The paper aims at a perspicuous representation of Isaac Levi's pragmatist epistemology, spanning from the 1967 classic "Gambling with Truth" to his 2004 book on "Mild Contraction". Based on a formal framework for Levi's notion of inquiry, I analyse his decision-theoretic approach with truth and information as basic cognitive values, and with Shackle measures as emerging structures. Both cognitive values figure prominently in Levi's model of inductive belief expansion, but only the value of information is employed in his model of (...) belief contraction. I argue that the former model is more successful than the latter. (shrink)
The paper's focus is on pragmatic arguments for various ‘rationality constraints’ on a decision maker’s state of mind: on his beliefs or preferences. An argument of this kind purports to show that a violator of a given constraint can be exposed to a decision problem in which he will act to his guaranteed disadvantage. Dramatically put, he can be exploited by a clever bookie who doesn’t know more than the agent himself. Examples of pragmatic arguments of this kind are synchronic (...) Dutch Books, for the standard probability axioms, diachronic Dutch Books, for the more controversial principles of reflection and conditionalization, and Money Pumps, for the transitivity requirement on preferences. The proposed exploitation set-ups share a common feature. If the violator of a given constraint is logically and mathematically competent, he can be exploited only if he is disunified in his decision-making. Exploitation is possible only if the agent makes decisions on various issues he confronts one by one, rather than on all of them together. Unity in decision making may be quite costly and is often inconvenient, especially when it concerns opportunity packages that are spread over time. Therefore, pragmatic arguments should be seen as delivering conditional conclusions: “To afford being disunified as a decision maker, you’d better satisfy these constraints.” Arguments of this kind fail to establish the inherent rationality of the constraints under consideration. Levi’s view of the status of pragmatic arguments (cf. Levi 2002) is diametrally opposed. According to him, only synchronic pragmatic arguments are valid (indeed, categorically valid). The diachronic ones, he argues, lack any validity at all. This line of reasoning is questioned in the paper. (shrink)
Information disclosure is a common regulatory tool designed to influence business behavior. A belief is that transparency can provoke learning and also positive institutional change by empowering private watchdogs to monitor and pressure business leaders to alter harmful behavior. Beginning in the late 1990s, a private movement emerged that pressured corporations to disclose the identify of their global supplier factories. These activists believed that factory disclosure would lead to greater accountability by corporations for the working conditions under which their products (...) are made, which in time would improve labor practices. In 1995, Nike and Levi-Strauss (Levis) surprised the business community by publishing their supplier lists. This paper describes case studies of Nike and Levis, tracking the evolution from resistance to supply chain transparency through to the decision to be industry leaders in factory disclosure. The paper evaluates the contribution of factory disclosure and proposes that other companies should be urged to move toward supply chain transparency. (shrink)
Where Deleuze and Guattari introduce us to “lines of flight,” they transcode the mechanics of “flight” through “capture,” fomenting what is understood by many as Deleuze’s philosophical thesis: forging an analog relationship between univocity and difference via multiplicitious immanence. This is, of course, posed against Freud’s molar unities in their second chapter “One or Several Wolves.” Thus, if Heidegger is the philosopher par excellance of queries between hermeneutics and immanence (the philosopher of anti-immanence), it is Deleuze who asks “what is (...) the relationship between immanence and multiplicity?” While, for radical immanence qua Laruelle and post-Laruelleans, Deleuze is confounded with multiplicity (caught in an eternal Prometheun ἰσονομία (isonomia) where there is no victor), for Deleuze multiplicity and difference are two components that can fit together adeptly. Guided by the principle of univocity, Deleuze describes a world of pure multiplicity—all multiplicities are equally immanent within nature. As Whitehead spoke of “occasions,” Deleuze speaks of specific gatherings (of heterogeneous multiplicities), dubbed “assemblages,” that occasion themselves as blips – blips of singularity on an otherwise smooth plane. Following philosopher Levi R. Bryant's account of "dim media," I situate political lines of flight qua psychogeographies vis-a-vis urban topology. (shrink)
