The free energy principle is sometimes put forward as accounting for biological self-organization and cognition. It states that for a system to maintain non-equilibrium steady-state with its environment it can be described as minimising its free energy. It is said to be entirely scale-free, applying to anything from particles to organisms, and interactive machines, spanning from the abiotic to the biotic. Because the FEP is so general in its application, one might wonder whether this framework can capture anything specific to (...) biology. We take steps to correct for this here. We first explicate the worry, taking pebbles as examples of an abiotic system, and then discuss to what extent the FEP can distinguish its dynamics from an organism’s. We articulate the notion of ‘autonomy as precarious operational closure’ from the enactive literature, and investigate how it can be unpacked within the FEP. This enables the FEP to delineate between the abiotic and the biotic; avoiding the pebble worry that keeps it out of touch with the living systems we encounter in the world. (shrink)
The free energy principle portends to provide a unifying principle for the biological and cognitive sciences. It states that for a system to maintain non-equilibrium steady-state with its environment it must minimise its free energy. Under the FEP, to minimise free energy is equivalent to engaging in approximate Bayesian inference. According to the FEP, therefore, inference is at the explanatory base of biology and cognition. In this paper, we discuss a specific challenge to this inferential formulation of adaptive self-organisation. We (...) call it the universal ethology challenge: it states that the FEP cannot unify biology and cognition, for life itself does not require inferential routines to select adaptive solutions to environmental pressures. We show that it is possible to overcome the universal ethology challenge by providing a cautious and exploratory treatment of inference under the FEP. We conclude that there are good reasons for thinking that the FEP can unify biology and cognition under the notion of approximate Bayesian inference, even if further challenges must be addressed to properly draw such a conclusion. (shrink)
This paper develops a historical and systematic typology of perceptions of wilderness that exist in contemporary western European cultures. After describing notions of wilderness associated with worldviews that emerged during the Enlightenment period and as a critical response to it, we outline four recent transformations of these traditional notions of wilderness: wilderness as an ecological object, as a place of nature's self-reassertion, as a place of thrill and as a sphere of amorality and meaninglessness. In our conclusion, we suggest what (...) practical relevance arises from such a nuanced understanding of the inherently ambiguous concept of wilderness. (shrink)
In the theory and history of ecology, Frederic Clements’s theory of plant communities is usually presented as the historical prototype and a paradigmatic example of synecological organicism, characterised by the assumption that ecological communities are functionally integrated units of mutually dependent species. In this paper, I will object to this standard interpretation of Clements’s theory. Undoubtedly, Clements compares plant communities with organisms and calls them “complex organisms” and “superorganisms”. Further, he can indeed be regarded as a proponent of ecological organicism—provided (...) that one defines ecological organicism as the interpretation of synecological units according to the model of the individual organism. However, Clements’s theory does not include the assumption that mutual dependence is a principle of the organisation of plant communities. Rather, he interprets plant communities as top-down control-hierarchical entities, in which subordinate species depend on dominant species—but not the other way around. Therefore, his theory represents what may be called ‘control-hierarchical organicism’ as against ‘mutualistic organicism’. The erroneous attribution to Clements of ‘mutualistic organicism’ might be due to an unawareness of the existence of different concepts of the organism. This unawareness results in the projection on Clements’s theory of a seemingly self-evident mutualistic concept of organism that Clements himself did not use as a basis for his theory of plant communities. (shrink)
