This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories—McCall’s ‘branch attrition’, and the ‘no backward branching’ feature of Belnap’s ‘branching space-time’—in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall’s presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a model with (...) at least two temporal dimensions, and that this results in severing the link between branch attrition and the ﬂow of time. I argue that ‘no backward branching’ prohibits Belnap’s theory from capturing the modal content of indeterministic physical theories, and results in it ascribing to the world a time-asymmetric modal structure that lacks physical justiﬁcation. (shrink)
Gergely and Csibra's theory, known as "natural pedagogy theory", is meant to explain how infants fast-learn generic knowledge from adults. In this paper, my goal is to assess the explanatory import of this theory in a particular case, namely the phenomena known as "A-not-B errors". I first propose a clarification of natural pedagogy theory's fundamental hypotheses. Then, I describe Topál et al.'s (Science, 321, 1831-1834, 2008) experiments, which consist in applying natural pedagogy theory's framework to the A-not-B errors. Finally, I (...) show that natural pedagogy theory, in its actual stage of development, does not suffice to choose between various interpretations of Topál et al.'s experimental results. (shrink)
While logical principles seem timeless, placeless, and eternal, their discovery is a story of personal accidents, political tragedies, and broad social change. If A, Then B begins with logic's emergence twenty-three centuries ago and tracks its expansion as a discipline ever since. -/- The book treats logic as more than a tale of individual abstraction; it sees logic as also being a result of politics, economics, technology, and geography, because all these factors helped to generate an audience for the discipline (...) from the start. The book thus relates developments in logical theory to the social history of different historical periods. -/- The book defends a number of controversial philosophical theses: (1) that rationally persuasive arguments must always proceed from premises that are initially more convincing than the conclusions to be proved (a position derived from Aristotle), (2) that intuitive logical judgments, though sometimes mistaken, can also count as certain knowledge, independent of the techniques used to construct formal logical systems, (3) that Wittgenstein was mistaken in thinking that philosophy was riddled with unintelligible language and that the real problems, instead, have been ambiguity and pretentious diction, and (4) that Nelson Goodman's argument to the effect that deductive logic can be "virtuously circular" is founded on a non sequitur. -/- . (shrink)
The paper examines the logic and semantics of knowledge attributions of the form “s knows whether A or B”. We analyze these constructions in an epistemic logic with alternative questions, and propose an account of the context-sensitivity of the corresponding sentences and of their presuppositions.
We investigated how people interpret conditionals and how stable their interpretation is over a long series of trials. Participants were shown the colored patterns on each side of a six-sided die, and were asked how sure they were that a conditional holds of the side landing upwards when the die is randomly thrown. Participants were presented with 71 trials consisting of all combinations of binary dimensions of shape (e.g., circles and squares) and color (e.g., blue and red) painted onto the (...) sides of each die. In two experiments (N1 = 66, N2 = 65), the conditional event was the dominant interpretation, followed by conjunction, and material conditional responses were negligible. In both experiments, the percentage of participants giving a conditional event response increased from around 40% at the beginning of the task to nearly 80% at the end, with most participants shifting from a conjunction interpretation. The shift was moderated by the order of shape and color in each conditional’s antecedent and consequent: participants were more likely to shift if the antecedent referred to a color. In Experiment 2 we collected response times: conditional event interpretations took longer to process than conjunction interpretations (mean diﬀerence 500 ms). We discuss implications of our results for mental models theory and probabilistic theories of reasoning. (shrink)
