benefit from exclusion, we find a learning advantage for speech over nonspeech, revealing an interaction between statistical and exclusion processes in associative word learning. (shrink)
Complexity arises from interaction dynamics, but its forms are co-determined by the operative constraints within which the dynamics are expressed. The basic interaction dynamics underlying complex systems is mostly well understood. The formation and operation of constraints is often not, and oftener under appreciated. The attempt to reduce constraints to basic interaction fails in key cases. The overall aim of this paper is to highlight the key role played by constraints in shaping the field of complex (...) systems. Following an introduction to constraints (Sect. 1), the paper develops the roles of constraints in specifying forms of complexity (Sect. 2) and illustrates the roles of constraints in formulating the fundamental challenges to understanding posed by complex systems (Sect. 3). (shrink)
This paper argues that there is a tension between two central features of Dworkin’s partnership conception of democracy. The conception holds, on the one hand, that it is a necessary condition of the legitimacy of the decisions of a political majority that every member of the political community has a very robust right to publicly criticize those decisions. A plausible interpretation of this argument is that free political speech constitutes a normatively privileged vehicle for political minorities to become majorities, and (...) therefore in the absence of freedom of speech minorities could not be rightfully compelled to comply with majority decisions. On the other hand, the partnership conception holds that properly exercised constraints on majority rule do not incur any moral costs. The no-moral-costs thesis is argued for on the basis that nothing of significance is lost when individuals’ influence on political decisions is diminished. However, the legitimacy argument for free speech assumes the significance of individual political influence, which the no-moral-costs thesis denies. Hence the tension. (shrink)
Several case studies and theoretical reports indicate that the structuralist concept of a constraint has a central role in the reconstruction of physical theories. It is surprising that there is only little theoretical discussion on the relevance of constraints for the reconstruction of social scientific theories in the literature. Almost all structuralist reconstructions of social theorizing are vacuously constrained. Consequently, constraints are methodologically irrelevant.In this paper I reconstruct three cases selected from social scientific theorizing. The first case is (...) a generalization of Gross, Mason and McEachern's (1958) role expectation conflict theory, which is a qualitative theory. The second case is Cohen and Lee's (1975) quantitative theory of social conformity, which essentially utilizes the theor of Markov chains. The third case is the explanation schema of folk psychology which is one of the most important methodological frameworks in the social sciences.In all the three cases important constraints emerge. From an epistemological point of view it seems that the related constraints work as higher-order laws. In any case, purely conceptual arguments are insufficient to justify them.The three cases,mutatis mutandis, cover nearly all types of social scientific theorizing, so that in my view constraints play a crucial methodological role in the social sciences precisely as they have in the natural sciences. (shrink)
In a previous paper we developed a general theory of input/output logics. These are operations resembling inference, but where inputs need not be included among outputs, and outputs need not be reusable as inputs. In the present paper we study what happens when they are constrained to render output consistent with input. This is of interest for deontic logic, where it provides a manner of handling contrary-to-duty obligations. Our procedure is to constrain the set of generators of the input/output system, (...) considering only the maximal subsets that do not yield output conflicting with a given input. When inputs are authorised to reappear as outputs, both maxichoice revision in the sense of Alchourrón/Makinson and the default logic of Poole emerge as special cases, and there is a close relation with Reiter default logic. However, our focus is on the general case where inputs need not be outputs. We show in what contexts the consistency of input with output may be reduced to its consistency with a truth-functional combination of components of generators, and under what conditions constrained output may be obtained by a derivation that is constrained at every step. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with reasonings that purport to explain why certain organisms have certain traits by showing that their actual design is better than contrasting designs. Biologists call such reasonings ‘functional explanations’. To avoid confusion with other uses of that phrase, I call them ‘design explanations’. This paper discusses the structure of design explanations and how they contribute to scientific understanding. Design explanations are contrastive and often compare real organisms to hypothetical organisms that cannot possibly exist. They are not (...) causal but appeal to functional dependencies between an organism’s different traits. These explanations point out that because an organism has certain traits (e.g., it lives on land), it cannot be alive if the trait to be explained (e.g., having lungs) were replaced by a specified alternative (e.g., having gills). They can be understood from a mechanistic point of view as revealing the constraints on what mechanisms can be alive. (shrink)
