New concepts may prove necessary to profit from the avalanche of sequence data on the genome, transcriptome, proteome and interactome and to relate this information to cell physiology. Here, we focus on the concept of large activity-based structures, or hyperstructures, in which a variety of types of molecules are brought together to perform a function. We review the evidence for the existence of hyperstructures responsible for the initiation of DNA replication, the sequestration of newly replicated origins of replication, cell division (...) and for metabolism. The processes responsible for hyperstructure formation include changes in enzyme affinities due to metabolite-induction, lipid-protein affinities, elevated local concentrations of proteins and their binding sites on DNA and RNA, and transertion. Experimental techniques exist that can be used to study hyperstructures and we review some of the ones less familiar to biologists. Finally, we speculate on how a variety of in silico approaches involving cellular automata and multi-agent systems could be combined to develop new concepts in the form of an Integrated cell (I-cell) which would undergo selection for growth and survival in a world of artificial microbiology. (shrink)
[R. M. Sainsbury] Evans argued that most ordinary proper names were Russellian: to suppose that they have no bearer is to suppose that they have no meaning. The first part of this paper addresses Evans's arguments, and finds them wanting. Evans also claimed that the logical form of some negative existential sentences involves 'really' (e.g. 'Hamlet didn't really exist'). One might be tempted by the view, even if one did not accept its Russellian motivation. However, I suggest that Evans gives (...) no adequate account of 'really', and I point to unclarities in Wiggins's similar, but distinct, attempt to use 'really' in the logical form of true negative existentials. /// [David Wiggins] Evans was not wrong (I maintain) to say that the senses of genuine proper names invoke and require objects. Names in fiction or hypothesis mimic such names. Pace Evans, Sainsbury and free logicians, proper names are scopeless. (Evans's 'Julius' is not a name.) Names create a presumption of existential generalization. In sentences such as 'Vulcan does not really exist', that presumption is bracketed. The sentence specifies by reference to story or report a concept identical with Vulcan and declares it be really uninstantiated. (The sentence, which partakes of play, is a kind of palimpsest.) It is explained why this second level view of 'exists' is to be preferred. (shrink)
Locke defined a person as ‘a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places” . To many who have been excited by the same thought as Locke, continuity of consciousness has seemed to be an integral part of what we mean by a person. The intuitive appeal of the idea that to secure the continuing identity of a person one experience must flow into the next (...) experience in some ‘stream of consciousoness” is evidenced by the number of attempts in the so-called constructionalist tradition to explain continuity of consciousness in terms of memory, and then build or reconstruct the idea of a person with these materials. The philosophical difficulty of the idea is plain from the failure of these attempts. Hindsight suggests this was as inevitable as the failure of the attempt to make bricks from straw alone—and as a failure just as uninteresting. Which is not to deny that the memory theorist might get from it a sense that some of the difficulties in his programme have arisen from his leaving flesh and bones, the stuff of persons, out of his construction. (shrink)
When we try to think about the causal nexus and the physical nature of the world as a whole we may be struck by two quite different difficulties in finding room in it to accommodate together knowledge or reasoned belief and causal determinism. may seem to us to exclude and may seem to us to exclude. Taking it as a fact that there is knowledge and that knowledge seems to be indefinitely extensible, it has been felt by some philosophers that (...) we can disprove total determinism by showing that if there were laws of nature which purported to govern all movements of matter in the universe there would still be something which even an ‘all-knowing’ predicter could not predict, viz. his own predictions or his own actions; and that given enough knowledge any agent could refute anybody else's predictions of his actions. So it has been thought that the phenomenon of knowledge somehow shows there cannot be laws to govern all movements of matter in the universe. This comfortably anodyne reflection is examined in the second part of the lecture. It elevates human minds and even confers a sort of cosmic importance on them. The other difficulty in making room for both and is in some loose sense the dual of this. Instead of taking knowledge for granted and questioning total determinism, it merely takes causality for granted but then deduces the total impossibility of knowledge. It simply asks: ‘How can we take a belief seriously, or consider it seriously as a candidate to be knowledge, if it is no better than a simple physical effect?’ This is a more pessimistic reflection and I shall begin with it. (shrink)
The great variousness and plurality of goodness has given comfort to general scepticism about values and a multitude of metaethical attitudes or predilections. But is this variousness and plurality really the hotch-potch it has appeared? The paper recapitulates and expands von Wright's typology of the varieties of goodness and looks to explain the order or system that underlies the phenomena by developing and extending a conjecture of Aristotle's, the so-called ‘focal hypothesis’, and combining therewith a suggestion of von Wright's, to (...) the effect that the central case of something good is the faring well of a being. By means of focal hypothesis, one may account fairly well for medical, technical, instrumental, beneficial and utilitarian goodness. Other varieties such as hedonic and ethical goodness complicate the picture, as also do all cases where it seems that an antecedent kind of goodness impinges upon a being. These complications mirror in part the finding that the human scale of values is not a scale exclusively of human values. (shrink)
The theme announced for these lectures is the philosophy of value. It may seem that moral philosophy, along with aesthetics, the philosophy of art, the philosophy of environment … ought to be a proper part of the philosophy of value. I have chosen mottoes to illustrate the dangers of that supposition.
