The classical view of computing positions computation as a closed-box transformation of inputs (rational numbers or finite strings) to outputs. According to the interactive view of computing, computation is an ongoing interactive process rather than a function-based transformation of an input to an output. Specifically, communication with the outside world happens during the computation, not before or after it. This approach radically changes our understanding of what is computation and how it is modeled. The acceptance of interaction as a new (...) paradigm is hindered by the Strong Church–Turing Thesis (SCT), the widespread belief that Turing Machines (TMs) capture all computation, so models of computation more expressive than TMs are impossible. In this paper, we show that SCT reinterprets the original Church–Turing Thesis (CTT) in a way that Turing never intended; its commonly assumed equivalence to the original is a myth. We identify and analyze the historical reasons for the widespread belief in SCT. Only by accepting that it is false can we begin to adopt interaction as an alternative paradigm of computation. We present Persistent Turing Machines (PTMs), that extend TMs to capture sequential interaction. PTMs allow us to formulate the Sequential Interaction Thesis, going beyond the expressiveness of TMs and of the CTT. The paradigm shift to interaction provides an alternative understanding of the nature of computing that better reflects the services provided by today’s computing technology. (shrink)
In Explaining an Eclipse, Owen Goldin provides a book-length treatment of the first ten chapters of book 2 of the Posterior Analytics. Goldin’s aim is to answer one question: how can an Aristotelian demonstration show anything of scientific interest if all the premises are definitions? To this question Goldin gives his undivided attention.
Aristotle’s account of epistēmē is foundationalist. In contrast, the web of dialectical argumentation that constitutes justification for scientific principles is coherentist. Aristotle’s account of explanation is structurally parallel to the argument for a foundationalist account of justification. He accepts the first argument but his coherentist accounts of justification indicate that he would not accept the second. Where is the disanalogy? For Aristotle, the intelligibility of a demonstrative premise is the cause of the intelligibility of a demonstrated conclusion and causation is (...) asymmetric. Within the Posterior Analytics itself, Aristotle does not account for this, but elsewhere he develops the resources for doing so: the cause is what acts on a substrate to actualize a potential in that substrate, resulting in the effect. On the other hand, it may well happen that two propositions entail each other, in which case one may as well justify the one on the basis of the other as vice versa. (shrink)
Despite their importance in public discourse, numbers in the range of 1 million to 1 trillion are notoriously difficult to understand. We examine magnitude estimation by adult Americans when placing large numbers on a number line and when qualitatively evaluating descriptions of imaginary geopolitical scenarios. Prior theoretical conceptions predict a log-to-linear shift: People will either place numbers linearly or will place numbers according to a compressive logarithmic or power-shaped function (Barth & Paladino, ; Siegler & Opfer, ). While about half (...) of people did estimate numbers linearly over this range, nearly all the remaining participants placed 1 million approximately halfway between 1 thousand and 1 billion, but placed numbers linearly across each half, as though they believed that the number words “thousand, million, billion, trillion” constitute a uniformly spaced count list. Participants in this group also tended to be optimistic in evaluations of largely ineffective political strategies, relative to linear number-line placers. The results indicate that the surface structure of number words can heavily influence processes for dealing with numbers in this range, and it can amplify the possibility that analogous surface regularities are partially responsible for parallel phenomena in children. In addition, these results have direct implications for lawmakers and scientists hoping to communicate effectively with the public. (shrink)
"Confucianism" presents the history and salient tenets of Confucian thought, and discusses its viability, from both a social and a philosophical point of view, in the modern world. Despite most of the major Confucian texts having been translated into English, there remains a surprising lack of straightforward textbooks on Confucian philosophy in any Western language. Those that do exist are often oriented from the point of view of Western philosophy - or, worse, a peculiar school of thought within Western philosophy (...) - and advance correspondingly skewed interpretations of Confucianism. This book seeks to rectify this situation. It guides readers through the philosophies of the three major classical Confucians: Confucius , Mencius and Xunzi , and concludes with an overview of later Confucian revivals and the standing of Confucianism today. (shrink)
The putative Pueyo’s vaccine was a commercial venture that obtained marketing authorization in 1946, a turbulent period of Argentine history. After a few months, health authorities withdrew financial support from the state to buy the vaccine and required patients to sign a written consent to receive that product. An independent investigation did not find any evidence of benefit in non-clinical and clinical evaluation of the putative vaccine.
