Frank A. Lewis presents a close study of book Zeta of Aristotle's Metaphysics, one of his most dense and controversial texts, commonly understood to contain his deepest thoughts on the definition of substance and related metaphysical issues. Lewis argues that Aristotle returns to the causal view of primary substance from his Posterior Analytics.
This book takes up the central themes of Aristotle's metaphysical theory and the various transformations they undergo prior to their full expression in the Metaphysics. Aristotle's metaphysics is bedevilled by classic puzzles involving such notions as form, predication, universal, and substance, which result from his attempt to adapt the various requirements on primary substance developed in his earlier works so that they fit the very different metaphysical picture in his later work. Professor Lewis argues that Aristotle is himself aware of (...) most if not all of these difficulties and in the Metaphysics works hard to ensure the coherence of his theory. He presents Aristotle's views as a formal theory complete with axioms, definitions, and theorems. (shrink)
Musgrave (1981) proposed a typology of assumptions, developed further by Mäki (2000), to defend the idea that the truth of assumptions is often important when evaluating economic theories against those economists who consider only predictive success to be relevant for this purpose. In this paper I propose a new framework for this typology that sheds further light on the issue. The framework consists of a distinction between first?order assumptions that state the absence or lack of effect of some factor F, (...) and second?order assumptions that explicate the purposes for which or the reasons why particular first?order assumptions are imposed. Given this distinction, Musgrave's main contention can be reformulated as the claim that, even though the falsity of first?order assumptions is often unproblematic, it is important that the second?order assumptions be true. I go on to introduce the notion of a tractability assumption, which is a second?order assumption according to which a first?order assumption is imposed in order to make a particular problem tractable. It is argued that a realist will want to relax a first?order assumption imposed for reasons of tractability as such assumptions are not even approximately true. These amendments to the Musgrave?Mäki typology are suggested in order to improve our understanding of what moves scientists when they choose particular first?order assumptions, many of which are false, and in order to argue that the practice of doing so can be supported from a realist perspective of science. (shrink)
A modest solution to the problem(s) of rule-following is defended against Kripkensteinian scepticism about meaning. Even though parts of it generalise to other concepts, the theory as a whole applies to response-dependent concepts only. It is argued that the finiteness problem is not nearly as pressing for such concepts as it may be for some other kinds of concepts. Furthermore, the modest theory uses a notion of justification as sensitivity to countervailing conditions in order to solve the justification problem. Finally, (...) in order to solve the normativity problem, it relies on substantial specifications of normal conditions such as those that have been proposed by Crispin Wright and Mark Johnston, rather than on Philip Pettit's functionalist specification. This theory is modest in that it does not meet the demands of Kripke's sceptic in full. Arguments are provided as to why this is not needed. (shrink)
Economic models often include unrealistic assumptions. This does not mean, however, that economists lack a concern for the truth of their assumptions. Unrealistic assumptions are frequently imposed because the effects are taken to be negligible or because the problem at hand is intractable without them. Using the Musgrave?Mäki typology as the point of departure, these claims are defended with respect to theories proposed by Solow, Hall and Roeger concerning productivity growth and the mark?up. Since they are unobservable, their values need (...) to be inferred from the values of observable variables. Assumptions such as perfect competition and constant returns to scale are used for making this inference or measurement problem tractable. Other assumptions are justified in terms of negligibility. These findings support the fecundity of the (amended) Musgrave?Mäki typology of assumptions ? including the notion of a tractability assumption proposed here. Finding ways of relaxing tractability assumptions turns out to be an important source of progress in economics. (shrink)
The business of philosophical analysis is clarification, But explicators and ordinary-Language philosophers disagree about how to achieve it. Their mutual criticisms or attempts at arbitration are made at such a level of generality as to leave the basis for dispute or settlement obscure. By focusing on supposedly competing analyses of truth--Tarski's semantical and strawson's performative conceptions of truth--The paper makes clarification itself the subject of clarification in an attempt to determine the basis of dispute.
The topic of homonymy, especially the variety of homonymy that has gone under the title, “focal meaning,” is of fundamental importance to large portions of Aristotle’s work-not to mention its central place in the ongoing controversies between Aristotle and Plato. It is quite astonishing, therefore, that the topic should have gone so long without a book-length treatment. And it is all the more gratifying that the new book on homonymy by Christopher Shields should be so comprehensive, and of such uniformly (...) high quality.’ Everyone who cares about Aristotle will be in his debt. Shields’s book falls into two parts. In the first, he is concerned to lay out the basic structure of Aristotle’s views about homonymy; in the second part, we are led through the various applications of the idea, to the analysis of friendship, for example, the homonymy of the body, the account of goodness and, not least, the homonymy of being. Shields’s book brings out well how the topic of homonymy weaves in and out of the fabric of Aristotle’s thinking in a variety of areas. I will resist the temptation to follow Shields through these various subject-matters, and instead take up essentially two topics. First, (I), the basic outline of Aristotle’s notion of homonymy, more or less independently of its different applications (here, I follow Shields’s example in the first half of his book). Thereafter, I discuss a single application: the homonymy of being (this is the subject of Shields’s last and longest chapter). Here, I will be interested (II) in how homonymy relates to the theory of the categories; and (III) in the application of homonymy to the analysis of substance in the Metaphysics. (shrink)
Neither Johnston's nor Wright's account of response-dependence offers a complete picture of response-dependence, as they do not apply to all concepts that are intrinsically related to our mental responses. In order to (begin to) remedy this situation, a new conception of response-dependence is introduced that I call "acceptance-dependence". This account applies to concepts such as goal, constitutional, and money, the first two of which have mistakenly been taken to be response-dependent in another sense. Whereas on Johnston's and Wright's accounts response-dependent (...) concepts depend on counterfactual responses of individuals, acceptance-dependent concepts depend on the actual responses of groups of people. This implies that concepts of the latter kind are less objective than concepts of the former kind. (shrink)
What in Aristotle corresponds, in whole or (more likely) in part, to our contemporary notion of predication? This paper sketches counterparts in Aristotle's text to our theories of expression and of truth, and on this basis inquires into his treatment of sentences assigning an individual to its kinds. In some recent accounts, the Metaphysics offers a fresh look at such sentences in terms of matter and form, in contrast to the simpler theory on offer in the Categories . I argue (...) that the Metaphysics initiates no change in this regard over the Categories . The point that form is (metaphysically) predicated of matter is a contribution, not to the account of statement predication, but to the analysis of compound material substances. Otherwise put, in our terms Aristotelian form is not - in particular, is not also - a propositional function, but a function from matter to compound material substances. (shrink)
Replying to Theaetetus’ suggestion that knowledge is true opinion at Tht. 200e, Socrates remarks that ‘a whole profession’ testifies against this definition. The orator practises the art of persuasion, not to teach people, but make them believe whatever he wants. If a robbery has taken place, for example, he cannot in a short time teach adequately the truth about what happened to people who were not on the scene.
