This paper proposes a reformulation of the treatment of boundaries, at parts and aggregates of entities in Basic Formal Ontology. These are currently treated as mutually exclusive, which is inadequate for biological representation since some entities may simultaneously be at parts, boundaries and/or aggregates. We introduce functions which map entities to their boundaries, at parts or aggregations. We make use of time, space and spacetime projection functions which, along the way, allow us to develop a simple temporal theory.
Certainly I am in no way opposed to philosophy, or metaphysics in the sense that Wm. James defined it as a particularly intense effort to think clearly. Indeed, Klein would like to say that what I am talking about is nothing but metaphysics. But the kind of philosophy/metaphysics that is needed here is of a particular kind: a kind that does not separate philosophy/metaphysics and physics into two disjoint realms. It is of the kind that seeks to construct useful testable (...) physical theories that are adequately connected to what we can know. (shrink)
In this article, I address concerns that the ontological priority claims definitive of ontic structural realism are as they stand unclear, and I do so by placing these claims on a more rigorous formal footing than they typically have been hitherto. I first of all argue that Kit Fine’s analysis of ontological dependence furnishes us with an ontological priority relation that is particularly apt for structuralism. With that in place, and with reference to two case studies prominent within the structuralist (...) literature, I consider whether any of structuralism’s distinctive priority claims may be regarded as warranted. The discussion as a whole has largely negative implications for the radical structuralism of French and Ladyman (including their ‘eliminativist’ interpretation of it), largely positive implications for the moderate structuralism primarily advocated by Esfeld and Lam, and some broad lessons for contemporary fundamentalist metaphysics as a whole. 1 Introduction2 The Right Priority Relation for Structuralism: Supervenience or Dependence?3 Introducing Ontological Dependence4 Fine’s System5 The Priority of Structure 1: Entangled Quantum Particles6 The Priority of Structure 2: The Group-Theoretic Conception of Elementary Particles7 Concluding Remarks. (shrink)
Ontic structural realism is a thesis of fundamentality metaphysics: the thesis that structure, not objects, has fundamental status. Claimed as the metaphysic most befitting of modern physics, OSR first emerged as an entreaty to eliminate objects from the metaphysics of fundamental physics. Such elimination was urged by Steven French and James Ladyman on the grounds that only it could resolve the ‘underdetermination of metaphysics by physics’ that they claimed reduced any putative objectual commitment to a merely ‘ersatz’ form of realism. (...) Few, however, have joined French and Ladyman either in acknowledging that such underdetermination exists or in attributing to it such drastic consequences. However, an alternative view that physics does sanction objects, albeit merely as ontologically secondary entities, represents a different and seemingly less extreme route to the same conclusion regarding the fundamentality of structure. But since what it means to be ‘ontologically prior’ is itself a vexed philosophical question, a stance must be taken as to how we are to understand priority before its prospects may be evaluated. In an earlier paper, I outlined how Fine’s notion of ontological dependence might be utilized to defend the priority-based approach to structuralism. Since then, however, I have become convinced that that ontological dependence is not a relation of priority after all. As a result, the arguments outlined in that paper stand in need of reassessment. In this work, I consider the prospects for priority-based structuralism when expressed in the idiom of determination. My conclusion will be that it has yet to be vindicated by our best physical theories, owing to the failure of symmetry structures to determine the world’s inventory of fundamental kinds. Nevertheless, the same symmetry considerations point towards there being renewed prospects for eliminativism—an eliminativism, moreover, of more naturalistic appeal than that hitherto associated with OSR. 1Introduction 2Structuralist Strategies 3Defining Ontological Priority: Dependence or Determination? 4Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination 4.1Determining plurality 4.2Determining kind properties 5A Reinvigorated Eliminativism. (shrink)
The view that it is symmetries, not particles, that are fundamental to nature is frequently expressed by physicists. But comparatively little has been written either on what this claim means or whether it should be regarded as true. After placing the claim into a general fundamentality framework, I consider whether the priority of symmetries over particles can be defended. The conclusions drawn are largely negative.
