A new constructivist approach to modeling in economics and theory of consciousness is proposed. The state of elementary object is defined as a set of its measurable consumer properties. A proprietor's refusal or consent for the offered transaction is considered as a result of elementary economic measurement. Elementary (indivisible) technology, in which the object's consumer values are variable, in this case can be formalized as a generalized economic measurement. The algebra of such measurements has been constructed. It has been shown (...) that in the general case the quantummechanical formalism of the theory of selective measurements is required for description of such conditions. The economic analogs of the elementary slit experiments in physics have been created. The proposed approach can be also used for consciousness modeling. (shrink)
Discussion of Searle's case against strong AI has usually focused upon his Chinese Room thought-experiment. In this paper, however, I expound and then try to refute what I call his abstract argument against strong AI, an argument which turns upon quite general considerations concerning programs, syntax, and semantics, and which seems not to depend on intuitions about the Chinese Room. I claim that this argument fails, since it assumes one particular account of what a program is. I suggest an alternative (...) account which, however, cannot play a role in a Searle-type argument, and argue that Searle gives no good reason for favoring his account, which allows the abstract argument to work, over the alternative, which doesn't. This response to Searle's abstract argument also, incidentally, enables the Robot Reply to the Chinese Room to defend itself against objections Searle makes to it. (shrink)
Purpose. To substantiate the definition of technics as the attributive characteristics of a human being and the necessity of its orientation towards human flourishing in the context of new anthropological models of the 21st century. Theoretical basis. Correlation between technics, technology and the human essence is examined. The role of technics is traced at different historical stages of human development. Negative and positive effects of digital technology development upon a contemporary human being is analysed in the light of new anthropological (...) models: homo technologicus, homo digitalis and homo eudaimonicus. The content of a new worldview-value paradigm of defining goals of technology is outlined. Originality. Transformation of the role of technics correlates with value and worldview shifts in person’s understanding of his/her purpose in both natural and social worlds. Nowadays, philosophical analysis of anthropological dimension of technics and technology opens a horizon for seeking effective solutions in the face of the contemporary challenges and anti-utopian threats by means of focusing on the fact that, indeed, technological development is subordinate to the humanist goal that is flourishing, wellbeing and comprehensive development of a human being. Conclusions. The essence of technology reveals not through its functional but anthropogenic definitions in a sense of a source of institutionalization and in a sense of a source of realization of a human way of self-identification and self-objectification of human subjectivity. Technics/technology is the attributive characteristics of human essence and being: a human being is as much human as much he/she is a creator of technics. The purpose of technics is not to master the nature and to transform the world; technics is, above all, a tool of human self-improvement and self-creation through broadening the horizon of human capacities. The analysis of new modern anthropological models shows that it is the orientation of technology/technology towards human flourishing that is, on the one hand, a response to the existential demands of modern man, and on the other hand, a way of preventing future threats related to technological development. (shrink)
Using the notion of strict implication, Robert Kirk claims to have formulated a version of physicalism which is nonreductive. I argue that, depending on how his notion of strict implication is interpreted, Kirk's formulation either fails to be physicalist or else commits him to reductionism. Either way we do not have nonreductive physicalism. I also suggest that the reductionism to which Kirk is committed, though unfashionable, is unobjectionable.