Charles J. Lumsden and E.O. Wilson, in their writings together and individually, have proposed that human behaviors, whether moral or nonmoral, are governed by innate constraints (which they have termed epigenetic rules). I propose that if a genetic component of moral behavior is to be discovered, some sorting out of specifically moral from nonmoral innate constraints will be necessary. That some specifically moral innate constraits exist is evidenced by virtuous behaviors exhibited in nonhuman mammals, whose behavior is usually (...) granted to be importantly governed by genetic factors. Propensities for such virtuous behaviors may have been passed to humans as highly conserved mammalian genes and continue to influence us. I propose that these constitute at least a rudimentary morality and may account in part for the moral intuitions. But other innate constraints which are nonmoral in nature interact with the specifically moral innate constraints and with culture to yield human moral decisions and actions. Any model which aims to identify the genetic component of moral behaviors or behaviors with moral import must provide not only a delineation of cultural causes but must also distinguish between those genetic causes which may have their origin in innate moral constraints from others which are fundamentally nonmoral because the critical faculty necessary to higher level human morality itself arises in part from innate constraints of a nonmoral type; i.e., the processes of inductive reasoning common to both ethics and science. Finally, humans who could bring the nonmoral evaluative capacities to bear upon whatever moral intuitions might be genetically conserved in mammalian heritage would have an advantage over similar beings who could not. (shrink)
Evidentialism is the view that facts about whether or not an agent is justified in having a particular belief are entirely determined by facts about the agent’s evidence; the agent’s practical needs and interests are irrelevant. I examine an array of arguments against evidentialism (by Jeremy Fantl, Matthew McGrath, David Owens, and others), and demonstrate how their force is affected when we take into account the relation between degrees of belief and outright belief. Once we are sensitive to one of (...) the factors that secure thresholds for outright believing (namely, outright believing that p in a given circumstance requires, at the minimum, that one’s degree of belief that p is high enough for one to be willing to act as if p in the circumstances), we see how pragmatic considerations can be relevant to facts about whether or not an agent is justified in believing that p—but largely as a consequence of the pragmatic constraints on outright believing. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue in favor of evidential constraints on singular thoughts and thoughts with singular purport. In typical cases of singular thought, I claim, a thinker stands in an evidential relation to the object of thought suitable for providing knowledge of the object’s existence. Furthermore, a thinker may generate representations that purport to refer to particular objects in response to appropriate, though defeasible, evidence of the existence of such an object. I motivate these constraints by considering (...) a number of examples introduced in a recent paper by Robin Jeshion in support of a view she calls ‘cognitivism’. Although I agree with Jeshion that acquaintance is not required for all cases of singular thought, I argue that her account doesn’t go far enough in rejecting semantic instrumentalism, the view that we can generate singular thoughts arbitrarily, by manipulating the mechanisms of direct reference. (shrink)
The paper seeks to offer  an explication of a concept of economics imperialism, focusing on its epistemic aspects; and  criteria for its normative assessment. In regard to , the defining notion is that of explanatory unification across disciplinary boundaries. As to , three kinds of constraints are proposed. An ontological constraint requires an increased degree of ontological unification in contrast to mere derivational unification. An axiological constraint derives from variation in the perceived relative significance of the facts (...) explained. An epistemological constraint requires strong fallibilism acknowledging a particularly severe epistemic uncertainty and proscribing against over-confident arrogance. (shrink)
Recently, it has been a part of the so-called consequentializing project to attempt to construct versions of consequentialism that can support agent-relative moral constraints. Mark Schroeder has argued that such views are bound to fail because they cannot make sense of the agent relative value on which they need to rely. In this paper, I provide a fitting-attitude account of both agent-relative and agent-neutral values that can together be used to consequentialize agent-relative constraints.
