What are scientific models? Philosophers of science have been trying to answer this question during the last three decades by putting forward a number of different proposals. Some say that models are best understood as abstract Platonic objects or fictional entities akin to Sherlock Holmes, while others focus on their mathematical nature and see them as set theoretical structures. Although each account has its own strengths in offering various insights on the nature of models, several objections have been raised against (...) these views which still remain unanswered, making the debate on the ontology of models seem unresolvable. The primary aim of this paper is to show that a large part of these difficulties stems from an inappropriate reading of the main question on the ontology of models as a purely metaphysical question. Building on Carnap, it is argued that the question of the ontology of scientific models is either an internal theoretical question within an already accepted linguistic framework or an external practical question regarding the choice of the most appropriate form of language in order to describe and explain the practice of scientific modelling. The main implication of this view is that the question of the ontology of models becomes a means of probing other related questions regarding the overall practice of scientific modelling, such as questions on the capacity of models to provide knowledge and the relation of models with background theories. (shrink)
I At one point in Taking Rights Seriously, Ronald Dworkin sketches an argument which would today be widely acceptable. He writes: “The University of Washington might argue that, whatever effect minority preference will have on average welfare, it will make the community more equal, and therefore more just.” It is perhaps not certain that Dworkin himself accepts that immediate inference as sound. There can, however, be no doubt but that: first, many if not most people speaking or writing today in (...) this area do indeed take ‘equality’ to be as near as makes no matter synonymous with ‘equity’; and, second, they do indeed also identify doing justice with bringing about equality of condition. (shrink)
In this long-awaited book, Antony Duff offers a new perspective on the structures of criminal law and criminal liability. His starting point is a distinction between responsibility (understood as answerability) and liability, and a conception of responsibility as relational and practice-based. This focus on responsibility, as a matter of being answerable to those who have the standing to call one to account, throws new light on a range of questions in criminal law theory: on the question of criminalisation, which can (...) now be cast as the question of what we should have to answer for, and to whom, under the threat of criminal conviction and punishment; on questions about the criminal trial, as a process through which defendants are called to answer, and about the conditions (bars to trial) given which a trial would be illegitimate; on questions about the structure of offences, the distinction between offences and defences, and the phenomena of strict liability and strict responsibility; and on questions about the structures of criminal defences. The net result is not a theory of criminal law; but it is an account of the structure of criminal law as an institution through which a liberal polity defines a realm of public wrongdoing, and calls those who perpetrate (or are accused of perpetrating) such wrongs to account. (shrink)
Background Informed consent is a requirement for all research. It is not, however, clear how much information is sufficient to make an informed decision about participation in research. Information on an online questionnaire about childhood development was provided through an unfolding electronic participant sheet in three levels of information. Methods 552 participants, who completed the web-based survey, accessed and spent time reading the participant information sheet (PIS) between July 2008 and November 2009. The information behaviour of the participants was investigated. (...) The first level contained less information than might be found on a standard PIS, the second level corresponded to a standard PIS, and the third contained more information than on a standard PIS. The actual time spent on reading the information provided in three incremental levels and the participants' evaluation of the information were calculated. Results 77% of the participants chose to access the first level of information, whereas 12% accessed the first two levels, 6% accessed all three levels of information and 23% participated without accessing information. The most accessed levels of information were those that corresponded to the average reading times. Conclusion The brief information provided in the first level was sufficient for participants to make informed decisions, while a sizeable minority of the participants chose not to access any information at all. This study adds to the debate about how much information is required to make a decision about participation in research and the results may help inform the future development of information sheets by providing data on participants' actual needs when deciding about questionnaire surveys. (shrink)
‘Karl Marx was a German philosopher.’ It is with this seminal sentence that Leszek Kolakowski begins his great work on The Main Currents of Marxism: its Rise, Growth and Dissolution . Both the two terms in the predicate expression are crucial. It is most illuminating to think of Marx as originally a philosopher, even though nothing in his vastly voluminous works makes any significant contribution to philosophy in any academic understanding of that term. It is also essential to recognize that (...) for both Marx and Engels philosophy was always primarily, indeed almost exclusively, what they and their successors called classical German philosophy. This was a tradition seen as achieving its climactic fulfilment in the work of Hegel, and one which they themselves identified as a main stimulus to their own thinking. Thus Engels, in Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy , claimed that ‘The German working-class movement is the inheritor of German classical philosophy’. (shrink)
The notion of multiple location plays an important role in the characterization of endurantism. Several authors have recently offered cases intended to demonstrate the incoherence of multiple location. I argue that these cases do not succeed in making multiple location problematic. Along the way, several crucial issues about multiple location and its use by endurantists are clarified.