Ontic structural realism is at its core the view that “structure is ontologically fundamental.” Informed from its inception by the scientific revolutions that punctuated the 20th century, its advocates often present the position as the perspective on ontology best befitting of modern physics. But the idea that structure is fundamental has proved difficult to articulate adequately, and what OSR's claimed naturalistic credentials consist in is hard to precisify as well. Nor is it clear that the position is actually supported by (...) our most fundamental physical theories. What is clear, however, is that structuralists have revealed a seam of material at the core of modern physics that is replete with implications for metaphysics. This article will survey some positions subsumed under the rubric of OSR, considering both their warrant and the interconnections that exist between them. It will be argued that the fundamental kind properties pose a challenge to ontic structuralism, because it seems that these properties do not supervene upon the relevant structures. But it will also be argued that the development of structuralist metaphysics will require both an engagement with the details of modern physical theories and the deployment of tools more typically developed in a priori metaphysics. As such, it seems armchair metaphysicians have not just a stake in whether OSR's claims may ultimately be shown to stand up, but a crucial role to play in getting them to the point where they can be subjected to scrutiny in the first place. (shrink)
This paper aims to open up discussion on the relationship between fundamentality and naturalism, and in particular on the question of whether fundamentality may be denied on naturalistic grounds. A historico-inductive argument for an anti-fundamentalist conclusion, prominent within contemporary metaphysical literature, is examined; finding it wanting, an alternative ‘internal’ strategy is proposed. By means of an example from the history of modern physics - namely S-matrix theory - it is demonstrated that this strategy can generate similar anti-fundamentalist conclusions on more (...) defensible naturalistic grounds, and that fundamentality questions can be empirical questions. Some implications and limitations of the proposed approach are discussed. (shrink)
We claim that if a complete philosophy of evidence-based practice is intended, then attention to the nature of causation in health science is necessary. We identify how health science currently conceptualises causation by the way it prioritises some research methods over others. We then show how the current understanding of what causation is serves to constrain scientific progress. An alternative account of causation is offered. This is one of dispositionalism. We claim that by understanding causation from a dispositionalist stance, many (...) of the processes within an evidence-based practice framework are better accounted for. Further, some of the problems associated with the health research, e.g. external validity of causal findings, dissolve. (shrink)
In metaphysics, the fundamental is standardly equated with that which has no explana- tion – with that which is, in other words, ‘brute’. But this doctrine of brutalism is in tension with physicists’ ambitions to not only describe but also explain why the fundamental is as it is. The tension would ease were science taken to be incapable of furnishing the sort of explanations that brutalism is concerned with, given that these are understood to be dis- tinctively ‘metaphysical’ in character. (...) But to assume this is to assume a sharp demarcation between physics and metaphysics that surely cannot be taken for granted. This paper sets out to examine the standing of brutalism from the perspective of contem- porary fundamental physics, together with theories of explanation drawn from philosophy of science and metaphysics. Focusing on what fundamental kinds the world instantiates and how physicists go about determining them, I argue that a partial explanation, in Hempel’s sense, may be given of this fundamental feature. Moreover, since this partial explanation issues, at least in part, from stipulations as to the essential nature of the kinds involved, I claim that it has as much right to be regarded as a metaphysical explanation as do grounding explanations. As such, my conclusion will be that the doctrine of brutalism can no longer be regarded as tenable: at least modulo certain plausible essentialist assumptions, it is no longer the case that no explanation can be given of the fundamental. (shrink)
The view that the fundamental kind properties are intrinsic properties enjoys reflexive endorsement by most metaphysicians of science. But ontic structural realists deny that there are any fundamental intrinsic properties at all. Given that structuralists distrust intuition as a guide to truth, and given that we currently lack a fundamental physical theory that we could consult instead to order settle the issue, it might seem as if there is simply nowhere for this debate to go at present. However, I will (...) argue that there exists an as-yet untapped resource for arguing for ontic structuralism – namely, the way that fundamentality is conceptualized in our most fundamental physical frameworks. By arguing that physical objects must be subject to the ‘Goldilock's principle’ if they are to count as fundamental at all, I argue that we can no longer view the majority of properties defining them as intrinsic. As such, ontic structural realism can be regarded as the most promising metaphysics for fundamental physics, and that this is so even though we do not yet claim to know precisely what that fundamental physics is. (shrink)
