Resumen: Ante las críticas insistentes a la distinción entre el empirismo y el racionalismo, se han propuesto alternativas para comprender de manera más adecuada el quehacer de los filósofos modernos. Entre ellas está la distinción entre filosofía especulativa y experimental. Intentaré evaluar la validez de esta distinción para la filosofía moral experimental del siglo XVIII y, en particular, para la propuesta de Hume. Mostraré que si la distinción se entiende en términos excluyentes, resulta inapropiada porque el mismo Hume plantea que (...) la especulación es lo que define a la filosofía. Además, antes que considerarlas como excluyentes, el filósofo escocés propone una conciliación entre la práctica de la experimentación y la teorización. Por último, sostendré que aquello que Hume considera como “falsa filosofía” no puede entenderse como sinónimo de filosofía especulativa.: A persistent criticism of the distinction between empiricism and ra-tionalism has provoked the emergence of new distinctions in order to under-stand modern philosophy in a more adequate way. One of those distinctions is that between speculative and experimental philosophy. My aim is to evalu-ate the validity of this distinction for eighteenth-century experimental moral philosophy in general and for Hume’s thought in particular. I will show that if this distinction is understood in exclusive terms, then it cannot be adequate because Hume himself states that speculation is what defines philoso-phy. Hume also proposes a reconciliation between experimental practice and theoretical activity instead of considering that they are mutually exclusive. Finally, I will make clear that what Hume condemns as “false philosophy” is not a synonym for speculative philosophy. (shrink)
BackgroundThis article aims to contribute to a better conceptualization of pain and suffering by providing non-essential and non-naturalistic definitions of both phenomena. Contributions of classical evidence-based medicine, the humanistic turn in medicine, as well as the phenomenology and narrative theories of suffering and pain, together with certain conceptions of the person beyond them are critically discussed with such purpose.MethodsA philosophical methodology is used, based on the review of existent literature on the topic and the argumentation in favor of what are (...) found as better definitions of suffering and pain.ResultsPain can be described in neurological terms but cognitive awareness, interpretation, behavioral dispositions, as well as cultural and educational factors have a decisive influence on pain perception. Suffering is proposed to be defined as an unpleasant or even anguishing experience, severely affecting a person at a psychophysical and existential level. Pain and suffering are considered unpleasant. However, the provided definitions neither include the idea that pain and suffering can attack and even destroy the self nor the idea that they can constructively expand the self; both perspectives can b e equally useful for managing pain and suffering, but they are not defining features of the same. Including the existential dimension in the definition of suffering highlights the relevance of suffering in life and its effect on one’s own attachment to the world. An understanding of pain and suffering life experiences is proposed, meaning that they are considered aspects of a person’s life, and the self is the ever-changing sum of these experiences.ConclusionsThe provided definitions will be useful to the identification of pain and suffering, to the discussion of how to relieve them, and to a better understanding of how they are expressed and experienced. They lay the groundwork for further research in all these areas, with the twofold aim of a) avoiding epistemological mistakes and moral injustices, and b) highlighting the limitations of medicine in the treatment of suffering and pain. (shrink)
Teresa of Avila's desire for suffering cannot be interpreted as the mere passive assumption of a feminine sacrificial role. On the contrary, Teresa was able to transform her suffering into the incarnated performance of her relationship with God: By desiring suffering and by understanding it and her ability to confront it as proof of divine love, she was able to reinforce her self‐confidence and strength. This article discusses Teresa of Avila's experience and interpretation of suffering in the context of the (...) female ascetic‐mystic Christian tradition. It criticizes Teresa's positive conceptualization of suffering but examines in depth the potential of her ability to actively manage and control it. Although Teresa was able to affirm her personality through ascetic practices such as self‐humiliation and mortification, the general applicability of such practices to the management of suffering is fraught since they leave the suffering individual in a vulnerable position. Although Teresa of Avila finds fulfillment and, paradoxically, self‐actualization through self‐denial and the surrender of her will, such practices entail the substantial risk of total self‐annihilation. (shrink)
