The flow of time is a deep, significant and universal aspect of human life. Yet it remains a mystery and many dismiss the flow of time as illusory. Craig Callender explores this puzzle, and offers a fascinating explanation of why creatures experience time as flowing - even if, as physics suggests, it isn't.
Is the quantum state part of the furniture of the world? Einstein found such a position indigestible, but here I present a different understanding of the wavefunction that is easy to stomach. First, I develop the idea that the wavefunction is nomological in nature, showing how the quantum It or Bit debate gets subsumed by the corresponding It or Bit debate about laws of nature. Second, I motivate the nomological view by casting quantum mechanics in a “classical” formalism (Hamilton–Jacobi theory) (...) and classical mechanics in a “quantum” formalism (Koopman–von Neumann theory) and then comparing and contrasting classical and quantum wave functions. I argue that Humeans about laws can treat classical and quantum wave functions on a par and that doing so yields many benefits. (shrink)
As the study of time has flourished in the physical and human sciences, the philosophy of time has come into its own as a lively and diverse area of academic research. Philosophers investigate not just the metaphysics of time, and our experience and representation of time, but the role of time in ethics and action, and philosophical issues in the sciences of time, especially with regard to quantum mechanics and relativity theory. This Handbook presents twenty-three specially written essays by leading (...) figures in their fields: it is the first comprehensive collaborative study of the philosophy of time, and will set the agenda for future work. (shrink)
For much of this century, philosophers hoped that Einstein’s general theory of relativity would play the role of physician to philosophy. Its development would positively influence the philosophy of methodology and confirmation, and its ontology would answer many traditional philosophical debates—for example, the issue of spacetime substantivalism. In physics, by contrast, the attitude is increasingly that GTR itself needs a physician. The more we learn about GTR the more we discover how odd are the spacetimes that it allows. Not only (...) does GTR permit singularities, naked and clothed, but it allows time travel, topology change, and event and particle horizons, to name but a few of these oddities. Rather than revel in the riches of the theory, however, many physicists seek to rule out one or more of the above “pathologies” on the grounds that they are “physically unreasonable.” Thus contemporary researchers hawk various “cures” for the “illnesses” of GTR: among them, Chronology Protection to ensure against time travel, Cosmic Censorship for naked singularities, Inflation for horizons, and so on. The physics of these illnesses and cures, and the problems they engender, are the source of much controversy in the physics literature. Philosophers have largely neglected it. But clearly the subject needs philosophers of physics to determine whether the patient is genuinely ailing, and if so, to sift the real antidotes from the snake oil. (shrink)
Perhaps the most significant contemporary theory of lawhood is the Best System (/MRL) view on which laws are true generalizations that best systematize knowledge. Our question in this paper will be how best to formulate a theory of this kind. We’ll argue that an acceptable MRL should (i) avoid inter-system comparisons of simplicity, strength, and balance, (ii) make lawhood epistemically accessible, and (iii) allow for laws in the special sciences. Attention to these problems will bring into focus a useful menu (...) of novel MRL theories, some of which solve problems the original MRL theory could not. Hence we conceive of the paper as moving toward a better Best System theory of laws. (shrink)
In this new and original book, Claire Armon-Jones examines the concept of affect and various philosophical positions which attempt to define and characterize it: the standard view, the neo-cognitivist view, and the objectual thesis. She contends that these views radically distort our understanding of affect by disregarding modes of affect which fail to conform to the accounts they each employ. Against the standard and neo-cognitivist views she argues that the notions they use to characterize affect are neither necessary nor (...) sufficient; and against the objectual thesis she further argues that affective states exhibit degrees of independence from the concept of an object. She develops a new theory of the varieties of affect that explains their cognitive nature, their felt aspect, their special logic and the relationship between their objectless and object-directed forms. Armon-Jones concludes by suggesting that her arguments call into question certain assumptions about the rationality and moral status of affect and require a revision of the conception of the good in affect. (shrink)
