Purpose: Commenting on the transcript of a lecture. Findings: The document reconstructs the development of the original 1973 lecture by Heinz von Foerster into his best-known paper, On Constructing a Reality. Many aspects of that paper can be identified as being shaped through interaction with the audience. Implications: The lecture documented here was a forerunner of a central paper in constructivism.
Intent and mitigating circumstances play a central role in moral and legal assessments in large-scale industrialized societies. Al- though these features of moral assessment are widely assumed to be universal, to date, they have only been studied in a narrow range of societies. We show that there is substantial cross-cultural variation among eight traditional small-scale societies (ranging from hunter-gatherer to pastoralist to horticulturalist) and two Western societies (one urban, one rural) in the extent to which intent and mitigating circumstances influence (...) moral judgments. Although participants in all societies took such factors into account to some degree, they did so to very different extents, varying in both the types of considerations taken into account and the types of violations to which such considerations were applied. The particular patterns of assessment characteristic of large-scale industrialized societies may thus reflect relatively recently culturally evolved norms rather than inherent features of human moral judgment. (shrink)
We extend the topos-theoretic treatment given in previous papers of assigning values to quantities in quantum theory, and of related issues such as the Kochen-Specker theorem. This extension has two main parts: the use of von Neumann algebras as a base category (Section 2); and the relation of our generalized valuations to (i) the assignment to quantities of intervals of real numbers, and (ii) the idea of a subobject of the coarse-graining presheaf (Section 3).
Children may be viewed as public goods whereby both parents receive equal genetic benefits yet one parent often invests more heavily than the other. We introduce a microeconomic framework for understanding household investment decisions to address questions concerning conflicts of interest over types and amount of work effort among married men and women. Although gains and costs of marriage may not be spread equally among marriage partners, marriage is still a favorable, efficient outcome under a wide range of conditions. This (...) bioeconomic framework subsumes both cooperative and conflictive views on the sexual division of labor. We test hypotheses concerning marriage markets, assortative mating, and men’s labor motivations among Tsimane forager-horticulturalists of Bolivia and find that: (1) men and women both value work effort in marital partners, (2) marital labor contributions are complementary, (3) work effort is correlated between spouses, (4) total production is correlated with total reproduction, and (5) better hunters have higher fitness gains within marital unions. (shrink)
In small-scale societies, punishment of adults is infrequent and employed when the anticipated cost-to-benefit ratio is low, such as when punishment is collectively justified and administered. In addition, benefits may exceed costs when punishers have relatively greater physical and social capital and gain more from cooperation. We provide examples from the Tsimane horticulturalists of Bolivia to support our claims.
Arthur Norman Prior (1914 – 1969) and Georg Henrik von Wright (1916 – 2003) both attended a conference in England sometime in the spring of 1956, after which they corresponded on Anselm’s ontological argument. Prior had at the conference presented a formal treatment of the ontological argument. Based upon notes from the Prior archive at the Bodleian Library, and correspondence with von Wright, we here presents Prior’s and von Wrights’ discussion of Anselm’s argument in light of Prior’s published, as well (...) as unpublished writings on the ontological argument. Three versions of the ontological argument from Prior’s unpublished as well as published papers is presented: a non-modal, an argument from possible existence and finally a modal version. While Prior dismissed the first on the basis of a meta-theorem for proof in argumentation, the second on the basis of a fallacious commutation of operators, he argued that a valid version of the ontological argument can be proven from the distinctive S5 thesis of Lewis modal logic. While Prior gave reasons for a rejection of those distinct S5 thesis, in favour of Lewis S4 system, he also provided a novel argument in favour of accepting the S5 thesis for necessity and possibility. Finally we relate Prior’s work to Plantinga (1974) and consider objections raised by Oppy (2012) and Gale (2007) toward the modal versions of the ontological argument. (shrink)
This article argues for a distinction between reticence and lying, on the basis of what Kant says about reticence in his correspondence with Maria von Herbert, as well as in his other ethical writings, and defends this distinction against the objections of Rae Langton ("Duty and Desolation", 1992). I argue that lying is necessarily deceptive, whereas reticence is not necessarily deceptive. Allowing another person to remain ignorant of some matter is a form of reticence that is not deceptive. This form (...) of reticence may be ethically permissible. (shrink)
