Over the last decade the modeling and the storage of biological data has been a topic of wide interest for scientists dealing with biological and biomedical research. Currently most data is still stored in text files which leads to data redundancies and file chaos.In this paper we show how to use relational modeling techniques and relational database technology for modeling and storing biological sequence data, i.e. for data maintained in collections like EMBL or SWISS-PROT to better serve the needs for (...) these application domains. (shrink)
Occasions of Identity is an exploration of timeless philosophical issues about persistence, change, time, and sameness. Andre Gallois offers a critical survey of various rival views about the nature of identity and change, and puts forward his own original theory. He supports the idea of occasional identities, arguing that it is coherent and helpful to suppose that things can be identical at one time but distinct at another. Gallois defends this view, demonstrating how it can solve puzzles about persistence (...) dating back to the Ancient Greeks, and investigates the metaphysical consequences of rejecting the necessity and eternity of identities. (shrink)
In this challenging study, André Gallois proposes and defends a thesis about the character of our knowledge of our own intentional states. Taking up issues at the centre of attention in contemporary analytic philosophy of mind and epistemology, he examines accounts of self-knowledge by such philosophers as Donald Davidson, Tyler Burge and Crispin Wright, and advances his own view that, without relying on observation, we are able justifiably to attribute to ourselves propositional attitudes, such as belief, that we consciously hold. (...) His study will be of wide interest to philosophers concerned with questions about self-knowledge. (shrink)
In a famous text Descartes has written this: Whenever the thought of God's supreme power occurs to me, I cannot help feeling that he might easily, if he so wished, make me go wrong even in what I think I see most clearly with my mind's eye. On the other hand, whenever I turn to the matters themselves which I think I perceive very clearly, I am so convinced by them that I burst out: ‘let who will deceive me, he (...) can never bring it about that I should be nothing at the time of thinking that I am something, nor that it be true that I never existed if it is true that I exist now; nor even that two and three together make more or less than five, or any such thing in which I see manifest contradiction’. (shrink)
Social constructivists maintain that we invent the properties of the world rather than discover them. Is reality constructed by our own activity? Or, more provocatively, are scientific facts--is everything --constructed? Social Constructivism and the Philosophy of Science is a clear assessment of this critical and increasingly important debate. Andre Kukla presents a comprehensive discussion of the philosophical issues involved and analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of a range of constructivist arguments, illustrating the divide between the sociology and the philosophy (...) of science through examples as varied as laboratory science, time, and criminality. He argues that current philosophical objections to constructivism are drastically inconclusive, while offering and developing new objections. Throughout, Kukla distinguishes between the social causes of scientific beliefs and the view that all ascertainable facts are constructed. (shrink)
Social constructionists maintain that we invent the properties of the world rather than discover them. Is reality constructed by our own activity? Do we collectively invent the world rather than discover it? André Kukla presents a comprehensive discussion of the philosophical issues that arise out of this debate, analysing the various strengths and weaknesses of a range of constructivist arguments and arguing that current philosophical objections to constructivism are inconclusive. However, Kukla offers and develops new objections to constructivism, distinguishing between (...) the social causes of scientific beliefs and the view that all ascertainable facts are constructed. (shrink)
The central point of this essay is to demonstrate the incommensurability of ‘Darwinian fitness’ with the numeric values associated with reproductive rates used in population genetics. While sometimes both are called ‘fitness’, they are distinct concepts coming from distinct explanatory schemes. Further, we try to outline a possible answer to the following question: from the natural properties of organisms and a knowledge of their environment, can we construct an algorithm for a particular kind of organismic life-history pattern that itself will (...) allow us to predict whether a type in the population will increase or decrease relative to other types? Introduction Darwinian fitness Reproductive fitness and genetical models of evolution The models of reproductive fitness 4.1 The Standard Viability Model 4.2 Frequency-dependent selection 4.3 Fertility models 4.4 Overlapping generations Fitness as outcome 5.1 Fitness as actual increase in type 5.2 Fitness as expected increase in type 5.2.1 Expected increase within a generation 5.2.2 Expected increase between generations 5.2.3 Postponed reproductive fitness effects The book-keeping problem Conclusion. (shrink)
This book offers a superbly clear analysis of the standard arguments for and against scientific realism. In surveying claims on both sides of the debate, Kukla organizes them in ways that expose unnoticed connections. He identifies broad patterns of error, reconciles seemingly incompatible positions, and discovers unoccupied positions with the potential to influence further debate. Kukla's overall assessment is that neither the realists nor the antirealists may claim a decisive victory.
