The implicit content associated with incomplete definite descriptions is contributed in the form of definite descriptions of situations. A definite description of this kind is contributed by a small structure in the syntax, which is interpreted, in general terms, as ‘the situation that bears R to s’.
A manifestly covariant relativistic statistical mechanics of a system of N indistinguishable events with motion in space-time parametrized by an invariant “historical time” τ is considered. The relativistic mass distribution for such a system is obtained from the equilibrium solution of the generalized relativistic Boltzmann equation by integration over angular and hyperangular variables. All the characteristic averages are calculated. Expressions for the pressure and the energy density are found, and the relativistic equation of state is obtained. Validity criteria are (...) defined. The Galilean limit is considered; the theory is shown to pass over to the usual nonrelativistic statistical mechanics of indistinguishable particles. Anti-events are introduced; for an event-anti-event system the equation of state p, ρ ∝ T 6 is found, which gives the value of the sound velocity c 2 = 0.20, in agreement with the “realistic” equation of state suggested by Shuryak for hot hadronic matter. (shrink)
The consequences of the following definition of indistinguishability are analyzed. Indistinguishable classical or quantum particles are identical classical or quantum particles in a state characterized by a probability measure, a statistical operator respectively, which is invariant under any permutation of the particles. According to this definition the particles of classical Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics are indistinguishable.
The idea that, in the microscopic world, particles are indistinguishable, interchangeable and without identity has been central in quantum physics. The same idea has been enrolled in statistical thermodynamics even in a classical framework of analysis to make theoretical results agree with experience. In thermodynamics of gases, this hypothesis is associated with several problems, logical and technical. For this case, an alternative theoretical framework is provided, replacing the indistinguishability hypothesis with standard probability and statistics. In this framework, entropy is (...) a probabilistic notion applied to thermodynamic systems and is not extensive per se. Rather, the extensive entropy used in thermodynamics is the difference of two probabilistic entropies. According to this simple view, no paradoxical behaviors, such as the Gibbs paradox, appear. Such a simple probabilistic view within a classical physical framework, in which entropy is none other than uncertainty applicable irrespective of particle size, enables generalization of mathematical descriptions of processes across any type and scale of systems ruled by uncertainty. (shrink)
I argue that all that is relevant to appreciating art as art is the "abstract entity that is the work of art." The object of aesthetic contemplation, the bearer of aesthetic value, just is this abstract entity picked out by the sortal concept 'work of art,' which requires some vehicle but does not require the particular vehicle that is the original painting. Since this is so, the work of art is present in a visually-indistinguishable duplicate to the same extent (...) and to the same degree as it is in the original. To hedge my bets a little against those who are not persuaded by this strong claim, I also argue that, assuming there is a genuine value-relevant difference between an original and a duplicate, the duplicate could in principle share in or exceed the value of the original. . (shrink)
Victor Reppert’s paper (pp. 33-45) supposes that there are objectively indistinguishable properties between possible worlds that resultin the property of intentionality existing in one world but not in another objectively indistinguishable world, differing only in their histories. It is also a supposition of Reppert’s paper that proposed ensembles of purely natural properties that lead to the emergence of intentionality fail to do so, but instead only have referential power on the basis of imputed or projected intentionality from human (...) beings. This brief essay examines this supposition and consequence and attempts to provoke more detailed examination of the underlying issues. (shrink)
We extend the work of French and Redhead  further examining the relation of quantum statistics to the assumption that quantum entities have the sort of identity generally assumed for physical objects, more specifically an identity which makes them susceptible to being thought of as conceptually individuatable and labelable even though they cannot be experimentally distinguished. We also further examine the relation of such hypothesized identity of quantum entities to the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles. We conclude that although (...) such an assumption of identity is consistent with the facts of quantum statistics, methodological considerations show that we should take quantum entities to be entirely unindividuatable, in the way suggested by a Fock space description. (shrink)