In La Métaphore Vive, spatial understandings pervade much of Ricoeur’s discussion of metaphor in terms of proximity and distance, tension, substitution, displacement, change of location, image, the ‘open’ structure of words, closure, transparency and opaqueness. Yet this is usually where space is discussed within metaphor, and as a metaphor itself, rather than as a precondition or prior system of relations to language interacting with language. Based on reinterpretation of an aspect of Lévi-Strauss’ structuralist anthropology, diametric and concentric spaces are argued (...) to be such a prior system of relations to language, actively framing metaphor. This article examines the relevance of this prelinguistic spatial discourse to Ricoeur’s framework of metaphor and interrogation of the copula, influenced centrally by Heidegger. Concentric spatial assumed connection and diametric spatial assumed separation offer a framework for understanding, in Ricoeur’s words, the “conflict between identity and difference” in metaphor and early Heidegger’s existential spatiality. (shrink)
Při výběru z teorií, které bychom mohli aplikovat na problém, jímž se zabýváme, je pro nás účinnost jejich použití jedním z nejdůležitějších kritérií. Jinými slovy, naše hodnocení teorií se odvíjí o jejich schopnosti řešit problémy. V tomto eseji nejprve ukáži, jaké druhy problémů jsou pro sociální vědy klíčové, a s pomocí strukturalistické kritiky funkcionalismu nabídnu ilustrace těchto problémů. Budu přitom tvrdit, že Lévi-Straussovy přísliby spojené s jeho metodou nebyly nikdy naplněny a že je strukturální antropologie neuspokojivá.
Al abordar el estudio de la obra de Primo Levi, encontramos, ligada al núcleo de referencias que tienen como fuente su experiencia como superviviente del Holocausto, una temática singular, concebida por el autor como ejemplo de respuesta de la razón humana frente a la barbarie. El trabajo creativo, el mundo de los oficios, recorre como profunda reivindicación moral toda la obra de Levi, siendo la línea de fuerza positiva más importante que puede hallarse en la misma. En el presente artículo (...) vamos a abordar críticamente este fecundo ámbito de referencialidad, analizando su concepción, sus vinculaciones y sus límites. (shrink)
Recent work has considered the problem of extending to the case of iterated belief change the so-called `Harper Identity' (HI), which defines single-shot contraction in terms of single-shot revision. The present paper considers the prospects of providing a similar extension of the Levi Identity (LI), in which the direction of definition runs the other way. We restrict our attention here to the three classic iterated revision operators--natural, restrained and lexicographic, for which we provide here the first collective characterisation in the (...) literature, under the appellation of `elementary' operators. We consider two prima facie plausible ways of extending (LI). The first proposal involves the use of the rational closure operator to offer a `reductive' account of iterated revision in terms of iterated contraction. The second, which doesn't commit to reductionism, was put forward some years ago by Nayak et al. We establish that, for elementary revision operators and under mild assumptions regarding contraction, Nayak's proposal is equivalent to a new set of postulates formalising the claim that contraction by ¬A should be considered to be a kind of `mild' revision by A. We then show that these, in turn, under slightly weaker assumptions, jointly amount to the conjunction of a pair of constraints on the extension of (HI) that were recently proposed in the literature. Finally, we consider the consequences of endorsing both suggestions and show that this would yield an identification of rational revision with natural revision. We close the paper by discussing the general prospects for defining iterated revision in terms of iterated contraction. (shrink)
This article is an attempt to engage the Badiouian image of Deleuze’s thought at its most dogmatic. I develop a close reading of Badiou’s controversial work, Deleuze: The Clamor of Being. I argue that this text is counter-productive insofar as it obscures problems that Deleuze and Badiou share, in favour of emphasizing divergences in their solutions to them. As part of an attempt to engage these shared problems, the article focuses on the problem of ‘universal singularity’, arguing in favour of (...) what Deleuze and Badiou can bring to our understanding of it. To achieve this, I consider Deleuzian philosophy in terms of its capacity to contribute to new images of thought, through a development of its relation with the writings of Primo Levi. (shrink)
Music, simultaneity and the relationship between the whole and the parts are three themes closely intertwined in Lévi-Strauss's work. To illustrate these themes, as gradually elaborated by Lévi-Strauss, we will follow a path in several stages along his intellectual journey: simultaneity, chess and music are the three figures that will guide us.
