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.
The Quine-Putnam Indispensability argument is the argument for treating mathematical entities on a par with other theoretical entities of our best scientific theories. This argument is usually taken to be an argument for mathematical realism. In this chapter I will argue that the proper way to understand this argument is as putting pressure on the viability of the marriage of scientific realism and mathematical nominalism. Although such a marriage is a popular option amongst philosophers of science and mathematics, in light (...) of the indispensability argument, the marriage is seen to be very unstable. Unless one is careful about how the Quine-Putnam argument is disarmed, one can be forced to either mathematical realism or, alternatively, scientific instrumentalism. I will explore the various options: (i) finding a way to reconcile the two partners in the marriage by disarming the indispensability argument (Jody Azzouni , Hartry Field [13, 14], Alan Musgrave [18, 19], David Papineau ); (ii) embracing mathematical realism (W.V.O. Quine , Michael Resnik , J.J.C. Smart ); and (iii) embracing some form of scientific instrumentalism (Ot´ avio Bueno [7, 8], Bas van Fraassen ). Elsewhere , I have argued for option (ii) and I won’t repeat those arguments here. Instead, I will consider the difficulties for each of the three options just mentioned, with special attention to option (i). In relation to the latter, I will discuss an argument due to Alan Musgrave  for why option (i) is a plausible and promising approach. From the discussion of Musgrave’s argument, it will emerge that the issue of holist versus separatist theories of confirmation plays a curious role in the realism–antirealism debate in the philosophy of mathematics. I will argue that if you take confirmation to be an holistic matter—it’s whole theories (or significant parts thereof) that are confirmed in any experiment—then there’s an inclination to opt for (ii) in order to resolve the marital tension outlined above.. (shrink)
Amie Thomasson has articulated a novel conception of ontological debates, defending an easy approach to ontological questions as part of the articulation of a deflationary metaphysical view (Thomasson, 2015). After raising some concerns to the approach, we sketch a neutralist alternative to her ontological framework, offering an even easier way of conducting ontological debates.
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)
Second-order logic has a number of attractive features, in particular the strong expressive resources it offers, and the possibility of articulating categorical mathematical theories (such as arithmetic and analysis). But it also has its costs. Five major charges have been launched against second-order logic: (1) It is not axiomatizable; as opposed to first-order logic, it is inherently incomplete. (2) It also has several semantics, and there is no criterion to choose between them (Putnam, J Symbol Logic 45:464–482, 1980 ). Therefore, (...) it is not clear how this logic should be interpreted. (3) Second-order logic also has strong ontological commitments: (a) it is ontologically committed to classes (Resnik, J Phil 85:75–87, 1988 ), and (b) according to Quine (Philosophy of logic, Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, 1970 ), it is nothing more than “set theory in sheep’s clothing”. (4) It is also not better than its first-order counterpart, in the following sense: if first-order logic does not characterize adequately mathematical systems, given the existence of non - isomorphic first-order interpretations, second-order logic does not characterize them either, given the existence of different interpretations of second-order theories (Melia, Analysis 55:127–134, 1995 ). (5) Finally, as opposed to what is claimed by defenders of second-order logic [such as Shapiro (J Symbol Logic 50:714–742, 1985 )], this logic does not solve the problem of referential access to mathematical objects (Azzouni, Metaphysical myths, mathematical practice: the logic and epistemology of the exact sciences, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994 ). In this paper, I argue that the second-order theorist can solve each of these difficulties. As a result, second-order logic provides the benefits of a rich framework without the associated costs. (shrink)
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.).
Scientific representation: A long journey from pragmatics to pragmatics Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9465-5 Authors James Ladyman, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, 9 Woodland Rd, Bristol, BS8 1TB UK Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Mauricio Suárez, Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, Complutense University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Journal Metascience (...) Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (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.
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.
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)
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.
