Duncan Pritchard has recently defended a view he calls ‘epistemological disjunctivism’, largely inspired by John McDowell. I argue that Pritchard is right to associate the view with McDowell, and that McDowell’s ‘inference-blocking’ argument against the sceptic succeeds only if epistemological disjunctivism is accepted. However, Pritchard also recognises that epistemological disjunctivism appears to conflict with our belief that genuine and illusory experiences are indistinguishable (the ‘distinguishability problem’). Since the indistinguishability of experiences is the antecedent in the inference McDowell intends to block, (...) I suggest that his argument rests on an inconsistent set of premises. In support of this, I show that Pritchard’s response to the distinguishability problem is incompatible with the conclusion of the ‘inference-blocking’ argument, and that the response available in McDowell’s work relies on a mistaken conception of fallibility. Either McDowell must deny the sceptic’s premise that perceptual experiences are indistinguishable, or he must give up his conclusion that perceptual warrant can be indefeasible. (shrink)
The focus of this paper is two-fold. First, similarities generated from six semantic models were compared to human ratings of paragraph similarity on two datasets—23 World Entertainment News Network paragraphs and 50 ABC newswire paragraphs. Contrary to findings on smaller textual units such as word associations (Griffiths, Tenenbaum, & Steyvers, 2007), our results suggest that when single paragraphs are compared, simple nonreductive models (word overlap and vector space) can provide better similarity estimates than more complex models (LSA, Topic Model, SpNMF, (...) and CSM). Second, various methods of corpus creation were explored to facilitate the semantic models’ similarity estimates. Removing numeric and single characters, and also truncating document length improved performance. Automated construction of smaller Wikipedia-based corpora proved to be very effective, even improving upon the performance of corpora that had been chosen for the domain. Model performance was further improved by augmenting corpora with dataset paragraphs. (shrink)
The aim of the present research was to develop a difficulty model for logical reasoning problems involving complex ordered arrays used in the Graduate Record Examination. The approach used involved breaking down the problems into their basic cognitive elements such as the complexity of the rules used, the number of mental models required to represent the problem, and question type. Weightings for these different elements were derived from two experimental studies and from the reasoning literature. Based on these weights, difficulty (...) models were developed which were then tested against new data. The models had excellent predictive validity and showed the relative influence of rule based factors and factors relating to the number of underlying models. Different difficulty models were needed for different question types, suggesting that people used a variety of approaches and, at a wider level, that both mental models and mental rules may be used in reasoning. (shrink)
One important point that has emerged from recent work on the history and philosophy of experiment is that technology plays an integral role in experiment, and therefore in science. Technology determines what experimenters can measure and how well it can be measured. The importance of technology, along with several new questions that its use raises, has been made quite clear in the papers presented in this session.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the American surgeon Harvey Cushing (1869-1939) chose to focus his surgical attention on the brain, an organ that had previously proved rather intractable to successful intervention. Over the course of the following decades he made this type of surgery a much safer procedure, reducing the mortality rate from a staggering 50% at the end of the nineteenth century to about 10%. Working first at Johns Hopkins and later at the Peter Bent Brigham (...) hospital in Boston, Cushing established a world-famous school of neurosurgery by training numerous residents and fellows. He also left an extraordinary collection of records and specimens that document his work in surgery: the Cushing Brain Tumor Registry. (shrink)
Since their Puritan origins in the 17th century, American politicians have tended to speak in the language of divinely given morality. George W. Bush is not unique in his frequent references to the language of good and evil, just as he is not the first US politician to mangle the language.
