Philosophers and psychologists often assume that mirror reflections are optical illusions. According to many authors, what we see in a mirror appears to be behind it. I discuss two strategies to resist this piece of dogma. As I will show, the conviction that mirror reflections are illusions is rooted in a confused conception of the relations between location, direction, and visibility. This conception is unacceptable to those who take seriously the way in which mirrors contribute to our experience of the (...) world. My argument may be read as an advertisement of the neglected field of philosophical catoptrics, the philosophical study of the optical properties of mirrors. It enables us to recast familiar issues in the philosophy of perception. (shrink)
Relationalism maintains that perceptual experience involves, as part of its nature, a distinctive kind of conscious perceptual relation between a subject of experience and an object of experience. Together with the claim that perceptual experience is presentational, relationalism is widely believed to be a core aspect of the naive realist outlook on perception. This is a mistake. I argue that naive realism about perception can be upheld without a commitment to relationalism.
What sets the practice of rigorously tested, sound science apart from pseudoscience? In this volume, the contributors seek to answer this question, known to philosophers of science as “the demarcation problem.” This issue has a long history in philosophy, stretching as far back as the early twentieth century and the work of Karl Popper. But by the late 1980s, scholars in the field began to treat the demarcation problem as impossible to solve and futile to ponder. However, the essays that (...) Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry have assembled in this volume make a rousing case for the unequivocal importance of reflecting on the separation between pseudoscience and sound science. (shrink)
David Enoch recently defended the idea that there are valid inferences of the form ‘it would be good if p, therefore, p’. I argue that Enoch's proposal allows us to infer the absurd conclusion that ours is the best of all possible worlds.
This paper offers a reassesment of Simon Stevin’s mechanics, by focusing on how Stevin tries to anchor his mathematical demonstrations in the behavior of material instruments. It is shown how his views on the relation between spiegheling and daet are crucial to correctly understand his famous proof of the law of the inclined plane and his experimental test of the Aristotelian law of free fall. The distance separating spiegheling and daet is reproduced in that between instruments at rest and instruments (...) in motion, because of Stevin’s claim that impediments to motion are “inseperable accidents” of all moving objects. (shrink)
The present paper presents a philosophical analysis of earth science, a discipline that has received relatively little attention from philosophers of science. We focus on the question of whether earth science can be reduced to allegedly more fundamental sciences, such as chemistry or physics. In order to answer this question, we investigate the aims and methods of earth science, the laws and theories used by earth scientists, and the nature of earth-scientific explanation. Our analysis leads to the tentative conclusion that (...) there are emergent phenomena in earth science but that these may be reducible to physics. However, earth science does not have irreducible laws, and the theories of earth science are typically hypotheses about unobservable (past) events or generalised - but not universally valid - descriptions of contingent processes. Unlike more fundamental sciences, earth science is characterised by explanatory pluralism: earth scientists employ various forms of narrative explanations in combination with causal explanations. The main reason is that earth-scientific explanations are typically hampered by local underdetermination by the data to such an extent that complete causal explanations are impossible in practice, if not in principle. (shrink)
There are two distinct views on how to formulate an objective consequentialist account of the deontic status of actions, actualism and possibilism. On an actualist account, what matters to the deontic status of actions is only the value of the outcome an action would have, if performed. By contrast, a possibilist account also takes into account the value of the outcomes that an action could have. These two views come apart in their deontic verdicts when an agent is imperfect in (...) an avoidable way, viz., when agent brings about less good than she could. In this paper, I offer an argument against actualism that draws on the connection between moral obligation and practical reasons. (shrink)
For an arbitrary similarity type of Boolean Algebras with Operators we define a class of Sahlqvist identities. Sahlqvist identities have two important properties. First, a Sahlqvist identity is valid in a complex algebra if and only if the underlying relational atom structure satisfies a first-order condition which can be effectively read off from the syntactic form of the identity. Second, and as a consequence of the first property, Sahlqvist identities are canonical, that is, their validity is preserved under taking canonical (...) embedding algebras. Taken together, these properties imply that results about a Sahlqvist variety V van be obtained by reasoning in the elementary class of canonical structures of algebras in V. We give an example of this strategy in the variety of Cylindric Algebras: we show that an important identity called Henkin's equation is equivalent to a simpler identity that uses only one variable. We give a conceptually simple proof by showing that the firstorder correspondents of these two equations are equivalent over the class of cylindric atom structures. (shrink)