Material Engagement Theory is currently driving a conceptual change in the archaeology of mind. Drawing upon the dictates of enactivism and active externalism, it specifically calls for a radical reconceptualization of mind and material culture. Unpersuaded by the common assumption that cognition is brain-bound, Malafouris argues in favour of a process ontology that situates thinking in action. In granting ontological primacy to material engagement, MET seeks to illuminate the emergence of human ways of thinking through the practical effects of the (...) material world. Considering that this is a characteristic example of a pragmatic take on cognition, this contemporary theoretical platform appears to share a lot with pragmatism. As of late, scholars working at the intersection of philosophy, semiotics, and cognitive science have made important steps towards the rapprochement between pragmatism and externalism. Looking to contribute to this growing corpus of work, the present paper focuses on MET’s relation to the pragmatism of Peirce, Dewey, and Mead. Having elsewhere recognized the overlap and complementarity between Malafouris’ and Peirce’s theories in particular, I developed a pragmatic and enactive theory of cognitive semiotics that is suitably geared to trace the nature, emergence, and evolution of material signs. Therefore, besides noting some obvious historical connections, I hereby aim to establish the theoretical backdrop upon which this composite theory is supposed to function, while also exploring new potential avenues. Given that this cognitive semiotic framework can be seen as a pragmatic extension of Malafouris’ enactivist approach to archaeology, the current paper delves into MET’s theoretical underpinnings, seeking to complement its working hypotheses and concepts with philosophical notions and ideas advanced long ago. This synthesis ultimately concludes with a call for the reconceptualization of ‘representation’ as a heuristic concept. (shrink)
The question "What can justify criminal punishment ?" becomes especially insistent at times, like our own, of penal crisis, when serious doubts are raised not only about the justice or efficacy of particular modes of punishment, but about the very legitimacy of the whole penal system. Recent theorizing about punishment offers a variety of answers to that question-answers that try to make plausible sense of the idea that punishment is justified as being deserved for past crimes; answers that try to (...) identify some beneficial consequences in terms of which punishment might be justified; as well as abolitionist answers telling us that we should seek to abolish, rather than to justify, criminal punishment. This book begins with a critical survey of recent trends in penal theory, but goes on to develop an original account (based on Duff's earlier Trials and Punishments) of criminal punishment as a mode of moral communication, aimed at inducing repentance, reform, and reconciliation through reparation-an account that undercuts the traditional controversies between consequentialist and retributivist penal theories, and that shows how abolitionist concerns can properly be met by a system of communicative punishments. In developing this account, Duff articulates the "liberal communitarian" conception of political society (and of the role of the criminal law) on which it depends; he discusses the meaning and role of different modes of punishment, showing how they can constitute appropriate modes of moral communication between political community and its citizens; and he identifies the essential preconditions for the justice of punishment as thus conceived-preconditions whose non-satisfaction makes our own system of criminal punishment morally problematic. Punishment, Communication, and Community offers no easy answers, but provides a rich and ambitious ideal of what criminal punishment could be-an ideal of what criminal punishment cold be-and ideal that challenges existing penal theories as well as our existing penal theories as well as our existing penal practices. (shrink)
I sketch a new constraint on chance, which connects chance ascriptions closely with ascriptions of ability, and more specifically with 'CAN'-claims. This connection between chance and ability has some claim to be a platitude; moreover, it exposes the debate over deterministic chance to the extensive literature on (in)compatibilism about free will. The upshot is that a prima facie case for the tenability of deterministic chance can be made. But the main thrust of the paper is to draw attention to the (...) connection between the truth conditions of sentences involving 'CAN' and 'CHANCE', and argue for the context sensitivity of each term. Awareness of this context sensitivity has consequences for the evaluation of particular philosophical arguments for (in) compatibilism when they are presented in particular contexts. (shrink)
I argue that any broadly dispositional analysis of probability will either fail to give an adequate explication of probability, or else will fail to provide an explication that can be gainfully employed elsewhere (for instance, in empirical science or in the regulation of credence). The diversity and number of arguments suggests that there is little prospect of any successful analysis along these lines.
