An important contribution to the foundations of probability theory, statistics and statistical physics has been made by E. T. Jaynes. The recent publication of his collected works provides an appropriate opportunity to attempt an assessment of this contribution. * Review of E. T. JAYNES (1983): Papers on Probability, Statistics and Statistical Physics. Edited by R. D. Rosenkrantz. D. Reidel Publishing Company. US $49.50. Pp. xxiv + 434. We are grateful to Harvey Brown, Kenneth Denbigh, Udi Makov and Oliver Penrose for (...) their valuable criticisms of this paper. (shrink)
An important contribution to the foundations of probability theory, statistics and statistical physics has been made by E. T. Jaynes. The recent publication of his collected works provides an appropriate opportunity to attempt an assessment of this contribution.
Theism, according to David O'Connor, has in recent centuries been on trial for its life, the charge being that the existence of so much evil in the world is incompatible with belief in a benevolent creator. But this trial, he claims is incapable of producing a reasoned verdict.
With a book as wide ranging and insightful as Barry's Justice as Impartiality, it is perhaps a little churlish to criticize it for paying insufficient attention to one's own particular interests. That said, in what follows I am going to do just that and claim that in an important sense Barry does not take utilitarianism seriously. Utilitarianism does receive some discussion in Barry's book, and in an important section which I will discuss he even appears to concede that utilitarianism provides (...) a rival though ultimately inadequate theory of justice. Nevertheless, utilitarianism is not considered a rival to ‘justice as impartiality’ in the way that ‘justice as mutual advantage’ and ‘justice as reciprocity’ are. One response, and perhaps the only adequate response, would be to construct a rival utilitarian theory. I cannot provide such a theory in this paper, and I certainly would be very cautious about claiming that I could provide such a theory elsewhere. What I want to suggest is that utilitarianism is a genuine third theory to contrast with ‘justice as mutual advantage’ and ‘justice as impartiality’ – ‘justice as reciprocity’ being merely a hybrid of ‘justice as mutual advantage’, at least as Barry presents it. I also want to argue that it poses a more significant challenge to a contractualist theory such as Barry's than his discussion of utilitarianism reveals. (shrink)
Traditionally Hume is seen as offering an ‘empiricist’ critique of ‘rationalism’. This view is often illustrated – or rejected – by comparing Hume's views with those of Descartes'. However the textual evidence shows that Hume's most sustained engagement with a canonical ‘rationalist’ is with Nicolas Malebranche. The author shows that the fundamental differences between the two on the self and causal power do indeed rest on a principled distinction between ‘rationalism’ and ‘empiricism’, and that there is some truth in the (...) traditional story. This, however, is very far from saying that Hume's general orientation is an attack on something called ‘rationalism’. (shrink)
Between 1787, and the end of his life in 1832, Bentham turned his attention to the development and application of economic ideas and principles within the general structure of his legislative project. For seventeen years this interest was manifested through a number of books and pamphlets, most of which remained in manuscript form, that develop a distinctive approach to economic questions. Although Bentham was influenced by Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, he (...) neither adopted a Smithian vocabulary for addressing questions of economic principle and policy, nor did he accept many of the distinctive features of Smith's economic theory. One consequence of this was that Bentham played almost no part in the development of the emerging science of political economy in the early nineteenth century. The standard histories of economics all emphasize how little he contributed to the mainstream of late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century debate by concentrating attention on his utilitarianism and the psychology of hedonism on which it is premised. Others have argued that the calculating nature of his theory of practical reason reduced the whole legislative project to a crude attempt to apply economics to all aspects of social and political life. Put at its simplest this argument amounts to the erroneous claim that Bentham's science of legislation is reducible to the science of political economy. A different but equally dangerous error would be to argue that because Bentham's conception of the science of legislation comprehends all the basic forms of social relationships, there can be no science of political economy as there is no autonomous sphere of activity governed by the principles of economics. This approach is no doubt attractive from an historical point of view given that the major premise of this argument is true, and that many of Bentham's ‘economic’ arguments are couched in terms of his theory of legislation. Yet it fails to account for the undoubted importance of political economy within Bentham's writings, not just on finance, economic policy, colonies and preventive police, but also in other aspects of his utilitarian public policy such as prison reform, pauper management, and even constitutional reform. All of these works reflect a conception of political economy in its broadest terms. However, this conception of political economy differs in many respects from that of Bentham's contemporaries, and for this reason Bentham's distinctive approach to problems of economics and political economy has largely been misunderstood. (shrink)