Individuals’ propensity not to override the first answer that comes to mind is thought to be a crucial cause behind many failures in reasoning. In the present study, we aimed to explore the strategies used and the abilities employed when individuals solve the cognitive reflection test, the most widely used measure of this tendency. Alongside individual differences measures, protocol analysis was employed to unfold the steps of the reasoning process in solving the CRT. This exploration revealed that there are several (...) ways people solve or fail the test. Importantly, 77% of the cases in which reasoners gave the correct final answer in our protocol analysis, they started their response with the correct answer or with a line of thought which led to the correct answer. We also found that 39% of the incorrect responders reflected on their first response. The findings indicate that the suppression of the first answer may not be the only crucial feature of reflectivity in the CRT and that the lack of relevant knowledge is a prominent cause of the reasoning errors. Additionally, we confirmed that the CRT is a multi-faceted construct: both numeracy and reflectivity account for performance. The results can help to better apprehend the “whys and whens” of the decision errors in heuristics and biases tasks and to further refine existing explanatory models. (shrink)
The acknowledgement of basic human vulnerability in relationships between mental health service users and professionals working in community-based mental health services (in Norway) was a starting point. The purpose was to explore how users of these services describe and make sense of their meetings with other people. The research is collaborative, with researcher and person with experienced-based knowledge cooperating through the research process. Data is derived from 19 interviews with 11 people who depend on mental health services for assistance at (...) least three times a week. Data is analysed according to the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Results confirm that reciprocity is fundamental for relationships, and that recognizing the individual entails personal involvement. The participants describe a struggle, and recognizing this struggle may help the professional to achieve a deeper understanding of the individual. (shrink)
The traditional description of A- and B-time is that the former consists of a mind-independent past, present, and future, and that the latter consists solely of the time relations--earlier than, simultaneous with, and later than. Although this description makes it look as if there are two clearly contrasting concepts of time, it does not differentiate the passage of A-time from the succession in B-time. Nor does it explain what it means for events in B-time to be equally real and for (...) events in A-time not to be equally real. I argue that although McTaggart and numerous others have thought that there is a difference between the two kinds of time, it remains undescribed. (shrink)
According to probabilistic theories of reasoning in psychology, people's degree of belief in an indicative conditional `if A, then B' is given by the conditional probability, P(B|A). The role of language pragmatics is relatively unexplored in the new probabilistic paradigm. We investigated how consequent relevance a ects participants' degrees of belief in conditionals about a randomly chosen card. The set of events referred to by the consequent was either a strict superset or a strict subset of the set of events (...) referred to by the antecedent. We manipulated whether the superset was expressed using a disjunction or a hypernym. We also manipulated the source of the dependency, whether in long-term memory or in the stimulus. For subset-consequent conditionals, patterns of responses were mostly conditional probability followed by conjunction. For superset-consequent conditionals, conditional probability responses were most common for hypernym dependencies and least common for disjunction dependencies, which were replaced with responses indicating inferred consequent irrelevance. Conditional probability responses were also more common for knowledge-based than stimulus-based dependencies. We suggest. (shrink)
Some say that presentism precludes time travel into the past since it implies that the past does not exist, but this is a bad argument. Presentism says that only currently existing entities exist, and that the only properties and relations those entities instantiate are those that they currently instantiate. This does in a sense imply that the past does not exist. But if that precluded time travel into the past, it would also preclude the one-second-per-second “time travel” into the future (...) that is ordinary persistence, for presentism accords the future the same ontological status as the past. Instead of quantifying over past and future objects and events, presentists speak a tensed language, regimented with primitive sentential tense operators. For a presentist, a persisting person is one who did exist, and who will exist. Regimented, these claims become: it was the case that she exists, and it will be the case that she exists. The presentist