Shapiro and Sober claim that Walsh, Ariew, Lewens, and Matthen give a mistaken, a priori defense of natural selection and drift as epiphenomenal. Contrary to Shapiro and Sober’s claims, we first argue that WALM’s explanatory doctrine does not require a defense of epiphenomenalism. We then defend WALM’s explanatory doctrine by arguing that the explanations provided by the modern genetical theory of natural selection are ‘autonomous-statistical explanations’ analogous to Galton’s explanation of reversion to mediocrity and an explanation of the diffusion ofgases. (...) We then argue that whereas Sober’s theory of forces is an adequate description of Darwin’s theory, WALM’s explanatory doctrine is required to understand how themodern genetical theory of natural selection explains large-scale statistical regularities. 1 Introduction2 Shapiro and Sober’s ‘Epiphenomenalism Do’s and Don’ts’3 WALM’s Explanatory Doctrine4 Galton’s Autonomous-Statistical Explanation5 A Second Example: The Statistical Explanation of the Diffusion of Gases6 Distinguishing Two Theories of Evolution by Natural Selection7 A Possible Objection: Are Statistical Laws Sufficient for Explanation?8 Conclusion. (shrink)
1. Legend has it that as Mozart lay dying, a stranger dressed in black entered the room. Without saying word, he walked to the death-bed, removed the manuscript sheets of the Requiem on which the composer had been working until his final hours, and departed. This was not as you might have thought an envoy from beyond—but the servant of a certain Viennese nobleman, Count Walsegg zu Stuppach. The Count was in the habit of commissioning music anonymously, and having it (...) played in his palace as though it were his own. In extremis he was collecting the score for a forthcoming soirée. (shrink)
Both sides in the debate about scientific realism have argued that their view provides a better account of actual scientific practice. For example, it has been claimed that the practice of theory conjunction presupposes realism, and that scientists' use of multiple and incompatible models presupposes some form of instrumentalism. Assuming that the practices of science are rational, these conclusions cannot both be right. I argue that neither of them is right, and that, in fact, all scientific practices are compatible with (...) both realism and instrumentalism. I also repudiate van Fraassen's argument to the effect that the instrumentalist account of scientific practice is logically weaker, hence better, than the realist account. In the end, there are no scientific practice arguments on the table that support either side of the debate. It is also noted that the deficiencies of van Fraassen's argument are recapitulated in Putnam's miracle argument for realism. My pessimistic assessment of the state of the debate is reminiscent of Arthur Fine's. However, Fine's argument for the ‘natural ontological attitude’ once again repeats the problems of van Fraassen's and Putnam's arguments. (shrink)
Lorenz proposed in his (1935) articulation of a theory of behavioral instincts that the objective of ethology is to distinguish behaviors that are innate from behaviors that are learned (or acquired). Lorenzs motive was to open the investigation of certain adaptive behaviors to evolutionary theorizing. Accordingly, since innate behaviors are genetic, they are open to such investigation. By Lorenzs light an innate/acquired or learned dichotomy rested on a familiar Darwinian distinction between genes and environments. Ever since Lorenz, ascriptions of innateness (...) have become widespread in the cognitive, behavioral, and biological sciences. The trend continues despite decades of strong arguments that show, in particular, the dichotomy that Lorenz invoked in his theory of behavioral instincts is literally false: no biological trait is the product of genes alone. Some critics suggest that the failure of Lorenzs account shows that innateness is not well-defined in biology and the practice of ascribing innateness to various biological traits should be dropped from respectable science. Elsewhere (Ariew 1996) I argued that despite the arguments of critics, there really is a biological phenomenon underlying the concept of innateness. On my view, innateness is best understood in terms of