As suggested in the subtitle, A New Philosophical Reading, the editor aspires in his Introduction and his notes to “facilitate a deeper understanding and a critical evaluation (...) of this crucial and difficult philosophical work” (p. ix). This was the last important book which James published during his lifetime. With it James aims at a critical evaluation of Hegelian monism and an exploration of the philosophical and theological alternatives. “Our world of some one hundred years on”—the editor says (...) (p. ix)—“is much the better for James’ contribution, and understanding William James on pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding.”. (shrink)
In 1907 William James was invited to give the Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College, Oxford. Initially he was reluctant to do so since he feared undertaking them would divert him from developing rigorously and systematically some metaphysical ideas of his own that had preoccupied him for some time. In the end, however, he relented and in the spring of 1908 gave the lectures which were subsequently published as A Pluralistic Universe. As it happened, though, in the course of these (...) lectures James presented some of those metaphysical ideas, though in a popular and informal style appropriate to lecturing. Later on he did get down to working out a systematic metaphysics in proper academic style, but the project was cut short by his untimely death in 1910. The incomplete Some Problems of Philosophy, posthumously published in 1911, recapitulates some major themes of A Pluralistic Universe. (shrink)
A Pluralistic Universe is America's favourite philosopher's last complete work before he died in 1910. Nevertheless, it has been somewhat neglected as a final self-reckoning. Indeed the term "pragmatism" occurs pretty rarely in it, while "experience" and "pluralism" abound. As introduced and annotated by H.G. Callaway, the Cambridge Scholars edition offers some valuable background on James and the text itself, particularly for the nonspecialist reader. Besides retaining James's notes, Callaway has also provided his own glosses on important philosophical (...) terms, translations of the foreign phrases James so often fell back on, and an expanded index and new bibliography to the text. It is, as Callaway says, a "reading and study edition" (ix). (shrink)
This new edition of William James’s 1909 classic, A Pluralistic Universe reproduces the original text, only modernizing the spelling. The books has been annotated throughout to clarify James’s points of reference and discussion. There is a new, fuller index, a brief chronology of James’s life, and a new bibliography—chiefly based on James’s own references. The editor, H.G. Callaway, has included a new Introduction which elucidates the legacy of Jamesian pluralism to survey some related questions of contemporary (...) American society. -/- A Pluralistic Universe was the last major book James published during his life time. It is a substantial philosophical work, devoted to a thorough-going criticism of Hegelian monism and Absolutism—and the exploration of philosophical and social-theological alternatives. Our world of some one hundred years on is much the better for James’s contributions; and understanding James’s pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding. At present, we are more certain that American is, and is best, a pluralistic society, than we are of what particular forms our pluralism should take. Keeping an eye out for social interpretations of Jamesian pluralism, this new philosophical reading casts light on our twenty-first century alternatives by reference to prior American experience and developments. -/- . (shrink)
I once heard a colleague opine that we would be better off if there were a 50-year moratorium on philosophers using the word 'autonomy'. He went on to argue that we could get along just fine without the word, and that a good number of confusions would be dispelled along the way. This collection of new papers goes a long way toward responding to this challenge in ways that both undercut and vindicate aspects of this complaint.
This collection of eleven critical essays, together with Plantinga's replies, examines his evolutionary argument against naturalism (EAAN). All but one of the eleven are printed here for the first time, all are of high quality, and all receive Plantinga's trademark treatment -- rigorous, perceptive, thorough. In view of the numerous arguments, sub-arguments and observations advanced by the eleven against EAAN, his responses amount to a tour de force . It would take too long to sort through the point-counterpoint with a (...) view to laying out the many interconnections, valuable though that would be. Instead, after a sketch of EAAN, I summarize some of the key objections raised by the eleven, together with Plantinga's replies, then conclude with an objection of my own to what Plantinga calls the heart of his argument. (shrink)
If there is a God who wants us to become saints worthy of the beatific vision, he will provide us with information how to do so -- that is, with a propositional revelation. The revelation will not be too evident -- in order that we may choose whether or not to search it out and tell others about it -- and its interpretation for new centuries and cultures will require a church. The tests of a genuine revelation are its consonance (...) with our knowledge of God obtained by other routes, and some sort of miraculous foundation. (shrink)
In Beauty and Revolution in Science, James McAllister argues that a sophisticated rationalist image of science can accommodate two prominent features of actual scientific practice, namely, appeals to “aesthetic” criteria in theory choice, and the occurrence of scientific “revolutions”. The aesthetic criteria to which scientists appeal are, he maintains, inductively grounded in the empirical record of competing theories, and scientific revolutions involve changes in aestheic criteria bu continuity in empirical criteria of theory choice. I raise difficulties for McAllister's account (...) concerning: (a) the nature and scope of “aesthetic” criteria in science; (b) the rationality of appeals to aestheic criteria in science; (c) the rationality of scientific revolutions. (shrink)
James McAllister’s 2003 article, “Algorithmic randomness in empirical data” claims that empirical data sets are algorithmically random, and hence incompressible. We show that this claim is mistaken. We present theoretical arguments and empirical evidence for compressibility, and discuss the matter in the framework of Minimum Message Length (MML) inference, which shows that the theory which best compresses the data is the one with highest posterior probability, and the best explanation of the data.