There has always been interest in inconsistency in science, not least within science itself as scientists strive to devise a consistent picture of the universe. Some important early landmarks in this history are Copernicus’s criticism of the Ptolemaic picture of the heavens, Galileo’s claim that Aristotle’s theory of motion was inconsistent, and Berkeley’s claim that the early calculus was inconsistent. More recent landmarks include the classical theory of the electron, Bohr’s theory of the atom, and the on-going difficulty of reconciling (...) Einstein’s general relativity and quantum theory. But over the past few decades philosophers have taken a particular and increasing interest in inconsistency in science. In 2002 this culminated in the first collection of articles specifically dedicated to the topic: Inconsistency in Science, edited by Joke Meheus, published by Kluwer, and featuring twelve articles on a range of topics in the philosophy of science and mathematics.Since then philosophic. (shrink)
Perceptual experiences provide an important source of information about the world. It is clear that having the capacity of undergoing such experiences yields an evolutionary advantage. But why should humans have developed not only the ability of simply seeing, but also of seeing that something is thus and so? In this paper, I explore the significance of distinguishing perception from conception for the development of the kind of minds that creatures such as humans typically have. As will become clear, it (...) is crucial to pay careful attention to the different kinds of information that are involved in perceiving and conceiving (including the way such information is gathered and transmitted). By identifying such kinds of information and the role they play, we can then understand an important feature of why creatures like us have the kind of consciousness and mental processes we do. (shrink)
Philosophers are very fond of making non-factualist claims—claims to the effect that there is no fact of the matter as to whether something is the case. But can these claims be coherently stated in the context of classical logic? Some care is needed here, we argue, otherwise one ends up denying a tautology or embracing a contradiction. In the end, we think there are only two strategies available to someone who wants to be a non-factualist about something, and remain within (...) the province of classical logic. But one of these strategies is rather controversial, and the other requires substantially more work than is often supposed. Being a non-factualist is no easy business, and it may not be the most philosophically perspicuous way to go. (shrink)
Ontic Structural Realism is a version of realism about science according to which by positing the existence of structures, understood as basic components of reality, one can resolve central difficulties faced by standard versions of scientific realism. Structures are invoked to respond to two important challenges: one posed by the pessimist meta-induction and the other by the underdetermination of metaphysics by physics, which arises in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. We argue that difficulties in the proper understanding of what a structure is (...) undermines the realist component of the view. Given the difficulties, either realism should be dropped or additional metaphysical components not fully endorsed by science should be incorporated. (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)
Abstract: According to Luciano Floridi (2008) , informational structural realism provides a framework to reconcile the two main versions of realism about structure: the epistemic formulation (according to which all we can know is structure) and the ontic version (according to which structure is all there is). The reconciliation is achieved by introducing suitable levels of abstraction and by articulating a conception of structural objects in information-theoretic terms. In this essay, I argue that the proposed reconciliation works at the expense (...) of realism. I then propose an alternative framework, in terms of partial structures, that offers a way of combining information and structure in a realist setting while still preserving the distinctive features of the two formulations of structural realism. Suitably interpreted, the proposed framework also makes room for an empiricist form of informational structuralism (structural empiricism). Pluralism then emerges. (shrink)
Abstract: Ernest Sosa has recently articulated an insightful response to skepticism and, in particular, to the dream argument. The response relies on two independent moves. First, Sosa offers the imagination model of dreaming according to which no assertions are ever made in dreams and no beliefs are involved there. As a result, it is possible to distinguish dreaming from being awake, and the dream argument is blocked. Second, Sosa develops a virtue epistemology according to which in appropriately normal conditions our (...) perceptual beliefs will be apt. Hence, in these conditions, we will have at least animal knowledge, and the conclusion of the dream argument is undermined. In this article, I examine various moves that the skeptic can make to resist Sosa's challenge, and I contrast the proposal to a neo-Pyrrhonian stance. In the end, there is surprisingly little disagreement about the status of ordinary perceptual beliefs in the two stances. (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)
This comprehensive collection of original essays written by aninternational group of scholars addresses the central themes inLatin American philosophy. Represents the most comprehensive survey of historical andcontemporary Latin American philosophy available today Comprises a specially commissioned collection of essays, manyof them written by Latin American authors Examines the history of Latin American philosophy and itscurrent issues, traces the development of the discipline, andoffers biographical sketches of key Latin American thinkers Showcases the diversity of approaches, issues, and styles thatcharacterize the field.
We have three goals in this paper. First, we outline an ontology of stance, and explain the role that modes of engagement and styles of reasoning play in the characterization of a stance. Second, we argue that we do enjoy a degree of control over the modes of engagement and styles of reasoning we adopt. Third, we contend that maximizing one’s prospects for change also maximizes one’s rationality.
