Ever since Copernicus, scientists have continually adjusted their view of human nature, moving it further and further from its ancient position at the center of Creation. But in recent years, a startling new concept has evolved that places it more firmly than ever in a special position. Known as the Anthropic Cosmological Principle, this collection of ideas holds that the existence of intelligent observers determines the fundamental structure of the Universe. In its most radical version, the Anthropic Principle asserts that (...) "intelligent information-processing must come into existence in the Universe, and once it comes into existence, it will never die out." This wide-ranging and detailed book explores the many ramifications of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle, covering the whole spectrum of human inquiry from Aristotle to Z bosons. Bringing a unique combination of skills and knowledge to the subject, John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler--two of the world's leading cosmologists--cover the definition and nature of life, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and the interpretation of the quantum theory in relation to the existence of observers. The book will be of vital interest to philosophers, theologians, mathematicians, scientists, and historians, as well as to anyone concerned with the connection between the vastness of the universe of stars and galaxies and the existence of life within it on a small planet out in the suburbs of the Milky Way. (shrink)
The rosy dawn of my title refers to that optimistic time when the logical concept of a natural kind originated in Victorian England. The scholastic twilight refers to the present state of affairs. I devote more space to dawn than twilight, because one basic problem was there from the start, and by now those origins have been forgotten. Philosophers have learned many things about classification from the tradition of natural kinds. But now it is in disarray and is unlikely to (...) be put back together again. My argument is less founded on objections to the numerous theories now in circulation, than on the sheer proliferation of incompatible views. There no longer exists what Bertrand Russell called ‘the doctrine of natural kinds’—one doctrine. Instead we have a slew of distinct analyses directed at unrelated projects. (shrink)
In books such as The World Within the World and The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, astronomer John Barrow has emerged as a leading writer on our efforts to understand the universe. Timothy Ferris, writing in The Times Literary Supplement of London, described him as "a temperate and accomplished humanist, scientist, and philosopher of science--a man out to make a contribution, not a show." Now Barrow offers the general reader another fascinating look at modern physics, as he explores the quest (...) for a single, unifying theory that will unlock nature's secrets. Theories of Everything is more than a history of science, more than a popular report on recent research and discoveries. Barrow provides a reflective, intelligent commentary on what a true Theory of Everything would be--its ingredients, its limitations, and what it could tell us about the universe. Never before, he writes, have physicists been so confident and so eager in the hunt for this "cosmic Rosetta Stone," as he calls it: "a single all-embracing picture of all the laws of nature from which the inevitability of all things seen must follow with unimpeachable logic." He lays out eight essential ingredients for a Theory of Everything and then explores each in turn, tracing how our knowledge has developed and how scientific discovery relates to our changing philosophy and religious thought in each area. Some of these ingredients are obvious--the laws of nature must be explained, for example, as well as its organizing principles--but others may be surprising, such as broken symmetries and selection biases. A Theory of Everything must account for the fact that the universe is "messy and complicated," he tells us, and for the limitations imposed by the questions we ask and the information we can obtain. The key lies in the remarkable capacity of mathematics to express the fundamental workings of the physical world--a language that the human mind is uniquely equipped to understand and manipulate. Barrow examines what mathematics actually is and describes how it makes the universe intelligible and provides a path to the underlying coherence in nature--which has led, in fact, to arguments that the universe itself is a vast computer. Yet even the most complete theory, even the most comprehensive mathematical explanation, cannot account for the uncomputable varieties of human experience and thought. "No non-poetic account of reality," he writes, "can be complete." In a field where the authorities converse in equations and mathematical notations, John Barrow speaks with the voice of thoughtful and knowledgeable humanist. Written with eloquence and expertise, Theories of Everything establishes a new perspective on humanity's efforts to explain the universe. (shrink)
In this book, first published in 1991, the author Dr Robin Barrow adopts the view that utilitarianism is the most coherent and persuasive ethical theory we have and argues in favour of a specific form of rule-utilitarianism. This book will be of interest to students of philosophy.
