I defend the ReceivedView on scientific theories as developed by Carnap, Hempel, and Feigl against a number of criticisms based on misconceptions. First, I dispute the claim that the ReceivedView demands axiomatizations in first order logic, and the further claim that these axiomatizations must include axioms for the mathematics used in the scientific theories. Next, I contend that models are important according to the ReceivedView. Finally, I argue against the claim that (...) the ReceivedView is intended to make the concept of a theory more precise. Rather, it is meant as a generalizable framework for explicating specific theories. (shrink)
I show that the central notion of Constructive Empiricism, empirical adequacy, can be expressed syntactically and specifically in the ReceivedView of the logical empiricists. The formalization shows that the ReceivedView is superior to Constructive Empiricism in the treatment of theories involving unobservable objects or functions from observable to unobserv- able objects. It also suggests a formalization of ‘full empirical informative- ness’ in Constructive Empiricism.
Zuckerberg almost always tells users that change is hard, often referring back to the early days of Facebook when it had barely any of the features people know and love today. He says sharing and a more open and connected world are had barely any of the features people know and love today. He says sharing and a more open and connected world are good, and often he says he appreciates all the feedback.
Achinstein, Putnam, and others have urged the rejection of the receivedview on theories (which construes theories as axiomatic calculi where theoretical terms are given partial observational interpretations by correspondence rules) because (i) the notion of partial interpretation cannot be given precise formulation, and (ii) the observational-theoretical distinction cannot be drawn satisfactorily. I try to show that these are the wrong reasons for rejecting the receivedview since (i) is false and it is virtually impossible to (...) demonstrate the truth of (ii). Nonetheless, the receivedview should be rejected because it obscures a number of epistemologically important features of scientific theorizing. I show this by sketching an alternative analysis which reveals some of these features and gives a more faithful picture of scientific theorizing. (shrink)
The ‘receivedview’ about computation is that all computations must involve representational content. Egan and Piccinini argue against the receivedview. In this paper, I focus on Egan’s arguments, claiming that they fall short of establishing that computations do not involve representational content. I provide positive arguments explaining why computation has to involve representational content, and how the representational content may be of any type (e.g. distal, broad, etc.). I also argue (contra Egan and Fodor) that (...) there is no need for computational psychology to be individualistic. Finally, I draw out a number of consequences for computational individuation, proposing necessary conditions on computational identity and necessary and sufficient conditions on computational I/O equivalence of physical.. (shrink)
Much if not most recent literature in philosophy of biology concerns the extent to which biological theories conform to what is known as the "received" philosophical view of scientific theories, a descendant of the logical-empiricist view of theories. But the receivedview currently faces a competitor--a very different view of theories known as the "semantic" view. It is argued here that the semantic view is more sensitive to the nature and limitations of (...) evolutionary theory than is the receivedview. In particular, the semantic view better accomodates the fact that evolutionary theory is bound to change as a result of the evolutionary process itself. This unusual feature of evolutionary theory provides a good reason for reconsidering the receivedview and paying close attention to the semantic view. (shrink)
In the paper, I present Christopher Gauker's critique of the view that we talk to each other as a way to make ourselves understood (the receivedview of linguistic communication) and his alternative theory. I show that both his critique and his alternative fail, and defend the receivedview of linguistic communication.
This volume is a historical anthology of interesting views on science from antiquity to the twentieth century plus a defensive anthology of logical positivism, whose legacy deserves better: clear-eyed assessment and then putting to rest.
Marian Przełęcki’s semantics for the ReceivedView is a good explication of Carnap’s position on the subject, anticipates many discussions and results from both proponents and opponents of the ReceivedView, and can be the basis for a thriving research program.
The author discusses a number of topics related to the concept of legal order and the structure of legal orders. In particular, the following theses are challenged: (1) legal orders are sets of rules; (2) the criterion of membership to such sets is validity; (3) legal orders are dynamic sets; (4) legal orders are provided with a hierarchical configuration; (5) legal orders are coherent and consistent sets.