The important impact of the French Franciscan Peter Auriol (ca. 1280-1322) upon contemporary philosophical theology at Oxford is well known and has been well documented and analyzed, at least for a narrow range of issues, particularly in epistemology. This article attempts a more systematic treatment of his effects upon Oxford debates across a broader range of subjects and over a more expansive duration of time than has been done previously. Topics discussed include grace and merit, future contingents and divine (...) foreknowledge, and the logic of the Trinity. (shrink)
This article discusses the theories of perception of Robert Kilwardby and Peter of John Olivi. Our aim is to show how in challenging certain assumptions of medieval Aristotelian theories of perception they drew on Augustine and argued for the active nature of the soul in sense perception. For both Kilwardby and Olivi, the soul is not passive with respect to perceived objects; rather, it causes its own cognitive acts with respect to external objects and thus allows the subject to (...) perceive them. We also show that Kilwardby and Olivi differ substantially regarding where the activity of the soul is directed to and the role of the sensible species in the process, and we demonstrate that there are similarities between their ideas of intentionality and the attention of the soul towards the corporeal world. (shrink)
In his recent book on the problem of evil, Peter van Inwagen argues that both the global and local arguments from evil are failures. In this paper, we engagevan Inwagen’s book at two main points. First, we consider his understanding of what it takes for a philosophical argument to succeed. We argue that while his criterion for success is interesting and helpful, there is good reason to think it is too stringent. Second, we consider his responses to the global (...) and local arguments from evil. We argue that although van Inwagen may have adequately responded to each of these arguments, his discussion points us toa third argument from evil to which he has yet to provide a response. (shrink)
This paper offers an analysis of a hitherto neglected text on insoluble propositions dating from the late XiVth century and puts it into perspective within the context of the contemporary debate concerning semantic paradoxes. The author of the text is the italian logician Peter of Mantua (d. 1399/1400). The treatise is relevant both from a theoretical and from a historical standpoint. By appealing to a distinction between two senses in which propositions are said to be true, it offers an (...) unusual solution to the paradox, but in a traditional spirit that contrasts a number of trends prevailing in the XiVth century. It also counts as a remarkable piece of evidence for the reconstruction of the reception of English logic in italy, as it is inspired by the views of John Wyclif. Three approaches addressing the Liar paradox (Albert of Saxony, William Heytesbury and a version of strong restrictionism) are first criticised by Peter of Mantua, before he presents his own alternative solution. The latter seems to have a prima facie intuitive justification, but is in fact acceptable only on a very restricted understanding, since its generalisation is subject to the so-called revenge problem. (shrink)
According to Peter Klein, foundationalism fails because it allows a vicious form of arbitrariness. The present article critically discusses his concept of arbitrariness. It argues that the condition Klein takes to be necessary and sufficient for an epistemic item to be arbitrary is neither necessary nor sufficient. It also argues that Klein's concept of arbitrariness is not a concept of something that is obviously vicious. Even if Klein succeeds in establishing that foundationalism allows what he regards as arbitrariness, this (...) does not yet mean that he confronts it with a sound objection. (shrink)
This article discusses the theory of perception of Peter Auriol. Arguing for the active nature of the senses in perception, Auriol applies the Scotistic doctrine of objective being to the theory of perception. Nevertheless, he still accepts some parts of the theory of species. The paper introduces Auriol's view on the mechanism of perception and his account of illusions. I argue for a direct realist reading of Auriol's theory of perception and propose that his position becomes clearer if we (...) use the distinction between the first- and third-person perspectives which he seems to presuppose. (shrink)
Peter van Inwagen has long claimed that he doesn’t understand substitutional quantification and that the notion is, in fact, meaningless. Van Inwagen identifies the source of his bewilderment as an inability to understand the proposition expressed by a simple sentence like “,” where “$\Sigma$” is the existential quantifier understood substitutionally. I should think that the proposition expressed by this sentence is the same as that expressed by “.” So what’s the problem? The problem, I suggest, is that van Inwagen (...) takes traditional existential quantification to be ontologically committing and substitutional quantification to be ontologically noncommitting, which requires that the two quantifiers have different meanings—but no different meaning for the substitutional quantifier is forthcoming. What van Inwagen fails to appreciate is that substitutional quantification is directed at a criterion of ontological commitment, namely, W. V. O. Quine’s, which is quite different from van Inwagen’s criterion. Substitutional quantification successfully avoids the commitments Quine’s criterion would engender but has the same commitments as existential quantification given van Inwagen’s criterion. The question, then, is whether the existential quantifier is ontologically committing, as van Inwagen believes. The answer to that question will depend on whether the ordinary language “there is/are,” which is codified by the existential quantifier, is ontologically committing. There are good reasons to doubt that it is. (shrink)