John Barrow is increasingly recognized as one of our most elegant and accomplished science writers, a brilliant commentator on cosmology, mathematics, and modern physics. Barrow now tackles the heady topic of impossibility, in perhaps his strongest book yet. Writing with grace and insight, Barrow argues convincingly that there are limits to human discovery, that there are things that are ultimately unknowable, undoable, or unreachable. He first examines the limits on scientific inquiry imposed by the deficiencies of the (...) human mind: our brain evolved to meet the demands of our immediate environment, Barrow notes, and much that lies outside this small circle may also lie outside our understanding. Barrow investigates practical impossibilities, such as those imposed by complexity, uncomputability, or the finiteness of time, space, and resources. Is the universe finite or infinite? Can information be transmitted faster than the speed of light? The book also examines the deeper theoretical restrictions on our ability to know, including Godel's theorem--which proved that there were things that could not be proved--and Arrow's Impossibility theorem about democratic voting systems. Finally, having explored the limits imposed on us from without, Barrow considers whether there are limits we should impose upon ourselves. For instance, if the secrets of the atom are to be found only by recreating extreme environments at great financial cost, just how much should we devote to that quest? Weaving together this intriguing tapestry, he illuminates some of the most profound questions of science, from the possibility of time travel to the very structure of the universe. (shrink)
How is a person's freedom related to his or her preferences? Liberal theorists of negative freedom have generally taken the view that the desire of a person to do or not do something is irrelevant to the question of whether he is free to do it. Supporters of the “pure negative” conception of freedom have advocated this view in its starkest form: they maintain that a person is unfree to Φ if and only if he is prevented from Φ-ing by (...) the conduct or dispositions of some other person. This definition of freedom is value-neutral in the sense that no reference is made to preferences over options or indeed to any other indicators of the values of options, either in the characterization of “Φ-ing” itself or in the characterization of the way in which Φ-ing can be constrained. (shrink)
Barrow and Tipler’s contention that the Anthropic Principle is obviously true and removes the need for an explanation of fine-tuning fails because the Principle is trivially true, and only within the context of a World Ensemble, whose existence is not obvious, does a selection effect become significant. Their objections to divine design as an explanation of fine-tuning are seen to be misconceived.
This book, first published in 1981, provides a penetrating and lucid introduction to the philosophy of education. The emphasis on schooling rather than education draws attention to the broad spectrum of the book: recognising that schools generally do more than educate, Dr. Barrow specifically addresses himself to the larger question of what schools are for and what they should do. This book will be of interest both to students of philosophy and students of education.
Our likes and dislikes--our senses and sensibilities--did not fall ready-made from the sky, argues internationally acclaimed author John D. Barrow. We know we enjoy a beautiful painting or a passionate symphony, but what we don't necessarily understand is that these experiences conjure up latent instincts laid down and perpetuated over millions of years. Now, in The Artful Universe, Barrow explores the close ties between our aesthetic appreciation and the basic nature of the Universe, challenging the commonly held view (...) that our sense of beauty is entirely free and unfettered. Barrow argues that the laws of the Universe, its environments and its astronomical appearance, have imprinted themselves upon our thoughts and actions in subtle and unexpected ways. Why do we like certain types of art or music? What games and puzzles do we find challenging? Why do so many myths and legends have common elements? Who created the cornucopia of constellations in the night sky? And why? In this eclectic and entertaining survey, Barrow answers these questions and more as he explains how the landscape of the Universe has influenced the development of philosophy and mythology, and how millions of years of evolutionary history have fashioned our attraction to certain patterns of sound and color. Barrow casts the story of human creativity and thought in a fascinating light, considering such diverse topics as our instinct for language, the origins and uses of color in Nature, why we divide time into intervals as we do, the sources of our appreciation of landscape painting, and whether computer-generated fractal art is really art. Barrow reconsiders the question of whether intelligent extraterrestrial life exists, showing that the benefits (and even the likelihood) that might follow from the discovery of life on other worlds could be very different from what we might have been led to expect. Remarkably, we find that some of the properties of the Universe that are essential for the existence of any form of life play a key role in determining psychological and religious responses to the Cosmos. Drawing on a wide variety of examples, from the theological questions raised by St. Augustine and C.S. Lewis to the relationship between the pure math of Pythagoras and the music of the Beatles, The Artful Universe covers new ground and enters a wide-ranging debate about the meaning and significance of the links between art and science. It will change our view of the creation of art and the way we see the world in which we live. (shrink)
In the 4th edition of this best-selling textbook, the authors introduce students to the business of philosophizing, thereby inducting them into the art of reasoning and analyzing key concepts in education. This introductory text, continuously in print for more than thirty years, is a classic in its field. It shows, first and foremost, the importance of philosophy in educational debate and as a background to any practical activity such as teaching. What is involved in the idea of educating a person (...) or the idea of educational success? What, if anything, can be known and how should we organize what we know for curriculum purposes? What are the criteria for establishing the optimum balance between formal and informal teaching techniques? How trustworthy is educational research? In addition to these questions, which strike to the heart of the rationale for the educative process as a whole, the authors explore such concepts as culture, creativity, autonomy, indoctrination, needs, interests and learning by discovery. In this new updated edition, the authors draw on the latest research in genetics to argue that education is uniquely human and is essentially what develops us as humans. Resisting modern tendencies to equate knowledge with opinion, and value judgments with taste, this book leads the reader into the business of philosophizing and champions the cause of reason in education. (shrink)
