In this note I argue that, relative to certain largely uncontroversial background conditions, any instance of Mates’ Puzzle is equivalent to some instance of Frege’s Puzzle. If correct, this result is surprising. For, barring the radical move of rejecting the possibility of synonymous expressions in a language tout court, it shows that there is no strictly lexical solution to at least some instances of Frege’s Puzzle. This forces the hand of theorists who wish to provide a semantic (rather than pragmatic) (...) solution to Frege’s Puzzle. The only option open will be modify in one way or another the standard formulation of semantic compositionality. (shrink)
The Problem of Doxastic Shift may be stated as a dilemma: on the one hand, the distribution of nominal complements of the form 'the φ that p' strongly suggests that 'that'-clauses cannot be univocally assigned propositional denotations; on the other hand, facts about quantification strongly suggest that 'that'-clauses must be assigned univocal denotations. I argue that the Problem may be solved by defining the extension of a proposition to be a set of facts or, more generally, conditions. Given this, the (...) logical operation of descriptive predication can be introduced in a way that resolves the dilemma without sacrificing the singular term analysis of 'that'-clauses. (shrink)
A large body of literature agrees that persons with schizophrenia suffer from a Theory of Mind deficit. However, most empirical studies have focused on third-person, egocentric ToM, underestimating other facets of this complex cognitive skill. Aim of this research is to examine the ToM of schizophrenic persons considering its various aspects, to determine whether some components are more impaired than others. We developed a Theory of Mind Assessment Scale and administered it to 22 persons with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia (...) and a matching control group. Th.o.m.a.s. is a semi-structured interview which allows a multi-component measurement of ToM. Both groups were also administered a few existing ToM tasks and the schizophrenic subjects were administered the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale and the WAIS-R. The schizophrenic persons performed worse than control at all the ToM measurements; however, these deficits appeared to be differently distributed among different components of ToM. Our conclusion is that ToM deficits are not unitary in schizophrenia, which also testifies to the importance of a complete and articulated investigation of ToM. (shrink)
For many years after Bohr's response to the EPR argument, Bohr was considered to have provided an authoritative rebuttal of the ideas of the paper, and more generally of Einstein's stance on quantum theory. More recently, however, there has been great difficulty even in achieving general agreement on Bohr's meaning. Two recent papers, by Dickson, and by Clifton and Halvorson, have sought to establish the structure of Bohr's argument. In the present paper, the papers of EPR and Bohr are re-assessed (...) in the light of these recent papers, and also in light of the development and presentation of quantum information theory. (shrink)
In Computer Science stepwise refinement of algebraic specifications is a well-known formal methodology for rigorous program development. This paper illustrates how techniques from Algebraic Logic, in particular that of interpretation, understood as a multifunction that preserves and reflects logical consequence, capture a number of relevant transformations in the context of software design, reuse, and adaptation, difficult to deal with in classical approaches. Examples include data encapsulation and the decomposition of operations into atomic transactions. But if interpretations open such a new (...) research avenue in program refinement, (conceptual) tools are needed to reason about them. In this line, the paper’s main contribution is a study of the correspondence between logical interpretations and morphisms of a particular kind of coalgebras. This opens way to the use of coalgebraic constructions, such as simulation and bisimulation, in the study of interpretations between (abstract) logics. (shrink)
Metabolism is a criterion of life. Three senses are distinguished. The weakest allows strong A-Life: virtual creatures having physical existence in computer electronics, but not bodies, are classes as 'alive'. The second excludes strong A-Life but allows that some non-biochemical A-Life robots could be classed as alive. The third, which stresses the body's self-production by energy budgeting and self-equilibrating energy exchanges of some (necessary) complexity, excludes both strong A-Life and living non-biochemical robots.
