While there is convincing evidence that preverbal human infants and non-human primates can spontaneously represent number, considerable debate surrounds the possibility that such capacity is also present in other animals. Fish show a remarkable ability to discriminate between different numbers of social companions. Previous work has demonstrated that in fish the same set of signature limits that characterize non-verbal numerical systems in primates is present but yet to provide any demonstration that fish can really represent number rather than basing their (...) discrimination on continuous attributes that co-vary with number. In the present work, using the method of 'item by item' presentation, we provide the first evidence that fish are capable of selecting the larger group of social companions relying exclusively on numerical information. In our tests subjects could choose between one large and one small group of companions when permitted to see only one fish at a time. Fish were successful when both small (3 vs. 2) and large numbers (8 vs. 4) were involved and their performance was not affected by the density of the fish or by the overall space occupied by the group. (shrink)
Es bien conocido el aprecio que desde hace tiempo tiene la Iglesia por el método ver-juzgar-actuar, sin embargo, las reflexiones de la filosofía y la sociología hacen considerar hoy la necesidad de enriquecer el momento del ver, con unos elementos fenomenológicos y hermenéuticos que lo hagan más histórico y menos objetivista y de lograr además una mayor interacción entre los tres momentos. En este sentido, la investigación propone la inserción de las historias de vida de las personas y las comunidades (...) como un camino nuevo de conocimiento de la realidad. En efecto, la realidad no sólo consiste en el hecho desnudo, sino también en el hecho tal y como lo percibe el sujeto; no sólo es suceso, sino también narración. Así, las historias de vida, y el consecuente método autobiográfico constituyen, según la investigación, un recurso vital en la planificación pastoral; no simplemente un apéndice secundario o un recurso simplemente aplicativo, sino, un momento intrínseco de la reflexión y de la experiencia teológica y pastoral. It is well-known the log lasting appreciation of the church for the method see-judge-act, however the current philosophical and sociological considerations are considering the need for an enrichment of the moment of seeing with some phenomenological and hermeneutical elements which could make it more historical and less objective and to achieve, moreover, a major interaction among the three moments. In this sense, the research proposes also the introduction of the stories of people’s lives and of the communities as a new way of awareness of reality. Indeed, reality is not only in the naked event, but also in the event as it is seen by the subject; not only the happened event, but also its narration. For this reason, the life stories and the autobiographical method are, according to the research a vital resource in the pastoral planning; not simply a secondary appendix or a applicative type, but as an intrinsic moment of the theological and pastoral reflection and experience. (shrink)
In some sections of On Certainty, Wittgenstein uses the term “persuasion,” pitting it, on the one hand, against “giving reasons”, and comparing it, on the other, to conversion, while, finally, defining it as “giving someone one's own picture of the world.” In this essay, I analyse these sections, in an effort to fit them into the broader context of On Certainty, and to clarify the meaning and the limits of the comparison between persuasion and conversion. My aim is to show (...) that persuasion as Wittgenstein understands it here is quite similar to what we could call “re-education.”. (shrink)
Simple assumptions represent a decisive reason to prefer one theory to another in everyday scientific praxis. But this praxis has little philosophical justification, since there exist many notions of simplicity, and those that can be defined precisely strongly depend on the language in which the theory is formulated. The language dependence is a natural feature—to some extent—but it is also believed to be a fatal problem, because, according to a common general argument, the simplicity of a theory is always trivial (...) in a suitably chosen language. But, this trivialization argument is typically either applied to toy-models of scientific theories or applied with little regard for the empirical content of the theory. This paper shows that the trivialization argument fails, when one considers realistic theories and requires their empirical content to be preserved . In fact, the concepts that enable a very simple formulation, are not necessarily measurable, in general. Moreover, the inspection of a theory describing a chaotic billiard shows that precisely those concepts that naturally make the theory extremely simple are provably not measurable. This suggests that—whenever a theory possesses sufficiently complex consequences—the constraint of measurability prevents too simple formulations in any language. This explains why the scientists often regard their assessments of simplicity as largely unambiguous. In order to reveal a cultural bias in the scientists’ assessment, one should explicitly identify different characterizations of simplicity of the assumptions that lead to different theory selections. General arguments are not sufficient. (shrink)
Galvani's discovery provoked an animated debate that lasted for about a decade. So far, historians have studied only the controversy between Volta and Galvani. I show that a more extensive examination of the response to Galvani's treatise reveals a number of important issues that were characteristic of the contemporary physics and physiology but have not much attracted the attention of historians. In particular, the analysis shows the need to reappraise Galvani's role in establishing animal electricity.