The article discusses Friedman's classic claim that economics can be based on irrealistic assumptions. It exploits Samuelson's distinction between two "F-twists" (that is, "it is an advantage for an economic theory to use irrealistic assumptions" vs "the more irrealistic the assumptions, the better the economic theory"), as well as Nagel's distinction between three philosophy-of-science construals of the basic claim. On examination, only one of Nagel's construals seems promising enough. It involves the neo-positivistic distinction between theoretical and non-theoretical ("observable") terms; so (...) Friedman would in some sense argue for the major role of theoretical terms in economics. The paper uses a model-theoretic apparatus to refine the selected construal and check whether it can be made to support the claim. This inquiry leads to essentially negative results for both F-twists, and the final conclusion is that they are left unsupported. (shrink)
According to the semantic view of scientific theories, theories are classes of models. I show that this view -- if taken seriously as a formal explication -- leads to absurdities. In particular, this view equates theories that are truly distinct, and it distinguishes theories that are truly equivalent. Furthermore, the semantic view lacks the resources to explicate interesting theoretical relations, such as embeddability of one theory into another. The untenability of the semantic view -- as (...) currently formulated -- threatens to undermine scientific structuralism. (shrink)
I argue that, contrary to common opinion, (i) unintended models do not pose a significant problem for syntactic approaches to scientific theories, (ii) in syntactic approaches, scientific theories can be as well connected to the world as in semantic ones, and (iii) some syntactic approaches are at least as language independent as semantic ones. Based on these results, I argue that syntactic and semantic approaches fare equally well when it comes to (iv) capturing the theory-observation relation, (v) ease of application, (...) and (vi) accommodating the use of models in the sciences. (shrink)
Based on a formalization of constructive empiricism’s core concept of empirical adequacy, I show that some previous discussions rest on misunderstandings of empirical adequacy. Using one of the inspirations for constructive empiricism, I generalize the concept of a theory to avoid implausible presumptions about the relations of theoretical concepts and observations, and generalize empirical adequacy to allow for lack of knowledge, approximations, and successive gain of knowledge and precision. As a test case, I provide an application of the concepts to (...) a simple interference phenomenon. (shrink)
This dissertation consists of three parts. Part I is a defense of an artificial language methodology in philosophy and a historical and systematic defense of the logical empiricists' application of an artificial language methodology to scientific theories. These defenses provide a justification for the presumptions of a host of criteria of empirical significance, which I analyze, compare, and develop in part II. On the basis of this analysis, in part III I use a variety of criteria to evaluate the scientific (...) status of intelligent design, and further discuss confirmation, reduction, and concept formation. (shrink)
We present a brief history of decoherence, from its roots in the foundations of classical statistical mechanics, to the current spin bath models in condensed matter physics. We analyze the philosophical import of the subject matter in three different foundational problems, and find that, contrary to the receivedview, decoherence is less instrumental to their solutions than it is commonly believed. What makes decoherence more philosophically interesting, we argue, are the methodological issues it draws attention to, and the (...) question of the universality of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
There are two major approaches to the individuation of scientific theories, that have been called syntactic and semantic. We prefer to call them the linguistic and non-linguistic conceptions. On the linguistic view, also known as the receivedview, theories are identified with (pieces of) languages. On the non-linguistic view, theories are identified with extra-linguistic structures, known as models. We would like to distinguish between strong and weak formulations of each approach. On the strong version of the (...) linguistic approach, theories are identified with certain formal-syntactic calculi, whereas on a weaker reading, theories are merely analyzed as collections of claims or propositions. Correspondingly, the strong semantic approach identifies.. (shrink)
The running debate between Peter Achinstein and his critics concerning the nature of scientific evidence is misguided as each side attempts to explicate a distinct notion of evidence. Achinstein's approach, however, is valuable in helping to point out a problem with Carnap's statistical relevance model. By claiming an increase in probability to be necessary for evidence, the receivedview is incapable of accounting for evidence which is statistically irrelevant but explanatorily relevant. A broader view of evidence which (...) can account for pragmatic concerns such as explanation is thereby required. (shrink)
