Not simply set out in accompaniment of the Greek geometrical text, the diagram also is coaxed into existence manually (using straightedge and compasses) by commands in the text. The marks that a diligent reader thus sequentially produces typically sum, however, to a figure more complex than the provided one and also not (as it is) artful for being synoptically instructive. To provide a figure artfully is to balance multiple desiderata, interlocking the timelessness of insight with the temporality of construction. Our (...) account of the diagram complements those of Manders and Macbeth by more strongly emphasizing practical synthesis. (shrink)
There seem to be some very good reasons for a philosopher of science to be a deductivist about scientific reasoning. Deductivism is apparently connected with a demand for clarity and definiteness in the reconstruction of scientists' reasonings. And some philosophers even think that deductivism is the way around the problem of induction. But the deductivist image is challenged by cases of actual scientific reasoning, in which hard-to-state and thus discursively ill-defined elements of thought nonetheless significantly condition what practitioners accept as (...) cogent argument. And arguably, these problem cases abound. For example, even geometry--for most of its history--was such a problem case, despite its exactness and rigor. It took a tremendous effort on the part of Hilbert and others, to make geometry fit the deductivist image. Looking to the empirical sciences, the problems seem worse. Even the most exact and rigorous of empirical sciences--mechanics--is still the kind of problem case which geometry once was. In order for the deductivist image to fit mechanics, Hilbert's sixth problem (for mechanics) would need to be solved. This is a difficult, and perhaps ultimately impossible task, in which the success so far achieved is very limited. I shall explore some consequences of this for realism as well as for deductivism. Through discussing links between non-monotonicity, skills, meaning, globality in cognition, models, scientific understanding, and the ideal of rational unification, I argue that deductivists can defend their image of scientific reasoning only by trivializing it, and that for the adequate illumination of science, insights from anti-deductivism are needed as much as those which come from deductivism. (shrink)
Aristarchus, Harvey, Wegener, Newton and Einstein all made significant scientific progress in which they overturned the thinking of their predecessors. But Popper’s model of conjectures and refutations is a poor guide to fathoming the accomplishment of these scientists. By now we have a better model, which I articulate. From its vantage point, I criticise Popper.
From recent writings of Brent Mundy and Michael Friedman we reconstruct two different representation-theoretic or embedding accounts of space-time relationalism, involving two different conditions on embeddings: respectively, uniqueness up to symmetry and uniqueness up to indistinguishability. We discuss the properties of these two accounts, and, with respect specifically to Friedman's projects, assess their merits and demerits.
The essays in this volume are by fellow historians of ideas and philosophy, colleagues, and former students of Richard Popkin; its editor is his son, a historian at the University of Kentucky. The volume is in the style of a festschrift, but it has a special personal component. The notes on the contributors indicate how each came to know Popkin. The essays do not concentrate on developments of each author’s own work, but access Popkin’s work, in some instances extending it, (...) and often relating it to aspects of his career. The final contribution is a biographical sketch of his career, done by the editor, from letters that are part of Popkin’s papers housed in the Clark Library at UCLA. This biographical sketch is preceded by a memoir by Avrum Stroll, recounting his collaboration with Popkin on their Philosophy Made Simple, which they co-authored in 1955 and which, in its multiple printings, has served as an introductory textbook for generations of students.The fourteen essays are by B. Copenhaver, A. P. Coudent, S. Hutton, P. K. J. Park, and K. Peden ; J. E. Force, M. Mulsow, and D. B. Ruderman ; J. C. Laursen, J. R. Maia Neto, and G. Paganini ; and Y. Kaplan, D. S. Katz, and M. Goldish. (shrink)