In his paper ‘Has the Ontological Argument Been Refuted?’, 97–110) William F. Vallicella argues that my attempt to show that the Ontological Argument begs the question is unsuccessful. 1 I believe he is wrong about this, but before endeavouring to vindicate my position I must first make clear what precisely is the point at issue between us. The Ontological Argument is not a single argument, but a family of arguments. Newly devised formulations of the argument are frequently put forward by (...) philosophers in an effort to avoid difficulties that have been pointed out in previous versions. As a consequence there is no possibility of a conclusive proof that every form of the argument embodies the same fallacy. Nevertheless, one can, I believe, prove that all the standard versions of the argument embody a certain fallacy and that, given the nature of the argument, it is therefore unlikely that the argument can be formulated in such a way as to avoid this difficulty. What I tried to show in my paper is that the six best-known versions of the argument all beg the question and that they do so at the same point in the argument, namely when it is asserted that it is possible that an absolutely perfect being exists. It is difficult to see how an ontological argument could be formulated without including this claim as one of its premises, since the distinguishing badge of the argument is the inference from the possibility of an absolutely perfect being to its actuality. It must be unlikely then, if my criticism of these six versions is correct, that there is any way of formulating the argument that avoids this fallacy. (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive commentary on the Athenaion Politeia since that of J.E. Sandys in 1912. The Introduction discusses the history of the text; the contents, purpose and sources of the work; its language and style; its date, and the evidence for revision after the completion of the original version; and the place of the work in the Aristotelian school. The Commentary concentrates on the historical and institutional facts which the work sets out to give, their sources and their (...) relation to other accounts. Textual and linguistic questions are also addressed. (shrink)
Subtitled "Studies in Ethical Analysis," this collection of eleven essays, most of which have previously appeared in journals, deals with a number of problems central to modern ethical theory: the emotive interpretation of ethical language, persuasive definitions and their role in ethical reasoning, the cognitive versus emotive conceptions of ethics: many of these problems were first raised and examined by Stevenson in his earlier book Ethics and Language. Other essays are of a less retrospective nature: studies on Moore and Dewey, (...) naturalism and relativism in ethics, and a general discussion of the relations of linguistic analysis to philosophy as a whole. Stevenson is mainly concerned with analytical, as opposed to descriptive, ethics; and he completely avoids the topics of normative ethics except for a brief survey. The approach to ethics is therefore restricted, but there is enough here to interest the philosopher whose main area lies outside of ethics; although it presupposes no acquaintance with the author's previous work, some of the questions on emotivism and persuasive language are more motivated when seen in the context of that work.—P. J. M. (shrink)
This volume is published concurrently with the one reviewed below and together they unite a number of Quine's previously scattered papers into two compact volumes; this volume deals with his more philosophical work while the other is concerned with more purely technical logical studies. The twenty-one essays cover the period 1934-1964 and none have appeared between hard covers before. Several of the articles—"The ways of paradox," "Foundations of mathematics," "On the application of modern logic," and "Necessary truth"—are essentially popular expositions. (...) The others are generally more restricted in both scope and appeal, and deal with the ontology of the sentential calculus, truth by convention, implicit definition, modal logic, and ontological reduction in the sciences. Several articles concern the philosophy of science directly: "On simple theories of a complex world," "Posits and reality," and "The scope and language of science." This fine collection will be of significant help in presenting the work of a distinguished philosopher to a wider audience, as well as providing the professional with a source of discussion.—P. J. M. (shrink)