When a belief is cited as part of the explanation of an agent’s behaviour, it seems that the belief is explanatorily relevant in virtue of its content. In his Explaining Behavior, Dretske presents an account of belief, content, and explanation according to which this can be so. I supply some examples of beliefs whose explanatory relevance in virtue of content apparently cannot be accounted for in the Dretskean way. After considering some possible responses to this challenge, I end by discussing (...) how serious these counterexamples are for Dretske’s account. (shrink)
This paper attempts to bring the work of Gilbert Simondon into conversation with contemporary discourse on climate change and the Anthropocene. Though his work pre-dates the coining of the term, Simondon, with his non-anthropomorphic view of technology, is in many ways a philosopher of the Anthropocene. In this paper I contrast Simondon’s philosophy to the popular idea that technology is something we can use to adapt to the practical problems of the Anthropocene. I will begin by looking briefly at the (...) narrative of adaptation in the Anthropocene. I will then discuss Simondon’s philosophy of individuation in order to understand why he rejects these narratives of adaptation. Next, I will look at his own ideas on the role that can be played by technology. Ultimately, I hope to describe why, for Simondon, a view of technology that centres on relation rather than on a particular view of the human subject is crucial to human life. The significance of a non-anthropomorphic approach to technology extends beyond the current ecological crisis to all manner of injustice, violence, and misunderstanding between human groups as well as the environment. (shrink)
Changing values may give rise to intergenerational conflicts, like in the ongoing climate change and energy transition debate. This essay focuses on the interpretative question of how this value change can best be understood. To elucidate the interpretation of value change, two philosophical perspectives on value are introduced: Berlin’s value pluralism and Dworkin’s interpretivism. While both authors do not explicitly discuss value change, I argue that their perspectives can be used for interpreting value change in the case of climate change (...) and the energy transition. I claim that Berlin’s pluralistic account of value would understand the value change as an intergenerational conflict and therefore provide a too narrow and static ground for understanding ongoing value change. Instead, by exploring Dworkin’s standpoint in moral epistemology, this essay distills a more encompassing perspective on how values may relate, converge, overlap, and change, fulfilling their functions in the course of climate change and energy transition. This perspective is further detailed by taking inspiration from Shue’s work on the interpretation of equity in the climate change debate. I argue that the resulting perspective allows us to see value change as a gradual process rather than as a clash between generations and their values. (shrink)
Robert Pargetter has argued that we know other minds through an inference to the best explanation. My aim is to show, by criticising Pargetter's account, that this approach to the problem of other minds cannot, as it stands, deliver the goods; it might be part of the right response to the problem, but it cannot be the whole story. More precisely, I will claim that Pargetter does not successfully reconstruct how ordinary people in everyday life come reasonably to believe in (...) other minds, given only the gross behavioural evidence actually available to them. I will suggest, contrary to both Pargetter in particular and this approach in general, that reference to one's own case does, after all, play an indispensable evidential role in the justification of belief in other minds, something which obviously marks an important disanalogy between the case of other minds and that of such theoretical entities as electrons. (shrink)
If physicalism is true (e.g., if every event is a fundamental-physical event), then it looks as if there is a fundamental-physical explanation of everything. If so, then what is to become of special scientific explanations? They seem to be excluded by the fundamental-physical ones, and indeed to be excellent candidates for elimination. I argue that, if physicalism is true, there probably is a fundamental-physical explanation of everything, but that nevertheless there can perfectly well be special scientific explanations as well, notwithstanding (...) eliminativist scruples concerning overdetermination and Ockham's Razor. (shrink)
I develop the conjecture that “naturalism” in philosophy names not a thesis but a paradigm in something like Thomas Kuhn’s sense, i.e., a set of commitments, shared by a group of investigators, whose acceptance by the members of the group powerfully influences their day-to-day investigative practice. I take a stab at spelling out the shared commitments that make up naturalism, and the logical and evidential relations among them.
Any philosopher sympathetic to physicaIism (or materiaIism) will allow that there is some sense in which ordinary objects---tables and chairs, etc.---are physicaI. But what sense, exactly? John Post holds a view implying that every ordinary object is identical with some or other spatio-temporal sum of fundamental entities. I begin by deploying a modal argument intended to show that ordinary objects, for example elephants, are not identical with spatio-temporal sums of such entities. Then I claim that appeal to David Lewis’s counterpart (...) theory, even if acceptable in principle, would not permit Post to make a plausible reply to this argument. Finally, I sketch an alternative account of ordinary objects, which does not require identity with spatio-temporal sums of fundamental physical entities, and argue that, despite Post’s protestations, this account is acceptably physicalist: his identity claims are not required for physicalism. (shrink)
This critical study aims mainly to do two things: (i) throw some cold water on the claim that supervenience can be used to formulate a doctrine of non-reductive physicalism, and (ii) rebut an argument for physicalism offered (separately) by David Papineau and Barry Loewer. -/- The title alludes to the following lyric from "Mary Poppins", and was intended to hint that there is less to supervenience than meets the eye: -/- It's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Even though the sound of it is something (...) quite atrocious If you say it loud enough, you'll always sound precocious Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. (shrink)
This paper is guided by, and begins to make plausible, the idea that there can be a naturalistic metaphilosophy, i.e., an inquiry that takes philosophy as an object of study in something like the way that contemporary (naturalistic) philosophy of science takes science as an object of study. The paper’s more specific goal is to ventilate certain provocative speculations concerning the character of philosophy’s cognitive achievement, especially over time. But this more specific goal will be approached indirectly, through addressing in (...) a preliminary way the question what the proper relationship is between philosophy and the study of philosophy’s history. (shrink)
This is a critical study of Sydney Shoemaker's, Physical Realization (Oxford University Press, 2007). It focuses on (i) the relationship between his subset theory of realization and the higher-order property theory of realization, and (ii) his attempt to solve the problem of mental causation.
