One calls a lot of things propositions. If one sees this, then one can discard the idea Russell and Frege had that logic is a science of certain objects – propositions, functions, the logical constants – and that logic is like a natural science such as zoology and talks about these objects as zoology talks of animals. Like a natural science, it could supposedly discover certain relations. For example, Keynes claimed to discover a probability relation which was like implication, yet (...) not quite implication. But logic is a calculus, not a natural science, and in it one can make inventions but not discoveries. Giving grounds, however, justifying the evidence, comes to an end; – but the end is not certain propositions' striking us immediately as true, i.e. it is not a kind of seeing on our part; it is our acting, which lies at the bottom of the language-game. (shrink)
Today Plato's Ion, thought one of his weaker works, gets little attention. But in the past it has had its admirers–in 1821, for example, Percy Bysshe Shelley translated it into English. Shelley, like other Romantic readers of Plato, was drawn to the Ion's account of divine inspiration in poetry. He recommended the dialogue to Thomas Love Peacock as a reply to the latter's Four Ages of Poetry: Shelley thought the Ion would refute Peacock's charge that poetry is useless in a (...) practical world. (shrink)
This article explains Hume's conception of the imagination and its relations to our other faculties of thought, highlighting the continuities and discontinuities between his views and those of his Early Modern predecessors. It then presents some of the basic functions that Hume thinks the imagination performs, and surveys some highlights of his science of man, showing how he uses the imagination’s basic functions to explain several important mental phenomena; examines “fictions of the imagination,” which have an important place in his (...) science of man; examines his view that whatever we can clearly imagine is possible; and discusses the relationship between Hume’s theory of the imagination and his skepticism. (shrink)
This essay considers P. J. Ivanhoe's critical challenge to Slingerland's analysis of wuwei. While I agree with Ivanhoe that we should do more work to embody and understand the concept of wuwei, I will defend Slingerland's notion that wuwei involves paradox—particularly in the cases of Zhuangi and Laozi. The present essay is not a defense of the specifics of Slingerland's analysis. Nonetheless, this essay focuses on defending the notion of paradox. Ivanhoe offers an alternative view of wuwei, one that sees (...) the paradox as a riddle. I argue that this kind of formulation would frame the problem of wuwei in an unhelpful manner. I offer several novel ways of overcoming, or at least qualifying, the experience of paradox that seems to be at play in nondoing. (shrink)
The ‘real’ issue concerns the status of qualia, that is, the subjective sensory states into which we are thrown when looking at a yellow leaf, hearing a musical chord, sniffing a camembert, or running our fingers over a piece of sandpaper. Is it possible to provide a satisfactory account of such states using only the resources of a materialist functionalism? Or is it the case -- as it has seemed to many, and as it seems to David Chalmers -- that (...) once we have said all there is to say about the physical basis of, and the functional role of, such states, there remains an uneliminable residue: the brute qualitative matter of ‘what it is like’ to sniff the camembert? Since it is extraordinarily hard to tackle this question head-on, we seek the leverage afforded by the notion of the philosopher's zombie, the point being that if we have a coherent intuition to the effect that there is indeed such a residue, then we ought to be able to conceive of the zombie. Just subtract the residue while leaving all the physical/functional stuff in place. Conversely, if it transpires that the notion of the philosopher's zombie breaks down under stress, this would seem to indicate that the intuition of the ineliminable residue is itself problematic. The ‘remedy’ for a belief in zombies is the sort of Dennettian exercise in imagination proposed in this paper. One must be forced to recognize the huge gulf between the simple informational economies of the thermostat, and even the PC, and the amazingly subtle and layered informational economy of a normal human being. Taking the PC, or the severely degraded registrations of actual blindsight victims, as the model, one may fool oneself into thinking one has imagined something when one has not really confronted its detailed implications. This piece will have accomplished its aim if it encourages a few readers to take the latter possibility more seriously than hitherto. (shrink)
If connectionism is to be an adequate theory of mind, we must have a theory of representation for neural networks that allows for individual differences in weighting and architecture while preserving sameness, or at least similarity, of content. In this paper we propose a procedure for measuring sameness of content of neural representations. We argue that the correct way to compare neural representations is through analysis of the distances between neural activations, and we present a method for doing so. We (...) then use the technique to demonstrate empirically that different artificial neural networks trained by backpropagation on the same categorization task, even with different representational encodings of the input patterns and different numbers of hidden units, reach states in which representations at the hidden units are similar. We discuss how this work provides a rebuttal to Fodor and Lepore's critique of Paul Churchland's state space semantics. (shrink)