It is sometimes alleged that the study of emotion and the study of value are currently pursued as relatively autonomous disciplines. As Kevin Mulligan notes, “the philosophy and psychology of emotions pays little attention to the philosophy of value and the latter pays only a little more attention to the former.” (2010b, 475). Arguably, the last decade has seen more of a rapprochement between these two domains than used to be the norm (cf. e.g. Roeser & Todd 2014). But there (...) still seems to be considerable potential for exchange and dialogue if the situation is compared with their intimate relationship in central strands of early realist phenomenology. The philosopher perhaps most representative of this ecumenical approach is Husserl’s early student Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977). From the very early stages of his philosophical career, Hildebrand has developed one of the most original, comprehensive and nuanced accounts of emotions at whose core is a detailed examination of their connection to value. While his central concern with the ethical significance of our affective life is in many ways continuous with Scheler’s work and draws crucially on Reinach’s philosophy of mind, Hildebrand’s own reflections considerably expand on and substantially modify the picture of the ontology and normative role of emotions defended by these authors. In this article, I reconstruct Hildebrand’s view of emotions with a particular focus on those aspects which represent his most distinctive contribution to this subject. (shrink)
The National Library of Finland and the Von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Helsinki keep the collected correspondence of Georg Henrik von Wright, Wittgenstein’s friend and successor at Cambridge and one of the three literary executors of Wittgenstein’s Nachlass. Among von Wright’s correspondence partners, Elizabeth Anscombe and Rush Rhees are of special interest to Wittgenstein scholars as the two other trustees of the Wittgenstein papers. Thus, von Wright’s collections held in Finland promise to shed light on the (...) context of decades of editorial work that made Wittgenstein’s later philosophy available to all interested readers. In this text, we present the letters which von Wright received from Anscombe and Rhees during the first nine months after Wittgenstein’s death. This correspondence provides a vivid picture of the literary executors as persons and of their developing relationships. The presented letters are beautiful examples of what the correspondence as a whole has to offer; it depicts – besides facts of editing – the story of three philosophers, whose conversing voices unfold the human aspects of inheriting Wittgenstein’s Nachlass. Their story does not only deal with editing the papers of an eminent philosopher, but with the attempt to do justice to the man they knew, to his philosophy and to his wishes for publication. (shrink)
In questo lavoro si dimostra che l'opinione comune, secondo cui è Heidegger a introdurre Jacob von Uexküll nel dibattito filosofico è scorretta, in quanto è Scheler, due decenni prima, a scoprire e valorizzare la portata filosofica di Uexküll. -/- Pure la distinzione fra mondo (Welt) e ambiente (Umwelt), come quella fra apertura al mondo e chiusura ambientale, non è introdotta da Heidegger nel 1929 (cfr. l'Introduzione di Marco Mazzeo al testo di Uexküll, Ambienti animali e ambienti umani, p.18 e seg.) (...) ma è già presente in Scheler negli scritti del periodo 1909-1913. (shrink)
Johannes von Kries’s Spielraum-theory is regarded as one of the most important philosophical contributions of the nineteenth century to an objective interpretation of probability. This paper aims at a critical and contextual analysis of von Kries’s approach: It is contextual insofar as it reconstructs the Spielraum-theory in the historical setting that formed his scientific and philosophical outlook. It is critical insofar as it unfolds systematic tensions and inconsistencies which are rooted in this context, especially in the grave change of mechanism (...) which took place in the late nineteenth century. In this regard, the paper focuses on von Kries’s understanding of natural laws and nomological knowledge in relation to his concept of objective probability. While the formal approach of the Spielraum-theory—as far as developed by von Kries—seems sound, his epistemological claims with respect to nomological knowledge sustain classical mechanism and are hence difficult to substantiate from the point of view of modern science. (shrink)
