Maxwell John Charlesworth, cofounder with Graeme E. de Graaff, of Sophia , died suddenly and peacefully at home on the second of June 2014. Born on the thirtieth of December 1925 in Numurkah, Victoria, Max took his MA in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne in 1948. At that time, the Melbourne Department of Philosophy was the preeminent school in Australasia. He married Stephanie Armstrong in 1950. Between 1950 and 1952, he was hospitalized for TB. On his recovery, he (...) studied—1953–1955—at the University of Louvain, where he took his PhD avec la plus grande distinction. He was later to become Visiting Professor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1972 and 2006. In 1956, he was appointed to a lectureship at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and returned to a position in his old University of Melbourne in 1959.A man of wide and deep interests, Max worked in the fields of Bioethics and Anthropology, as well as in Philosophy. He was a visiting Professor at the Maison d .. (shrink)
The paper investigates the status of gravitational energy in Newtonian Gravity, developing upon recent work by Dewar and Weatherall. The latter suggest that gravitational energy is a gauge quantity. This is potentially misleading: its gauge status crucially depends on the spacetime setting one adopts. In line with Møller-Nielsen’s plea for a motivational approach to symmetries, we supplement Dewar and Weatherall’s work by discussing gravitational energy–stress in Newtonian spacetime, Galilean spacetime, Maxwell-Huygens spacetime, and Newton–Cartan Theory. Although we ultimately concur with (...) Dewar and Weatherall that the notion of gravitational energy is problematic in NCT, our analysis goes beyond their work. The absence of an explicit definition of gravitational energy–stress in NCT somewhat detracts from the force of Dewar and Weatherall’s argument. We fill this gap by examining the supposed gauge status of prima facie plausible candidates—NCT analogues of gravitational energy–stress pseudotensors, the Komar mass, and the Bel-Robinson tensor. Our paper further strengthens Dewar and Weatherall’s results. In addition, it sheds more light upon the subtle link between sufficiently rich inertial structure and the definability of gravitational energy in NG. (shrink)
In this paper I expound an argument which seems to establish that probabilism and special relativity are incompatible. I examine the argument critically, and consider its implications for interpretative problems of quantum theory, and for theoretical physics as a whole.
The plane was going to crash, but it didn't. Johnny was going to bleed to death, but he didn't. Geach sees here a changing future. In this paper, I develop Geach's primary argument for the (almost universally rejected) thesis that the future is mutable (an argument from the nature of prevention), respond to the most serious objections such a view faces, and consider how Geach's view bears on traditional debates concerning divine foreknowledge and human freedom. As I hope to show, (...) Geach's view constitutes a radically new view on the logic of future contingents, and deserves the status of a theoretical contender in these debates. (shrink)
Cutting God in Half argues that, in order to tackle climate change, world poverty, extinction of species and our other global problems rather better than we are doing at present we need to bring about a revolution in science, and in academia more generally. We need to put our problems of living – personal, social, global – at the heart of the academic enterprise. How our human world, imbued with meaning and value, can exist and best flourish embedded in the (...) physical universe is, the book argues, our basic problem. It is our fundamental philosophical problem, our fundamental problem of knowledge and understanding, and our fundamental practical problem of living. It is this problem that we fail, at present, to recognize as fundamental – to our cost. It can be understood to arise as a result of cutting God in half – severing the God of Cosmic Power from the God of Value. The first is Einstein’s God, the underlying unity in the physical universe that determines how events occur. The second is what is of most value associated with human life – and sentient life more generally. Having cut God in half in this way, the problem then becomes to see how the two halves can be put together again. This book tackles outstanding aspects of this problem, and in doing so throws out original ideas about science, education, religion, evolutionary theory, free will, quantum theory, and how we should go about tackling our impending global crises. It transpires that bringing our basic problem into sharp focus has revolutionary implications. It becomes clear how and why many aspects of our social and cultural world urgently need to be transformed. Cutting God in Half is written in a lively, accessible style, and ought to be essential reading for anyone concerned about ultimate questions – the nature of the universe, the meaning of life, the future of humanity. (shrink)
