Meanings are felt and lived by the human organism before they are articulated. Following insights from pragmatism and embodied cognition, this paper suggests that there is an ‘appropriate’ relationship between what is meant and was is expressed in words and actions that can be formulated as a hitherto neglected yet crucial validity claim, namely congruity. Congruity is what connects the meaningfulness implicit in living a life with the articulated meanings of symbolic communication. We distinguish between the intertwined aspects of semiotic (...) congruity, the fusion between sensual patterns and semiotic meanings, performative congruity, the freedom and ability to articulate qualitatively experienced meaningfulness, and hermeneutic congruity, the capability of achieving congruence between situational meanings and one’s entire being-in-the-world. The latter presupposes a synthesis of horizontal and vertical congruity. (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.
This document collects discussion and commentary on issues raised in the workshop by its participants. Contributors are: Greg Frost-Arnold, David Harker, P. D. Magnus, John Manchak, John D. Norton, J. Brian Pitts, Kyle Stanford, Dana Tulodziecki.
Descartes' place in history, by L. J. Lafleur.--A central ambiguity in Descartes, by S. Rosen.--Doubt, common sense and affirmation in Descartes and Hume, by H. J. Allen.--Some remarks on logic and the cogito, by R. N. Beck.--The cogito, an ambiguous performance, by J. B. Wilbur.--The modalities of Descartes' proofs for the existence of God, by B. Magnus.--Descartes and the phenomenological problem of the embodiment of consciousness, by J. M. Edie.--The person and his body: critique of existentialist responses to Descartes, (...) by P. A. Bertocci. (shrink)
The no-miracles argument and the pessimistic induction are arguably the main considerations for and against scientific realism. Recently these arguments have been accused of embodying a familiar, seductive fallacy. In each case, we are tricked by a base rate fallacy, one much-discussed in the psychological literature. In this paper we consider this accusation and use it as an explanation for why the two most prominent `wholesale' arguments in the literature seem irresolvable. Framed probabilistically, we can see very clearly why realists (...) and anti-realists have been talking past one another. We then formulate a dilemma for advocates of either argument, answer potential objections to our criticism, discuss what remains (if anything) of these two major arguments, and then speculate about a future philosophy of science freed from these two arguments. In so doing, we connect the point about base rates to the wholesale/retail distinction; we believe it hints at an answer of how to distinguish profitable from unprofitable realism debates. In short, we offer a probabilistic analysis of the feeling of ennui afflicting contemporary philosophy of science. (shrink)
Kyle Stanford has recently claimed to offer a new challenge to scientific realism. Taking his inspiration from the familiar Pessimistic Induction (PI), Stanford proposes a New Induction (NI). Contra Anjan Chakravartty’s suggestion that the NI is a ‘red herring’, I argue that it reveals something deep and important about science. The Problem of Unconceived Alternatives, which lies at the heart of the NI, yields a richer anti-realism than the PI. It explains why science falls short when it falls short, and (...) so it might figure in the most coherent account of scientific practice. However, this best account will be antirealist in some respects and about some theories. It will not be a sweeping antirealism about all or most of science. (shrink)
Homeostatic property clusters (HPCs) are offered as a way of understanding natural kinds, especially biological species. I review the HPC approach and then discuss an objection by Ereshefsky and Matthen, to the effect that an HPC qua cluster seems ill-fitted as a description of a polymorphic species. The standard response by champions of the HPC approach is to say that all members of a polymorphic species have things in common, namely dispositions or conditional properties. I argue that this response fails. (...) Instances of an HPC kind need not all be similar in their exhibited properties. Instead, HPCs should instead be understood as unified by the underlying causal mechanism that maintains them. The causal mechanism can both produce and explain some systematic differences between a kind’s members. An HPC kind is best understood not as a single cluster of properties maintained in stasis by causal forces, but as a complex of related property clusters kept in relation by an underlying causal process. This approach requires recognizing that taxonomic systems serve both explanatory and inductive purposes. (shrink)
The problem of underdetermination is thought to hold important lessons for philosophy of science. Yet, as Kyle Stanford has recently argued, typical treatments of it offer only restatements of familiar philosophical problems. Following suggestions in Duhem and Sklar, Stanford calls for a New Induction from the history of science. It will provide proof, he thinks, of "the kind of underdetermination that the history of science reveals to be a distinctive and genuine threat to even our best scientific theories" . This (...) paper examines Stanford's New Induction and argues that it -- like the other forms of underdetermination that he criticizes -- merely recapitulates familiar philosophical conundra. (shrink)