This is a review of Jaegwon Kim's Physicalism, Or Something Near Enough. It focuses (i) on his claim that mental properties can be causally efficacious only if they are, in a certain sense, functionally reducible to the physical, and (ii) on his criticisms of best-explanation arguments for physicalism as advocated by, e.g., Christopher Hill and Brian McLaughlin.
The subject of this thesis is physicalism, understood not as some particular doctrine pertaining narrowly to the philosophy of mind, but rather as a quite general metaphysical claim to the effect that everything is, or is fundamentally, physical. Thus physicalism explicates the thought that in some sense physics is the basic science. The aim of the thesis is to defend a particular brand of physicalism, which I call eliminative type physicalism. It claims, roughly, that every property is a physical property, (...) a property mentioned in the laws of physics, and hence that any putative property not identifiable with a physical property must be eliminated from our ontology. Eliminative type physicalism is apt to face three objections, and so my thesis, like Caesar's Gaul, falls into three parts. In the first, I argue against the idea that there are tenable positions, both physicalist and non-physicalist, alternative to eliminative type physicalism. I argue that each of these positions token physicalism (Fodor, middle Putnam), supervenience physicalism (Lewis, Horgan) and and a non-physicalist view I call pluralism (Goodman, late Putnam) is defective. In the second part, responding to the objection that there is just no reason to be a physicalist, I develop a positive argument for eliminative type physicalism, an argument resting upon a strong version of the explanatory test for reality according to which only explanatorily indispensable properties can justifiably be said to exist. In the third and final part, I argue, against the charge that eliminative type physicalism cannot accommodate what I call phenomenal properties (qualia, raw feels etc.), that there is no good reason to deny, and one good reason to affirm, that phenomenal properties just are physical properties. (shrink)
Any philosopher sympathetic to physicaIism will allow that there is some sense in which ordinary objects---tables and chairs, etc.---are physicaI. But what sense, exactly? John Post holds a view implying that every ordinary object is identical with some or other spatio-temporal sum of fundamental entities. I begin by deploying a modal argument intended to show that ordinary objects, for example elephants, are not identical with spatio-temporal sums of such entities. Then I claim that appeal to David Lewis’s counterpart theory, even (...) if acceptable in principle, would not permit Post to make a plausible reply to this argument. Finally, I sketch an alternative account of ordinary objects, which does not require identity with spatio-temporal sums of fundamental physical entities, and argue that, despite Post’s protestations, this account is acceptably physicalist: his identity claims are not required for physicalism. (shrink)
I SHALL develop, in this article, certain distinctions suggested by recent contributions to the philosophical discussion of punishment, which help to clarify the issues involved. Having separated out what I consider the four central philosophical questions, I shall suggest an approach to them, which, while mainly utilitarian, takes due account, I believe, of the retributivist case where it is strongest, and meets the main retributivist objections.
The aim of this paper is to distinguish between, and examine, three issues surrounding Humphreys's paradox and interpretation of conditional propensities. The first issue involves the controversy over the interpretation of inverse conditional propensities — conditional propensities in which the conditioned event occurs before the conditioning event. The second issue is the consistency of the dispositional nature of the propensity interpretation and the inversion theorems of the probability calculus, where an inversion theorem is any theorem of probability that makes explicit (...) (or implicit) appeal to a conditional probability and its corresponding inverse conditional probability. The third issue concerns the relationship between the notion of stochastic independence which is supported by the propensity interpretation, and various notions of causal independence. In examining each of these issues, it is argued that the dispositional character of the propensity interpretation provides a consistent and useful interpretation of the probability calculus. (shrink)
“Evidence based medicine” is often seen as a scientific tool for quality improvement, even though its application requires the combination of scientific facts with value judgments and the costing of different treatments. How this is done depends on whether we approach the problem from the perspective of individual patients, doctors, or public health administrators. Evidence based medicine exerts a fundamental influence on certain key aspects of medical professionalism. Since, when clinical practice guidelines are created, costs affect the content of EBM, (...) EBM inevitably becomes a form of rationing and adopts a public health point of view. This challenges traditional professionalism in much the same way as managed care has done in the US. Here we chart some of these major philosophical issues and show why simple solutions cannot be found. The profession needs to pay more attention to different uses of EBM in order to preserve the good aspects of professionalism. (shrink)
General semantics and the cold war mentality, by S. I. Hayakawa.--The talking tribes, by W. Johnson.--On a certain sort of disagreement, by I. J. Lee.--Serial communication of information in organizations, by W. V. Haney.--The cultural roots of bragmatics, by C. M. Babcock.--Images of the consumer's mind on and off Madison Avenue, by M. Rokeach.--Semantics and sexuality, by S. I. Hayakawa.--The magic word in Nazi persuasion, by H. A. Bosmajian.--Freedom and commitment, by C. R. Rogers.--Bibliography (p. 63).