In _Neuroscience and Philosophy_ three prominent philosophers and a leading neuroscientist clash over the conceptual presuppositions of cognitive neuroscience. The book begins with an excerpt from Maxwell Bennett and Peter Hacker's _Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience_, which questions the conceptual commitments of cognitive neuroscientists. Their position is then criticized by Daniel Dennett and John Searle, two philosophers who have written extensively on the subject, and Bennett and Hacker in turn respond. Their impassioned debate encompasses a wide range of central themes: (...) the nature of consciousness, the bearer and location of psychological attributes, the intelligibility of so-called brain maps and representations, the notion of qualia, the coherence of the notion of an intentional stance, and the relationships between mind, brain, and body. Clearly argued and thoroughly engaging, the authors present fundamentally different conceptions of philosophical method, cognitive-neuroscientific explanation, and human nature, and their exchange will appeal to anyone interested in the relation of mind to brain, of psychology to neuroscience, of causal to rational explanation, and of consciousness to self-consciousness. In his conclusion Daniel Robinson explains why this confrontation is so crucial to the understanding of neuroscientific research. The project of cognitive neuroscience, he asserts, depends on the incorporation of human nature into the framework of science itself. In Robinson's estimation, Dennett and Searle fail to support this undertaking; Bennett and Hacker suggest that the project itself might be based on a conceptual mistake. Exciting and challenging, _Neuroscience and Philosophy_ is an exceptional introduction to the philosophical problems raised by cognitive neuroscience. (shrink)
Maxwell’s Demon is a thought experiment devised by J. C. Maxwell in 1867 in order to show that the Second Law of thermodynamics is not universal, since it has a counter-example. Since the Second Law is taken by many to provide an arrow of time, the threat to its universality threatens the account of temporal directionality as well. Various attempts to “exorcise” the Demon, by proving that it is impossible for one reason or another, have been made throughout (...) the years, but none of them were successful. We have shown (in a number of publications) by a general state-space argument that Maxwell’s Demon is compatible with classical mechanics, and that the most recent solutions, based on Landauer’s thesis, are not general. In this paper we demonstrate that Maxwell’s Demon is also compatible with quantum mechanics. We do so by analyzing a particular (but highly idealized) experimental setup and proving that it violates the Second Law. Our discussion is in the framework of standard quantum mechanics; we give two separate arguments in the framework of quantum mechanics with and without the projection postulate. We address in our analysis the connection between measurement and erasure interactions and we show how these notions are applicable in the microscopic quantum mechanical structure. We discuss what might be the quantum mechanical counterpart of the classical notion of “macrostates”, thus explaining why our Quantum Demon setup works not only at the micro level but also at the macro level, properly understood. One implication of our analysis is that the Second Law cannot provide a universal lawlike basis for an account of the arrow of time; this account has to be sought elsewhere. (shrink)
What ought to be the aims of science? How can science best serve humanity? What would an ideal science be like, a science that is sensitively and humanely responsive to the needs, problems and aspirations of people? How ought the institutional enterprise of science to be related to the rest of society? What ought to be the relationship between science and art, thought and feeling, reason and desire, mind and heart? Should the social sciences model themselves on the natural sciences: (...) or ought they to take a different form if they are to serve the interests of humanity objectively, sensitively and rigorously? Might it be possible to get into human life, into art, education, politics, industry, international affairs, and other domains of human activity, the same kind of progressive success that is found so strikingly, on the intellectual level, within science? These are some of the questions tackled by What’s Wrong With Science? But the book is no abstruse treatise on the philosophy of science. Most of it takes the form of a passionate debate between a Scientist and a Philosopher, a debate that is by turns humorous, ironical, bitter, dramatically explosive. Even as the argument explores the relationship between thought and feeling, reason and desire, the two main protagonists find it necessary to examine their own feelings and motivations. (shrink)
