The evolution of modern human life history has involved substantial changes in the overall length of the subadult period, the introduction of a novel early childhood stage, and many changes in the initiation, termination, and character of the other stages. The fossil record is explored for evidence of this evolutionary process, with a special emphasis on middle childhood, which many argue is equivalent to the juvenile stage of African apes. Although the “juvenile” and “middle childhood” stages appear to be the (...) same from a broad comparative perspective, in that they begin with the eruption of the first molar and the achievement of the majority of adult brain size and end with sexual maturity, the detailed differences in the expression of these two stages, and how they relate to the preceding and following stages, suggest that a distinction should be maintained between them to avoid blurring subtle, but important, differences. (shrink)
Descartes held that practicing mathematics was important for developing the mental faculties necessary for science and a virtuous life. Otherwise, he maintained that the proper uses of mathematics were extremely limited. This article discusses his reasons which include a theory of education, the metaphysics of matter, and a psychologistic theory of deductive reasoning. It is argued that these reasons cohere with his system of philosophy.
We argue that Descartes's theistic proofs in the 'Meditations' are much simpler and straightforward than they are traditionally taken to be. In particular, we show how the causal argument of the "Third Meditation" depends on the intuitively innocent principle that nothing comes from nothing, and not on the more controversial principle that the objective reality of an idea must have a cause with at least as much formal reality. We also demonstrate that the so-called ontological "argument" of the "Fifth Meditation" (...) is best understood not as a formal proof but as an axiom, revealed as self-evident by analytic meditation. (shrink)
We argue that Descartes’s theistic proofs in the ’Meditations’ are much simpler and straightforward than they are traditionally taken to be. In particular, we show how the causal argument of the "Third Meditation" depends on the intuitively innocent principle that nothing comes from nothing, and not on the more controversial principle that the objective reality of an idea must have a cause with at least as much formal reality. We also demonstrate that the so-called ontological "argument" of the "Fifth Meditation" (...) is best understood not as a formal proof but as an axiom, revealed as self-evident by analytic meditation. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between modern theories of microeconomics and macroeconomics and, more generally, it evaluates the prospects of theoretically reducing macroeconomics to microeconomics. Many economists have shown strong interest in providing "microfoundations" for macroeconomics and much of their work is germane to the issue of theoretical reduction. Especially relevant is the work that has been done on what is called The Problem of Aggregation. On some accounts, The Problem of Aggregation just is the problem of reducing macroeconomics to (...) microeconomics. I show how to separate these problems and then try to determine to what extent particular kinds of solutions to The Problem of Aggregation succeed in reducing macroeconomics to microeconomics as well. I argue that reduction is not possible by this means given the current state of microeconomics. I also describe how reduction may be possible by means of (dis)aggregation if microeconomics is supplemented in a certain way with the results of experimental research on individual economic agents. (shrink)
BOOK REVIEWS 461 Edwin Curley's "Notes on a Neglected Masterpiece: Spinoza and the Science of Hermeneutics" takes as its starting point Savan's claim that Spinoza is the "founder of scientific hermeneutics." Rejccting the most extreme interpretation of this claim -- i.e., that Spinoza created scientific hermeneutics ex nihilo -- Curlcy carefully compares Spi- noza's contributions to Biblical criticism with those of Hobbes and Isaac La Peyr~re, and concludes that Spinoza's work possesses, in addition to a generally higher level of hermeneutical (...) rigor, something quite specific that they do not -- namely, "a well worked-out theory of what is required for the interpretation of a text." This theory demands that we begin by applying to textual interpretation the Cartesian strategy of "removing all prejudices" and preconceptions; doing so allows us to interpret a text such as the Bible in the light of a "natural history," drawn from the resources of the text itself. Curley's essay is essential reading for anyone interested in hermencutics, Biblical criticism, Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, or Spinoza's general philoso- phy of science. Manfred Walthcr's related essay focuses more narrowly on a case in which the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus appears to violate its own requirement that scripture be interpreted through scripture itself. That case is the treatment of miracles, the Biblical reports of which Spinoza seems to discount on external and.. (shrink)
Good scientific explanations sometimes appear to make use of averages. Using concrete examples from current economic theory, I argue that some confusions about how averages might work in explanations lead to both philosophical and economic problems about the interpretation of the theory. I formulate general conditions on potentially proper uses of averages to refine a notion of average explanation. I then try to show how this notion provides a means for resolving longstanding philosophical problems in economics and other quantitative social (...) sciences. (shrink)
Descartes’s correspondence with Elisabeth is among the most important we have for understanding the philosophical thought of a canonical figure. Elisabeth’s perspicacious queries drew forth Descartes’s very famous elaboration of mind/body union. The correspondence also contains the bulk of Descartes’s important statements on morality—a topic touched on only briefly in his books. It seems likely that this part of the correspondence helped set Descartes on the course that resulted in his last book, The Passions of the Soul. Moreover, Elisabeth’s letters (...) to Descartes are her only extant philosophical writings. In Lisa Shapiro’s volume we have, for the first time, translations of the thirty-three letters of Descartes and the twenty-six of Elisabeth complete and unabridged. This is, therefore, a very welcome addition to existing English editions of Descartes’s works and an important resource for studying early modern philosophy written by women. (shrink)