It is now commonly held that values play a role in scientific judgment, but many arguments for that conclusion are limited. First, many arguments do not show that values are, strictly speaking, indispensable. The role of values could in principle be filled by a random or arbitrary decision. Second, many arguments concern scientific theories and concepts which have obvious practical consequences, thus suggesting or at least leaving open the possibility that abstruse sciences without such a connection could be value-free. Third, (...) many arguments concern the role values play in inferring from evidence, thus taking evidence as given. This paper argues that these limitations do not hold in general. There are values involved in every scientific judgment. They cannot even conceivably be replaced by a coin toss, they arise as much for exotic as for practical sciences, and they are at issue as much for observation as for explicit inference. (shrink)
When we ask what natural kinds are, there are two different things we might have in mind. The first, which I’ll call the taxonomy question, is what distinguishes a category which is a natural kind from an arbitrary class. The second, which I’ll call the ontology question, is what manner of stuff there is that realizes the category. Many philosophers have systematically conflated the two questions. The confusion is exhibited both by essentialists and by philosophers who pose their accounts in (...) terms of similarity. It also leads to misreading philosophers who do make the distinction. Distinguishing the questions allows for a more subtle understanding of both natural kinds and their underlying metaphysics. (shrink)
There are two senses of ‘what scientists know’: An individual sense (the separate opinions of individual scientists) and a collective sense (the state of the discipline). The latter is what matters for policy and planning, but it is not something that can be directly observed or reported. A function can be defined to map individual judgments onto an aggregate judgment. I argue that such a function cannot effectively capture community opinion, especially in cases that matter to us.
This is the second article in a series of review articles addressing biosemiotic terminology. The biosemiotic glossary project is designed to integrate views of members within the biosemiotic community based on a standard survey and related publications. The methodology section describes the format of the survey conducted July–August 2014 in preparation of the current review and targeted on Jakob von Uexküll’s term ‘Umwelt’. Next, we summarize denotation, synonyms and antonyms, with special emphasis on the denotation of this term in current (...) biosemiotic usage. The survey findings include ratings of eight citations defining or making use of the term Umwelt. We provide a summary of respondents’ own definitions and suggested term usage. Further sections address etymology, relevant contexts of use, and related terms in English and other languages. A section on the notion’s Uexküllian meaning and later biosemiotic meaning is followed by attempt at synthesis and conclusion. We conclude that the Umwelt is a centerpiece phenomenon, a phenomenon that other phenomena in the living realm are organized around. To sum up Uexküll’s view, we can characterize an Umwelt as the subjective world of an organism, enveloping a perceptual world and an effector world, which is always part of the organism itself and a key component of nature, which is held together by functional cycles connecting different Umwelten. In order to pay respect to Uexküll’s work, we must move from notion to model, from mention of Uexküll’s Umwelt term to actual application of it. (shrink)
There is considerable disagreement about the epistemic value of novel predictive success, i.e. when a scientist predicts an unexpected phenomenon, experiments are conducted, and the prediction proves to be accurate. We survey the field on this question, noting both fully articulated views such as weak and strong predictivism, and more nascent views, such as pluralist reasons for the instrumental value of prediction. By examining the various reasons offered for the value of prediction across a range of inferential contexts , we (...) can see that neither weak nor strong predictivism captures all of the reasons for valuing prediction available. A third path is presented, Pluralist Instrumental Predictivism; PIP for short. (shrink)
This paper will address the translation of basic stem cell research into clinical research. While “stem cell” trials are sometimes used to describe established practices of bone marrow transplantation or transplantation of primary cells derived from bone marrow, for the purposes of this paper, I am primarily focusing on stem cell trials which are far less established, including use of hESC derived stem cells. The central ethical challenges in stem cell clinical trials arise in frontier research, not in standard, well-established (...) areas of research. (shrink)
The accepted narrative treats John Stuart Mill’s Kinds as the historical prototype for our natural kinds, but Mill actually employs two separate notions: Kinds and natural groups. Considering these, along with the accounts of Mill’s nineteenth-century interlocutors, forces us to recognize two distinct questions. First, what marks a natural kind as worthy of inclusion in taxonomy? Second, what exists in the world that makes a category meet that criterion? Mill’s two notions offer separate answers to the two questions: natural groups (...) for taxonomy and Kinds for ontology. This distinction is ignored in many contemporary debates about natural kinds and is obscured by the standard narrative that treats our natural kinds just as a development of Mill’s Kinds. (shrink)
Some scientific categories seem to correspond to genuine features of the world and are indispensable for successful science in some domain; in short, they are natural kinds. This book gives a general account of what it is to be a natural kind and puts the account to work illuminating numerous specific examples.