An important feature of life is the temporal value asymmetry. Not to be confused with temporal discounting, the value asymmetry is the fact that we prefer future rather than past preferences be satisfied. Misfortunes are better in the past--where they are "over and done"--than in the future. Using recent work in empirical psychology and evolutionary theory, we develop a theory of the nature and causes of the temporal value asymmetry. The account we develop undercuts philosophy of time arguments such as (...) that of Prior (1959), but more importantly, also begins a serious study of an interesting but understudied feature of our valuations and emotional attitudes. While in the spirit of certain past sketches about the possible origins of the temporal value asymmetry, our theory improves on them in many significant respects and suggests many clear avenues of future study. More generally, our hope is that work on the temporal value asymmetry will eventually attain the degree of rigor and explanatory power that the discounting asymmetry presently enjoys, for like this latter asymmetry, we believe the temporal value asymmetry has relevance to many practical issues in decision-making. Our paper can thus be seen as a call for a more unified methodological treatment of the two temporal asymmetries. (shrink)
This book is aimed primarily at the practitioners of morals such as psychiatrists,lawyers and policy-makers. My professional background is clinical psychiatry It is divided into three parts. The first of these provides an overview of moral theory, morality in non-human species and recent developments in neuroscience that are of relevance to moral and legal responsibility. In the second part I offer a new paradigm of free action based on the overlaps between free will, moral value and art. In the overlap (...) between free will and moral value we find moral responsibility and moral autonomy. Free will and art share characteristics of originality, spontaneity and creativity. Art and moral value are related by way of the moral content of art and the formal similarities of moral and aesthetic judgments. In the overlap between art, free will and moral value we find religious belief, the creation of moral value and the creation of moral identity. In the third part, I discuss the application of these ideas to common clinical conditions such as eating disorders, addictions, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and the dissociative disorders. Wherever possible, I illustrate the points that are made with real-life clinical examples. I finish by considering how ideas of free will and responsibility are relevant to psychotherapy. (shrink)
The no-miracles argument and the pessimistic induction are arguably the main considerations for and against scientific realism. Recently these arguments have been accused of embodying a familiar, seductive fallacy. In each case, we are tricked by a base rate fallacy, one much-discussed in the psychological literature. In this paper we consider this accusation and use it as an explanation for why the two most prominent `wholesale' arguments in the literature seem irresolvable. Framed probabilistically, we can see very clearly why realists (...) and anti-realists have been talking past one another. We then formulate a dilemma for advocates of either argument, answer potential objections to our criticism, discuss what remains (if anything) of these two major arguments, and then speculate about a future philosophy of science freed from these two arguments. In so doing, we connect the point about base rates to the wholesale/retail distinction; we believe it hints at an answer of how to distinguish profitable from unprofitable realism debates. In short, we offer a probabilistic analysis of the feeling of ennui afflicting contemporary philosophy of science. (shrink)
This essay explores three deconstructive concepts – archive, anthropocene, and auto-affection – across two registers. The first is the register of what counts as readability in general, beyond reading in its narrow and actualized sense.. The second register applies to Derrida today, and what it means to read the corpus of a philosopher and how that corpus is governed by proper names. I want to suggest that the way we approach proper names in philosophy and theory is part of a (...) broader problem of our relation to what it is to read, and how readability intertwines with the human. (shrink)
An important obstacle to lawhood in the special sciences is the worry that such laws would require metaphysically extravagant conspiracies among fundamental particles. How, short of conspiracy, is this possible? In this paper we'll review a number of strategies that allow for the projectibility of special science generalizations without positing outlandish conspiracies: non-Humean pluralism, classical MRL theories of laws, and Albert and Loewer's theory. After arguing that none of the above fully succeed, we consider the conspiracy problem through the lens (...) of our preferred view of laws, an elaboration of the MRL view that we call the Better Best System (BBS) theory. BBS offers a picture on which, although all events supervene on a fundamental level, there is no one unique locus of projectibility; rather there are a large number of loci corresponding to the different areas (ecology, economics, solid-state chemistry, etc.) in which there are simple and strong generalizations to be made. While we expect that some amount of conspiracy-fear-inducing special science projectibility is inevitable given BBS, we'll argue that this is unobjectionable. It follows from BBS that the laws of any particular special or fundamental science amount to a proper subset of the laws. From this vantage point, the existence of projectible special science generalizations not guaranteed by the fundamental laws is not an occasion for conspiracy fantasies, but a predictable fact of life in a complex world. (shrink)