Was Natur für uns ist und welche Bereiche unserer Umwelt als natürlich erfahren werden, scheint sich einer prinzipiellen Bestimmung zu entziehen. Auch ist weitgehend unklar, worauf sich der verantwortliche Umgang "des" Menschen mit "der" Natur beziehen soll? Etwa auf die Erhaltung des Status quo der Natur oder auf die maßvolle Steuerung des Wandels der Natur? Ist in den gegenwärtigen umweltpolitischen und den Naturschutz betreffenden Überlegungen tatsächlich "die" Natur der Referenzrahmen verantwortlichen Handelns oder geht es uns vor allem um die Erhaltung (...) eines nützlichen Zustands für uns und nachfolgende Generationen? Die Autorinnen und Autoren des Bandes ziehen die Gewissheiten unseres theoretischen und praktischen Umgangs mit der Natur in Frage und suchen nach neuen Perspektiven. -/- Unter den Stichworten Objektive Natur (I.), Natur als Resonanzraum (II.), Natur als Ressource und Wert (III.), Natur als natürliche Umwelt (IV.), Künstliche Natur (V.), Vergesellschaftete Natur (VI.) und Verantwortete Natur (VII.) sind Beiträge der Philosophinnen Heike Baranzke und Christine Zunke sowie der Philosophen Michael Großheim, Michael Hauskeller, Kristian Köchy, Ulrich Krohs und Gregor Schiemann versammelt. Interdisziplinäre Herausforderungen zur Thematik werden in den Studien von Jörn Ahrens (Kultursoziologie), Karl-Werner Brand (Umwelt- und Nachhaltigkeitsforschung), Hans Diefenbacher (Wirtschaftswissenschaften), Thomas Fuchs (Psychiatrie), Ulrich Gebhard (Erziehungswissenschaften), ThomasKirchhoff (Ökologie), Dörte Martens/ Nicole Bauer (Umweltpsychologie), Hartmut Rosa (Soziologie), Heinrich Spanier (Umweltschutz), Vera Tekken/ Josef Settele (Umweltforschung), Frank Uekötter (Umweltgeschichte) und Michael Wink (Biologie) deutlich herausgearbeitet. Die Beiträge der Theologen Dirk Evers und Thorsten Moos runden den Band ab. (shrink)
Spätestens mit der 1992er Rio Declaration on Environment and Development hat sich der Begriff „Ökosystemintegrität“ als Leitprinzip internationaler Umweltpolitik etabliert. Seinen Ursprung hat dieser Begriff in Bestrebungen in Kanada und den USA, mit Hilfe der positiven Konnotationen des aus der menschlich-sozialen Sphäre stammenden Begriffs der „Integrität“ die Wertschätzung und den Schutz von Natur zu fördern. Die Kombination mit dem Begriff „Ökosystem“ ergibt sich aus der Absicht, eine zugleich integrativ-holistische und naturwissenschaftlich-empirische Bewertungsmöglichkeit zu etablieren – anstelle einer entweder naturwissenschaftlich-reduktionistischen oder spirituell-holistischen (...) Betrachtungsweise. In diesem Aufsatz wird zunächst der Entstehungskontext des Begriffs der Ökosystemintegrität beleuchtet, um dann vier konkurrierende Begriffsbestimmungen vorzustellen: Ökosystemintegrität als Fähigkeit eines Ökosystems, seinen ursprünglichen Zustand, seine intrinsische Funktionalität bzw. innere Zweckmäßigkeit oder seine extrinsische Funktionalität bzw. äußere Zweckmäßigkeit aufrechtzuerhalten, sowie, übergeordnet, ökologische Integrität als transpersonal-planetarisches Bewusstsein der Eingebundenheit des Menschen in das planetarische Ökosystem. Diese vier Konzepte werden zunächst – deskriptiv – im Hinblick auf die ihnen zugrunde liegenden naturwissenschaftlichen Theorien und naturtheoretischen Prämissen sowie auf ihren normativen Gehalt analysiert. Dann wird – normativ – ihre Eignung als umweltethisches Leitprinzip geprüft. Epistemologische Kriterien für die Auswahl dieser vier Begriffsbestimmungen waren: Werden Ökosysteme bzw. Ökosystemintegrität im Sinne eines ontologischen Realismus als beobachterunabhängige oder aber im Sinne eines ontologischen Konstruktivismus als beobachterabhängige Entitäten bzw. Eigenschaft begriffen? Was wird als Referenz dafür angesehen, ob etwas abträglich für Ökosystemintegrität ist? Vor allem in normativer Hinsicht ist die Frage relevant: Werden Menschen bzw. Gesellschaften als getrennt von oder als Teile von Ökosystemen bestimmt? Gewählt wurden diese Kriterien, weil sie entscheidende Prämissen der vielen verschiedenen Konzepte von Ökosystemintegrität erschließen, die in umweltethischer Hinsicht normativ wirksam werden. Die vorliegende Analyse zeigt, dass alle vier Konzepte von „Ökosystemintegrität“ mit schwerwiegenden Einwänden konfrontiert und als umweltethisches Leitprinzip problematisch sind – vor allem, weil sie auf fragwürdigen ontologischen Voraussetzungen basieren. (shrink)
Was ist Natur oder was könnte sie sein? Diese und weitere Fragen sind grundlegend für Naturdenken und -handeln. Das Lehr- und Studienbuch bietet eine historisch-systematische und zugleich praxisbezogene Einführung in die Naturphilosophie mit ihren wichtigsten Begriffen. Es nimmt den pluralen Charakter der Wahrnehmung von Natur in den philosophischen Blick und ist auch zum Selbststudium bestens geeignet.