At the most general level, "manipulation" refers one of many ways of influencing behavior, along with (but to be distinguished from) other such ways, such as coercion and rational persuasion. Like these other ways of influencing behavior, manipulation is of crucial importance in various ethical contexts. First, there are important questions concerning the moral status of manipulation itself; manipulation seems to be mor- ally problematic in ways in which (say) rational persuasion does not. Why is this so? Furthermore, the notion (...) of manipulation has played an increasingly central role in debates about free will and moral responsibility. Despite its significance in these (and other) contexts, however, the notion of manipulation itself remains deeply vexed. I would say notoriously vexed, but in fact direct philosophical treatments of the notion of manipulation are few and far between, and those that do exist are nota- ble for the sometimes widely divergent conclusions they reach concerning what it is. I begin by addressing (though certainly not resolving) the conceptual issue of how to distinguish manipulation from other ways of influencing behavior. Along the way, I also briefly address the (intimately related) question of the moral status of manipulation: what, if anything, makes it morally problematic? Then I discuss the controversial ways in which the notion of manipulation has been employed in contemporary debates about free will and moral responsibility. (shrink)
Literature provides us with otherwise unavailable insights into the ways emotions are produced, experienced, and enacted in human social life. It is particularly valuable because it deepens our comprehension of the mutual relations between emotional response and ethical judgment. These are the central claims of Patrick Colm Hogan's study that carefully examines a range of highly esteemed literary works in the context of current nurobiological, psychological, sociological, and other empirical research. In this work, he explains the value of literary (...) study for a cognitive science of emotion and outlines the emotional organization of the human mind. He explores the emotions of romantic love, grief, mirth, guilt, shame, jealousy, attachment, compassion, and pity - in each case drawing on one work by Shakespeare and one or more works by writers from different historical periods or different cultural backgrounds, such as the eleventh-century Chinese poet Li Ch'ing-Chao and the contemporary Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka. (shrink)
This article gives an explicit presentation of Newtonian gravitation on the backdrop of Maxwell space-time, giving a sense in which acceleration is relative in gravitational theory. However, caution is needed: assessing whether this is a robust or interesting sense of the relativity of acceleration depends on some subtle technical issues and on substantive philosophical questions over how to identify the space-time structure of a theory.
I address a question recently raised by Simon Saunders [Phil. Sci. 80: 22-48 ] concerning the relationship between the spacetime structure of Newton-Cartan theory and that of what I will call "Maxwell-Huygens spacetime". This discussion will also clarify a connection between Saunders' work and a recent paper by Eleanor Knox [Brit. J. Phil. Sci. 65: 863-880 ].
We present a multiscale integrationist interpretation of the boundaries of cognitive systems, using the Markov blanket formalism of the variational free energy principle. This interpretation is intended as a corrective for the philosophical debate over internalist and externalist interpretations of cognitive boundaries; we stake out a compromise position. We first survey key principles of new radical views of cognition. We then describe an internalist interpretation premised on the Markov blanket formalism. Having reviewed these accounts, we develop our positive multiscale account. (...) We argue that the statistical seclusion of internal from external states of the system—entailed by the existence of a Markov boundary—can coexist happily with the multiscale integration of the system through its dynamics. Our approach does not privilege any given boundary, nor does it argue that all boundaries are equally prescient. We argue that the relevant boundaries of cognition depend on the level being characterised and the explanatory interests that guide investigation. We approach the issue of how and where to draw the boundaries of cognitive systems through a multiscale ontology of cognitive systems, which offers a multidisciplinary research heuristic for cognitive science. (shrink)