The semantic view of scientific theories has been defended as more adequate than the "received" view, especially with respect to biological theories. However, the semantic view has not been evaluated on its own terms. In this paper it is first shown how the theory of sociobiology propounded by E.O. Wilson can be understood on the semantic approach. The criticism that Wilson's theory is beset by the problem of unreliable generalizations is discussed. It is suggested that this (...) problem results from the use of the model-building strategy in theory construction. The author concludes that the problem is pressing enough to impugn the semantic view as an adequate account of sociobiological theory. (shrink)
There is an enduring story about empiricism, which runs as follows: from Locke onwards to Carnap, empiricism is the doctrine in which raw sense-data are received through the passive mechanism of perception; experience is the effect produced by external reality on the mind or ‘receptors’. Empiricism on this view is the ‘handmaiden’ of experimental natural science, seeking to redefine philosophy and its methods in conformity with the results of modern science. Secondly, there is a story about materialism, popularized (...) initially by Marx and Engels and later restated as standard, ‘textbook’ history of philosophy in the English-speaking world. It portrays materialism as explicitly mechanistic, seeking to reduce the world of qualities, sensations, and purposive behaviour to a quantitative, usually deterministic physical scheme. Building on some recent scholarship, I aim to articulate the contrarian view according to which neither of these stories is true. On the contrary, empiricism turns out to be less ‘science-friendly’ and more concerned with moral matters; materialism reveals itself to be, in at least a large number of cases, a ‘vital’, anti-mechanistic doctrine which focuses on the unique properties of organic beings. This revision of two key philosophical episodes should reveal that our history of early modern philosophy is dependent to a great extent on ‘special interests’, whether positivistic or Kantian, and by extension lead us to rethink the relation and distinction between ‘science’ and ‘philosophy’ in this period. (shrink)
Can a moral defect be an artistic virtue? Can it make a positive contribution to artistic value? Further, if this can happen on occasion, does this imply that moral value has no systematic connection to artistic value since every conceivable relation between them is possible? The idea that moral defects can sometimes be artistic virtues has received a fair number of defenders recently and so has the anti-theoretical view that there is no systematic relation between artistic and moral (...) value. But I think immoralism—as the first of these views is called—is mistaken and I will try to show that no good reason has been offered to believe it. If immoralism is wrong, the anti-theoretical view at best devolves into moderate moralism—the idea that moral defects sometimes, but not always, are responsible for artistic defects. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The debate in relation to the soul suffers nowadays from a great lack of clarity. At least part of this cloudiness stems from a confusion among three different viewpoints that are not always reconcilable or mutually intelligible: the scientific point of view (natural sciences and empirical psychology), the therapeutic point of view (especially psychoanalysis) and the philosophical point of view. The goal of this paper is to blow away a little this cloudiness, and to introduce into the (...) discussion a view that has not yet received its proper place in it: existentialism. The scientific approach investigates the soul as if it were an object in the world, a fact. This approach gives priority to objective observations over subjective ones, and steps in the direction of materialization of the soul (the soul becomes the mind and the mind becomes the brain). Transcendental philosophy and psychological therapies explain the relation between the subject and its objects, and by this reveal the subjective dimension of our reality as the ground not only for our objective knowledge but for our ethical life as well. Existentialism, I suggest, makes a further and important step in this direction by focusing on individualistic aspects of human existence, which science could not know and general theories of the subject do not see. (shrink)
In the traditional African view, words and sentences are not viewed as being liable to objective reflective truth/falsehood-judgments. It is not a person-word-reality-view, but a person-word-person-view: the sender's words are units of orally produced energy that have the power to improve or degenerate the receiver's vitality. Words received can make you more powerful by increasing your confidence and your control over your environment. But they can equally well harm (parts of) you, by discouraging you in certain (...) endeavors. From the traditional African point of view, words are not logical, but physical phenomena: words are forces affecting power. (shrink)