Contemporary Philosophy in Focus offers a series of introductory volumes to many of the dominant philosophical thinkers of the current age. Thomas Kuhn, the author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, is probably the best-known and most influential historian and philosopher of science of the last 25 years, and has become something of a cultural icon. His concepts of paradigm, paradigm change and incommensurability have changed the way we think about science. This volume offers an introduction to Kuhn's life (...) and work and then considers the implications of Kuhn's work for philosophy, cognitive psychology, social studies of science and feminism. The volume is more than a retrospective on Kuhn, exploring future developments of cognitive and information services along Kuhnian lines. Outside of philosophy the volume will be of particular interest to professionals and students in cognitive science, history of science, science studies and cultural studies. (shrink)
This book is forthcoming in Routledge. Here is the barest sketch of our aims: -/- We have two aims in this book. First, we aim to persuade you that conscious experience is sometimes realised by cycles of embodied and world-involving engagement. Second, we aim to persuade you that it is possible to develop and defend the thesis of extended consciousness through the increasingly powerful predictive processing theory developed in cognitive neuroscience.
We develop a truism of commonsense psychology that perception and action constitute the boundaries of the mind. We do so however not on the basis of commonsense psychology, but by using the notion of a Markov blanket originally employed to describe the topological properties of causal networks. We employ the Markov blanket formalism to propose precise criteria for demarcating the boundaries of the mind that unlike other rival candidates for “marks of the cognitive” avoids begging the question in the extended (...) mind debate. Our criteria imply that the boundary of the mind is nested and multiscale sometimes extending beyond the individual agent to incorporate items located in the environment. Chalmers has used commonsense psychology to develop what he sees as the most serious challenge to the view that minds sometimes extend into the world. He has argued that perception and action should be thought of as interfaces that separate minds from their surrounding environment. In a series of recent papers Hohwy has defended a similar claim using the Markov blanket formalism. We use the Markov blanket formalism to show how both of their objections to the extended mind fail. (shrink)
Philosophical accounts of the constitution relation have been explicated in terms of synchronic relations between higher‐ and lower‐level entities. Such accounts, I argue, are temporally austere or impoverished, and are consequently unable to make sense of the diachronic and dynamic character of constitution in dynamical systems generally and dynamically extended cognitive processes in particular. In this paper, my target domain is extended cognition based on insights from nonlinear dynamics. Contrariwise to the mainstream literature in both analytical metaphysics and extended cognition, (...) I develop a nonstandard, alternative conception of constitution, which I call “diachronic process constitution”. It will be argued that only a diachronic and dynamical conception of constitution is consistent with the nature of constitution in distributed cognitive processes. (shrink)
This paper starts by considering an argument for thinking that predictive processing (PP) is representational. This argument suggests that the Kullback–Leibler (KL)-divergence provides an accessible measure of misrepresentation, and therefore, a measure of representational content in hierarchical Bayesian inference. The paper then argues that while the KL-divergence is a measure of information, it does not establish a sufficient measure of representational content. We argue that this follows from the fact that the KL-divergence is a measure of relative entropy, which can (...) be shown to be the same as covariance (through a set of additional steps). It is well known that facts about covariance do not entail facts about representational content. So there is no reason to think that the KL-divergence is a measure of (mis-)representational content. This paper thus provides an enactive, non-representational account of Bayesian belief optimisation in hierarchical PP. (shrink)
Difficult moral issues in economic life, such as evaluating the impact of hostile takeovers and plant relocations or determining the obligations of business to the environment, constitute the raison d'etre of business ethics. Yet, while the ultimate resolution of such issues clearly requires detailed, normative analysis, a shortcoming of business ethics is that to date it has failed to develop an adequate normative theory. 1 The failing is especially acute when it results in an inability to provide a basis for (...) fine-grained analyses of issues. Both general moral theories and stakeholder theory seem incapable of expressing the moral complexity necessary to provide practical normative guidance for many business ethics contexts. (shrink)