Much of the neuroimaging research has focused on how mathematical operations are performed. Although this body of research has provided insight for the refinement of pedagogy, there are very few neuroimaging studies on how mathematical operations should be taught. In this article, we describe the teaching of algebra in Singapore schools and the imperatives that led us to develop two neuroimaging studies that examined questions of curricular concerns. One of the challenges was to condense issues from classrooms into tasks suitable (...) for neuroimaging studies. Another challenge, not particular to the neuroimaging method, was to draw suitable inferences from the findings and translate them into pedagogical practices. We describe our efforts and outline some continuing challenges. (shrink)
The number of colleges and universities with campus agriculture projects in the US has grown from an estimated 23 in 1992 to nearly 300 today with possible increased numbers predicted. The profile emerging from campus agriculture projects looks a lot different from the traditional land grant colleges of agriculture. In spite of this emergent trend and staunch advocacy for campus agriculture projects, limited empirical research on agriculture-based learning in higher education exists outside agriculture degrees and theoretical work of scholars such (...) as Liberty Hyde Bailey and David Orr. This study explored the diversity of characteristics and pedagogical objectives of emerging campus agriculture projects through a nationwide compilation, surveying campus agriculture project directors and educators, and multiple case studies. Data collected gives empirical evidence supporting claims agriculture is taking on a different identity in higher education. Issues of sustainability, food, and agriculture are not only influencing the physical workings of colleges and universities, but pedagogy on a departmental and institutional scale. Findings illustrate a re-visioning of how higher education is interfacing with agriculture and agriculture-based education beyond traditional agriculture degrees at land grant colleges of agriculture to focus teaching sustainability, critical thinking and inquiry skills, and fostering a sense of belonging to community. (shrink)
A priori metaphysics has come under repeated attack by naturalistic metaphysicians, who take their closer connection to the sciences to confer greater epistemic credentials on their theories. But it is hard to see how this can be so unless the problem of theory change that has for so long vexed philosophers of science can be addressed in the context of scientific metaphysics. This paper argues that canonical metaphysical claims, unlike their scientific counterparts, cannot meaningfully be regarded as ‘approximately true,’ and (...) that this means that the epistemic progress that science arguably enjoys through episodes of theory change cannot be expected to transfer to its metaphysics. What the value of engaging in metaphysics of science before the emergence of a final theory becomes correspondingly unclear. (shrink)
Psychiatric patients may try (or express a desire) to injure themselves in hospital in order to cope with overwhelming emotional pain. Some health care practitioners and patients propose allowing a controlled amount of self-injury to occur in inpatient facilities, so as to prevent escalation of distress. Is this approach an example of professional assistance with harm? Or, is the approach more likely to minimise harm, by ensuring safer self-injury? In this article, I argue that health care practitioners who use harm-minimisation (...) can be considered to be helping physical injury to occur, although they do not encourage the act. I consider why there are compelling reasons to believe that a patient who self-injures is not maximally autonomous in relation to that choice. However, I then move onto argue that allowing a degree of self-injury may enable engagement with psychotherapy (enhancing autonomy) and behavioural change. In these circumstances, allowing injury (with precautions) may not be harm, all things considered. (shrink)
Calls for new forms of representation to protect the interests of future generations and non-human species have become common among green theorists. Examining these proposals critically, this article finds, first, that 'ecological representation' contradicts the virtues traditionally associated with representative government: creating a circuit of legitimacy between voters and political authorities; preventing abuses of power; keeping law neutral with respect to the worth of competing values. It concludes, second, that our environmental predicament is not essentially the fault of inadequate representation. (...) The logic of representation itself is part of the problem. Ecological democrats must look to other participatory models. (shrink)