Few if any of Kant’s critics were more trenchant than Hegel. Here I reconstruct some objections Hegel makes to Kant in a text that has received insufficient attention, the chapter titled ‘the Moral World View’ in the Phenomenology of Spirit. I show that Kant holds virtually all the tenets Hegel ascribes to ‘the moral world view’. I concentrate on five of Hegel’s main objections to Kant’s practical metaphysics. First, Kant’s problem of coordinating happiness with virtue (as worthiness (...) to be happy) is contrived. Kant denies that there is any inherent connection between acting rightly and being happy, but his denial depends on his defining happiness in terms of satisfying inclinations, rather than in terms of achieving ends in general. Second, Kant’s view of moral motivation is contrived; he ultimately admits that we cannot resolve to act without taking inclinations into account. (We cannot resolve to act apart from the matter of our maxim.) Third, Kant’s idea about perfecting our virtue in an infinite progress is incoherent. Kant defines virtue, and evidence of virtue, in terms of overcoming inclinations. Inclinations die with the body. Therefore there can be neither virtue nor evidence of virtue after death. Fourth, Kant’s view of the autonomy of moral agency is inconsistent with viewing the moral law as a divine command. Fifth, Kant’s moral principles cannot be put into practice in concrete circumstances because he supplies inadequate guidance for classifying acts. I conclude that Hegel’s objections to Kant’s practical metaphysics are sound, and I show that the problems Hegel raised against Kant’s account of autonomy and moral motivation are still current, since they have not been resolved, e.g., by Onora O’Neill’s Constructions of Reason. (shrink)
There are two currently popular but quite different ways of answering the question of what constitutes personal identity: the one is usually called the psychological continuity theory (or Psychological View) and the other the narrative theory.1 Despite their differences, they do both claim to be providing an account—the correct account—of what makes someone the same person over time. Marya Schechtman has presented an important argument in this journal (Schechtman 2005) for a version of the narrative view (the ‘Self-Understanding (...)View’) over the psychological one, an argument which has received an overwhelmingly positive response from commentators (Gillett 2005; Heinemaa 2005; Phillips 2006). I wish to argue that .. (shrink)
In his discussion of morals in the Third Book of the Treatise, Hume claims that the taking of what I shall call a general point of view is a necessary condition of the arousal of moral feelings. This aspect of Hume's theory has not received much attention from his commentators before now, although its implications for the theory as a whole might be regarded as significant.
A number of writers have deployed the notion of a point of view as a key to the allegedly theory-resistant subjective aspect of experience. I examine that notion more closely than is usually done and find that it cannot support the anti-objectivist's case. Experience may indeed have an irreducibly subjective aspect, but the notion of a point of view cannot be used to show that it does.
Some philosophers believe that when epistemic peers disagree, each has an obligation to accord the other's assessment the same weight as her own. I first make the antecedent of this Equal-Weight View more precise, and then I motivate the View by describing cases in which it gives the intuitively correct verdict. Next I introduce some apparent counterexamples – cases of apparent peer disagreement in which, intuitively, one should not give equal weight to the other party's assessment. To defuse (...) these apparent counterexamples, an advocate of the View might try to explain how they are not genuine cases of peer disagreement. I examine David Christensen's and Adam Elga's explanations and find them wanting. I then offer a novel explanation, which turns on a distinction between knowledge from reports and knowledge from direct acquaintance. Finally, I extend my explanation to provide a handy and satisfying response to the charge of self-defeat. (shrink)
The Subset View of realization, though it has some attractive advantages, also has several problems. In particular, there are five main problems that have emerged in the literature: Double-Counting, The Part/Whole Problem, The “No Addition of Being” Problem, The Problem of Projectibility, and the Problem of Spurious Kinds. Each is reviewed here, along with solutions (or partial solutions) to them. Taking these problems seriously constrains the form that a Subset view can take, and thus limits the kinds of (...) relations that can fulfill the realization relation on this view. (shrink)
According to one influential conception of morality, being moral is a matter of acting from or in accordance with a moral point of view, a point of view which is arrived at by abstracting from a more natural, pre-ethical, personal point of view, and recognizing that each person''s personal point of view has equal standing. The idea that, were it not for morality, rational persons would act from their respectively personal points of view is, however, (...) simplistic and misleading. Because our nonmoral reasons cannot all be adequately captured as falling within any single, unified and coherent point of view, morality cannot be adequately understood as a matter of abstracting from such points of view and taking them all equally into account. After considering several ways of modifying the initial conception of morality in a way that accommodates the variety of nonmoral reasons that do not have their source in a personal point of view, the paper concludes with the suggestion that we free ourselves more thoroughly from the grip of the metaphor that takes morality as a whole to be a matter of acting in accordance with the judgments of a single unified and coherent point of view. (shrink)
