Gersonides' Afterlife is the first full-scale treatment of the reception of one of the greatest scientific minds of medieval Judaism: Gersonides (1288-1344). An outstanding representative of the Hebrew Jewish culture that then flourished in southern France, Gersonides wrote on mathematics, logic, astronomy, astrology, physical science, metaphysics and theology, and commented on almost the entire bible. His strong-minded attempt to integrate these different areas of study into a unitary system of thought was deeply rooted in the Aristotelian tradition and yet innovative (...) in many respects, and thus elicited diverse and often impassionate reactions. For the first time, the twenty-one papers collected here describe Gersonides' impact in all fields of his activity and the reactions from his contemporaries up to present-day religious Zionism. (shrink)
This book tries to answer two key questions. The first is why certain periods are more prone to war than others. The other is why certain wars that involve polar powers end with their territorial expansion whereas other wars end in their contraction or maintaining their territorial status. In conclusion, it is asked whether the polarity of the system affects these two outcomes, and if so, how.
The neurocentric worldview that identifies the essence of the human being with the material brain has become a central paradigm in current academic discourse. Israeli researchers also seek to understand educational principles and processes via neuroscientific models. On this background, the article uncovers the central role that visual brain images play in the learning-disabilities field in Israel. It examines the place brain images have in the professional imagination of didactic-diagnosticians as well as their influence on the diagnosticians' clinical attitudes. It (...) relies on two theoretical fields: sociology and anthropology of the body and sociology of neuromedical knowledge. The research consists of three methodologies: ethnographic observations, in-depth interviews, and rhetorical analysis of visual and verbal texts. It uncovers the various rhetorical and ideological functions of brain images in the field. It also charts the repertoire of rhetorical devices which are utilized to strengthen the neuroreducionist messages contained in the images. (shrink)
The notion of bilattice was introduced by Ginsberg, and further examined by Fitting, as a general framework for many applications. In the present paper we develop proof systems, which correspond to bilattices in an essential way. For this goal we introduce the notion of logical bilattices. We also show how they can be used for efficient inferences from possibly inconsistent data. For this we incorporate certain ideas of Kifer and Lozinskii, which happen to suit well the context of our work. (...) The outcome are paraconsistent logics with a lot of desirable properties.1. (shrink)
This new book argues that at the core of legal philosophy’s principal debates there is essentially one issue judicial impartiality. Keeping this issue to the forefront,Raban’s approach sheds much light on many difficult and seemingly perplexing jurisprudential debates. Modern Legal Theory and Judicial Impartiality.
This is an examination of Ronald Dworkin's claim that the true theory of legal practice is the theory that puts legal practice in its ‘best light’. By ‘best light’ Dworkin means a measure of desirability or goodness: the true theory of legal practice, says Dworkin, portrays the practice at its most desirable. Now why would that be the case? What's between the desirability of a theory and its truth? The article examines the reasons leading Dworkin to this strange claim. It (...) then argues that the claim is ultimately unsustainable, but also that it contains much insight about legal practice: the true theory of legal practice need not put the practice at its most desirable, but there is much between maximizing desirability and the practice's standards. Dworkin's is another important effort to explain the normative aspect of legal validity—in a way that transcends both the crudeness of natural law, and legal positivism's attempt to wash its hands of this crucial aspect of law. (shrink)
In this paper we provide a proof theoretical investigation of logical argumentation, where arguments are represented by sequents, conflicts between arguments are represented by sequent elimination rules, and deductions are made by dynamic proof systems extending standard sequent calculi. The idea is to imitate argumentative movements in which certain claims are introduced or withdrawn in the presence of counter-claims. This is done by a dynamic evaluation of sequences of sequents, in which the latter are considered ‘derived’ or ‘not derived’ according (...) to the content of the sequence. We show that decisive conclusions of such a process correspond to well-accepted consequences of the underlying argumentation framework. The outcome is therefore a general and modular proof-theoretical approach for paraconsistent and non-monotonic reasoning with argumentation systems. (shrink)
Sometimes, the availability of more evidence for a conclusion provides a reason to believe in its falsity. This counter-intuitive phenomenon is related to the idea of higher-order evidence, which has attracted broad interest in recent epistemological literature. Occasionally, providing more evidence for something weakens the case in its favor, by casting doubt on the probative value of other evidence of the same sort or on the fact-finder’s cognitive performance. We analyze this phenomenon, discuss its rationality, and outline possible application to (...) evidence law and to the law in general. It is suggested, inter alia, that such higher-order evidence may explain how judicial experience-based expertise in fact-finding is possible despite the absence of a feedback mechanism; and that fact-finders’ self-doubt regarding their own competence in making ‘beyond-reasonable doubt’ judgments might be reasonable and should not be ignored. (shrink)