This book is a translation of some of the more important parts of the Grundgesetze of Frege: the introduction, the first part of the first volume which gives an exposition of the construction, rules, axioms of Frege's formal system, and two appendices, one of which is from the second volume and gives Frege's analysis of the paradox found by Russell in his system. The editor has provided a long introduction "for those not familiar with Frege," although it will benefit those (...) who have something more than acquaintance with his name as well. Frege's original two-dimensional symbolism has been preserved, but the editor has provided enough discussion in his introduction so as to make the going easier. Next to a complete translation of the Grundgesetze, this work is the most useful introduction to the magnum opus of the nineteenth century's greatest logician.—P. J. M. (shrink)
Religion and the external world -- Projection, religion, and the external world -- The senses, reason and the imagination -- Realism, meaning and justification : the external world and religious belief -- Modality, projection and realism -- 'Our profound ignorance' : causal realism, and the failure to detect necessity -- Spreading the mind : projection, necessity and realism -- Into the labyrinth : persons, modality, and Hume's undoing -- Value, projection, and realism -- Gilding : projection, value and secondary qualities (...) -- The gold : good, evil, belief and desire -- The golden : relational values, realism and a moral sense. (shrink)
Multidisciplinary healthcare committees meet regularly to discuss patients’ candidacy for emerging functional neurosurgical procedures, such as Deep Brain Stimulation . Through debate and discussion around the surgical candidacy of particular patients, functional neurosurgery programs begin to mold practice and policy supported both by scientific evidence and clear value choices. These neurosurgical decisions have special considerations not found in non-neurologic committees. The professional time used to resolve these conflicts provides opportunities for the emergence of careful, ethical practices simultaneous with the expansion (...) of therapy applications. (shrink)
This new edition offers expanded selections from the works of Kongzi, Mengzi, Zhuangzi, and Xunzi ; two new works, the dialogues _Robber Zhi_ and _White Horse_; a concise general introduction; brief introductions to, and selective bibliographies for, each work; and four appendices that shed light on important figures, periods, texts, and terms in Chinese thought.
One of the central arguments given to resist testing currently healthy, asymptomatic children for adult-onset diseases is that they may be psychologically harmed by the knowledge gained from such tests. In this discussion I examine two of the most serious arguments: children who are tested may face limited futures, and that testing may result in damage to the child’s self esteem . I claim that these arguments do not stand up to critical evaluation. In conclusion, whilst I do not suggest (...) that all at-risk children should be tested for adult-onset diseases we ought to listen carefully to some parental requests for such testing because the putative psychological harms may not be as significant or likely as initially thought. This is because parents generally have the best interests of their children at heart and if they are properly supported and educated about predictive genetic testing and the possible consequences, then the risk of psychological harms occurring may be ameliorated. (shrink)
There is little doubt that in the actual practice of science, models, metaphors, analogies, reasoning by similar cases, and other "parallel" forms of argument are often essential for the discovery of new phenomena and their theoretical interpretation. The author has assembled in five essays, culled and developed from previous ones, her ideas on some basic questions concerning models and analogies. The first chapter considers in dialogue form the role of models in science; the next section is an exploration of the (...) questions of what is an analogy and under what conditions analogical arguments are valid. The formal logic of analogy is then developed in the third part. The theory concerning analogy put forth by Aristotle is next discussed; the last chapter treats of the explanatory function of metaphor—we are brought back to our starting point, hopefully enlightened.—P. J. M. (shrink)
All the essays contained herein, with the exception of the last two—"On Suicide" and "On the Immortality of the Soul"—have appeared in the author's Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary ; the others were published posthumously. In this wide-ranging collection Hume addresses himself to aspects of aesthetics and literary criticism, the philosophy of history, philosophical "types", human nature and belief. The volume conveys a side of Hume too often forgotten in our present admiration of his foreshadowing of analytical philosophy: the man (...) of letters. The editor has provided a useful introduction setting Hume's work in its eighteenth century context.—P. J. M. (shrink)