Among theories of personal identity over time the simple view has not been popular among philosophers, but it nevertheless remains the default view among non philosophers. It may be construed either as the view that nothing grounds a claim of personal identity over time, or that something quite simple (a soul perhaps) is the ground. If the former construal is accepted, a conspicuous difficulty is that the condition of causal dependence between person-stages is absent. But this leaves (...) such a view open to an objection from the failure to provide a condition of individuation. If, on the other hand something like a soul is said to ground personal identity over time, such an account turns out to be more suited to a kind of continuity view. (shrink)
True contradictions are taken increasingly seriously by philosophers and logicians. Yet, the belief that contradictions are always false remains deeply intuitive. This paper confronts this belief head-on by explaining in detail how one specific contradiction is true. The contradiction in question derives from Priest's reworking of Berkeley's argument for idealism. However, technical aspects of the explanation offered here differ considerably from Priest's derivation. The explanation uses novel formal and epistemological tools to guide the reader through a valid argument with, not (...) just true, but eminently acceptable premises, to an admittedly unusual conclusion: a true contradiction. The novel formal and epistemological tools concern points of view and changes in points of view. The result is an understanding of why the contradiction is true. (shrink)
Multiply realizable properties are those whose realizers are physically diverse. It is often argued that theories which contain them are ipso facto irreducible. These arguments assume that physical explanations are restricted to the most specific descriptions possible of physical entities. This assumption is descriptively false, and philosophically unmotivated. I argue that it is a holdover from the late positivist axiomatic view of theories. A semantic view of theories, by contrast, correctly allows scientific explanations to be couched in the (...) most perspicuous, powerful language available. On a semantic view, traditional notions of multiple realizability are thus very hard to motivate. At best, one must abandon either the idea that multiple realizability is an interesting scientific notion, or else admit that multiply realizable properties do not automatically block scientific reductions. (shrink)
According to the theory of intrinsic value and moral standing called the ‘substance view,’ what makes it prima facie seriously wrong to kill adult human beings, human infants, and even human fetuses is the possession of the essential property of the basic capacity for rational moral agency – a capacity for rational moral agency in root form and thereby not remotely exercisable. In this critique, I cover three distinct reductio charges directed at the substance view's conclusion that human (...) fetuses have the same intrinsic value and moral standing as adult human beings. After giving consideration to defenders of the substance view's replies to these charges, I then critique each of them, ultimately concluding that none is successful. Of course, in order to understand all of these things – the reductio charges, defenders of the substance view's replies to them, and my criticisms of their replies – one must have a better understanding of the substance view (in particular, its understanding of rational moral agency) as well as its defense. Accordingly, I address the substance view's understanding of rational moral agency as well as present its defense. (shrink)
According to the Simple View of intentional action, I have intentionally switched on the light only if I intended to switch on the light. The idea that intending to is necessary for intentionally -ing has been challenged by Bratman (1984, 1987) with a counter-example in which a videogame player is trying to hit either of two targets while knowing that she cannot hit both targets. When a target is hit, the game finishes. And if both targets are about to (...) be hit simultaneously, the game shuts down. The player knows that she cannot hit both targets, but still she concludes that, given her skills, the best strategy is to have a go at each target at the same time. Suppose she hits target 1. It seems obvious that she has hit target 1 intentionally. But, Bratman argues, she could not have intended to hit target 1. Since the scenario is perfectly symmetrical, had the player intended to hit target 1, she would have also had to intend to hit target 2. But the player knows that she cannot hit both targets. (shrink)
Halvorson (2012) argues that the semantic view of theories leads to absurdities. Glymour (2013) shows how to inoculate the semantic view against Halvorson's criticisms, namely by making it into a syntactic view of theories. I argue that this modified semantic-syntactic view cannot do the philosophical work that the original "language-free" semantic view was supposed to do.