A contribution to the sixth installment of the Common Knowledge symposium “Apology for Quietism,” this article reflects on the challenges that understanding the Holocaust posed for Jews in Palestine and has posed for them in Israel. Ofer concentrates on the images of victims, fighters, and survivors as they were formulated during the last years of World War II and after the establishment of the State of Israel. Behind these images stood historical, concrete human beings who were classified according to (...) concepts supplied by Zionist and historical Jewish culture, in which activism vs. quietism had long presented major issues for debate. A narrative and typology developed of fighting heroes, victims, and survivors; Ofer questions how different these categories were from each other. In pursuit of an answer, she examines institutions in Israel for commemoration and remembrance, especially Yad Vashem, a state-established institution centering on its often-reconfigured and redesigned historical museums. Finally, this article explores the impact of immigrations and wars on the approach of Israelis to activism and quietism, with special reference to attitudes toward the Holocaust. (shrink)
Reasoning with the maximally consistent subsets of the premises is a well-known approach for handling contradictory information. In this paper we consider several variations of this kind of reasoning, for each one we introduce two complementary computational methods that are based on logical argumentation theory. The difference between the two approaches is in their ways of making consequences: one approach is of a declarative nature and is related to Dung-style semantics for abstract argumentation, while the other approach has a more (...) proof-theoretical flavor, extending Gentzen-style sequent calculi. The outcome of this work is a new perspective on reasoning with MCS, which shows a strong link between the latter and argumentation systems, and which can be generalized to some related formalisms. As a by-product of this we obtain soundness and completeness results for the dynamic proof systems with respect to several of Dung’s semantics. In a broader context, we believe that this work helps to better understand and evaluate the role of logic-based instantiations of argumentation frameworks. (shrink)
Paradefinite logics are logics that can be used for handling contradictory or partial information. As such, paradefinite logics should be both paraconsistent and paracomplete. In this paper we consider the simplest semantic framework for introducing paradefinite logics. It consists of the four-valued matrices that expand the minimal matrix which is characteristic for first degree entailments: Dunn–Belnap matrix. We survey and study the expressive power and proof theory of the most important logics that can be developed in this framework.
Maximality is a desirable property of paraconsistent logics, motivated by the aspiration to tolerate inconsistencies, but at the same time retain from classical logic as much as possible. In this paper we introduce the strongest possible notion of maximal paraconsistency, and investigate it in the context of logics that are based on deterministic or non-deterministic three-valued matrices. We show that all reasonable paraconsistent logics based on three-valued deterministic matrices are maximal in our strong sense. This applies to practically all three-valued (...) paraconsistent logics that have been considered in the literature, including a large family of logics which were developed by da Costa's school. Then we show that in contrast, paraconsistent logics based on three-valued properly nondeterministic matrices are not maximal, except for a few special cases (which are fully characterized). However, these non-deterministic matrices are useful for representing in a clear and concise way the vast variety of the (deterministic) three-valued maximally paraconsistent matrices. The corresponding weaker notion of maximality, called premaximal paraconsistency, captures the "core" of maximal paraconsistency of all possible paraconsistent determinizations of a non-deterministic matrix, thus representing what is really essential for their maximal paraconsistency. (shrink)
We introduce a general approach for representing and reasoning with argumentation-based systems. In our framework arguments are represented by Gentzen-style sequents, attacks between arguments are represented by sequent elimination rules, and deductions are made according to Dung-style skeptical or credulous semantics. This framework accommodates different languages and logics in which arguments may be represented, allows for a flexible and simple way of expressing and identifying arguments, supports a variety of attack relations, and is faithful to standard methods of drawing conclusions (...) by argumentation frameworks. Altogether, we show that argumentation theory may benefit from incorporating proof theoretical techniques and that different non-classical formalisms may be used for backing up intended argumentation semantics. (shrink)
Resisting Contextual Information: You Can't Put a Salient Meaning Down Two experiments support the graded salience hypothesis, which assumes that early processing involves distinct mechanisms-linguistic and contextual-that do not interact but run parallel. While contextual processes make up an integrative, top-down mechanism that benefits from linguistic and extra-linguistic information, the linguistic mechanism is modular. Using Vu et al.'s materials, Experiment 1 shows that the sentential position of a target word is crucial for the operation of the global, predictive mechanism, whose (...) effects, accumulated in prior discourse, mask lexical effects in final, but not in initial position. Experiment 2 shows that even in a sentential position that favors contextual effects, lexical access is not affected: Salient meanings are activated upon encounter of the lexical stimulus, regardless of contextual information to the contrary. Taken together, these findings argue against direct access models, which suggest that context can selectively activate the appropriate meaning, regardless of salience. (shrink)
This paper examines how Japanese leading politicians cope with the communication problems posed during televised political interviews. Based on data gathered during the year 2012 equivocation, thereby to also assess the significance of these talk shows in the broader context of political communication in Japan.