This rather compendious volume contains twelve articles, eleven of which have been published in the last twenty years; the last, from which the book takes its title, appears in print for the first time. There are four chapters: "Confirmation, Induction, and Rational Belief" contains the paper "Inductive Inconsistencies" as well as "Studies in the Logic of Confirmation"; "Empiricist Criteria of Cognitive Significance" appears in the section "Conceptions of Cognitive Significance"; the very well-known "The Theoretician's Dilemma" appears in the third chapter—"Structure (...) and Function of Scientific Concepts and Theories"—along with "Typological Methods in the Natural and Social Sciences"; "Scientific Explanation," the fourth chapter, contains "Studies in the Logic of Explanation" and "The Logic of Functional Analysis," as well as the title article. "Aspects" runs to nearly book length and is concerned to survey and contribute to the range of scientific explanation—from physics to history. Hempel discusses the Deductive-Nomological approach and compares it to certain forms of Statistical Explanation; the Covering-law Model of Explanation is introduced and defended against proponents of Explanation-by-Concept, Dispositional Explanation, and Genetic Explanation: Hempel asserts that these three can be subsumed under the Covering-law model. The relation of rationality and decision to Explanation, and the related pragmatic aspects of Explanation are also considered. These are postscripts to certain articles which bring their discussions up to date. There are several rather confusing misprints, but overall the presentation is workmanlike. Hempel's contributions in the philosophy of science have been influential and important, and it is gratifying to have the most important of these collected together.—P. J. M. (shrink)
This collection of twenty-three papers from the period 1934-1960 is concerned with formal number theory and syntax, axiomatic set theory, truth functions, and quantification theory. In the first group appear "Concatenation as a basis for arithmetic" and "Definition of substitution," among others; the second includes "Set-theoretic foundations for logic," "On ω-inconsistency," and "Element and number." Quine's important articles "Completeness of the propositional calculus" and "Cores and prime implicants of truth functions" are in the third section; the last one includes "A (...) proof procedure for quantification theory" and "Church's theorem on the decision problem". These are but a few of many important articles. All the articles have been reset in a new, perspicuous type-face which makes study easier. Several important papers which were omitted should, in the reviewer's opinion, have been included, but this is a minor quibble. Quine's stature in modern logic can be gauged by examining these papers.—P. J. M. (shrink)
There have been two recent attempts to disentangle the evidence for the procedures in fourth-century Athens for the enactment and revision of nomoi, by D. M. MacDowell and by M. H. Hansen. I have learned from both, but think that further progress can be made. MacDowell distinguishes five separate measures: The Old Legislation Law, requiring action at a specified time, advance publicity for the new proposal, concurrent repeal of any existing law with which the new proposal conflicts, and a decision (...) by nomothetae who are omomokotes, men who have sworn the dicastic oath : this is described as a παλαις νόμος, and as the law καθ' ν σαν ο πρότεροι νομοθέαι. Replacing that c. 370, the New Legislation Law, no longer requiring action at a specified time, advance publicity, concurrent repeal, or that the nomothetae should be omomokotes: as a result of the change conflicting laws have been enacted, and for some time continuing to the mid 350s commissioners have had to be elected to sort out the conflicts. Still valid in the 350s, the Review Law, requiring an annual epicheirotonia of the laws in four subject divisions in the assembly on 11 Hecatombaeon , advance publicity for new proposals, and at the third assembly after 11 Hecatombaeon the appointment of nomothetae who are omomokotes to decide between the existing laws and the new proposals. (shrink)
The first edition of this now classical work appeared in 1953, the second heavily revised edition in 1961; this most recent edition is a revision in detail only of the previous one. The book is divided into three parts, the first two dealing with finite and infinite sets, infinite cardinals and their arithmetic, and related remarks on non-standard mathematics and the equivalence of various definitions of finitude. The third part considers ordered sets and isomorphism types, the special case of linearly (...) ordered sets, well-ordered sets in general, the relations of ordinals and cardinals. There is a very large bibliography and also a further list of literature pertaining to the companion volume. Fraenkel intended the book for philosophers as well as for mathematicians, and has kept to studying the most general and interesting problems of set theory; metamathematical results are kept in the background and the author works in an informal system of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory. There is relatively little symbolism and Fraenkel's arguments are therefore more intuitive than rigorous, but clearly everything can be formalized in a proper language. There are many exercises in the book; these help to elaborate points only lightly touched upon in the main text and provide practice necessary for the growth of one's set-theoretical intuition. There are many alternative proofs of important theorems and alternative definitions for essential concepts; this lack of conceptual rigidity should especially please those who reject the now fairly widely held notion that Z-F set theory is the "true" one, the others proposed being ad hoc. Anyone who works his way through this delightfully written text will come away thoroughly prepared to attack more advanced work in the subject.—P. J. M. (shrink)
