Simple idealized models seem to provide more understanding than opaque, complex, and hyper-realistic models. However, an increasing number of scientists are going in the opposite direction by utilizing opaque machine learning models to make predictions and draw inferences, suggesting that scientists are opting for models that have less potential for understanding. Are scientists trading understanding for some other epistemic or pragmatic good when they choose a machine learning model? Or are the assumptions behind why minimal models provide understanding misguided? In (...) this paper, using the case of deep neural networks, I argue that it is not the complexity or black box nature of a model that limits how much understanding the model provides. Instead, it is a lack of scientific and empirical evidence supporting the link that connects a model to the target phenomenon that primarily prohibits understanding. (shrink)
In autumn 2009, BBC television ran a natural history series, ‘Last Chance to See’, with Stephen Fry and wildlife writer and photographer, Mark Carwardine, searching out endangered species. In one episode they retraced the steps Carwardine had taken in the 1980s with Douglas Adams, when they visited Madagascar in search of the aye-aye, a nocturnal lemur. Fry and Carwardine visited an aye-aye in captivity, and upon first setting eyes on the creature they found it rather ugly. After spending an hour (...) or so in its company, Fry said he was completely ‘under its spell’. A subsequent encounter with an aye-aye in the wild supported Fry's judgment of ugliness and fascination for the creature: ‘The aye-aye is beguiling, certainly bizarre, for some even a little revolting. And I say, long may it continue being so.’. (shrink)
Liberalism is a wonderful theory, but its adherents have a difficult time explaining why. In his Tanner Lecture entitled Foundations of Liberal Equality, Ronald Dworkin proposes to defend liberalism in a new way. Dworkin is not content to view liberalism as a political compromise in which people set aside their personal convictions in the interest of social peace. Instead, he undertakes to make liberal political theory “continuous” with personal ethics, by describing an ethical position that endorses liberalism as a matter (...) of conviction. (shrink)
Du Châtelet’s 1740 text Foundations of Physics tackles three of the major foundational issues facing natural philosophy in the early eighteenth century: the problem of bodies, the problem of force, and the question of appropriate methodology. This paper offers an introduction to Du Châtelet’s philosophy of science, as expressed in her Foundations of Physics, primarily through the lens of the problem of bodies.
What is time? This is one of the most fundamental questions we can ask. Emily Thomas explores how a new theory of time emerged in the seventeenth century. The 'absolute' theory of time held that it is independent of material bodies or human minds, so even if nothing else existed there would be time.
In The Sublime in Modern Philosophy: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Nature, Emily Brady takes a fresh look at the sublime and shows why it endures as a meaningful concept in contemporary philosophy. In a reassessment of historical approaches, the first part of the book identifies the scope and value of the sublime in eighteenth-century philosophy, nineteenth-century philosophy and Romanticism, and early wilderness aesthetics. The second part examines the sublime's contemporary significance through its relationship to the arts; its position with respect to (...) other aesthetic categories involving mixed or negative emotions, such as tragedy; and its place in environmental aesthetics and ethics. Far from being an outmoded concept, Brady argues that the sublime is a distinctive aesthetic category which reveals an important, if sometimes challenging, aesthetic-moral relationship with the natural world. (shrink)
Im Mittelpunkt der vorliegenden Studie steht die Frage nach der Tragweite und Anwendungsrelevanz der Methodenlehre Émilie du Châtelets für die Physik im 18. Jahrhundert, mit der sich die Französin an der Diskussion um Energie- und Impulserhaltung und um das Prinzip der kleinsten Wirkung beteiligte. Andrea Reichenberger zeigt, dass Prinzipien und Hypothesen für Émilie du Châtelet als Fundament und Gerüst wissenschaftlicher Erkenntnis gelten. Im Zusammenspiel beider Komponenten erweisen sich das Prinzip des Widerspruchs und das Prinzip des zureichenden Grundes als regulative Leitlinien (...) und Handlungsmaxime für die auf Hypothesen gestützte Theoriebildung und -begründung. Die sich daraus ergebenden Konsequenzen für den Status und Inhalt der Newtonschen Axiome werden exemplarisch aufgezeigt. (shrink)