Several quantitative techniques for choosing among data models are available. Among these are techniques based on algorithmic information theory, minimum description length theory, and the Akaike information criterion. All these techniques are designed to identify a single model of a data set as being the closest to the truth. I argue, using examples, that many data sets in science show multiple patterns, providing evidence for multiple phenomena. For any such data set, there is more than one data model that must (...) be considered close to the truth. I conclude that, since the established techniques for choosing among data models are unequipped to handle these cases, they cannot be regarded as adequate. ‡I presented a previous version of this paper at the 20th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vancouver, November 2006. I am grateful to the audience for constructive discussion. I thank Leiden University students Marjolein Eysink Smeets and Lenneke Schrier for suggesting the cortisol example, and Remko van der Geest for comments on a draft. †To contact the author, please write to: Faculty of Philosophy, University of Leiden, P.O. Box 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands; e-mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
Examples of classic thought experiments are presented and some morals drawn. The views of my fellow symposiasts, Tamar Gendler, John Norton, and James McAllister, are evaluated. An account of thought experiments along a priori and Platonistic lines is given. I also cite the related example of proving theorems in mathematics with pictures and diagrams. To illustrate the power of these methods, a possible refutation of the continuum hypothesis using a thought experiment is sketched.
Introduction -- "Mediating estrangement: a theory for diplomacy," review of International Studies (April, l987), 13, pp. 91-110 -- "Arms, hostages and the importance of shredding in earnest: reading the national security culture," Social Text (Spring, 1989), 22, pp. 79-91 -- "The (s)pace of international relations: simulation, surveillance and speed," International Studies Quarterly (September 1990), pp. 295-310 -- "Narco-terrorism at home and abroad," Radical America (December 1991), vol. 23, nos. 2-3, pp. 21-26 -- "The terrorist discourse: signs, states, and systems of (...) global political violence," World Security: Trends and Challenges at Century's End, ed. M. Klare and D. Thomas, St. Martin's Press (1991), pp. 237-265. -- "S/N: international theory, balkanisation, and the new world order," Millennium Journal for International Studies (Winter 1991), vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 485-506 -- "Cyberwar, videogames, and the Gulf War syndrome," Antidiplomacy: Spies, Terror, Speed and War (Cambridge, Ma and Oxford, UK, 1992), pp. 173-202 -- "Act IV: fathers (and sons), mother courage (and her children), and the dog, the cave, and the beef," in Global Voices: Dialogues in International Relations, ed. James N. Rosenau (Boulder, Co and Oxford, Uk: Westview Press, 1993), pp. 83-96 -- "The value of security: Hobbes, Marx, Nietzsche and Baudrillard," in the Political Subject of Violence, ed. G.M. Dillon and David Campbell, Manchester University Press (1993), pp. 94-113 -- "The C.I.A., Hollywood, and sovereign conspiracies," Queen's Quarterly (Summer 1993), vol. 100, no. 2, pp. 329-347 -- "Great men, monumental history, and not-so-grand theory: a meta-review of Henry Kissinger's diplomacy," Forum review article, Mershon International Studies Review (april 1995), vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 173-180 -- "Post-theory: the eternal return of ethics in international relations," New Thinking in International Relations Theory, eds. Michael Doyle and John Ikenberry (New York: Westview Press, 1997), pp. 55-75 -- "Cyber-deterrence," Wired (September 1994), 2.09., p. 116 (plus 7 pages) -- "Global swarming, virtual security, and Bosnia," the Washington Quarterly (Summer 1996), vol. 19, n0. 3., pp. 45- 56 -- "The simulation triangle," 21c (issue 24, 1997), pp. 19-25 -- "Virtuous war and hollywood," the Nation (3 april 2000), pp. 41-44 -- "Virtuous war/virtual theory," International Affairs (fall, 2000), pp. 771-788 -- "Hedley Bull and the case for a post-classical approach," International Relations at LSE: a History of 75 Years (London: Millennium Publishing Group, 2003), pp. 61-87. "the illusion of a grand strategy, op-ed," the New york Times, may 25, 2001 -- "In terrorem: before and after 9/11," Worlds in Collision, eds. Ken Booth and Tim Dunne (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), pp. 101-116 -- "The question of information technology in international relations," Millennium Journal of International Studies (vol. 32, no. 3, 2003), pp. 441-456 -- "The illusion of a grand strategy," op-ed, the New York Times, may 25, 2001. (shrink)
This article discusses the relation between features of empirical data and structures in the world. I defend the following claims. Any empirical data set exhibits all possible patterns, each with a certain noise term. The magnitude and other properties of this noise term are irrelevant to the evidential status of a pattern: all patterns exhibited in empirical data constitute evidence of structures in the world. Furthermore, distinct patterns constitute evidence of distinct structures in the world. It follows that the world (...) must be regarded as containing all possible structures. The remainder of the article is devoted to elucidating the meaning and implications of the latter claim. (shrink)