Many researchers believe the tremendous industrial development over the past two centuries is unsustainable because it has led to unintended ecological deterioration. Despite the ever-growing attention sustainable supply-chain management has received, most SSCM research and models look at the consequences, rather than the antecedents or motives of such responsible practices. The few studies that explore corporate motives have remained largely qualitative, and large-scale empirical analyses are scarce. Drawing on multiple theories and combining supply-chain and business ethics literature, we purport that (...) instrumental, relational, and moral motives are behind a firm’s engagement in SSCM practices. Specifically, we examine the links between corporate motives, SSCM practices, and firm performance. Using a sample of 259 supply-chain firms in Germany, we empirically test five hypothesized relationships. Our results reveal that relational and moral motives are key drivers, and that firms exhibiting high levels of moral obligations tend to outperform those primarily driven by amoral considerations. Findings of this study contribute to multiple literatures espousing sustainability management and can help policy makers, stakeholder groups, and scholars develop more robust strategies for encouraging firms to practice SSCM. (shrink)
A previously unrecognised argument against deterministic chance is introduced. The argument rests on the twin ideas that determined outcomes are settled, while chancy outcomes are unsettled, thus making cases of determined but chancy outcomes impossible. Closer attention to tacit assumptions about settledness makes available some principled lines of resistance to the argument for compatibilists about chance and determinism. Yet the costs of maintaining compatibilism may be higher with respect to this argument than with respect to existing incompatibilist arguments.
The use of expressions like ‘concepts of consciousness’, ‘kinds of consciousness’, and ‘meanings of ‘consciousness’’ interchangeably is ubiquitous within the consciousness literature. It is argued that this practice can be made sense of in only two ways. The first involves interpreting ‘concepts of consciousness’ and ‘kinds of consciousness’ metalinguistically to mean concepts expressed by ‘consciousness’ and kinds expressed by ‘consciousness’; and the second involves certain literal, though semantically deviant, interpretations of those expressions. The trouble is that researchers typically use the (...) above expressions interchangeably without satisfying either way of doing so coherently. The result is much error and confusion, which is demonstrated in the works of philosophers currently writing on consciousness. (shrink)
Recently, Cody Gilmore has deployed an ingenious case involving backwards time travel to highlight an apparent conflict between the theory that objects persist by perduring, and the thesis that wholly coincident objects are impossible. However, careful attention to the concepts of location and parthood that Gilmore’s cases involve shows that the perdurantist faces no genuine objection from these cases, and that the perdurantist has a number of plausible and dialectically appropriate ways to avoid the supposed conflict.
This article discusses two arguments in favor of perdurance. The first is Sider’s argument from vagueness, “one of the most powerful” in favor of perdurantism. I make the observation that endurantists have principled grounds to claim that the argument is unsound, at least if endurance is formulated in locative rather than mereological terms. Having made this observation, I use it to emphasize a somewhat neglected difference between endurantists and perdurantists with respect to their views on material objects. These views, in (...) the case of endurantists, lead to a further, less than conclusive but nevertheless interesting argument against endurantism—the anti-fundamentality argument—which I discuss and tentatively endorse. That argument posits that endurantists must take location to be a fundamental relation, and that this has as a consequence the metaphysical possibility of some rather unwelcome scenarios. Perdurantists may avoid this consequence by denying that location is fundamental, perhaps by embracing supersubstantivalism. (shrink)
SUMMARYThis paper discusses the scientific instruments made and used by the microscopist Antony van Leeuwenhoek. The immediate cause of our study was the discovery of an overlooked document from the Delft archive: an inventory of the possessions that were left in 1745 after the death of Leeuwenhoek's daughter Maria. This list sums up which tools and scientific instruments Leeuwenhoek possessed at the end of his life, including his famous microscopes. This information, combined with the results of earlier historical research, gives (...) us new insights about the way Leeuwenhoek began his lens grinding and how eventually he made his best lenses. It also teaches us more about Leeuwenhoek's work as a surveyor and a wine gauger.A further investigation of the 1747 sale of Leeuwenhoek's 531 single lens microscopes has not only led us to the identification of nearly all buyers, but also has provided us with some explanation about why only a dozen of this large number of microscopes has survived. (shrink)
