August Weismann is famous for having argued against the inheritance of acquired characters. However, an analysis of his work indicates that Weismann always held that changes in external conditions, acting during development, were the necessary causes of variation in the hereditary material. For much of his career he held that acquired germ-plasm variation was inherited. An irony, which is in tension with much of the standard twentieth-century history of biology, thus exists – Weismann was not a Weismannian. I distinguish (...) three claims regarding the germ-plasm: (1) its continuity, (2) its morphological sequestration, and (3) its variational sequestration. With respect to changes in Weismann’s views on the cause of variation, I divide his career into four stages. For each stage I analyze his beliefs on the relative importance of changes in external conditions and sexual reproduction as causes of variation in the hereditary material. Weismann believed, and Weismannism denies, that variation, heredity, and development were deeply intertwined processes. This article is part of a larger project comparing commitments regarding variation during the latter half of the nineteenth century. (shrink)
A detailed chronology is offered for the writing of Frege's central philosophical essays from the early 1890s. Particular attention is given to (the distinction between) Sinn and Bedeutung. Suggestions are made as to the origin of the examples concerning the Morning Star/Evening Star and August Bebel's views on the return of Alsace-Lorraine. Likely sources are offered for Frege's use of the terms Bestimmungsweise, Art des Gegebenseins and Sinn und Bedeutung.
In early August 2011, disturbances broke out in a number of English cities. What happened was broadcast globally, and all of a sudden it seemed as if all of the country was about to burst into flames. This short paper is offered by way of a ‘letter’ from England. It was written in late August 2011 and is an initial attempt to develop an understanding of why the disturbances broke out, what motivated the people who were involved and, (...) indeed, why things were confined to England. Cities elsewhere in Britain experienced nothing. The paper identifies a crisis in the English social imaginary. The disturbances are understood as a conjunctural response to this crisis, a response highlighting the interregnum in the English social imaginary. (shrink)
I have argued elsewhere that scientific realism is most significantly challenged neither by traditional arguments from underdetermination of theories by the evidence, nor by the traditional pessimistic induction, but by a rather different historical pattern: our repeated failure to conceive of alternatives to extant scientific theories, even when those alternatives were both (1) well-confirmed by the evidence available at the time and (2) sufficiently scientifically serious as to be later embraced by actual scientific communities. Here I use August Weismann's (...) defense of his influential germ-plasm theory of inheritance to support my claim that this pattern characterizes the history of theoretical scientific investigation generally. Weismann believed that the germ-plasm must become disintegrated into its constituent elements over the course of development, I argue, only because he failed to conceive of any possible alternative mechanism of ontogenetic differentiation. This and other features of the germ-plasm theory, I suggest, reflect a still more fundamental failure to imagine that the germ-plasm might be a productive rather than expendable resource for the cell. Weismann's case provides impressive support for the problem of unconceived alternatives while rendering its challenge to scientific realism deeper and sharper in a number of important ways. (shrink)
In this chapter I argue that choosing to live forever comes with the threat of an especially pernicious kind of boredom. However, it may be theoretically possible to circumvent it by finding ways to pursue an infinite number of projects consistent with one’s personality, taking on endlessly pursuable endlessly interesting projects, or by rekindling old projects once you’ve forgotten about them. However, each of these possibilities is contingent upon having certain traits that you are likely not currently in a good (...) position to assess. I therefore argue that no one is in a good position to be confident about her prospects for living forever. (shrink)