Mit seinem Einfluß auf die Entwicklung der Physiologie, Physik und Geometrie ist Hermann von Helmholtz wie kaum ein anderer Wissenschaftler der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts repräsentativ für die Naturforschung in Deutschland. Nicht weniger repräsentativ nimmt sich die Entwicklung seiner Wissenschaftsauffassung aus. Während er bis in die späten 60er Jahre einen emphatischen Wahrheitsanspruch der Wissenschaft vertrat, begann er in der nachfolgenden Zeit, die Geltungsbedingungen der wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnis einer Relativierung zu unterwerfen, die zusammenfassend als Hypothetisierung bezeichnet werden kann. Helmholtz entwickelte damit (...) schon im vergangenen Jahrhundert Ansätze einer Wissenschaftsauffassung , die in erstaunlichem Umfang in die Richtung der Moderne weisen. Wie nah er späteren Wissenschaftsauffassungen bereits gekommen ist, kann ein Vergleich mit Karl R. Poppers Forschungslogik illustrieren. In seiner Forschungslogik ist die Hypothetisierung der wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnis entschieden weiter vorangeschritten als in Heimholtz' Wissenschaftstheorie. Was sich bei Helmholtz erst vage abzuzeichnen beginnt, ist bei ihm bereits explizit formuliertes Programm geworden. Obwohl HeImholtz und Popper in keiner direkten wissenschaftstheoretischen Entwicklungslinie stehen und Popper sich in seinen Schriften auch nur sehr selten und beiläufig auf Helmholtz bezieht, finden sich dennoch überraschende und bisher nicht beachtete Berührungspunkte, die insbesondere dann hervortreten, wenn man Heimholtz' Wissenschaftsauffassung vor dem Hintergrund von Poppers Forschungslogik betrachtet. (shrink)
The complex world of thought and sensitivity in the sphere of contemporary art has entailed the revision and exclusion of disciplines aimed at providing a model to explain and conceptualize reality. Art history, as one such discipline, has had many of its contributions questioned from Gombrich’s epistemological reformulation to the postmodern discourses, which extol the death of the author, the post-structuralist idea of tradition as a textual phenomenon, and the declaration of the death of history as a consequence of the (...) hybridization of disciplines and of other bran- ches of human knowledge. Nevertheless, it can be demonstrated that proposals as those by Julius von Schlosser and Giulio Carlo Argan enclose reflections and methodological aspects which can help us face the task of understanding and visualizing the mediating role of historians in the culture of sensitivity, and the art modulations that have resulted from the blows of history and that, in turn, have shaped both art and art history into what they are or can be to us today. (shrink)
In 1967, American biologist Adrian Wenner (1928-) launched an extensive challenge to Karl von Frisch's (1886-1982) theory that bees communicate to each other the direction and distance of food sources by a symbolic dance language. Wenner and various collaborators argued that bees locate foods solely by odors. Although the dispute had largely run its course by 1973 -- von Frisch was awarded a Nobel Prize, while Wenner withdrew from active bee research -- it offers us a rare window into mid-twentieth (...) century discussions about animals, language, and cognition. Historians, sociologists, and scientists have commented on the debate and its outcome, but none has seriously questioned why von Frisch and Wenner pursued such different explanations of the bees' dances. In this paper, I explore von Frisch and Wenner's differing visions of animals and their behaviors and show how these contributed to their respective positions. Von Frisch's early-twentieth-century training in experimental physiology disposed him to focus on individual animals, their abilities, and their behaviors' evolutionary significance. Wenner, by contrast, was trained in mathematics and statistics and the Schneirla school of behavior. He viewed the bees' behaviors probabilistically with an eye toward the entire hive and its surroundings and ultimately explained them in terms of simple stimulus--response conditioning. Finally, while the debate was resolved in von Frisch's favor, he neither waged nor won the battle by himself. Instead, I show that practitioners, whose agendas ranged from the nascent fields of sociobiology to cognitive ethology, took up the cause of the communicating bees. (shrink)
In searching for the origins of current conceptions of science in the history of physics, one encounters a remarkable phenomenon. A typical view today is that theoretical knowledge-claims have only relativized validity. Historically, however, this thesis was supported by proponents of a conception of nature that today is far from typical, a mechanistic conception within which natural phenomena were to be explained by the action of mechanically moved matter. Two of these proponents, Hermann von Helmholtz and his pupil Heinrich Hertz, (...) contributed significantly to the modernization of the conception of science. Paradigmatic for their common contribution to this development is the way in which they employed the concept of image. By considering the origin and the different meanings of this concept we may trace a line of development which begins with Helmholtz's original claim that a universally and forever valid theory provides a unique representation of nature. It continues with the realization that the status of scientific knowledge is capable of revision; and it arrives at Hertz's admission that a variety of theories over a domain of objects is possible, at least at times. (shrink)
This paper has the aim of making Johannes von Kries’s masterpiece, Die Principien der Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung of 1886, a little more accessible to the modern reader in three modest ways: first, it discusses the historical background to the book ; next, it summarizes the basic elements of von Kries’s approach ; and finally, it examines the so-called “principle of cogent reason” with which von Kries’s name is often identified in the English literature.