In a series of recent papers, Simon Saunders, Fred Muller and Michael Seevinck have collectively argued, against the folklore, that some non-trivial version of Leibniz's principle of the identity of indiscernibles is upheld in quantum mechanics. They argue that all particles---fermions, paraparticles, anyons, even bosons---may be weakly discerned by some physical relation. Here I show that their arguments make illegitimate appeal to non-symmetric, i.e.~permutation-non-invariant, quantities, and that therefore their conclusions do not go through. However, I show that alternative, symmetric quantities (...) may be found to do the required work. I conclude that the Saunders-Muller-Seevinck heterodoxy can be saved after all. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that it would be unprincipled to withhold mental predicates from our behavioural duplicates however unlike us they are "on the inside." My arguments are unusual insofar as they rely neither on an implicit commitment to logical behaviourism in any of its various forms nor to a verificationist theory of meaning. Nor do they depend upon prior metaphysical commitments or to philosophical "intuitions". Rather, in assembling reminders about how the application of our consciousness and propositional attitude (...) concepts are ordinarily defended, I argue on explanatory and moral grounds that they cannot be legitimately withheld from creatures who behave, and who would continue to behave, like us. I urge that we should therefore reject the invitation to revise the application of these concepts in the ways that would be required by recent proposals in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
In the tree-like representation of Time, two histories are undivided at a moment t whenever they share a common moment in the future of t. In the present paper, it will first be proved that Ockhamist and Peircean branching-time logics are unable to express some important sentences in which the notion of undividedness is involved. Then, a new semantics for branching-time logic will be presented. The new semantics is based on trees endowed with an indistinguishability function, a generalization of the (...) notion of undividedness. It will be shown that Ockhamist and Peircean semantics can be viewed as limit cases of the semantics developed in this paper. (shrink)
The existence of structures with non-trivial authomorphisms (such as the automorphism of the field of complex numbers onto itself that swaps the two roots of – 1) has been held by Burgess and others to pose a serious difficulty for mathematical structuralism. This paper proposes a model-theoretic solution to the problem. It suggests that mathematical structuralists identify the “position” of an n-tuple in a mathematical structure with the type of that n-tuple in the expansion of the structure that has a (...) name for every element in it. (shrink)
Results on the observational indistinguishability of spacetimes demonstrate the impossibility of determining by deductive inference which is our spacetime, no matter how extensive a portion of the spacetime is observed. These results do not illustrate an underdetermination of theory by evidence, since they make no decision between competing theories and they make little contact with the inductive considerations that must ground such a decision. Rather, these results express a variety of indeterminism in which a specification of the observable past always (...) fails to fix the remainder of a spacetime. This form of indeterminism is more troubling than the familiar indeterminism of quantum theory. The inductive inferences that can discriminate among the different spacetime extensions of the observed past are here called “opaque,” which means that we cannot readily see the warrant that lies behind them. (shrink)
In “Weak Inferential Internalism” I defended the frequently voiced criticism that any internalist account of inferential justification generates a vicious regress. My defense involved criticizing a recent form of internalism, “Weak Inferential Internalism” , defended by Hookway and Rhoda. I argued that while WII does not generate a vicious regress, the position is only distinguishable from externalism insofar as it makes an arbitrary distinction between individuals who believe for the very same reason. Either way, WII is not a defensible internalist (...) account of inferential justification. In his “In Defense of Weak Inferential Internalism,” Rhoda has responded to my dilemma argument. He argues that it is mistaken to assume that WII must be incompatible with externalism, and that contrary to my claims, WII is distinguishable from externalism in several ways. In this reply, I explain why none of Rhoda’s replies suggest that there is a defensible internalist account of inferential justification. (shrink)
In “Weak Inferential Internalism” I defended the frequently voiced criticism that any internalist account of inferential justification generates a vicious regress. My defense involved criticizing a recent form of internalism, “Weak Inferential Internalism” (WII) defended by Hookway and Rhoda. I argued that while WII does not generate a vicious regress, the position is only distinguishable from externalism insofar as it makes an arbitrary distinction between individuals who believe for the very same reason. Either way, WII is not a defensible internalist (...) account of inferential justification. In his “In Defense of Weak Inferential Internalism,” Rhoda has responded to my dilemma argument. He argues that it is mistaken to assume that WII must be incompatible with externalism, and that contrary to my claims, WII is distinguishable from externalism in several ways. In this reply, I explain why none of Rhoda’s replies suggest that there is a defensible internalist account of inferential justification. (shrink)
For several years, through the “material theory of induction,” I have urged that inductive inferences are not licensed by universal schemas, but by material facts that hold only locally (Norton, 2003, 2005). My goal has been to defend inductive inference against inductive skeptics by demonstrating when and how inductive inferences are properly made. Since I have always admired Peter Achinstein as a staunch defender of induction, it was a surprise when Peter..