Part of the distinction between artefacts, objects made by humans for particular purposes, and natural objects is that artefacts are subject to normative judgements. A drill, say, can be a good drill or a poor drill, it can function well or correctly or it can malfunction. In this paper I investigate how such judgements fit into the domain of the normative in general and what the grounds for their normativity are. Taking as a starting point a general characterization of normativity (...) proposed by Dancy, I argue how statements such as ‘this is a good drill’ or ‘this drill is malfunctioning’ can be seen to express normative facts, or the content of normative statements. What they say is that a user who has a desire to achieve a particular relevant outcome has a reason to use, or not to use, the artefact in question. Next this analysis is extended to show that not just statements that say that an artefact performs its function well or poorly, but all statements that ascribe a function to an artefact can be seen as expressing a normative fact. On this approach the normativity of artefacts is analyzed in terms of reasons on grounds of practical, and to a lesser extent theoretical, rationality. I close by investigating briefly to what extent reasons on moral grounds are, in the analysis adopted here, involved in the normativity of artefacts.Keywords: Artefact; Normativity; Instrumental reason; Practical rationality; Function; Use. (shrink)
Undergraduate geoscience students are rarely exposed to history and philosophy of science. I will describe the experiences with a short course unfavourably placed in the first year of a bachelor of earth science. Arguments how HPS could enrich their education in many ways are sketched. One useful didactic approach is to develop a broader interest by connecting HPS themes to practical cases throughout the curriculum, and develop learning activities that allow students to reflect on their skills, methods and their field (...) in relation to other disciplines and interactions with society with abilities gained through exposure to HPS. Given support of the teaching staff, the tenets of philosophy of science in practice, of conceptual history of knowledge, and of ethics of science for society can fruitfully and directly be connected to the existing curriculum. This is ideally followed by a capstone HPS course late in the bachelor programme. (shrink)
Focal points seem to be important in helping players coordinate their strategies in coordination problems. Game theory lacks, however, a formal theory of focal points. This paper proposes a theory of focal points that is based on individual rationality considerations. The two principles upon which the theory rest are the Principle of Insufficient Reason (IR) and a Principle of Individual Team Member Rationality. The way IR is modelled combines the classic notion of description symmetry and a new notion of pay-off (...) symmetry, which yields different predictions in a variety of games. The theory can explain why people do better than pure randomization in matching games. (shrink)
Starting with a discussion of what I call `Koyré's paradox of conceptual novelty', I introduce the ideas of Damerow et al. on the establishment of classical mechanics in Galileo's work. I then argue that although their view on the nature of Galileo's conceptual innovation is convincing, it misses an essential element: Galileo's use of the experiments described in the first day of the Two New Sciences. I describe these experiments and analyze their function. Central to my analysis is the idea (...) that Galileo's pendulum experiments serve to secure the reference of his theoretical models in actually occurring cases of free fall. In this way, Galileo's experiments constitute an essential part of the meaning of the new concepts of classical mechanics. (shrink)
The ‘European Space of Higher Education’ could be mapped as an infrastructure for entrepreneurship and a place where the distinction between the social and the economic becomes obsolete. Using Foucault's understanding of biopolitics and discussing the analyses of Agamben and Negri/Hardt it is argued that the actual governmental configuration, i.e. the economisation of the social, also has a biopolitical dimension. Focusing on the intersection between a politicisation and economisation of human life allows us to discuss a kind of ‘bio‐economisation’ , (...) a regime of economic terror and learning as investment. Finally it is argued how fostering learning, i.e. fostering life could turn into ‘let die’ and even into ‘make die’. (shrink)
This article addresses the fiduciary issues raised by the current practice of plan fiduciaries of not only disclaiming any fiduciary responsibility for brokerage window investments, but also abdicating any role (fiduciary or otherwise) in assessing even the general suitability of those investments for a retirement plan, and concludes that the practice is in plain and notorious violation of what ERISA requires of fiduciaries.