In his recent book, Economics – Mathematical Politics or Science of Diminishing Returns, Alexander Rosenberg has offered a forceful critique of the scientific pretensions of economics. I am encouraged to note that in his JEL review, Wade Hands singles out Rosenberg's ‘important discussion of intentionality’ as one of the most significant aspects of the book. Encouraged, because this was exactly my impression, and Hands's judgment confirmed my intention to respond to Rosenberg's argument. I hope, however, to be able to disappoint (...) Hands's expectation that this aspect of Rosenberg's work ‘will be least challenged by economists’! (shrink)
H. B. D. Kettlewell's field experiments on industrial melanism in the peppered moth, Biston betularia, have become the best known demonstration of natural selection in action. I argue that textbook accounts routinely portray this research as an example of controlled experimentation, even though this is historically misleading. I examine how idealized accounts of Kettlewell's research have been used by professional biologists and biology teachers. I also respond to some criticisms of David Rudge to my earlier discussions of this case study, (...) and I question Rudge's claims about the importance of purely observational studies for the eventual acceptance and popularization of Kettlewell's explanation for the evolution of industrial melanism. (shrink)
This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in 1927, "The Last Judgment" -- the sequel to his better known work, "Daedalus" (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the "new biology" for human destiny. That vision served as a kind of (...) lifelong credo, one that infused and informed his diverse scientific work, political activities, and popular writing, and that gave unity and coherence to his remarkable career. (shrink)
in the treatise, hume claims to identify many “fictions of the imagination” among both “vulgar” and philosophical beliefs. To name just a few, these include the fiction of one aggregate composed of many parts,1 the fiction of a material object’s identity through change, and the fiction of a human mind’s identity through change and interruption in its existence. Hume claims that these fictions and others like them are somehow defective: in his words, they are “improper,” “inexact,” or not “strict”. I (...) will argue that this claim conflicts with other commitments.. (shrink)
This essay gives a new interpretation of Hume's second thoughts about minds in the Appendix, based on a new interpretation of his view of composition. In Book 1 of the Treatise, Hume argued that, as far as we can conceive it, a mind is a whole composed by all its perceptions. But—this essay argues—he also held that several perceptions form a whole only if the mind to which they belong supplies a “connexion” among them. In order to do so, it (...) must contain a further perception or perceptions. But when the perceptions in question are all of those belonging to a given mind—as in the section “Of personal identity” and the Appendix—there cannot be a further perception in that mind, and so those perceptions do not form a whole. Hence, Hume's views were inconsistent. This essay argues that, unlike most others, this interpretation explains his retreat to skepticism in the Appendix. (shrink)
Among moral attributes true virtue alone is sublime. … [I]t is only by means of this idea [of virtue] that any judgment as to moral worth or its opposite is possible. … Everything good that is not based on a morally good disposition … is nothing but pretence and glittering misery. 1.
Only in recent years have developmental psychologists begun advocating and exploring dual-process theories and their applicability to cognitive development. In this paper, a dual-process model of developments in two processing systems—an “analytic” and an “experiential” system—is discussed. We emphasise the importance of “metacognitive intercession” and developments in this ability to override experiential processing. In each of two studies of sunk cost decisions, age-related developments in normative decisions were observed, as were declines in the use of a “waste not” heuristic. In (...) the second study, children and adolescents were presented with arguments for normative and non-normative sunk cost decisions. Following argument evaluation, participants were re-presented the original problems and a set of novel, transfer problems. Results indicated that post-argument improvements were most apparent during adolescence. Age-related improvements were most noticeable on the transfer problems. In general, the findings suggest that the ability to metacognitively intercede (i.e., reflect on arguments; inhibit experientially produced responses) emerges towards middle adolescence. However, even by the end of adolescence, in the absence of significant contextual cues and motivation, this ability is infrequently utilised. (shrink)
Recent events and advances address the possibility of cloning endangered and extinct species. The ethics of these types of cloning have special considerations, uniquely different from the types of cloning commonly practiced. Cloning of cheetahs may be ethically appropriate, given certain constraints. However, the ethics of cloning extinct species varies; for example, cloning mammoths and Neanderthals is more ethically problematic than conservation cloning, and requires more attention. Cloning Neanderthals in particular is likely unethical and such a project should not be (...) undertaken. It is important to discuss and plan for the constraints necessary to mitigate the harms of conservation and extinct cloning, and it is imperative that scientific and public discourse enlighten and guide actions in the sphere of cloning. (shrink)
The Alligator's Child was full of 'satiable curtiosity. One day while rummaging in a trunk in the lumber room he came across a photograph of his father wearing an aardvark uniform and standing by a large ant hill. All excitement, he rushed to his father and breathlessly said, ‘Father, I didn't know that you had been an aardvark! What is it like to be an aardvark?’.