This introduction to the special issue on "Aesthetics of Science" reviews recent philosophical research on aesthetic aspects of science. Topics represented in this research include the aesthetic properties of scientific images, theories, and experiments; the relation of science and art; the role of aesthetic criteria in scientific practice and their effect on the development of science; aesthetic aspects of mathematics; the contrast between a classic and a Romantic aesthetic; and the relation between emotion, cognition, and rationality.
Bogen and Woodward claim that the function of scientific theories is to account for 'phenomena', which they describe both as investigator-independent constituents of the world and as corresponding to patterns in data sets. I argue that, if phenomena are considered to correspond to patterns in data, it is inadmissible to regard them as investigator-independent entities. Bogen and Woodward's account of phenomena is thus incoherent. I offer an alternative account, according to which phenomena are investigator-relative entities. All the infinitely many patterns (...) that data sets exhibit have equal intrinsic claim to the status of phenomenon: each investigator may stipulate which patterns correspond to phenomena for him or her. My notion of phenomena accords better both with experimental practice and with the historical development of science. (shrink)
Thought experiment acquires evidential significance only on particular metaphysical assumptions. These include the thesis that science aims at uncovering "phenomena"universal and stable modes in which the world is articulatedand the thesis that phenomena are revealed imperfectly in actual occurrences. Only on these Platonically inspired assumptions does it make sense to bypass experience of actual occurrences and perform thought experiments. These assumptions are taken to hold in classical physics and other disciplines, but not in sciences that emphasize variety and contingency, such (...) as Aristotelian natural philosophy and some forms of historiography. This explains why thought experiments carry weight in the former but not the latter disciplines. (shrink)
The central terms of certain theories which were valued highly in the past, such as the phlogiston theory, are now believed by realists not to refer. Laudan and others have claimed that, in the light of the existence of such theories, scientific realism is untenable. This paper argues in response that realism is consistent with — and indeed is able to explain — such theories' having been highly valued and yet not being close to the truth. It follows that the (...) set of highly-valued past theories cited by Laudan, presumed to militate against realism, is in fact innocuous to the doctrine. The argument hinges largely on identifying the grounds on which theory-adoption is actually performed. (shrink)
A rationalist and realist model of scientific revolutions will be constructed by reference to two categories of criteria of theory-evaluation, denominated indicators of truth and of beauty. Whereas indicators of truth are formulateda priori and thus unite science in the pursuit of verisimilitude, aesthetic criteria are inductive constructs which lag behind the progression of theories in truthlikeness. Revolutions occur when the evaluative divergence between the two categories of criteria proves too wide to be recomposed or overlooked. This model of revolutions (...) depends upon a substantial new treatment of aesthetic criteria in science with which much of the paper will therefore be occupied. (shrink)
If, as the title of this book suggests, the state of Tractatus commentary has at times recently resembled something close to a state of war, then it has most of all resembled a war of attrition. Against this background, Roger White's "Throwing the Baby Out with the Ladder" makes for refreshing reading. To be sure, White repeats some of the familiar misconceptions of what resolute readers do or must claim that have marred the debate over the adequacies or inadequacies of (...) such an approach to the Tractatus (TLP). But he also introduces some novel and interesting lines of criticism that merit serious attention. Foremost among the latter is White's treatment (in Section III of his paper) of three engaging examples that he sees as making trouble for resolute readers, and for their opposition to the standard idea that the lesson of the Tractatrrs could consist in its communicating, and our grasping, ineffable insights by way of its nonsense-sentences. (shrink)
Murray Gell-Mann has proposed the concept of effective complexity as a measure of information content. The effective complexity of a string of digits is defined as the algorithmic complexity of the regular component of the string. This paper argues that the effective complexity of a given string is not uniquely determined. The effective complexity of a string admitting a physical interpretation, such as an empirical data set, depends on the cognitive and practical interests of investigators. The effective complexity of a (...) string as a purely formal construct, lacking a physical interpretation, is either close to zero, or equal to the string's algorithmic complexity, or arbitrary, depending on the auxiliary criterion chosen to pick out the regular component of the string. Because of this flaw, the concept of effective complexity is unsuitable as a measure of information content. (shrink)