Claude Lévi-Strauss holds that history and anthropology differ in their choice of complementary perspectives: history organizes its data in relation to conscious expressions of social life, while anthropology proceeds by examining its unconscious foundations. For R. G. Collingwood historical science discovers not only pure facts but considers a whole series of thoughts constituting historical life. Also Lévi-Strauss sees this: “To understand history it is necessary to know not only how things are, but how they have come to be.” However, Lévi-Strauss (...) does not perceive the double-sense of history, which can first be a record of historical “conscious” facts and second, a chain of unconscious or half-conscious acts. Like Lévi-Strauss, Charles Bally has derived the main theses of his theory from Saussure. However, contrary to Lévi-Strauss, Bally does not find structures at the inside of the phenomena but at their outside: “Our attention is drawn to the expressive side and not to the interior side of the facts of language.” Bally calls those structures not “history” but “style.” In Roland Barthes’s attempt to establish a structuralist system of fashion we can find a definition of style very similar to Bally’s. In the end, however, none of these thinkers addresses the fact that unconscious relations within historical life are constantly interlocked with conscious elements. (shrink)
Questa ricerca, attraverso alcune letture incrociate di Michel Foucault e di Claude Lévi-Strauss, mette in luce l’attualità di due grandi pensatori che pongono al centro delle loro teorie il tema della distanza, dell’altro da sé e del ritorno a sé per comprendere il ruolo del soggetto nella civiltà occidentale. Al di là delle rilevanti differenze che li contraddistinguono, Foucault e Lévi-Strauss percorrono due cammini teorici volti a decostruire il rapporto tra verità e soggetto nella civiltà occidentale adottando una prospettiva della (...) distanza e dell’allontanamento da sé, quali tecniche per comprendere se stessi. Da una parte il concetto foucaultiano di eterotopia, in quanto «spazio assolutamente altro», permette di comprendere i meccanismi attraverso i quali ci si proietta in un altrove senza luogo preciso per localizzare se stessi. Il campo dell’etnologia, sarà dunque letto attraverso la lente foucaultiana, quale «eterotopologia», o scienza eterotopica, per eccellenza. Dall’altra, questo concetto sarà analizzato alla luce di quello che Lévi-Strauss ha definito nel saggio sui Tre umanesimi una «tecnica dello straniamento», ovvero un metodo che permette di pensare se stessi grazie al confronto con l’Altro, con culture di altri luoghi ed altri tempi: per conoscere il soggetto che è l’uomo, non si può non prescindere da un lavoro di continui raffronti e paragoni tra diverse società nel tempo e nello spazio. (shrink)
Primo Levi has emerged as one of the most incisive and humanly candid intellects among those writers who experienced the Holocaust and survived to tell about it. His classically concise, sober and lean style is reflective of a mind that insists on being guided by reason and civility. To express himself in a rational, clear and composed manner signified for Levi a moral victory over the Shoá and gave and additional dimension of validity to his own survival. Leviʼs insistence on (...) the writer as witness and communicator, like the definition of the artist as builder of alternative worlds, retains some coherent vision of the social order and mandated relationship between history and art. In his finals years, his sense of despair and disillusion is also reflected by his increasing references to the black holes, and image he uses metaphorically to express the dark void of recent history and the charge of no-meaning and death in human life. (shrink)
In A Centaur in Auschwitz, Massimo Giuliani sheds new light on Primo Levi's rational, demythologizing approach to suffering and survival. Whether working in narrative or poetic form, Levi grappled with the ambiguities and complexities of innocence and guilt, triumph and loss. This unique book, with its concise overview of Levi's expression and development as a writer, reveals Primo Levi for what he was: scientist, intellectual, Jew, and dedicated seeker of the roots of human dignity.