In 1936, in a chapter of Language, Truth and Logic clearly influenced by Hume and influenced also by Ogden's and Richards's The Meaning of Meaning, Ayer claimed that judgments of value, in so far as they are not scientific statements, are not in the literal sense significant but are simply expressions of emotion which can be neither true nor false. To say ‘You acted wrongly in stealing that money’ is not to state any more than one would have stated by (...) merely saying ‘you stole that money’. To add that the action was wrong is not to make a further statement about it, but simply to evince one's moral disapproval. ‘It is as if I had said “you stole that money” in a peculiar tone of horror, or written it with the addition of some special exclamation mark. The tone or the exclamation mark adds nothing to the literal meaning of the sentence. It merely serves to show that the expression of it is attended by certain feelings of the speaker’. (shrink)
If the theory advanced below is correct, then what is the difference (I know she [Philippa Foot]] will ask) between the moral must/must not and the must/must not of etiquette or the clubhouse? Looking forward to the conclusion I shall reach, let me reply, roughly and readily, that the difference will reside not in anything formal but in the depth, spread, and felt authority of the attachments to which the moral must/must not appeals-and categorically appeals.
In this book, which thoroughly revises and greatly expands his classic work Sameness and Substance, David Wiggins retrieves and refurbishes in the light of twentieth-century logic and logical theory certain conceptions of identity, of substance and of persistence through change that philosophy inherits from its past. In this new version, he vindicates the absoluteness, necessity, determinateness and all or nothing character of identity against rival conceptions. He defends a form of essentialism that he calls individuative essentialism, and then a (...) form of realism that he calls conceptualist realism. In a final chapter he advocates a human being-based conception of the identity and individuation of persons, arguing that any satisfactory account of personal memory must make reference to the life of the rememberer himself. This important book will appeal to a wide range of readers in metaphysics, philosophical logic, and analytic philosophy. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson offers a proof of the counterintuitive claim that, if an object exists, then it exists necessarily. David Wiggins argues that this result reveals the philosophical disadvantage of a first level (or ‘ticking over’) view of the very ‘exists’ and the advantage of the second level account offered by Frege and Russell. The author seeks to show how, using an idea of G. Evans but without the use of the resources of ‘free logic’, all occurrences of ‘exist’, including (...) its occurrence in true, negative existential, singular statements, can be accommodated to the Frege–Russell view and accorded the intuitively required modal status. (shrink)
In this paper, Professor Wiggins explores the relationship between conservative economic theories and major bankruptcy reforms recently enacted by the United States Congress. First, she describes three key components of conservative economic theory as advanced by the Bush Administration and conservative scholars. These include: a strong preference for private ordering over public ordering, the promotion of private property as a means to expand personal freedom and liberty, and the encouragement of individual risk internalization. Next, she describes two theoretical components (...) of the new bankruptcy reforms. These include: a preference for creditor collection over debt relief and the promotion of individual risk internalization. Then Professor Wiggins examines two questions: First, is there meaningful theoretical symmetry between conservative economics and the new bankruptcy law? Second, is there significant operational symmetry between the two? The paper suggests theoretical convergence for two reasons: First, both conservative economics and the new bankruptcy law aim to promote private bargains over administratively adjusted ones. Second, both seek to force individuals to absorb more of the risks of financial decision-making. The paper suggests, however, that at the operational level there exists significant divergence between the aims of conservative economics and the predicted consequences of the new law. Professor Wiggins concludes, among other things, that economic conservatives should pay more rigorous attention to personal bankruptcy policy because operational asymmetry between their theories and the new legislation could blunt their ambitious economic agenda for American consumers. (shrink)