Simulation constraints cannot help in explaining afterlife beliefs in general because belief in an afterlife is a precondition for running a simulation. Instead, an explanation may be found by examining more deeply our common-sense dualistic conception of the mind or soul.
Visual space can be distinguished from physical space. The ?rst is found in visual experi- ence, while the second is de?ned independently of perception. Theorists have wondered about the relation between the two. Some investigators have concluded that visual space is non- Euclidean, and that it does not have a single metric structure. Here it is argued (1) that visual space exhibits contraction in all three dimensions with increasing distance from the observer, (2) that experienced features of this contraction (including (...) the apparent convergence of lines in visual experience that are produced from physically parallel stimuli in ordinary viewing con- ditions) are not the same as would be the experience of a perspective projection onto a fronto- parallel plane, and (3) that such contraction is consistent with size constancy. These properties of visual space are di?erent from those that would be predicted if spatial perception resulted from the successful solution of the inverse problem. They are consistent with the notion that optical constraints have been internalized. More generally, they are also consistent with the notion that visual spatial structures bear a resemblance relation to physical spatial structures. This notion supports a type of representational relation that is distinct from mere causal cor- respondence. The reticence of some philosophers and psychologists to discuss the structure of phenomenal space is diagnosed in terms of the simple materialism and the functionalism of the 1970s and 1980s. (shrink)
It is a crucial question whether practicalities should have an impact in developing an applicable theory of human rights—and if, how (far) such constraints can be justified. In the course of the non-ideal turn of today’s political philosophy, any entitlements (and social entitlements in particular) stand under the proviso of practical feasibility. It would, after all, be unreasonable to demand something which is, under the given political and economic circumstances, unachievable. Thus, many theorist—particularly those belonging to the liberal camp—begin (...) to question the very idea of social human rights on grounds of practical infeasibility. This new minimalism about human rights motivates an immanent critique arguing that even if we were to proceed from a liberal framework, we would still wind up with a justification of the full list of social human rights. In the first part of this article, I will present the central positions of the debate presented by Amartya Sen, Maurice Cranston and Pablo Gilabert. Initially arguing that a minimalism of human rights on grounds of practical infeasibility alone proves unjustifiable, however, I shall open up two further perspectives, which allow practical infeasibilities to become normatively determinate. Discussing contributions by James Griffin and Charles Beitz, I will defend the thesis that certain feasibility constraints on (social) human rights can be justified on the condition that they are grounded either in a normative idea of the appropriate implementation of these rights or in reflection of the practical function of a theory of human rights. (shrink)
With the success of cognitive science's interdisciplinary approach to studying the mind, many theorists have taken up the strategy of appealing to science to address long standing disputes about metaphysics and the mind. In a recent case in point, philosophers and psychologists, including Robert Kane, Daniel C. Dennett, and Daniel M. Wegner, are exploring how science can be brought to bear on the debate about the problem of free will. I attempt to clarify the current debate by considering how empirical (...) research can be useful. I argue that empirical findings don't apply to one basic dimension of the problem, namely the dispute between compatibilism and incompatibilism. However, I show that empirical research can provide constraints in connection with another fundamental dimension, namely the dispute between libertarianism, which claims that indeterminacy is, in certain contexts, sufficient for freedom, and hard determinism and compatibilism, which deny this. I argue that the source of the most powerful constraint is psychological research into the accuracy of introspection. (shrink)
What role, if any, does formal logic play in characterizing epistemically rational belief? Traditionally, belief is seen in a binary way - either one believes a proposition, or one doesn't. Given this picture, it is attractive to impose certain deductive constraints on rational belief: that one's beliefs be logically consistent, and that one believe the logical consequences of one's beliefs. A less popular picture sees belief as a graded phenomenon.