Richard Peters pioneered a form of philosophical analysis in relation to educational discourse that was criticised by some at the time and is today somewhat out of fashion. This paper argues that much of the objection to Peters' methodology is based on a misunderstanding of what it does and does not involve, that consequently philosophical analysis is often wrongly seen as one of a number of comparable alternative traditions or approaches to philosophy of education between which one needs to choose, (...) and that, partly consequentially, there is a relative lack of philosophical expertise among today's ‘philosophers of education’. Furthermore, his methodology vindicated, it can be said that Peters was indeed ‘nearly right about education’, perhaps more so than he has subsequently come to believe himself. (shrink)
Our love of art, writes John Barrow, is the end product of millions of years of evolution. How we react to a beautiful painting or symphony draws upon instincts laid down long before humans existed. Now, in this enhanced edition of the highly popular The Artful Universe, Barrow further explores the close ties between our aesthetic appreciation and the basic nature of the Universe. Barrow argues that the laws of the Universe have imprinted themselves upon our thoughts (...) and actions in subtle and unexpected ways. Why do we like certain types of art or music? What games and puzzles do we find challenging? Why do so many myths and legends have common elements? In this eclectic and entertaining survey, Barrow answers these questions and more as he explains how the landscape of the Universe has influenced the development of philosophy and mythology, and how millions of years of evolutionary history have fashioned our attraction to certain patterns of sound and color. Barrow casts the story of human creativity and thought in a fascinating light, considering such diverse topics as our instinct for language, the origins and uses of color in nature, why we divide time into intervals as we do, the sources of our appreciation of landscape painting, and whether computer-generated fractal art is really art. Drawing on a wide variety of examples, from the theological questions raised by St. Augustine and C.S. Lewis to the relationship between the pure math of Pythagoras and the music of the Beatles, The Artful Universe Expanded covers new ground and enters a wide-ranging debate about the meaning and significance of the links between art and science. (shrink)
Classical logic has been attacked by adherents of rival, anti-realist logical systems: Ian Rumfitt comes to its defence. He considers the nature of logic, and how to arbitrate between different logics. He argues that classical logic may dispense with the principle of bivalence, and may thus be liberated from the dead hand of classical semantics.
When schools react to contemporary events and focus on complex moral problems they commonly fail to make basic distinctions between the morally serious and trivial, the moral and the non-moral, and problems and dilemmas. We need to teach the distinction between moral and other values, and between what is intrinsically good, what is right in practice and what is justifiable. Moral theory seeks to delineate an ideal situation. Different circumstances give rise to different particular practices; but the principles of freedom, (...) fairness, respect for persons, truth and felicity constitute a widely recognized view of the essence of morality. These principles, and the nature of education itself, are often ignored in programs of moral education, which should proceed by providing an understanding of the nature and limits of the moral sphere. (shrink)
Integrity : a shared moral value -- Religion, nature and intuition as possible sources of moral truth -- Some distinctions and some mistakes -- Rights and procedures -- Principles that define morality -- Reasons for being moral -- Relativism -- Second order principles -- Moral vs. social, ecological and sexual values -- Moral vs. health and safety values -- Moral questions in education -- The question of moral education -- Forms of moral education.
From the time of its clearest origins with Pascal, the theory of probabilities seemed to offer means by which the study of human affairs might be reduced to the same kind of mathematical discipline that was already being achieved in the study of nature. Condorcet is to a great extent merely representative of the philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries who were led on by the prospect of developing moral and political sciences on the pattern of the natural sciences, (...) specifically physics. The development of economics and the social sciences, from the eighteenth century onwards, may be said in part to have fulfilled and in a manner to have perpetuated these ambitions. In so far as the new sciences have been susceptible of mathematical treatment, this has not been confined to the calculus of probabilities. But there is a temptation at every stage to ascribe fundamental significance and universal applicability to each latest mathematical device that is strikingly useful or illuminating on its first introduction. It is the theory of games that enjoys this position at present, and shapes the common contemporary conception of the very same problems that preoccupied Condorcet. (shrink)
There is a need to disentangle various distinct kinds of claim. The body may be important in schooling, though not in education. Movement, sport, fitness and health need to be distinguished. Does sport improve character? Does education imply knowledge about matters of health? Is learning to dance analogous to either learning to play cricket or learning to play a musical instrument? The most challenging questions concern whether the body provides an alternative route to knowledge, if so of what. For example, (...) is ballet a unique form of language with its own intrinsic value, an alternative way of arriving at valued propositional knowledge, or does it provide access to a unique kind of knowledge? The conclusion is drawn that none of these claims is sustainable in terms that make them of any great educational significance. (shrink)