This article presents an interview method which enables us to bring a person, who may not even have been trained, to become aware of his or her subjective experience, and describe it with great precision. It is focused on the difficulties of becoming aware of one’s subjective experience and describing it, and on the processes used by this interview technique to overcome each of these difficulties. The article ends with a discussion of the criteria governing the validity of the descriptions (...) obtained, and then with a brief review of the functions of these descriptions. (shrink)
Black hole thermodynamics is regarded as one of the deepest clues we have to a quantum theory of gravity. It motivates scores of proposals in the field, from the thought that the world is a hologram to calculations in string theory. The rationale for BHT playing this important role, and for much of BHT itself, originates in the analogy between black hole behavior and ordinary thermodynamic systems. Claiming the relationship is “more than a formal analogy,” black holes are said to (...) be governed by deep thermodynamic principles: what causes your tea to come to room temperature is said additionally to cause the area of black holes to increase. Playing the role of philosophical gadfly, we pour a little cold water on the claim that BHT is more than a formal analogy. First, we show that BHT is often based on a kind of caricature of thermodynamics. Second, we point out an important ambiguity in what systems the analogy is supposed to govern, local or global ones. Finally, and perhaps worst, we point out that one of the primary motivations for the theory arises from a terribly controversial understanding of entropy. BHT may be a useful guide to future physics. Only time will tell. But the analogy is not nearly as good as is commonly supposed. (shrink)
I argue for the unexceptionality of evidence about what rationality requires. Specifically, I argue that, as for other topics, one’s total evidence can sometimes support false beliefs about this. Despite being prima facie innocuous, a number of philosophers have recently denied this. Some have argued that the facts about what rationality requires are highly dependent on the agent’s situation, and change depending on what that situation is like (Bradley, 2019). Others have argued that a particular subset of normative truths, those (...) concerning what epistemic rationality requires, have the special property of being ‘fixed points’ – it is impossible to have total evidence that supports false belief about them (Smithies, 2012; Titelbaum, 2015). Each of these kinds of exceptionality permit a solution to downstream theoretical problems that arise from the possibility of evidence supporting false belief about requirements of rationality. However, as I argue here, they incur heavy explanatory burdens that we should avoid. (shrink)
A familiar part of debates about supererogatory actions concerns the role that cost should play. Two camps have emerged: one claiming that extreme cost is a necessary condition for when an action is supererogatory, while the other denies that it should be part of our definition of supererogation. In this paper, I propose an alternative position. I argue that it is comparative cost that is central to the supererogatory and that it is needed to explain a feature that all accounts (...) agree is central to the very notion of supererogation: optionality. Perhaps because of this agreement on its importance, few attempts have been made to clarify and explain the notion of optionality. I argue that giving an account of the optionality of supererogatory requires drawing a line between doing the bare minimum permissible and going beyond the bare minimum and that this line ought to be drawn based on comparative cost of alternative permissible acts. Having outlined my account and motivated it, I discuss and reject two concerns that might be raised: firstly, that it is extreme cost, not comparative cost, that matters and, secondly, that in fact no cost is needed for an act to be supererogatory. (shrink)
This paper describes a method for analyzing a corpus of descriptions collected through micro-phenomenological interviews. This analysis aims at identifying the structure of the singular experiences which have been described, and in particular their diachronic structure, while unfolding generic experiential structures through an iterative approach. After summarizing the principles of the micro-phenomenological interview, and then describing the process of preparation of the verbatim, the article presents on the one hand, the principles and conceptual devices of the analysis method and on (...) the other hand several dimensions of the analysis process: the modes of structural unfolding of generic structures, the mutual guidance of the processes of structural and experiential unfolding, the tracking of analysis processes, and finally the assessment of analysis results. (shrink)
One of the twentieth-century's most exciting and challenging intellectuals, Gilles Deleuze's writings covered literature, art, psychoanalysis, philosophy, genetics, film and social theory. This book not only introduces Deleuze's ideas, it also demonstrates the ways in which his work can provide new readings of literary texts. This guide goes on to cover his work in various fields, his theory of literature and his overarching project of a new concept of becoming.