Hannah Arendt connects the end of Modernity with a historical specific event: the ascent of Totalitarianisms. According to Arendt, that event would have supposed a cut in History and Tradition, a gap between a suddenly foreign past and an unforseeable future. In this article I restate Arendt’s solutions to the problem of how can be reminded and told what, after the break in History and Philosophical Tradition, it is not possible to understand trought the traditional categories of significance. This solution (...) consist on: a phenomenological philosophical method, a «History of events» instead of a History of process and a defense of free thinking, capable of facing the reality his own resources.  . (shrink)
Se estudia la angustia como fenómeno subjetivo vinculado a la soledad y el desamparo. Teniendo en cuenta los estudios de Kierkegaard, Heidegger y Sartre, se entiende la angustia como un sentimiento desencadenado ante la libertad y las posibilidades del futuro. Sin embargo, no es la infinitud de la libertad la que está detrás de la angustia sino la infinitud de posibilidades e impotencias abierta por dos características de las acciones humanas: su carácter imprevisto y su irreversibilidad . Para concluir, se (...) propone que construir el relato de las propias angustias permite escapar de ellas por momentos, aunque no definitivamente, pues mientras se posee un horizonte de posibilidad , se actúa y se está sólo, éstas son inevitables. (shrink)
A partir de la amenaza a la presencia de la Filosofía en la Enseñanza Media, y de su situación cada vez más marginal en la enseñanza universitaria, este artículo plantea una discusión sobre la utilidad o inutilidad de la filosofía, su relación con la democracia y su carácter específico en el conjunto del saber. La discusión se extiende a la relación de la filosofía con la sociedad, y a su lugar en la enseñanza superior, con una consideración especial sobre el (...) caso español. Los resultados que se proponen son: 1) aunque carezca de utilidad inmediata, la filosofía acompaña el florecimiento social, y cumple en él tanto una función crítica como integradora. 2) En el caso español, hay que constatar un fracaso y un encapsulamiento de la filosofía que no puede ignorarse en las reflexiones y reclamaciones de los filósofos españoles sobre su situación. 3) La concepción de la universidad con criterios mercantiles que se trata de imponer es contradictoria en sí misma. Va a seguir habiendo una institución de educación superior destinada a la creación de conocimiento y al aseguramiento de la hegemonía social. La pregunta no es si la filosofía tendrá lugar allí, sino cómo se practicará en él. Dejando la cuestión abierta, se hacen algunas propuestas finales. (shrink)
Tras recordar la intensa labor intelectual desarrollada por José Gómez Caffarena, se analizan la estructura y tesis fundamentales de su obra El enigma y el misterio. Una filosofía de la religión. A las consideraciones sobre la historia y estructura del hecho religioso se agrega un amplio estudio sobre las diversas posiciones ante lo religioso, conforme a una triple tipología inspirada en Dilthey, para articular finalmente una elaborada propuesta sobre la plausibilidad filosófica de la fe en Dios, en la que (...) se abordan muy diversos problemas de la filosofía de la religión . Con un sólido conocimiento de la tradición escolástica y de la filosofía moderna , Caffarena ofrece una sobria y matizada propuesta en la que defiende la posible conjugación de las cautelas de la razón con el aliento de la esperanza. (shrink)
Batterman raises a number of concerns for the inferential conception of the applicability of mathematics advocated by Bueno and Colyvan. Here, we distinguish the various concerns, and indicate how they can be assuaged by paying attention to the nature of the mappings involved and emphasizing the significance of interpretation in this context. We also indicate how this conception can accommodate the examples that Batterman draws upon in his critique. Our conclusion is that ‘asymptotic reasoning’ can be straightforwardly accommodated within (...) the inferential conception. 1 Introduction2 Immersion, Inference and Partial Structures3 Idealization and Surplus Structure4 Renormalization and the Stability of Mathematical Representations5 Explanation and Eliminability6 Requirements for Explanation7 Interpretation and Idealization8 Explanation, Empirical Regularities and the Inferential Conception9 Conclusion. (shrink)