In the following we will investigate whether von Mises’ frequency interpretation of probability can be modified to make it philosophically acceptable. We will reject certain elements of von Mises’ theory, but retain others. In the interpretation we propose we do not use von Mises’ often criticized ‘infinite collectives’ but we retain two essential claims of his interpretation, stating that probability can only be defined for events that can be repeated in similar conditions, and that exhibit frequency stabilization. The central idea (...) of the present article is that the mentioned ‘conditions’ should be well-defined and ‘partitioned’. More precisely, we will divide probabilistic systems into object, initializing, and probing subsystem, and show that such partitioning allows to solve problems. Moreover we will argue that a key idea of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics (the determinant role of the observing system) can be seen as deriving from an analytic definition of probability as frequency. Thus a secondary aim of the article is to illustrate the virtues of analytic definition of concepts, consisting of making explicit what is implicit. (shrink)
En este artículo se estudia la idea de Europa que el poeta austríaco Hugo von Hofmannsthal desarrolla desde los albores de la Primera Guerra Mundial hasta entrada la República de Weimar. Hofmannsthal reivindica una idea de Europa que a la vez contenga, realice y supere a los Estados-nación; y cuyo núcleo no sería Alemania -excesivamente inclinada hacia el modelo prusiano como bloque homogéneo y cerrado sobre sí mismo-, sino Austria-Hungría -como Imperio duradero, nexo con Oriente, frontera fluida y comunidad plural (...) de pueblos diversos-. Con ello, Hofmannsthal se distancia de las tendencias dominantes en la Revolución Conservadora alemana. En primer lugar se presenta esta corriente, especialmente en la figura de Mœller van den Bruck; a continuación se exponen las reflexiones de Hofmannsthal sobre la guerra y sobre el modelo austríaco; finalmente se sintetiza su propuesta de una nueva idea de Europa. (shrink)
Nach einer kurzen Übersicht über das Leben und Werk von Helmholtz, diskutiere ich die drei Themenbereiche, die für die Beurteilung seines Verhältnisses zu Kant vornehmlich ins Gewicht fallen. Der erste Bereich bildet die Begründung des Energieerhaltungssatzes von 1847, den der späte Helmholtz selbst „durch Kant’s erkenntnistheoretische Ansichten […] beeinflusst“ gesehen hat. Während viele Interpreten diese Selbstauskunft für berechtigt halten, sehe ich in der Struktur der Begründung einen Ausdruck der gegensätzlichen Wissenschaftsauffassungen von Helmholtz und Kant. Als zweites gehe ich auf die (...) Rolle der Kausalität in der Wahrnehmungstheorie ein. In diesem Kontext bezieht sich Helmholtz erstmals und durchaus positiv explizit auf Kant. Seine Rede "Über das Sehen des Menschen" von 1855 zur Einweihung eines Kantdenkmals in Königsberg gilt als eines der Gründungsdokumente des Neukantianismus und spiegelt doch zugleich die tiefgreifenden Differenzen zwischen empiristischer und idealistischer Wissenschaftsphilosophie wider. Zeitlich wiederum nachfolgend steht die Begründung der nichteuklidischen Geometrien als dritter Bereich für die deutlichste Kritik an Kants transzendentaler Begründung der Wissenschaft. Sie ist zugleich wohl auch Helmholtz’ bekanntester Beitrag zur Hypothetisierung der Wissenschaftssauffassung. der Gründungsdokumente des Neukantianismus und spiegelt doch zugleich die tiefgreifenden Differenzen zwischen empiristischer und idealistischer Wissenschaftsphilosophie wider. Zeitlich wiederum nachfolgend steht die Begründung der nichteuklidischen Geometrien als dritter Bereich für die deutlichste Kritik an Kants transzendentaler Begründung der Wissenschaft. Sie ist zugleich wohl auch Helmholtz’ bekanntester Beitrag zur Hypothetisierung der Wissenschaftssauffassung.Dem Werk von Hermann von Helmholtz wird gemeinhin ein maßgeblicher Stellenwert bei der Begründung der neukantianischen Bewegung im 19. Jahrhundert beigemessen. Wo diese Zuordnung Helmholtz’ positive Bezüge auf Immanuel Kant ohne hinreichende Kontextualisierung hervorhebt, läuft sie Gefahr, die Distanz zu übersehen, die zwischen den wissenschaftsphilosophischen Positionen von Helmholtz und Kant bestand. In meinem Beitrag gewinnt das Verhältnis von Helmholtz zu Kant erst seine Bedeutung vor dem Hintergrund ihrer konträren ontologischen und erkenntnistheoretischen Grundannahmen. Helmholtz betrachte ich als repräsentativen Vertreter einer szientistischen Wissenschaftsauffassung in der Naturforschung des 19. Jahrhunderts. Demgegenüber bietet Kant ein paradigmatisches Beispiel einer metaphysischen Wissenschaftsbegründung. Im Gegensatz zu Kant beschränkt Helmholtz seinen Ausgangspunkt nicht auf erfahrungsfreie Prinzipien, sondern entwickelt und stützt seine Begründung des Geltungsanspruches der wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnis auf forschungsbewährte Theorien und Experimente. Eine Differenz zwischen den beiden Positionen findet sich ebenfalls in den Strukturen der jeweils vertretenen Naturkonzeptionen. Führt Kants dynamischer Mechanismus alle Eigenschaften der Materie auf Kräfte zurück, so geht Helmholtz von einer Dualität von Kraft und Materie aus. (shrink)