he relationship between metaphysics and science has recently become the focus of increased attention. Ladyman and Ross, in particular, have accused even naturalistically inclined metaphysicians of pursuing little more than the philosophy of A-level chemistry and have suggested that analytic metaphysics should simply be discontinued. In contrast, we shall argue, first of all, that even metaphysics that is disengaged from modern science may offer a set of resources that can be appropriated by philosophers of physics in order to set physics (...) within an interpretational framework. Secondly, however, we shall urge that insofar as metaphysics is intended to be more than just a toolbox it needs to accommodate the implications of physics if many of its core claims are to be sustained. We shall illustrate this last point with a discussion of the nature of laws and modality in the context of modern physics. (shrink)
Over the past decade, a flurry of media stories devoted to sports-related concussions have drawn attention to the previously “silent epidemic” of traumatic brain injury in athletes. From 2001 to 2009, the annual number of sports-related TBI emergency department visits in individuals age 19 and under climbed from 153,375 to 248,414, an increase of increase of 62 percent. Multiple head injuries place youth athletes at risk for serious health conditions, including cerebral swelling, brain herniation, and even death — postconcussive conditions (...) that have collectively been referred to as “second impact syndrome.” Studies have shown that children and teens — and girls, in particular — are more likely to sustain a concussion and have a longer recovery time than adults. Recent research also suggests that even subconcussive hits in children and adolescents may result in longer-term health effects such as decreased cognitive functioning, increased rates of depression, memory problems, and mild cognitive impairment. (shrink)
While provisions of youth sports concussion laws are very similar, little is known as to how they are being implemented, factors that promote or impede implementation, or the level of compliance in each jurisdiction. We aimed to describe state experiences with implementation in order to inform ongoing efforts to reduce the harm of sports-related traumatic brain injury and to guide future evaluations of the laws’ impacts and the development of future public health laws. We conducted key-informant interviews in 35 states (...) with recently enacted concussion legislation. States varied considerably in their readiness and capacity for implementation. Factors facilitating implementation included existing partnerships, procedures, and resources; centralized implementation authority; prior related efforts; and involvement in the policymaking process by those now charged with implementation. Inhibitors included ambiguous statutory language, unclear delegation of authority, and compliance difficulties. Ongoing challenges persist, including primary prevention; determining which providers are qualified to make return-to-play assessments and contents of those assessments; compliance difficulties in rural and under-served areas; and unclear responsibility for enforcement. Despite the similarity of youth sports concussion laws, early evidence suggests there is considerable variation in their implementation. These findings are critical for ongoing empirical investigations to accurately evaluate the laws’ provisions and to identify successful legal approaches to protecting young athletes. (shrink)
Managers seeking to respect local norms when operating in cross-cultural settings may encounter ethical dilemmas when faced with values that potentially conflict with their own. The question of whose ethics or values should be applied or whether a set of universal eth- ical norms should be developed often confronts managers in their international business dealings. This article explores the findings from a qualitative research study that examines critical ethical dilemmas confronting Australian managers in their international business operations and their responses (...) to those dilemmas. For Australians managers in this study, bribery emerged as the major ethical dilemma confronting them in their international operations. (shrink)
Bruno Latour purports to transform political ecology by turning attention away from presumed damages to ‘nature’ and toward unproblematised scientific and social processes through which people and things stabilise their identities. He extends the categories of political representation to those processes in hopes of founding a ‘parliament of things’. Such an assembly would settle the terms of coexistence between people and things without undue deference to scientific knowledge claims and without a priori judgments about nature's value. This article challenges Latour's (...) reliance on the concept of representation on three grounds. First, his theory of subject-object ‘entanglements’ undermines traditional justifications of representation, and offers no convincing ethical limits to put in their place. Second, Latour describes environmental issues in ways that are inconsistent with representation by discrete spokespersons. Third, Latour's open-ended proceduralism provides no way of creating overarching, legitimate norms capable of resolving environmental disputes. Occasionally, however, Latour hints at constitutionally structured reforms that might help overcome these objections – provided that they drew lessons from theories of deliberative democracy. (shrink)