We propose that scientific representation is a special case of a more general notion of representation, and that the relatively well worked-out and plausible theories of the latter are directly applicable to thc scientific special case. Construing scientific representation in this way makes the so-called “problem of scientific representation” look much less interesting than it has seerned to many, and suggests that some of the debates in the literature are concerned with non-issues.
The Enkratic Principle enjoys something of a protected status as a requirement of rationality. I argue that this status is undeserved, at least in the epistemic domain. Compliance with the principle should not be thought of as a requirement of epistemic rationality, but rather as defeasible indication of epistemic blamelessness. To show this, I present the Puzzle of Inconsistent Requirements, and argue that the best way to solve this puzzle is to distinguish two kinds of epistemic evaluation – requirement and (...) appraisal. This allows us to solve the puzzle while accommodating traditional motivations for thinking of the Enkratic Principle as a requirement of rationality. (shrink)
This is the table of contents and first chapter of Physics Meets Philosophy at the Planck Scale (Cambridge University Press, 2001), edited by Craig Callender and Nick Huggett. The chapter discusses the question of why there should be a theory of quantum gravity. We tackle arguments that purport to show that the gravitational field *must* be quantized. We then introduce various programs in quantum gravity and discuss areas where quantum gravity and philosophy seem to have something to say to (...) each other. (shrink)
This paper discusses the mistake of understanding the laws and concepts of thermodynamics too literally in the foundations of statistical mechanics. Arguing that this error is still made in subtle ways, the article explores its occurrence in three examples: the Second Law, the concept of equilibrium and the definition of phase transitions.
The manifest image is teeming with activity. Objects are booming and buzzing by, changing their locations and properties, vivid perceptions are replaced, and we seem to be inexorably slipping into the future. Time—or at least our experience in time— seems a very turbulent sort of thing. By contrast, time in the scientist image seems very still. The fundamental laws of physics don’t differentiate between past and future, nor do they pick out a present moment that flows. Except for a minus (...) sign in the relativistic metric, there are few differences between the temporal and spatial coordinates in natural science. We seem to have, to echo another debate, an “explanatory gap” between time as we find it in experience and as we find it in science. Reconciling these two images of the world is the principal goal of philosophy of time. (shrink)
Introduction: The problem of vitalism : active/passive -- Brain, system, model : the affective turn -- Vitalism and theoria -- Inorganic art -- Inorganic vitalism -- The vital order after theory -- On becoming -- Living systems, extended minds, gaia -- Conclusion.