Secular change in sex ratios is examined in relation to experience in the family. Two theoretical perspectives are outlined: Guttentag and Secord’s (1983) adaptation of social exchange theory, and sexual selection theory. Because of large-scale change in number of births and typical age differentials between men and women at marriage, low sex ratios at couple formation ages existed in the U.S. between 1965 and the early 1980s. The currently high sex ratios, however, will persist until the end of the century. (...) High sex ratios appear to be associated with lower divorce rates, male commitment to careers that promise economic rewards, male willingness to engage in child care, higher fertility, and higher rates of sexual violence. Sexual selection theory calls attention to intrasexual competition in the numerically larger sex. (shrink)
Despite its prominence in the abortion debate and in public policy, the discourse of 'unborn patient' has not been subjected to critical scrutiny. We provide a critical analysis in three steps. First, we distinguish between the descriptive and normative meanings of 'unborn child.' There is a long history of the descriptive use of 'unborn child.' Second, we argue that the concept of an unborn child has normative content but that this content does not do the work that opponents of abortion (...) want it to do, namely, to establish the independent moral status of fetuses and their rights, the right to life in particular. Third, we argue that the normative content of 'unborn child' should be dependent moral status, not independent moral status. We conclude that the ethical concept of the fetus as a patient should replace the discourse of “unborn child” when that phrase is used normatively. (shrink)
This article seeks to broaden the debate on the recruitment of REC lay members by arguing that the recruitment of good members requires that there is initially a need to heighten awareness among potential candidates of the nature of the lay contribution. The article offers a recruiting process model of: awareness; advocacy; characterization; recruitment, and training, and focuses on the first three steps in that process. The current position is that there is sparse awareness and advocacy of the role of (...) the lay member at a time of rapid change, both in the ‘research ethics service’ and the lay contribution thereto. Thus it is seen as imperative that positive steps are taken to change this position, filling a lacuna that appears to exist. Given that the candidate pool can become larger and have a fuller understanding of the ‘research ethics service’, better recruitment and hence better-trained members should result. As a way forward, practical ways and means to do this are suggested, providing topics that will engender a wider debate and perhaps as an outcome, some new initiative. (shrink)
Many of the things that we try to explain, in both our common sense and our scientific engagement with the world, are capable of being explained more or less finely: that is, with greater or lesser attention to the detail of the producing mechanism. A natural assumption, pervasive if not always explicit, is that other things being equal, the more finegrained an explanation, the better. Thus, Jon Elster, who also thinks there are instrumental reasons for wanting a more fine-grained explanation, (...) assumes that in any case the mere fact of getting nearer the detail of production makes such an explanation intrinsically superior: “a more detailed explanation is also an end in itself”. Michael Taylor agrees: “A good explanation should be, amongst other things, as fine-grained as possible.”. (shrink)
In this paper, we study the lattice of r.e. subspaces of a recursively presented vector space V ∞ with regard to the various complexity-theoretic speed-up properties such as speedable, effectively speedable, levelable, and effectively levelable introduced by Blum and Marques. In particular, we study the interplay between an r.e. basis A for a subspace V of V ∞ and V with regard to these properties. We show for example that if A or V is speedable , then V is levelable (...) . We also show that if A is an r.e. subset of a recursive basis for V ∞ , then A is levelable iff V is speedable while it is not the case that A is levelable iff V is speedable. We also provide several contrasts between the lattice of r.e. subspaces and the lattice of r.e. sets with respect to these speed-up properties. For example, every maximal set is levelable but we show that there exist supermaximal spaces which are nonspeedable in all possible r.e. degrees as well as supermaximal spaces which are levelable in all r.e. degrees which contain levelable sets. (shrink)
Research to improve the health of pregnant and fetal patients presents ethical challenges to clinical investigators, institutional review boards, funding agencies, and data safety and monitoring boards. The Common Rule sets out requirements that such research must satisfy but no ethical framework to guide their application. We provide such an ethical framework, based on the ethical concept of the fetus as a patient. We offer criteria for innovation and for Phase I and II and then for Phase III clinical trials (...) to improve the health of pregnant patients and of fetal patients and also criteria to responsibly manage the transition from investigation to clinical practice. Basing ethical criteria for research involving pregnant women on the ethical concept of the fetus as a patient insulates the proposed ethical framework and therefore research on pregnant women from the divisive and politicized concepts and discourses of personhood, fetal rights, and unborn child. (shrink)