Some moral theories, such as objective forms of consequentialism, seem to fail to be practically useful: they are of little to no help in trying to decide what to do. Even if we do not think this constitutes a fatal flaw in such theories, we may nonetheless agree that being practically useful does make a moral theory a better theory, or so some have suggested. In this paper, I assess whether the uncontroversial respect in which a moral theory can be (...) claimed to be better if it is practically useful can provide a ground worth taking into account for believing one theory rather than another. I argue that this is not the case. The upshot is that if there is a sound objection to theories such as objective consequentialism that is based on considerations of practical usefulness, the objection requires that it is established that the truth about what we morally ought to do cannot be epistemically inaccessible to us. The value of practical usefulness has no bearing on the issue. (shrink)
Why did R.G. Collingwood come to reject the adversarial style of philosophical discussion so popular among his Oxford peers? The main aim of this paper is to explain that Collingwood came to reject his colleagues’ specific style of philosophical dialogue on methodological grounds, and to show how the argument against adversarial philosophical discussion is integrated with Collingwood’s overall criticism of realist philosophy. His argument exploits a connection between method and practice that should be taken seriously even today.
Many philosophers think the distinctive function of deontic evaluation is to guide action. This idea is used in arguments for a range of substantive claims. In this paper, we entirely do one completely destructive thing and partly do one not entirely constructive thing. The first thing: we argue that there is an unrecognized gap between the claim that the function of deontic evaluation is to guide action and attempts to put that claim to use. We consider and reject four arguments (...) intended to bridge this gap. The interim conclusion is thus that arguments starting with the claim that the function of deontic evaluation is to guide action have a lacuna. The second thing: we consider a different tack for making arguments of this sort work. We sketch a methodology one could accept that would do the trick. Unfortunately, as we’ll explain, although this methodology would bridge the gap in arguments that put claims about the function of deontic evaluation to work, it would do so in a way that vitiates any interest we might have in such arguments. As an aside, we’ll also point out how epistemologists, who have recently become interested in the function of epistemic evaluation, appear to already recognize this fact. The conclusion is hence a dilemma: either arguments from deontic function to substance have a lacuna or such arguments lack teeth. (shrink)
In its recent opinion in Intel v. Sulyma, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified what qualifies as the “actual knowledge” required to trigger ERISA’s three-year statutory period. The Court’s opinion, however, left open whether establishing “actual knowledge” by a plaintiff in one case serves to time-bar otherwise timely suits that challenge subsequent breaches of the same character. This article argues that, under the continuing fiduciary duty analysis that the Court set forth in Tibble v. Edison, such suits should not be deemed (...) untimely. (shrink)
John Hyman insists that Frege-style cases for depiction show that any sound theory of depiction must distinguish between the ‘sense’ and the ‘reference’ of a picture. I argue that this rests on a mistake. Making sense of the cases does not require the distinction.