Phase transitions are an important instance of putatively emergent behavior. Unlike many things claimed emergent by philosophers, the alleged emergence of phase transitions stems from both philosophical and scientific arguments. Here we focus on the case for emergence built from physics, in particular, arguments based upon the infinite idealization invoked in the statistical mechanical treatment of phase transitions. After teasing apart several challenges, we defend the idea that phase transitions are best thought of as conceptually novel, but not ontologically or (...) explanatorily irreducible to finite physics; indeed, by looking at ongoing work on “smooth phase transitions” we even suggest that they’re not even conceptually novel. In the case of renormalization group theory, consideration of infinite systems and their singular behavior provides a central theoretical tool, but this is compatible with an explanatory reduction. Phase transitions may be “emergent” in some sense of this protean term, but not in a sense that is incompatible with the reductionist project broadly construed. (shrink)
Can we make mistakes about what rationality requires? A natural answer is that we can, since it is a platitude that rational belief does not require truth; it is possible for a belief to be rational and mistaken, and this holds for any subject matter at all. However, the platitude causes trouble when applied to rationality itself. The possibility of rational mistakes about what rationality requires generates a puzzle. When combined with two further plausible claims – the enkratic principle, and (...) the claim that rational requirements apply universally – we get the result that rationality generates inconsistent requirements. One popular and attractive solution to the puzzle denies that it is possible to make rational mistakes about what rationality requires. I show why (contra Titelbaum (2015b), and Littlejohn (2015)) this solution is doomed to fail. (shrink)
Throughout this century many philosophers and physicists have gone for thc ‘big ki11’ regarding tenses. They have tried to show via McTaggart’s paradox and special relativity that tcnscs arc logically and physically impossible, rcspcctivcly. Ncithcr attempt succccds, though as I argue, both lcavc their mark. In thc iirst two sections of thc paper I introduce some conceptual difficulties for the tensed theory of time. The next section then discusses the standing 0f tenses in light of special relativity, cspccially rcccnt work (...) by Stcin on thc topic. I argue that, Stcin’s possibility thcorcm notwithstanding, special relativity is inconsistent with any philosophicully interesting conception of tense. Finally, I search for help for tenses in the broader context of quantum theory, Lorcntzian interpretations 0f time dilation/length contraction, and gcncral relativistic spacctimcs. I suggest that these avenues d0 not provide tenses the home for which some have hoped. (shrink)
Challenging previous interpretations of Levinas that gloss over his use of the feminine or show how he overlooks questions raised by feminists, Claire Elise Katz explores the powerful and productive links between the feminine and religion in Levinas’s work. Rather than viewing the feminine as a metaphor with no significance for women or as a means to reinforce traditional stereotypes, Katz goes beyond questions of sexual difference to reach a more profound understanding of the role of the feminine in (...) Levinas’s conception of ethical responsibility. She combines feminist interpretations of Levinas with interpretations that focus on his Jewish writings to reveal that the feminine provides an important bridge between his philosophy and his Judaism. Katz’s reading of Levinas’s conception of the feminine against the backdrop of discussions of women of the Hebrew bible points to important shifts in contemporary philosophy toward the creation of life and care for the other. (shrink)
For the generalizations of thermodynamics to obtain, it appears that a very ‘special’ initial condition of the universe is required. Is this initial condition itself in need of explanation? I argue that it is not. In so doing, I offer a framework in which to think about ‘special’ initial conditions in all areas of science, though I concentrate on the case of thermodynamics. I urge the view that it is not always a serious mark against a theory that it must (...) posit an ‘improbable’ initial condition. (shrink)
Unlike the relativity theory it seeks to replace, causal set theory has been interpreted to leave space for a substantive, though perhaps ‘localized’, form of ‘becoming’. The possibility of fundamental becoming is nourished by the fact that the analogue of Stein’s theorem from special relativity does not hold in causal set theory. Despite this, we find that in many ways, the debate concerning becoming parallels the well-rehearsed lines it follows in the domain of relativity. We present, however, some new twists (...) and challenges. In particular, we show that a novel and exotic notion of becoming is compatible with causal sets. In contrast to the ‘localized’ becoming considered compatible with the dynamics of causal set theory by its advocates, our novel kind of becoming, while not answering to the typical A-theoretic demands, is ‘global’ and objective. (shrink)
Thermodynamics is the science that describes much of the time asymmetric behavior found in the world. This entry's first task, consequently, is to show how thermodynamics treats temporally ‘directed’ behavior. It then concentrates on the following two questions. (1) What is the origin of the thermodynamic asymmetry in time? In a world possibly governed by time symmetric laws, how should we understand the time asymmetric laws of thermodynamics? (2) Does the thermodynamic time asymmetry explain the other temporal asymmetries? Does it (...) account, for instance, for the fact that we know more about the past than the future? The discussion thus divides between thermodynamics being an explanandum or explanans. In the former case the answer will be found in philosophy of physics; in the latter case it will be found in metaphysics, epistemology, and other fields, though in each case there will be blurring between the disciplines. (shrink)
In this paper, we claim that the disambiguation ofreferring expressions in discourse can be formulated in terms automatedreasoners can address. Specifically, we show that consistency,informativity and minimality are criteria which (i) can be implementedusing automated reasoning tools and (ii) can be used to disambiguatenoun-noun compounds, metonymy and definite descriptions.
