Robert Grosseteste was the initiator of the English scientific tradition, one of the first chancellors of Oxford University, and a famous teacher and commentator on the newly discovered works of Aristotle. In this book, James McEvoy provides the first general, inclusive overview of the entire range of Grosseteste's massive intellectual achievement.
Historiography in a metaphysical mode Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9524-6 Authors Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, CETCOPRA/Université Paris 1-Panthéon-Sorbonne, 17 Rue de la Sorbonne, 75231 Paris Cedex05, France Jan Golinski, Department of History, University of New Hampshire, 20 Academic Way, Durham, NH 03824, USA Lissa L. Roberts, Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS), University of Twente, Postbox 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands John McEvoy, Department of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA Journal Metascience Online (...) ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
McEvoy, James There's something distinctive about Australia, not only about its landscape, its vegetation, its wildlife, and its history, but also about the patterns of life and understanding that we, the country's human inhabitants, have developed together. There's something distinctive about Australian culture.
Several high-profile mathematical problems have been solved in recent decades by computer-assisted proofs. Some philosophers have argued that such proofs are a posteriori on the grounds that some such proofs are unsurveyable; that our warrant for accepting these proofs involves empirical claims about the reliability of computers; that there might be errors in the computer or program executing the proof; and that appeal to computer introduces into a proof an experimental element. I argue that none of these arguments withstands scrutiny, (...) and so there is no reason to believe that computer-assisted proofs are not a priori. Thanks are due to Michael Levin, David Corfield, and an anonymous referee for Philosophia Mathematica for their helpful comments. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the Hofstra University Department of Mathematics colloquium series, and at the 2005 New Jersey Regional Philosophical Association; I am grateful to both audiences for their comments. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In recent decades, experimental mathematics has emerged as a new branch of mathematics. This new branch is defined less by its subject matter, and more by its use of computer assisted reasoning. Experimental mathematics uses a variety of computer assisted approaches to verify or prove mathematical hypotheses. For example, there is “number crunching” such as searching for very large Mersenne primes, and showing that the Goldbach conjecture holds for all even numbers less than 2 × 1018. There are “verifications” of (...) hypotheses which, while not definitive proofs, provide strong support for those hypotheses, and there are proofs involving an enormous amount of computer hours, which cannot be surveyed by any one mathematician in a lifetime. There have been several attempts to argue that one or another aspect of experimental mathematics shows that mathematics now accepts empirical or inductive methods, and hence shows mathematical apriorism to be false. Assessing this argument is complicated by the fact that there is no agreed definition of what precisely experimental mathematics is. However, I argue that on any plausible account of ’experiment’ these arguments do not succeed. (shrink)
Brings together an impressive collection of primary sources from ancient and modern philosophy. Arranged chronologically and featuring introductory overviews explaining technical terms, this accessible reader is easy-to-follow and unrivaled in its historical scope. With selections from key thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume and Kant, it connects the major ideas of the ancients with contemporary thinkers. A selection of recent texts from philosophers including Quine, Putnam, Field and Maddy offering insights into the current state of the discipline clearly illustrates (...) the development of the subject. (shrink)
Jody Azzouni has offered the following argument against the existence of mathematical entities: if, as it seems, mathematical entities play no role in mathematical practice, we therefore have no reason to believe in them. I consider this argument as it applies to mathematical platonism, and argue that it does not present a legitimate novel challenge to platonism. I also assess Azzouni's use of the ‘epistemic role puzzle’ (ERP) to undermine the platonist's alleged parallel between skepticism about mathematical entities and external-world (...) skepticism. I conclude that ERP fails to undermine this parallel. (shrink)
Duncan Pritchard's version of the safety analysis of knowledge has it that for all contingent propositions, p, S knows that p iff S believes that p, p is true, and (the “safety principle”) in most nearby worlds in which S forms his belief in the same way as in the actual world, S believes that p only if p is true. Among the other virtues claimed by Pritchard for this view is its supposed ability to solve a version of the (...) lottery puzzle. In this paper, I argue that the safety analysis of knowledge in fact fails to solve the lottery puzzle. I also argue that a revised version of the safety principle recently put forward by Pritchard fares no better. (shrink)