At the age of twenty-five, Primo Levi was sent to Hell. Levi, an Italian chemist from Turin, was one of many swept up in the Holocaust of World War II and sent to die in the German concentration camp in Auschwitz. Of the 650 people transported to the camp in his group, only 15 men and 9 women survived. After Soviet liberation of the camp in 1945, Levi wrote books, essays, short stories, poetry, and a novel, in which he painstakingly (...) described the horrors of his experience at Auschwitz. He also spent the rest of his life struggling with the fact that he was not among those who were killed. In _Primo Levi and the Politics of Survival,_ Frederic D. Homer looks at Primo Levi's life but, more important, shows him to be a significant political philosopher. In the course of his writings, Levi asked and answered his most haunting question: can someone be brutalized by a terrifying experience and, upon return to "ordinary life," recover from the physical and moral destruction he has suffered? Levi used this question to develop a philosophy positing that although man is no match for life, he can become better prepared to contend with the tragedies in life. According to Levi, the horrors of the world occur because of the strength of human tendencies, which make relationships between human beings exceedingly fragile. He believed that we are ill-constituted beings who have tendencies toward violence and domination, dividing ourselves into Us and Them, with very shallow loyalties. He also maintained that our only refuge is in education and responsibility, which may counter these tendencies. Homer calls Levi's philosophy "optimistic pessimism." As Homer demonstrates, Levi took his past experiences into account to determine that goodwill and democratic institutions do not come easily to people. Liberal society is to be earned through discipline and responsibility toward our weaknesses. Levi's answer is "civilized liberalism." To achieve this we must counter some of our most stubborn tendencies. Homer also explores the impact of Levi's death, an apparent suicide, on the way in which his work and theories have been perceived. While several critics discount Levi's work because of the nature of his death, Homer argues that his death is consistent with his philosophy. A book rich in brutally honest philosophy, _Primo Levi and the Politics of Survival_ compels one to look at serious questions about life, tragedy, optimism, solidarity, violence, and human nature. (shrink)
This paper compares the epistemological conception of Isaac Levi with mine. We are joined in both giving a constructive answer to the relation of belief and probability, without reducing one to the other. However, our constructions differ in at least nine more or less important ways, all discussed in the paper. In particular, the paper explains the similarities and differences of Shackle's functions of potential surprise, as used by Levi, and my ranking functions in formal as well as in philosophical (...) respects. The appendix explains how ranking and probability theory can be combined in the notion of a ranked probability measure (or probabilified ranking function). (shrink)
This ar ti cle ex tends, from a philo soph i cal and an thro po log i cal point of view, the re cent dis - cus sions as to what is met a phoric. Lan guage phi - los o phers have con trib uted to the un der stand ing of the na ture and func tion of met a phors, but their com ments have been tra ..
My focus is on pragmatic arguments for various ‘rationality constraints’ on a decision maker’s state of mind: on his beliefs or preferences. An argument of this kind purports to show that a violator of a given constraint can be exposed to a decision problem in which he will act to his guaranteed disadvantage. Dramatically put, he can be exploited by a clever bookie who doesn’t know more than the agent himself. Examples of pragmatic arguments of this kind are synchronic Dutch (...) Books, for the standard probability axioms, diachronic Dutch Books, for the more controversial principles of reflection and conditionalization, and Money Pumps, for the transitivity requirement on preferences. The proposed exploitation set-ups share a common feature. If the violator of a given constraint is logically and mathematically competent, he can be exploited only if he is disunified in his decision-making. Exploitation is possible only if the agent makes decisions on various issues he confronts one by one, rather than on all of them together. Unity in decision making may be quite costly and is often inconvenient, especially when it concerns opportunity packages that are spread over time. On my view, therefore, pragmatic arguments should be seen as delivering conditional conclusions: “If you want to afford being disunified as a decision maker, then you’d better satisfy these constraints.” The arguments of this kind fail to establish the inherent rationality of the constraints under consideration. Levi’s view of the status of pragmatic arguments is opposed to mine. According to him, only synchronic pragmatic arguments are valid. The diachronic ones, he argues, lack any validity at all. This line of reasoning is questioned in my paper. (shrink)
