The analysis of the status of the constitutive metaphor in science is considered along with the examination of some principal models of metaphors among biology, medicine and neurosciences. This allows to highlight the two ages of the scientific metaphor, the crossover between metaphors and models, and some open questions about the hidden ideologies concealed in the scientific theoretical terms that come from the use of metaphors.
Is God's foreknowledge compatible with human freedom? One of the most attractive attempts to reconcile the two is the Ockhamistic view, which subscribes not only to human freedom and divine omniscience, but retains our most fundamental intuitions concerning God and time: that the past is immutable, that God exists and acts in time, and that there is no backward causation. In order to achieve all that, Ockhamists distinguish ‘hard facts’ about the past which cannot possibly be altered from ‘soft facts’ (...) about the past which are alterable, and argue that God's prior beliefs about human actions are soft facts about the past. (shrink)
Logical realism is a view about the metaphysical status of logic. Common to most if not all the views captured by the label ‘logical realism’ is that logical facts are mind- and language-independent. But that does not tell us anything about the nature of logical facts or about our epistemic access to them. The goal of this paper is to outline and systematize the different ways that logical realism could be entertained and to examine some of the challenges that these (...) views face. It will be suggested that logical realism is best understood as a metaphysical view about the logical structure of the world, but this raises an important question: does logical realism collapse into standard metaphysical realism? It will be argued that this result can be accommodated, even if it cannot be altogether avoided. (shrink)
An important contribution to the foundations of probability theory, statistics and statistical physics has been made by E. T. Jaynes. The recent publication of his collected works provides an appropriate opportunity to attempt an assessment of this contribution.
In this paper I shall venture into an area with which I am not very familiar and in which I feel far from confident; namely into phenomenology. My main motive is not to get away from standard, boring, methodological questions like those of induction and demarcation; but the conviction that a phenomenological account of the empirical basis forms a necessary complement to Popper's falsificationism. According to the latter, a scientific theory is a synthetic and universal, hence unverifiable proposition. In fact, (...) in order to be technologically useful, a scientific hypothesis must refer to future states-of-affairs; it ought therefore to remain unverified. But in order to be empirical, a theory must bear some kind of relation to factual statements. According to Popper, such a relation can only be one of potential conflict. Thus a theory T will be termed scientific if and only if T is logically incompatible with a so-called basic statement b, where b is both empirically verifiable and empirically falsifiable. In other words: T is scientific if it entails ¬b; where b, hence also ¬b, is an empirically decidable proposition. (shrink)
Housed in one volume for the first time are several of the seminal essays on Du Bois's contributions to sociology and critical social theory: from DuBois as inventor of the sociology of race to Du Bois as the first sociologist of American religion; from Du Bois as a pioneer of urban and rural sociology to Du Bois as innovator of the sociology of gender and culture; and finally from Du Bois as groundbreaking sociologist of education and cultural criminologist to Du (...) Bois as critic of the disciplinary decadence of the discipline of sociology. Unlike any other anthology or critical reader on Du Bois, this new volume offers an excellent overview of the critical commentary on arguably one of the most imaginative and innovative, perceptive and prolific founders of the discipline of sociology. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s concepts shed light on the phenomenon of schizophrenia in at least three different ways: with a view to empathy, scientific explanation, or philosophical clarification. I consider two different “positive” wittgensteinian accounts―Campbell’s idea that delusions involve a mechanism of which different framework propositions are parts, Sass’ proposal that the schizophrenic patient can be described as a solipsist, and a Rhodes’ and Gipp’s account, where epistemic aspects of schizophrenia are explained as failures in the ordinary background of certainties. I argue that (...) none of them amounts to empathic-phenomenological understanding, but they provide examples of how philosophical concepts can contribute to scientific explanation, and to philosophical clarification respectively. (shrink)
What is a natural kind ? As we shall see, the concept of a natural kind has a long history. Many of the interesting doctrines can be detected in Aristotle, were revived by Locke and Leibniz, and have again become fashionable in recent years. Equally there has been agreement about certain paradigm examples: the kinds oak, stickleback and gold are natural kinds, and the kinds table, nation and banknote are not. Sadly agreement does not extend much further. It is impossible (...) to discover a single consistent doctrine in the literature, and different discussions focus on different doctrines without writers or readers being aware of the fact. In this paper I shall attempt to find a defensible distinction between natural and non-natural kinds. (shrink)
How could the self be a substance? There are various ways in which it could be, some familiar from the history of philosophy. I shall be rejecting these more familiar substantivalist approaches, but also the non-substantival theories traditionally opposed to them. I believe that the self is indeed a substance—in fact, that it is a simple or noncomposite substance—and, perhaps more remarkably still, that selves are, in a sense, self-creating substances. Of course, if one thinks of the notion of substance (...) as an outmoded relic of prescientific metaphysics—as the notion of some kind of basic and perhaps ineffable stuff —then the suggestion that the self is a substance may appear derisory. Even what we ordinarily call ‘stuffs’—gold and water and butter and the like—are, it seems, more properly conceived of as aggregates of molecules or atoms, while the latter are not appropriately to be thought of as being ‘made’ of any kind of ‘stuff’ at all. But this only goes to show that we need to think in terms of a more sophisticated notion of substance—one which may ultimately be traced back to Aristotle's conception of a ‘primary substance’ in the Categories , and whose heir in modern times is W. E. Johnson's notion of the ‘continuant’. It is the notion, that is, of a concrete individual capable of persisting identically through qualitative change, a subject of alterable predicates that is not itself predicable of any further subject. (shrink)