There are striking structural similarities between Freud's ego and Kant's transcendental unity of apperception, which for Kant grounds our use of ‘I’ in ‘I think’. There are also striking similarities between Freud's superego and Kant's account of the mental structure that grounds our use of ‘I’ in the moral ‘I ought to’. The paper explores these similarities on three main points: the conflict of motivations internal to the mind, the relation between discursive and pre-discursive representation of moral motivation, and the (...) unconscious character of moral motivation. The suggestion is that Freud offers resources for a naturalized account (an account in terms of the causal development of empirical human beings) of just those features of our moral motivation that, according to Kant, seem to make it least amenable to a naturalistic explanation. How much of a revision of Kant's analysis of moral justification is thereby entailed is beyond the purview of the paper. (shrink)
Philosophers readily talk about merely verbal disputes, usually without much or any explicit reflection on what these are, and a good deal of methodological significance is attached to discovering whether a dispute is merely verbal or not. Currently, metaphilosophical advances are being made towards a clearer understanding of what exactly it takes for something to be a merely verbal dispute. This paper engages with this growing literature, pointing out some problems with existing approaches, and develops a new proposal which builds (...) on their strengths. (shrink)
A complimentary assessment of Blum's award-winning book about racism and its affects. Well written as it is, it needs to be supplemented with a definition of racial injustice, and also to analyze racism not only on the level of individual morality but from a human rights perspective that discredits political and economic motives for racism (e.g., by drawing on Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism).
Background: Ethical dilemmas are an integral part of medicine. Whether physicians actually feel that they have made ethically problematic treatment decisions or choices in their work is largely unknown. Identifying physicians with ethical problems, and the types of problems and underlying factors, might benefit organisational and educational efforts to help physicians solve ethical dilemmas in a constructive way. We investigated how the frequency and types of ethically difficult treatment decisions vary by specialty.Method: A mail survey of all non-retired Finnish physicians (...) was conducted in 2004. Of those who had made any ethically problematic treatment decisions, the types of decisions and reasons given for these decisions were asked for. Factor analysis was used to investigate clustering of ethically problematic treatment decisions, and logistic regression to investigate the effect of specialty, adjusted for age and gender.Results: Psychiatrists experienced ethically problematic treatment decisions most frequently, followed by pulmonologists, internists and neurologists. Problems were reported least often by pathologists, laboratory physicians and ophthalmologists. Overtreatment was more common than undertreatment in most specialties, with the exception of psychiatrists who emphasised undertreatment and patient rights issues.Conclusion: Physicians of different specialties differ significantly regarding frequency and types of ethically problematic treatment decisions they have made. Psychiatrists differ from all other specialists in reporting more undertreatment and patient rights issues. Experiencing ethically problematic decisions might affect the quality of care and physician well-being in many ways. The findings could be useful for both under- and postgraduate ethics education. (shrink)
This book unpicks the conceptual, ideological, and metaphysical tangles that get in the way of understanding romantic love. -/- Written for a general audience, What Love Is And What It Could Be explores different disciplinary perspectives on love, in search of the bigger picture. It presents a "dual-nature" theory: romantic love is simultaneously both a biological phenomenon and a social construct. The key philosophical insight comes in explaining why this a coherent—and indeed a necessary—position to take. -/- The deep motivation (...) behind this work is that we have a collective responsibility to figure out romantic love. It is a formidable and potentially dangerous force, its power underwritten by its twin footholds in our biological natures and in our most treasured social practices. Often we pretend that it is incomprehensible and out of control, but this is a way of abdicating our responsibility to understand love and fix it when it's broken. -/- What Love Is And What It Could Be explains that romantic love is currently broken in multiple interlocking ways, but also that we can change this status quo. Once we understand what love is, we will be able to take control of what it could be. (shrink)
Essays from some of the 20th century's greatest thinkers explore topics as diverse as artificial intelligence, evolution, science fiction, philosophy, reductionism, and consciousness, presenting a variety of conflicting visions of the self and the soul. Illustrations.