Jean-Paul Sartre, in describing the realization of his freedom, was often inclined to say mysterious things like ‘I am what I am not’, ‘I am not what I am’ He was therefore plainly contradicting himself, but was this merely a playful literary figure , or was he really being incoherent? By the latter judgment I do not mean to reject his statements entirely ; for I believe there is an intimate link between contradiction and freedom, as I shall explain in (...) this paper. But a minor thing we must first have out of the way is the suggestion that Sartre's language was just a rhetorical trope, designed merely to express some banal platitude in a bemusing way: ‘I am not yet what I will be’, ‘I am no longer what I was’ are sane and sensible, for instance, but cannot be the meant content of Sartre's sayings, since, while they would indeed describe the reform of some character, they would be appropriate only before or after some metamorphosis, not, as Sartre clearly intended, in the midst of some process of riddance and conversion, whether radical or otherwise. Yet, in the turmoil of such a change, ‘I am not what I am’ still, surely, cannot be true, and if that is the case, Sartre must be being inocherent, and therefore, obfuscating and deliberately obscure, and hence, it seems, must properly be rejected by all right and clear thinking men. (shrink)
If “perfectionism” in ethics refers to those normative theories that treat the fulfillment or realization of human nature as central to an account of both goodness and moral obligation, in what sense is “human flourishing” a perfectionist notion? How much of what we take “human flourishing” to signify is the result of our understanding of human nature? Is the content of this concept simply read off an examination of our nature? Is there no place for diversity and individuality? Is the (...) belief that the content of such a normative concept can be determined by an appeal to human nature merely the result of epistemological naiveté? What is the exact character of the connection between human flourishing and human nature? These questions are the ultimate concern of this essay, but to appreciate the answers that will be offered it is necessary to understand what is meant by “human flourishing.” “Human flourishing” is a relatively recent term in ethics. It seems to have developed in the last two decades because the traditional translation of the Greek term eudaimonia as “happiness” failed to communicate clearly that eudaimonia was an objective good, not merely a subjective good. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to set out some of the ontologies amongst which some forms of anti-realism must select. This provides the appropriate setting for presenting an alternative realist ontology. The argument is that the choice between the varieties of anti-realism and realism is inevitably a choice between ontologies.
Plato's _Republic _is perhaps the most significant and important work of philosophy and is Plato's most famous work. No other work has made such an impact on the history of western thought. In this second edition of the highly successful Routledge Philosophy GuideBook to Plato and the _Republic_, Nickolas Pappas extends his exploration of the text to include substantial revisions and new material. In addition to the existing text, the chapters on Plato's ethics and politics have been revised and (...) enlarged to include two brand new sections. There is further discussion of Plato on aesthetics including a section of Aristotle's criticism of Plato on beauty. Plato and the Republic, second edition assesses and introduces: Plato's life and the background to the _Republic _The text and ideas of the _Republic _Plato's continuing importance to Western thought Ideal for students coming to Plato for the first time, this GuideBook will be vital for all students of Plato in philosophy, politics and classics at all levels. (shrink)
This skit of Bertrand Russell’s philosophy was originally published in 1918 by Russell’s correspondent friend Jourdain. The introduction explains that the contents purport to be lost papers written by Mr. B*rtr*nd R*ss*ll, a contemporary of Bertrand Russell. This politically humorous volume from the early 20 th Century parodies the writing style of Russell as well as his theories.
