I argue that there can be no such thing as a borderline case of the predicate ‘phenomenally conscious’: for any given creature at any given time, it cannot be vague whether that creature is phenomenally conscious at that time. I first defend the Positive Characterization Thesis, which says that for any borderline case of any predicate there is a positive characterization of that case that can show any sufficiently competent speaker what makes it a borderline case. I then appeal to (...) the familiar claim that zombies are conceivable, and I argue that this claim entails that there can be no positive characterizations of borderline cases of ‘phenomenally conscious’. By the Positive Characterization Thesis, it follows that ‘phenomenally conscious’ can not have any borderline cases. (shrink)
Le présent article est une tentative nouvelle d’articuler le rôle d’une théorie des vérifacteurs. Nous soutenons que la théorie de la vérifaction constitue une pierre angulaire dans une bonne méthodologie en métaphysique, mais que l’amalgame entre la théorie de la vérifaction et la théorie de la vérité a été responsable de certains excès associés aux approches vérifactionnistes dans la littérature récente. Nous montrons que la théorie de la vérifaction conserve son attrait comme instrument d’investigation métaphysique, et ce, malgré notre accord (...) avec les doctrines déflationnistes telles que celles défendues par Ayer, Quine, Field et Horwich (ou, du moins, malgré notre neutralité à leur égard). Nous soutenons en outre que les intuitions sous-jacentes à la théorie de la vérifaction s’éclairent quand nous les dissocions d’une théorie de la vérité et, par-dessus tout, de la tentative de fournir une définition de la vérité. (shrink)
What was the impact of Lavoisier's new elementary chemical analysis on the conception and practice of chemistry in the vegetable kingdom at the end of the eighteenth century? I examine how this elementary analysis relates both to more traditional plant analysis and to philosophical and mathematical concepts of analysis current in the Enlightenment. Thus I explore the relationship between algebra, Condillac's philosophy and Lavoisier's chemical system, as well as comparing Lavoisier's analytical approach to those of his predecessors, such as Baumé (...) and Bucquet. With reference to the aims of vegetable analysis, I show how the dominance of elementary analysis devalued a tradition that sought to isolate immediate principles , marginalizing the chemical practices of many doctors and pharmacists in the context of the new chemistry in France. (shrink)
This paper is a fresh attempt to articulate the role of a theory of truthmakers. We argue that truthmaker theory constitutes a cornerstone of good methodology in metaphysics, but that a conflation of truthmaker theory with the theory of truth has been responsible for certain excesses associated with truthmaker-based approaches in the recent literature. If truthmaker theory is not a component of a theory of truth, then truthmaker maximalism – the view that every truth has a truthmaker – loses its (...) primary motivation. More generally, if the task of truthmaker theory is not to provide a definition or account of truth in truthmaker terms, there is no pressing need for hard, a priori principles stating which truths have truthmakers and which do not. (shrink)
Bringing together leading scholars in the fields of criminology, international law, philosophy and architectural history and theory, this book examines the interrelationships between architecture and justice, highlighting the provocative and curiously ambiguous juncture between the two. Illustrated by a range of disparate and diverse case studies, it draws out the formal language of justice, and extends the effects that architecture has on both the place of, and the individuals subject to, justice. With its multi-disciplinary perspective, the study serves as a (...) platform on which to debate the relationships between the ceremonial, legalistic, administrative and penal aspects of justice, and the spaces that constitute their settings. (shrink)
No piece of the present conjuncture is more alarming than the explosive growth of the American prison population since the late 1970s. The prison has been a critical element of American government since the early 19th century, but the mentalities of rule and the technologies of power linked to the prison, have changed several times during that history. Building more prison cells, therefore, does not have the same constancy of meaning that building more tanks or more strategic bombers does. While (...) the prison has played a crucial role in construction of successful political orders since the American Revolution, its role at present is unprecedented. In the current era of the neo_liberal, neo_conservative, post_New Deal state, which we can call for shorthand, the "Carceral State," the prison has become the very meaning of sovereignty: a steel leviathan in which an increasingly hollowed out version of the state comes to rest with brutal force on selected parts of the population. (shrink)