Fichte's reputation at the present time is in some respects a curious one. On the one hand, he is by common consent acknowledged to have exercised a dominant influence upon the development of German thought during the opening decades of the nineteenth century. Thus from a specifically philosophical point of view he is regarded as an innovator who played a decisive role in transforming Kant's transcendental idealism into the absolute idealism of his immediate successors, while at a more general level (...) he is customarily seen as having put into currency certain persuasive conceptions which contributed—less directly but no less surely—to the emergence and spread of romanticism in some of its varied and ramifying forms. On the other hand, however, it is noticeable that detailed consideration of his work has not figured prominently in the recent revival of concern with post-Kantian thought as a whole which has been manifested by philosophers of the English-speaking world. Although his name is frequently mentioned in that connection, one suspects that his books may not be so often read. In part this may be due to his particular mode of expounding his views, which at times attains a level of opacity that can make even Hegel's obscurest passages seem comparatively tractable. It is also true that Fichte's principal theoretical works—if not his semipopular writings—are largely devoid of the allusions to scientific, historical, psychological or cultural matters with which his German contemporaries were prone to illustrate their philosophical doctrines and enliven their more abstract discussions: there is a daunting aridity about much of what he wrote which can raise nagging doubts in the modern reader's mind about the actual issues that are in question. Yet the fact remains that by the close of the eighteenth century his ideas had already made a profound impact, capturing the imagination of a host of German thinkers and intellectuals. The problem therefore arises as to what preoccupations, current at the time, they owed their indubitable appeal and to what puzzles they were welcomed as proffering a solution. If these can be identified, it may become at least partially intelligible that Fichte should have been widely regarded as having provided a framework within which certain hitherto intractable difficulties could be satisfactorily reformulated and resolved. Let me accordingly begin by saying something about them. (shrink)
This paper proves that Maxwell's Demon is compatible with classical mechanics. In particular it shows how the cycle of operation - including measurement and erasure - can be carried out with no entropy cost, contrary to the Landauer-Bennett thesis (according to which memory erasure costs kln2 of entropy increase per bit). The Landauer-Bennet thesis is thus proven to be mistaken.
Three big philosophical problems about consciousness are: Why does it exist? How do we explain and understand it? How can we explain brain-consciousness correlations? If functionalism were true, all three problems would be solved. But it is false, and that means all three problems remain unsolved (in that there is no other obvious candidate for a solution). Here, it is argued that the first problem cannot have a solution; this is inherent in the nature of explanation. The second problem is (...) solved by recognizing that (a) there is an explanation as to why science cannot explain consciousness, and (b) consciousness can be explained by a different kind of explanation, empathic or “personalistic” explanation, compatible with, but not reducible to, scientific explanation. The third problem is solved by exploiting David Chalmers“principle of structural coherence”, and involves postulating that sensations experienced by us–visual, auditory, tactile, and so on–amount to minute scattered regions in a vast, multi dimensional “space” of all possible sensations, which vary smoothly, and in a linear way, throughout the space. There is also the space of all possible sentient brain processes. There is just one, unique one-one mapping between these two spaces that preserves continuity and linearity. It is this which provides the explanation as to why brain processes and sensations are correlated as they are. I consider objections to this unique-matching theory, and consider how the theory might be empirically confirmed. (shrink)
In this paper I show that Einstein made essential use of aim-oriented empiricism in scientific practice in developing special and general relativity. I conclude by considering to what extent Einstein came explicitly to advocate aim-oriented empiricism in his later years.