This paper explains how mathematical computation can be constructed from weaker recursive patterns typical of natural languages. A thought experiment is used to describe the formalization of computational rules, or arithmetical axioms, using only orally-based natural language capabilities, and motivated by two accomplishments of ancient Indian mathematics and linguistics. One accomplishment is the expression of positional value using versified Sanskrit number words in addition to orthodox inscribed numerals. The second is Pāṇini’s invention, around the fifth century BCE, of a formal (...) grammar for spoken Sanskrit, expressed in oral verse extending ordinary Sanskrit, and using recursive methods rediscovered in the twentieth century. The Sanskrit positional number compounds and Pāṇini’s formal system are construed as linguistic grammaticalizations relying on tacit cognitive models of symbolic form. The thought experiment shows that universal computation can be constructed from natural language structure and skills, and shows why intentional capabilities needed for language use play a role in computation across all media. The evolution of writing and positional number systems in Mesopotamia is used to transfer the thought experiment of “oral arithmetic” to inscribed computation. The thought experiment and historical evidence combine to show how and why mathematical computation is a cognitive technology extending generic symbolic skills associated with language structure, usage, and change. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that it would be unprincipled to withhold mental predicates from our behavioural duplicates however unlike us they are “on the inside.” My arguments are unusual insofar as they rely neither on an implicit commitment to logical behaviourism in any of its various forms nor to a verificationist theory of meaning. Nor do they depend upon prior metaphysical commitments or to philosophical “intuitions”. Rather, in assembling reminders about how the application of our consciousness and propositional attitude (...) concepts are ordinarily defended, I argue on explanatory and moral grounds that they cannot be legitimately withheld from creatures who behave, and who would continue to behave, like us. I urge that we should therefore reject the invitation to revise the application of these concepts in the ways that would be required by recent proposals in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
In this paper 1 argue that it would be unprincipled to withhold mental predicates from our behavioural duplicates however unlike us they are “on the inside.” My arguments are unusual insofar as they rely neither on an implicit commitment to logical behaviourism in any of its various forms nor to a verificationist theory of meaning. Nor do they depend upon prior metaphysical commitments or to philosophical “intuitions”. Rather, in assembling reminders about how the application of our consciousness and propositional attitude (...) concepts are ordinarily defended, 1 argue on explanatory and moral grounds that they cannot be legitimately withheld from creatures who behave, and who would continue to behave, like us. I urge that we should therefore reject the invitation to revise the application of these concepts in the ways that would be required by recent proposals in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Turing's celebrated 1950 paper proposes a very general methodological criterion for modelling mental function: total functional equivalence and indistinguishability. His criterion gives rise to a hierarchy of Turing Tests, from subtotal ("toy") fragments of our functions (t1), to total symbolic (pen-pal) function (T2 -- the standard Turing Test), to total external sensorimotor (robotic) function (T3), to total internal microfunction (T4), to total indistinguishability in every empirically discernible respect (T5). This is a "reverse-engineering" hierarchy of (decreasing) empirical underdetermination of the theory (...) by the data. Level t1 is clearly too underdetermined, T2 is vulnerable to a counterexample (Searle's Chinese Room Argument), and T4 and T5 are arbitrarily overdetermined. Hence T3 is the appropriate target level for cognitive science. When it is reached, however, there will still remain more unanswerable questions than when Physics reaches its Grand Unified Theory of Everything (GUTE), because of the mind/body problem and the other-minds problem, both of which are inherent in this empirical domain, even though Turing hardly mentions them. (shrink)
