We present the idea of searching for X-rays as a signature of the mechanism inducing the spontaneous collapse of the wave function. Such a signal is predicted by the continuous spontaneous localization theories, which are solving the “measurement problem” by modifying the Schrödinger equation. We will show some encouraging preliminary results and discuss future plans and strategy.
G.E. Moore, more than either Bertrand Russell or Ludwig Wittgenstein, was chiefly responsible for the rise of the analytic method in twentieth-century philosophy. This selection of his writings shows Moore at his very best. The classic essays are crucial to major philosophical debates that still resonate today. Amongst those included are: * A Defense of Common Sense * Certainty * Sense-Data * External and Internal Relations * Hume's Theory Explained * Is Existence a Predicate? * Proof of an External World (...) In addition, this collection also contains the key early papers in which Moore signals his break with idealism, and three important previously unpublished papers from his later work which illustrate his relationship with Wittgenstein. (shrink)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
O presente texto procura acompanhar alguns aspectos da reconstrução sartreana das relações entre indivíduo e história, tentando mostrar que a fenomenologia e o materialismo dialético comparecem nessa proposta de conhecimento e que é a convergência das duas perspectivas que permite, contemplando adequadamente a universalidade e a singularidade, descrever e compreender dialeticamente o modo histórico de produção da identidade individual.
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)
Why does the problem of free will seem so intractable? I surmise that in large measure it does so because the free will debate, at least in its modern form, is conducted in terms of a mistaken approach to causality in general. At the heart of this approach is the assumption that all causation is fundamentally event causation. Of course, it is well-known that some philosophers of action want to invoke in addition an irreducible notion of agent causation, applicable only (...) in the sphere of intelligent agency. But such a view is generally dismissed as incompatible with the naturalism that has now become orthodoxy amongst mainstream analytical philosophers of mind. What I want to argue is that substances, not events, are the primary relata of causal relations and that agent causation should properly be conceived of as a species of substance causation. I shall try to show that by thus reconceiving the nature of causation and of agency, the problem of free will can be made more tractable. I shall also argue for a contention that may seem even less plausible at first sight, namely, that such a view of agency is perfectly compatible with a volitionist theory of action. (shrink)
E-Z Reader 7 is a processing model of eye-movement control. One constraint imposed on the model is that high-level cognitive processes do not influence eye movements unless normal reading processes are disturbed. I suggest that this constraint is unnecessary, and that the model provides a sensible architecture for explaining how both low- and high-level processes influence eye movements.
If one is an egalitarian, what should one want to equalize? Opportunities or outcomes? Resources or welfare? These positions are usually conceived to be very different. I argue in this paper that the distinction is misconceived: the only coherent conception of resource equality implies welfare equality, in an appropriately abstract description of the problem. In this section, I motivate the program which the rest of the paper carries out.
Hume's famous discussion of miracles in the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is curious both on account of the arguments he does deploy and on account of the arguments he does not deploy, but might have been expected to. The first and second parts of this paper will be devoted to examining, respectively, these two objects of curiosity. The second part I regard as the more important, because I shall there try to show that the fact that Hume does not deploy (...) an argument that he might have been expected to deploy in fact reflects a weakness in the view of natural laws that has come to be associated with Hume's name. I shall argue, in fact, that it is a symptom of the defectiveness of the ‘Humean’ view of natural laws that on that view it is only too easy to rule out the possibility of a miracle ever occurring. In the third part of the paper, I shall show how another view of laws can overcome this problem. (shrink)
O presente artigo examina o projecto ético-politico de Richard Rorty nas suas vertentes teórica (enquanto projecto ideal de sociedade - a democracia liberal) e prática (enquanto tentativa de efectivação dessa Utopia). Porém, uma análise atenta permite concluir que ele redunda no seguinte paradoxo: por um lado, Rorty argumenta que a democracia liberal é o 'melhor regime político', mas, por outro, admite que ele não é realizável na prática. O autor do artigo vai mais longe: se fosse realizável, tornar-se-ia num dos (...) 'piores regimes políticos'. Sugere-se que as diflculdades no pensamento rortyano não estão tanto nos pressupostos, mas antes no modo como deriva as suas conclusões porque: algumas vezes as conclusões não são deriváveis das premissas; noutras são simplesmente contraditórias. /// This article examines Richard Rorty s ethical and political project both in its theoretical (as an ideal social project - a liberal democracy) and practical (as an attempt to implement this Utopia) aspects. However, a closer analysis permits us to conclude that it falls into the following paradox: on the one hand, Rorty argues that liberal democracy is the 'best political regime', but, on the other, he admits that it cannot be put into practice. The author of the article goes further: if it could be realized, it would be one of the 'worst political regimes'. It is suggested that the difficulties in Rorty's thought are not so much at the level of the presuppositions but rather in the way it derives its conclusions because: sometimes the conclusions are not derivable from the premises; at other times they are simply contradictory. (shrink)