Based on interviews with guide dog users from Sweden, Estonia and Germany and participatory observation of the teams’ work, the article discusses three kinds of semiotic challenges encountered by the guide dog teams: perceptual, sociocultural and communicative challenges. Perceptual challenges stem from a mismatch between affordances of the urban environment and perceptual and motoric abilities of the team. Sociocultural challenges pertain to the conflicting meanings that are attributed to dogs in different social contexts and to incompatible social norms. Challenges related (...) to intrateam communication and interpretation of the other counterpart’s behavior are mostly tied to the difficulties of placing the other’s activities in the right context. Germany, Estonia and Sweden differ in their history of guide dog institutions and the organisation of guide dog work, but the challenges of the guide dog users appear to be fairly similar. However, differences appear in the stress laid on one or another type of challenge as well as in the explanations provided by the informants for the background of the challenges. The challenges, as analysed in the article, reflect not only the existing problems of guide dog users, but also their expectations for a social and physical environment, in which the teams would feel welcome. (shrink)
Abstract: There is a long tradition of trying to analyze art either by providing a definition (essentialism) or by tracing its contours as an indefinable, open concept (anti-essentialism). Both art essentialists and art anti-essentialists share an implicit assumption of art concept monism. This article argues that this assumption is a mistake. Species concept pluralism—a well-explored position in philosophy of biology—provides a model for art concept pluralism. The article explores the conditions under which concept pluralism is appropriate, and argues that they (...) obtain for art. Art concept pluralism allows us to recognize that different art concepts are useful for different purposes, and what has been feuding definitions can be seen as characterizations of specific art concepts. (shrink)
Given the fact that many people use Wikipedia, we should ask: Can we trust it? The empirical evidence suggests that Wikipedia articles are sometimes quite good but that they vary a great deal. As such, it is wrong to ask for a monolithic verdict on Wikipedia. Interacting with Wikipedia involves assessing where it is likely to be reliable and where not. I identify five strategies that we use to assess claims from other sources and argue that, to a greater of (...) lesser degree, Wikipedia frustrates all of them. Interacting responsibly with something like Wikipedia requires new epistemic methods and strategies. (shrink)
Nelson Goodman's distinction between autographic and allographic arts is appealing, we suggest, because it promises to resolve several prima facie puzzles. We consider and rebut a recent argument that alleges that digital images explode the autographic/allographic distinction. Regardless, there is another familiar problem with the distinction, especially as Goodman formulates it: it seems to entirely ignore an important sense in which all artworks are historical. We note in reply that some artworks can be considered both as historical products and as (...) formal structures. Talk about such works is ambiguous between the two conceptions. This allows us to recover Goodman's distinction: art forms that are ambiguous in this way are allographic. With that formulation settled, we argue that digital images are allographic. We conclude by considering the objection that digital photographs, unlike other digital images, would count as autographic by our criterion; we reply that this points to the vexed nature of photography rather than any problem with the distinction. (shrink)
