"Like Hanslick, Professor Payzant is both musician and philosopher; and he has brought the knowledge and insights of both disciplines to this large undertaking." --GordonEpperson, _Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism_.
In Process and Reality and other works, Alfred North Whitehead struggled to come to terms with the impact the new science of quantum mechanics would have on metaphysics.This ambitious book is the first extended analysis of the intricate relationships between relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and Whitehead's cosmology. Michael Epperson illuminates the intersection of science and philosophy in Whitehead's work-and details Whitehead's attempts to fashion an ontology coherent with quantum anomalies.Including a nonspecialist introduction to quantum mechanics, Epperson adds an (...) essential new dimension to our understanding of Whitehead-and of the constantly enriching encounter between science and philosophy in our century. (shrink)
Foundations of Relational Realism presents an intuitive interpretation of quantum mechanics, based on a revised decoherent histories interpretation, structured within a category theoretic topological formalism. -/- If there is a central conceptual framework that has reliably borne the weight of modern physics as it ascends into the twenty-first century, it is the framework of quantum mechanics. Because of its enduring stability in experimental application, physics has today reached heights that not only inspire wonder, but arguably exceed the limits of intuitive (...) vision, if not intuitive comprehension. For many physicists and philosophers, however, the currently fashionable tendency toward exotic interpretation of the theoretical formalism is recognized not as a mark of ascent for the tower of physics, but rather an indicator of sway—one that must be dampened rather than encouraged if practical progress is to continue. -/- In this unique two-part volume, designed to be comprehensible to both specialists and non-specialists, the authors chart out a pathway forward by identifying the central deficiency in most interpretations of quantum mechanics: That in its conventional, metrical depiction of extension, inherited from the Enlightenment, objects are characterized as fundamental to relations—i.e., such that relations presuppose objects but objects do not presuppose relations. The authors, by contrast, argue that quantum mechanics exemplifies the fact that physical extensiveness is fundamentally topological rather than metrical, with its proper logico-mathematical framework being category theoretic rather than set theoretic. -/- By this thesis, extensiveness fundamentally entails not only relations of objects, but also relations of relations. Thus, the fundamental quanta of quantum physics are properly defined as units of logico-physical relation rather than merely units of physical relata as is the current convention. Objects are always understood as relata, and likewise relations are always understood objectively. In this way, objects and relations are coherently defined as mutually implicative. The conventional notion of a history as “a story about fundamental objects” is thereby reversed, such that the classical “objects” become the story by which we understand physical systems that are fundamentally histories of quantum events. -/- These are just a few of the novel critical claims explored in this volume—claims whose exemplification in quantum mechanics will, the authors argue, serve more broadly as foundational principles for the philosophy of nature as it evolves through the twenty-first century and beyond. (shrink)
With the advent of quantum theory, the philosophical distinction between “what appears to be” and “what is reasoned to be” has once again, after several centuries of easy dismissal by classical mechanistic materialism, become an important feature of physics. In recent well-regarded interpretations of quantum physics, including those proposed by Robert Griffiths, Roland Omn s, and Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann, we have seen careful investigations into the physical (i.e., not “merely philosophical”) distinction between the order of contingent causal relation and (...) the order of necessary logical implication . I argue that a careful philosophical exploration of the function of the logical order in modern interpretations of quantum physics compels the abandonment of derivative classical, dualistic understandings of “determinism versus indeterminism,” “logical necessity versus causal contingency,” “subject versus object,” “epistemic versus ontological,” among other fundamental dualisms. The incoherence underlying this classical understanding of these principle-pairs as mutually exclusive features of reality can be relieved if they are instead understood as mutually implicative features of fundamental units of relation or “quantum praxes.”. (shrink)
By the relational realist interpretation of wave function collapse, the quantum mechanical actualization of potentia is defined as a decoherence-driven process by which each actualization is conditioned both by physical and logical relations with the actualities conventionally demarked as “environmental” or external to that particular outcome. But by the relational realist interpretation, the actualization-in-process is understood as internally related to these “enironmental” data per the formalism of quantum decoherence. The concept of “actualization via wave function collapse” is accounted for solely (...) by virtue of these presupposed logical relations—the same logical relations otherwise presupposed by the scientific method itself—and thus requires no “external” physical-dynamical trigger: e.g., the Gaussian hits of GRW, acts of conscious observation, etc. By the relational realist interpretation, it is the physical and logical relations among quantum actualities that drives the process of decoherence and, via the latter, the logically conditioned actualization of potentia. In this regard, the relational realist interpretation of quantum mechanics is a praxiological interpretation; that is, these physical and logical relations are ontologically active relations, contributing not just to the epistemic coordination of quantum actualizations, but to the process of actualization itself. (shrink)
