Compared to other philosophies of special sciences, the scope, object, and definition of the philosophy of political science remain vague. This article traces this vagueness to the changing subject matter of political science throughout its history, but argues that all social sciences are subject to radical changes in what count as their defining characteristics. Accordingly, the only legitimate definition of “philosophy of political science” is “the philosophical study of whatever happens to conventionally fall within the scope of political science at (...) a given moment.” Moving from this assumption, this article makes the case for a unified philosophy of social science. (shrink)
In this article, we discuss the issue of context-dependence of mechanism-based explanation in the social sciences. The different ways in which the context-dependence and context-independence of mechanism-based explanation have been understood in the social sciences are often motivated by different and apparently incompatible understandings of what explanatory mechanisms are. Instead, we suggest that the different varieties of context-dependence are best seen as corresponding to different research goals. Rather than conflicting with one another, these goals are complementary to each other and (...) therefore pave the way to a methodologically more cooperative approach to mechanism-based explanation in the social sciences. (shrink)
We continue the work on the relations between independence logic and the model-theoretic analysis of independence, generalizing the results of  and  to the framework of abstract independence relations for an arbitrary AEC. We give a model-theoretic interpretation of the independence atom and characterize under which conditions we can prove a completeness result with respect to the deductive system that axiomatizes independence in team semantics and statistics.
Authoritative rational choice theorists continue to argue that wide variants of rational choice theory should be regarded as the best starting-point to formulate theoretical hypotheses on the micro foundations of complex macro-level social dynamics. Building on recent writings on neo-classical rational choice theory, on behavioral economics and on cognitive psychology, the present article challenges this view and argues that: neo-classical rational choice theory is an astonishingly malleable and powerful analytical device whose descriptive accuracy is nevertheless limited to a very specific (...) class of choice settings; the ‘wide’ sociological rational choice theory does not add anything original to the neo-classical framework on a conceptual level and it is also methodologically weaker; at least four alternative action-oriented approaches that reject portrayal of actors as computational devices operating over probability distributions can be used to design sociological explanations that are descriptively accurate at the micro level. (shrink)
With the exception of pornography, the morality of popular forms of entertainment has not been studied extensively by philosophers. The present paper aims to start discussion on the moral status of horror films, whose popularity and success has grown steadily since the 1970s. In particular, the author focuses on so-called “slasher” or “gorefest” films, where the narration revolves around the graphic and realistic depiction of a series of murders. The paper’s main thesis is that it is immoral to produce, distribute, (...) and view films of this kind. The reasons are traced back to two facts: 1) living the moral life requires being disposed to react compassionately to the sight of human victimization, and 2) the most violent horror films either overwhelm the spectator or promote a detachment from violence that may interfere with the development and maintenance of the correct reactive attitudes to human victimization. (shrink)
We introduce new algebraic and topological semantics for inquisitive logic. The algebraic semantics is based on special Heyting algebras, which we call inquisitive algebras, with propositional valuations ranging over only the ¬¬-fixpoints of the algebra. We show how inquisitive algebras arise from Boolean algebras: for a given Boolean algebra B, we define its inquisitive extension H(B) and prove that H(B) is the unique inquisitive algebra having B as its algebra of ¬¬-fixpoints. We also show that inquisitive algebras determine Medvedev’s logic (...) of finite problems. In addition to the algebraic characterization of H(B), we give a topological characterization of H(B) in terms of the recently introduced choice-free duality for Boolean algebras using so-called upper Vietoris spaces (UV-spaces). In particular, while a Boolean algebra B is realized as the Boolean algebra of compact regular open elements of a UV-space dual to B, we show that H(B) is realized as the algebra of compact open elements of this space. This connection yields a new topological semantics for inquisitive logic. (shrink)