Reexamining Emmanuel Levinas’s essays on Jewish education, Claire Elise Katz provides new insights into the importance of education and its potential to transform a democratic society, for Levinas’s larger philosophical project.
With an eye on developing a quantum theory of gravity, many physicists have recently searched for quantum challenges to the equivalence principle of general relativity. However, as historians and philosophers of science are well aware, the principle of equivalence is not so clear. When clarified, we think quantum tests of the equivalence principle won’t yield much. The problem is that the clash/not-clash is either already evident or guaranteed not to exist. Nonetheless, this work does help teach us what it means (...) for a theory to be geometric. (shrink)
We propose that scientific representation is a special case of a more general notion of representation, and that the relatively well worked-out and plausible theories of the latter are directly applicable to the scientific special case.
This article offers a critique and reformulation of the concept of empathy as it is currently used in the context of medicine and medical care. My argument is three pronged. First, that the instrumentalised notion of empathy that has been common within medicine erases the term’s rich epistemological history as a special form of understanding, even a vehicle of social inquiry, and has instead substituted an account unsustainably structured according to the polarisations of modernity. I suggest that understanding empathy by (...) examining its origins within the phenomenological tradition, as a mode of intersubjective understanding, offers a different and profitable approach. Secondly, I argue that the appropriation of empathy in medicine means that, ironically, empathy can function as a technique of pastoral power, in which virtue, knowledge and authority remain with the doctor. And thirdly, empathy is in danger of being resourced as a substitute for equity and funding within health systems. I conclude however with hope for the productive possibilities for empathy. (shrink)
Evidence is drawn together to connect sources of inconsistency that Frege discerned in his foundations for arithmetic with the origins of the paradox derived by Russell in "Basic Laws" I and then with antinomies, paradoxes, contradictions, riddles associated with modal and intensional logics. Examined are: Frege's efforts to grasp logical objects; the philosophical arguments that compelled Russell to adopt a description theory of names and a eliminative theory of descriptions; the resurfacing of issues surrounding reference, descriptions, identity, substitutivity, paradox in (...) the debates concerning modal and intensional logics; the development of the New Theory of Reference. I consider this to be the philosophical ground upon which the debates regarding that theory should take place. (shrink)
Cinema, thought and time -- Deleuze's cinema books -- Technology -- Essences -- Space and time -- Bergson, time, and life -- The movement-image -- The history of time and space and the history of cinema -- The movement-image and semiotics -- Styles of sign -- The whole of movement -- Image and life -- Becoming-inhuman, becoming imperceptible -- The deduction of the movement-image -- Art and time -- Destruction of the sensory motor apparatus and the spiritual automaton -- Time (...) and money -- Art and history -- Monument -- Framing, territorialization, and the plane of composition -- Politics and the origin of meaning -- Transcending life and the genesis of sense -- Beyond symbolic and imaginary -- Shit and money -- Exchange, gift, and theft -- The fiction of mind -- Collective investment and group fantasy -- The time of man -- The intense germinal influx. (shrink)
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