Since the analysis by John Bell in 1965, the consensus in the literature is that von Neumann’s ‘no hidden variables’ proof fails to exclude any significant class of hidden variables. Bell raised the question whether it could be shown that any hidden variable theory would have to be nonlocal, and in this sense ‘like Bohm’s theory.’ His seminal result provides a positive answer to the question. I argue that Bell’s analysis misconstrues von Neumann’s argument. What von Neumann proved was the (...) impossibility of recovering the quantum probabilities from a hidden variable theory of dispersion free (deterministic) states in which the quantum observables are represented as the ‘beables’ of the theory, to use Bell’s term. That is, the quantum probabilities could not reflect the distribution of pre-measurement values of beables, but would have to be derived in some other way, e.g., as in Bohm’s theory, where the probabilities are an artefact of a dynamical process that is not in fact a measurement of any beable of the system. (shrink)
With his influence on the development of physiology, physics and geometry, Hermann von Helmholtz – like few scientists of the second half of the 19th century – is representative of the research in natural science in Germany. The development of his understanding of science is not less representative. Until the late sixties, he emphatically claimed the truth of science; later on, he began to see the conditions for the validity of scientific knowledge in relative terms, and this can, in summary, (...) be referred to as hypothesizing. Already in the past century, HeImholtz made first approaches to an understanding of science, which were incompatible with his own former position and which pointed to the modern age to an astonishingly large extent. A comparison with Karl R. Popper's logic of research will illustrate how closely he nevertheless approached modern understanding of science. In Popper's logic of research, hypothesizing of scientific knowledge is definitely much more advanced than in Helmholtz's theory of science. What begins vaguely to emerge with Helmholtz has already become an explicitly formulated programme with Popper. Although HeImholtz and Popper are not on a direct line of epistemological development and Popper refers to HeImholtz only rarely and casually, there are in fact surprising points of contact which have not been taken notice of so far and which appear above all if one looks at Helmholtz's understanding of science against the background of Popper's logic of research. (shrink)
The cognizability of the world according to Alexander von Humboldt: the experience of landscape. According to Alexander von Humboldt, geography ought to aim to go beyond the modern attitude of seeing knowledge as being the result of a spatial and temporal abstraction from the real world. Von Humboldt wishes to create a new theory of knowledge, one that instead of just simplifying, schematizing, and categorizing reality is able to highlight its multiple meanings, its diversity of perspectives, and its hermeneutical keys. (...) Von Humboldt’s project strives to achieve a universal cognition of the world (or a universal geography) by claiming the centrality of the experience of landscape. This is evidence for von Humboldt’s far-sightedness, since he anticipated the present day trend of considering landscape as a corner stone of interdisciplinary enquiries into the meaning of the world. (shrink)
Two seemingly contradictory tendencies have accompanied the development of the natural sciences in the past 150 years. On the one hand, the natural sciences have been instrumental in effecting a thoroughgoing transformation of social structures and have made a permanent impact on the conceptual world of human beings. This historical period has, on the other hand, also brought to light the merely hypothetical validity of scientific knowledge. As late as the middle of the 19th century the truth-pathos in the natural (...) sciences was still unbroken. Yet in the succeeding years these claims to certain knowledge underwent a fundamental crisis. For scientists today, of course, the fact that their knowledge can possess only relative validity is a matter of self-evidence. The present analysis investigates the early phase of this fundamental change in the concept of science through an examination of Hermann von Helmholtz's conception of science and his mechanistic interpretation of nature. Helmholtz (1821-1894) was one of the most important natural scientists in Germany. The development of this thoughts offers an impressive but, until now, relatively little considered report from the field of the experimental sciences chronicling the erosion of certainty. (shrink)
Die Entwicklung von HeImholtz' Mechanismus ist durch einen Wandel im Geltungsanspruch gekennzeichnet und läßt sich in einer noch sehr groben Übersicht in zwei Perioden einteilen. Auf die erste Periode bis etwa zum Ende der 60er Jahre werde ich im ersten Teil meines Beitrages eingehen. Hier rekonstruiere ich umrißhaft die empiristische Begründung, die Helmholtz für den Wahrheitsanspruch seiner Naturauffassung gegeben hat. Im zweiten Teil werde ich dann die wichtigsten Merkmale der im Verlauf der 70er Jahre hervortretenden Hypothetisierungstendenz charakterisieren. Abschliessend will ich (...) in einem dritten Teil zeigen, wie Helmholtz auf der Grundlage seines gewandelten Wissenschaftsverständnisses das Programm einer mechanistischen Naturerklärung mit großem wirkungsgeschichtlichen Einfluß weiter verfolgt hat. (shrink)