A number of people have recently argued for a structural approach to accounting for the applications of mathematics. Such an approach has been called "the mapping account". According to this view, the applicability of mathematics is fully accounted for by appreciating the relevant structural similarities between the empirical system under study and the mathematics used in the investigation ofthat system. This account of applications requires the truth of applied mathematical assertions, but it does not require the existence of mathematical objects. (...) In this paper, we discuss the shortcomings of this account, and show how these shortcomings can be overcome by a broader view of the application of mathematics: the inferential conception. (shrink)
An account of scientific representation in terms of partial structures and partial morphisms is further developed. It is argued that the account addresses a variety of difficulties and challenges that have recently been raised against such formal accounts of representation. This allows some useful parallels between representation in science and art to be drawn, particularly with regard to apparently inconsistent representations. These parallels suggest that a unitary account of scientific and artistic representation is possible, and our article can be viewed (...) as laying the groundwork for such an account—although, as we shall acknowledge, significant differences exist between these two forms of representation. (shrink)
We examine, from the partial structures perspective, two forms of applicability of mathematics: at the “bottom” level, the applicability of theoretical structures to the “appearances”, and at the “top” level, the applicability of mathematical to physical theories. We argue that, to accommodate these two forms of applicability, the partial structures approach needs to be extended to include a notion of “partial homomorphism”. As a case study, we present London's analysis of the superfluid behavior of liquid helium in terms of Bose‐Einstein (...) statistics. This involved both the introduction of group theory at the top level, and some modeling at the “phenomenological” level, and thus provides a nice example of the relationships we are interested in. We conclude with a discussion of the “autonomy” of London's model. (shrink)
How is it that words come to stand for the things they stand for? Is the thing that a word stands for - its reference - fully identified or described by conventions known to the users of the word? Or is there a more roundabout relation between the reference of a word and the conventions that determine or fix it? Do words like 'water', 'three', and 'red' refer to appropriate things, just as the word 'Aristotle' refers to Aristotle? If so, (...) which things are these, and how do they come to be referred to by those words? -/- In Roads to Reference, Mario Gómez-Torrente provides novel answers to these and other questions that have been of traditional interest in the theory of reference. The book introduces a number of cases of apparent indeterminacy of reference for proper names, demonstratives, and natural kind terms, which suggest that reference-fixing conventions for them adopt the form of lists of merely sufficient conditions for reference and reference failure. He then provides arguments for a new anti-descriptivist picture of those kinds of words, according to which the reference-fixing conventions for them do not describe their reference. This book also defends realist and objectivist accounts of the reference of ordinary natural kind nouns, numerals, and adjectives for sensible qualities. According to these accounts these words refer, respectively, to 'ordinary kinds', cardinality properties, and properties of membership in intervals of sensible dimensions, and these things are fixed in subtle ways by associated reference-fixing conventions. (shrink)
Based on da Costa's and French's notions of partial structures and pragmatic truth, this paper examines two possible characterizations of the concept of empirical adequacy, one depending on the notion of partial isomorphism, the other on the hierarchy of partial models of phenomena, and both compatible with an empiricist view. These formulations can then be employed to illuminate certain aspects of scientific practice.An empirical theory must single out a specific part of the world, establish reference to that part, and say—by (...) way of contingent, substantial claim about the world—that its models fit that. Now, how exactly can this be done? Bas C. van Fraassen. (shrink)
Otávio Bueno* * and Steven French.** ** Applying Mathematics: Immersion, Inference, Interpretation. Oxford University Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-0-19-881504-4 978-0-19-185286-2. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198815044. 001.0001. Pp. xvii + 257.