The possibility of time travel, as permitted in General Relativity, is responsible for constraining physical fields beyond what laws of nature would otherwise require. In the special case where time travel is limited to a single object returning to the past and interacting with itself, consistency constraints can be avoided if the dynamics is continuous and the object's state space satisfies a certain topological requirement: that all null-homotopic mappings from the state-space to itself have some fixed point. Where consistency (...)constraints do exist, no new physics is needed to enforce them. One needs only to accept certain global topological constraints as laws, something that is reasonable in any case. (shrink)
Transcendental idealism has been conceived of in philosophy as a position that aims to secure objectivity without traditional metaphysical underpinnings. This article contrasts two forms of transcendental idealism that have been identified: one in the work of Kant, the other in the later Wittgenstein. The distinction between these two positions is clarified by means of a distinction between transcendental constraints and transcendental features. It is argued that these conceptions provide the - fundamentally different - bases of the two positions (...) under discussion. With the core of the positions identified, it is then suggested that neither form of transcendental idealism - the Kantian or the Wittgensteinian - manages to combine the twin aims of safeguarding objectivity and maintaining metaphysical parsimony. The Kantian form appears to succeed on the first score at the cost of failing on the second, while the Wittgensteinian form succeeds on the second and fails on the first. (shrink)
The possibility of time travel, as permitted in General Relativity, is responsible for constraining physical fields beyond what the laws normally require. In the special case where time travel is limited to a single object returning to the past and interacting with itself, consistency constraints can be avoided if the dynamics is continuous and the object’s state space satisfies a certain topological requirement: that all null-homotopic mappings from the state-space to itself have some fixed point. Where consistency constraints (...) do exist, no new physics is needed to enforce them. All one needs for their accommodation is to grant a kind of law-like status to some kinds of global boundary conditions. (shrink)
One current version of the internalism/externalism debate in evolutionary theory focuses on the relative importance of developmental constraints in evolutionary explanation. The received view of developmental constraints sees them as an internalist concept that tend to be shared across related species as opposed to selective pressures that are not. Thus, to the extent that constraints can explain anything, they can better explain similarity across species, while natural selection is better able to explain their differences. I challenge both (...) of these aspects of the received view and propose a hierarchical view of constraints. (shrink)
Some systems of modal logic, such as S5, which are often used as epistemic logics with the ‘necessity’ operator read as ‘the agent knows that’, are problematic as general epistemic logics for agents whose computational capacity does not exceed that of a Turing machine because they impose unwarranted constraints on the agent’s theory of non-epistemic aspects of the world, for example by requiring the theory to be decidable rather than merely recursively axiomatizable. To generalize this idea, two constraints (...) on an epistemic logic are formulated: r.e. conservativeness, that any recursively enumerable theory R in the sublanguage without the epistemic operator is conservatively extended by some recursively enumerable theory in the language with the epistemic operator which is permitted by the logic to be the agent’s overall theory; the weaker requirement of r.e. quasi-conservativeness is similar except for applying only when R is consistent. The logic S5 is not even r.e. quasiconservative; this result is generalized to many other modal logics. However, it is also proved that the modal logics S4, Grz and KDE are r.e. quasi-conservative and that K4, KE and the provability logic GLS are r.e. conservative. Finally, r.e. conservativeness and r.e. quasiconservativeness are compared with related non-computational constraints. (shrink)