This paper explores several paths a distinctive third wave of extended cognition might take. In so doing, I address a couple of shortcomings of first- and second-wave extended cognition associated with a tendency to conceive of the properties of internal and external processes as fixed and non-interchangeable. First, in the domain of cognitive transformation, I argue that a problematic tendency of the complementarity model is that it presupposes that socio-cultural resources augment but do not significantly transform the brain’s representational capacities (...) during diachronic development. In this paper I show that there is available a much more dynamical explanation—one taking the processes of the brain’s enculturation into patterned practices as transforming the brain’s representational capacities. Second, in the domain of cognitive assembly, I argue that another problematic tendency is an individualistic notion of cognitive agency, since it overlooks the active contribution of socio-cultural practices in the assembly process of extended cognitive systems. In contrast to an individualistic notion of cognitive agency, I explore the idea that it is possible to decentralize cognitive agency to include socio-cultural practices. (shrink)
This is a new edition of a speech about Buddhism by Rudolf Otto from 1913. This speech is his first academic reflexion of his journey around the world and his most detailed explanation of his view on this religion. In the first part of his speech Otto compares Buddhism with Christianity and finds a lot of parallels. In the second part he defines differences between these two religions and proclaims – from a Christian perspective – Christianity as more valuable than (...) Buddhism. The preface puts the speech into its context: Otto’s relationship to and his knowledge of Buddhism, the history of publication of this speech, Otto’s specific view on Buddhism in comparison to his contemporaries, the meaning of this speech in his œuvre and explanations about the edition. The editor has the opinion, that this speech is an important transition from Ottos philosophy of religion to his main work The Idea of the Holy. It further is a good example of what Otto means when speaking about the comparison of religions. (shrink)
Abstract Freedom in the sense of free will is a multiway power to do any one of a number of things, leaving it up to us which one of a range of options by way of action we perform. What are the ethical implications of our possession of such a power? The paper examines the pre-Hobbesian scholastic view of writers such as Peter Lombard and Francisco Suárez: freedom as a multiway power is linked to the right to liberty understood as (...) a right to exercise that power, and to liberation as a desirable goal involving the perfection of that power. Freedom as a power, liberty as a right, and liberation as a desirable goal, are all linked within this scholastic view to a distinctive theory of law as constituting, in its primary form of natural law, the normative recognition of human freedom. Hobbes's denial of the very existence of freedom as a power led him to a radical revision both of the theory of law and of the relation of law to liberty. Law and liberty were no longer harmonious phenomena, but were left in essential conflict. One legacy of Hobbes is the attempt to base a theory of law and liberty not on freedom as a multiway power, but on rationality. Instead of an ethics of freedom, we have an ethics of reason as involving autonomy. The paper expresses some scepticism about the prospects for such an appeal to reason as a replacement for multiway freedom. (shrink)
Thomas Reid saw the three subjects of logic, rhetoric, and the fine arts as closely cohering aspects of one endeavor that he called the culture of the mind. This was a topic on which Reid lectured for many years in Glasgow, and this volume presents as near a reconstruction of these lectures as is now possible. Though virtually unknown today, this material in fact relates closely to Reid's published works and in particular to the late Essays on the Intellectual (...) Powers of Man and Essays on the Active Powers of Man. When composing these works, Reid drew primarily on his lectures on "pneumatology," which presented a theory of the mental powers, broadly conceived. These lectures were basic to the course on the culture of the mind that explained the cultivation of the mental powers. Although the Essays also included some elements from the material on the culture of the mind, the bulk of the latter was left in manuscript form, and Alexander Broadie's edition restores this important extension of Reid's overall work. In addition, this volume continues the attractive combination of manuscript material and published work, in this case Reid's important and well-known essay on Aristotle's logic. This text was corrupted in earlier editions of Reid's works and is now restored to the state in which Reid left it. This volume underscores Reid's great and growing significance, viewed both as a historical figure and as a philosopher. At the same time, it is of great interdisciplinary importance. While the material emerges directly from the core of Reid's philosophy, as now understood, it will appeal widely to people in literary, cultural, historical, and communications studies. In this regard, the present volume is a true fruit of the Scottish Enlightenment. (shrink)
Most philosophical accounts of emergence are based on supervenience, with supervenience being an ontologically synchronic relation of determination. This conception of emergence as a relation of supervenience, I will argue, is unable to make sense of the kinds of emergence that are widespread in self-organizing and nonlinear dynamical systems, including distributed cognitive systems. In these dynamical systems, an emergent property is ontological and diachronic.