In this paper, I develop an ontological position according to which substances such as you and I have no substantial parts. The claim is not that we are immaterial souls. Nor is the claim that we are “human atoms” co-located with human organisms. It is, rather, that we are macrophysical objects that are, in the relevant sense, simple. I contend that despite initial appearances, this claim is not obviously false, and I defend it by showing how much work it can (...) do. (shrink)
Why a hermeneutical philosophy of the natural sciences? It is necessary to address the philosophic crisis of realism vs relativism in the natural sciences. This crisis is seen as a part of the cultural crisis that Husserl and Heidegger identified and attributed to the hegemonic role of theoretical and calculative thought in Western societies. The role of theory is addressed using the hermeneutical circle to probe the origin of theoretic meaning in scientific cultural praxes. This is studied in Galileo's discovery (...) of the phases of Venus; the practice of measurement; the different theories and practices of space perception; the historicality and temporality of scientific research communities which ground paradigm change; and the process of discovery. The paper draws particularly from the work of Heidegger. Though envisaging all science and scholarship, the highlighted theme is research in the natural sciences. (shrink)
The Comprehensibility of the Universe puts forward a radically new conception of science. According to the orthodox conception, scientific theories are accepted and rejected impartially with respect to evidence, no permanent assumption being made about the world independently of the evidence. Nicholas Maxwell argues that this orthodox view is untenable. He urges that in its place a new orthodoxy is needed, which sees science as making a hierarchy of metaphysical assumptions about the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe, these (...) assumptions asserting less and less as one ascends the hierarchy.This view has significant implications: that it is part of scientific knowledge that the universe is physically comprehensible; that metaphysics and philosophy are central to scientific knowledge; that science possesses a rational, if fallible, method of discovery; that a new understanding of scientific method and rationality is required. Maxwell argues that this new conception makes possible a natural resolution of long-standing philosophical problems about science, regarding simplicity, induction, and progress. His goal is the reform not just of the philosophy of science but of science itself, and the healing of the rift between the two. (shrink)
The fact that the same equations or mathematical models reappear in the descriptions of what are otherwise disparate physical systems can be seen as yet another manifestation of Wigner's “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics.” James Clerk Maxwell famously exploited such formal similarities in what he called the “method of physical analogy.” Both Maxwell and Hermann von Helmholtz appealed to the physical analogies between electromagnetism and hydrodynamics in their development of these theories. I argue that a closer historical examination of (...) the different ways in which Maxwell and Helmholtz each deployed this analogy gives further insight into debates about the representational and explanatory power of mathematical models. (shrink)
First ever philosophy treatise on photography, analytic in approach but sensitive to photo-history, not confined to aesthetics or art (illus.), Walker Evans photo on cover. Papercover printing, Dec. 2000.
Since the publication of _A Theory of Justice _, John Rawls has been viewed as one of the most important political theorists of the twentieth century. In _John Rawls: Towards a Just World Order_, Patrick Hayden discusses Rawls's views regarding the nature of social justice among states. He examines Rawls's most important writings in order to assess how adequately his theory of justice is able to accommodate claims to universal human rights and shows how Rawls's work can contribute to (...) the construction of a cosmopolitan approach to issues of international justice. Beginning with Rawls's attempt to develop an account of international justice and human rights that is consistent with his earlier theory of justice as fairness, Hayden then offers a critical examination of Rawls's political philosophy and international thought which argues for a cosmopolitan variation on Rawls's 'law of peoples'. _John Rawls: Towards a Just World Order_ is a concise and detailed analysis of one of the foremost political philosophers of our time that demonstrates the importance of Rawls's work for contemporary debates regarding international relations, world politics and human rights. (shrink)
This paper builds on a number of ideas concerning the nature, management and representation in case studies, of moral issues and dilemmas as experienced by people in organisations. Drawing on some cases used in teaching business ethics, and utilising a checklist of questions derived from the more general theoretical analysis, suggestions are offered regarding the contributions which such cases can make in developing students' understanding and potential for performative competence in real life situations. The distinction between issues and dilemmas is (...) emphasised, and different types of issue are identified. The status of self-interest as an issue, and as contributory to personal dilemmas, is given particular attention. The paper also addresses the distinction between cognitive and non-cognitive attributes required by individuals if they are to deal with such situations. Within the cognitive category attention is paid to the contribution of ethical and other theory, and to the need for moral imagination and judgement. (shrink)
This book argues for the need to put into practice a profound and comprehensive intellectual revolution, affecting to a greater or lesser extent all branches of scientific and technological research, scholarship and education. This intellectual revolution differs, however, from the now familiar kind of scientific revolution described by Kuhn. It does not primarily involve a radical change in what we take to be knowledge about some aspect of the world, a change of paradigm. Rather it involves a radical change in (...) the fundamental, overall intellectual aims and methods of inquiry. At present inquiry is devoted to the enhancement of knowledge. This needs to be transformed into a kind of rational inquiry having as its basic aim to enhance personal and social wisdom. This new kind of inquiry gives intellectual priority to the personal and social problems we encounter in our lives as we strive to realize what is desirable and of value – problems of knowledge and technology being intellectually subordinate and secondary. For this new kind of inquiry, it is what we do and what we are that ultimately matters: our knowledge is but an aspect of our life and being. (shrink)
Must a Maxwell demon must fail to reverse the second law of thermodynamics? Standard attempts to show it must fail make use of notions of information and computation. None of these attempts have succeeded. Worse they have distracted both supporters and opponents of these attempts from a much simpler demonstration of the necessary failure of a Maxwell's demon that employs no notions of information or computation. It requires only Liouville's theorem and its quantum analog.
