A laboratory-testable, solid-state Maxwell demon is proposed that utilizes the electric field energy of an open-gap p-n junction. Numerical results from a commercial semiconductor device simulator (Silvaco International–Atlas) verify primary results from a 1-D analytic model. Present day fabrication techniques appear adequate for laboratory tests of principle.
We discuss our surgical philosophy concerning the subtle interplay between the size of the surgical margin taken and the resultant morbidity from ablative oncological. procedures, which is ever more evident in the treatment of head and neck malignancy. The extent of tissue resection is determined by the "trade off" between cancer control and the perioperative, functional and aesthetic morbidity and mortality of the surgery. We also discuss our dilemmas concerning recent minimally invasive endoscopic microsurgical. techniques for the trans-oral laser removal. (...) or co-ablation of aero-digestive tract tumours, which result in a minimal. surgical margin of oncological clearance. By a process of inductive argument as to the nature of the surgical margin, we consider whether the risks of taking a lesser margin with adjuvant therapy is justified by the attendant gain in reduced surgical morbidity and the possible costs in tumour control. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
In 1773, Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Society of Jesus, a dramatic, puzzling act that had a profound impact. This volume traces the causes of the attack on the Jesuits, the national expulsions that preceded universal suppression, and the consequences of these extraordinary developments. The Suppression occurred at a unique historical juncture, at the high-water mark of the Enlightenment and on the cusp of global imperial crises and the Age of Revolution. After more than two centuries, answers to how and (...) why it took place remain unclear. A diverse selection of essays - covering France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, China, Eastern Europe, and the Americas - reflects the complex international elements of the Jesuit Suppression. The contributors shed new light on its significance by drawing on the latest research. Essential reading on a crucial yet previously neglected topic, this collection will interest scholars of eighteenth-century religious, intellectual, cultural, and political history. (shrink)
The ontic conception of scientific explanation has been constructed and motivated on the basis of a putative lexical ambiguity in the term explanation. I raise a puzzle for this ambiguity claim, and then give a deflationary solution under which all ontically-rendered talk of explanation is merely elliptical; what it is elliptical for is a view of scientific explanation that altogether avoids the ontic conception. This result has revisionary consequences for New Mechanists and other philosophers of science, many of whom have (...) assimilated their conception of explanation to the ontic conception. (shrink)
This paper employs a case study from the history of neuroscience—brain reward function—to scrutinize the inductive argument for the so-called ‘Heuristic Identity Theory’ (HIT). The case fails to support HIT, illustrating why other case studies previously thought to provide empirical support for HIT also fold under scrutiny. After distinguishing two different ways of understanding the types of identity claims presupposed by HIT and considering other conceptual problems, we conclude that HIT is not an alternative to the traditional identity theory so (...) much as a relabeling of previously discussed strategies for mechanistic discovery. (shrink)
Due to the wide array of phenomena that are of interest to them, psychologists offer highly diverse and heterogeneous types of explanations. Initially, this suggests that the question "What is psychological explanation?" has no single answer. To provide appreciation of this diversity, we begin by noting some of the more common types of explanations that psychologists provide, with particular focus on classical examples of explanations advanced in three different areas of psychology: psychophysics, physiological psychology, and information-processing psychology. To analyze what (...) is involved in these types of explanations, we consider the ways in which law-like representations of regularities and representations of mechanisms factor in psychological explanations. This consideration directs us to certain fundamental questions, e.g., "To what extent are laws necessary for psychological explanations?" and "What do psychologists have in mind when they appeal to mechanisms in explanation?" In answering such questions, it appears that laws do play important roles in psychological explanations, although most explanations in psychology appeal to accounts of mechanisms. Consequently, we provide a unifying account of what psychological explanation is. (shrink)
As much as assumptions about mechanisms and mechanistic explanation have deeply affected psychology, they have received disproportionately little analysis in philosophy. After a historical survey of the influences of mechanistic approaches to explanation of psychological phenomena, we specify the nature of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. Contrary to some treatments of mechanistic explanation, we maintain that explanation is an epistemic activity that involves representing and reasoning about mechanisms. We discuss the manner in which mechanistic approaches serve to bridge levels rather than (...) reduce them, as well as the different ways in which mechanisms are discovered. Finally, we offer a more detailed example of an important psychological phenomenon for which mechanistic explanation has provided the main source of scientific understanding. (shrink)