European society, with its steadily increasing welfare levels, is not only concerned with food (safety, prices), but also with other aspects such as biodiversity loss, landscape degradation, and pollution of water, soil, and atmosphere. To a great extent these concerns can be translated into a larger concept named sustainable development, which can be defined as a normative concept by). Sustainability in the food chain means creating a new sustainable agro-food system while taking the institutional element into account. While different concepts (...) of sustainability abound, in recent years, spontaneous groups of consumers called solidarity purchase groups (SPG) have been developing. In short, they are characterized by an economy that is not necessarily local, but ethical and equitable, where social and economic territorial relations tend to develop districts and networks. One of the main characteristics of a SPG is the direct relationships between small farms and their customers; a relationship that is characterized by consumer participation and farmer specialization. This study aims to address issues related to organizational frameworks, at farm and chain level, and to assess those elements that lead to consumer choice and satisfaction. (shrink)
This paper exhibits a general and uniform method to prove axiomatic completeness for certain modal fixpoint logics. Given a set Γ of modal formulas of the form γ, where x occurs only positively in γ, we obtain the flat modal fixpoint language by adding to the language of polymodal logic a connective γ for each γΓ. The term γ is meant to be interpreted as the least fixed point of the functional interpretation of the term γ. We consider the following (...) problem: given Γ, construct an axiom system which is sound and complete with respect to the concrete interpretation of the language on Kripke structures. We prove two results that solve this problem.First, let be the logic obtained from the basic polymodal by adding a Kozen–Park style fixpoint axiom and a least fixpoint rule, for each fixpoint connective γ. Provided that each indexing formula γ satisfies a certain syntactic criterion, we prove this axiom system to be complete.Second, addressing the general case, we prove the soundness and completeness of an extension of . This extension is obtained via an effective procedure that, given an indexing formula γ as input, returns a finite set of axioms and derivation rules for γ, of size bounded by the length of γ. Thus the axiom system is finite whenever Γ is finite. (shrink)
The first part of this paper aims to highlight the analogies between Schutz’s vision of the natural attitude and Wittgenstein’s vision of a phenomenon that concerns the same problematic field, i.e. certainty, the belief of common sense that is free of all doubt, that the world “out there” is as it appears, absolutely real. These certainties form the basis, the foundation of language games and therefore of knowledge in general and in its entirety. This foundation is unfounded and yet indispensable. (...) The second part of the paper examines an important topic analysed by Wittgenstein, related to the aforementioned problem: the language transposition of pre-predicative, pre-reflective and non-propositional certainties, the cornerstones of which are “hinge propositions”, whose hybrid nature can be identified in the shift from empirical propositions to grammatical rules. (shrink)
A chemical substance is instantiated in the material world by a number of quantities of such substance, placed in different locations. A change of location implies a change in the net of relationships entertained by the QCS with the region wherein it is found. This fact entails changes of the ontological status of the CS, as this is not fully determined by the inherent features of the CS and includes a relevant relational contribution. In order to demonstrate this thesis, we (...) have chosen to analyse the status of quantities of a same CS that are synchronically located in different spacetime regions: a synthetic lab, a lab where the QCS is turned into a material, an industrial plant, the market where the QCS gets a price and a dump waste where the QCS is discarded, respectively: Chemical substance Open image in new window material Open image in new window product Open image in new window goods Open image in new window wasteThe use of first-order predicate logic, mereology and locative logic allows carrying out a regimentation process that highlights the ontological commitments implied by the formal expressions through which each element of the aforementioned series can be described. The presence of relational properties discloses the systemic nature of the CS instantiated within a spacetime region. The implications of such an aspect are discussed. (shrink)
This piece criticizes traditional formal and procedural conceptions of democracy, which fail to account for the development of contemporary constitutional democracy. The latter is characterized by a substantive dimension with respect to the content of the decisions taken through the democratic process. The validity of such decision is conditioned by the respect and actualization of fundamental rights, which are established by the constitution. The limits and constraints established by the constitution require juridical science to play a critical and programmatic role (...) vis - à - vis the ‘unlawful’ exercise of public powers, when these enter in contrast with the limits imposed by the constitution. (shrink)
In both Introductions to the Critique of Judgment Kant seems to identify the a priori principle at the basis of aesthetic judgments with the principle that guides reflective judgment in its cognitive inquiry of nature, i.e. the purposiveness of nature or systematicity. For instance Kant writes.