Searle's celebrated Chinese Room Argument has shaken the foundations of Artificial Intelligence. Many refutations have been attempted, but none seem convincing. This paper is an attempt to sort out explicitly the assumptions and the logical, methodological and empirical points of disagreement. Searle is shown to have underestimated some features of computer modeling, but the heart of the issue turns out to be an empirical question about the scope and limits of the purely symbolic model of the mind. Nonsymbolic modeling turns (...) out to be immune to the Chinese Room Argument. The issues discussed include the Total Turing Test, modularity, neural modeling, robotics, causality and the symbol-grounding problem. (shrink)
A widespread assumption in current philosophy of mind is that a conscious state’s phenomenal properties vary with its representational contents. In this paper, I present (rather dogmatically) an alternative picture that recognizes two kinds of phenomenal properties that do not vary concomitantly with content. First, it admits phenomenal properties that vary rather with attitude: what it is like for me to see rain is phenomenally different from what it is like for me to remember (indistinguishable) rain, which is different (...) again form what it is like for me to visualize (indistinguishable) rain – where these differences cannot be traced back to variations in content. Secondly, there is a kind of phenomenal property that varies neither with content nor with attitude but is altogether invariant across all conscious states: a substantive phenomenal commonality among what it is like for me to see, remember, and visualize rain, cats, or dogs. This substantive commonality, I will suggest, is the for-me-ness component of what it is like for me to have any of these experiences. I will close by discussing the interrelations among these three concentric layers of phenomenality: content-based, attitude-based, and for-me-ness. (shrink)
I argue that any account of perceptual experience should satisfy the following two desiderata. First, it should account for the particularity of perceptual experience, that is, it should account for the mind-independent object of an experience making a difference to individuating the experience. Second, it should explain the possibility that perceptual relations to distinct environments could yield subjectively indistinguishable experiences. Relational views of perceptual experience can easily satisfy the first but not the second desideratum. Representational views can easily satisfy (...) the second but not the first desideratum. I argue that to satisfy both desiderata perceptual experience is best conceived of as fundamentally both relational and representational. I develop a view of perceptual experience that synthesizes the virtues of relationalism and representationalism, by arguing that perceptual content is constituted by potentially gappy de re modes of presentation. (shrink)
In his recent Analysis article (2012), Robert Williams considers two puzzles relating to indeterminacy. On the basis of these puzzles, he defends a seemingly radical view on the normative role of indeterminacy. He speaks of indeterminacy as ‘normatively silent’. There are two ways of understanding the view that Williams defends. On one understanding, the view ends up being indistinguishable from one of the more traditional views Williams rejects, the view that phenomena of different kinds fall under the umbrella level (...) ‘indeterminacy’. On the other understanding, Williams’s view is genuinely radical but his arguments don't adequately support it. (shrink)
Particle indistinguishability has always been considered a purely quantum mechanical concept. In parallel, indistinguishable particles have been thought to be entities that are not properly speaking objects at all. I argue, to the contrary, that the concept can equally be applied to classical particles, and that in either case particles may (with certain exceptions) be counted as objects even though they are indistinguishable. The exceptions are elementary bosons (for example photons).
