Multilevel research strategies characterize contemporary molecular inquiry into biological systems. We outline conceptual, methodological, and explanatory dimensions of these multilevel strategies in microbial ecology, systems biology, protein research, and developmental biology. This review of emerging lines of inquiry in these fields suggests that multilevel research in molecular life sciences has significant implications for philosophical understandings of explanation, modeling, and representation.
Wittgenstein wrote ‘While thinking philosophically we see problems in places where there are none. It is for philosophy to show that there are no problems’. He meant that the ‘problems’ philosophers grapple with are of their own making. In a related remark he said: ‘This is the essence of a philosophical problem. The question itself is the result of a muddle. And when the question is removed, this is not by answering it’. Even more explicitly he said: ‘All that philosophy (...) can do is to destroy idols’. As he understood his job, it was not to produce or construct something; his job was entirely destructive. This is how Wittgenstein thought of philosophy when he thought about it in the abstract, and I share this view of philosophy. I believe that when we see how to dispose of all philosophical categories, our job is finished. For example, in epistemology our job is not to argue that it is possible to know such-and-such because so-and-so ; rather, we undermine all those ideas that make it seem as though we could not know such-and-such. Undermining philosophical ideas takes the form: When we philosophise, we are tempted to think so-and-so, but if we consider that idea, and do so while remaining free of all philosophical jargon, we find that we cannot make sense of it. (shrink)
In his contribution to Human Senses and Perception , R. J. Hirst has made a number of important suggestions about perceptual consciousness, He has emphasised the need to describe ‘what the percipient is or may be conscious of’ from the percipient's own point of view . This mode of description is contrasted with stimulus or neurological description. Perceptual consciousness of one object is distinguished from perceptual consciousness of another object ‘only by or on the evidence of, the person concerned’ . (...) The method of obtaining descriptions of perceptual consciousness is either to question a percipient or to reflect on our own experience, The second important point stressed by Hirst is that the end product of perceiving is ‘the conscious experience of external objects’ . Such an obvious point is often lost sight of in behavioural, dispositional, or neurophysiological analyses, The third and final suggestion made by Hirst to which I want to call attention is the usefulness of a genetic hypothesis to explain and account for perceptual consciousness. Hirst feels that perceptual consciousness is ‘unanalysable at the conscious level’, meaning that it is ‘a unitary awareness of objects or scenes’ and that the ‘various interacting unconscious activities’ which coexist with awareness ‘cannot be brought forward into consciousness’ . The various analytical theories of perception have been designed to break perceptual consciousness into its components. This has resulted in their being false to perceptual consciousness. A genetic explanation of awareness has several advantages, prime among them being its ability to explain the complexity and development of awareness. (shrink)
With the possible exception of causation, disposition concepts are as prevalent in ordinary thought as any of the nomic concepts. Progress on their nature has been hard to come by. No doubt the difficulty of saying anything illuminating and suitably general about their nature is a function of their pervasiveness.
This book, a reevaluation of a major issue in modern philosophy, explores the controversy that grew out of John Locke's suggestion, in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), that God could give to matter the power of thought.
One of the central problems in the philosophy of psychology is an updated version of the old mind-body problem: how levels of theories in the behavioral and brain sciences relate to one another. Many contemporary philosophers of mind believe that cognitive-psychological theories are not reducible to neurological theories. However, this antireductionism has not spawned a revival of dualism. Instead, most nonreductive physicalists prefer the idea of a one-way dependence of the mental on the physical.In Psychoneural Reduction, John Bickle presents (...) a new type of reductionism, one that is stronger than one-way dependency yet sidesteps the arguments that sank classical reductionism. Although he makes some concessions to classical antireductionism, he argues for a relationship between psychology and neurobiology that shares some of the key aims, features, and consequences of classical reductionism. Parts of Bickle's "new wave" reductionism have emerged piecemeal over the past two decades; this is his first comprehensive statement and defense of it to appear. (shrink)
As a subject of inquiry, laws of nature exist in the overlap between metaphysics and the philosophy of science. Over the past three decades, this area of study has become increasingly central to the philosophy of science. It also has relevance to a variety of topics in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and epistemology. Readings on Laws of Nature is the first anthology to offer a contemporary history of the problem of laws. The book is organized around three (...) key issues: the matter of distinguishing laws from mere correlations, questions concerning inductive reasoning and laws, and the consideration of whether there are any true laws in science. Designed for class use, the anthology covers a remarkably broad range of views and concerns, and consists exclusively of articles that have proved highly influential in the field. Readings on Laws of Nature will also serve as a valuable research and reference tool for philosophers who do not specialize in the subject, but who have occasion to examine concepts relating to the laws of nature in their own work. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a tendency in some quarters to see an affinity between the views of Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein on the subject of religious belief. It seems to me that this is a mistake, that Kierkegaard's views were fundamentally at odds with Wittgenstein's. That this fact is not generally recognized is, I suspect, owing to the obscurity of Kierkegaard's most fundamental assumptions. My aim here is to make those assumptions explicit and to show how they differ from (...) Wittgenstein's. (shrink)