The Red Sea is characterized by thick salt sequences representing a seal for potential hydrocarbon accumulations within Tertiary formations deposited over deep basement structures. The Red Sea “salt” is characterized by halite concentrations embedded in layered evaporite sequences composed of evaporite and clastic lithologies. Salt complicates seismic exploration efforts in the Red Sea by generating vertical and lateral velocity variations that are difficult to estimate by seismic methods alone. In these conditions, the exploration challenges of independently imaging the subsalt section (...) and provide enhanced velocity model building capabilities were addressed by a multigeophysics strategy involving marine electromagnetics and gravity gradiometry surveys colocated with wide azimuth seismic. Three-dimensional inversion of MT and CSEM is performed first with minimal a priori constraints and then by including variable amounts of interpretation in the starting models. The internal variations in the evaporitic overburden, the subsalt, and the basement structures are independently imaged by combined electromagnetic methods and confirmed by new drilling results. CSEM, in particular, provides unprecedented detail of the internal structures within the salt overburden while magnetotellurics provides excellent reconstruction of the base of salt and basement. Gravity gradiometry shows primary sensitivity to the basement and the corresponding 3D inversion provides density distributions structurally consistent with the resistivity volumes. The common-structure, multiparameter models obtained from 3D inversion deliver additional aid to seismic interpreters to further derisk exploration in the Red Sea and provide additional detail to depth imaging velocity models. The reciprocal consistency of the obtained results show promises for extending the work to more analytical integration with seismic such as provided by joint geophysical inversion. (shrink)
Pierre Klossowski’s last major theoretical text Living Currency saw it’s first official1 translation into English in May 2017, nearly fifty years after it was published in French. On the back of the book is a blurb quoting Foucault, in which he calls it ‘the greatest book of our time’. This was almost certainly hyperbole; but whether or not his appraisal was correct, it is a good book that advances a key to understanding Klossowski’s literary and visual relationship to the exploited (...) and monetized body, as this is the preoccupying theme throughout his fictional, non-fictional, and visual art. (shrink)
In the paper I offer a brief sketch of one of the sources of utilitarianism. Our biological ancestry is a matter of fact that is not altered by the way we describe ourselves. With philosophical theories it is otherwise. Utilitarianism can be described in ways that make it look as if it is as old as moral philosophy – as J. S. Mill thought it was. For my historical purposes, it is more useful to have an account that brings out (...) what is specific about Benthamism and its descendants. Let us try to make do with the following. First, utilitarianism asserts that the fundamental requirement of morality is that we are to maximize good, for everyone and not just for the agent. This basic principle presupposes that it makes sense to think of aggregating goods to make a total, and of comparing amounts of good thus aggregated. Second, the good to be brought about is located in feelings of pleasure, and the evil to be avoided in feelings of pain. These feelings have inherent value or disvalue regardless of how they are caused to exist and regardless of their own consequences. Third, all moral principles can be derived from the requirement that good be maximized. The principles involved in evaluating agents as well as in giving moral direction to action are nothing but applications of the basic principle. (shrink)
This article delineates two dimensions along which computational models of face processing may vary, and briefly review three such models, the Dailey and Cottrell model; the O'Reilly and Munakata model; and the Riesenhuber and Poggio. It focuses primarily on one of the models and shows how this model is used to reveal potential mechanisms underlying the neural processing of faces and objects—the development of a specialized face processor, how it could be recruited for other domains, hemispheric lateralization of face (...) processing, facial expression processing, and the development of face discrimination. It turns to the Riesenhuber and Poggio model to describe the elegant way it has been used to predict functional magnetic resonance imaging data on face processing. The overall strategy of these modeling efforts is to sample problems that are constrained by neurophysiological and behavioral data, and to stress the ways in which models can generate novel hypotheses about the way humans process faces. (shrink)
This essay explains the inescapability of moral demands. I deny that the individual has genuine reason to comply with these demands only if she has desires that would be served by doing so. Rather, the learning of moral reasons helps to shape and channel self- and other-interested motivations so as to facilitate and promote social cooperation. This shaping happens through the “embedding” of reasons in the intentional objects of motivational propensities. The dominance of the instrumental conception of reason, according to (...) which reasons must be based in desires of the individual, has made it harder to recognize that reasons shape desires. I attempt to undermine this dominance by arguing that the concept of a self that extends over time is constructed to meet the demands of social cooperation. Prudential reasons to act on behalf of the persisting self's desires are often taken to constitute the paradigm of reasons based on desires of the individual. But such reasons, along with the very concept of the persisting self, are constructed to promote human cooperation and to shape the individual's desires. (shrink)
1. Many philosophers, including the later Wittgenstein, have concerned themselves with the question ‘What is philosophy?’ In this paper I shall say some things about the activity of philosophizing. What I shall say is not new or revealing; none the less, it might be worth saying what I do say. For philosophers, especially if they are professionally occupied with their subject, sometimes overlook some interesting, and some human, aspects of their profession.
According to both deontologists and consequentialists, if there is a reason to promote the general happiness – or to promote any other state of affairs unrelated to one's own projects or self-interest – then the reason must apply to everyone. This view seems almost self-evident; to challenge it is to challenge the way we think of moral reasons. I contend, however, that the view depends on the unwarranted assumption that the only way to restrict the application scope of a reason (...) for action is by restricting it to those agents whose interests or projects are involved in the reason. In fact normative theories may coherently restrict application scopes in other ways. Thus we must take seriously the possibility that the reason to promote the general happiness, although genuine, does not apply to everyone. (shrink)