In The City of God , XI, 10, St Augustine claims that the divine nature is simple because ‘it is what it has’ . We may take this as a slogan for the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity , a doctrine which finds its way into orthodox medieval Christian theological speculation. Like the doctrine of God's timeless eternality, the DDS has seemed obvious and pious to many, and incoherent, misguided, and repugnant to others. Unlike the doctrine of God's timeless eternality, the (...) DDS has received very little critical attention. The DDS did not originate with Augustine, but I am not primarily concerned with its pedigree. Nor am I concerned to ask how the doctrine interacts with trinitarian speculation. I will have my hands full as it is. In Section I of this paper I shall provide a rough characterization of the DDS, indicate its complexity, and focus on a particular aspect of the doctrine which will exercise us in the remainder of the paper, namely, the thesis that the divine attributes are all identical with each other and with God. In section n I shall discuss Alvin Plantinga's recent objections to Aquinas' version of the DDS. I shall then offer a more detailed presentation of what I take to be Aquinas' version , and recast it in terms of a theory of attributes which is significantly different from Plantinga's . Although the recasting of the doctrine will enable me to rebut Plantinga's objections , it by no means solves all the problems of the DDS. In section vi I shall discuss the chief lingering problem facing a defender of the DDS. (shrink)
In a famous passage in her book, Intention , Professor G. E. M. Anscombe argues that we can only render intelligible the idea of someone wanting a thing if we know under what aspect the person sees the thing as desirable. The wanted thing must be characterized by the wanter as desirable in some respect. ‘[What] is required for our concept of “wanting”’, she says, ‘is that a man should see what he wants under the aspect of some good’ . (...) And furthermore, ‘the good conceived by the agent to characterize the thing must really be one of the many forms of good’ . Thus, while the object of desire need only be conceived as good by the wanter, and need not be really good, this can only be because the object does not have the desirable character the wanter believes it to have, not because the character supposed to be desirable is not really so. Desire cannot but be for one of the real forms of good. (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)
Rosenberg argues that economists have embraced the methodology of scientific research programs, and the writings of Imre Lakatos, at the same time that philosophers have been abandoning that approach. According to Rosenberg, the methodology of scientific research programs appears to allow some work in economics, which is neither tested nor testable, to be “scientific” nonetheless. That is, MSRP justifies some current practices which look hard to justify on strict falsificationist, or dogmatic positivist, grounds.
Characterizations of philosophy abound. It is ‘the queen of the sciences’, a grand and sweeping metaphysical endeavour; or, less regally, it is a sort of deep anthropology or ‘descriptive metaphysics’, uncovering the general presuppositions or conceptual schemes that lurk beneath our words and thoughts. A different set of images portray philosophy as a type of therapy, or as a spiritual exercise, a way of life to be followed, or even as a special branch of poetry or politics. Then there is (...) a group of characterizations that include philosophy as linguistic analysis, as phenomenological description, as conceptual geography, or as genealogy in the sense proposed by Nietzsche and later taken up by Foucault. (shrink)
Are persons substances or modes? Two currently dominant views may be characterized as giving the following rival answers to this question. According to the first view, persons are just biological substances. According to the second, persons are psychological modes of substances which, as far as human beings are concerned, happen to be biological substances, but which could in principle be non-biological. There is, however, also a third possible answer, and this is that persons are psychological substances. Such a view is (...) inevitably associated with the name of Descartes, and this helps to explain its current unpopularity, since substantial dualism of his sort is now widely rejected as ‘unscientific’. But one may, as I hope to show, espouse the view that persons are psychological substances without endorsing Cartesianism. This is because one may reject certain features of Descartes's conception of substance. Consequently, one may also espouse a version of substantial dualism which is distinctly non-Cartesian. One may hold that a person, being a psychological substance, is an entity distinct from the biological substance that is his or her body, and yet still be prepared to ascribe corporeal characteristics to this psychological substance. By this account, a human person is to be thought of neither as a non-corporeal mental substance, nor as the product of a mysterious ‘union’ between such a substance and a physical, biological substance. This is not to deny that the mind—body problem is a serious and difficult one, but it is to imply that there is a version of substantial dualism which does not involve regarding the ‘mind’ as a distinct substance in its own right. (shrink)
The science underlying global warming, climate change, and the connections between these phenomena are reviewed. Projected future climate changes under various plausible scenarios of future human behavior are explored, as are the potential impacts of projected climate changes on society, ecosystems, and our environment. The economic, security, and ethical considerations relevant to determining the threat posed by climate change are subsequently assessed. The article then discusses the various means available for climate change mitigation, focusing on the relative strengths and weaknesses (...) of various societal alternatives including ‘geoengineering’ and transitioning to less carbon intensive energy sources. The article concludes with the author's views as to what steps might most profitably be taken to avert dangerous anthropogenic interference with Earth's climate, and the ramifications if such steps are not taken. (shrink)
Dieser Artikel ist die Übersetzung des zuerst in 1950 veröffentlichten Schlüsseltextes “Humanisme og kristendom” des dänischen Philosophen und Theologen Knud E. Løgstrup. In diesem Text legt Løgstrup seine Konzeption der Debatte zwischen Humanismus und Christentum dar. Er argumentiert dafür, dass die beiden Positionen nicht als einander entgegengesetzt zu betrachten sind, da beide die Interdependenz und Verletzlichkeit des Menschseins als Grundlage für eine “stumme” Forderung nach Umsorge erkennen – auch wenn der Humanismus in dieser Forderung lediglich die Leistung sozialer Normen sehen (...) und das Christentum sie mit Lehren der Kirche verwechseln kann. So betrachtet, greift der Text als erster Entwurf jenen Ideen vor, die Løgstrup in seinem späteren Hauptwerk Den etiske fordring entwickeln sollte. (shrink)