When Benno Kerry (1858?89) died at the age of 30 he was already well?known for his competent and thoroughgoing philosophical criticism of Cantor?s set theory and Frege?s early philosophy of mathematics.Before his death he was working on a theory of limits (Grenzbegriffe) which was an elaboration of his Habilitationsschrift of 1884 and of which only a first part was published posthumously.This paper gives a survey of Kerry?s basic biographical data, and a first description of his Habilitationsschrift which had (...) been missing for a long time but was found by chance in the Nachlass of the German philosopher Leonard Nelson. (shrink)
Arendt's conception of culture could supersede claims that nature's intrinsic value or human interests best ground environmental ethics. Fusing ancient Greek notions of non-instrumental value and Roman concerns for cultivating and preserving worldly surroundings, culture supplies an ethic for the treatment of nonhuman things. Unlike a system of philosophical propositions, an Arendtian ecology could only arise in public deliberation, since culture's qualitative judgements are intrinsically linked to processes of political persuasion.
After describing the philosophical background of Kerry's work, an account is given of the way Kerry proposed to supplement Bolzano's conception of logic with a psychological account of the mental acts underlying mathematical judgements.In his writings Kerry criticized Frege's work and Kerry's views were then attacked by Frege.The following two issues were central to this controversy: (a) the relation between the content of a concept and the object of a concept; (b) the logical roles of the (...) definite article. Not only did Frege in 1892 offer an unconvincing solution to Kerry's puzzle concerning 'the concept horse' but he also overlooked the many criticisms levelled by Kerry against the notion of an (indefinite) extension on which his own definition of number was based. (shrink)
This paper explores the value of the eros motif for critical pedagogy and citizenship education. The conceptual affinities between eros and democracy are identified and integrated into a theory of democratic political education. Long recognized as vital to the process of self knowledge, the ancient Greek concept of eros has nevertheless been largely erased from contemporary educational debate. By retrieving eros from the fringe of academic discourse and integrating it with critical pedagogy, the aims of radical democracy can be more (...) fully achieved. The essay emphasizes the civil society or cultural dimensions of democracy as against its legal or procedural aspects. Renewed emphasis on the associational qualities of democracy underscore the importance of eros as an educational principle. The ancient pedagogical motif of educating the desires is posited as an alternative to the liberal/modernist paradigm of education which de-values affective domains of knowledge. (shrink)
Managers seeking to respect local norms when operating in cross-cultural settings may encounter ethical dilemmas when faced with values that potentially conflict with their own. The question of whose ethics or values should be applied or whether a set of universal ethical norms should be developed often confronts managers in their international business dealings. This article explores the findings from a qualitative research study that examines critical ethical dilemmas confronting Australian managers in their international business operations and their responses to (...) those dilemmas. For Australians managers in this study, bribery emerged as the major ethical dilemma confronting them in their international operations. (shrink)
Strand and Parkkinen criticize our dispositional account of causation in evidence‐based medicine for failing to provide a proper epistemology of causal knowledge. In particular, they claim that we do not explain how causal inferences should be drawn. In response, we point out that dispositionalism does indeed have an account of the epistemology of causation, including counterfactual dependence, intervention, prediction and clinical decision. Furthermore, we argue that this is an epistemology that fits better with the known fallibility of even our best‐informed (...) predictions. Predictions are made on the basis that causes dispose or tend towards their effects, rather than guarantee them. The ontology of causation remains a valuable study for, among other reasons, it tells us that powers do not always combine additively. This counts against the monocausality that is tested by randomized controlled trials. (shrink)