Thomas Paine was an English-American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary. One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, and he inspired the rebels in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination." Odin's Library Classics is dedicated to bringing (...) the world the best of humankind's literature from throughout the ages. Carefully selected, each work is unabridged from classic works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or drama. (shrink)
A central figure in Western history and American political thought, Thomas Paine continues to provoke debate among politicians, activists, and scholars. People of all ideological stripes are inspired by his trenchant defense of the rights and good sense of ordinary individuals, and his penetrating critiques of arbitrary power. This volume contains Paine’s explosive Common Sense in its entirety, including the oft-ignored Appendix, as well as selections from his other major writings: The American Crisis, Rights of Man, and The Age (...) of Reason. It also contains several of Paine’s shorter essays. All the documents have been transcribed directly from the originals, making this edition the most reliable one available. Essays by Ian Shapiro, Jonathan Clark, Jane Calvert, and Eileen Hunt Botting bring Paine into sharp focus, illuminating his place in the tumultuous decades surrounding the American and French Revolutions and his larger historical legacy. (shrink)
Radical enactive and embodied approaches to cognitive science oppose the received view in the sciences of the mind in denying that cognition fundamentally involves contentful mental representation. This paper argues that the fate of representationalism in cognitive science matters significantly to how best to understand the extent of cognition. It seeks to establish that any move away from representationalism toward pure, empirical functionalism fails to provide a substantive “mark of the cognitive” and is bereft of other adequate means for individuating (...) cognitive activity. It also argues that giving proper attention to the way the folk use their psychological concepts requires questioning the legitimacy of commonsense functionalism. In place of extended functionalism—empirical or commonsensical—we promote the fortunes of extensive enactivism, clarifying in which ways it is distinct from notions of extended mind and distributed cognition. (shrink)
" This collection proves otherwise, for the letters illuminate virtually every aspect of Reid's life and career and, in some instances, provide us with invaluable evidence about activities otherwise undocumented in his manuscripts or ...