La noción de interpretación desarrollada en el racionalismo crítico de Karl R. Popper muestra atributos específicos que la distinguen de modo sustancial de la interpretación constitutiva de la experiencia que tanto N. R. Hanson como Th. Kuhn defienden en sus respectivas propuestas. Se muestra que la interpretación del modelo popperiano queda atrapada en una epistemología de corte empirista que la separa de modo radical de toda hermenéutica filosófica. The notion of interpretation developed in the critical rationalism of Karl R. Popper (...) displays specific attributes that substantially distinguish it from the constituent interpretation of experience defended in both N. R. Hanson and T. Kuhn proposals. The article shows that the interpretation of Popper's model is trapped in an empiricist epistemology that radically separates it from all hermeneutic philosophy. (shrink)
According to modalism, modality is primitive. In this paper, we examine the implications of this view for modal epistemology, and articulate a modalist account of modal knowledge. First, we discuss a theoretical utility argument used by David Lewis in support of his claim that there is a plurality of concrete worlds. We reject this argument, and show how to dispense with possible worlds altogether. We proceed to account for modal knowledge in modalist terms.
Logical pluralism is the view according to which there is more than one relation of logical consequence, even within a given language. A recent articulation of this view has been developed in terms of quantification over different cases: classical logic emerges from consistent and complete cases; constructive logic from consistent and incomplete cases, and paraconsistent logic from inconsistent and complete cases. We argue that this formulation causes pluralism to collapse into either logical nihilism or logical universalism. In its place, we (...) propose a modalist account of logical pluralism that is independently well motivated and that avoids these collapses. (shrink)
Identity is arguably one of the most fundamental concepts in metaphysics. There are several reasons why this is the case: Identity is presupposed in every conceptual system: without identity, it is unclear that any conceptual system can be formulated. Identity is required to characterize an individual: nothing can be an individual unless it has well-specified identity conditions. Identity cannot be defined: even in systems that allegedly have the resources to define identity. Identity is required for quantification: the intelligibility of quantification (...) presupposes the identity of the objects that are quantified over. These are only four considerations in support of identity's fundamental role. In this paper, I examine and defend them. I then examine a challenge that has been raised against identity's fundamentality: one from the metaphysics of physics—based on a significant interpretation of non-relativist quantum mechanics—according to which certain quantum particles lack identity conditions. After responding to this challenge, I consider the nature of the commitment to identity, and argue that it turns out to be very minimal. In fact, a very deflationary form of metaphysics can accommodate it. In arguing that identity is fundamental, one need not overstep the boundaries of even a very minimal empiricist metaphysics. Or so I argue. (shrink)
In this paper, 1 examine the role of the delta function in Dirac’s formulation of quantum mechanics (QM), and I discuss, more generally, the role of mathematics in theory construction. It has been argued that mathematical theories play an indispensable role in physics, particularly in QM [Colyvan, M. (2001). The inrlispensability of mathematics. Oxford University Press: Oxford]. As I argue here, at least in the case of the delta function, Dirac was very clear about its rlispensability. I first discuss the (...) significance of the delta function in Dirac’s work, and explore the strategy that he devised to overcome its use. l then argue that even if mathematical theories turned out to be indispensable, this wouidn’t justify the commitment to the existence of mathematical entities. In fact, even in successful uses of mathematics, such as in Dirac’s discovery of antimatter, there’s no need to believe in the existence of the corresponding mathematical entities. An interesting picture about the application of mathematics emerges from a careful examination of Dirac’s work. (shrink)