Under what conditions does machine learning (ML) model opacity inhibit the possibility of explaining and understanding phenomena? In this paper, I argue that non-epistemic values give shape to the ML opacity problem even if we keep researcher interests fixed. Treating ML models as an instance of doing model-based science to explain and understand phenomena reveals that there is (i) an external opacity problem, where the presence of inductive risk imposes higher standards on externally validating models, and (ii) an internal opacity (...) problem, where greater inductive risk demands a higher level of transparency regarding the inferences the model makes. (shrink)
much early modern metaphysics grew with an eye to the new science of its time, but few figures took it as seriously as Emilie du Châtelet. Happily, her oeuvre is now attracting close, renewed attention, and so the time is ripe for looking into her metaphysical foundation for empirical theory. Accordingly, I move here to do just that. I establish two conclusions. First, du Châtelet's basic metaphysics is a robust realism. Idealist strands, while they exist, are confined to non-basic (...) regimes. Second, her substance realism seems internally coherent, so her foundational project appears successful.I have two aims in this paper. Historically, I show that du Châtelet's main source of inspiration was Christian... (shrink)
In diesem Band werden neueste Forschungen zur Physikerin, Mathematikerin und Philosophin Emilie Du Châtelet vorgestellt. Emilie Du Châtelet genoss in der deutschen Aufklärung eine hohe Reputation. Sie verband Leibniz Metaphysik mit der Physik von Newton und gelangte zu erstaunlichen Ergebnissen, die die Physik auf den Weg zu Einsteins Energieformel führte. Ihre Werke wurden sofort ins Deutsche übersetzt, Kant nimmt in seiner ersten Dissertation von 1747 auf sie Bezug. Die Sammlung stellt Texte vor, die den Einfluss der deutschen Aufklärung (...) auf Du Châtelets und Du Châtelets Einfluss auf die deutsche Philosophie diskutieren. Die großen Namen der Epoche stehen hier zur Debatte, Leibniz, Wolff, Boskovic, Euler, Friedrich II, Voltaire, La Mettrie und viele weitere Größen der Aufklärung werden in ihrem Zusammenhang mit Du Châtelet vorgestellt. (shrink)
This book draws its inspiration from Hilbert, Wittgenstein, Cavaillès and Lakatos and is designed to reconfigure contemporary philosophy of mathematics by making the growth of knowledge rather than its foundations central to the study of mathematical rationality, and by analyzing the notion of growth in historical as well as logical terms. Not a mere compendium of opinions, it is organised in dialogical forms, with each philosophical thesis answered by one or more historical case studies designed to support, complicate or question (...) it. The first part of the book examines the role of scientific theory and empirical fact in the growth of mathematical knowledge. The second examines the role of abstraction, analysis and axiomatization. The third raises the question of whether the growth of mathematical knowledge constitutes progress, and how progress may be understood. Readership: Students and scholars concerned with the history and philosophy of mathematics and the formal sciences. (shrink)
The rule of rescue describes the moral impulse to save identifiable lives in immediate danger at any expense. Think of the extremes taken to rescue a small child who has fallen down a well, a woman pinned beneath the rubble of an earthquake, or a submarine crew trapped on the ocean floor. No effort is deemed too great. Yet should this same moral instinct to rescue, regardless of cost, be applied in the emergency room, the hospital, or the community clinic? (...) -/- In health care, the desire to save lives at any cost must be reconciled with the reality of resource scarcity. As one example, the estimated cost for prophylactic Factor VIII to treat one patient with hemophilia for one year is $300,000. Costs of this magnitude have been accepted by public and private insurers in the developed world, even though, in principle, these sums could provide greater overall health benefit if allocated to pay for the unmet health care needs of many other patients. Looking forward, however, broad application of the rule of rescue will be increasingly untenable. But the moral instinct will remain: the desire to help those weakest among us, especially when their small numbers allow us to see them as unique individuals. What, then, is the ethical framework that can guide coverage and reimbursement decisions for orphan drugs into the future? (shrink)
This book explains the importance of embodiment in understanding the function of race. With chapters by expert contributors and coverage of the most recent thinking in philosophy of race, the book is ideal for upper-level students in Phenomenology, Philosophy of Race and Critical Race Theory.