É bem conhecida a oposição estabelecida por Kant entre experiência possível e dialética, na medida em que esta última é caracterizada como a lógica da ilusão. Ao mesmo tempo, o modo de pensar metafísico, que ocorre dialeticamente, em sentido kantiano, é uma tendência inevitável da razão, expressa na exigência formal de completude das categorias. Como o pensar, enquanto exercício livre da razão, é em si mesmo mais amplo do que a atividade de conhecer, própria do entendimento, o pensar contém o (...) conhecimento, embora este se qualifique pelas regras e pelos limites determinantes da objetividade. A pergunta que tentaremos formular é se essa relação continente-conteúdo não poderia configurar também uma dependência da experiência em relação ao raciocínio dialético, que estaria de algum modo indicada na função reguladora das idéias da razão. Nesse caso, a oposição formal entre conhecer e pensar seria inseparável da inclusão estrutural (dependência) da experiência no âmbito da razão. Na raiz do problema estaria talvez a tensão (dialética) entre a aspiração subjetiva de totalidade e as exigências objetivas de limitação e segmentação da experiência e a forma da experiência teria de ser finalmente concebida a partir de um fundo de inteligibilidade problemática. Dialectics and experienceThe separation of possible experience as objective knowledge and dialetics as a non-objective or non-theoretical knowledge is one of the most important aspects of kantian critical philosophy. But Kant also says that the activity of reason, as a pure thinking, has more amplitude than understanding knowledge. So we could say that theoric knowledge would depend on rational ( and non-theoretical) knowledge, as something contained in it. If we accept that, the consequence would be a relation of dependence between the form of objective knowledge and the background of a problematic even doubtful inteligible knowledge. (shrink)
In this philosophy classic, which was first published in 1951, E. R. Dodds takes on the traditional view of Greek culture as a triumph of rationalism. Using the analytical tools of modern anthropology and psychology, Dodds asks, "Why should we attribute to the ancient Greeks an immunity from 'primitive' modes of thought which we do not find in any society open to our direct observation?" Praised by reviewers as "an event in modern Greek scholarship" and "a book which it would (...) be difficult to over-praise," _The Greeks and the Irrational _was Volume 25 of the Sather Classical Lectures series. (shrink)
Any effort to specify identity conditions for corporations faces significant challenges. Corporations are amorphous. Nature draws no hard lines defining where they start or stop, whether in space or time. Corporations are also frustratingly dynamic. They often change the most basic aspects of their composition by exchanging parts, splitting and merging, changing ownership, and reworking fundamental internal operations. -/- Even so, we apply corporate identity conditions all the time. Both law and common intuition recognize that corporations do things—like pollute environments (...) or mislabel addictive medications—that call for judgment. Imposing judgment on corporations presupposes some implicit view of corporate identity that allows us to say, “This corporation that we now judge is the same one that misbehaved.” -/- This chapter draws on evidence from court decisions and experimental philosophy to unpack the fundamentally different visions of corporate identity implicitly encoded in law and in common intuition. The discrepancies suggest important lessons for lawmakers and corporate managers. (shrink)
The strong weak truth table (sw) reducibility was suggested by Downey, Hirschfeldt, and LaForte as a measure of relative randomness, alternative to the Solovay reducibility. It also occurs naturally in proofs in classical computability theory as well as in the recent work of Soare, Nabutovsky, and Weinberger on applications of computability to differential geometry. We study the sw-degrees of c.e. reals and construct a c.e. real which has no random c.e. real (i.e., Ω number) sw-above it.
Great advances have been made of late years in the understanding of ancient artillery, but the difference between the παλíντινιν and the εθτινιν seems to remain a riddle still inviting solution. In tentatively accepting the invitation, we are met at the outset by a certain amount of fog due to the fact that ancient guns were classed by two methods which produce a cross division. It will pay us to dispel this fog, or at any rate to find our bearings (...) in it as exactly as may be, before going further. (shrink)
Dubbed “Nietzsche without his hammer” by literary critic James Wood, the Romanian philosopher E. M. Cioran is known as much for his profound pessimism and fatalistic approach as for the lyrical, raging prose with which he communicates them. Unlike many of his other works, such as On the Heights of Despair and Tears and Saints, The New Gods eschews his usual aphoristic approach in favor of more extensive and analytic essays. Returning to many of Cioran’s favorite themes, The New Gods (...) explores humanity’s attachment to gods, death, fear, and infirmity, in essays that vary widely in form and approach. In “Paleontology” Cioran describes a visit to a museum, finding the relatively pedestrian destination rife with decay, death, and human weakness. In another chapter, Cioran explores suicide in shorter, impressionistic bursts, while “The Demiurge” is a shambolic exploration of man’s relationship with good, evil, and God. All the while, The New Gods reaffirms Cioran’s belief in “lucid despair,” and his own signature mixture of pessimism and skepticism in language that never fails to be a pleasure. Perhaps his prose itself is an argument against Cioran’s near-nihilism: there is beauty in his books. (shrink)