A translation of the 1913 volume Dernières Pensées, this collection of papers contains much material of interest to the logician and the philosopher of science. In "The Logic of Infinity" Poincaré clarifies the notion of "predicative set" and discusses Zermelo's and Russell's approaches to set theory. "The Evolution of Laws" attempts to formulate the question "do laws of nature evolve?" Two papers concern space and time, two others, the electrostatic and quantum theories of matter. The collection concludes with a pair (...) of papers on the ethical import of science.—P. J. M. (shrink)
Within the medical, legal and bioethical literature, there has been an increasing concern that the information derived from genetic tests may be used to unfairly discriminate against individuals seeking various kinds of insurance; particularly health and life insurance. Consumer groups, the general public and those with genetic conditions have also expressed these concerns, specifically in the context of life insurance. While it is true that all insurance companies may have an interest in the information obtained from genetic tests, life insurers (...) potentially have a very strong incentive to (want to) use genetic information to rate applicants, as individuals generally purchase their own cover and may want to take out very large policies. This paper critically focuses on genetic information in the context of life insurance. We consider whether genetic information differs in any relevant way from other kinds of non-genetic information required by and disclosed to life insurance companies by potential clients. We will argue that genetic information should not be treated any differently from other types of health information already collected from those wishing to purchase life insurance cover. (shrink)
In response to criticisms of the use of the Ideological Surround Model to analyze Tolerance of Ambiguity, emphasis is placed on how the methodologies of this model operate from Christian pacifist assumptions. This model seeks to promote social scientific methodologies that will allow competing perspectives to obtain increasing clarity on points of conflict.
Introduction to, and overview of, the contents of the Symposium on consent and confidentialityThe papers in this symposium are based on a meeting held by the Academy of Medical Sciences in London on 12 February 2002. The decision to hold this meeting, and to explore in detail these important and contentious issues, arose from a number of concerns that the Academy felt about what may reasonably be called “impediments to medical research”.These include: The regulations arising from the implementation of the (...) European data protection directive and their effect on the gathering and holding of data needed for disease surveillance as well as for research. Phil Boyd, in his paper, presents the views and the work of the Information Commission, the responsible UK body in this area. The “Source Informatics” case where the Department of Health requested a judicial review on the use, by this company, of anonymised prescribing data from general practitioner records for informing the pharmaceutical industry about patterns of drug use. Mr Justice Latham ruled that the use of even this anonymised data for commercial purposes could be a breach of patients' rights to confidentiality. The Court of Appeal, however, emphatically reversed his decision and, no further appeal having been made to the House of Lords, the law of the land is now clear that there is no breach of confidentiality in the use of anonymised data. It did seem to us, …. (shrink)
Hume's 'Natural History of Religion' offers a naturalized account of the causes of religious thought, an investigation into its 'origins' rather than its 'foundation in reason'. Hume thinks that if we consider only the causes of religious belief, we are provided with a reason to suspend the belief. I seek to explain why this is so, and what role the argument plays in Hume's wider campaign against the rational acceptability of religious belief. In particular, I argue that the work threatens (...) a form of fideism which maintains that it is rationally permissible to maintain religious belief in the absence of evidence or of arguments in its favour. I also discuss the 'argument from common consent', and the relative superiority of Hume's account of the origins of religious belief. (shrink)
A. R. W. Harrison in The Law of Athens, i , 63–5, argued that the exclusion of bastards from the phratries and the severe restriction of their right of inheritance does not entail their exclusion from Athenian citizenship; and that the form of Pericles' citizenship law, not stating that were to be , and Solon's law restricting the inheritance rights of , both point to the conclusion that bastards were not ipso facto debarred from citizenship. D. M. MacDowell in CQ (...) N.S. 26 , 88–91, rightly finds Harrison's positive arguments inconclusive, but suggests that three texts provide more definite support for this conclusion. (shrink)