The concept of randomness has been unjustly neglected in recent philosophical literature, and when philosophers have thought about it, they have usually acquiesced in views about the concept that are fundamentally flawed. After indicating the ways in which these accounts are flawed, I propose that randomness is to be understood as a special case of the epistemic concept of the unpredictability of a process. This proposal arguably captures the intuitive desiderata for the concept of randomness; at least it should suggest (...) that the commonly accepted accounts cannot be the whole story and more philosophical attention needs to be paid. Randomness in science1.1 Random systems1.2 Random behaviour1.3 Random sampling1.4 Caprice, arbitrariness and noiseConcepts of randomness2.1 Von Mises/Church/Martin-Löf randomness2.2 KCS-randomnessRandomness is unpredictability: preliminaries3.1 Process and product randomness3.2 Randomness is indeterminism?Predictability4.1 Epistemic constraints on prediction4.2 Computational constraints on prediction4.3 Pragmatic constraints on prediction4.4 Prediction definedUnpredictabilityRandomness is unpredictability6.1 Clarification of the definition of randomness6.2 Randomness and probability6.3 Subjectivity and context sensitivity of randomnessEvaluating the analysis[R]andomness … is going to be a concept which is relative to our body of knowledge, which will somehow reflect what we know and what we don't know. Henry E. Kyburg, Jr (, p. 217)Phenomena that we cannot predict must be judged random. Patrick Suppes (, p. 32). (shrink)
This article explores the connection between objective chance and the randomness of a sequence of outcomes. Discussion is focussed around the claim that something happens by chance iff it is random. This claim is subject to many objections. Attempts to save it by providing alternative theories of chance and randomness, involving indeterminism, unpredictability, and reductionism about chance, are canvassed. The article is largely expository, with particular attention being paid to the details of algorithmic randomness, a topic relatively unfamiliar to philosophers.
Recently, many philosophers have been interested in using locative relations to clarify and pursue debates in the metaphysics of material objects. Most begin with the relation of exact location. But what if we begin instead with the relation known as weak location – the relation an object x bears to any region not completely bereft of x? I explore some of the consequences of pursuing this route for issues including coincidence, extended simples, and endurance, with an eye to evaluating the (...) prospects for taking weak location as our fundamental locative relation. (shrink)
This paper studies the relationship between Argumentation Logic, a recently defined logic based on the study of argumentation in AI, and classical Propositional Logic. In particular, it shows that AL and PL are logically equivalent in that they have the same entailment relation from any given classically consistent theory. This equivalence follows from a correspondence between the non-acceptability of sentences in AL and Natural Deduction proofs of the complement of these sentences. The proof of this equivalence uses a restricted form (...) of ND proofs, where hypotheses in the application of the Reductio of Absurdum inference rule are required to be “relevant” to the absurdity derived in the rule. The paper also discusses how the argumentative re-interpretation of PL could help control the application of ex-falso quodlibet in the presence of inconsistencies. (shrink)
Early work on the frequency theory of probability made extensive use of the notion of randomness, conceived of as a property possessed by disorderly collections of outcomes. Growing out of this work, a rich mathematical literature on algorithmic randomness and Kolmogorov complexity developed through the twentieth century, but largely lost contact with the philosophical literature on physical probability. The present chapter begins with a clarification of the notions of randomness and probability, conceiving of the former as a property of a (...) sequence of outcomes, and the latter as a property of the process generating those outcomes. A discussion follows of the nature and limits of the relationship between the two notions, with largely negative verdicts on the prospects for any reduction of one to the other, although the existence of an apparently random sequence of outcomes is good evidence for the involvement of a genuinely chancy process. (shrink)
Richard Dagger (in this issue) provides perhaps the most persuasive version of a ‘fair play’ theory of criminal punishment, grounded in an attractive liberal republican political theory. But, I argue, his version of the theory still faces serious objections: that its explanation of why some central mala in se are properly criminalised is still distorting, despite his appeal to the burdens of ‘general compliance’; and that it cannot adequately explain (as it should explain) the differential seriousness and wrongfulness of different (...) kinds of crime. (shrink)