"I think this is an outstanding book. The coverage is comprehensive, the lines of thought and exposition are clear, and the level of discussion is very high yet remarkably lively and accessible. It has an underlying intellectual seriousness and engagement which shines out through the individual chapters, and the author's unwillingness to make do with secondary analyses and received ideas gives it a strength and freshness of approach which is extremely welcome." -- Professor William Outhwaite, University of Sussex Social Theory (...) in the Twentieth Century offers an easy-to-read but provocative account of the development of social theory. Patrick Baert covers a wide range of key figures and schools of thought, including Giddens, Foucault and Habermas. Written in a lively style and avoiding jargon, this book is aimed at students who wish to understand the main debates and dilemmas driving social theory. Rather than providing a neutral summary of the different thinkers and theories, Baert challenges the conventional readings of social theory with new and original interpretations. In effect, he bridges the gap between philosophy and social theory by placing the theoretical views within wider historical traditions. Social Theory in the Twentieth Century will undoubtedly become the standard introduction to social theory for students in sociology, politics, and anthropology. (shrink)
: Understanding Helmholtz's philosophy of science requires attention to his experimental practice. I sketch out such a project by showing how experiment shapes his theory of perception in three ways. One, the theory emerged out of empirical and experimental research. Two, the concept of experiment fills a critical conceptual gap in his theory of perception. Experiment functions not merely as a scientific technique, but also as a general epistemological strategy. Three, Helmholtz's experimental practice provides essential clues to the interpretation of (...) his theory of perception. A case study from experimental investigation of hearing shows how he designed such studies in accordance with the epistemological commitments of the theory of perception. Yet, while the theory was important to his experiments, the soundness of the experimental strategy was epistemically independent of those commitments. Secondly, the case study illustrates how Helmholtz consistently held that causal inferences underwrite reference to a real, but indirectly experienced external world. (shrink)
The logic of ‘being informed’ gives a formal analysis of a cognitive state that does not coincide with either belief, or knowledge. To Floridi, who first proposed the formal analysis, the latter is supported by the fact that unlike knowledge or belief, being informed is a factive, but not a reflective state. This paper takes a closer look at the formal analysis itself, provides a pure and an applied semantics for the logic of being informed, and tries to find out (...) to what extent the formal analysis can contribute to an information-based epistemology. (shrink)
One hundred years of French social theory : from structuralism to pragmatism -- The biological metaphor : functionalism and neo-functionalism -- The enigma of everyday life : symbolic interactionism, the dramaturgical approach and ethnomethodology -- The invasion of economic man : from rational choice theory to the new institutionalism -- Sociology meets history : Giddens's theory of modernity -- The history and the present : Foucault's archaeology and genealogy -- The spread of reason : Habermas's critical theory and beyond -- (...) A brave new world? : the empirical turn in social theory -- Conclusion : social theory for the twenty-first century. (shrink)
We are in a state of impending crisis. And the fault lies in part with academia. For two centuries or so, academia has been devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how. This has enormously increased our power to act which has, in turn, brought us both all the great benefits of the modern world and the crises we now face. Modern science and technology have made possible modern industry and agriculture, the explosive growth of the world’s population, global (...) warming, modern armaments and the lethal character of modern warfare, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, immense inequalities of wealth and power across the globe, pollution of earth, sea and air, even the aids epidemic (aids being spread by modern travel). All these global problems have arisen because some of us have acquired unprecedented powers to act, via science and technology, without also acquiring the capacity to act wisely. (shrink)