This paper examines the contents and institutional context of August Weismann's long essay on Amphimixis (1891). Therein he presented detailed discussions of his on-going studies of reduction division and parthenogenesis, but more to the point, he included an elaborate examination of Émile Maupas's two major publications in protozoology. To understand the relevance of this part to the other two, the author briefly reviews highpoints in earlier nineteenth century protozoology and concludes that only in the mid-1870s and 1880s did protozoa (...) add an important dimension to heredity theory. Otto Bütschli and then Maupas provided Weismann with a deeper understanding of how conjugation and fertilization were related but not identical processes. This allowed him to integrate the two into a fuller understanding of evolution by natural selection. (shrink)
This paper advances a new agentially undemanding account of the conditions of attributability, the Minimal Approval account, and argues that it has a number of advantages over traditional Deep Self theories, including the way in which it handles agents with conditions like addiction, Tourette syndrome, and misophonia. It is argued that in order for an agent to be attributionally responsible, the mental process that leads to her action must dispose her to be such that she would, upon reflec-tion, approve to (...) some minimal degree of being moved to action by the motive on which she in fact acts. (shrink)
How do groups of people persist through time? Groups can change their members, locations, and structure. In this paper, I present puzzles of persistence applied to social groups. I first argue that four-dimensional theories better explain the context sensitivity of how groups persist. I then exploit two unique features of the social to argue for the stage theory of group persistence in particular. First, fusion and fission cases actually happen to social groups, and so cannot be marginalized as “pathological.” Second, (...) it is implausible that groups spatially coincide pre-fission. This means that theories that depend on pre-fission spatial coincidence, such as some endurance theories and the worm theory, cannot explain fission cases. All things considered, the stage theory offers the best explanation of how groups persist. (shrink)
This paper aims to expand the range of empirical work relevant to the extended cognition debates. First, I trace the historical development of the person-situation debate in social and personality psychology and the extended cognition debate in the philosophy of mind. Next, I highlight some instructive similarities between the two and consider possible objections to my comparison. I then argue that the resolution of the person-situation debate in terms of interactionism lends support for an analogously interactionist conception of extended cognition. (...) I argue that this interactionism might necessitate a shift away from the dominant agent-artifact paradigm toward an agent–agent paradigm. If this is right, then social and personality psychology—the discipline(s) that developed from the person-situation debate—opens a whole new range of empirical considerations for extended cognition theorists which align with Clark & Chalmers original vision of agents themselves as spread into the world. (shrink)
Ludwig Wittgenstein was deeply embedded in Viennese architectural Modernism, culturally as well as personally. His assimilation in recent historiography to existing trends within the local architectural movement—namely Loos—are based on aesthetic and intellectual simplifications. The simplifications eclipse the distinctive contribution Wittgenstein’s Palais Stonborough makes to architecture, to Viennese Modernism, and perhaps to philosophy. The present paper seeks to rectify this constellation by re-situating Wittgenstein as an architect in his own right by re-sensitizing us to the idiosyncrasy of Wittgenstein’s architecture.
This paper argues that the question, ‘where are virtues?’ demands a response from virtue theorists. Despite the polarizing nature of debates about the relevance of empirical work in psychology for virtue theory, I first show that there is widespread agreement about the underlying structure of virtue. Namely, that virtues are comprised of cognitive and affective processes. Next, I show that there are well-developed arguments that cognitive processes can extend beyond the agent. Then, I show that there are similarly well-developed arguments (...) that affective processes can extend beyond the agent. I then introduce three cases to establish that these cognitive and affective processes are relevantly similar to the cognitive and affective processes countenanced by plausible theories of virtue. Finally, I conclude that virtue theorists must abandon default internalism, the view that the cognitive and affective processes comprising virtues are internal to the agent. (shrink)
Part 1 describes Stanisaw Jakowski's concept of defining some often used con ditionals, namely, factorial, ewfficient and definitive implications.Part 2 contains the results strictly connected with the theory of the above implications.