Software application ontologies have the potential to become the keystone in state-of-the-art information management techniques. It is expected that these ontologies will support the sort of reasoning power required to navigate large and complex terminologies correctly and efficiently. Yet, there is one problem in particular that continues to stand in our way. As these terminological structures increase in size and complexity, and the drive to integrate them inevitably swells, it is clear that the level of consistency required for such navigation (...) will become correspondingly difficult to maintain. While descriptive semantic representations are certainly a necessary component to any adequate ontology-based system, so long as ontology engineers rely solely on semantic information, without a sound ontological theory informing their modeling decisions, this goal will surely remain out of reach. In this paper we describe how Language and Computing nv (L&C), along with The Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Sciences (IFOMIS), are working towards developing and implementing just such a theory, combining the open software architecture of L&C’s LinkSuiteTM with the philosophical rigor of IFOMIS’s Basic Formal Ontology. In this way we aim to move beyond the more or less simple controlled vocabularies that have dominated the industry to date. (shrink)
Argues that it is not only a point of literal construction, but also inherent in the object and purpose of the 1951 Refugee Convention, that displaced stateless persons unable to return to their countries of former habitual residence may be eligible for refugee status even if unpersecuted. 'Unable to return' as it occurs in the clause following the semi-colon of 1(A)2 of the 1951 Refugee Convention must be understood as a term of art subject to appropriate canons of construction in (...) its own right. Its construal must therefore be more restrictive than many commentators have suggested, though not so strict as to preclude all but persecuted persons. Then argues that, as a case study, those who are displaced from their island nations because those nations have submerged beneath the sea will count as 'unable to return' in the relevant sense, and so will qualify for Convention refugee status, if they count as lacking a nationality, i.e. as stateless. (shrink)
Can we solve the Problem of the Many, and give a general account of the indeterminacy in definite descriptions that give rise to it, by appealing to metaphysically indeterminate entities? I argue that we cannot. I identify a feature common to the relevant class of definite descriptions, and derive a contradiction from the claim that each such description is satisfied by a metaphysically indeterminate entity.
This dissertation reassesses the chemical revolution that occurred in eighteenth-century France from the pharmacists' perspective. I use French pharmacy to place the event in historical context, understanding this revolution as constituted by more than simply a change in theory. The consolidation of a new scientific community of chemists, professing an importantly changed science of chemistry, is elucidated by examining the changing relationship between the communities of pharmacists and chemists across the eighteenth century. This entails an understanding of the chemical revolution (...) that takes into account social and institutional transformations as well as theoretical change, and hence incorporates the reforms brought about during and after the French Revolution. First, I examine the social rise of philosophical chemistry as a scientific pursuit increasingly independent of its practical applications, including pharmacy, and then relate this to the theoretical change brought about by Lavoisier and his oxygenic system of chemistry. Then, I consider the institutional reforms that placed Lavoisier's chemistry in French higher education. ;During the seventeenth century, chemistry was intimately entwined with pharmacy, and chemical manipulations were primarily intended to enhance the medicinal properties of a substance. An independent philosophical chemistry gained ground during the eighteenth century, and this development culminated in the work of Lavoisier who cast pharmacy out of his chemistry altogether. Fourcroy, one of Lavoisier's disciples, brought the new chemistry to the pharmacists in both his textbooks and his legislation. Under Napoleon, Fourcroy instituted a new system of education for pharmacists that placed a premium on formal scientific education. Fourcroy's successors, Vauquelin and Bouillon-Lagrange, taught the new chemistry to the elite pharmacists in the School of Pharmacy in Paris. These pharmacists also developed new analytical techniques that combined the aims of the new chemistry with traditional pharmaceutical extractive practices. The scientific pharmacist was created, who, although a respected member of the community of pharmacists, helped to define the new chemistry precisely by not being a true chemist. (shrink)