I develop a view of the common factor between subjectively indistinguishable perceptions and hallucinations that avoids analyzing experiences as involving awareness relations to abstract entities, sense-data, or any other peculiar entities. The main thesis is that hallucinating subjects employ concepts (or analogous nonconceptual structures), namely the very same concepts that in a subjectively indistinguishable perception are employed as a consequence of being related to external, mind-independent objects or property-instances. These concepts and nonconceptual structures are identified with modes of (...) presentation types. Since a hallucinating subject is not related to any such objects or property-instances, the concepts she employs remain empty. I argue that the phenomenology of hallucinations and perceptions can be identified with employing concepts and analogous nonconceptual structures. By doing so, I defend an ontologically minimalist view of the phenomenology of experience that (1) vindicates Aristotelianism about types and (2) amounts to a naturalized view of the phenomenology of experience. (shrink)
Human–nonhuman chimeras have been the focus of ethical controversies for more than a decade, yet some related issues remain unaddressed. For example, little has been said about the relationship between the origin of transferred cells and the morally relevant capacities to which they may give rise. Consider, for example, a developing mouse fetus that receives a brain stem cell transplant from a human and another that receives a brain stem cell transplant from a dolphin. If both chimeras acquire morally relevant (...) capacities as a result of transplantation, and if those capacities are indistinguishable, should the difference in cell origin matter to how we classify these creatures? I argue that if morally relevant capacities are easy to detect, cell origin is irrelevant to how the chimera ought to be treated. However, if such capacities are hard to detect, cell origin should play a role in considerations about how to treat the chimera. (shrink)
In the eyes of some of its critics, disjunctivism fails to support adequately the key claim that a particular hallucination might be indistinguishable from a certain kind of veridical perception despite the two states having nothing other than this in common. Scott Sturgeon, for example, has complained that disjunctivism ‘‘offers no positive story about hallucination at all’’ (2000: 11) and therefore ‘‘simply takes [indistinguishability] for granted’’ (2000: 12). So according to Sturgeon, what the disjunctivist needs to provide is a (...) plausible explanation of just how two mental states which have no common component might be indistinguishable for their subject and this in turn will require the telling of a positive story about hallucination. This is the goal of the present essay. (shrink)
This paper defends and develops the capacity view against insightful critiques from Matt McGrath, Adam Pautz, and Ram Neta. In response to Matt McGrath, I show why capacities are essential and cannot simply be replaced with representational content. I argue moreover, that the asymmetry between the employment of perceptual capacities in the good and the bad case is sufficient to account for the epistemic force of perceptual states yielded by the employment of such capacities. In response to Adam Pautz, I (...) show why a perceiver’s belief is better justified than the belief of someone who suffers a subjectively indistinguishable hallucination. I show, moreover, why the capacity view is compatible with standard Bayesian principles and how it accounts for degrees of justification. In response to Ram Neta, I discuss the relationship between evidence and rational confidence, as well as the notion of evidence in light of an externalism about perceptual content. (shrink)
Conscious visual perception can fail in many circumstances. However, little is known about the causes and processes leading to failures of visual awareness. In this study, we introduce a new signal detection measure termed subjective discriminability of invisibility that allows one to distinguish between subjective blindness due to reduction of sensory signals or to lack of attentional access to sensory signals. The SDI is computed based upon subjective confidence in reporting the absence of a target . Using this new measure, (...) we found that target misses were subjectively indistinguishable from physical absence when contrast reduction, backward masking and flash suppression were used, whereas confidence was appropriately modulated when dual task, attentional blink and spatial uncertainty methods were employed. These results show that failure of visual perception can be identified as either a result of perceptual or attentional blindness depending on the circumstances under which visual awareness was impaired. (shrink)
In recent years, it has become popular again to endorse relationalism about perception.1 According to this view, perceptions are essentially relational experiences and thus di er in nature from non-relational hallucinations. In this article, I assume that relationalism is true. The issue that I am generally interested in is rather which version of relationalism we should endorse, given that perceptions are relational. The standard answer to this question is Acquaintance Relationalism, the view that perceptions are relational in so far as (...) they acquaint us with objects in our environment. But my contention is that this view cannot account for two important aspects of perfect hallucinations, namely their property of being introspectively indistinguishable from perceptions and their property of having the same motivational force as veridical perceptions. Which alternative form of relationism should be endorsed instead (if any) is then an issue to be discussed at another occasion. (shrink)