We argue that standard definitions of ‘vagueness’ prejudice the question of how best to deal with the phenomenon of vagueness. In particular, the usual understanding of ‘vagueness’ in terms of borderline cases, where the latter are thought of as truth-value gaps, begs the question against the subvaluational approach. According to this latter approach, borderline cases are inconsistent (i.e., glutty not gappy). We suggest that a definition of ‘vagueness’ should be general enough to accommodate any genuine contender in the debate over (...) how to best deal with the sorites paradox. Moreover, a definition of ‘vagueness’ must be able to accommodate the variety of forms sorites arguments can take. These include numerical, total-ordered sorites arguments, discrete versions, continuous versions, as well as others without any obvious metric structure at all. After considering the shortcomings of various definitions of ‘vagueness’, we propose a very general non-question-begging definition. (shrink)
In this paper a constructive empiricist account of scientific change is put forward. Based on da Costa's and French's partial structures approach, two notions of empirical adequacy are initially advanced (with particular emphasis on the introduction of degrees of empirical adequacy). Using these notions, it is shown how both the informativeness and the empirical adequacy requirements of an empiricist theory of scientific change can then be met. Finally, some philosophical consequences with regard to the role of structures in this context (...) are drawn.Now, we daily see what science is doing for us. This could not be unless it taught us something about reality; the aim of science is not things themselves, as the dogmatists in their simplicity imagine, but the relations between things; outside those relations there is no reality knowable. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Suárez and Cartwright return to the example of London and London's construction of a model for superconductivity and raise a number of concerns against the account of this construction presented in French and Ladyman and elsewhere. In this discussion note, we examine the challenge they raised and offer our responses.
This is a response to a paper “Paradox without satisfaction”, Analysis 63, 152-6 (2003) by Otavio Bueno and Mark Colyvan on Yablo’s paradox. I argue that this paper makes several substantial mathematical errors which vitiate the paper. (For the technical details, see  below.).
According to the semantic view, a theory is characterized by a class of models. In this paper, we examine critically some of the assumptions that underlie this approach. First, we recall that models are models of something. Thus we cannot leave completely aside the axiomatization of the theories under consideration, nor can we ignore the metamathematics used to elaborate these models, for changes in the metamathematics often impose restrictions on the resulting models. Second, based on a parallel between van Fraassen’s (...) modal interpretation of quantum mechanics and Skolem’s relativism regarding set-theoretic concepts, we introduce a distinction between relative and absolute concepts in the context of the models of a scientific theory. And we discuss the significance of that distinction. Finally, by focusing on contemporary particle physics, we raise the question: since there is no general accepted unification of the parts of the standard model (namely, QED and QCD), we have no theory, in the usual sense of the term. This poses a difficulty: if there is no theory, how can we speak of its models? What are the latter models of? We conclude by noting that it is unclear that the semantic view can be applied to contemporary physical theories. (shrink)
In this paper, we compare two theories, modal Meinongianism and object theory, with respect to several issues that have been discussed recently in the literature. In particular, we raise some objections for MM, undermine some of the objections that its defenders raise for OT, and we point out some virtues of the latter with respect to the former.
Thirteen up-and-coming researchers in the philosophy of mathematics have been invited to write on what they take to be the right philosophical account of mathematics, examining along the way where they think the philosophy of mathematics is and ought to be going. A rich and diverse picture emerges. Some broader tendencies can nevertheless be detected: there is increasing attention to the practice, language and psychology of mathematics, a move to reassess the orthodoxy, as well as inspiration from philosophical logic.