C.H. Waddingtons concept of canalization, i.e. the degree to which a trait is innate is the degree to which its developmental outcome is canalized. The degree to which a developmental outcome is canalized is the degree to which the developmental process is bound to produce a particular endstate despite environmental fluctuations both in the developments initial state and during the course of development. The canalization account differs in many ways to the traditional ways that ethologists such as Konrad Lorenz originally understood the concept of innateness. Most importantly, on the canalization account the distinction between innate and acquired is not a dichotomy, as Konrad Lorenz had it, but rather a matter of degree difference that lies along a spectrum with highly canalized development outcomes on the one end and highly environmentally sensitive development outcomes on the other end. Nevertheless, I justified the canalization account on the basis of a set of desiderata or criteria that I suggested falls-out of what seemed uncontroversial about Lorenzs account of innateness (briefly): innateness is a property of a developing individual, innateness denotes environmental stability, and innate-ascriptions are useful in certain natural selection explanations (more below). From that same set of desiderata I argued (in my 1996) that neither the concept of heritability nor of norms of reactionstwo concepts from population geneticssuffice to ground innateness. In this essay, I wish to provide further support of the canalization account in two ways. First, I wish to better motivate the desiderata by revisiting a debate between Konrad Lorenz and Daniel Lehrman over the meaning and explanatory usefulness of innate ascriptions in ethology. Second, I wish to compare my canalization account of innateness with accounts proposed by contemporary philosophers, one by Stephen Stich (1975), another by Elliott Sober (forthcoming), and a third by William Wimsatt (1986). (shrink)
IN the last decade deliberative democracy has developed rapidly from a “theoretical statement” into a “working theory.”1 Scholars and practitioners have launched numerous initiatives designed to put deliberative democracy into practice, ranging from deliberative polling to citizen summits.2 Some even advocate deliberation as a new “revolutionary now.”3 Deliberative democracy has also experienced the beginning of an empirical turn, making significant gains as an empirical (or positive) political science. This includes a small, but growing body of literature tackling the connection between (...) the normative standards of deliberation, how well they are met, and the empirical consequences of meeting them.4 This trend has, for instance, included the use of methods and frameworks borrowed from other fields, such as political and social psychology. Such studies suggest that cases approaching ideal deliberation are rare, but that group interaction sometimes works surprisingly well according to such ideals.5. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: In this essay I characterize arguments by analogy, which have an impor- tant role both in philosophical and everyday reasoning. Arguments by analogy are dif- ferent from ordinary inductive or deductive arguments and have their own distinct features. I try to characterize the structure and function of these arguments. It is further discussed that some arguments, which are not explicit arguments by analogy, nevertheless should be interpreted as such and not as inductive or deductive arguments. The result is that (...) a presumed outcome of a philosophical dispute will have to be reconsidered. (shrink)
In my article "berkeley's master argument" I attempt to show that an argument berkeley uses in the 'dialogues' and 'principles' to support his contention that whatever is perceivable is perceived can be seen as an illuminating attempt to relate conceptualizing, Imaging and perceiving. In consequence it cannot be dismissed as resting on an elementary fallacy, But reflects on the conditions for the self ascription of experience.
nombreux textes inédits André Robinet. 2. LE SECOND MEMBRE DE LA DISJONCTION ARCHITECTONIQUE (D2): LES AUTOMATES SYSTÉMIQUES ( 1686-1716) Le discours leibnizien dans (v>4) emprunte la voie d'une communication qui ...