Assessment in ethics education faces a challenge. From the perspectives of teachers, students, and third-party evaluators like the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology and the National Institutes of Health, assessment of student performance is essential. Because of the complexity of ethical case analysis, however, it is difficult to formulate assessment criteria, and to recognize when students fulfill them. Improvement in students’ moral reasoning skills can serve as the focus of assessment. In previous work, Rosa Lynn Pinkus and Claire Gloeckner (...) developed a novel instrument for assessing moral reasoning skills in bioengineering ethics. In this paper, we compare that approach to existing assessment techniques, and evaluate its validity and reliability. We find that it is sensitive to knowledge gain and that independent coders agree on how to apply it. (shrink)
"Confucianism" presents the history and salient tenets of Confucian thought, and discusses its viability, from both a social and a philosophical point of view, in the modern world. Despite most of the major Confucian texts having been translated into English, there remains a surprising lack of straightforward textbooks on Confucian philosophy in any Western language. Those that do exist are often oriented from the point of view of Western philosophy - or, worse, a peculiar school of thought within Western philosophy (...) - and advance correspondingly skewed interpretations of Confucianism. This book seeks to rectify this situation. It guides readers through the philosophies of the three major classical Confucians: Confucius, Mencius and Xunzi, and concludes with an overview of later Confucian revivals and the standing of Confucianism today. (shrink)
Environmental ethicists have frequently criticized ancient Greek philosophy as anti-environmental for a view of philosophy that is counterproductive to environmental ethics and a view of the world that puts nature at the disposal of people. This provocative collection of original essays reexamines the views of nature and ecology found in the thought of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and Plotinus. Recognizing that these thinkers were not confronted with the environmental degradation that threatens contemporary philosophers, the contributors to this book find that (...) the Greeks nevertheless provide an excellent foundation for a sound theory of environmentalism. (shrink)
abstract What gives ethical and political validity to a state? This is to ask what a state is for and to provide a means to determine whether or not a constitution is just. In this paper I compare the account given by Tamir in Liberal Nationalism with that of Rawls, in order to clarify the decisive differences. Although both recognize the importance of particular associations and the moral imperative to be fair, Tamir places priority on the first and Rawls on (...) the second. I explore their practical implications in regard to the ethical defensibility of Israel's self‐identification as a Jewish state and to conflicting nationalistic territorial claims for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. I suggest that if Tamir is correct in her analysis of nationalism, the Israeli‐Palestinian conflict is a problem that is without the sort of solution that is sought by those who are both interested parties and rational agents of good will. (shrink)
Chapter 49 of the Han Feizi, entitled 'Wudu', includes one of the earliest discussions in Chinese history of the concepts of gong and si: Han Fei takes si to mean 'acting in one's own interest'. Gong is simply what opposes si. 'Acting in one's own interest' is not inherently reprehensible in Han Fei's view; but a ruler must remember why ministers propose their policies: they are concerned only with enriching themselves, and look upon the ruler as nothing more than a (...) resource to be exploited in their quest for material aggrandizement. The interests of the ministers and the ruler are diametrically opposed. Ministers hope for a comfortable career; a ruler must weed out the posers in his search for those rare and invaluable adjuvants who are genuinely capable of administering the state. In short, if si is the self-interest of the minister, gong is the self-interest of the ruler. (shrink)
This edited volume on the thinker, his views on politics and philosophy, and the tensions of his relations with Confucianism (which he derided) is the first of its kind in English.Featuring contributions from specialists in various ...
Aristotle described the scientific explanation of universal or general facts as deducing them through scientific demonstrations, that is, through syllogisms that met requirements he first formulated of logical validity and explanatoriness. In Chapters 19-23, he adds arguments for the further logical restrictions that scientific demonstrations can neither be indefinitely long nor infinitely extendible through the interposition of new middle terms. Chapters 24-26 argue for the superiority of universal over particular demonstration, of affirmative over negative demonstration, and of direct negative demonstration (...) over demonstration to the impossible. Chapters 27 34 discuss different aspects of sciences and scientific understanding, allowing us to distinguish between sciences, and between scientific understanding and other kinds of cognition, especially opinion. Philoponus' comments on these chapters are interesting especially because of his metaphysical analysis of universal predication and his understanding of the notion of subordinate sciences. We learn from his commentary that Philoponus believed in Platonic Forms as inherent in, and posterior to, the Divine Intellect, but ascribed to Aristotle an interpretation of Plato's Forms as independent substances, prior to the Demiurgic Intellect. A very important notion from Aristotle's Posterior Analytics is that of the 'subordination' of sciences, i.e. the idea that some sciences depend on 'higher' ones for some of their principles. Philoponus goes beyond Aristotle in suggesting a taxonomy of sciences, in which the subordinate science is the same in genus as the superordinate, but different in species. (shrink)
The Prior and Posterior Analytics were entitled Ta Analutika by Aristotle himself. But it is not at all clear what Aristotle had in mind in grouping these two works together and in giving them this common title. This question was discussed at length by the ancient Greek commentators on Aristotle. Two main possibilities emerged. The first is that taken by Alexander of Aphrodisias, Ammonius, and Philoponus in his commentary on APr. According to this line of thought, Aristotle has in mind (...) the analysis that shows how a complex arises out of simple entities; both Analytics show us how to subject all lines of syllogistic reasoning (including demonstration) to such analysis. According to the second approach, found in the commentary on APo., 2 attributed to Philoponus, in giving APo., 2 the title 'Analytics' Aristotle has in mind the analysis that reasons from effects to causes. Demonstrations reveal the causes of things, and APo., 2 shows how this is the case. In this paper, the two approaches are compared, and a third approach, which builds on the second, but allows 'Analytics' to have a continuity of sense in its use as a title, is proposed. (shrink)
There is agreement neither concerning the point that is being made in Posterior analytics 96b15–25 nor the issue Aristotle intends to address. There are two major lines of interpretation of this passage. According to one, sketched by Themistius and developed by Philoponus and Eustratius, Aristotle is primarily concerned with determining the definitions of the infimae species that fall under a certain genus. They understand Aristotle as arguing that this requires collating definitional predictions, seeing which are common to which species. Pacius, (...) on the other hand, takes Aristotle to be saying that a genus is studied scientifically through first determining the infimae species that fall under that genus. This interpretation attributes to Aristotle a distinction between primary and derivative subjects. I argue for Pacius’s interpretation, defending it against Barnes’s objections.Author Keywords: Demonstration; Definition; Aristotle; Species; Principles. (shrink)
This essay discusses selected English translations of the Daode jing by people who do not know Chinese, and criticizes them on three counts: they rely heavily on earlier translations; they fail any basic test of accuracy; and they distort and simplify the philosophy of the original. The paper concludes by considering why publishers continue to market such works, and why readers consume them.