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)
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)
This paper introduces the logic of evidence and truth \ as an extension of the Belnap–Dunn four-valued logic \. \ is a slightly modified version of the logic \, presented in Carnielli and Rodrigues. While \ is equipped only with a classicality operator \, \ is equipped with a non-classicality operator \ as well, dual to \. Both \ and \ are logics of formal inconsistency and undeterminedness in which the operator \ recovers classical logic for propositions in its scope. (...) Evidence is a notion weaker than truth in the sense that there may be evidence for a proposition \ even if \ is not true. As well as \, \ is able to express preservation of evidence and preservation of truth. The primary aim of this paper is to propose a probabilistic semantics for \ where statements \\) and \\) express, respectively, the amount of evidence available for \ and the degree to which the evidence for \ is expected to behave classically—or non-classically for \ \). A probabilistic scenario is paracomplete when \ + P 1\), and in both cases, \ < 1\). If \ = 1\), or \ = 0\), classical probability is recovered for \. The proposition \, a theorem of \, partitions what we call the information space, and thus allows us to obtain some new versions of known results of standard probability theory. (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)
Quantifier variance faces a number of difficulties. In this paper we first formulate the view as holding that the meanings of the quantifiers may vary, and that languages using different quantifiers may be charitably translated into each other. We then object to the view on the basis of four claims: (i) quantifiers cannot vary their meaning extensionally by changing the domain of quantification; (ii) quantifiers cannot vary their meaning intensionally without collapsing into logical pluralism; (iii) quantifier variance is not an (...) ontological doctrine; (iv) quantifier variance is not compatible with charitable translation and as such is internally inconsistent. In light of these troubles, we recommend the dissolution of quantifier variance and suggest that the view be laid to rest. (shrink)
In this article the following criticisms of the essentialist conception of general term rigidity presented in the previous papers are considered and responded: the identity of designation conception of rigidity can provide us with a better alternative account for general term rigidity, and the essentialist conception fails to meet the condition of extensional adequacy, both because it over -and undergeneralizes. Against, it is claimed that the proposed definition of general term rigidity cannot feature in lost rigidity arguments against description theories (...) because it is circular, and then fails to do the primary work that rigidity is supposed to do, namely, distinguishing terms that are covered by a description theory from those that are not. As regards, after insisting that the essentialist view need not be commited to the condition of extensional adequacy, both charges of over- and undergeneralization are addressed: while the argumentation aimed at showing that some examples are cases of overgeneralization is rejected, the cases of undergeneralization are admitted to be still in need of a better explanation than the one given in Devitt. En este artículo se analizan y responden las siguientes objeciones a la concepción esencialista de la rigidez para términos generales contenidas en los artículos precedentes: la concepción de la rigidez como identidad de designación puede proporcionarnos una definición más adecuada del carácter rígido de los términos generales, y la concepción esencialista no puede cumplir con la condición de adecuación extensional, tanto debido a que sobregeneraliza como a que subgeneraliza. Contra, se sostiene que la definición alternativa propuesta no puede ser utilizada en argumentos basados en la pérdida de rigidez contra las teorías descriptivistas porque es circular; por consiguiente, fracasa en alcanzar el objetivo principal que se adscribe a la noción de rigidez, a saber, distinguir las expresiones que pueden ser explicadas en términos descriptivos de aquéllas para las cuales ello no es posible. En lo que concierne a, tras insistir en que la concepción esencialista no tiene por qué comprometerse con el requisito de adecuación extensional, se consideran las dos acusaciones mencionadas: mientras que se rechaza la argumentación tendiente a mostrar que ciertos ejemplos son casos de sobregeneralización, se acepta que algunos casos de subgeneralización requerirían de una explicación más adecuada que la presentada en Devitt. (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, 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)
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)
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 show that any reasoning process in which conclusions can be both fallible and corrigible can be formalized in terms of two approaches: (i) syntactically, with the use of defeasible reasoning, according to which reasoning consists in the construction and assessment of arguments for and against a given claim, and (ii) semantically, with the use of partial structures, which allow for the representation of less than conclusive information. We are particularly interested in the formalization of scientific reasoning, (...) along the lines traced by Lakatos’ methodology of scientific research programs. We show how current debates in cosmology could be put into this framework, shedding light on a very controversial topic. (shrink)
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