Isaac Levi is more interested in inquiry and how it progresses than he is in metaphysics. Questions concerning the role of disposition predicates in inquiry are more central to him than those concerning the nature and reality of dispositions. It has not stopped him from giving me and others very useful metaphysical advice. Currently, where empirical metaphysics is in vogue, there is every reason to see whether the two forms of philosophical interest might interlock substantially. Levi has stimulating ideas indeed (...) on the two forms of philosophical interest, and has recently summarized them in the slogan: “The reality of dispositions is a work in progress”. We can learn much about what kinds of dispositions are acceptable from tracing and comparing the histories of successful and less successful disposition predicates in scientific inquiry. Levi explores one route along which dispositions become real. His idea is that the introduction of dispositions facilitates covering law explanation by increasing the number of laws. The successful disposition predicate eventually becomes integrated in scientific theory, much like an ordinary theoretical term, whereas the unsuccessful does not. My impression is that Levi thinks that this is the only way a disposition can become real. To evaluate this claim, an alternative course suggested by Jon Elster is introduced. I then try to bring out the differences between Levi's and Elster's views on dispositions, partly by suggesting that they resemble two aspects of full explanations discussed by Wesley Salmon. But more about that below. (shrink)
La filosofia, anche quella più incline a farsi coinvolgere nell’impresa di estinguere la sete dell’assoluto, contiene in sé, nella propria vocazione alla ricerca di una comune verità mediante il dialogo, un antidoto indispensabile al rischio (auto)distruttivo che può annidarsi in ogni tentativo umano, tanto umano di cogliere la totalità, l’infinito, Dio. Anche le grandi tradizioni religiose, quelle che da secoli sono impegnate a tracciare sentieri, trovare parole, celebrare liturgie per saziare la fame di assoluto che agita il cuore e la (...) mente degli uomini, non possono fare a meno di intessere un intenso dialogo con questa tradizione di ricerca, soprattutto nei momenti cruciali, quando diventa urgente addomesticare i dèmoni (fanatismo, intolleranza, totalitarismo) che una frequentazione inadeguata del sacro può evocare. La consapevolezza che anche la filosofia non possa dichiararsi storicamente innocente non cancella ma spinge a ritrovare sempre di nuovo la vocazione più profonda di quest’originale forma di esercizio spirituale: una ricerca appassionata del bene e della verità, capace di resistere alla suggestione del possesso compiuto e di mantenersi in quella apertura alla possibilità dell’errore che è presidio di autentica libertà per sé e per gli altri. Nel cammino per apprendere quest’arte di maneggiare gli assoluti, diventa allora importante scegliere con cura i propri maestri, frequentare l’orto che hanno seminato, imparare ad usare gli arnesi che hanno adoperato, per diventare capaci di costruirne di nuovi, quelli che si rendessero necessari per coltivare il campo della propria personale esperienza di vita. (shrink)
Atlas, S. On the relation between subject and object.--Bamberger, B. Religion and the arts.--Bemporad, J. Man, God, and history.--Braude, W. C. The two lives of Hillel's sandwich.--Chapman, C. B. The health guilds, the public interest and the malpractice dilemma.--Feuer, L. Influence of Abba Hillel Silver on the evolution of Reform Judaism.--Hackerman, N. Ignorance, the motivation for understanding.--Hartshorne, C. Whitehead's metaphysical system.--Ogden, S. M. Prolegomena to a Christian theology of nature.--Sandmel, S. The rationalist denial of Jewish tradition in Philo.--Shakow, D. Educating (...) the mental health researcher for potential development in man.--Turner, D. An Ashendene dozen from the Levi A. Olan collection of fine books.--Olan, L. A. A preliminary summing up. (shrink)