This is a study of the ninth chapter of the Huai-nan-tzu, a Chinese philosophical text compiled in the mid-second century BC. The chapter (entitled Chu-shu [The techniques of the ruler]) has been consistently interpreted as a proposal for a benign government that is rooted in the syncretic Taoist principles of the Huai-nan-tzu and is designed to serve the best interests of the people. I argue, on the contrary, that the text makes skilful (and deliberately deceptive) use of vocabulary from the (...) major philosophical traditions of the day, in an attempt to subdue all philosophical sectarianism and wrench various antecedent philosophical ideas into the justification of a supreme political state. The best interests of the people are understood as nothing more than their material needs, since the text also denies that the ruler's subjects are possessed of 'minds' in any philosophical sense. It is this process of systematically undermining other philosophical traditions that I call 'insidious syncretism. '. (shrink)
Teaching allows human culture to exist and to develop. Despite its significance, it has not been studied in depth by the cognitive neurosciences. Here we propose two hypotheses to boost the claim that teaching is a human instinct, and to expand our understanding of how teaching occurs as a dynamic bi-directional relation within the teacher-learner dyad. First, we explore how children naturally use ostensive communication when teaching; allowing them to be set in the emitter side of natural pedagogy. Then, we (...) hypothesize that the capacity to teach may precede to even have a mature metacognition and, we argue that a teacher will benefit from the interaction with her student, improving her understanding on both contents of knowledge: her own and her student’s. Thus, we propose that teaching may be the driving force of metacognitive development and may be occurring as an instinct from very early ages. (shrink)
What is it for a philosophical account to be atomist? What is the attraction of an atomistic metaphysics? These questions are best approached by considering representative varieties of atomism. The present paper offers a preliminary account of atomism in general and then, in order to shed light on atomism in general and its appeal, considers two very different varieties of atomism: that of Democritus and that of Fredkin’s “digital ontology.” Atomistic accounts are philosophically attractive for two related reasons. First, on (...) an atomistic account, the units of explanation are determinate, and for that reason are in principle ultimately intelligible, as are the complexes derived from them. Both examples of atomism that the author takes as examples display these features. Second, atomism is reductionistic. Ancient atomism has this feature, but it is not an inevitable result of an atomistic strategy. It is absent from Fredkin’s digital ontology. (shrink)
Within The Guide of the Perplexed Maimonides presents an argument that is intended to render probable the temporal creation of the cosmos. In one of these arguments Maimonides adopts the Kalamic strategy of arguing for the necessity of there being a “particularizing” agent. Maimonides argues that even one who grants Aristotelian science can still ask why the heavenly realm is as it is, to which there is no reply forthcoming but “God so willed it.” The argument is effective against the (...) Arabic Neoplatonic Aristotelians, but not against Aristotle himself. Aristotle’s response to Maimonides would be that the latter is in effect asking, “Why are there the essences there are?”, a question that Aristotle would take to be fundamentally misplaced, since he holds that the existence of the theoretical primitives of every science is to be assumed. Nevertheless, Maimonides’ challenge has force for those who recognize a demand for a metaphysical explanation for there being those kinds of things posited as primitive by the natural sciences. (shrink)
Aristotle’s main objection to Pythagorean number ontology is that it posits as a basic subject what can exist only as inherent in a subject. The author then shows how contemporary structural realists posit an ontology much like that of Aristotle’s Pythagoreans. Both take the objects of knowledge to be structure, not the subject of structure. He discusses both how pancomputationalists such as Edward Fredkin approach the Pythagorean account insofar as on their account all reality can in principle be expressed as (...) one number, made up of discrete units, and even more moderate varieties of structural realism, like that of Floridi, share with pancomputationalism the aspect of “Pythagorean” ontology that Aristotle finds so objectionable: positing structure or form with no substrate. He concludes by arguing that Aristotle himself is drawn to something close or to a structural realist ontology in Metaphysics 7.3. (shrink)