New and radically reformative thinking about the enactive and embodied basis of cognition holds out the promise of moving forward age-old debates about whether we learn and how we learn. The radical enactive, embodied view of cognition (REC) poses a direct, and unmitigated, challenge to the trademark assumptions of traditional cognitivist theories of mind—those that characterize cognition as always and everywhere grounded in the manipulation of contentful representations of some kind. REC has had some success in understanding how sports skills (...) and expertise are acquired. But, REC approaches appear to encounter a natural obstacle when it comes to understanding skill acquisition in knowledge-rich, conceptually based domains like the hard sciences and mathematics. This paper offers a proof of concept that REC’s reach can be usefully extended into the domain of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning, especially when it comes to understanding the deep roots of such learning. In making this case, this paper has five main parts. The section “Ancient Intellectualism and the REC Challenge” briefly introduces REC and situates it with respect to rival views about the cognitive basis of learning. The “Learning REConceived: from Sports to STEM?” section outlines the substantive contribution REC makes to understanding skill acquisition in the domain of sports and identifies reasons for doubting that it will be possible to apply the same approach to knowledge-rich STEM domains. The “Mathematics as Embodied Practice” section gives the general layout for how to understand mathematics as an embodied practice. The section “The Importance of Attentional Anchors” introduces the concept “attentional anchor” and establishes why attentional anchors are important to educational design in STEM domains like mathematics. Finally, drawing on some exciting new empirical studies, the section “Seeing Attentional Anchors” demonstrates how REC can contribute to understanding the roots of STEM learning and inform its learning design, focusing on the case of mathematics. (shrink)
In this paper, I focus on a recent debate in extended cognition known as “cognitive assembly” and how cognitive assembly shares a certain kinship with the special composition question advanced in analytical metaphysics. Both the debate about cognitive assembly and the special composition question ask about the circumstances under which entities (broadly construed) compose or assemble another entity. The paper argues for two points. The first point is that insofar as the metaphysics of composition presupposes that composition is a synchronic (...) relation of dependence, then that presupposition is inconsistent with the temporal dynamics inherent in the process of cognitive assembly. The second point is that by developing a diachronic or temporally dynamic ontology for understanding the phenomenon of cognitive assembly, this lends support for a third wave of extended cognition. (shrink)
We present a multiscale integrationist interpretation of the boundaries of cognitive systems, using the Markov blanket formalism of the variational free energy principle. This interpretation is intended as a corrective for the philosophical debate over internalist and externalist interpretations of cognitive boundaries; we stake out a compromise position. We first survey key principles of new radical views of cognition. We then describe an internalist interpretation premised on the Markov blanket formalism. Having reviewed these accounts, we develop our positive multiscale account. (...) We argue that the statistical seclusion of internal from external states of the system—entailed by the existence of a Markov boundary—can coexist happily with the multiscale integration of the system through its dynamics. Our approach does not privilege any given boundary, nor does it argue that all boundaries are equally prescient. We argue that the relevant boundaries of cognition depend on the level being characterised and the explanatory interests that guide investigation. We approach the issue of how and where to draw the boundaries of cognitive systems through a multiscale ontology of cognitive systems, which offers a multidisciplinary research heuristic for cognitive science. (shrink)
Thomas Jefferson is among the most important and controversial of American political thinkers: his influence (libertarian, democratic, participatory, and agrarian-republican) is still felt today. A prolific writer, Jefferson left 18,000 letters, Notes on the State of Virginia, an Autobiography, and numerous other papers. Joyce Appleby and Terence Ball have selected the most important of these for presentation in the Cambridge Texts series: Jefferson's views on topics such as revolution, self-government, the role of women and African-American and Native Americans emerge (...) to give a fascinating insight into a man who owned slaves, yet advocated the abolition of slavery. The texts are supported by a concise introduction, suggestions for further reading and short biographies of key figures, all providing invaluable assistance to the student encountering the breadth and richness of Jefferson's thought for the first time. (shrink)
Professor Thomas Osborne and The Structure of Modern Cultural Theory visited Prague in mid-2018 and presented a paper On Montesquieu, Markets and the Liberalism of Fear. The interview was conducted online by Dr. Filip Vostal in autumn 2020.
The Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid first published Essays on Active Powers of Man in 1788 while he was Professor of Philosophy at King's College, Aberdeen. The work contains a set of essays on active power, the will, principles of action, the liberty of moral agents, and morals. Reid was a key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment and one of the founders of the 'common sense' school of philosophy. In Active Powers Reid gives his fullest exploration of sensus communis as (...) the basis of all philosophical inquiry. He uses common sense realism to argue for the existence of a stable external world, the existence of other minds, and to offer a powerful challenge to versions of the Theory of Ideas advocated by Hume and Locke . This is a key work of the Scottish Enlightenment that made important contributions to fundamental debates about the basis of philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy is an accessible and thought-provoking examination of the way films raise and explore complex philosophical ideas. Written in a clear and engaging style, Thomas Wartenberg examines films’ ability to discuss, and even criticize ideas that have intrigued and puzzled philosophers over the centuries such as the nature of personhood, the basis of morality, and epistemological skepticism. Beginning with a demonstration of how specific forms of philosophical discourse are presented cinematically, Wartenberg moves on to (...) offer a systematic account of the ways in which specific films undertake the task of philosophy. Focusing on the films The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Modern Times, The Matrix, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Third Man, The Flicker , and Empire , Wartenberg shows how these films express meaningful and pertinent philosophical ideas. This book is essential reading for students of philosophy with an interest in film, aesthetics, and film theory. It will also be of interest to film enthusiasts intrigued by the philosophical implications of film. (shrink)
The paper discusses some aspects of the relationship between Feyerabend and Kuhn. First, some biographical remarks concerning their connections are made. Second, four characteristics of Feyerabend and Kuhn's concept of incommensurability are discussed. Third, Feyerabend's general criticism of Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions is reconstructed. Fourth and more specifically, Feyerabend's criticism of Kuhn's evaluation of normal science is critically investigated. Finally, Feyerabend's re-evaluation of Kuhn's philosophy towards the end of his life is presented.