The theme of this special issue is minimalism about truth, a conception which has attracted extensive support since the landmark publication of Paul Horwich's Truth (1990). Many well-esteemed philosophers have challenged Horwich's alethic minimalism, an especially austere version of deflationary truth theory. In part, this is at least because his brand of minimalism about truth also intersects with several different literatures: paradox, implicit definition, bivalence, normativity, propositional attitudes, properties, explanatory power, meaning and use, and so forth. Deflationist sympathizers have introduced (...) a few developments and emendations, while critics and other interlocutors have generated objections that have required further responses. Some of these works appeared in the first few years following the publication of the first edition of Truth. But others have appeared only in the last five or ten years, indicating that interest in the minimalist conception continues to bloom and be a highly fecund source for new ideas. Some of those new ideas are collected here, in a special issue celebrating collectively the 25th anniversary of Horwich's Truth in 2015 and the 20th anniversary of the revised edition in 2018. The intent of the issue is overwhelmingly prospective rather than retrospective; however, it presents original work and fresh perspectives, including a new contribution by Paul Horwich himself, that jointly offer au currant reflections on the current status and future promise of the minimal conception. (shrink)
Courtesy of its free energy formulation, the hierarchical predictive processing theory of the brain (PTB) is often claimed to be a grand unifying theory. To test this claim, we examine a central case: activity of mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic (DA) systems. After reviewing the three most prominent hypotheses of DA activity—the anhedonia, incentive salience, and reward prediction error hypotheses—we conclude that the evidence currently vindicates explanatory pluralism. This vindication implies that the grand unifying claims of advocates of PTB are unwarranted. More generally, (...) we suggest that the form of scientific progress in the cognitive sciences is unlikely to be a single overarching grand unifying theory. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of various forms of alethic pluralism. Along the way we will draw a number of distinctions that, hopefully, will be useful in mapping the pluralist landscape. Finally, we will argue that a commitment to alethic disjunctivism, a certain brand of pluralism, might be difficult to avoid for adherents of the other pluralist views to be discussed. We will proceed as follows: Section 1 introduces alethic monism and alethic pluralism. Section 2 (...) presents a distinction between strong and moderate versions of monism and pluralism, understood as theses about the existence of truth properties. Section 3 introduces four pluralist positions: strong alethic pluralism, alethic disjunctivism, second-order functionalism and manifestation functionalism. These positions are classified using the basic framework from Section 2, and a further distinction between pure and mixed versions of pluralism is drawn. Interestingly, alethic disjunctivism and the two kinds of functionalism—i.e. three out of four positions— have a mixed character. They incorporate a monist thesis. The only pure form of pluralism is strong alethic pluralism. Section 4 adds another distinction to the stock: one-level and two-level views. Each of the mixed positions operates with two levels, locating certain “alethically potent”—or grounding—properties at a lower level and others at a higher level. We briefly discuss the nature of grounding. In Section 5, we answer a question about mixed, two-level views, viz. whether they are as much monist as pluralist in nature, or more. They are not. Section 6 is devoted to the task of arguing that the strong pluralist, the second-order functionalist, and the manifestation functionalist will find it hard to deny a commitment to alethic disjunctivism. (shrink)
The relative merits and demerits of historically prominent views such as the correspondence theory, coherentism, pragmatism, verificationism, and instrumentalism have been subject to much attention in the truth literature and have fueled the long-lived debate over which of these views is the most plausible one. While diverging in their specific philosophical commitments, adherents of these historically prominent views agree in at least one fundamental respect. They are all alethic monists. They all endorse the thesis that there is only one property (...) in virtue of which propositions can be true, and so, in this sense, take truth to be one. The truth pluralist, on the other hand, rejects this idea. There are several properties in virtue of which propositions can be true. The literature on truth pluralism has been growing steadily for the past twenty years. This volume, however, is the first of its kind—the first collection of papers focused specifically on pluralism about truth. Part I is dedicated to the development, investigation, and critical discussion of different forms of pluralism. An additional reason to look at truth pluralism with interest is the significant connections it bears to other debates in the truth literature—the debates concerning traditional theories of truth and the deflationism/inflationism divide being cases in hand. Parts II and III of the volume connect truth pluralism to these two debates. (shrink)
Many cognitive scientists, having discovered that some computational-level characterization f of a cognitive capacity φ is intractable, invoke heuristics as algorithmic-level explanations of how cognizers compute f. We argue that such explanations are actually dysfunctional, and rebut five possible objections. We then propose computational-level theory revision as a principled and workable alternative.
Functionalists about truth employ Ramsification to produce an implicit definition of the theoretical term _true_, but doing so requires determining that the theory introducing that term is itself true. A variety of putative dissolutions to this problem of epistemic circularity are shown to be unsatisfactory. One solution is offered on functionalists' behalf, though it has the upshot that they must tread on their anti-pluralist commitments.
Minimalists about truth contend that traditional inflationary theories systematically fail to explain certain facts about truth, and that this failure licenses a ‘reversal of explanatory direction’. Once reversed, they purport that their own minimal theory adequately explains all of the facts involving truth. But minimalists’ main objection to inflationism seems to misfire, and the subsequent reversal of explanatory direction, if it can be made sense of, leaves minimalism in no better explanatory position; and even if the objection were serviceable and (...) the reversal legitimate, minimalists’ adequacy thesis is still implausible. (shrink)