The main aim of the paper is to reinforce the notion that emergence is a basic characteristic of the molecular sciences in general and chemistry in particular. Although this point is well accepted, even in the primary reference on emergence, the keyword emergence is rarely utilized by chemists and molecular biologists and chemistry textbooks for undergraduates. The possible reasons for this situation are discussed. The paper first re-introduces the concept of emergence based on very simple geometrical forms; and considers some (...) simple chemical examples among low and high molecular weight compounds. On the basis of these chemical examples, a few interesting philosophical issues inherent to the field of emergence are discussed – again making the point that such examples, given their clarity and simplicity, permit one to better understand the complex philosophical issues. Thus, the question of predictability is discussed, namely whether and to what extent can emergent properties be predicted on the basis of the component’s properties; or the question of the explicability (a top down process). The relation between reductionism and emergentism is also discussed as well as the notion of downward causality and double causality (macrodeterminism); namely the question whether and to what extent the emergent properties of the higher hierarchic level affect the properties of the lower level components. Finally, the question is analyzed, whether life can be considered as an emergent property. More generally, the final point is made, that the re-introduction of the notion of emergence in chemistry, and in particular in the teaching, may bring about a deeper understanding of the meaning of chemical complexity and may bring chemistry closer to the humanistic areas of philosophy and epistemology. (shrink)
I argue that the key to understand many fundamental issues in philosophy of science lies in understanding the subtle relation between the non-empirical cognitive values used in science and the constraints imposed by measurability. In fact, although we are not able to fix the interpretation of a scientific theory through its formulation, I show that measurability puts constraints that can at least exclude some implausible interpretations. This turns out to be enough to define at least one cognitive value that is (...) able to penalize, without damages, precisely those bad features that deceive purely empirical assessments. This leads to the formulation of a simple model of scientific progress, that is based only on empirical accuracy and conciseness. The model is confronted here with many possible objections and with challenging cases of real progress. Although I cannot exclude that the model might be incomplete, it includes all the cases of genuine progress examined here, and no spurious one. In this model, I stress the role of the state of the art, which is the collection of all the theories that are the only legitimate source of scientific predictions. Progress is a global upgrade of the state of the art. (shrink)
A μ-algebra is a model of a first-order theory that is an extension of the theory of bounded lattices, that comes with pairs of terms where μx.f is axiomatized as the least prefixed point of f, whose axioms are equations or equational implications.Standard μ-algebras are complete meaning that their lattice reduct is a complete lattice. We prove that any nontrivial quasivariety of μ-algebras contains a μ-algebra that has no embedding into a complete μ-algebra.We then focus on modal μ-algebras, i.e. algebraic (...) models of the propositional modal μ-calculus. We prove that free modal μ-algebras satisfy a condition–reminiscent of Whitman’s condition for free lattices–which allows us to prove that modal operators are adjoints on free modal μ-algebras, least prefixed points of Σ1-operations satisfy the constructive relation μx.f=logical and operatorn≥0fn. These properties imply the following statement: the MacNeille–Dedekind completion of a free modal μ-algebra is a complete modal μ-algebra and moreover the canonical embedding preserves all the operations in the class image of the fixed point alternation hierarchy. (shrink)
The relationship between knowledge and values, experts and lay people, represents a major issue of the debate involving environment and technology. There is a growing awareness that the connection between value commitments and technical solutions, scientific expertise and lay competence, is much more entangled than once was believed. The article deals with this issue by analysing Robert Dahl's `minipopulus' and Silvio Funtowicz and Jerry Ravetz's `extended peer communities' arguments. They are subsequently inserted into the sociological debate which is, at present, (...) considerably influenced by the reflexive modernization framework. As a result, Ulrich Beck's and Anthony Giddens' theories appear as one of four ideal-typical approaches to the social construction of the issues that can be outlined, according to the priority assigned to knowledge versus power and nature versus society. The idea of an `extended peer review' of problems and solutions is remarkably close to the deliberative democracy concept. However, the high level of uncertainty characterizing major environmental and technological questions suggests that a `strong' version of deliberative democracy, such as the Discourse Ethics proposed by Habermas, is untenable in its search for a universal, rational consensus on the normative grounds of action. Thus it is necessary to develop a `weak' interpretation of the extended peer review, exploring the possibility of fair and stable agreements on bounded, practical solutions to bounded, practical problems. (shrink)