According to the doctrine of four-dimensionalism, our world and everything in it consists of stages or temporal parts; moreover, where an object exists at various times, it does so, according to the four-dimensionalist, in virtue of having distinct temporal parts at those times. While four-dimensionalism is often motivated by its purported solutions to puzzles about material objects and their persistence through time, it has also been defended by more direct arguments. Three such arguments stand out: (1) the argument from temporary (...) intrinsics, (2) the argument from vagueness and (3) the argument from recombination, Humean supervenience and causal constraints. Not surprisingly, each of these arguments originates in the work of four-dimensionalism’s most prominent modern defender, David Lewis.1 The third of these arguments has received, by far, the least attention, critical or otherwise; it is now time to begin to address this imbalance. (shrink)
The emphasis on models hasn’t completely eliminated laws from scientific discourse and philosophical discussion. Instead, I want to argue that much of physics lies beyond the strict domain of laws. I shall argue that in important cases the physics, or physical understanding, does not lie either in laws or in their properties, such as universality, consistency and symmetry. I shall argue that the domain of application commonly attributed to laws is too narrow. That is, laws can still play an important, (...) though peculiar, role outside their strict domain of validity. I shall argue also that, by way of a trade-off, while the actual domain of application of laws should be seen as much broader. At the same time, what I call ‘anomic’ representational elements reveal themselves as central to the descriptive and explanatory power of theories and model: boundary conditions, state descriptions, structures, constraints, limits and mechanisms. I conclude with a brief consideration of how my discussion has consequences for discussion of understanding, unification, approximation and dispositional properties. I focus on examples from physics, macroscopic and microscopic, phenomenological and fundametal: shock waves, propagation of cracks, symmetry breaking, and others. This law-eccentric kind of knowledge is central to both modeling the world and intervening in it. (shrink)
In our everyday moral deliberations, we attend to two central types of considerations – outcomes and moral rules. How these considerations interrelate is central to the long-standing debate between deontologists and utilitarians. Is the weight we attach to moral rules reducible to their conduciveness to good outcomes (as many utilitarians claim)? Or do we take moral rules to be absolute constraints on action that normatively trump outcomes (as many deontologists claim)? Arguments over these issues characteristically appeal to commonsense intuitions (...) about various cases. As a result, an important portion of the debate involves empirically tractable questions — questions that can be investigated by probing for people’s judgments in cases in which the two types of considerations come into conflict with one another. (shrink)
In Moral Animals, Catherine Wilson develops a theory of morality based on two fundamental premises: first that moral progress implies the evolution of moral ideals involving restraint and sacrifice; second that human beings are outfitted by nature with selfish motivations, intentions, and ambitions that place constraints on what morality can demand of them. Normative claims, she goes on to show, can be understood as projective hypotheses concerning the conduct of realistically-described nonideal agents in preferred fictional worlds. Such claims differ (...) from empirical hypotheses, insofar as they cannot be verified by observation and experiment. Yet many, though not all, moral claims are susceptible of confirmation to the extent that they command the agreement of well-informed inquirers. With this foundation in place, Wilson turns to a defense of egalitarianism intended to address the objection that the importance of our non-moral projects, our natural acquisitiveness and partiality, and our meritocratic commitments render social equality a mere abstract ideal. Employing the basic notion of a symmetrical division of the co-operative surplus, she argues that social justice with respect to global disparities in well-being, and in the condition of women relative to men, depends on the relinquishment of natural and acquired advantage that is central to the concept of morality. (shrink)