The 11 experimental, pseudo-avantgarde visual poems (wordless, other than title and date) are an indirect homage to the late-great filmmaker and photographer, Chris Marker (1921-2012), foremost to his penchant for utilizing disintegrating imagery in his film-essays and multimedia installations. All images were captured using a Research in Motion, BlackBerry 8520 cellphone, and subsequently 100-percent de-saturated, and 100-percent contrast-adjusted, using Microsoft Office Picture Manager. The images, as a result, resemble the primitive production values given to the pinhole camera, and the (...) “dogmatic” (uniform) adjustments (as above), applied to the original BB images, reference the early strictures applied to filmmaking by Lars von Trier. The above-mentioned, black-and-white adjustments notwithstanding, all images are used “as captured,” without cropping. The series begins and ends in Botwnnog, Northwest Wales, in May and August of 2013, respectively, with interregnums and brief idylls in Rijeka, Croatia, Trieste and Ancona, Italy, and Igoumenitsa, Ioannina, and Athens, Greece. Tracking the peregrinations of the author of the poems across Europe, and intimately associated with the then-nascent research and exhibition project, “Not-I/Thou: The Other Subject of Art & Architecture,”* the poems are also a compressed form of scholarship, albeit operating in the shadow-lands of knowledge per se, and evoking the non-discursive side of literary-artistic production, a penumbral zone within cultural production that nonetheless references the discursive arts (essay and/or full-blown treatise), but favors the paradox and/or tautology – privileging, then, the much-desired destruction of dialectics. (shrink)
There are three intentions of this paper. First, to focus the attention of readers to three not so well known and least frequently quoted by economists of Mises’s books, namely his 1957 Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, and two closely related The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science: An Essay on Method, and Epistemological Problems of Economics. The second aim is to outline Mises’s legacy, presented in the form of eleven dimensions of Mises’s Intellectual Universe. The (...) eleven dimensions of Mises’s system are: Economics as science, praxeology, and human action; Methodological dualism; Judgments of value and subjectivism; Individualism; Rationalism and human action; Consumer; Cooperation and competition; Thymology; Mathematics in economics; Predictions; and Historical analysis. Third, to present the main issues related to Mises’s concept of rationalism. There is no mention of Ludwig von Mises’s concept of rationality in a great number of books and papers dealing with the understanding of the rationality of human beings. The concept of rationality proposed by Ludwig von Mises is neglected by modern researchers and economists of different schools, but especially by mainstream economists. A good example of neglecting Mises’s ideas on rationality is the latest book by Nassim Taleb, Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life. Although Taleb’s proposition of understanding rationality and irrationality is very close to the concept of Mises, he does not refer to Mises’s work at all. No single word on Mises in that book! (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the concept of pilgrimage provides a unifying trope for the otherwise seemingly unfocused travel accounts of Bashō’s Narrow Road to the Interior and Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland’s Voyage aux régions equinoxiales du Nouveau Continent. I begin with a brief description of debates regarding the notion of pilgrimage. After that I show how pilgrimage as trope may be applied to the texts of these authors. This is followed by an application of the classical (...) stages of pilgrimage to particular phases of Bashō’s and Humboldt’s recounted experiences. I conclude that pilgrimage offers an illuminating new way to understand the travel accounts of these two writers. (shrink)
In the first part of this paper I review the two most recent biographies on Otto Neurath and Ludwig von Mises as well as the scarce literature on the relations between their lives and ideas. Recent publications by Nemeth, O’Neill, and Uebel reflect growing interest in the connections between these two main proponents of Logical Empiricism and the Austrian School of Economics respectively, but are mainly focused on the so-called socialist calculation debates. In the second part I propose that additional (...) research on Neurath’s and Mises’ idiosyncratic positions is likely to uncover general relations between epistemological assumptions, economic theories, and political views. -/- . (shrink)
As interpreted by Pattee, von Neumann’s Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata has proved to be a useful tool for understanding some of the difficulties and paradoxes of molecular biosemiotics. But is its utility limited to molecular systems or is it more generally applicable within biosemiotics? One way of answering that question is to look at the Theory as a model for one particular high-level biosemiotic activity, human language. If the model is not useful for language, then it certainly cannot be generally (...) useful to biosemiotics. Beginning with the Universal Turing Machine and continuing with von Neumann’s Theory and Pattee’s interpretation, the properties of universality, programmability, underspecification, complementarity of description/construction, and open-ended evolutionary potential are shown to be usefully applicable to language, thus opening a new line of inquiry in biosemiotics. (shrink)
La Jetée is a Chris Marker movie composed by still images, photographs, with the exception of a very short sequence. The paper aims to account for the experience of temporality induced by photography, framing the structural analysis of the movie in a phenomenological horizon, in particular with regard to the Husserlian’s notion of “Living Present”.