The central hypothesis of the collaboration between Language and Computing (L&C) and the Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science (IFOMIS) is that the methodology and conceptual rigor of a philosophically inspired formal ontology greatly benefits application ontologies. To this end r®, L&C’s ontology, which is designed to integrate and reason across various external databases simultaneously, has been submitted to the conceptual demands of IFOMIS’s Basic Formal Ontology (BFO). With this project we aim to move beyond the level of (...) controlled vocabularies to yield an ontology with the ability to support reasoning applications. Our general procedure has been the implementation of a meta-ontological definition space in which the definitions of all the concepts and relations in LinKBase® are standardized in a framework of first-order logic. In this paper we describe how this standardization has already led to an improvement in the LinKBase® structure that allows for a greater degree of internal coherence than ever before possible. We then show the use of this philosophical standardization for the purpose of mapping external databases to one another, using LinKBase® as translation hub, with a greater degree of success than possible hitherto. We demonstrate how this offers a genuine advance over other application ontologies that have not submitted themselves to the demands of philosophical scrutiny. LinKBase® is one of the world’s largest applications-oriented medical domain ontologies, and BFO is one of the world’s first philosophically driven reference ontologies. The collaboration of the two thus initiates a new phase in the quest to solve the so-called “Tower of Babel”. (shrink)
Using the concept of purity to reflect on the relationship between chemical practice and the philosophy of science, this article considers the philosophical significance of the chemical manipulations that aim to purify or otherwise transform matter. Starting from a consideration of the nature and role of pure (or idealised) examples in philosophy of science, the article underlines the temptation towards abstraction and theory for both scientists and philosophers. The article goes on to argue that chemistry, despite its increasing theoretical sophistication, (...) is a science that remains particularly close to laboratory manipulations. This point is made in reference to the work of Gaston Bachelard on the production of purity and with the aid of historical examples, notably exploring the interplay between techniques of purification and the definition of elements, with special attention paid to Lavoisier’s definition of elements as the final limit of analysis. The closing section concerns the manufacture of steel from iron ore in the eighteenth century, illustrating this process using texts by Pierre-Joseph Macquer and Denis Diderot. Steel production is used to illustrate the kinds of philosophical question that are raised by paying attention to the details of chemical practice rather than jumping straight to chemical theory and also suggests how scientific theory can emerge from this practice itself. (shrink)
Precautionary Criminalisation in an Age of Vulnerable Autonomy Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11572-012-9142-4 Authors Jonathan Simon, Adrian A Kragen Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA Journal Criminal Law and Philosophy Online ISSN 1871-9805 Print ISSN 1871-9791.
Ursula Klein and E. C. Spary : Materials and expertise in early modern Europe: Between market and laboratory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010, 408pp, $50 HB Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9462-8 Authors Jonathan Simon, LEPS-LIRDHIST, Université Lyon 1, Université de Lyon, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
For centuries the common and scholarly visions of the interior of the human body were dominated by humoral and anatomical representations. At the end of the nineteenth century two innovations modified these representations: Röntgen's X-rays (1895) and Claude Bernard's theory of the internal environment (milieu intérieur, 1867). This latter model became a central paradigm for thinking about the living body at the beginning of the twentieth century. This paper shows how Bernard's theory provided a new scientific, microscopic, physiological, aquatic and (...) homeostatic vision of the interior of the body. The paper then discusses the well known film Fantastic Voyage (1966) by Richard Fleisher, arguing that it marks a similar watershed in popular representations of the human body. Combining scientific transposition and various effects of mise-en-scène that mobilize classic forms of the imaginary, Fleisher's film (and the books and TV series that followed), contributed to changing the vision of the interior of the body. This image was no longer that of the cadaver cut into pieces on the dissection table. The vision was of living processes, embodied in warm functioning flesh, permitting a physiological vision of the integral body to emerge alongside the classic anatomical one. (shrink)
This book is a philosophical analysis of the development and production of the anti-diphtheria serum in France from 1894 to 1900. Jonathan Simon's unique approach considers serum, a medicinal drug, as a technological object and analyzes its insertion into the therapeutic environment of diphtheria.