I argue for a deflationary answer to the question, “What is it to be a woman?” Prior attempts by feminist theorists to provide a metaphysical account of what all and only women have in common have all failed for the same reason: there is nothing women have in common beyond being women. Although the social kinds man and woman are primitive, their existence can be explained. I say that human sex difference is the material ground of systems of gender; gender (...) systems serve to enable male control of female reproductive capacities. This explains the fact that most women are female, but it does not entail that all women are female or that all females are women. To clarify my position, I draw an analogy between the kind woman and the kind parent. While it is difficult to come up with necessary and sufficient conditions for being a parent, it is clear that the social institution or practice of parenting has its material ground in the biological facts about human reproduction together with facts about infantile dependency. Saying this does not entail that all and only biological progenitors are parents. (shrink)
The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Greece and present the challenges that need to be met in order to further promote socially responsible business behaviour in the domestic economy. This is the first attempt to provide a systematic analysis of CSR in Greece and adds to the existing pool of knowledge of CSR embeddedness in countries where CSR awareness is still rather low, a literature field that is still quite limited. (...) Drawing from prior literature, the paper is built around three basic questions in relation to the Greek context: how is CSR perceived by Greek business professionals? How is CSR practised in Greece? And which issues evident in the modern domestic environment act as underlying barriers to the broader dissemination of CSR in Greece? The extant empirical work suggests that, while CSR in Greece appears to be developing, there is still scope for improvement and further diffusion of relevant practices. While some of the patterns shaping CSR in Greece have been analysed, much work still remains to be carried out in extending and deepening our knowledge in this part of Europe. (shrink)
Dispositional essentialists are typically committed to two claims: that properties are individuated by their causal role (‘causal structuralism’), and that natural necessity is to be explained by appeal to these causal roles (‘dispositional actualism’). I argue that these two claims cannot be simultaneously maintained; and that the correct response is to deny dispositional actualism. Causal structuralism remains an attractive position, but doesn’t in fact provide much support for dispositional essentialism.
Illusions are thought to make trouble for the intuition that perceptual experience is "open" to the world. Some have suggested, in response to the this trouble, that illusions differ from veridical experience in the degree to which their character is determined by their engagement with the world. An understanding of the psychology of perception reveals that this is not the case: veridical and falsidical perceptions engage the world in the same way and to the same extent. While some contemporary vision (...) scientists propose to draw the distinction between veridical experience and illusion in terms of the satisfaction or non-satisfaction of “hidden assumptions” deployed in the course of normal perceptual inference, I argue for a different approach. I contend that there are, in a sense, no illusions – illusions are as “open” as veridical experiences. Percepts lack the kinds of intentional content that would be needed for perceptual misrepresntation. My view gives a satisfying solution to a philosophical problem for disjunctivism about the good case/bad case distinction: with respect to illusions, every "bad case" of seeing an X can be equally well construed as a "good case" of seeing some Y (different from X). -/- . (shrink)
Expanding upon the model of vessels of exploration as scientific instruments first proposed by Richard Sorrenson, this essay examines the changing nature of the ship as scientific space on expedition vessels during the late nineteenth century. Particular attention is paid to the expedition of H.M.S. Challenger as a turning point in the design of shipboard spaces that established a place for scientists at sea and gave scientific legitimacy to the new science of oceanography. There was a progressive development in research (...) vessel design from “ship as instrument” to “ship as laboratory” and changing spatial practices aboard these vessels were paralleled by changes in shipboard culture. I suggest that the “ship as laboratory” has now in turn been supplanted by a new model, the “ship as invisible technician”, as oceanographic research vessels deploy remote-sensing equipment and gather data that are no longer analyzed on board. (shrink)
Currently, testimony is studied extensively in Anglo-American philosophy. However, most of this work is done from a justificationist perspective in which philosophers try to justify our reliance on testimony in some way. I agree with Popper that justificationism is radically mistaken. Thus, I construct an account of how we respond to testimony that in no way attempts to justify our reliance on it. This account is not a straightforward exegesis of Popper, as he never tackled testimony systematically. It makes use, (...) however, of several of Popper's key insights and incorporates them into a viable theory of testimony. Key Words: testimony anti-justificationism social epistemology situational analysis defeasibility. (shrink)