There is a long tradition, in the history and philosophy of science, of studying Kant’s philosophy of mathematics, but recently philosophers have begun to examine the way in which Kant’s reflections on mathematics play a role in his philosophy more generally, and in its development. For example, in the Critique of Pure Reason , Kant outlines the method of philosophy in general by contrasting it with the method of mathematics; in the Critique of Practical Reason , Kant compares the Formula (...) of Universal Law, central to his theory of moral judgement, to a mathematical postulate; in the Critique of Judgement , where he considers aesthetic judgment, Kant distinguishes the mathematical sublime from the dynamical sublime. This last point rests on the distinction that shapes the Transcendental Analytic of Concepts at the heart of Kant’s Critical philosophy, that between the mathematical and the dynamical categories. These examples make it clear that Kant's transcendental philosophy is strongly influenced by the importance and special status of mathematics. The contributions to this book explore this theme of the centrality of mathematics to Kant’s philosophy as a whole. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy. (shrink)
Dementia patients in the moderate-late stage of the disease can, and often do, express different preferences than they did at the onset of their condition. The received view in the philosophical literature argues that advance directives which prioritize the patient’s preferences at onset ought to be given decisive moral weight in medical decision-making. Clinical practice, on the other hand, favors giving moral weight to the preferences expressed by dementia patients after onset. The purpose of this article is to show that (...) the received view in the philosophical literature is inadequate and is out of touch with real clinical practice. I argue that having dementia is a cognitive transformative experience and that preference changes which result from this are legitimate and ought to be given moral weight in medical decision-making. This argument ought to encourage us to reduce our confidence in the moral weight of advance directives for dementia patients. (shrink)
Emily Carr, often called Canada’s Van Gogh, was a post-impressionist explorer, artist and writer. In _Artist Emily Carr and the Spirit of the Land_ Phyllis Marie Jensen draws on analytical psychology and the theories of feminism and social constructionism for insights into Carr’s life in the late Victorian period and early twentieth century. Presented in two parts, the book introduces Carr’s émigré English family and childhood on the "edge of nowhere" and her art education in San Francisco, London and Paris. (...) Travels in the wilderness introduced her to the totem art of the Pacific Northwest coast at a time Aboriginal art was undervalued and believed to be disappearing. Carr vowed to document it before turning to spirited landscapes of forest, sea and sky. The second part of the book presents a Jungian portrait of Carr, including typology, psychological complexes, and archetypal features of personality. An examination the individuation process and Carr’s embracement of transcendental philosophy reveals the richness of her personality and artistic genius. Artist Emily Carr and the Spirit of the Land provides captivating reading for analytical psychologists, academics and students of Jungian studies, art history, health, gender and women’s studies. (shrink)
Exploring key topics in contemporary aesthetics, this work analyzes the issues that arise from the unique works of Frank Sibley (1923-1996), who developed a distinctive aesthetic theory through a number of papers published between 1955 and 1995. Here, thirteen philosophical aestheticians bring Sibley's insight into a contemporary framework, exploring the ways his ideas foster important new discussion about issues in aesthetics. This collection will interest anyone interested in philosophy, art theory, and art criticism.