Cover versions form a loose but identifiable category of tracks and performances. We distinguish four kinds of covers and argue that they mark important differences in the modes of evaluation that are possible or appropriate for each: mimic covers, which aim merely to echo the canonical track; rendition covers, which change the sound of the canonical track; transformative covers, which diverge so much as to instantiate a distinct, albeit derivative song; and referential covers, which not only instantiate a distinct song, (...) but for which the new song is in part about the original song. In order to allow for the very possibility of transformative and referential covers, we argue that a cover is characterized by relation to a canonical track rather than merely by being a new instance of a song that had been recorded previously. (shrink)
The underdetermination of theory by evidence is supposed to be a reason to rethink science. It is not. Many authors claim that underdetermination has momentous consequences for the status of scientific claims, but such claims are hidden in an umbra of obscurity and a penumbra of equivocation. So many various phenomena pass for `underdetermination' that it's tempting to think that it is no unified phenomenon at all, so I begin by providing a framework within which all these worries can be (...) seen as species of one genus: A claim of underdetermination involves (at least implicitly) a set of rival theories, a standard of responsible judgment, and a scope of circumstances in which responsible choice between the rivals is impossible. Within this framework, I show that one variety of underdetermination motivated modern scepticism and thus is a familiar problem at the heart of epistemology. I survey arguments that infer from underdetermination to some reëvaluation of science: top-down arguments infer a priori from the ubiquity of underdetermination to some conclusion about science; bottom-up arguments infer from specific instances of underdetermination, to the claim that underdetermination is widespread, and then to some conclusion about science. The top-down arguments either fail to deliver underdetermination of any great significance or (as with modern scepticism) deliver some well-worn epistemic concern. The bottom-up arguments must rely on cases. I consider several promising cases and find them to either be so specialized that they cannot underwrite conclusions about science in general or not be underdetermined at all. Neither top-down nor bottom-up arguments can motivate any deep reconsideration of science. (shrink)
According to many philosophers, psychological explanation canlegitimately be given in terms of belief and desire, but not in termsof knowledge. To explain why someone does what they do (so the common wisdom holds) you can appeal to what they think or what they want, but not what they know. Timothy Williamson has recently argued against this view. Knowledge, Williamson insists, plays an essential role in ordinary psychological explanation.Williamson's argument works on two fronts.First, he argues against the claim that, unlike knowledge, (...) belief is``composite'' (representable as a conjunction of a narrow and a broadcondition). Belief's failure to be composite, Williamson thinks, undermines the usual motivations for psychological explanation in terms of belief rather than knowledge.Unfortunately, we claim, the motivations Williamson argues against donot depend on the claim that belief is composite, so what he saysleaves the case for a psychology of belief unscathed.Second, Williamson argues that knowledge can sometimes provide abetter explanation of action than belief can.We argue that, in the cases considered, explanations that cite beliefs(but not knowledge) are no less successful than explanations that citeknowledge. Thus, we conclude that Williamson's arguments fail both coming andgoing: they fail to undermine a psychology of belief, and they fail tomotivate a psychology of knowledge. (shrink)
In late 2014, the jazz combo Mostly Other People Do the Killing released Blue—an album that is a note-for-note remake of Miles Davis's 1959 landmark album Kind of Blue. This is a thought experiment made concrete, raising metaphysical puzzles familiar from discussion of indiscernible counterparts. It is an actual album, rather than merely a concept, and so poses the aesthetic puzzle of why one would ever actually listen to it.