Two major functions of the visual system are discussed and contrasted. One function of vision is the creation of an internal model or percept of the external world. Most research in object perception has concentrated on this aspect of vision. Vision also guides the control of object-directed action. In the latter case, vision directs our actions with respect to the world by transforming visual inputs into appropriate motor outputs. We argue that separate, but interactive, visual systems have evolved for the (...) perception of objects on the one hand and the control of actions directed at those objects on the other. This 'duplex' approach to high-level vision suggests that Marrian or 'reconstructive' approaches and Gibsonian or 'purposive-animate-behaviorist' approaches need not be seen as mutually exclusive, but rather as complementary in their emphases on different aspects of visual function. (shrink)
There is a theistic argument which is discussed at least twice in the Hume corpus, both times rather perfunctorily. This perfunctoriness has carried over to some of his commentators, who are not always clear as to what the argument is or about the force of Hume’s comments on it. On page 23 of A Letter from a Gentleman to his Friend in Edinburgh Hume calls it “the metaphysical Argument a priori” and in Part 9 of Dialogues concerning Natural Religion simply (...) “the argument a priori”.1 It is the argument of Demea. (shrink)
Quantum mechanical measurements on a physical system are represented by observables - Hermitian operators on the state space of the observed system. It is an important question whether all observables may be realized, in principle, as measurements on a physical system. Dirac’s influential text ( , page 37) makes the following assertion on the question: The question now presents itself – Can every observable be measured? The answer theoretically is yes. In practice it may be very awkward, or perhaps even (...) beyond the ingenuity of the experimenter, to devise an apparatus which could measure some particular observable, but the theory always allows one to imagine that the measurement can be made. This Letter re-examines the question of whether it is possible, even in principle, to measure every quantum mechanical observable. Unexpectedly, ideas from com-. (shrink)
In the present essay we attempt to reconstruct Newtonian mechanics under the guidance of logical principles and of a constructive approach related to the genetic epistemology of Piaget and García. Instead of addressing Newton’s equations as a set of axioms, ultimately given by the revelation of a prodigious mind, we search for the fundamental knowledge, beliefs and provisional assumptions that can produce classical mechanics. We start by developing our main tool: the no arbitrariness principle, that we present in a form (...) that is apt for a mathematical theory as classical mechanics. Subsequently, we introduce the presence of the observer, analysing then the relation objective–subjective and seeking objectivity going across subjectivity. We take special care of establishing the precedence among all contributions to mechanics, something that can be better appreciated by considering the consequences of removing them: the consequence of renouncing logic and the laws of understanding is not being able to understand the world, renouncing the early elaborations of primary concepts such as time and space leads to a dissociation between everyday life and physics, the latter becoming entirely pragmatic and justified a-posteriori, changing our temporary beliefs has no real cost other than effort. Finally, we exemplify the present approach by reconsidering the constancy of the velocity of light. It is shown that it is a result of Newtonian mechanics, rather than being in contradiction with it. We also indicate the hidden assumption that leads to the contradiction. (shrink)
Some have objected to the laboratory cloning of human preembryos on the grounds that the procedure would violate the dignity of and respect owed to human preembryos. Others have argued that human cloning ought be permitted if it will predictably benefit, or at least not burden, individuals who are, unlike the human preembryo, clearly entitled to our respect and concern. Taking this latter position, the legal theorist John A. Robertson has argued that, since cloning does not harm anyone who is (...) clearly entitled to our respect and concern, it should be permitted. In particular, the offspring of cloning, he argues, cannot be genuinely harmed by cloning, since they owe their very existence to the cloning procedure. In this paper, I argue that cloning coupled with its related procedures does in fact place the flesh and blood human offspring of cloning at risk of genuine harm. I thus provide a basis for questioning the moral permissibility of cloning and its related technologies without implying that the human preembryo has dignity or is owed respect. (shrink)
This collection of new papers on Scottish philosophy in the age of Hutcheson and Hume pays close attention to the study of context and the use of original historical sources as a key to philosophical interpretation. The book includes revolutionary new research on Hume's early reading in science and religion and its impact of his thought.