The Generality Problem for process reliabilism is to outline a procedure for determining when two beliefs are produced by the same process, in such a way as to avoid, on the one hand, individuating process types so narrowly that each type is instantiated only once, or, on the other hand, individuating them so broadly that beliefs that have different epistemic statuses are subsumed under the same process type. In this paper, I offer a solution to the problem which takes belief‐independent (...) processes to be functions that take as inputs information about distal states of affairs, and produce beliefs as outputs. Processes are individuated narrowly, so as to avoid the latter aspect of the Generality problem, but, by holding process tokens to be of the same type when they take perceptually equivalent scenes as inputs, and produce beliefs of the same kind as outputs, the former aspect of the problem is avoided too. Having argued that this method of typing process tokens solves the Generality Problem, I then argue that my solution does not fall prey to objections that have been, or might be, raised for similar proposals. (shrink)
It is sometimes argued that mathematical knowledge must be a priori, since mathematical truths are necessary, and experience tells us only what is true, not what must be true. This argument can be undermined either by showing that experience can yield knowledge of the necessity of some truths, or by arguing that mathematical theorems are contingent. Recent work by Albert Casullo and Timothy Williamson argues (or can be used to argue) the first of these lines; W. V. Quine and Hartry (...) Field take the latter line. I defend a version of the argument against these, and other objections. (shrink)
Mathematical apriorists sometimes hold that our non-derived mathematical beliefs are warranted by mathematical intuition. Against this, Philip Kitcher has argued that if we had the experience of encountering mathematical experts who insisted that an intuition-produced belief was mistaken, this would undermine that belief. Since this would be a case of experience undermining the warrant provided by intuition, such warrant cannot be a priori.I argue that this leaves untouched a conception of intuition as merely an aspect of our ordinary ability to (...) reason. Thus the apriorist may still hold that some mathematical beliefs are warranted by intuition. (shrink)
Mathematical apriorism holds that mathematical truths must be established using a priori processes. Against this, it has been argued that apparently a priori mathematical processes can, under certain circumstances, fail to warrant the beliefs they produce; this shows that these warrants depend on contingent features of the contexts in which they are used. They thus cannot be a priori. -/- In this paper I develop a position that combines a reliabilist version of mathematical apriorism with a platonistic view of mathematical (...) ontology. I argue that this view both withstands the above objection and explains the reliability of a priori mathematical warrant. (shrink)
The lottery problem is often regarded as a successful counterexample to reliabilism. The process of forming your true belief that your ticket has lost solely on the basis of considering the odds is, from a purely probabilistic viewpoint, much more reliable than the process of forming a true belief that you have lost by reading the results in a normally reliable newspaper. Reliabilism thus seems forced, counterintuitively, to count the former process as knowledge if it so counts the latter process. (...) -/- I offer a theory of empirical knowledge which, while being recognizably reliabilist, restricts empirical knowledge to cases in which the fact that p and the belief that p are causally connected. I show that this form of reliabilism solves the lottery problem, avoids the problems that beset the causal theory of knowledge, and show how it handles a number of problematic cases in the recent literature. (shrink)
An unadorned form of process reliabilism (UPR) contends that knowledge is true belief, produced by a reliable process, undefeated by a more reliable process. There is no requirement that one know that one’s belief meets this requirement; that it actually does so is sufficient. An integral aspect of UPR, then, is the rejection of the KK thesis. One popular method of showing the implausibility of UPR is to specify a case where a subject satisfies all of UPR’s conditions on knowledge (...) but “clearly” fails to know. Since the subject satisfies all of UPR’s conditions on knowledge, but fails to know, the conditions for knowledge are not as UPR maintains. UPR’s analysis, it is alleged, leaves something out. That something is usually taken to be that the subject lacks appropriate evidence for his belief. This is the internalist counterexample to UPR. In this paper I argue that the internalist counterexample fails to refute UPR. (shrink)
The appearance of Priestley's electrical work as a brief and irrelevant prelude to his more substantial chemical enquiries may explain why it has been strangely overlooked by historians of science. It was only fairly recently that Sir Philip Hartog sought to rectify this situation with the affirmation that ‘Priestley's electrical work offers the key to Priestley's scientific mind’. Attacking traditional chemical historiography for tracing Priestley's opposition to Lavoisier's theory to a deficiency in his scientific sensibilities, Hartog insisted that Priestley's natural (...) philosophy can properly be understood only in relation to his ‘profound convictions on scientific method’ as fully expressed in the History of electricity. Only thus would Priestley's scientific thought be related correctly to his ‘work as a whole’. (shrink)