Some authors reject what they call the "Simple View"---i.e., the principle that anyone who A's intentionally intends to A. My purpose here is to defend this principle. Rejecting the Simple View, I shall claim, forces us to assign to other mental states the functional role of intention: that of providing settled objectives to guide deliberation and action. A likely result is either that entities will be multiplied, or that the resultant account will invite reassertion of reductionist theories. In any case, (...) the account must drive a wedge between intention and practical rationality, by forbidding agents to intend goals it is rational to seek. Worse yet, the states it "substitutes" for intention turn out to be subject to the same constraints that prompted the substitution, and hence are indistinguishable from intention in the very respect in which they are alleged to differ. Thus, I shall argue, there is no evidence to justify such supposed distinctions, and the Simple View is to be preferred. (shrink)
This article explores the relationship between interpretation and what is normally called ‘understanding’. It is argued that different modes of interpretation define different kinds of ‘mental uptake’ (‘apprehension’), and that some modes of interpretation define types of apprehension for which the concept of ‘understanding’ is inadequate. It is also argued that given a mode of interpretation, the constraints of that mode are necessary in the sense that it is the constraints on how to interpret that define a mode (...) of interpretation. Thus within a mode of interpretation (historical, literary) one cannot interpret freely. Indeed, unconstrained interpretation is not interpretation. In order to illustrate these points the article offers a detailed discussion of two examples. The interpretative debate over the Magna Carta is used to illustrate the difference between a constitutional and a historical interpretation. These two modes of interpretation are then contrasted with literary interpretation, the aim of which is appreciation. (shrink)
It is claimed that unacceptable constraints on initial data are imposed by certain responses to paradoxes that threaten time travel, closed timelike curves (CTCs) and other backwards causation hypotheses. In this paper I argue against the following claims: to say “contradictions are impossible so something must prevent the paradox” commits in general to constraints on initial data, that for fixed point dynamics so-called grey state solutions explain why contradictions do not arise, and the latter have been proved to (...) avoid constraints on initial data. †To contact the author, please write to: Philosophy, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Should journalists resist business constraints they perceive as a threat to their professional integrity? This article suggests that the answer, at least sometimes, is yes. But in choosing a resistance strategy, journalists should not consider the "take this job and shove it" stance as the only option with moral integrity-or even as the best ethical option. This article develops a model of resistance strategies using the experiences of journalists at one newspaper to illustrate the range of options available for (...) resisting business constraints within a news organization. The types of strategies identified vary along the ethical dimensions of (a) consideration of organizational, as well as professional, goals; and (b) openness with regard to journalists' preference for professional goals. (shrink)
Paying thorough attention to cynical action and integrity could result in a less naive approach to ethics and moral communication. This article discusses the issues of integrity and cynicism on a theoretical and on a more practical level. The first part confronts Habermas’s approach of communicative action with Sloterdijk’s concept of cynical reason. In the second part, the focus will be on the constraints and possibilities of moral communication within a business context. Discussing the corporate integrity approach of Kaptein (...) and Wempe will provide this focus. Their approach can be considered as a valuable contribution to the question of how to deal with (dilemmas of) conflicting interests, open discussion, fairness, and strategic decision-making in the context of stakeholder dialog. However, it is concluded that Kaptein and Wempe seem to overstretch the concept of corporate integrity by their inclination to make it an all-purpose remedy for corporate dilemmas. (shrink)
Putnam's Model-Theoretic argument purports to show that, contrary to what the metaphysical realist is committed to, an epistemically ideal theory which satisfies all operational and theoretical constraints can be guaranteed to be true. He draws the additional antirealist conclusion that there can be no single privileged relation of reference. I argue that the very possibility of a so-called ideal theory satisfying all operational constraints presupposes a determinate relation of reference, and hence Putnam must assume precisely what he denies.