may then apply the same strategy to time travel proper. Suppose Katy travels back to the time of the dinosaurs. The presentist can say that it was the case two hundred million years ago that Katy exists. This claim, which consists of a present-tense statement “Katy exists” embedded within the past tense operator it was the case two hundred million years ago that, is exactly the sort of statement about time that a presentist is free to accept. This has all been made clear by Simon Keller and Michael Nelson ( ). In addition to rebutting the bad argument against the consistency of presentism and time travel, Keller and Nelson argue positively in favor of consistency by showing how to translate David Lewis’s ( ) account of time travel into the presentist’s tensed language. The appearance of con ict between presentism and time travel, they argue, is due only to the fact that most defenders of time travel (for example Lewis) have tended to phrase their defenses in nonpresentist terms. As much as I applaud their rebuttal of the bad argument, I wish to sound a note of caution.. (shrink)
Professional identity and competent ethical behaviors of nursing students are commonly developed through curricular inclusion of professional nursing values education. Despite the enactment of this approach, nursing students continue to express difficulty in managing ethical conflicts encountered in their practice. This descriptive correlational study explores the relationships between professional nursing values, self-esteem, and ethical decision making among senior baccalaureate nursing students. A convenience sample of 47 senior nursing students from the United States were surveyed for their level of internalized professional (...) nursing values (Revised Professional Nursing Values Scale), level of self-esteem (Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale), and perceived level of confidence in ethical decision making. A significant positive relationship (p < 0.05) was found between nursing students’ professional nursing values and levels of self-esteem. The results of this study can be useful to nursing educators whose efforts are focused on promoting professional identity development and competent ethical behaviors of future nurses. (shrink)
This article is a response to Clifford Williams’s claim that the debate between A- and B theories of time is misconceived because these theories do not differ. I provide some missing support for Williams’s claim that the B-theory includes transition, by arguing that representative B-theoretic explanations for why we experience time as passing (even though it does not) are inherently unstable. I then argue that, contra Williams, it does not follow that there is nothing at stake in the A- versus (...) B debate. (shrink)
Since its discovery in 1959 the Aharonov-Bohm effect has continuously been the cause for controversial discussions of various topics in modern physics, e.g. the reality of gauge potentials, topological effects and nonlocalities. In the present paper we juxtapose the two rival interpretations of the Aharonov-Bohm effect. We show that the conception of nonlocality encountered in the Aharonov-Bohm effect is closely related to the nonseparability which is common in quantum mechanics albeit distinct from it due to its topological nature. We propose (...) a third alternative interpretation based on the loop space of holonomies which serves to solve some of the problems and we trace back the topological nonlocality and thereby the Aharonov-Bohm effect to their quantum mechanical origin. All three discussed interpretations are, of course, empirically equivalent. In fact, they present us with an instructive case study for the thesis of theory underdetermination by empirical data. (shrink)
The common assumption in the debate between the A- and B-theories is that there is a difference between A- and B-time. A-time has been said to be characterized by a flow, whereas B-time has been said not to consist of a flow. This way of construing the debate, however, is mistaken. Both A- and B-time possess "flow" or transition. But if this is so, we need to ask how B-time flow differs from A-time flow. I argue that none of the (...) ways in which the difference has been characterized is satisfactory. My conclusion is that the debate between A- and B-time either needs to be recast or given up. (shrink)
1. Many philosophers, including the later Wittgenstein, have concerned themselves with the question ‘What is philosophy?’ In this paper I shall say some things about the activity of philosophizing. What I shall say is not new or revealing; none the less, it might be worth saying what I do say. For philosophers, especially if they are professionally occupied with their subject, sometimes overlook some interesting, and some human, aspects of their profession.