The analytical notion of ‘scientific style of reasoning’, introduced by Ian Hacking in the middle of the 1980s, has become widespread in the literature of the history and philosophy of science. However, scholars have rarely made explicit the philosophical assumptions and the research objectives underlying the notion of style: what are its philosophical roots? How does the notion of style fit into the area of research of historical epistemology? What does a comparison between Hacking’s project on styles of thinking and (...) other similar projects suggest? My aim in this paper is to answer these questions. Hacking has denied that his project of styles of thinking falls into the field of historical epistemology. I shall challenge his remark by tracing out the connections of the notion of style with historical epistemology and, more in general, with a tradition of thought born in France in the beginning of twentieth-century. (shrink)
The post-Civil War American natural history craze spawned a new institution -- the natural history dealer -- that has failed to receive the historical attention it deserves. The individuals who created these enterprises simultaneously helped to promote and hoped to profit from the burgeoning interest in both scientific and popular specimen collecting. At a time when other employment and educational prospects in natural history were severely limited, hundreds of dealers across the nation provided encouragement, specimens, publication outlets, training opportunities, and (...) jobs for naturalists of all motivations and levels of expertise. This paper explores the crucial role that specimen dealers played in the larger natural history community. After briefly examining the development of local taxidermy shops in the mid-nineteenth century, it then traces the history of four large natural history dealerships established in the United States during the latter half of the century: Ward's Natural History Establishment, Frank Blake Webster's Naturalists' Supply Depot, Southwick & Jencks' Natural History Store, and Frank H. Lattin & Co. By the early twentieth century, changing tastes in interior design, the growth of the Audubon movement, and the dramatic expansion of alternate training and job opportunities for naturalists led many specimen dealers either to shift their emphasis or to shut their doors. (shrink)
This collection of essays by philosophers and educationalists of international reputation, all published here for the first time, celebrates Paul Hirst's professional career. The introductory essay by Robin Barrow and Patricia White outlines Paul Hirst's career and maps the shifts in his thought about education, showing how his views on teacher education, the curriculum and educational aims are interrelated. Contributions from leading names in British and American philosophy of education cover themes ranging from the nature of good teaching to (...) Wittgensteinian aesthetics. The collection concludes with a paper in which Paul Hirst sets out his latest views on the nature of education and its aims. The book also includes a complete bibliography of works by Hirst and a substantial set of references to his writing. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that ill persons are particularly vulnerable to epistemic injustice in the sense articulated by Fricker. Ill persons are vulnerable to testimonial injustice through the presumptive attribution of characteristics like cognitive unreliability and emotional instability that downgrade the credibility of their testimonies. Ill persons are also vulnerable to hermeneutical injustice because many aspects of the experience of illness are difficult to understand and communicate and this often owes to gaps in collective hermeneutical resources. We then argue (...) that epistemic injustice arises in part owing to the epistemic privilege enjoyed by the practitioners and institutions of contemporary healthcare services—the former owing to their training, expertise, and third-person psychology, and the latter owing to their implicit privileging of certain styles of articulating and evidencing testimonies in ways that marginalise ill persons. We suggest that a phenomenological toolkit may be part of an effort to ameliorate epistemic injustice. (shrink)
One of Ian Hacking's earliest publications, this book showcases his early ideas on the central concepts and questions surrounding statistical reasoning. He explores the basic principles of statistical reasoning and tests them, both at a philosophical level and in terms of their practical consequences for statisticians. Presented in a fresh twenty-first-century series livery, and including a specially commissioned preface written by Jan-Willem Romeijn, illuminating its enduring importance and relevance to philosophical enquiry, Hacking's influential and original work has been revived for (...) a new generation of readers. (shrink)
Recent empirical research into the brain, while reinforcing the view that we are extensively ‘programmed’, does not refute the idea of a distinctive human mind. The human mind is primarily a product of the human capacity for a distinctive kind of language. Human language is thus what gives us our consciousness, reasoning capacity and autonomy. To study and understand the human, however, is ultimately a task beyond empirical disciplines such as psychology. Literature is the repository of wisdom relating to humanity (...) and as such needs to be emphasized more in education. (shrink)
The 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument for one-boxing in Newcomb's problem allegedly vindicates evidential decision theory and undermines causal decision theory. But there is a good response to the argument on behalf of causal decision theory. I develop this response. Then I pose a new problem and use it to give a new 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument. Unlike the old argument, the new argument targets evidential decision theory. And unlike the old argument, the new argument is sound.
A growing number of authors defend putative examples of knowledge from falsehood (KFF), inferential knowledge based in a critical or essential way on false premises, and they argue that KFF has important implications for many areas of epistemology (whether evidence can be false, the Gettier debate, defeasibility theories of knowledge, etc.). I argue, however, that there is no KFF, because in any supposed example either the falsehood does not contribute to the knowledge or the subject lacks knowledge. In particular, I (...) show that if the subject actually has knowledge in putative KFF cases, then there is always a veridical evidential path meeting the basing conditions that accounts for her knowledge; if there is no such path, then the subject is in a type of Gettier case. All the recent arguments that rely on KFF are therefore based on a mistake. (shrink)