Institutional ethics consultation services for biomedical scientists have begun to proliferate, especially for clinical researchers. We discuss several models of ethics consultation and describe a team-based approach used at Stanford University in the context of these models. As research ethics consultation services expand, there are many unresolved questions that need to be addressed, including what the scope, composition, and purpose of such services should be, whether core competencies for consultants can and should be defined, and how conflicts of interest should (...) be mitigated. We make preliminary recommendations for the structure and process of research ethics consultation, based on our initial experiences in a pilot program. (shrink)
Relying on interviews and fieldwork observations, the article investigates the choice of signs made by guide dogs and their visually impaired handlers while the team is on the move. It also explores the dependence of the choice of signs on specific functions of communication and examines the changes and development of sign usage throughout the team’s work. A significant part of the team’s communication appears to be related to retaining the communicative situation itself: to the establishment of intrateam contact; to (...) keeping the other prone to receive messages and to establish adequate sign relations; to giving and receiving feedback. The signs used for the purpose of retaining contact are analyzed in the article mainly with the handler in the role of the addresser. Signs also vary according to the character and aim of the team’s referential communication. Searching for objects and places, orientation and avoidance of obstacles can be discerned as three major functional frames that determine the choice of signs. As the team’s cooperation evolves, so also do the means of communication. The analysis shows that intrateam communication becomes less segmented and the signs used in referential communication shift from symbolic to symptomatic signs and become harder to detect for an outside observer. (shrink)
This paper offers a general characterization of underdetermination and gives a prima facie case for the underdetermination of the topology of the universe. A survey of several philosophical approaches to the problem fails to resolve the issue: the case involves the possibility of massive reduplication, but Strawson on massive reduplication provides no help here; it is not obvious that any of the rival theories are to be preferred on grounds of simplicity; and the usual talk of empirically equivalent theories misses (...) the point entirely. (If the choice is underdetermined, then the theories are not empirically equivalent!) Yet the thought experiment is analogous to a live scientific possibility, and actual astronomy faces underdetermination of this kind. This paper concludes by suggesting how the matter can be resolved, either by localizing the underdetermination or by defeating it entirely. Introduction A brief preliminary Around the universe in 80 days Some attempts at resolving the problem 4.1 Indexicality 4.2 Simplicity 4.3 Empirical equivalence 4.4 Is this just a philosophers' fantasy? Move along... ...nothing to see here 6.1 Rules of repetition 6.2 Some possible replies Conclusion. (shrink)
Peter Baumann offers the tantalizing suggestion that Thomas Reid is almost, but not quite, a pragmatist. He motivates this claim by posing a dilemma for common sense philosophy: Will it be dogmatism or scepticism? Baumann claims that Reid points to but does not embrace a pragmatist third way between these unsavory options. If we understand `pragmatism' differently than Baumann does, however, we need not be so equivocal in attributing it to Reid. Reid makes what we could call an argument from (...) practical commitment, and this is plausibly an instance of what William James calls the pragmatic method. (shrink)
It has been common wisdom for centuries that scientific inference cannot be deductive; if it is inference at all, it must be a distinctive kind of inductive inference. According to demonstrative theories of induction, however, important scientific inferences are not inductive in the sense of requiring ampliative inference rules at all. Rather, they are deductive inferences with sufficiently strong premises. General considerations about inferences suffice to show that there is no difference in justification between an inference construed demonstratively or ampliatively. (...) The inductive risk may be shouldered by premises or rules, but it cannot be shirked. Demonstrative theories of induction might, nevertheless, better describe scientific practice. And there may be good methodological reasons for constructing our inferences one way rather than the other. By exploring the limits of these possible advantages, I argue that scientific inference is neither of essence deductive nor of essence inductive. (shrink)
Judith Butler's Kritik der ethischen Gewalt represents a significant refinement of her position on the relationship between the construction of the subject and her social subjection. While Butler's earlier texts reflect a somewhat restricted notion of agency, her Adorno Lectures formulate a notion of agency that extends beyond mere resistance. This essay traces the development of Butler's account of agency and evaluates it in light of feminist projects of social transformation.
Background theories in science are used both to prove and to disprove that theory choice is underdetermined by data. The alleged proof appeals to the fact that experiments to decide between theories typically require auxiliary assumptions from other theories. If this generates a kind of underdetermination, it shows that standards of scientific inference are fallible and must be appropriately contextualized. The alleged disproof appeals to the possibility of suitable background theories to show that no theory choice can be timelessly or (...) noncontextually underdetermined: Foreground theories might be distinguished against different backgrounds. Philosophers have often replied to such a disproof by focussing their attention not on theories but on Total Sciences. If empirically equivalent Total Sciences were at stake, then there would be no background against which they could be differentiated. I offer several reasons to think that Total Science is a philosophers' fiction. No respectable underdetermination can be based on it. (shrink)
One approach to science treats science as a cognitive accomplishment of individuals and defines a scientific community as an aggregate of individual inquirers. Another treats science as a fundamentally collective endeavor and defines a scientist as a member of a scientific community. Distributed cognition has been offered as a framework that could be used to reconcile these two approaches. Adam Toon has recently asked if the cognitive and the social can be friends at last. He answers that they probably cannot, (...) posing objections to the would-be rapprochement. We clarify both the animosity and the tonic proposed to resolve it, ultimately arguing that worries raised by Toon and others are uncompelling. (shrink)