Peter Harrison's The Territories of Science and Religion throws down a serious challenge to advocates of dialogue as the primary means of engagement between science and religion. This article accepts the validity of this challenge and looks at four possible responses to it. The first—a return to the past—is rejected. The remaining three—exploring new epistemic frameworks for the encounter of science and religion, broadening out the engagement beyond the context of the physical sciences and Western culture, and looking at (...) ways in which scientific and theological practitioners may collaborate on practical problems—are all offered as potential ways in which science and religion may engage with one another, in ways which move beyond Harrison's critique. (shrink)
Peter H. Hare (1935-2008) developed informed, original views about the proposition: some published (Hare 1969 and Hare-Madden 1975); some expressed in conversations at scores of meetings of the Buffalo Logic Colloquium and at dinners following. The published views were expository and critical responses to publications by Curt J. Ducasse (1881-1969), a well-known presence in American logic, a founder of the Association for Symbolic Logic and its President for one term.1Hare was already prominent in the University of Buffalo's Philosophy Department (...) in 1969 when I was appointed. Soon after, he became Chair. As his Associate Chair from 1971to 1975, I spent many hours with him in Buffalo and on professional trips .. (shrink)
Peter Hare and Edward Madden's collaborative book Evil and the Concept of God (968) has become a staple in literature about the problem of evil and remains frequently cited by supporters and critics alike. The major concepts of the work arose out of earlier papers in which they first began to formulate their arguments about the problem of evil. Their article "Evil and Unlimited Power" embodies many of their arguments against quasi-theist attempts to resolve the problem of evil.1 Assembled (...) from these and other papers, their compendium frames a thorough synthesis of the long history of debate regarding the problem of evil, and contributes their own exhaustive, point-by-point attack on modern defenders of three main .. (shrink)
Some medieval authors defend free choice by arguing that, even though human choices are indeed caused by the practical judgment about what is best to do here and now, one is nevertheless able to freely influence that practical judgment’s formation. This paper examines Peter Auriol’s account of free choice, which is a quite elaborate version of this approach and which brings its theoretical problems into focus. I will argue in favor of Auriol’s basic theory, but I will also propose (...) an emendation to his theory in order to respond to some problems he leaves unresolved. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 22 - 45 This essay discusses the views of Peter Olivi on the foundations of political power and agency. The central argument is that there is a strong connection between Olivi’s voluntarist psychology and his views concerning political power. According to Olivi, political power is ultimately based on the will of God, but in such a way that both the rulers and their subjects have, through their individual freedom, the liberty to use (...) their share of power as they will. In fact, Olivi conceptualises political power as an extension of the dominion that human beings have over their wills, which is essential for being a political agent in the full sense. By providing a philosophical analysis of the role of the freedom of the will within Olivi’s political philosophy, this essay sheds light on his conception of the relation between the human and the divine will, as well as on his understanding of political power. (shrink)
Many point to Peter Winch’s discussion of rationality, relativism, and religion as a paradigmatic example of cultural relativism. In this paper, I argue that Winch’s relationship to relativism is widely misinterpreted in that, despite his pluralistic understanding of rationality, Winch does allow for universal features of culture in virtue of which cross-cultural understanding and even critique is possible. Nevertheless, I also argue that given the kind of cultural universals that Winch produces, he fails to avoid relativism. This is because (...) in order to provide the standards without which relativism ensues, one requires a certain kind of criteria of rationality, namely, what I here call substantive universals, a kind of criteria which Winch rejects. (shrink)
This article brings Xunzi's views on religious practice into conversation with Peter Berger's sociological understanding of religion in an effort both to deepen our understanding of their theories concerning the constructed nature of religious worldviews and to consider critically the plausibility of their arguments. The author suggests that comparison of Berger's theory in "The Sacred Canopy" with Xunzi's account of the "Dao" enables us to explain why certain weaknesses arise in Berger's theory--namely, the difficulty of imagining how the self (...) could ever escape the sacred canopy to achieve authenticity and the tension between his assertions about the precariousness of the social order and the apparent stability of the social order suggested by his descriptions. By uncovering Berger's hidden assumptions about the self, comparison with Xunzi's work also suggests a way the problems might be remedied. (shrink)
In this paper I will examine the relation between the theory of obligations and its use in sophismatic contexts through the lens of certain pragmatic concerns. In order to do this, I will take a sophism discussed by Peter of Mantua in his treatise on obligations as a case-study. I will first provide a brief outline of the structure of the treatise and then examine a concrete case that shows how the relationship between background assumptions (casus and context of (...) utterance) and criteria of response seems to suggest a way to qualify the application of general rules (especially for irrelevant sentences) in certain limit-cases. By discussing Peter's presentation of the sophism, I will also argue for a connection between Peter of Mantua's text and Mesino de Codronchi's Questiones on the De Interpretatione. (shrink)
In responding to Peter Forrest’s defence of ‘tough-minded theodicy’, I point to some problematic features of theodicies of this sort, in particular their commitment to an anthropomorphic conception of God which tends to assimilate the Creator to the creaturely and so diminishes the otherness and mystery of God. This remains the case, I argue, even granted Forrest’s view that God may have a very different kind of morality from the one we mortals are subject to.