Forster and Sober present a solution to the curve-fitting problem based on Akaike's Theorem. Their analysis shows that the curve with the best epistemic credentials need not always be the curve that most closely fits the data. However, their solution does not, without further argument, avoid the two difficulties that are traditionally associated with the curve-fitting problem: that there are infinitely many equally good candidate-curves relative to any given set of data, and that these best candidates include curves with indefinitely (...) many bumps. (shrink)
It's been 41 years since the publication of Ernst Mayr's Cause and Effect in Biology wherein Mayr most clearly develops his version of the influential distinction between ultimate and proximate causes in biology. In critically assessing Mayr's essay I uncover false statements and red-herrings about biological explanation. Nevertheless, I argue to uphold an analogue of the ultimate/proximate distinction as it refers to two different kinds of explanations, one dynamical the other statistical.
More and more organisations formulate a code of conduct in order to stimulate responsible behaviour among their members. Much time and energy is usually spent fixing the content of the code but many organisations get stuck in the challenge of implementing and maintaining the code. The code then turns into nothing else than the notorious "paper in the drawer", without achieving its aims. The challenge of implementation is to utilize the dynamics which have emerged from the formulation of the code. (...) This will support a continuous process of reflection on the central values and standards contained in the code. This paper presents an assessment method, based on the EFQM model, which intends to support this implementation process. (shrink)
The AGM theory of belief contraction is extended tomultiple contraction, i.e. to contraction by a set of sentences rather than by a single sentence. There are two major variants: Inpackage contraction all the sentences must be removed from the belief set, whereas inchoice contraction it is sufficient that at least one of them is removed. Constructions of both types of multiple contraction are offered and axiomatically characterized. Neither package nor choice contraction can in general be reduced to contractions by single (...) sentences; in the finite case choice contraction allows for reduction. (shrink)
Ted Sider’s book makes a beautifully presented and compellingly argued case for four dimensionalism. Most of the arguments for four dimensionalism to be found in the literature seem to me to be uncompelling. Ted’s argument from vagueness, given in the last section of chapter 4, is a notable exception. After discussing that argument I will respond to his objections in section 5 chapter 5 to my own temporary identity view.
Pierre André,Michel Bourban | : Dans un contexte d’urgence, les philosophes ne peuvent plus se contenter d’élaborer des théories idéales de la justice climatique fondées sur des motivations purement morales. Il est désormais nécessaire d’envisager des approches non idéales. Nous proposons ici de prendre au sérieux le problème de la motivation à l’action et nous mettons en avant certains motifs prudentiels pour lutter contre le changement climatique, en vue non pas de remplacer, mais de renforcer les motivations morales existantes, mais (...) insuffisantes. Nous commençons par présenter trois grandes approches idéales qui ont prévalu jusqu’ici dans la recherche sur la justice climatique et sont fondées respectivement sur l’éthique déontologique, sur l’éthique des vertus et sur l’utilitarisme. Nous mettons en évidence leurs limites pratiques, en ciblant le problème de la motivation à l’action. Nous proposons ensuite quelques pistes pour résoudre ce problème en esquissant une approche non idéale de la justice climatique. Cette approche est centrée sur les motivations amorales ressortant de l’examen attentif des perturbations systémiques globales et des contextes nationaux et locaux spécifiques. Elle est à notre sens incontournable pour motiver les États-nations, les entreprises et les individus. Il s’agit cependant moins de la substituer totalement aux théories idéales de la justice climatique que de compléter celles-ci pour établir une vision plus compréhensive qui distingue le problème de la justification morale de celui de la motivation. | : In a situation of urgency, philosophers can no longer rely exclusively on ideal theories of climate justice grounded on purely moral motives. It has become necessary to build nonideal approaches. We propose to give serious consideration to the problem of motivation to act by putting forward some prudential reasons for tackling climate change—with the aim not of replacing existing but inadequate moral motivations, but of strengthening them. First, we identify three major ideal approaches