In this article, I draw on ethnographic research to show how a particular ethos and worldview get produced in the context of “technical” education in a department of nanoengineering. Building on feminist science studies and communication theory, I argue that the curriculum introducing undergraduate students to scale implicitly teaches them an abstract and universal notion that smaller is better. I suggest that rather than smaller is better, a perspective that embraces context and specificity—such as the question “when, how, and for (...) whom is smaller better?”—would ground nanoengineering in a more reflexive, pluralistic, and democratically oriented mode of world-building. (shrink)
Over the last several decades there has been an increase in the amount of research conducted concerning academically dishonest behaviors at the undergraduate level. However, this research and subsequent interventions are based on the assumptions that there exists a clear understanding of what constitutes academic dishonesty. In an attempt to address this gap in the current literature, a concept synthesis of students’ perceptions of academic behavior was completed. The end result was 18 categories of potentially dishonest academic behaviors. Definitions and (...) examples are explored. Inter-rater reliability was completed and Kappa values are reported as well as implications for teaching and future research. (shrink)
The Cartesian method, construed as a way of organizing domains of knowledge according to the "order of reasons," was a powerful reductive tool. Descartes made significant strides in mathematics, physics, and metaphysics by relating certain complex items and problems back to more simple elements that served as starting points for his inquiries. But his reductive method also impoverished these domains in important ways, for it tended to restrict geometry to the study of straight line segments, physics to the study of (...) ambiguously constituted bits of matter in motion, and metaphysics to the study of the isolated, incorporeal knower. This book examines in detail the negative and positive impact of Descartes's method on his scientific and philosophical enterprises, exemplified by the Geometry, the Principles, the Treatise of Man, and the Meditations. (shrink)
The work of women philosophers in the early modern period has traditionally been overlooked, yet their writing on topics such as reality, time, mind and matter holds valuable lessons for our understanding of metaphysics and its history. This volume of new essays explores the work of nine key female figures: Bathsua Makin, Anna Maria van Schurman, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, Damaris Cudworth Masham, Mary Astell, Catharine Trotter Cockburn, and Émilie Du Châtelet. Investigating issues from eternity to free (...) will and from body to natural laws, the essays uncover long-neglected perspectives and demonstrate their importance for philosophical debates, both then and now. Combining careful philosophical analysis with discussion of the intellectual and historical context of each thinker, they will set the agenda for future enquiry and will appeal to scholars and students of the history of metaphysics, science, religion and feminism. (shrink)
This book provides a systematic, philosophical account of the main issues that pertain to the aesthetics of modified environments, as well as new insights concerning the generation and appreciation of landscapes and environments that fall between nature and culture, including gardens and ecologically restored landscapes.
This book explicates Leibnizian analysis as a search for conditions of intelligibility, and reconsiders his use of principles and methods as well as his account of truth in this way. Via careful reading of well-known, lesser known, and previously unedited texts, it gives a more accurate picture of his philosophical intentions, as well as the relevance of his project to contemporary debate. Two case studies are included, one concerning logic and the other arithmetic; they illustrate a theory of intelligibility that (...) takes as its central notion "possibility for thought", a notion which allows Leibniz to escape certain traps of psychologism, the pseudo-ontology of empiricism, and the empty forms of logicism, and suggests new approaches for contemporary philosophy. "In this remarkable study, Grosholz and Yakira offer a fresh interpretive and conceptual angle on Leibniz's metaphysics. [...] this study deserves high marks for its subtlety, novelty, and creative insight into Leibniz's modes of inquiry as well as for its philosophical acumen." Annals of Science. (shrink)
Experiments are commonly thought to have epistemic privilege over simulations. Two ideas underpin this belief: first, experiments generate greater inferential power than simulations, and second, simulations cannot surprise us the way experiments can. In this article I argue that neither of these claims is true of experiments versus simulations in general. We should give up the common practice of resting in-principle judgments about the epistemic value of cases of scientific inquiry on whether we classify those cases as experiments or simulations, (...) per se. To the extent that either methodology puts researchers in a privileged epistemic position, this is context sensitive. (shrink)