[R. M. Sainsbury] Evans argued that most ordinary proper names were Russellian: to suppose that they have no bearer is to suppose that they have no meaning. The first part of this paper addresses Evans's arguments, and finds them wanting. Evans also claimed that the logical form of some negative existential sentences involves 'really'. One might be tempted by the view, even if one did not accept its Russellian motivation. However, I suggest that Evans gives no adequate account of 'really', (...) and I point to unclarities in Wiggins's similar, but distinct, attempt to use 'really' in the logical form of true negative existentials. /// [David Wiggins] Evans was not wrong to say that the senses of genuine proper names invoke and require objects. Names in fiction or hypothesis mimic such names. Pace Evans, Sainsbury and free logicians, proper names are scopeless. Names create a presumption of existential generalization. In sentences such as 'Vulcan does not really exist', that presumption is bracketed. The sentence specifies by reference to story or report a concept identical with Vulcan and declares it be really uninstantiated. It is explained why this second level view of 'exists' is to be preferred. (shrink)
Conditionals has at its centre an extended essay on this problematic and much-debated subject in the philosophy of language and logic, which the widely respected Oxford philosopher Michael Woods had been preparing for publication at the time of his death in 1993. It appears here edited by his eminent colleague David Wiggins, and accompanied by a commentary specially written by a leading expert on the topic, Dorothy Edgington. This masterly and original treatment of conditionals will demand the attention of (...) all philosophers working in this area. (shrink)
For this volume David Wiggins has selected and revised eleven of his essays in an area of metaphysics where his work has been particularly influential, and he has added a substantial introduction and one new unpublished essay. Among the subjects treated are substance, identity, persistence, persons, sortals, and artefacts.
This volume gathers twelve essays by David Wiggins in an area where his work has been particularly influential. Among the subjects treated are: persistence of a substance through change, the notion of a continuant, the logic of identity, the co-occupation of space by a continuant and its matter, the relation of person to human organism, the metaphysical idea of a person, the status of artefacts, the relation of the three-dimensional and four-dimensional conceptions of reality, and the nomological underpinning of (...) sortal classification. From a much larger body of work the author has selected, edited or annotated, and variously shortened or extended eleven pieces. He has added an Introduction and one completely new essay, on the philosophy of biology and the role there of the idea of process. (shrink)
Literary recognition is a technical term for a climactic plot device. _Odysseys of Recognition_ claims that interpersonal recognition is constituted by performance, and brings performance theory into dialogue with poetics, politics, and philosophy. By observing Odysseus figures from Homer to Kleist, Ellwood Wiggins offers an alternative to conventional intellectual histories that situate the invention of the interior self in modernity. Through strategic readings of Aristotle, this elegantly written, innovative study recovers an understanding of interpersonal recognition that has become strange (...) and counterintuitive. Penelope in Homer’s _Odyssey_ offers a model for agency in ethical knowledge that has a lot to teach us today. Early modern and eighteenth-century characters, meanwhile, discover themselves not deep within an impenetrable self, but in the interpersonal space between people in the world. Recognition, Wiggins contends, is the moment in which epistemology and ethics coincide: in which what we know becomes manifest in what we do. (shrink)
Ryle’s account of practical knowing is much controverted. The paper seeks to place present disputations in a larger context and draw attention to the connection between Ryle’s preoccupations and Aristotle’s account of practical reason, practical intelligence, and the way in which human beings enter into the way of being and acting that Aristotle denominates ethos . Considering matters in this framework, the author finds inconclusive the arguments that Stanley and Williamson offer for seeing knowing how to as a special case (...) of knowing that. The paper then explores certain implications of the author’s position for the philosophy of mind and the grammatical analysis of constructions involving ‘know how to’. It ends with a neo-Rylean remark about Aristotelian nous. (shrink)
Needs, Values, Truth brings together of some of the most important and influential writings by a leading contemporary philosopher, drawn from twenty-five years of his work in the broad area of the philosophy of value. The author ranges between problems of ethics, meta-ethics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of logic and language, looking at questions relating to meaning, truth and objectivity in judgements of value. For this third edition he has added a new essay on incommensurability, in addition to making (...) minor revisions to the existing text. The volume will stand as a definitive summation of his work in this area. (shrink)
Following in a psychological and musicological tradition beginning with Leonard Meyer, and continuing through David Huron, we present a functional, cognitive account of the phenomenon of expectation in music, grounded in computational, probabilistic modeling. We summarize a range of evidence for this approach, from psychology, neuroscience, musicology, linguistics, and creativity studies, and argue that simulating expectation is an important part of understanding a broad range of human faculties, in music and beyond.