It is argued that quantum theory is best understood as requiring an ontological duality of res extensa and res potentia, where the latter is understood per Heisenberg’s original proposal, and the former is roughly equivalent to Descartes’ ‘extended substance.’ However, this is not a dualism of mutually exclusive substances in the classical Cartesian sense, and therefore does not inherit the infamous ‘mind-body’ problem. Rather, res potentia and res extensa are proposed as mutually implicative ontological extants that serve to explain the (...) key conceptual challenges of quantum theory; in particular, nonlocality, entanglement, null measurements, and wave function collapse. It is shown that a natural account of these quantum perplexities emerges, along with a need to reassess our usual ontological commitments involving the nature of space and time. (shrink)
Gordon Belot investigates the distinctive notion of geometric possibility that relationalists rely upon. He examines the prospects for adapting to the geometric case the standard philosophical accounts of the related notion of physical possibility, with particular emphasis on Humean, primitivist, and necessitarian accounts of physical and geometric possibility. This contribution to the debate concerning the nature of space will be of interest not only to philosophers and metaphysicians concerned with space and time, but also to those interested in laws (...) of nature, modal notions, or more general issues in ontology. (shrink)
The Structure of Emotions argues that emotion concepts should have a much more important role in the social and behavioural sciences than they now enjoy, and shows that certain influential psychological theories of emotions overlook the explanatory power of our emotion concepts. Professor Gordon also outlines a new account of the nature of commonsense (or ‘folk’) psychology in general.
Amid the wide variety of interpretations of quantum mechanics, the notion of a fully coherent ontological interpretation has seen a promising evolution over the last few decades. Despite this progress, however, the old dualistic categorical constraints of subjectivity and objectivity, correlate with the metrically restricted definition of local and global, have remained largely in place – a reflection of the broader, persistent inheritance of these comfortable strictures throughout the evolution of modern science. If one traces this inheritance back to its (...) ancient roots in Plato and Aristotle, it is clear that the coherence, scientific utility, and historical durability of the various natural philosophies that followed have been directly proportional to their commitment, tacit or explicit, to object-oriented realism. As Simondon might put it, it is a commitment to the primacy of individuated substance over the process of individuation. For Whitehead, it is the misplaced assimilation of becoming to being, of potentiality to actuality. Quantum mechanics has challenged this commitment with a combined breadth and depth of force that far exceeds any other theory in the history of science. The theory’s objectively demonstrable empirical application is manifest only by way of a fundamentally subjective, context-dependent mechanism of measurement. More compelling still, actual system states are always actualizations of locally contextualized yet globally conditioned potential system states, such that “globally objective” reality is no longer merely the object of local measurement, but also its product. Thus, any coherent, ontological interpretation of quantum theory must include a conceptual framework by which objectivity and subjectivity, actuality and potentiality, global and local, being and becoming, individuated fact and process of individuation, are no longer understood as merely epistemic, mutually exclusive category pairs descriptive of an already extant, closed reality – but rather as mutually implicative ontological categories explicative of an ontogenetic, open reality-in-process. (shrink)
Lewis Gordon presents the first detailed existential phenomenological investigation of antiblack racism as a form of Sartrean bad faith. Bad faith, the attitude in which human beings attempt to evade freedom and responsibility, is treated as a constant possibility of human existence. Antiblack racism, the attitude and practice that involve the construction of black people as fundamentally inferior and subhuman, is examined as an effort to evade the responsibilities of a human and humane world. Gordon argues that the (...) concept of bad faith militates against any human science that is built upon a theory of human nature and as such offers an analysis of antiblack racism that stands as a challenge to our ordinary assumptions of what it means to be human. (shrink)
The seventeen seminal essays by Robert J. Gordon collected here, including three previously unpublished works, offer sharply etched views on the principal topics of macroeconomics - growth, inflation, and unemployment. The author re-examines their salient points in a uniquely creative, accessible introduction that serves on its own as an introduction to modern macroeconomics. Each of the four parts into which the essays are grouped also offers a new introduction. The papers in Part I explore different key aspects of the (...) history, theory, and measurement of productivity growth. The essays in Part II investigate the sources of business cycles and productivity fluctuations. Those in Part III cover the effects of supply shocks in macroeconomics. The final group presents empirical studies of the dynamics of inflation in the United States. The foreword by Nobel Laureate Robert M. Solow comments on the abiding importance of these essays drawn from 1968 to the present. (shrink)