The main characters of a philosophy meant as an activity which is not essentially different from science but deals with questions which go beyond the limits of present sciences are the following: 1) Philosophy is an investigation of the world. It is aimed at dealing with major issues and is justified only insofar as it deals with them. 2) Philosophy provides a global view, it is not limited to sectorial questions. So there cannot be a philosophy of mathematics alone, (...) or physics alone, or biology alone, and so on. 3)Being an investigation about the world, philosophy aims at knowledge. Therefore questions about knowledge are central in philosophy. 4)Philosophy is continuous with sciences. Its objectives are not essentially different from those of sciences. 5)Philosophy makes use of results of sciences. This is not accessory to it, it is essential for its progress. 6)The method of philosophy is essentially the same as that of sciences. 7) Philosophy seeks new knowledge. Seeking new knowledge is part of its deepest nature. 8) Philosophy seeks new discovery methods. Seeking new knowledge, it also seeks new methods to obtain it. 9) Philosophy tries unexplored routes and, by so doing, it may even give origin to new sciences. Its greatest value consists in this. 10) Philosophy makes use of the experience of philosophers of the past. For this may help us to understand where certain ideas lead, avoiding us to try routes which have already revealed fruitless. 11) A conclusive solution of philosophical problems is impossible. Their solutions are always provisional and are bound to be replaced sooner or later by others. Progress exists everywhere, even in philosophy. 12) Philosophy has no specific field of its own, nor specific techniques of its own. But because it moves on an unexplored ground, it is at the same time always exposed to the risk of failure but also capable of surprising developments, originating new sciences. -/- . (shrink)
In this paper, a modest version of the Semantic View is motivated as both tenable and potentially fruitful for philosophy of science. An analysis is proposed in which the Semantic View is characterized by three main claims. For each of these claims, a distinction is made between stronger and more modest interpretations. It is argued that the criticisms recently leveled against the Semantic View hold only under the stronger interpretations of these claims. However, if one only commits (...) to the modest interpretation for all the claims, then the view obtained, the Modest Semantic View, is tenable and fruitful for the philosophy of science. (shrink)
In their paper ‘Why It Matters That Some Are Worse Off Than Others: An Argument against the Priority View’, Michael Otsuka and Alex Voorhoeve argue that prioritarianism is mistaken. I argue that their case against prioritarianism has much weaker foundations than it might at first seem. Their key argument is based on the claim that prioritarianism ignores the fact of the ‘separateness of persons’. However, prioritarianism, far from ignoring that fact, is a plausible response to it. It may be (...) that prioritarianism disregards the fact of the ‘unity of the individual’. But even if this is true, that doesn’t straightforwardly tell against prioritarianism as a view about distributive justice. In the end, Otsuka and Voorhoeve’s argument relies on a non-decisive intuition that they appeal to early in their paper. Their conclusion, as a result, is not compelling. (shrink)
The notion that the firm, and economic activity in general, is inherently amoral is a central feature of positive economics that is also widely accepted in business ethics. Theories as disparate as stockholder and stakeholder theory both leave this central assumption unchallenged. Each theory argues for a different set of external ethical restrictions, but neither adequately provides an internal connection between business and the ethical rules business people are obliged to follow. This paper attempts to make this connection by arguing (...) that the purpose of business is to produce a good or service for trade. Trade involves both a respect for individual autonomy and property rights and squarely places moral norms internal to the practice of business. Trade is not a contingent activity of business, it is a practice rule which also provides the common sense boundary between business and charity on the one hand, and crime on the other. Business and those who engage in it are, from the internal point of view, bound by the purpose of trade and not just the laws of the land. (shrink)
Today, sustainable relations with a broad range of key stakeholders are not only important from a normative business ethics perspective, but also from an entrepreneurial viewpoint to allow and support the long-term survival of a firm. We will argue that the traditional conception of a firm's corporate social responsibility does not reflect this view and that a comprehensive and dynamic conception of a firm's responsibilities is necessary to map the reality of business practice and to manage the challenges implied (...) by sustainability. We think that distributive justice, that is the way in which firms involve their stakeholders in their wealth creation and dissemination processes, provides a comprehensive understanding of corporate responsibilities. Concerning procedural justice, we will discuss how firms involve stakeholders in their strategic processes according to their contribution to wealth creation. In the course of the article, we will propose a framework along with three design principles that can be used for shaping dynamic and comprehensive corporate responsibilities, and which thereby allow a sustainable procedure for changing business and non-business environments. (shrink)