Wilhelm von Humboldt's classic study of human language was first published in 1836, as a general introduction to his three-volume treatise on the Kawi language of Java. It is the final statement of his lifelong study of the nature of language, exploring its universal structures and its relation to mind and culture. Empirically wide-ranging - Humboldt goes far beyond the Indo-European family of languages - it remains one of the most interesting and important attempts to draw philosophical conclusions from comparative (...) linguistics. This 1999 volume presents a translation by Peter Heath, together with an introduction by Michael Losonsky that places Humboldt's work in its historical context and discusses its relevance to contemporary work in philosophy, linguistics, cognitive science, and psychology. (shrink)
This paper reviews some major episodes in the history of the spatial isomorphism problem of dynamical systems theory. In particular, by analysing, both systematically and in historical context, a hitherto unpublished letter written in 1941 by John von Neumann to Stanislaw Ulam, this paper clarifies von Neumann's contribution to discovering the relationship between spatial isomorphism and spectral isomorphism. The main message of the paper is that von Neumann's argument described in his letter to Ulam is the very first proof that (...) spatial isomorphism and spectral isomorphism are not equivalent because spectral isomorphism is weaker than spatial isomorphism: von Neumann shows that spectrally isomorphic ergodic dynamical systems with mixed spectra need not be spatially isomorphic. (shrink)
For a finite von Neumann algebra factor M, the projections form a modular ortholattice L(M). We show that the equational theory of L(M) coincides with that of some resp. all L(ℂ n × n ) and is decidable. In contrast, the uniform word problem for the variety generated by all L(ℂ n × n ) is shown to be undecidable.
Poetry in lieu of thinking. Reflections on the genesis of song in the third part of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. The chapter Von der grossen Sehnsucht opens the final section of Nietzscheʼs Also sprach Zarathustra with a speech in which Zarathustra invites his soul to sing and in which he starts to sing himself. Based on Nietzscheʼs own late interpretation in Ecce homo, this article focuses on the narrative coherence and poetic logic of the chapter Von der grossen Sehnsucht. While the address (...) to the soul can be understood as a soliloquy that corresponds to the definition of thinking in Platoʼs Sophistes, the chapter Von der grossen Sehnsucht also allows insight into the relationship between thinking and writing. Von der grossen Sehnsucht, after all, follows the chapter Der Genesende, in which Zarathustraʼs animals talk to him about eternal recurrence. Moreover, the invitation to sing anticipates the Dionysos-Dithyramben: the address to the soul is followed by Das andere Tanzlied and the Ja-und Amen-Lied, which Nietzsche describes as a dithyramb. As such, the chapter Von der grossen Sehnsucht introduces dithyrambic poetry. (shrink)
“To be the first one.” – On the first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to Emil von Behring in 1901. The German immunologist Emil von Behring is the first Nobel Prize laureate in physiology or medicine. Behring received the award in 1901 “for his work on serum therapy, especially its application against diphtheria”. Behring's name was strongly connected with progress in the field of diphtheria research through various publications. This study contextualizes the awarding of Behring and shows that (...) not only significant scientific and practical results made him primus inter pares in the eyes of the Nobel committee, but also factors like Behring's representation in the daily press and the broad public interest in diphtheria research. After the beginning of the industrial serum production in 1894, Behring was not only a “visible scientist”, he was also portrayed as the “savior of the children” and so ranked among the “great men” of his era. The paper argues that his public visibility and the popularity of “Behring's Diphtherie-Heilmittel” became a strong argument in favor of Behring during the selection process of the first Nobel laureate. The first part of the paper discusses the Nobel Prize nomination procedure from the views of the scientific community. Drawing on personal papers of the extended Behring Archives, the second part focusses on Behring from a private perspective and sheds light on the meaning and importance of the award for Behring and his family. (shrink)
Modern philosophers tends to regard morality as intrinsically universalist, embracing universal norms that apply formally to each moral agent qua moral agent, independent of particularities such as familial relationships or membership in a specific community. At the same time, however, most of us think (and certainly act as if) those particularist properties play a significant and legitimate role in our moral lives. Accordingly, determining the proper relationship of these two spheres of the moral life is of great importance, but a (...) fully successful resolution of this tension remains lacking. I believe Dietrich von Hildebrand’s work on love, and specifically his development of the idea of Eigenleben (Subjectivity) in The Nature of Love, offers a fruitful way forward. In this paper I begin by laying out some of the chief features of the universalist character of modern moral theory in both Kantianism and consequentialism. I then articulate some of the ways in which von Hildebrand’s understanding of Eigenleben offers us genuine insights towards articulating a substantive account of the proper relationship of the universal demands of morality and