We present a formal, mathematical model of argument structure and evaluation, taking seriously the procedural and dialogical aspects of argumentation. The model applies proof standards to determine the acceptability of statements on an issue-by-issue basis. The model uses different types of premises (ordinary premises, assumptions and exceptions) and information about the dialectical status of statements (stated, questioned, accepted or rejected) to allow the burden of proof to be allocated to the proponent or the respondent, as appropriate, for each premise separately. (...) Our approach allows the burden of proof for a premise to be assigned to a different party than the one who has the burden of proving the conclusion of the argument, and also to change the burden of proof or applicable proof standard as the dialogue progresses from stage to stage. Useful for modeling legal dialogues, the burden of production and burden of persuasion can be handled separately, with a different responsible party and applicable proof standard for each. Carneades enables critical questions of argumentation schemes to be modeled as additional premises, using premise types to capture the varying effect on the burden of proof of different kinds of questions. (shrink)
It is often said that the Aharonov-Bohm effect shows that the vector potential enjoys more ontological significance than we previously realized. But how can a quantum-mechanical effect teach us something about the interpretation of Maxwell's theory—let alone about the ontological structure of the world—when both theories are false? I present a rational reconstruction of the interpretative repercussions of the Aharonov-Bohm effect, and suggest some morals for our conception of the interpretative enterprise.
Under so-called primitive ontology approaches, in fully describing the history of a quantum system, one thereby attributes interesting properties to regions of spacetime. Primitive ontology approaches, which include some varieties of Bohmian mechanics and spontaneous collapse theories, are interesting in part because they hold out the hope that it should not be too difficult to make a connection between models of quantum mechanics and descriptions of histories of ordinary macroscopic bodies. But such approaches are dualistic, positing a quantum state as (...) well as ordinary material degrees of freedom. This paper lays out and compares some options that primitive ontologists have for making sense of the quantum state. (shrink)
How should we understand the emotional rationality? This first part will explore two models of cognition and analogy strategies, test their intuition about the emotional desire. I distinguish between subjective and objective desire, then presents with a feeling from the "paradigm of drama" export semantics, here our emotional repertoire is acquired all the learned, and our emotions in the form of an object is fixed. It is pretty well in line with the general principles of rationality, especially the lowest reasonable (...) principles. Turned to the second part of this side of reasonable. I will inquire how emotional beliefs, desires, and behaviors contribute to the rationality. I will present a very general biological hypothesis: emotions by controlling highlights the characteristics of perception and reasoning, so that we remove the difficulties due in particular to lead to paralysis; they are being simulated by a simplified perception of information, thus limiting our practice and cognitive choice. How are we to understand emotional or axiological rationality? I pursue analogies with both the cognitive and the strategic models, testing them against intuitions about emotional desires. We distinguish two different classes of desires, the subjective and the objective, and propose that emotions have a semantics that derives from "paradigmatic scenarios", in terms of which our emotional repertoire is learned and the formal objects of our emotions fixed. This fits in well with emerging facts about how our emotional capacities develop, and it can also be squared with the general principles of rationality, particularly minimal rationality. In the second part, I return to the perspective of rationality. I ask how emotions contribute to the rationality of beliefs, desires, and behavior. I proffer a very general biological hypothesis: Emotions spare us the paralysis potentially induced by a particular predicament by controlling the salience of features of perception and reasoning; they temporarily mimic the informational encapsulation of perception and so circumscribe our practical and cognitive options. (shrink)
Was Descartes a Cartesian Dualist? In this controversial study, Gordon Baker and Katherine J. Morris argue that, despite the general consensus within philosophy, Descartes was neither a proponent of dualism nor guilty of the many crimes of which he has been accused by twentieth century philosophers. In lively and engaging prose, Baker and Morris present a radical revision of the ways in which Descartes' work has been interpreted. Descartes emerges with both his historical importance assured and his philosophical importance (...) redeemed. (shrink)
With this understanding, children are better able to anticipate the behavior of others and to attune their own behavior accordingly. In mentally retarded children with Down's syndrome, attainment of such competence is delayed, but it is generally acquired by the time they reach the mental age of 4, as measured by tests of nonverbal intelligence. Thus from a developmental perspective, attainment of the mental age of 4 appears to be of profound significance for acquisition of what we shall call psychological (...) competence : possession of the skills and resources people routinely call on in the.. (shrink)