Mathematical concepts play at least three roles in the application of mathematics: an inferential role, a representational role, and an expressive role. In this paper, I argue that, despite what has often been alleged, platonists do not fully accommodate these features of the application of mathematics. At best, platonism provides partial ways of handling the issues. I then sketch an alternative, anti-realist account of the application of mathematics, and argue that this account manages to accommodate these features of the application (...) process. In this way, a better account of mathematical applications is, in principle, available. (shrink)
The authors provide an object-theoretic analysis of two paradoxes in the theory of possible worlds and propositions stemming from Russell and Kaplan. After laying out the paradoxes, the authors provide a brief overview of object theory and point out how syntactic restrictions that prevent object-theoretic versions of the classical paradoxes are justified philosophically. The authors then trace the origins of the Russell paradox to a problematic application of set theory in the definition of worlds. Next the authors show that an (...) object-theoretic analysis of the Kaplan paradox reveals that there is no genuine paradox at all, as the central premise of the paradox is simply a logical falsehood and hence can be rejected on the strongest possible grounds—not only in object theory but for the very framework of propositional modal logic in which Kaplan frames his argument. The authors close by fending off a possible objection that object theory avoids the Russell paradox only by refusing to incorporate set theory and, hence, that the object-theoretic solution is only a consequence of the theory’s weakness. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to provide a unified account of scientific and mathematical change in a thoroughly empiricist setting. After providing a formal modelling in terms of embedding, and criticising it for being too restrictive, a second modelling is advanced. It generalises the first, providing a more open-ended pattern of theory development, and is articulated in terms of da Costa and French's partial structures approach. The crucial component of scientific and mathematical change is spelled out in terms of (...) partial embeddings. Finally, an application of this second pattern is made, with the examination of the early formulation of set theory. (shrink)
Styles of reasoning are important devices to understand scientific practice. As I use the concept, a style of reasoning is a pattern of inferential relations that are used to select, interpret, and support evidence for scientific results. In this paper, I defend the view that there is a plurality of styles of reasoning: different domains of science often invoke different styles. I argue that this plurality is an important source of disunity in scientific practice, and it provides additional arguments in (...) support of the disunity claim. I also contrast Ian Hacking’s broad characterization of styles of reasoning with a narrow understanding that I favor. Drawing on examples from molecular biology, chemistry and mathematics, I argue that differences in style of reasoning lead to differences in the way the relevant results are obtained and interpreted. The result is a pluralist view about styles of reasoning that is sensitive to nuances of inferential relations in scientific activity. (shrink)
In order to develop an account of scientific rationality, two problems need to be addressed: (i) how to make sense of episodes of theory change in science where the lack of a cumulative development is found, and (ii) how to accommodate cases of scientific change where lack of consistency is involved. In this paper, we sketch a model of scientific rationality that accommodates both problems. We first provide a framework within which it is possible to make sense of scientific revolutions, (...) but which still preserves some (partial) relations between old and new theories. The existence of these relations help to explain why the break between different theories is never too radical as to make it impossible for one to interpret the process in perfectly rational terms. We then defend the view that if scientific theories are taken to be quasi-true, and if the underlying logic is paraconsistent, it's perfectly rational for scientists and mathematicians to entertain inconsistent theories without triviality. As a result, as opposed to what is demanded by traditional approaches to rationality, it's not irrational to entertain inconsistent theories. Finally, we conclude the paper by arguing that the view advanced here provides a new way of thinking about the foundations of science. In particular, it extends in important respects both coherentist and foundationalist approaches to knowledge, without the troubles that plague traditional views of scientific rationality. (shrink)
Crucial to Hilary Putnam’s realism in the philosophy of mathematics is to maintain the objectivity of mathematics without the commitment to the existence of mathematical objects. Putnam’s indispensability argument was devised as part of this conception. In this paper, I reconstruct and reassess Putnam’s argument for the indispensability of mathematics, and distinguish it from the more familiar, Quinean version of the argument. Although I argue that Putnam’s approach ultimately fails, I develop an alternative way of implementing his form of realism (...) about mathematics that, by using different resources than those Putnam invokes, avoids the difficulties faced by his view. (shrink)
Current versions of nominalism in the philosophy of mathematics have the benefit of avoiding commitment to the existence of mathematical objects. But this comes with the cost of not taking mathematical theories literally. Jody Azzouni's _Deflating Existential Consequence_ has recently challenged this conclusion by formulating a nominalist view that lacks this cost. In this paper, we argue that, as it stands, Azzouni's proposal does not yet succeed. It faces a dilemma to the effect that either the view is not nominalist (...) or it fails to take mathematics literally. After presenting the dilemma, we suggest a possible solution for the nominalist. (shrink)