This work is an argument for the notion of knowledge production. It is an attempt at an epistemological and historiographic position which treats all facets and modes of knowledge as products of human practices, a position developed and demonstrated through a reconstruction of two defining episodes in the scientific career of Robert Hooke : the composition of his Programme for explaining planetary orbits as inertial motion bent by centripetal force, and his development of the spring law in relation to his (...) invention of the spring watch. ;The revival of interest in the history of experimental and technological knowledge has accorded Hooke much more attention than before. However, dependent on the conception of knowledge as a representation of reality, this scholarship is bound to the categories of influence and competition, and concentrates mainly on Hooke's numerous passionate exchanges with Isaac Newton and Christiaan Huygens. I favourably explore the neo-pragmatist criticism of representation epistemology in the writing of Richard Rorty and Ian Hacking. This criticism exposes the conventional portrayal of Hooke as "a mechanic of genius, rather than a scientist" as a reification of the social hierarchy between Hooke's Royal Society employers and his artisan-experimenters employees. ;However, Rorty and Hacking's efforts to do away with the image of the human knower as an enclosed realm of 'ideas' have not been completed. Undertaking this unfinished philosophical task, my main strategy is to erase the false gap between knowledge which is clearly produced--practical, technological and experimental, 'know how', and knowledge which we still think of as representation--theoretical 'knowing that'. I present Hooke, Newton and Huygens as craftsmen, who, employing various resources, labor to manufacture material and theoretical artifacts. Eschewing the category of independent facts awaiting discovery, I attempt to compare practices and techniques rather than to adjudicate priority claims, replacing ideas which 'develop', 'inspire', and 'influence', with tools and skills which are borrowed, appropriated and modified for new uses. ;This approach enables tracing Hooke's creation of his Programme from his microscopy, and reconstructing his use of springs to structure a theory of matter. With his unique combination of technical and speculative talents Hooke comes to personify the relations between the theoretical-linguistic and the experimental-technological in their full complexity. (shrink)
In the ongoing research of the functions of consciousness, special emphasis has been put on integration of information: the ability to combine different signals into a coherent, unified one. Several theories of consciousness hold that this ability depends on – or at least goes hand in hand with – conscious processing. Yet some empirical findings have suggested otherwise, claiming that integration of information could take place even without awareness. Trying to reconcile this apparent contradiction, the “windows of integration” hypothesis claims (...) that conscious access enables signal processing over large integration windows. The hypothesis applies to integration windows defined either temporally, spatially, or semantically. In this review, we explain the hypothesis and re-examine it in light of new studies published since it was suggested. In line with the hypothesis, these studies provide compelling evidence for unconscious integration, but also demonstrate its limits with respect to time, space, and semantic distance. The review further highlights open questions that still need to be pursued to demonstrate the applicability of the WOI hypothesis as a guiding principle for understanding the depth and scope of unconscious processes. (shrink)
“The present book,” acknowledges Wilson in her Preface, “owes its origins to a study of the preface to Robert Hooke‘s Micrographia undertaken in a seminar on reappraisals of the scientific revolution under the direction of Robert S. Westman.” It is in that very preface that Hooke proclaims: “my ambition is, that I may serve to the great Philosophers of this Age, as the makers and grinders of my Glasses did to me”, and it seems that for Wilson, the reappraisal of (...) paragraphs like this have served to erode Westman’s conception of the scientific revolution as a “long-term event–some one hundred fifty years in the making”. From Wilson’s perspective, this time frame does not appear as an ‘event’ at all. (shrink)