Isaac Levi (1980) targets an implicit tension in C.S. Peirce’s epistemology, one that exists between the need to always be open-minded and aware of our propensity to make mistakes so that we do not “block the road of inquiry,” and the need to treat certain beliefs as infallible and to doubt only in a genuine way so that inquiry can proceed in the first place. Attempts at alleviating this tension have typically involved interpreting Peirce as ascribing different normative standards to (...) different areas of inquiry. I argue here that such “double-standard” interpretations face significant problems. I offer instead an interpretation of Peirce on which the differences between different areas of inquiry are descriptive rather than normative. Such a view resolves Levi’s tension while interpreting Peirce as consistently subscribing to one normative standard for all inquiry. (shrink)
Isaac Levi has long criticized causal decisiontheory on the grounds that it requiresdeliberating agents to make predictions abouttheir own actions. A rational agent cannot, heclaims, see herself as free to choose an actwhile simultaneously making a prediction abouther likelihood of performing it. Levi is wrongon both points. First, nothing in causaldecision theory forces agents to makepredictions about their own acts. Second,Levi's arguments for the ``deliberation crowdsout prediction thesis'' rely on a flawed modelof the measurement of belief. Moreover, theability of agents (...) to adopt beliefs about theirown acts during deliberation is essentialto any plausible account of human agency andfreedom. Though these beliefs play no part inthe rationalization of actions, they arerequired to account for the causalgenesis of behavior. To explain the causes ofactions we must recognize that (a) an agentcannot see herself as entirely free in thematter of A unless she believes herdecision to perform A will cause A,and (b) she cannot come to a deliberatedecision about A unless she adoptsbeliefs about her decisions. FollowingElizabeth Anscombe and David Velleman, I arguethat an agent's beliefs about her own decisionsare self-fulfilling, and that this can beused to explain away the seeming paradoxicalfeatures of act probabilities. (shrink)
The AGM (Alchourrón-Gärdenfors-Makinson) model of belief change is extended to cover changes on sets of beliefs that are not closed under logical consequence (belief bases). Three major types of change operations, namely contraction, internal revision, and external revision are axiomatically characterized, and their interrelations are studied. In external revision, the Levi identity is reversed in the sense that one first adds the new belief to the belief base, and afterwards contracts its negation. It is argued that external revision represents an (...) intuitively plausible way of revising one's beliefs. Since it typically involves the temporary acceptance of an inconsistent set of beliefs, it can only be used in belief representations that distinguish between different inconsistent sets of belief. (shrink)
This paper argues that Isaac Levi's account of preference reversals is only a limited success. Levi succeeds in showing that an agent acting in accord with his theory may exhibit reversals. Nevertheless, the specific account that Levi presents in order to accommodate the behavior of experimental subjects appears to be disconfirmed by available evidence.
During its first four congresses, held annually under Lenin, the Communist International went through two distinct phases: while the first two congresses focused on programmatic and organisational aspects of the break with Social-Democratic parties, the third congress, meeting after the putsch known as the ‘March Action’ of 1921 in Germany, adopted the slogan ‘To the masses!’, while the fourth codified this new line in the ‘Theses on the Unity of the Proletarian Front’. The arguments put forward by the first two (...) congresses were originally drafted by leaders of the Russian Communist Party, but the initiative for the adoption of the united-front policy came from the German Communist Party under the leadership of Paul Levi. This article explores the historical circumstances that turned the German Communists into the pioneers of the united-front tactic. In the documentary appendix we add English versions of two documents drafted by Levi: the ‘Letter to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany’ on the Kapp Putsch, dated 16 March 1920, and thekpd’s ‘Open Letter’ of 8 January 1921, which gave rise to the united-front tactic. (shrink)
Isaac Levi and I have different views of probability and decision making. Here, without addressing the merits, I will try to answer some questions recently asked by Levi (1985) about what my view is, and how it relates to his.