This paper brings together two erstwhile distinct strands of philosophical inquiry: the extended mind hypothesis and the situationist challenge to virtue theory. According to proponents of the extended mind hypothesis, the vehicles of at least some mental states (beliefs, desires, emotions) are not located solely within the confines of the nervous system (central or peripheral) or even the skin of the agent whose states they are. When external props, tools, and other systems are suitably integrated into the functional apparatus of (...) the agent, they are partial bearers of her cognitions, motivations, memories, and so on. According to proponents of the situationist challenge to virtue theory, dispositions located solely within the confines of the nervous system (central or peripheral) or even the skin of the agent to whom they are attributed typically do not meet the normative standards associated with either virtue or vice (moral, epistemic, or otherwise) because they are too susceptible to moderating external variables, such as mood modulators, ambient sensibilia, and social expectation signaling. We here draw on both of these literatures to formulate two novel views – the embedded and extended character hypotheses – according to which the vehicles of not just mental states but longer-lasting, wider-ranging, and normatively-evaluable agentic dispositions are sometimes located partially beyond the confines of the agent’s skin. (shrink)
We argue that the interaction of biased media coverage and widespread employment of the recognition heuristic can produce epistemic injustices. First, we explain the recognition heuristic as studied by Gerd Gigerenzer and colleagues, highlighting how some of its components are largely external to, and outside the control of, the cognitive agent. We then connect the recognition heuristic with recent work on the hypotheses of embedded, extended, and scaffolded cognition, arguing that the recognition heuristic is best understood as an instance of (...) scaffolded cognition. In section three, we consider the double-edged sword of cognitive scaffolding. On the one hand, scaffolds can reduce the internal processing demands on cognitive agents while increasing their access to information. On the other hand, the use of scaffolding leaves cognitive agents increasingly vulnerable to forming false beliefs or failing to form beliefs at all about particular topics. With respect to the recognition heuristic, agents rely on third parties (such as the media) to report not just what’s true but also what’s important or valuable. This makes cognitive agents relying on these third parties vulnerable to two erroneous influences: 1) because they don’t recognize something, it isn’t important or valuable, and 2) because they do recognize something, it is important or valuable. Call the latter the Kardashian Inference and the former the Darfur Inference. In section four, we use Fricker’s (2007) concept of epistemic injustice to characterize the nature and harm of these false inferences, with special emphasis on the Darfur Inference. In section five, we use data-mining and an empirical study to show how Gigerenzer’s population estimation task is liable to produce Darfur Inferences. We conclude with some speculative remarks on more important Darfur Inferences, and how to avoid them by scaffolding better. One primary way to accomplish this it to shift the burden of embodying the virtue of epistemic justice from the hearer or consumer of media to the media themselves. (shrink)
Case reports about patients undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for various motor and psychiatric disorders - including Parkinson’s Disease, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Treatment Resistant Depression - have sparked a vast literature in neuroethics. Questions about whether and how DBS changes the self have been at the fore. The present chapter brings these neuroethical debates into conversation with recent research in moral psychology. We begin in Section 1 by reviewing the recent clinical literature on DBS. In Section 2, we consider (...) whether DBS poses a threat to personal identity. In Section 3 we argue for engagement with recent empirical work examining judgements of when identity changes. We conclude in Section 4 by highlighting a range of ethical issues raised by DBS, including various cross-cultural considerations. (shrink)
Making Sense of Inner Sense 'Terra cognita' is terra incognita. It is difficult to find someone not taken abackand fascinated by the incomprehensible but indisputable fact: there are material systems which are aware of themselves. Consciousness is self-cognizing code. During homo sapiens's relentness and often frustrated search for self-understanding various theories of consciousness have been and continue to be proposed. However, it remains unclear whether and at what level the problems of consciousness and intelligent thought can be resolved. Science's greatest (...) challenge is to answer the fundamental question: what precisely does a cognitive state amount to in physical terms? Albert Einstein insisted that the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple and can be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone. When one thinks about the complexities which present themselves in modern physics and even more so in the physics of life, one may wonder whether Einstein really meant what he said. Are we to consider the fundamental problem of the mind, whose understanding seems to lie outside the limits of the mind, to be essentially simple too? Knowledge is neither automatic nor universally deductive. Great new ideas are typically counterintuitive and outrageous, and connecting them by simple logical steps to existing knowledge is often a hard undertaking. The notion of a tensor was needed to provide the general theory of relativity; the notion of entropy had to be developed before we could get full insight into the laws of thermodynamics; the notice of information bit is crucial for communication theory, just as the concept of a Turing machine is instrumental in the deep understanding of a computer. To understand something, consciousness must reach an adequate intellectual level, even more so in order to understand itself. Reality is full of unending mysteries, the true explanation of which requires very technical knowledge, often involving notions not given directly to intuition. Even though the entire content and the results of this study are contained in the eight pages of the mathematical abstract, it would be unrealistic and impractical to suggest that anyone can gain full insight into the theory that presented here after just reading abstract. In our quest for knowledge we are exploring the remotest areas of the macrocosm and probing the invisible particles of the microcosm, from tiny neutrinos and strange quarks to black holes and the Big Bang. But the greatest mystery is very close to home: the greatest mystery is human consciousness. The question before us is whether the logical brain has evolved to a conceptual level where it is able to understand itself. (shrink)