This article takes issue with the most authoritative argument for the commonplace that John Wyclif was an extreme determinist: he denied distinctions between divine ideas and God’s metaphysical constituents and between ideas as principle of divine cognition of creatures and as models for their production ad extra ; since as a constituent of God’s essence every divine idea is absolutely necessary, and every idea is unfailingly a pattern for creation, therefore God cannot but create anything He can think of. This (...) paper argues against the premise that Wyclif never distinguished rationes and exemplaria by examining significant excerpts from Wyclif’s edited and unedited academic writings in which the distinction is assumed or discussed. Wyclif maintains that there are more ideas in God than created essences ad extra, and that God’s absolute power covers more than His ordained power does. To stress that not every divine idea is automatically a model for creation, Wyclif sometimes includes in his standard taxonomy of being a hitherto unnoticed level, the esse intentionale, which is eternal and ad intra, like the esse intelligibile, but contingent, the kind of being in which something participates as the result of God’s free choice to bring it into existence ad extra at the due time. (shrink)
Thaler and Sunstein justify nudge policies from welfaristic premises: nudges are acceptable because they benefit the individuals who are nudged. A tacit assumption behind this strategy is that we can identify the true preferences of decision-makers. We argue that this assumption is often unwarranted, and that as a consequence nudge policies must be justified in a different way. A possible strategy is to abandon welfarism and endorse genuine paternalism. Another one is to argue that the biases of decision that choice (...) architects attempt to eliminate create externalities. For example, in the case of intertemporal discounting, the costs of preference reversals are not always paid by the discounters, because they are transferred onto other individuals. But if this is the case, then nudges are best justified from a political rather than welfaristic standpoint. (shrink)
Since the 1980s the concepts of “neoliberalism” and “technoscience,” although both of them were coined earlier, have almost simultaneously become rather prominent conceptual tools in various fields of social science research. The starting point of Neoliberalism and Technoscience: Critical Assessments, edited by Luigi Pellizzoni and Marja Ylönen, is the assumption that this temporal overlap is not just a coincidence and that it would be “quite surprising, then, to find no or merely casual connections between neoliberalization processes and technoscience” . (...) There is already some work in science and technology studies and the sociology of science investigating the impact of neoliberalism on science, frequently focusing on the management of scientific institutions; in addition, there are a number of studies, often inspired by Michel Foucault’s work on biopolitics and governmentality, on the close relations of science and neoliberalism in the field of biomedicine .. (shrink)
This paper describes the Eunomos software, an advanced legal document and knowledge management system, based on legislative XML and ontologies. We describe the challenges of legal research in an increasingly complex, multi-level and multi-lingual world and how the Eunomos software helps users cut through the information overload to get the legal information they need in an organized and structured way and keep track of the state of the relevant law on any given topic. Using NLP tools to semi-automate the lower-skill (...) tasks makes this ambitious project a realistic commercial prospect as it helps keep costs down while at the same time allowing greater coverage. We describe the core system from workflow and technical perspectives, and discuss applications of the system for various user groups. (shrink)
Two features characterize new and emerging technosciences. The first one is the production of peculiar ontologies. The human agent is confronted with a biophysical world the contingent, indeterminate character of which does not hamper but expands the scope of purposeful action. Uncertainty is increasingly regarded as a resource for an expanding will rather than a drawback for a disoriented agent. The second feature is that ethics is increasingly considered as the core regulatory means of this messy, ever-changing world. The ambivalences (...) of the ethical government of contingent assemblages are discussed by focusing on the governmentality perspective. The latter helps to make sense of the regulatory alliance between ethics and technoscience. A reflection on Foucault’s account of ethics shows that the emancipatory role of the latter is today hampered by its embroilment with the instrumental reason it aims to govern, nor can older models of ethical commitment find any straightforward application. Mapping the issue in terms of mutual constitution of power, potentiality and possibility gives salience to a particular question: what we are able not to do. (shrink)
Modern linguistics has highlighted the fundamental invariance of human language: A rich invariant structure has emerged from comparative studies nourished by sophisticated formal models; languages also differ along important dimensions, but variation is constrained in severe and systematic ways. I illustrate this research direction in the domains of island constraints, word order restrictions, and the expression of referential dependencies. Both language invariance and language variability within systematic limits are highly relevant for the cognitive sciences.