This book is a major contribution to decision theory, focusing on the question of when it is rational to accept scientific theories. The author examines both Bayesian decision theory and confirmation theory, refining and elaborating the views of Ramsey and Savage. He argues that the most solid foundation for confirmation theory is to be found in decision theory, and he provides a decision-theoretic derivation of principles for how many probabilities should be revised over time. Professor Maher defines a notion of (...) accepting a hypothesis, and then shows that it is not reducible to probability and that it is needed to deal with some important questions in the philosophy of science. A Bayesian decision-theoretic account of rational acceptance is provided together with a proof of the foundations for this theory. A final chapter shows how this account can be used to cast light on such vexed issues as verisimilitude and scientific realism. (shrink)
I reply to an article in the ACPA Proceedings of 2001 by John Crosby in which he challenged the position that evil as such is a privation. Each of his arguments attempts to present a counterexample to the privation position. His first argument, claiming that annihilation is evil but not a privation, fails to consider that a privation need not be contemporaneous with the subject suffering the privation. Contrary to his second argument, I explain that the repugnance of pain is (...) consistent with its being good in the appropriate context. Against his third argument I contend that he mistakenly supposes that a choice’s being opposed to the good is incompatible with its being evil because of a disorder. I conclude by briefly reviewing one central argument for the privation position and contrast it with Crosby’s arguments, which, in addition to their other problems, fail to specify any intensional content, beyond repugnance in the case of pain, for the concept of evil. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the recent discussion on the time - reversal invariance of classical electrodynamics (see (Albert 2000: ch.1), (Arntzenius 2004), (Earman 2002), (Malament 2004),(Horwich 1987: ch.3)) can be best understood assuming that the disagreement among the various authors is actually a disagreement about the metaphysics of classical electrodynamics. If so, the controversy will not be resolved until we have established which alternative is the most natural. It turns out that we have a paradox, namely that the (...) following three claims are incompatible: the electromagnetic fields are real, classical electrodynamics is time-reversal invariant, and the content of the state of affairs of the world does not depend on whether it belongs to a forward or a backward sequence of states of the world. (shrink)
_Popper’s Critical Rationalism_ presents Popper’s views on science, knowledge, and inquiry, and examines the significance and tenability of these in light of recent developments in philosophy of science, philosophy of probability, and epistemology. It develops a fresh and novel philosophical position on science, which employs key insights from Popper while rejecting other elements of his philosophy. Central theses include: Crucial questions about scientific method arise at the level of the group, rather than that of the individual. Although criticism is vital (...) for science, dogmatism is important too. Belief in scientific theories is permissible even in the absence of evidence in their favour. The aim of science is to eliminate false theories. Critical rationalism can be understood as a form of virtue epistemology. (shrink)
This paper aims to address the relevance of the natural sciences for transcendental phenomenology, that is, the issue of naturalism. The first section distinguishes three varieties of naturalism and corresponding forms of naturalization: an ontological one, a methodological one, and an epistemological one. In light of these distinctions, in the second section, I examine the main projects aiming to “naturalize phenomenology”: neurophenomenology, front-loaded phenomenology, and formalized approaches to phenomenology. The third section then considers the commitments of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology with (...) respect to the three varieties of naturalism previously discussed. I argue that Husserl rejected strong and weak forms of epistemological naturalism, strong methodological naturalism, and ontological naturalism. The fourth section presents the argument that Husserl endorsed a weak, conditional form of methodological naturalism. This point is illustrated with Husserl’s proposal of “somatology,” a natural science apt to study the corporeality of the lived body. The final section addresses the complementarity and respective limits of the transcendental phenomenological and the natural scientific frameworks. I argue that, on Husserl’s account, the function of transcendental phenomenology with respect to the natural sciences is to provide them with an epistemological foundation and an ontological clarification. I suggest that certain natural sciences can be understood, within the transcendental phenomenological framework, as “sciences of constitution,” that is, as sciences investigating the contribution of real structures acting as conditions of possibility for the occurrence of certain kinds of comprehensive unities in lived experience. (shrink)