This article reframes our understanding of French structural anthropology by considering the work of André Leroi-Gourhan alongside that of Claude Lévi-Strauss. These two anthropologists worked at opposite poles of the discipline, Lévi-Strauss studying cultural objects, like myths and kinship relations; Leroi-Gourhan looking at material artifacts, such as stone tools, bones, arrowheads, and cave paintings. In spite of their difference in focus, these thinkers shared a similar approach to the interpretation of their sources: Each individual object was meaningful only as part (...) of a larger whole. For Lévi-Strauss, structuralism was designed to unlock features of the human mind; for Leroi-Gourhan, to uncover the material processes that underlay human life. Again, in spite of their difference in orientation, both structuralisms produced similar theories of human society. Whether ‘primitive’ or ‘advanced’, all societies functioned the same way: Their institutions worked harmoniously, beyond the intentions of any individual actors, to preserve the stability of the group. This eliminated the basis for thinking one society was superior to another. Finally, the article argues that both Lévi-Strauss and Leroi-Gourhan believed that structural anthropology could found a ‘new humanism’, and thereby rescue modernity from moral degeneration. This ‘new humanism’ could not only produce a universal description of human nature, but also help rethink French colonialism, broker new geopolitical alliances, and prevent the erasure of world cultures. Structural anthropology thus imagined a tight relationship between its social-scientific work and its political-moral mission. (shrink)
This essay is a meditation on Wittgenstein's injunction to ‘look and see’, especially when it is applied to the debate over theological realism. John Cook thinks that the injunction should be followed in metaphysics and epistemology, something he believes that Wittgenstein himself did not do. I am inclined to think that Cook is right about this, even though I am not persuaded by him that Wittgenstein goes wrong because he was committed to Neutral Monism. Interestingly, Cook thinks that there is (...) no need to adopt the look-and-see approach when it comes to the philosophy of religion, and this paper tries to show why he is wrong to think so. (shrink)
The twin pillars of Levi’s epistemology are his infallibilism and his corrigibilism. According to infallibilism, any agent is committed to being absolutely certain about anything she fully believes. From her own perspective, there is no serious possibility that any proposition she believes is false. She takes her own beliefs to be infallible, in this sense. But this need not make her dogmatic, on Levi’s view. According to his corrigibilism, an agent might come to have good reason to change her beliefs (...) and respond accordingly. She might also recognise this possibility ex ante, despite being absolutely certain that her current beliefs are true. This brief review explores whether Levi’s infallibilism can be made to sit comfortably both with his account of rational belief change, and his account of epistemic value (or with any reasonable account of epistemic value for that matter). I argue that it cannot. (shrink)
NThere are many problems with Levi and Green’s (2010) suggestion that a computer-based decision aid will overcome the major objections to advance directives (ADs). We focus on just two here. First, we argue that the key assumption underlying Levi and Green’s paper, that autonomy always ought to take priority over other values, is false. Second, we argue that the paper misses the point of the most telling objections to the use of ADs: they lack the relevant moral authority to determine (...) treatments. It is not that they are merely subject to a set of contingent problems related to capturing the wishes of individuals or being open to misinterpretation by others.We conclude that the plug should be pulled on Levi and Green’s computer-based proposal. (shrink)
Isaac Levi has explored the principles of American pragmatism in greater depth and more consistency than others before him. The result is a sophisticated and powerful philosophical system whose key elements stand in stark opposition not only to mainstream epistemology, but also to the positions of other contemporary authors writing in the same pragmatist tradition. The essays in this volume, written by some of philosophy's finest scholars, contribute substantially to the understanding and appraisal of Levi's work. Included in this volume (...) are Levi's extensive and provocative replies to his critics, which offer access to his thinking on a wide range of topics. The introduction provides a concise, systematic presentation of the cornerstone of Levi's pragmatism. Suitable for students and scholars who are interested in American pragmatism in general and Isaac Levi's work in particular, this book is an ideal companion to Levi's own writings. (shrink)
The context for these interviews was a seminar [Peter Gratton] conducted on speculative realism in the Spring 2010. There has been great interest in speculative realism and one reason Gratton surmise[s] is not just the arguments offered, though [Gratton doesn't] want to take away from them; each of these scholars are vivid writers and great pedagogues, many of whom are in constant contact with their readers via their weblogs. Thus these interviews provided an opportunity to forward student questions about their (...) respective works. Though each were conducted on different occasions, the interviews stand as a collected work, tying together the most classical questions about “realism” to ancillary movements about the non-human in politics, ecology, aesthetics, and video gaming—all to point to future movements in this philosophical area. (shrink)
A representation theorem is obtained for contraction operators that are based on Levi's recent proposal that selection functions should be applied to the set of saturatable contractions, rather than to maximal subsets as in the AGM framework. Furthermore, it is shown that Levi's proposal to base the selection on a weakly monotonic measure of informational value guarantees the satisfaction of both of Gärdenfors' supplementary postulates for contraction. These results indicate that Levi has succeeded in constructing a well-behaved operation of contraction (...) that does not satisfy the postulate of recovery. (shrink)
Isaac Levi uses C. S. Peirce's fallibilism as a foil for his own "epistemological infallibilism". I argue that Levi's criticisms of Peirce do not hit their target, and that the two pragmatists agree on the fundamental issues concerning background knowledge, certainty, revision of belief, and the aims of inquiry.