I find myself in profound disagreement with Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion and hence in disagreement also with those philosophers who have undertaken to elaborate and defend Wittgenstein's position. My principal objection is to the idea that religion is a language-game and that because of the kind of language-game it is, religious believers are not to be thought of as necessarily harbouring beliefs about the world over and above their secular beliefs. I reject this position, not because I think that there (...) are language-games and that religion happens not to be one, but because I find the very idea of a language-game to be indefensible. Put another way, I find myself out of sympathy with the recent idea that in philosophy of religion we ought to be discussing something called ‘religious language’ or ‘the kind of language involved in religious beliefs’. (shrink)
An argument for realism (i.E., The ontological thesis that there exist universals) has emerged in the writings of david armstrong, Fred dretske, And michael tooley. These authors have persuasively argued against traditional reductive accounts of laws and nature. The failure of traditional reductive accounts leads all three authors to opt for a non-Traditional reductive account of laws which requires the existence of universals. In other words, These authors have opted for accounts of laws which (together with the fact that there (...) are laws) entail that realism is true. This argument for realism which emerges from the work of armstrong, Dretske, And tooley is discussed and criticized. Conclusions from the discussion question the tenability of all reductive accounts of laws. (shrink)
This book tells for the first time the long and complex story of the involvement of Locke's suggestion that God could add to matter the power of thought in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding in the growth of French materialism. There is a discussion of the 'affaire de Prades', in which Locke's name was linked with a censored thesis at the Faculty of Theology in Paris. The similarities and differences between English "thinking matter" and the French "matiere pensante" of the (...) philosophes are also discussed. (shrink)
The Essay Concerning Human Understanding is John Locke's most important work, and through this selective commentary, first published in 1970, Professor Yolton concentrates our attention on the more interesting and controversial of the doctrines in it. His method of interpretation is to ask very specific questions of the text in order to test the propriety of the philosophical labels traditionally applied to Locke, an approach which he believes yields surprising results. He looks afresh at the various discussions of essence, (...) perception, scientific method, ethics and meaning, and argues that throughout his epistemology Locke is more concerned with problems of description and analysis than with those of justification. This historical perspective is extended by the discussion of issues in the Essay, which retain an independent and philosophical interest. (shrink)
This book addresses one of the fundamental topics in philosophy: the relation between appearance and reality. John Yolton draws on a rich combination of historical and contemporary material, ranging from the early modern period to present-day debates, to examine this central philosophical preoccupation, which he presents in terms of distinctions between phenomena and causes, causes and meaning, and persons and man. He explores in detail how Locke, Berkeley and Hume talk of appearances and their relation to reality, and offers (...) illuminating connections and comparisons with the work of contemporary philosophers such as Paul Churchland and John McDowell. He concludes by offering his own proposal for a 'realism of appearances', which incorporates elements of both Humean and Kantian thinking. His important study will be of interest to a wide range of readers in the history of philosophy, the history of ideas, and contemporary philosophy of mind, epistemology and metaphysics. (shrink)
Philosophers of science take it as a datum that Mayor John's having syphilis explains why he, rather than certain nonsyphilitics, had paresis. Using a new hypothetical example, the case of the two dams, it is argued that three independent considerations invalidate these philosophers' starting point.
John Carroll undertakes a careful philosophical examination of laws of nature, causation, and other related topics. He argues that laws of nature are not susceptible to the sort of philosophical treatment preferred by empiricists. Indeed he shows that emperically pure matters of fact need not even determine what the laws are. Similar, even stronger, conclusions are drawn about causation. Replacing the traditional view of laws and causation requiring some kind of foundational legitimacy, the author argues that these phenomena are (...) inextricably intertwined with everything else. This distinctively clear and detailed discussion of what it is to be a law will be valuable to a broad swathe of philosophers in metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of science. (shrink)
The move to patient-centered medical practice is important for providing relevant and sustainable health care. Narrative medicine, for example, suggests that patients should be involved significantly in diagnosis and treatment. In order to understand the meaning of symptoms and interventions, therefore, physicians must enter the life worlds of patients. But physicians face high patient loads and limited time for extended consultations. In current medical practice, then, is narrative medicine possible? We argue that engaging patient perspectives in the medical visit does (...) not necessarily require a lengthy interview. Instead, a new orientation to this process that emphasizes dialogue between practitioners and patients should be considered. In this new model, the purpose of the visit is to communicate successfully and develop a mutual understanding of illness and care. (shrink)
Philosophy as a separate discipline is a rather new phenomenon. This presents problems for our understanding of what constitutes the history of philosophy. Past writers often approached their concerns from a multi-disciplinary perspective; thus to understand them we have to do more than answer a contemporary set of issues. To that end, I suggest we attend to Locke's advice on how to read a text. Following this advice may permit us to avoid several puzzles which result from misreading a text.