A logical approach to Bell's Inequalities of quantum mechanics has been introduced by Abramsky and Hardy . We point out that the logical Bell's Inequalities of  are provable in the probability logic of Fagin, Halpern and Megiddo . Since it is now considered empirically established that quantum mechanics violates Bell's Inequalities, we introduce a modified probability logic, that we call quantum team logic, in which Bell's Inequalities are not provable, and prove a Completeness Theorem for this logic. For this (...) end we generalise the team semantics of dependence logic  first to probabilistic team semantics, and then to what we call quantum team semantics. (shrink)
In this article we analyse the problem of emergence in its diachronic dimension. In other words, we intend to deal with the generation of novelties in natural processes. Our approach aims at integrating some insights coming from Whitehead’s Philosophy of the Process with the epistemological framework developed by the “autopoietic” tradition. Our thesis is that the emergence of new entities and rules of interaction (new “fields of relatedness”) requires the development of discontinuous models of change. From this standpoint natural evolution (...) can be conceived as a succession of emergences — each one realizing a novel “extended” present, described by distinct models — rather than as a single and continuous dynamics. This theoretical and epistemological framework is particularly suitable to the investigation of the origin of life, an emblematic example of this kind of processes. (shrink)
On the basis of archaeological data and cognitive research, this article proposes an evolutionary story about aesthetic experience, arguing three intertwined theses. Aesthetic experience is adaptive; that is, it represents a specific implementation of the epistemic goal of knowing. It refunctionalizes antecedents and precursors: play and dreaming, technology and the ability to manipulate, and proto-aesthetic elements and aesthetic preferences. Mind and aesthetic experience co-evolve; that is, aesthetic experience requires mind reading and metacognition, and it helps them to reach their advanced (...) metarepresentational architecture. (shrink)
The different experience of unemployment and of poverty in the two main Western economic systems (roughly, Europe and the US) demonstrates that a simple economic approach to these problems does not exist. In this paper I deal with the question of the impact of technological change on productive activities, employment and income distribution.The main idea is the following: technological progress may lead to an impoverishment of the disadvantaged people in a free-market society, as a consequence of their inability to adjust (...) their skills to the new requirements of the labour market. By contrast, a just society, grounded on moral principles, recognizes that the distributive criterion has to take into account not only individual contributions to production, but also the relative needs of the individuals. In that context, everyone should be better off after a technological change, since it is fair that everyone gains some advantage from a generalized improvement in the productive conditions of society. A policy that adopts this perspective should provide an effective guard against the danger of social exclusion that strikes modern societies. (shrink)
In this paper we introduce three methods to approach philosophical problems informationally: Minimalism, the Method of Abstraction and Constructionism. Minimalism considers the specifications of the starting problems and systems that are tractable for a philosophical analysis. The Method of Abstraction describes the process of making explicit the level of abstraction at which a system is observed and investigated. Constructionism provides a series of principles that the investigation of the problem must fulfil once it has been fully characterised by the previous (...) two methods. For each method, we also provide an application: the problem of visual perception, functionalism, and the Turing Test, respectively. (shrink)
We use sets of assignments, a.k.a. teams, and measures on them to define probabilities of first-order formulas in given data. We then axiomatise first-order properties of such probabilities and prove a completeness theorem for our axiomatisation. We use the Hardy–Weinberg Principle of biology and the Bell’s Inequalities of quantum physics as examples.
The discourse regarding intentionality and interpretation in analytic philosophy of art, although ample and lively, has concerned itself almost exclusively with the literary medium. Starting from a paper published by Hans Maes, I discuss the complications that may arise in straightforwardly applying current intentionalist strategies to the realm of the contemporary visual arts. I first present a detailed account of the difference between hypothetical intentionalism and moderate actual intentionalism which will help to better understand the nature of Maes’s arguments in (...) his paper. I then argue that the characteristics which shape the approach of moderate actual intentionalism cannot be accommodated by certain contemporary visual artworks. I will demonstrate how in certain contemporary artworks, should a viewer be interested in accepting actual intentions within her interpretation, she will have to do so with an extreme intentionalist posture rather than a moderate actual one. (shrink)