Retracing the primary common aspects between anthropological and psychoanalytic thought, in this article, we will further discuss the main common points between the notions of the unconscious according to Carl Gustav Jung and Claude Lévi-Strauss, taking into account the thought of Erich Neumann. On the basis of very simple elementary logic considerations centered around the basic notion of the separation of opposites, our observations might be useful for speculations on the possible origins of rational thought and hence on the origins (...) of consciousness. (shrink)
Isaac Levi has claimed that our reliance on the testimony of others, and on the testimony of the senses, commonly produces inconsistency in our set of full beliefs. This happens if what is reported is inconsistent with what we believe to be the case. Drawing on a conception of the role of beliefs in inquiry going back to Dewey, Levi has maintained that the inconsistent belief corpus is a state of ``epistemic hell'': it is useless as a basis for inquiry (...) and deliberation. As he has also noticed, the compatibility of these two elements of his pragmatist epistemology could be called into question. For if inconsistency means hell, how can it ever be rational to enter that state, and on what basis could we attempt to regain consistency? Levi, nonetheless, has tried to show that the conflict is only apparent and that no changes of his theory are necessary. In the main part of the paper I argue, by contrast, that his attempts to reconcile these components of his view are unsuccessful.The conflict is real andthus presents a genuine threat to Deweyan pragmatism, as understood by Levi. After an attempt to pinpoint exactly where the source of the problem lies, I explore some possibilities for how to come to grips with it. I conclude that Levi can keep his fundamental thesis concerning the role of beliefs in inquiry and deliberation, provided that he (i) gives up the view that the agent can legitimately escape from inconsistency, and (ii) modifies his account of prediction alias deliberate expansion by acknowledging a third desideratum, besides probability and informational value, namely, not to cause permanent breakdown further down the line of inquiry. The result is a position which is more similar to Peter Gärdenfors's than is Levi's original theory, while retaining the basic insights of the latter. (shrink)
We try to recast in modern terms a choice principle conceived by Beppo Levi. who called it the Approximation Principle (AP). Up to now. there was almost no discussion about Levi's contribution. due to the quite obscure formulation of AP the author has chosen. After briefly reviewing the historical and philosophical surroundings of Levi's proposal. we undertake our own attempt at interpreting AP. The idea underlying the principle. as well as the supposed faithfulness of our version to Levi's original intention. (...) are then discussed. Finally. an application of AP to a property of metric spaces is presented. with the aim of showing how AP may work in contexts where other forms of choice are commonly at use. (shrink)
This paper presents and comments the content of a note by Beppo Levi on logical paradoxes. Though the existence of this contribution is known, very little analysis of it is available in the literature. I put the emphasis on Levi’s usage of “elementation procedures” for solving the set-theoretical paradoxes, which is the most original part of Levi’s approach to the topic.
The branch of philosophical logic which has become known as “belief change” has, in the course of its development, become alienated from its epistemological origins. However, as formal criteria do not suffice to defend a principled choice between competing systems for belief change, we do need to take their epistemological embedding into account. Here, on the basis of a detailed examination of Isaac Levi's epistemology, we argue for a new direction of belief change research and propose to construct systems for (...) belief change that can do without, but do not rule out, selection functions, in order to enable an *empirical* assessment of the relative merits of competing belief change systems. (shrink)
The things themselves, which only the limited brains of men and animals believe fixed and stationary, have no real existence at all. They are the flashing and sparks of drawn swords, the glow of victory in the conflict of opposing qualities. SummaryThe conflicts between the eristentialism of Jean‐Paul Sartre and the structuralism of Claude Lévi‐Strauss present a privileged site for illuminating larger conflicts in the human studies as a whole. The present paper argues that a method for addressing and perhaps (...) resolving thes conflicts can be drawn from the respective logics of existentialism and structuralism. The essay begins by discussing the dialectical social theory of lean‐Paul Sartre and then, after treating Lévi‐Strauss's theory of structure, goes on to argue that dialectical thought generates structures, and that structuralism invites a dialectical method of construction. While an integration of methods along these lines does not constitute an integrated social theory, it can remove an important obstacle to the development of such theory. (shrink)