The modern sciences are divided into two groups: law-formulating and natural historical sciences. Sciences of both groups aim at describing the world, but they do so differently. Whereas the natural historical sciences produce “transcriptions” intended to be literally true of actual occurrences, laws of nature are expressive symbols of aspects of the world. The relationship between laws and the world thus resembles that between the symbols of classical iconography and the objects for which they stand. The natural historical approach was (...) founded by Aristotle and is retained in such present-day sciences as botany. Modern physics differentiated itself from the natural historical sciences and developed a symbolizing approach at the hands of Galileo and Descartes. Our knowledge of the physical domain is provided by two disciplines: the law-formulating science of physics and a natural historical science on which we depend in the everyday manipulation of our surroundings. (shrink)
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed a change in the perception of the arts and of philosophy. In the arts this transition occurred around 1800, with, for instance, the breakdown of Vitruvianism in architecture, while in philosophy the foundationalism of which Descartes and Spinoza were paradigmatic representatives, which presumed that philosophy and the sciences possessed a method of ensuring the demonstration of truths, was undermined by the idea, asserted by Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, that there exist alternative styles of enquiry among (...) which a choice is open. The essays in this book examine the circumstances, features, and consequences of this historical transition, exploring in particular new aspects and instances of the inter-relatedness of content and its formal representation in both the arts and philosophy. (shrink)
Almost all commentators acknowledge that among the grounds on which scientists perform theory-choices are criteria of simplicity. In general, simplicity is regarded either as only a logico-empirical quality of a theory, diagnostic of the theory's future predictive success, or as a purely aesthetic or otherwise extra-empirical property of it. This paper attempts to demonstrate that the simplicity-criteria applied in scientific practice include both a logico-empirical and a quasi-aesthetic criterion: to conflate these in an account of scientists' theory-choice is to court (...) confusion. (shrink)
The Newtonian universe is usually understood to contain two classes of causal factors: universal regularitiesand initial conditions. I demonstrate that,in fact, the Newtonian universe contains no causal factors other thanuniversal regularities: the initial conditions ofany physical system are merely theconsequence of universal regularities acting on previoussystems. It follows that aNewtonian universe lacks the degree of contingency that is usually attributed to it. This is a necessary precondition for maintaining that the Newtonian universe is a block universe that exhibits no temporal (...) development. It follows also that Newtonian physics is inconsistent, since a Newtonian universe as a whole exhibits some properties – such as the total mass of the universe – that are not determined by the laws of Newtonian physics, and that must therefore be considered contingent. (shrink)
Conditions for philosophy of science in the Netherlands are not optimal. The climate of opinion in Dutch philosophy is unsympathetic to the sciences, partly because of the influence of theology. Dutch universities offer no taught graduate programmes in philosophy of science, which would provide an entry route for science graduates. A great deal of Dutch research in philosophy of science is affected by an exegetical attitude, which fosters the interpretation and evaluation of other writers rather than the development of original (...) theories. Doctoral candidates in particular should be trained to greater originality and assertiveness. Nonetheless, much good research in philosophy of science is conducted in the Netherlands, both in philosophy faculties and in institutes dedicated to the foundations of the special sciences. Distinguished work is done also in the neighbouring disciplines of logic, history of science, and social studies of science. (shrink)
I argue that, contrary to thestandard view, the Newtonian universe containsno contingency. I do this by arguing (i) thatno contingency is introduced into the Newtonianuniverse by the initial conditions of physicalsystems in the universe, and (ii) that theclaim that the Newtonian universe as a wholehas contingent properties leads to incoherence.This result suggests that Newtonian physics iseither inconsistent or incomplete, since thelaws of Newtonian physics are too weak todetermine all the properties of the Newtonianuniverse uniquely.