Background: Legislation on physician-assisted suicide is being considered in a number of states since the passage of the Oregon Death With Dignity Act in 1994. Opinion assessment surveys have historically assessed particular subsets of physicians.Objective: To determine variables predictive of physicians’ opinions on PAS in a rural state, Vermont, USA.Design: Cross-sectional mailing survey.Participants: 1052 physicians licensed by the state of Vermont.Results: Of the respondents, 38.2% believed PAS should be legalised, 16.0% believed it should be prohibited and 26.0% believed it should (...) not be legislated. 15.7% were undecided. Males were more likely than females to favour legalisation . Physicians who did not care for patients through the end of life were significantly more likely to favour legalisation of PAS than physicians who do care for patients with terminal illness . 30% of the respondents had experienced a request for assistance with suicide.Conclusions: Vermont physicians’ opinions on the legalisation of PAS is sharply polarised. Patient autonomy was a factor strongly associated with opinions in favour of legalisation, whereas the sanctity of the doctor–patient relationship was strongly associated with opinions in favour of not legislating PAS. Those in favour of making PAS illegal overwhelmingly cited moral and ethical beliefs as factors in their opinion. Although opinions on legalisation appear to be based on firmly held beliefs, approximately half of Vermont physicians who responded to the survey agree that there is a need for more education in palliative care and pain management. (shrink)
Objective To determine the attitudes of Egyptian patients regarding their participation in research and with the collection, storage and future use of blood samples for research purposes. Design Cross-sectional survey. Study population Adult Egyptian patients (n=600) at rural and urban hospitals and clinics. Results Less than half of the study population (44.3%) felt that informed consent forms should provide research participants the option to have their blood samples stored for future research. Of these participants, 39.9% thought that consent forms should (...) include the option that future research be restricted to the illness being studied. A slight majority (66.2%) would donate their samples for future genetic research. Respondents were more favourable towards having their blood samples exported to other Arab countries (62.0%) compared with countries in Europe (41.8%, p<0.001) and to the USA (37.2%, p<0.001). Conclusions This study shows that many individuals do not favour the donation of a blood sample for future research. Of those who do approve of such future research, many favour a consent model that includes an option restricting the future research to the illness being studied. Also, many Egyptians were hesitant to have their blood samples donated for genetic research or exported out of the Arab region to the USA and European countries. Further qualitative research should be performed to determine the underlying reasons for many of our results. (shrink)
The use of biotechnology in food productiongives rise to consumer concerns. The term ``consumerconcern'' is often used as a container notion. Itincludes concerns about food safety, environmental andanimal welfare consequences of food productionsystems, and intrinsic moral objections againstgenetic modification. In order to create clarity adistinction between three different kinds of consumerconcern is proposed. Consumer concerns can be seen assigns of loss of trust. Maintaining consumer trustasks for governmental action. Towards consumerconcerns, governments seem to have limitedpossibilities for public policy. Under current (...) WTOregulations designed to prevent trade disputes,governments can only limit their policies to 1) safetyregulation based upon sound scientific evidence and 2)the stimulation of a system of product labeling. Ananalysis of trust, however, can show that ifgovernments limit their efforts in this way, they willnot do enough to avoid the types of consumer concernsthat diminish trust. The establishment of a technicalbody for food safety – although perhaps necessary –is in itself not enough, because concerns that relatedirectly to food safety cannot be solved by ``pure''science alone. And labeling can only be a good way totake consumer concerns seriously if these concerns arerelated to consumer autonomy. For consumer concernsthat are linked to ideas about a good society,labeling can only provide a solution if it is seen asan addition to political action rather than as itssubstitution. Labeling can help consumers take uptheir political responsibility. As citizens, consumershave certain reasonable concerns that can justifiableinfluence the market. In a free-market society, theyare, as buyers, co-creators of the market, andsocietal steering is partly done by the market.Therefore, they need the information to co-create thatmarket. The basis of labeling in these cases, however,is not the good life of the individual but thepolitical responsibility people have in their role asparticipants in a free-market. Then, public concernsare taken seriously. Labeling in that case does nottake away the possibilities of reaching politicalgoals, but it adds a possibility. (shrink)