that have so far prevailed in climate justice research, grounded respectively on deontological ethics, on virtue ethics, and on utilitarianism. We highlight their practical limitations, particularly with regards to the problem of motivation to act. Second, we open the way for an alternative nonideal approach to climate justice based on amoral motivations issuing from a careful examination of global systemic disruptions as well as of specific national and local situations. This approach cannot be ignored if one wishes to motivate nation-states, corporations, and individuals to act. However, our goal is not to replace ideal theory with nonideal theory, but rather to complete the former with the latter for a more comprehensive account of climate justice that distinguishes the problem of moral justification from the problem of motivation. (shrink)
In the past ten years, many European companies organised into subcontracting networks have decided to adopt codes of conduct to regulate labour relations and to ensure the respect of fundamental social rights. This paper first determines the context and the issues to be addressed by codes of conduct within networks of companies, and second analyses the terms under which they can be implemented. The paper argues that codes of conduct can complement the standards developed by States, the European Union or (...) the social partners, but that steps should be taken in order to avoid that these texts replace the existing labour law. (shrink)
Presenting a fascinating analysis of the idea of what can't be said, this book ascertains whether the notion of there being a truth, or a state of affairs, or knowledge that can't be expressed linguistically is a coherent notion. The author distinguishes different senses in which it might be said that something can't be said. The first part looks at the question of whether ineffability is a coherent idea. Part two evaluates two families of arguments regarding whether ineffable states of (...) affairs actually exist: the argument from mysticism and the argument from epistemic boundedness. Part three looks more closely at the relation between mystic and non-mystic stances. In the fourth and final part the author distinguishes five qualitatively different types of ineffability. _Ineffability and Philosophy_ is a significant contribution to this area of research and will be essential reading for philosophers and those researching and studying the philosophy of language. (shrink)
En la Poética, Aristóteles define la metáfora como la transferencia de un nombre de un dominio extraño a otro. Si, como en la doctrina clásica de los tropos, vemos en ella un término figurado, que sustituye al término propio, la metáfora reviste un valor puramente ornamental y el discurso podría en principio prescindir de ella. La metáfora moderna, en cambio, tiene la ambición de ofrecer una redescripción del mundo, es una metáfora viva, y por tanto cognitiva. La cuestión es saber (...) en qué medida esa concepción cognitiva de la metáfora puede apoyarse en el análisis de Aristóteles, como Ricœur lo hace. La respuesta es sí, pero no, dado que la cognición de la cuál Aristóteles habla con relación a la metáfora es una cognición de tipo especial, una “cuasi-cognición”. (shrink)
The instrumentalist argument from the underdetermination of theories by data runs as follows: (1) every theory has empirically equivalent rivals; (2) the only warrant for believing one theory over another is its possession of a greater measure of empirical virtue; (3) therefore belief in any theory is arbitrary. In this paper, I examine the status of the first premise. Several arguments against the universal availability of empirically equivalent theoretical rivals are criticized, and four algorithms for producing empirically equivalent rivals are (...) defended. I conclude that the case for the first premise of the argument from underdetermination is very strong. The disposition of the argument itself depends on the fate of the second premise. (shrink)
Traditionally, this puzzle has been solved in various ways. Aristotle, for example, distinguished between “accidental” and “essential” changes. Accidental changes are ones that don't result in a change in an objects' identity after the change, such as when a house is painted, or one's hair turns gray, etc. Aristotle thought of these as changes in the accidental properties of a thing. Essential changes, by contrast, are those which don't preserve the identity of the object when it changes, such as when (...) a house burns to the ground and becomes ashes, or when someone dies. Armed with these distinctions, Aristotle would then say that, in the case of accidental changes, (1) and (2) are both false—a changing thing can really change one of its “accidental properties” and yet literally remain one and the same thing before and after the change. (shrink)