This research compares and analyzes the verbal commentary of televised coverage of two women's and men's athletic events: the “final four” of the women's and men's 1989 National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournaments and the women's and men's singles, women's and men's doubles, and the mixed-doubles matches of the 1989 U.S. Open tennis tournament. Although we found less overtly sexist commentary than has been observed in past research, we did find two categories of difference: gender marking and a “hierarchy of (...) naming” by gender and, to a certain extent, by race. These differences are described and analyzed in light of feminist analyses of gendered language. It is concluded that televised sports commentary contributes to the construction of gender and racial hierarchies by marking women's sports and women athletes as “other,” by infantilizing women athletes, and by framing the accomplishments of women athletes ambivalently. (shrink)
Medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) remain recalcitrant to the medical profession, proving less suitable for homogenic treatment with respect to their aetiology, taxonomy and diagnosis. While the majority of existing medical research methods are designed for large scale population data and sufficiently homogenous groups, MUS are characterised by their heterogenic and complex nature. As a result, MUS seem to resist medical scrutiny in a way that other conditions do not. This paper approaches the problem of MUS from a philosophical point of (...) view. The aim is to first consider the epistemological problem of MUS in a wider ontological and phenomenological context, particularly in relation to causation. Second, the paper links current medical practice to certain ontological assumptions. Finally, the outlines of an alternative ontology of causation are offered which place characteristic features of MUS, such as genuine complexity, context-sensitivity, holism and medical uniqueness at the centre of any causal set-up, and not only for MUS. This alternative ontology provides a framework in which to better understand complex medical conditions in relation to both their nature and their associated research activity. (shrink)
Selections are arranged chronologically, from antiquity to the present, and each selection includes an introduction. Appendices overview arguments against ethical vegetarianism. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc.
Ebejer and Morden (Paternalism in the Marketplace: Should a Salesman Be His Buyer's Keeper?, Journal of Business Ethics 7, 1988) propose limited paternalism as a sufficient regulative condition for a professional ethic of sales. Although the principle is immediately appealing, its application can lead to a counter-productive ethical quandary I call the Pontius Pilate Plight. This quandary is the assumption that ethical agents' hands are clean in certain situations even if they have done something they condemn as immoral. Since limited (...) paternalism can give rise to this queer conclusion in the salesperson/buyer relationship, the principle is suspect. It may be a necessary condition for ethical sales, but is not sufficient. This discussion concludes by suggesting two additional criteria which, when complemented by the limited paternalism principle, are jointly sufficient. (shrink)
Modern bioethics, which is based on Western moral philosophy and Western biomedical perspectives, has evolved within a complex, highly individualistic culture that draws a sharp distinction between church and state and tolerates a multitude of values. This discipline defines its principles in secular and objective terms that often are bewildering to people of non-Western origin. Despite much discourse, principlism remains the fundamental framework of bioethics. Principlism is held in such high regard that many bioethicists equate autonomy with personhood, as if (...) autonomy exists independently of specific beliefs and commitments.In addition, we continue to minimize the substantial differences in the way people of different cultures perceive, experience, and explain illness, although our views of the potential cultural limitations of Western medicine have grown and expanded in recent years. At the heart of it we continue to be tied to a biomedical focus that largely neglects the context of the situation. (shrink)
During the 17th century, important conventions for the visual representation of the Earth as a whole were established by writers of Theories of the Earth. This essay examines how the emergence of visual representations contributed to the establishment of a new print tradition of multicontextual discourse and critical debate. Four vignettes contrast varying uses of global depictions: the incidental global depictions and mathematical vision of Johannes Kepler; the cosmogonic sections and chemical vision of Robert Fludd; the geogonic sections and mechanical (...) vision of René Descartes; and the global views and classical vision of Thomas Burnet. The continuities of visual conventions and the contrasts of disciplinary perspectives and local contexts observed in these vignettes conforms well to the characterization of Theories of the Earth as an interdisciplinary print tradition. (shrink)