This book examines the complex and varied ways in which fictions relate to the real world, and offers a precise account of how imaginative works of literature can use fictional content to explore matters of universal human interest. While rejecting the traditional view that literature is important for the truths that it imparts, the authors also reject attempts to cut literature off altogether from real human concerns. Their detailed account of fictionality, mimesis, and cognitive value, founded on the methods of (...) analytical philosophy, restores to literature its distinctive status among cultural practices. The authors also explore metaphysical and skeptical views, prevalent in modern thought, according to which the world itself is a kind of fiction, and truth no more than a social construct. They identify different conceptions of fiction in science, logic, epistemology, and make-believe, and thereby challenge the idea that discourse per se is fictional and that different modes of discourse are at root indistinguishable. They offer rigorous analyses of the roles of narrative, imagination, metaphor, and "making" in human thought processes. Both in their methods and in their conclusions, Lamarque and Olsen aim to restore rigor and clarity to debates about the values of literature, and to provide new, philosophically sound foundations for a genuine change of direction in literary theorizing. (shrink)
I examine some of the key scientific pre-commitments of modern psychology, and argue that their adoption has the unintended consequence of rendering a purely psychological analysis of mind indistinguishable from a purely biological treatment. And, since these pre-commitments sanction an “authority of the biological”, explanation of phenomena traditionally considered the purview of psychological analysis is fully subsumed under the biological. I next evaluate the epistemic warrant of these pre-commitments and suggest there are good reasons to question their applicability to (...) psychological science. I conclude that experiential aspects of reality give us reason to remain open to the need for psychological explanation in the treatment of mind. (shrink)
Our aim in this paper is to take quite seriously Heinz Post’s claim that the non-individuality and the indiscernibility of quantum objects should be introduced right at the start, and not made a posteriori by introducing symmetry conditions. Using a different mathematical framework, namely, quasi-set theory, we avoid working within a label-tensor-product-vector-space-formalism, to use Redhead and Teller’s words, and get a more intuitive way of dealing with the formalism of quantum mechanics, although the underlying logic should be modified. We build (...) a vector space with inner product, the Q-space, using the non-classical part of quasi-set theory, to deal with indistinguishable elements. Vectors in Q-space refer only to occupation numbers and permutation operators act as the identity operator on them, reflecting in the formalism the fact of unobservability of permutations. Thus, this paper can be regarded as a tentative to follow and enlarge Heinsenberg’s suggestion that new phenomena require the formation of a new “closed” (that is, axiomatic) theory, coping also with the physical theory’s underlying logic and mathematics. (shrink)
In apparent motion experiments, participants are presented with what is in fact a succession of two brief stationary stimuli at two different locations, but they report an impression of movement. Philosophers have recently debated whether apparent motion provides evidence in favour of a particular account of the nature of temporal experience. I argue that the existing discussion in this area is premised on a mistaken view of the phenomenology of apparent motion and, as a result, the space of possible philosophical (...) positions has not yet been fully explored. In particular, I argue that the existence of apparent motion is compatible with an account of the nature of temporal experience that involves a version of direct realism. In doing so, I also argue against two other claims often made about apparent motion, viz. that apparent motion is the psychological phenomenon that underlies motion experience in the cinema, and that apparent motion is subjectively indistinguishable from real motion. (shrink)
Quantum field theory (QFT) presents a genuine example of the underdetermination of theory by empirical evidence. There are variants of QFT—for example, the standard textbook formulation and the rigorous axiomatic formulation—that are empirically indistinguishable yet support different interpretations. This case is of particular interest to philosophers of physics because, before the philosophical work of interpreting QFT can proceed, the question of which variant should be subject to interpretation must be settled. New arguments are offered for basing the interpretation of (...) QFT on a rigorous axiomatic variant of the theory. The pivotal considerations are the roles that consistency and idealization play in this case. *Received June 2009; revised August 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