In solving judgment aggregation problems, groups often face constraints. Many decision problems can be modelled in terms the acceptance or rejection of certain propositions in a language, and constraints as propositions that the decisions should be consistent with. For example, court judgments in breach-of-contract cases should be consistent with the constraint that action and obligation are necessary and su¢ - cient for liability; judgments on how to rank several options in an order of preference with the constraint of (...) transitivity; and judgments on budget items with budgetary constraints. Often more or less demanding constraints on decisions are imaginable. For instance, in preference ranking problems, the transitivity constraint is often constrasted with the weaker acyclicity constraint. In this paper, we make constraints explicit in judgment aggregation by relativizing the rationality conditions of consistency and deductive closure to a constraint set, whose variation yields more or less strong notions of rationality. We review several general results on judgment aggregation in light of such constraints. (shrink)
Both radical rebellion and humanitarian intervention aim to defend citizens against tyranny and human rights abuses at the hands of their government. The only difference is that rebellion is waged by the oppressed subjects themselves, while humanitarian intervention is carried out by foreigners on their behalf. In this paper, it is argued that the prudential constraints on war (last resort, probability of success, and proportionality) impose tighter restrictions on, or demand more of, humanitarian interveners than they do of rebels. (...) Specifically, I argue that rebels enjoy exemptions from the success principle that do not apply to humanitarians, and that rebels are not constrained by the foreseen mediated consequences of their actions ? consequences that are interceded by the agency of other parties. The same cannot be said for intervening states. If this is right, then it is possible for a humanitarian intervention to fall short of the prudential conditions of legitimate war despite being expected to accomplish no less, and to cost no more, than a rebellion which is rightly judged to satisfy these conditions. (shrink)
It is impermissible to violate a constraint, even if by doing so a greater number of violations of the very same constraint were to be prevented. Most find this puzzling. But what makes the impermissibility of such minimizing violations puzzling? This article discusses some recent answers (by Scheffier, Kamm and Nagel) to this question. The article's first aim is to make clear in what way these answers differ. The second aim is to evaluate the answers, along with Kamm's and Nagel's (...) proposed solutions of what they see as the puzzle of constraints. The main thesis of the article is this: because defenders of constraints are not committed to any conception of valuable states of affairs, constraints do not conflict with maximizing rationality; but neither can they be accounted for in terms of impersonal values. (shrink)
In this target article the following hypotheses are discussed: (1) Colour is autonomous: a perceptuolinguistic and behavioural universal. (2) It is completely described by three independent attributes: hue, brightness, and saturation: (3) Phenomenologically and psychophysically there are four unique hues: red, green, blue, and yellow; (4) The unique hues are underpinned by two opponent psychophysical and/or neuronal channels: red/green, blue/yellow. The relevant literature is reviewed. We conclude: (i) Psychophysics and neurophysiology fail to set nontrivial constraints on colour categorization. (ii) (...) Linguistic evidence provides no grounds for the universality of basic colour categories. (iii) Neither the opponent hues red/green, blue/yellow nor hue, brightness, and saturation are intrinsic to a universal concept of colour. (iv) Colour is not autonomous. (shrink)
This article contributes to the literature on legitimacy by highlighting its paradox and constraints. While an optimal level of legitimacy-seeking behaviours may be necessary for organizational effectiveness, an excessive focus on legitimacy may lead to stakeholder mismanagement and have the opposite effect. These insights emerged from a longitudinal qualitative study of large-scale changes in public-sector health care in a Canadian province (1994-2002). In 1994, subordinate health care organizations underwent government-driven reforms to promote market-based logics of efficiency and cost reduction. (...) Initial years post reforms were characterized by a singular focus on government-driven priorities and inattention to other stakeholders. However, instead of giving benefits of legitimacy, these behaviours led to anger and activism from non-institutional stakeholders such as staff and community due to a decline in quality and patient satisfaction. Eventually, greater attention to stakeholder concerns ended the stand-off. These findings also elaborate Suchman's (Academy of Management Review 20(3), 571-610, 1995) framework on legitimacy and explain that legitimacy may occur for reasons other than institutionalization of values and be temporary in nature. (shrink)
The paper is an examination of the ways and extent to which neuroscience places constraints on cognitive science. In Part I, I clarify the issue, as well as the notion of levels in cognitive inquiry. I then present and address, in Part II, two arguments designed to show that facts from neuroscience are at a level too low to constrain cognitive theory in any important sense. I argue, to the contrary, that there are several respects in which facts from (...) neurophysiology will constrain cognitive theory. Part III then turns to an examination of Connectionism and Classical Cognitivism to determine which, if either, is in a better position to accomodate neural constraints in the ways suggested in Part II. (shrink)
My aim is to lay down some constraints on a correspondence theory of truth for empirical sentences of a natural language on the basis of a theory according to which that to which a true empirical sentence of such a language corresponds is a part of the natural world. The problem is to find some means of delineating those portions of the world which serve as correspondents, portions of reality otherwise called ‘truthmakers’.