Self-reported height and childhood conditions among 1711 Danish male general workers born between 1923 and 1940 were analysed. No significant associations were found between adult height and father's occupation, growing up with both parents, paternal unemployment, sickness among the parents, parents receiving disability pension, economical problems in childhood, area of residence in childhood, and years at school. The study therefore provides no support for the hypothesis that poor childhood conditions are the cause of low adult height in this socially very (...) homogeneous sample. (shrink)
Arthur Norman Prior (1914-69) was a logician and philosopher from New Zealand who contributed crucially to the development of ‘non-standard’ logics, especially of the modal variety. His greatest achievement was the invention of modern temporal logic, worked out in close connection with modal logic. However, his work in logic had a much broader scope. He was also the founder of hybrid logic, and he made important contributions to deontic logic, modal logic, the theory of quantification, the nature of propositions and (...) the history of logic. In addition, he discussed questions of ethics, free will, and general theology. Prior’s philosophical works comprise about 200 titles. His earliest articles center on philosophical theology and historical studies of Scottish Reformed Theology. This led on to the publication of his first influential work on ethics: Logic and The Basis of Ethics (1949). With the invention of tense-logic in the early 1950s, his focus shifted to investigations into the syntax of tempo-modal logic leading to his seminal Time and Modality (1957), a volume derived from his John Locke Lectures in Oxford in 1956. Furthermore Prior, together with the Irish mathematician and logician C.A. Meredith (1904-76), made important early contributions to the semantics of possible worlds. Prior’s tense-logic provided a strong conceptual framework for problems pertaining to the philosophy of time. In Time and Modality, Prior discussed the philosophical implications of Ruth Barcan’s famous formulae for tense-logic, and in the 1960s he worked on the notion of the present. The most persistent problem running through Prior’s work is his study of the questions surrounding human freedom and divine foreknowledge, and more general philosophical problems emerging from this classical theological question. His thorough analysis of this problem, with the conceptual tools of tense-logic, received a crucial impetus from his correspondence with the young Saul Kripke, when the latter suggested the semantic tool of branching time to Prior. Prior’s development of two solutions based on branching time for the problem of future contingency, the Peircean and the Ockham solution, was most thoroughly developed in Past, Present and Future (1967), the most important work published by Prior. Characteristically for Prior’s methodological approach, the development of these two solutions were at the same time a development of two new systems of tense logic, and vice versa. One of Prior’s significant contributions to logic was his work on world propositions and instant propositions. In the course of developing these notions he also made one of the earliest formulations of hybrid logic. In Papers on Time and Tense (1968), he presented this idea in a more detailed manner in the context of his four grades of tense-logical involvement. (shrink)
Arthur Norman Prior's early theological writings have been relatively neglected for many years. Moreover, to the extent that they have been discussed at all they have been treated mainly as youthful work quite separate from Prior's later work as a philosopher and logician. However, as interest in Prior's achievements has been growing significantly in recent years it has become more important to investigate the development with his overall work. In fact, Prior's putatively "youthful" theological work overlapped his work as a (...) philosopher and logician for many years, as is richly documented by examples discussed in this paper. A particularly important theme is the problem of predestination. This paper presents comprehensive evidence that this theme, which was Prior's most important single preoccupation as a theological writer, was a most important source of inspiration for his development of tense logic. Via questions regarding divine foreknowledge and human free will, predestination was to motivate Prior as a logician to focus on time and tense. Whilst investigating this development, the paper also traces Prior's parallel development from Calvinist Christian believer to a more agnostic position. (shrink)
A. N. Prior’s writings should obviously be studied already for historical reasons. His inventions of modern temporal logic and hybrid logic are clearly important events in the history of logic. But the enduring importance of studying his works also rests on his methodological approach, which remains highly relevant also for systematical reasons. In this paper we argue that Prior’s formulation in the 1950s of a tense-logical paradigm for the study of time should be understood in the light of at least (...) three other principles or perspectives which were manifest already in his studies during the 1940s and further developed in the 1950s: his emphasis on the value of interdisciplinary studies, his reflections on formalisation and his view of the role of symbolic logic in conceptual studies and in the philosophy of science. Our investigation into Prior’s basic tenets and principles makes extensive use of Prior’s Nachlass. It is thereby also exemplified how his correspondence and unpublished papers contain important information for a deeper understanding of Prior’s paradigm for the study of time. (shrink)
Proponents of the substance view contend that abortion is seriously morally wrong because it is killing something with the same inherent value and right to life as you or I. Rob Lovering offers two innovative criticisms of the anti-abortion position taken by the substance view – the rescue argument and the problem of spontaneous abortion. Henrik Friberg-Fernros offers an interesting response to Lovering, but one I argue would be inconsistent with the anti-abortion stance taken by most substance view theorists.
The question of whether humans have free will, like the question of the meaning of life, is one whose answer depends on how the question itself is interpreted. In his recent book Neurophilosophy of Free Will: From Libertarian Illusions to a Concept of Natural Autonomy, Henrik Walter examines whether free will is possible in a deterministic natural world, and he concludes that the answer is "It depends" (xi). He rejects a libertarian account of free will as internally inconsistent, but (...) argues for a version of compatibilism that he calls "natural autonomy." Natural autonomy, or "giving oneself laws" (8), is a successor concept to libertarian free will, and it provides for a self-determination that is consistent with a deterministic and fully physical world. Walter covers a lot of ground in this book. He debunks dualism, examines classical and modern physics, critiques radical constructivism, and utilizes chaos theory, and he refers to figures from St. Augustine to Humberto Maturana, Dennett, Einstein, Hegel and Nozick. This book could be seen as encompassing two distinct projects. The first project is a defense of what Walter calls "neurophilosophy" as a methodology for answering traditional philosophical questions. This methodology is more commonly known as "cognitive science," and Walter accepts the naturalistic premises that underlie most of the work being done by cognitive scientists today. The second project is an application of the neurophilosophical methodology to the traditional question of whether free will is compatible with determinism. The defense of a neurophilosophical methodology is concentrated in the second section of the book, whereas the first and third sections focus on the issue of free will. In the first section Walter presents a thorough overview of the free will debate. It is the final third of the book that warrants the most attention, for this is where the original work is concentrated. Before we examine Walter's contribution to the free will debate, let us briefly look at his historical analysis and the neurophilosophical method that he advocates.. (shrink)
This paper reconsiders Georg Henrik von Wright’s theory of causation from the point of view of pragmatism. Given the conceptual link between causation and action, von Wright’s position might be reinterpreted along pragmatist lines, even though he never explicitly developed his views with reference to pragmatism. However, the dichotomy between the ontological and the conceptual presupposed by von Wright may also be criticized from a pragmatist perspective.
"Naturalism" is still often identified with a reductive worldview that identifies the final real constituents of the world with the deliverances of the natural sciences—or perhaps only of physics. In the last thirty years, however, there has been a concerted effort among analytic philosophers to distinguish between that reductive "strict naturalism" and a new "liberal naturalism" that does not deny that mental states, human agency, and moral norms are also natural realities. (For liberal naturalism, see, for example, the essays collected (...) by Mario de Caro and David MacArthur in Naturalism in Question [Harvard... (shrink)