This fresh and innovative approach to human-environmental relations will revolutionise our understanding of the boundaries between ourselves and the environment we inhabit. The anthology is predicated on the notion that values shift back and forth between humans and the world around them in an ethical communicative zone called ‘value-space’. The contributors examine the transformative interplay between external environments and human values, and identify concrete ways in which these norms, residing in and derived from self and society, are projected onto the (...) environment. (shrink)
Maurice Ravel's operas L'Heure espagnole and L'Enfant et les sortilèges are pivotal works in the composer's relatively small œuvre. Emerging from periods shaped by very distinct musical concerns and historical circumstances, these two vastly different works nevertheless share qualities that reveal the heart of Ravel's compositional aesthetic. In this comprehensive study, Emily Kilpatrick unites musical, literary, biographical and cultural perspectives to shed new light on Ravel's operas. In documenting the operas' history, setting them within the cultural canvas of their creation (...) and pursuing diverse strands of analytical and thematic exploration, Kilpatrick reveals crucial aspects of the composer's working life: his approach to creative collaboration, his responsiveness to cultural, aesthetic and musical debate, and the centrality of language and literature in his compositional practice. The first study of its kind, this book is an invaluable resource for students, specialists, opera-goers and devotees of French music. (shrink)
Social epistemologists should be well-equipped to explain and evaluate the growing vulnerabilities associated with filter bubbles, echo chambers, and group polarization in social media. However, almost all social epistemology has been built for social contexts that involve merely a speaker-hearer dyad. Filter bubbles, echo chambers, and group polarization all presuppose much larger and more complex network structures. In this paper, we lay the groundwork for a properly social epistemology that gives the role and structure of networks their due. In particular, (...) we formally define epistemic constructs that quantify the structural epistemic position of each node within an interconnected network. We argue for the epistemic value of a structure that we call the (m,k)-observer. We then present empirical evidence that (m,k)-observers are rare in social media discussions of controversial topics, which suggests that people suffer from serious problems of epistemic vulnerability. We conclude by arguing that social epistemologists and computer scientists should work together to develop minimal interventions that improve the structure of epistemic networks. (shrink)
Though it has gone unnoticed so far in Beauvoir Studies, the term “singularity” is a technical one for Simone de Beauvoir. In the first half of the essay I discuss two reasons why this term has been obscured. First, as is well known Beauvoir has not been read in the context of the history of philosophy until recently. Second, in The Ethics of Ambiguity at least, singularité is translated both inconsistently and quite misleadingly. In the second half of the essay (...) I attempt to demonstrate the importance of this term in The Ethics. The will to disclose being is the will to disclose the singularity of the other, whether human, land, sky or painting. Ambiguity, which Beauvoir distinguishes from absurdity in Camus, is an image suggesting this necessarily mutual disclosure of singularity. (shrink)
Recent work in political philosophy has tended to focus on issues related to states and governments. Only rarely do political philosophers focus on the rights and obligations of individual agents—voters, lobbyists, politicians, party members—acting within political systems. _Political Ethics: Voters, Lobbyists, and Politicians _ aims to partially fill a gap in the literature, offering twenty never-before-published essays on ethical issues facing individuals in politics. The chapters cover three major areas of political ethics: The Rights and Obligations of Politicians; The Rights (...) and Obligations of Citizens; and Political Parties. The volume is a ground-breaking collection, charting the future direction for exploring issues at the intersection of political philosophy and applied ethics. (shrink)
This book presents an interpretive analysis of the major themes and purpose of Alexis de Tocqueville’s and Gustave de Beaumont’s first work, On the Penitentiary System, thereby offering new insights into Tocqueville as a moderate liberal statesman. The book explores Tocqueville’s thinking on penitentiaries as the best possible solution to recidivism, his approach to colonial imperialism, and his arguments on moral reformation of prisoners through a close reading of Tocqueville’s first published text. The unifying political concept of all three discussions (...) is Tocqueville’s underlying concern to pursue moderation between institutional and imaginative extremes in order to maintain liberal values. In both thinking moderately and advocating for moderate political action, Tocqueville’s On the Penitentiary System renews an emphasis on the importance of civic engagement and the balance between philosophy and praxis. (shrink)
The first ever history of the places where history and philosophy meet, from the Age of Discovery in the sixteenth century to contemplation of how space travel will affect our understanding of who we are in the twenty-first. This book will reshape your understanding of travel.