We propose an analysis of the notion of model as crucially related to the notion of point of view. A model in this sense would always suggest a certain way of looking at a real system, a certain way of thinking about it and a certain way of acting upon it. We focus on System Dynamics as a paradigmatic case with respect to many of the features and problems we can find in the field of modelling and simulation. We (...) analyse in detail some of those features. All of them would be present in many other cases of construction and use of models. Furthermore, they would support the thesis that a model can be fruitfully understood as offering a point of view capable of improving our own points of view over a certain system. The point of view offered by the model could include both non-conceptual and conceptual contents, it would have a complex structure and behaviour, and it would have direct consequences on the decisions made by the subjects adopting that point of view. (shrink)
There is a controversy, within social epistemology, over how to handle disagreement among epistemic peers. Call this the problem of peer disagreement. There is a solution, i.e. the equal-weight view, which says that disagreement among epistemic peers is a reason for each peer to lower the credence they place in their respective positions. However, this solution is susceptible to a serious challenge. Call it the merely modal peers challenge. Throughout parts of modal space, which resemble the actual world almost (...) completely, there are hordes of epistemic peers, who disagree with almost any arbitrarily chosen belief had by residents of the actual world. Further, the mere modality of these peers is not itself an epistemic difference-maker. Thus, on the equal-weight view, we should significantly lower the credence we place in most of our beliefs. Surely, this is seriously mistaken. Thus, there are serious considerations that cut against the equal-weight view. (shrink)
In this paper, I provide a defence of the New View, on which ignorance is lack of true belief rather than lack of knowledge. Pierre Le Morvan has argued that the New View is untenable, partly because it fails to take into account the distinction between propositional and factive ignorance. I argue that propositional ignorance is just a subspecies of factive ignorance and that all the work that needs to be done can be done by using the concept (...) of factive ignorance. I also defend two arguments of mine in favour of the New View against Le Morvan’s criticisms. As to the Linguistic Argument, I point out that the intuitions of the adherent of the New View about cases of true belief that fall short of knowledge are really intuitions about factive rather than propositional ignorance. As to the Excuse Argument, I argue that true belief is exculpatorily relevant: a true belief in a proposition p , where disbelief that p or suspension on p would provide at least a partial excuse, is relevant in that it renders one blameworthy for one’s action, unless further excuses hold. Finally, I reply to two closely related objections that might be levelled against the New View, namely that it seems false that one can reduce one’s ignorance by arbitrarily believing as many propositions as possible and that it seems false that an intellectually conscientious and critical person is more ignorant than an intellectually sloppy and credulous person just because the latter has more true beliefs. (shrink)
The bone of contention that divides Alfred Schutz and Talcott Parsons in their 1940–1941 debate is that Schutz acknowledges an ontological break between the commonsense and scientific worlds whereas Parsons only considers it “a matter of refinement.” Schutz’s ontological distancing that disconnects the “world of consociates” where social reality is directly experienced in face-to-face contacts, and the “world of contemporaries” where the Other is experienced in terms of “types” has been crucial to social scientists. Implicated in the break is that (...) all intellectual attempts to understand experiences of Others must be based on the “models” constructed in the “world of contemporaries” (or “predecessors”); hence, epistemologically, to grasp the subjective point of view with a here-and-now understanding is an outright impossibility. Based on a Schutzian perspective, the author suggests that the sociologist must objectivize the Thou-orientations involved in his/her analysis in order that s/he can possibility grasp the subjective point of view in objective terms. (shrink)
Is a policy-friendly philosophy of science possible? In order to respond this question, I consider a particular instance of contemporary philosophy of science, the semantic view of scientific theories, by placing it in the broader methodological landscape of the integration of philosophy of science into STS (Science and Technology Studies) as a component of the overall contribution of the latter to science policy. In that context, I defend a multi-disciplinary methodological integration of the special discipline composing STS against a (...) reductionist interdisciplinary unification, arguing that if STS wants to contribute to policy advising by constructing narratives of science practice feasible for science policy both in terms of descriptive completeness and intelligibility, then it must avoid the explanatory reductionism tendencies of special disciplines in interdisciplinary contexts. This would favour, at the same time, a relaxation of esoteric language. On this basis, it seems that the semantic view is one right candidate among other approaches in the philosophy of science for facilitating the integration of the methodologically different contributions to STS toward policy objectives. In fact, besides offering a more realistic and descriptively complete picture of science practice with respect to its predecessor in the philosophy of science, namely the syntactic view, the semantic view is also able to capture some aspects of science practice that elude even sociological approaches to STS, thus inviting different perspective on the same subject matter. (shrink)