Transplantation continues to push the frontiers of medicine into domains that summon forth troublesome ethical questions. Looming on the frontier today is human facial transplantation. We develop criteria that, we maintain, must be satisfied in order to ethically undertake this as-yet-untried transplant procedure. We draw on the criteria advanced by Dr. Francis Moore in the late 1980s for introducing innovative procedures in transplant surgery. In addition to these we also insist that human face transplantation must meet all the ethical requirements (...) usually applied to health care research. We summarize the achievements of transplant surgery to date, focusing in particular on the safety and efficacy of immunosuppressive medications. We also emphasize the importance of risk/benefit assessments that take into account the physical, aesthetic, psychological, and social dimensions of facial disfiguration, reconstruction, and transplantation. Finally, we maintain that the time has come to move facial transplantation research into the clinical phase. (shrink)
The paper takes off from the problem of finding a proper content for the relation of identity as it holds or fails to hold among ordinary things or substances. The necessary conditions of identity are familiar, the sufficient conditions less so. The search is for conditions at once better usable than the Leibnizian Identity of Indiscernibles (independently suspect) and strong enough to underwrite all the formal properties of the relation.It is contended that the key to this problem rests at the (...) level of metaphysics and epistemology alike with a sortalist position. Sortalism is the position which insists that, if the question is whether a and b are the same, it has to be asked what are they? Any sufficiently specific answer to that question will bring with it a principle of activity or functioning and a mode of behaviour characteristic of some particular kind of thing by reference to which questions of persistence or non-persistence through change can be adjudicated.These contentions are illustrated by reference to familiar examples such as the human zygote, the Ship of Theseus and Shoemaker's Brown-Brownson. The first example is hostage for a mass of unproblematical cases. The problems presented by the second and third sort of examples arise chiefly (it is claimed) from an incompleteness in our conceptions of the relevant sort—the what the thing in question is. That incompleteness need not prevent us from knowing perfectly well which thing we are referring to. In the concluding section, sortalism is defended against various accusations of anthropocentrism.The paper touches on the interpretation of Heraclitus, Leibniz's theory of clear indistinct ideas, the difficulties of David Lewis's ‘perdurantist’ or stroboscopic view of persistence, four-dimensionalism, and the relation of personal identity both to experiential memory and to the particular bodily physiognomy of a subject. At some points—as in connection with the so-called Only a and b rule—the paper corrects, supplements or extends certain theses or formulations proposed in the author's Sameness and Substance Renewed (2001). (shrink)
The great variousness and plurality of goodness has given comfort to general scepticism about values and a multitude of metaethical attitudes or predilections. But is this variousness and plurality really the hotch-potch it has appeared? The paper recapitulates and expands von Wright's typology of the varieties of goodness and looks to explain the order or system that underlies the phenomena by developing and extending a conjecture of Aristotle's, the so-called 'focal hypothesis', and combining there-with a suggestion of von Wright's, to (...) the effect that the central case of something good is the faring well of a being. By means of focal hypothesis, one may account fairly well for medical, technical, instrumental, beneficial and utilitarian goodness. Other varieties such as hedonic and ethical goodness complicate the picture, as also do all cases where it seems that an antecedent kind of goodness impinges upon a being. These complications mirror in part the finding that the human scale of values is not a scale exclusively of human values. (shrink)
The purpose is to stage a dialogue between a pre-liberal conception of justice, represented by Aristotle as revived with the help of ideas of Lucas, Jouvenel and G. A. Cohen, and a liberal conception, as founded in Kant and refurbished, renewed and worked out in A Theory of Justice by John Rawls. Among the questions at issue are the roles of habit, disposition and formation; the nature of the dependency between the justice of the citizen of a polity and the (...) justice of the constitutional arrangements of the polity; the superior prospects of a piecemeal, bottom-up approach to justice or of a top-down, contractual approach; the remedial/restorative conception of justice versus more than merely remedial/restorative conceptions; tolerance of contingency; the propensity of liberal regimes to replace by managerial procedures more and more of the arrangements that previously entrusted important matters to the practical judgement of individuals; the multiplicity and diversity of the neo-Aristotelian requisites for a good polity versus the rather simpler demands of liberalism, which relate mostly to legitimacy; the idea of equality proper to a just and good polity; the closed, open enough, or completely open character of such a polity. (shrink)
1. There is a tendency nowadays for linguists, philosophers and other theorists of language, to dismiss the notion of an object like the English language or the Polish language as simply mythological or mythopoeic—as of no interest to any serious science of language. Some theorists even appear to deny that there are such things as languages . ‘This notion [of a public language] is unknown to empirical inquiry and raises what seem to be irresolvable problems’, Chomsky said in a lecture (...) he gave recently in London. (shrink)