According to Foucault, the human body is the targeted object of modern power systems. In his genealogical studies, Foucault describes the manner in which these power systems leave an imprint on the body and utilize knowledge of the body as an indirect means of exercising subtle forms of control. In recent years, several researchers have claimed that the status of the body, subsumed as it is by modern power networks, has become a means for conducting a unique political critique in (...) which the human being is viewed as an agent of oppression and freedom. This article takes a fresh look at Foucault’s notions of life and death that underpin the critical understanding the body–power relationship. While this approach recognizes the completeness of subjective structuring processes, it also enables the formulation of new insights regarding the status of the modern individual as the subject of separate and independent modes of speech and action. (shrink)
The Purūravac-cakkiravartti-katai, “The Story of Emperor Purūravas,” is a pre-modern Tamil folk telling of the ancient Urvaśī-Purūravas legend. The classical narrative of King Purūravas of the Lunar Dynasty tells about his love affair with the celestial nymph Urvaśī, their tragic separation, and final reunion. The PCK follows the classical narrative closely, but interposes a long account of other exploits of Purūravas, which do not appear in any of the Sanskrit tellings of the story. In this supplement, which I call “The (...) Tamil Life of Purūravas,” Purūravas faces a tragic chain of unavoidable events, but eventually restores his former status through meditation and devotion. A comparative examination of the two parts of the text, that is, the classical narrative and the Tamil Life, shows that the latter generates an inverted mirror image of the fundamental notions implied in the classical narrative. The outcome of this structure is a shift in the ideological tendencies of the narrative toward a local ethos and popular religious notions. The PCK is thus shown to be a field of cultural negotiations, in which opposing ideologies contend for superiority, and its structure can be regarded as a transformative mechanism applied by local and popular cultural forms to enable appropriation of classical narrative traditions. (shrink)
Liberal democracy suffers from an internal contradiction stemming from its ideological roots and rending it from within. On the one hand its goal is to generate a system of laws and rules that maximize individual rights and liberties; on the other hand, some of its fundamental assumptions pertaining to the Subject restrict the political and social agent's existential experience to a limited threshold of speech and action. The central assumption of this article is that the main meeting point of the (...) critics of modernity, Apel and Habermas primarily, and the post-structuralists, Foucault and Deleuze, in regard to the Subject, rehabilitates liberal discourse and creates an opening for a political theory that maximizes the freedom of the individual as a structured, anti-essentialist Subject. I will show that the expansion of the concept of the self in the two streams sheds new light on the concepts of political control and liberty, and in this way extends the normative discussion of all aspects of the political agent's status in a modern democracy. (shrink)
The Upper Palaeolithic Revolution, sometimes called ‘the Creative Explosion’, is seen as the period when the forefathers of modern forager societies emerged. Similarly to the Industrial and Neolithic Revolutions, it represents a short time span when numerous inventions appeared and cultural changes occurred. The inventions were in the domain of technology, that is, shaping of new stone tool forms, longdistance exchange of raw materials, the use of bone, antler and ivory as well as rare minerals for the production of domestic (...) and ritual objects. Spatial analysis of ‘living floors’ indicates the presence of a kitchen area, sleeping grounds, storage facilities and a discard zone. We can also detect a certain increase in social hierarchy and the presence of shamans. Body decorations indicate the appearance of personal individuality. Several hypotheses were offered as an explanation for the initiation of all these cultural changes often grouped under the term ‘modern behaviour’. It stands to reason that attributing the new successful technologies observed in the Eurasian Upper Palaeolithic to intrinsic social processes and economic innovations by local Middle Palaeolithic populations would need a better archaeological demonstration than that available today. For the time being, the emergence of Modern humans in sub-Saharan Africa, their socio-economic dynamism that caused their expansion through the Nile Valley into the Near East, and their migration along the ‘southern route’ of Asia as far as Australia, is the most plausible scenario though it still leaves much to be desired from future archaeological research. (shrink)