The safety analysis of knowledge, due to Duncan Pritchard, has it that for all contingent propositions, p, S knows that p iff S believes that p, p is true, and in most nearby worlds in which S forms his belief in the same way as in the actual world, S believes that p only if p is true. Among the other virtues claimed by Pritchard for this view is its supposed ability to solve a version of the lottery puzzle. In (...) this paper, I argue that the safety analysis of knowledge in fact fails to solve the lottery puzzle. I also argue that a revised version of the safety principle recently put forward by Pritchard fares no better. (shrink)
In recent years the Chemical Revolution has become a renewed focus of interest among historians of science. This interest isshaped by interpretive strategies associated with the emergence anddevelopment of the discipline of the history of science. The disciplineoccupies a contested intellectual terrain formed in part by thedevelopment and cultural entanglements of science itself. Threestages in this development are analyzed in this paper. Theinterpretive strategies that characterized each stage are elucidatedand traced to the disciplinary interests that gave rise to them. Whilepositivists (...) and whigs appropriated the history of science to thejustificatory and celebratory needs of science itself, postpositivistslinked it to philosophical models of rationality, and sociologists ofknowledge sought its sociological reconstruction. Since none of thesestrategies do justice to the complexity of historical events, a modelof the Chemical Revolution is outlined which upholds the autonomyand specificity of history and the methods used to study it. (shrink)
Setting the thought of Robert Grosseteste within the broader context of the intellectual, religious, and social movements of his time, this study elucidates the evolution of his ideas on topics ranging from the mathematical laws that govern the movement of bodies, God as the mathematical Creator, and human knowledge, to religious experience and the place of humanity within the social, natural, and providential orders.
This paper argues that reliabilism can handle Gettier cases once it restricts knowledge producing reliable processes to those that involve a suitable causal link between the subject’s belief and the fact it references. Causal tracking reliabilism (as this version of reliabilism is called) also avoids the problems that refuted the causal theory of knowledge, along with problems besetting more contemporary theories (such as virtue reliabilism and the “safety” account of knowledge). Finally, causal tracking reliabilism allows for a response to Linda (...) Zagzebski’s challenge that no theory of knowledge can both eliminate the possibility of Gettier cases while also allowing fully warranted but false beliefs. (shrink)
BETWEEN St. Augustine and Plato, as between St. Thomas and Aristotle, there are significant analogies. If Whitehead exaggerated only pardonably little in describing Western philosophy as a series of footnotes to Plato, one could point to a similar relationship between Christian thought and Augustine. Plato and Augustine were fertile in inspiration, Aristotle and Aquinas were systematizers on the grandest scale. Augustine is often styled the Christian Plato; this is true in part because he was a Platonist, but perhaps even more (...) because both men were great artists, who have scarcely had rivals in the whole of Western philosophical history. Even in their manner of artistry they agree, for both were censorious of art, and indeed for analogous reasons; yet each manifested in his writings an artistry that somehow achieved the goal for the attainment of which he disputed with art itself. The difficulty of disengaging from the thought of Plato, or of Augustine, a series of views, a synthesis of arguments, a statement of acquired conclusions, is notorious; the expositor who, like myself, undertakes to explain the Augustinian view of time cannot hope simply by excerpting a series of propositions from the living dialectic of the Confessions to present them as a remainderless rendering of the original, any more than one can translate poetry into prose and expect to retain its meaning, without remainder. If the attempt is made, there remains, despite all disclaimers and warnings, an ineluctable element of betrayal. I offer what I do, neither in the guise of an accurate summary of Augustine's views on time, nor as a rebuttal of other interpretations of Augustine's mind, but simply as an incitement to the reading of the Confessions, and as a provocation or stimulus to philosophical mimesis. (shrink)
The foundation of humanist friendship and its purpose lay in the sharing of the Christian faith accompanied by the love of classical letters. The ideas of Erasmus concerning friendship are best developed in his Adagia, and thus in relationship to the ancient proverbs on the subject. The approval given by him to the classical, humanistic ideal of noble, virtuous, equal, and lasting friendship contrasts with Thomas More’s traditional conception of friendship which derived directly from Christian sources. More held that the (...) experience of friendship is a partial anticipation of the secure friendship of heaven, where we may hope that all will “be merry together”—not just our friends in this life but our enemies too. (shrink)