According to structuralism, all natural properties are individuated by their roles in causal/nomological structures. According to quidditism, at least some natural properties are individuated in some other way. Because these theses deal with the identities of natural properties, this distinction cuts to the core of a serious metaphysical dispute: Are the intrinsic natures of all natural properties essentially causal/nomological in character? I'll argue that the answer is ‘no’, or at least that this answer is more plausible than many critics of (...) quidditism have recognized. In section 1, I distinguish between two versions of quidditism. Bare quidditism holds that worlds with distinct properties and isomorphic structures must be qualitatively identical in the following sense: inhabiting one world would be indistinguishable from inhabiting the other. In contrast, qualitative quidditism allows such worlds to have qualitative differences. In section 2, I discuss an epistemological position that allows us to bett... (shrink)
‘Interactional expertise’ is developed through linguistic interaction without full scale practical immersion in a culture. Interactional expertise is the medium of communication in peer review in science, in review committees, and in interdisciplinary projects. It is also the medium of specialist journalists and of interpretative methods in the social sciences. We describe imitation game experiments designed to make concrete the idea of interactional expertise. The experiments show that the linguistic performance of those well socialized in the language of a specialist (...) group is indistinguishable from those with full blown practical socialization but distinguishable from those who are not well socialized. The imitation game can also be used to indicate whether an individual can enter an esoteric domain and master the interactional expertise, a skill required by interpretative sociologists of science, anthropologists, ethnographers, and the like.Keywords: Expertise; Interactional expertise; Imitation game; Turing test; Colour blindness; Interpretative methods. (shrink)
Episodic memory often is conceptualized as a uniquely human system of long-term memory that makes available knowledge accompanied by the temporal and spatial context in which that knowledge was acquired. Retrieval from episodic memory entails a form of first–person subjectivity called autonoetic consciousness that provides a sense that a recollection was something that took place in the experiencer’s personal past. In this paper I expand on this definition of episodic memory. Specifically, I suggest that (a) the core features assumed unique (...) to episodic memory are shared by semantic memory, (b) episodic memory cannot be fully understood unless one appreciates that episodic recollection requires the coordinated function of a number of distinct, yet interacting, “enabling” systems. Although these systems – ownership, self, subjective temporality, and agency – are not traditionally viewed as memorial in nature, each is necessary for episodic recollection and jointly they may be sufficient, and (c) the type of subjective awareness provided by episodic recollection (autonoetic) is relational rather than intrinsic – i.e., it can be lost in certain patient populations, thus rendering episodic memory content indistinguishable from the content of semantic long-term memory. (shrink)
We discuss three problems concerning the use of formal languages in theoretical physics: (i) the definability of time and spacetime in classical physical theories; (ii) how to cope with indistinguishable elementary particles in quantum mechanics without labeling them; and (iii) how to get a formal picture of quantum states jumping.
‘Statisticalists’ argue that the individual interactions of organisms taken together constitute natural selection. On this view, natural selection is an aggregated effect of interactions rather than some added cause acting on populations. The statisticalists’ view entails that natural selection and drift are indistinguishable aggregated effects of interactions, so that it becomes impossible to make a difference between them. The present paper attempts to make sense of the difference between selection and drift, given the main insights of statisticalism; basically, it (...) will disentangle the various kinds of indistinguishability between selection and drift that happen within biology, by examining the epistemological and metaphysical nature of the distinction between selection and drift. It will be based on a ‘difference-making account’ of selection. The first section will explicate the inscrutability of selection and drift, its various types in the statisticalist writings, and its implications. The second section specifies concepts of natural selection and drift in the difference making account of selection I am using, and shows that one can derive from this the statistical signatures of selection and drift. On this basis I focus on one sort of indistinguishability issue about selection and drift, which I call epistemic opacity, and explain why it mostly affects small populations. The last section explains why epistemic opacity does not raise an genuine epistemic problem for evolutionary biology. (shrink)