The term “analogy” stands for a variety of methodological practices all related in one way or another to the idea of proportionality. We claim that in his first substantial contribution to electromagnetism James Clerk Maxwell developed a methodology of analogy which was completely new at the time or, to borrow John North’s expression, Maxwell’s methodology was a “newly contrived analogue”. In his initial response to Michael Faraday’s experimental researches in electromagnetism, Maxwell did not seek an analogy with (...) some physical system in a domain different from electromagnetism as advocated by William Thomson; rather, he constructed an entirely artificial one to suit his needs. Following North, we claim that the modification which Maxwell introduced to the methodology of analogy has not been properly appreciated. In view of our examination of the evidence, we argue that Maxwell gave a new meaning to analogy; in fact, it comes close to modeling in current usage. (shrink)
Karl Popper is famous for having proposed that science advances by a process of conjecture and refutation. He is also famous for defending the open society against what he saw as its arch enemies – Plato and Marx. Popper’s contributions to thought are of profound importance, but they are not the last word on the subject. They need to be improved. My concern in this book is to spell out what is of greatest importance in Popper’s work, what its failings (...) are, how it needs to be improved to overcome these failings, and what implications emerge as a result. The book consists of a collection of essays which dramatically develop Karl Popper’s views about natural and social science, and how we should go about trying to solve social problems. Criticism of Popper’s falsificationist philosophy of natural science leads to a conception of science that I call aim-oriented empiricism. This makes explicit metaphysical theses concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe that are an implicit part of scientific knowledge – implicit in the way science excludes all theories that are not explanatory, even those that are more successful empirically than accepted theories. Aim-oriented empiricism has major implications, not just for the academic discipline of philosophy of science, but for science itself. Popper generalized his philosophy of science of falsificationism to arrive at a new conception of rationality – critical rationalism – the key methodological idea of Popper’s profound critical exploration of political and social issues in his The Open Society and Its Enemies, and The Poverty of Historicism. This path of Popper, from scientific method to rationality and social and political issues is followed here, but the starting point is aim-oriented empiricism rather than falsificationism. Aim-oriented empiricism is generalized to form a conception of rationality I call aim-oriented rationalism. This has far-reaching implications for political and social issues, for the nature of social inquiry and the humanities, and indeed for academic inquiry as a whole. The strategies for tackling social problems that arise from aim-oriented rationalism improve on Popper’s recommended strategies of piecemeal social engineering and critical rationalism, associated with Popper’s conception of the open society. This book thus sets out to develop Popper’s philosophy in new and fruitful directions. The theme of the book, in short, is to discover what can be learned from scientific progress about how to achieve social progress towards a better world. (shrink)
Throughout his life, Kant was concerned with questions about empirical psychology. He aimed to develop an empirical account of human beings, and his lectures and writings on the topic are recognizable today as properly 'psychological' treatments of human thought and behavior. In this book Patrick R. Frierson uses close analysis of relevant texts, including unpublished lectures and notes, to study Kant's account. He shows in detail how Kant explains human action, choice, and thought in empirical terms, and how a (...) better understanding of Kant's psychology can shed light on major concepts in his philosophy, including the moral law, moral responsibility, weakness of will, and cognitive error. Frierson also applies Kant's accounts of mental illness to contemporary philosophical issues. His book will interest students and scholars of Kant, the history of psychology, philosophy of psychology, and philosophy of action. (shrink)
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