the particularist demands of my own life. Specifically, von Hildebrand’s critique of extreme altruism shows that moral agents cannot be properly understood according to merely formal properties like rationality, because each person’s particular Eigenleben is the only real grounds for moral agency. Von Hildebrand develops a critique of depersonalized universalism similar to Bernard Williams’ later criticisms of Kantian moral thought, while offering a positive account that is in many ways more compelling. Ultimately, von Hildebrand allows us to see that a genuine Subjectivity is the necessary grounds for the possibility of love, including and especially the love of God, which serves as the basis for a genuine morality based on objective values. Building on this insight we can begin to articulate an account of the moral life grounded in answering the call of God that can do justice to both our universalist and particularist intuitions. (shrink)
A conception of probability that can be traced back to Johannes von Kries is introduced: the “Spielraum” or range conception. Its close connection to the so-called method of arbitrary functions is highlighted. Possible interpretations of it are discussed, and likewise its scope and its relation to certain current interpretations of probability. Taken together, these approaches form a class of interpretations of probability in its own right, but also with its own problems. These, too, are introduced, discussed, and proposals in response (...) to them are surveyed, some of which also go back to von Kries. (shrink)
A large network of alchemical agents spread from the tiny, land-locked duchy of Saxe- Gotha-Altenburg outward across Europe. At its centre, Duke Friedrich I meticulously documented his interactions with many alchemical personalities during the 1670s and 1680s. The story of one such personality illustrates the changing meanings of distant alchemical knowledge both to the inner circle of courtly alchemists and to a larger alchemical republic. Born near Gotha, Johann Otto von Hellwig built his pan-European career on a youthful stay on (...) Java. To some, this indicated his access to exotic naturalia which might be imported to a centre of collection, such as Gotha. For others, Hellwig could access a wisdom hidden abroad since ancient Egypt, which should be disseminated among widely dispersed adepts. These viewpoints indicate different functions for distant knowledge, as well as differing desired trajectories for this knowledge. (shrink)
Der Verzicht auf absolut gültige Erkenntnis, heute in den Naturwissenschaften beinahe schon selbstverständlich, ist erst jüngeren Datums. Noch im vergangenen Jahrhundert zweifelte die experimentelle Forschung kaum an der vollkommenen Begreifbarkeit der Welt. Diesen Wandel zu erkunden und aufzuzeigen ist Thema der vorliegenden Studie. Der erste Teil präsentiert verschiedene Typen neuzeitlicher und moderner Wissenschaftsauffassungen von Galilei über Newton bis hin zu Kant. Im zweiten Teil werden Entwicklung und Wandel der Wissenschafts- und Naturauffassung bei Helmholtz (1821-1895) erstmals mittels detaillierter Textanalysen einer umfassenden (...) Rekonstruktion unterzogen. Die Relativierung des Wahrheitsanspruchs erlaubt es Helmholtz, seine Naturauffassung trotz der antimechanistischen Kritik innerhalb der Physik, die im letzten Viertel des vergangenen Jahrhunderts laut wurde, als Hypothese aufrechtzuerhalten. Auch gewährt die Studie eine neue Sichtweise des Verhältnisses zwischen Helmholtz und Kant, das in der Vergangenheit kontroverse Beurteilungen erfuhr. (shrink)
En un mundo en el que las emociones y los sentimientos ocupan un lugar preponderante en la vida cotidiana de las personas y especialmente en las decisiones que toman, cabe preguntarnos si podemos hablar de una nueva ética o de una ética renovada. En realidad no nos enfrentamos a una recreación de nuevos principios y valores, sino a una necesidad de ahondar en la antropología de la persona humana. En esta profundización se ha revalorado el importante papel que juega la (...) afectividad en la vida humana. Pensadores como Dietrich von Hildebrand han propuesto que la afectividad puede dar luces en la comprensión de la ética. A partir de un estudio de algunas de las obras de este filósofo contemporáneo proponemos que la ética vendría siendo el resultado de una armonía entre la clara comprensión objetiva de la realidad y una recta comprensión de dicha realidad dentro de una esfera afectiva educada, formada, y ante todo conocida por la propia persona, lo cual nos conduce más allá de una ética entendida muchas veces como algo rígido lleno de normas y restricciones. (shrink)
This article considers a selection of Chris Marker's films in the context of noted differences between Emmanuel Levinas's and Jacques Derrida's positions on the animal as Other, the potential for the animal face. Derrida (2008) himself argues that Levinas ‘did not make the animal anything like a focus of interrogation within his work’ (p. 105). Statements such as this about Levinas's ethics seem to make his position clear. In contrast, Derrida's thinking on the matter of the animal, and in (...) particular human responsibility for them as Other, stands as a thorough and influential body of ethical thought, probing the limited and limiting boundary between human and animal. His autobiographical texts, according to Lynn Turner (2015, p. 135), welcome animal others. Marker's images, I will argue, address an equity between species through what he refers to as the égalité du regard, an equality in the gaze (of the camera). These images speak to a space beyond themselves and it is within this territory, I will argue, that the animal does have a face, that can occur via that of the human. (shrink)