Many people assume that fictional entities are encapsulated in the world of fiction. I show that this cannot be right. Some works of fiction tell us about pieces of poetry, music, or theatre written by fictional characters. Such creations are fictional creations, as I will call them. Their authors do not exist. But that does not take away that we can perform, recite, or otherwise generate actual instances of such works. This means we can bring such individuals actually into existence, (...) as the works they are. I conclude that the assumption about encapsulation is untenable, unless an exception is made for types. (shrink)
Under a policy first enacted in 1988 and expanded in 1996, federally funded public housing authorities (“PHAs”) and private landlords renting their properties to tenants receiving federal housing assistance have been required to include a provision in all leases under which drug-related criminal activity as well as criminal activity that in any way poses a threat to other tenants or nearby residents constitutes ground for initiating eviction proceedings. This strict liability eviction policy, which has become known as the “One-Strike Rule,” (...) was part of a broader congressional effort to combat the “reign of terror” that Congress believed drug dealers were imposing on public housing and assisted housing tenants. Like many of the crime-related policies enacted in the 1980s and 1990s, the One-Strike Rule has done little to reduce crime rates, but has been wildly successful in ensuring that the situation of poor households receiving federal assistance remains highly precarious. Calls for reform of the One-Strike Rule are almost as old as the policy itself, but given the political outlook of the current administration, the prospects for reform at the federal level are dim. While federal law and a combination of gridlock and unwillingness in the congressional and executive branches foreclose a range of possible strategies for reform, there is nonetheless room to mitigate the socially corrosive effects of the One-Strike Rule through legislative efforts at the state and local level. Courts in various jurisdictions have upheld state laws that protect vulnerable tenants despite the federal strict liability policy, and these holdings help to provide a framework for how state and local governments seeking to protect tenants can do so without their efforts necessarily falling prey to the Supremacy Clause. This article describes that framework and proposes three concrete measures that fit it. The article is structured as follows: after explaining the One-Strike Rule and the threat it poses to vulnerable tenants (Section II), the article discusses the burden the Rule imposes on tenants and the benefits it is supposed to bring to other parties, and argues that the resulting distribution of burdens and benefits is unjust (Section III). The article then lays out three concrete measures that state and local governments can enact to protect tenants who face eviction for criminal activity under the Rule without falling prey to a federal preemption challenge: requiring “good cause” for eviction, giving tenants the right to cure a breach of their lease, and providing tenants with free counsel in landlord-tenant court (Section IV). (shrink)
The characterization of objective, normative reasons to φ as facts (or truths) that count in favor of φ-ing is widely accepted. But are there any further conditions that considerations which count in favor of φ-ing must meet, in order to count as a reason to φ? In this brief paper, I consider and reject one such condition, recently proposed by Caspar Hare.
One way to address such questions about artifact kinds is to look for clues in the available literature on parallel questions that have been posed with respect to kinds in the natural domain. Philosophers have long been concerned with the ...
Schools and classrooms, as well as the work place and the Internet, are considered today as learning environments . People are regarded as learners and the main target of school education has become 'learning' pupils and students how to learn. The roles of teachers and lecturers are redefined as instructors, designers of (powerful) learning environments and facilitators or coaches of learning processes. The aim of this paper is to argue that the current self-understanding in terms of learning environments is not (...) merely about a renewal of our vocabulary, but an indication of a far more general transformation of the world of education. It is argued that the current self-understanding in terms of 'learning environments' and 'learners' indicates a shift in our experience of time and place; a shift from (modern) historical self-understanding towards (post-modern) environmental self-understanding. The essay draws upon Foucauldian concepts in order to map the modern organisation of time and space in 'schools'. This past organisation is confronted with the current organisation of time and space in 'learning environments'. By contrasting both maps the paper focuses on the main characteristics of the current experience of time and space, that is, 'environmental self-understanding', and explores in the final section the dark side of this self-understanding. (shrink)