I offer an interpretation and a partial defense of Kit Fine's ‘Argument from Passage’, which is situated within his reconstruction of McTaggart's paradox. Fine argues that existing A-theoretic approaches to passage are no more dynamic, i.e. capture passage no better, than the B-theory. I argue that this comparative claim is correct. Our intuitive picture of passage, which inclines us towards A-theories, suggests more than coherent A-theories can deliver. In Finean terms, the picture requires not only Realism about tensed facts, but (...) also Neutrality, i.e. the tensed facts not being ‘oriented towards’ one privileged time. However unlike Fine, and unlike others who advance McTaggartian arguments, I take McTaggart's paradox to indicate neither the need for a more dynamic theory of passage nor that time does not pass. A more dynamic theory is not to be had: Fine's ‘non-standard realism’ amounts to no more than a conceptual gesture. But instead of concluding that time does not pass, we should conclude that theories of passage cannot deliver the dynamicity of our intuitive picture. For this reason, a B-theoretic account of passage that simply identifies passage with the succession of times is a serious contender. (shrink)
In the paper we explore the idea of describing Pawlak’s rough sets using three-valued logic, whereby the value t corresponds to the positive region of a set, the value f — to the negative region, and the undefined value u — to the border of the set. Due to the properties of the above regions in rough set theory, the semantics of the logic is described using a non-deterministic matrix (Nmatrix). With the strong semantics, where only the value t is (...) treated as designated, the above logic is a “common denominator” for Kleene and Łukasiewicz 3-valued logics, which represent its two different “determinizations”. In turn, the weak semantics—where both t and u are treated as designated—represents such a “common denominator” for two major 3-valued paraconsistent logics. We give sound and complete, cut-free sequent calculi for both versions of the logic generated by the rough set Nmatrix. Then we derive from these calculi sequent calculi with the same properties for the various “determinizations” of those two versions of the logic (including Łukasiewicz 3-valued logic). Finally, we show how to embed the four above-mentioned determinizations in extensions of the basic rough set logics obtained by adding to those logics a special two-valued “definedness” or “crispness” operator. (shrink)
It is customary in current philosophy of time to distinguish between an A- (or tensed) and a B- (or tenseless) theory of time. It is also customary to distinguish between an old B-theory of time, and a new B-theory of time. We may say that the former holds both semantic atensionalism and ontological atensionalism, whereas the latter gives up semantic atensionalism and retains ontological atensionalism. It is typically assumed that the B-theorists have been induced by advances in the philosophy of (...) language and related A-theorists’ criticisms to acknowledge that semantic atensionalism can hardly stand, but have also maintained that what is essential for the B-theory is ontological atensionalism, which can be independently defended. Here it is argued that the B-theorists have been too quick in abandoning semantic atensionalism: they can still cling to it. (shrink)
This paper proposes solutions to two semantic learnability problems that have featured prominently in the literature on language acquisition. Both problems have often been deemed unsolvable for language learners as a matter of logic, and they have accordingly been taken to motivate principles making sure they will not actually arise in the course of language acquisition. One problem concerns the acquisition of ambiguous sentences whose readings are related by entailment. Crain et al.'s (1994) Semantic Subset Principle is intended to preempt (...) the problem by preventing acquisition of the weaker reading before the stronger reading has been acquired. In contrast, we demonstrate that this very order of acquisition becomes feasible in principle if children can exploit non-truth-conditional evidence of various kinds or evidence from sentences containing downward entailing operators. The other learnability problem concerns the potential need for expunction of certain readings of ambiguous sentences from a child's grammar. It has often been assumed that, in the absence of negative evidence, such expunction is impossible, and Wexler and Manzini (1987) posit a Subset Principle to preempt the problematic learning scenario. We argue, however, that if the evidence available to the child includes dialogues, and if listeners are expected to interpret speakers' utterances charitably, then expunction of unavailable readings is possible in principle. (shrink)
This chapter discusses some aspects of the relation between temporal experience and the A versus B debate. To begin with, I provide an overview of the A versus B debate and, following Baron et al. (2015), distinguish between two B-theoretic responses to the A- theoretic argument from experience, veridicalism and illusionism. I then argue for veridicalism over illusionism, by examining our (putative) experiences as of presentness and as of time passing. I close with some remarks on the relation between veridicalism (...) and a deflationary view of the A versus B debate. I suggest that the deflationary view can provide further support for veridicalism. (shrink)
Varzi (2005) discussed 6 ways of symbolizing the sentence 'If Alf went to the movies then Beth went too, but only if she found a taxi-cab.' In the present reply, a seventh symbolization is offered, along with an analysis of the six alternatives discussed by Varzi.