Kirchhoff’s 1882 theory of optical diffraction forms the centerpiece in the long-term development of wave optics, one that commenced in the 1820s when Fresnel produced an empirically successful theory based on a reinterpretation of Huygens’ principle, but without working from a wave equation. Then, in 1856, Stokes demonstrated that the principle was derivable from such an equation albeit without consideration of boundary conditions. Kirchhoff’s work a quarter century later marked a crucial, and widely influential, point for he produced (...) Fresnel’s results by means of Green’s theorem and function under specific boundary conditions. In the late 1880s, Poincaré uncovered an inconsistency between Kirchhoff’s conditions and his solution, one that seemed to imply that waves should not exist at all. Researchers nevertheless continued to use Kirchhoff’s theory—even though Rayleigh, and much later Sommerfeld, developed a different and mathematically consistent formulation that, however, did not match experimental data better than Kirchhoff’s theory. After all, Kirchhoff’s formula worked quite well in a specific approximation regime. Finally, in 1964, Marchand and Wolf employed the transformation of Kirchhoff’s surface integral that had been developed by Maggi and Rubinowicz for other purposes. The result yielded a consistent boundary condition that, while introducing a species of discontinuity, nevertheless rescued the essential structure of Kirchhoff’s original formulation from Poincaré’s paradox. (shrink)
This paper examines some of the metaphysical assumptions behind Aquinas’s denials that a human rational soul unites with matter at conception and that a human rational soul is capable of developing and arranging the organic parts of an embryo. The paper argues that Buridan does not share these assumptions and holds that a soul is capable of developing and arranging organic parts. It argues that, given hylomorphism about the nature of organisms, including human beings, Buridan’s view is philosophically superior to (...) Aquinas’s in several respects. Finally, the paper poses an apparent inconsistency between several of Buridan’s texts on this topic and attempts to show that the inconsistency is merely apparent. (shrink)
Thomas Kuhn's philosophy of science, which he developed by focusing on physics, was later applied by other authors to virtually all areas or disciplines of culture. What interests me here, however, is the movement in the opposite direction: the role that one of these disciplines, history of art, played in the conception of Kuhn'stheoryof science.In a 1969 article, his only published text concerning science and art, Kuhn makes a brief and intriguing observation about The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He (...) says the book was a belated product of his discovery of the parallels between science and art. This is a retrospective assertion about Structure, as well as that of the... (shrink)
A good account of the agnostic attitude of Suspending Judgement should explain how it can be rendered more or less rational/justified according to the state of one's evidence – and one's relation to that evidence. I argue that the attitude of suspending judgement whether p constitutively involves having a belief; roughly, a belief that one cannot yet tell whether or not p. I show that a theory of suspending that treats it as a sui generis attitude, wholly distinct from belief, (...) struggles to account for how suspension of judgement can be rendered more or less rational (or irrational) by one's evidence. I also criticise the related idea that suspension essentially requires an 'Inquiring Attitude'. I show how a belief-based theory, in contrast, neatly accounts for the rational and epistemic features of suspending and so neatly accounts for why an agnostic has a genuine neutral opinion concerning the question whether p, as opposed to simply having no opinion. (shrink)
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