This paper presents an overview of the elements which characterize a research attitude and approach introduced by Michel Foucault and further developed as ?studies of governmentality? into a sub?discipline of the humanities during the past decade, including also applications in the field of education. The paper recalls Foucault's introduction of the notion of ?governmentality? and its relation to the ?mapping of the present? and sketches briefly the way in which the studies of governmentality have been elaborated in general and in (...) the context of research in education more particularly. It indicates how the studies of governmentality can be related to a cartography of the learning society, a cartography which helps us to get lost and to liberate our view. (shrink)
In arguing for his theory of pure reflective judgments of taste Kant extensively analyses beauty, but almost wholly disregards ugliness. We commonly take ugliness as paradigmatic when we reflect on our negative aesthetic judgments, and so does Kant. Consequently, there ought to be a more explicit story explaining how Kantian judgments of ugliness are possible. In this paper I argue that a disharmony is the key to understanding Kantian ugliness. This way, an answer to the question of ugliness in Kant (...) can be given in terms of a disharmonious free play of the faculties of imagination and understanding. (shrink)
The concept of burden of proof is used in a wide range of discourses, from philosophy to law, science, skepticism, and even in everyday reasoning. This paper provides an analysis of the proper deployment of burden of proof, focusing in particular on skeptical discussions of pseudoscience and the paranormal, where burden of proof assignments are most poignant and relatively clear-cut. We argue that burden of proof is often misapplied or used as a mere rhetorical gambit, with little appreciation of the (...) underlying principles. The paper elaborates on an important distinction between evidential and prudential varieties of burdens of proof, which is cashed out in terms of Bayesian probabilities and error management theory. Finally, we explore the relationship between burden of proof and several (alleged) informal logical fallacies. This allows us to get a firmer grip on the concept and its applications in different domains, and also to clear up some confusions with regard to when exactly some fallacies (ad hominem, ad ignorantiam, and petitio principii) may or may not occur. (shrink)
We study the one-seller/two-buyer bargaining problem with negative identity-dependent externalities with an alternating offer bargaining model in which new owners of the object have the opportunity of resale. We identify the generically unique subgame perfect equilibrium outcome. The resale opportunity increases the competition among the buyers and therefore benefits the seller. When competition between buyers is very fierce, the seller may prefer to respond to bids rather than to propose an offer herself: a first-mover disadvantage.
Cognitive research on Ego-Reference-Point models of time in English traditionally shows that “FUTURE IS IN FRONT OF EGO” and “PAST IS IN BACK OF EGO.” Recently, however, this view has been challenged by other results, showing that there exists a major static model of time wherein “FUTURE IS IN BACK OF EGO” and “PAST IS IN FRONT OF EGO.” However, evidence for both conceptual systems comes predominantly from linguistic and gestural forms of expression. For instance, convincing empirical evidence coming from (...) the manifestation mode of cinema is still lacking. This article attempts to fill this gap by bringing the discussion of temporal metaphors to the foreground of character subjectivity in film. Using concise case-studies taken from various films, this study provides evidence that a majority of flashback scenes seem to base their conceptions of time on a static Ego-Reference-Point model in which the past appears to be in front of the character’s eyes on screen. (shrink)
Decision making in noisy and changing environments requires a fine balance between exploiting knowledge about good courses of action and exploring the environment in order to improve upon this knowledge. We present an experiment on a restless bandit task in which participants made repeated choices between options for which the average rewards changed over time. Comparing a number of computational models of participants’ behavior in this task, we find evidence that a substantial number of them balanced exploration and exploitation by (...) considering the probability that an option offers the maximum reward out of all the available options. (shrink)
Peirce algebras combine sets, relations and various operations linking the two in a unifying setting. This paper offers a modal perspective on Peirce algebras. Using modal logic as a characterization of the full Peirce algebras is given, as well as a finite axiomatization of their equational theory that uses so-called unorthodox derivation rules. In addition, the expressive power of Peirce algebras is analyzed through their connection with first-order logic and the fragment of first-order logic corresponding to Peirce algebras is described (...) in terms of bisimulations. (shrink)
While Cusanus’ literary sources for his engagement with Islam have been closely studied, questions about possible personal encounters with Muslims, and the role of non-literary sources in developing his concept of interreligious dialogue, remain largely unaddressed. This paper presents original archival research to identify the only person whom Cusanus mentions in the Cribratio Alkorani by name as an oral source about Muslim beliefs – an Italian merchant active in Constantinople at the time of Cusanus’ visit in 1437. In doing so, (...) it casts new light on Cusanus’ treatises on Islam and on his interaction with Muslims. (shrink)