The wish to extend the human lifespan has a long tradition in many cultures. Optimistic views of the possibility of achieving this goal through the latest developments in medicine feature increasingly in serious scientific and philosophical discussion. The authors of this paper argue that research with the explicit aim of extending the human lifespan is both undesirable and morally unacceptable. They present three serious objections, relating to justice, the community and the meaning of life.
This study aims to contribute to emerging human-robot interaction research by adding longitudinal findings to a limited number of long-term social robotics home studies. We placed 70 robots in users’ homes for a period of up to six months, and used questionnaires and interviews to collect data at six points during this period. Results indicate that users’ evaluations of the robot dropped initially, but later rose after the robot had been used for a longer period of time. This is congruent (...) with the so-called mere-exposure effect, which shows an increasing positive evaluation of a novel stimulus once people become familiar with it. Before adoption, users focus on control beliefs showing that previous experiences with robots or other technologies allows to create a mental image of what having and using a robot in the home would entail. After adoption, users focus on utilitarian and hedonic attitudes showing that especially usefulness, social presence, enjoyment and attractiveness are important factors for long-term acceptance. (shrink)
The issue of wrongful disability arises when parents face the choice whether to produce a child whose life will be unavoidably flawed by a serious disease or disorder (Down syndrome, for example, or Huntington’s disease) yet clearly worth living. The authors of From Chance to Choice claim, with certain restrictions, that the choice to produce such a child is morally wrong. They then argue that an intuitive moral approach––a “person-affecting” approach that pins wrongdoing to the harming of some existing or (...) future person––cannot account for that wrong since the choice to produce such a child cannot, under the logic of the nonidentity problem, harm that child. The authors propose that we supplement the person-affecting approach with an “impersonal” principle that takes the form of their well-known principle N. In this paper, I argue that the authors are mistaken to suppose that a plausibly articulated person-affecting approach cannot account for the wrong of wrongful disability. We can retain an intuitive, comparative, “worse for” account of harm and still identify serious harms imposed by the choice of wrongful disability. In particular, I argue that harm, both to the impaired child and to others, comes not in the form of that procreative choice’s procreative effect but rather in the form of its many distributive effects. I also argue that the rare, residual case in which a person-affecting approach would approve of the choice of wrongful disability does not function as a counterexample to that approach. As a separate matter, I address legal claims for wrongful disability, which are closely akin to claims for wrongful life. The legal claim is brought by the impaired child, not against the parents, but rather against health care providers whose negligent failure to diagnose or inform parents of an increased risk of a genetic or congenital impairment results in the birth of the impaired child. The authors’ treatment of the moral wrong that is done as impersonal in nature suggests that courts are correct to dismiss any such claim. Once we identify harm, however, the person-affecting approach can identify a clear foundation in the law for the wrongful disability claim. (shrink)
Recognized in his day as a man of letters equaling Rousseau and Voltaire in France and rivaling Samuel Johnson, David Hume passed from favor in the Victorian age--his work, it seemed, did not pursue Truth but rather indulged in popularization. Although Hume is once more considered as one of the greatest British philosophers, scholars now tend to focus on his thought rather than his writing. To round out our understanding of Hume, M. A. Box in this book charts the interrelated (...) development of Hume's literary ambitions, theories of style, and compositional practice from his Treatise in 1739 through the Enquiries. In so doing, Box makes the case for Hume's career-long concern with the presentational modes of reaching an audience for his philosophical writings. Hume reacted to the popular failure of his masterpiece, A Treatise of Human Nature, Box suggests, by self-consciously exploring strategies in his subsequent works for agreeably bringing his readership to participate in the act of philosophizing. Combining a sensitive grasp of the ways Restoration period and eighteenth-century writers conceived the relations between rhetoric and philosophy with sound readings of particular texts, Box shows how Hume's literary concerns went beyond matters of style to involve persona, structure, and doctrine. While this book helps explain long-standing ambiguities surrounding Hume, especially by pointing out the tension between his created persona and his own voice, it also serves as an excellent introduction to his philosophy. (shrink)