Peter Hare took a belle-lettriste pleasure in hopping from one philosophical topic to another. Not carelessly but lightheartedly enough. I mean by that, not that there is no deeper interlocking linkage among his many papers—there is—but rather that the center of gravity of each piece rests with the special patience and affection Peter spends on the specific topic some chanced-upon author or authors bring into view. He pursues each such topic intensively in a deliberately narrow-gauged way, testing its (...) best possibilities in its own terms seconded by his own wider reading, as if he were loyal to opposed doctrines. He usually runs through a rather tight, well-informed set of occasional readings and reflections .. (shrink)
Digital media seem to be marked by process. The digital image itself is produced by software processes and the constant flux of code. Further this, interaction with digital systems involves a constant process by which a so-called 'user' comes into contact with various machinic occasions. It seems that in light of these processes it is impossible to maintain an aesthetic or media theory that pictures a self-contained and psychologised subject interacting with a static and inert object. How then can we (...) begin to think about digital aesthetics through a process philosophy rather than the traditional and reductive subject/object distinction found in so much aesthetic theory? This paper seeks to address this problem by enacting Alfred Whitehead's process philosophy, informed by Gilles Deleuze, Isabelle Stengers and Steve Shaviro and work it through several examples of recent manifestations of interactive media art, including work by Martin Wattenberg, Dennis Del Favero, Jeffrey Shaw and Peter Weibel. I work Whitehead's process philosophy through these artworks to illustrate the performative nature of software processes and the manner in which these processes affect the aesthetics of interaction. I also use these works to illustrate a concept of interaction that privileges process and events rather than a concept that focuses upon an individual human user. In this paper I propose to view the 'user' as a set of occasions – as a particular condition that is produced by various user-initiated actions – rather than an enduring subject that is able to distance herself from the object of aesthetic contemplation. By doing this I move toward a theory in which user-occasions, machine-occasions and their interpenetration actualise the aesthetics of media art. Whitehead allows me to think outside of the binary oppositions that divide the world into knower/known or subject/object relationships. Throughout the argument I unpack Whiteheadian concepts such as actual entities, the unison of immediate becoming and, in general, the primacy of the event, bringing these concepts to bear on individual case studies of interactive media art. Whitehead's general thesis is that materiality and permanence are created by a continual process. Viewing the digital encounter through this theoretical framework I position the aesthetic experience of interaction as that which emerges from the fluctuations of process. The event of interaction is a necessarily hybrid process in which human occasions become supplemented by technology and the aesthetic event becomes innately coupled to the processes of the machine. In this paper I am not interested in any notion of consciousness or a psychologised human 'user', rather I am interested in a particular condition that takes place as user-initiated processes work with machine-initiated processes. This is because, for Whitehead, process comes before consciousness; it is the process of actual entities that prompt the consciousness into being. In this paper I thus propose interaction with digital systems as the commingling of contemporary actual occasions, shifting emphasis from a conscious human user and instead focusing on the process of the encounter that precedes this conscious experience. (shrink)