Newton and Einstein each in his way showed us the following: an epistemologically responsible physicist adopts the most measured understanding possible of spacetime structure. The proper way to infer a doctrine of spacetime is by a kind of measuring inference -- a deduction from phenomena. Thus it was (I argue) by an out-and-out deduction from the phenomena of inertiality (as colligated by the three laws of motion) that Newton delineated the conceptual presuppositions concerning spacetime structure that are needed before we (...) can actually think coherently about these phenomena. And Einstein (I argue) very much recapitulated this argument pattern, twice over in fact, recolligating the phenomena first so as to add something from the laws of electromagnetism, and then so as to add everything about gravitation, into what he understood by inertiality. Notably, to deduce one’s theoretical conclusions from phenomena is both more cautious and more cogent than to "infer to the best explanation". And in the context of the development of a doctrine of spacetime, deductions from phenomena lay before us formal rather than causal understanding. Deductions from phenomena tell us, in this context, not what things or what causes there are, but rather what our concepts should be like. The more measured the inference is, however, the more definitively it tells us this. For these reasons the most measured understanding of spacetime lies on a line between conventionalism and realism, between relationalism and absolutism, and indeed (as I demonstrate) between empiricism and rationalism. Spacetime is understood as neither merely immanent in material goings-on, nor truly transcendent of them either. In order to explain this understanding as adequately as I can and in order to remark its excellences most fully, I consider some respects in which the tertium quid between metaphysical realism and strict empiricism about spacetime is wise in the sense of practical wisdom. The wisest understanding of spacetime illustrates, I argue, an original and fundamental connection that epistemology has with ethics. (shrink)
One of the most original thinkers of the century, Karl Popper has inspired generations of philosophers, historians, and politicians. This collection of papers, specially written for this volume, offers fresh philosophical examination of key themes in Popper's philosophy, including philosophy of knowledge, science and political philosophy. Drawing from some of Popper's most important works, contributors address his solution to the problem of induction, his views on conventionalism and criticism in an open society, and his unique position in 20th century philosophy. (...) They also examine the current relevance of Popper to understanding liberal democracy, his critique of tribalism and his relationship with analytic philosophy in general - and with Wittgenstein in particular - as well as drawing on the studies of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein to assess Popper's conception of science. (shrink)
Phillip Johnson claims that Creationism is a better explanation of the existence and characteristics of biological species than is evolutionary theory. He argues that the only reason biologists do not recognize that Creationist's negative arguments against Darwinism have proven this is that they are wedded to a biased ideological philosophy —Naturalism — which dogmatically denies the possibility of an intervening creative god. However,Johnson fails to distinguish Ontological Naturalism from Methodological Naturalism. Science makes use of the latter and I show (...) how it is not dogmatic but follows from sound requirements for empirical evidential testing. Furthermore, Johnson has no serious alternative type of positive evidence to offer for Creationism, and purely negative argumentation, despite his attempt to legitimate it, will not suffice. (shrink)
Although people generally agree that innocent targets of culpable aggression are justified in harming the aggressors in self-defence, there is considerable disagreement regarding whether innocents are justified in defending themselves when their doing so would harm other innocent people. I argue in this essay that harming innocent aggressors and active innocent threats in self-defence is indeed justified under certain conditions, but that defensive actions in such cases are justified as permissions rather than as claim rights. This justification therefore differs from (...) that of self-defence against culpable aggressors, since defensive acts of the latter type are justified as claim rights rather than mere permissions. I argue, however, that the two justifications are alike in that both rest on considerations of distributive justice. (shrink)
As a philosopher rather than a historian, Phillip Ferreira tends naturally, in his article in this issue of The Pluralist, "On the Imperviousness of Persons," as in his first one on The Worldview of Personalism, to place the emphasis quite as much on the general philosophical issues as on the specific historical interpretation of Pringle-Pattison. But this emphasis was from the beginning invited by my own assessment of Pringle-Pattison. I will continue here to answer Ferreira to a considerable extent (...) in its terms, but, as a historian rather than a philosopher, I will try to use arguments which, based on my historical knowledge of them, I think would have been those of Pringle-Pattison and the other personal .. (shrink)
This year's book award committee reviewed thirty nominated books. We identified seven finalists, each well worth our special attention: Milton Fisk's impressive Towards a Healthy Society, Gary Francione's feisty Introduction to Animal Rights, Timothy Gaffaney's engaging Freedom for the Poor, David Ingram's historically insightful Group Rights, Rachel Roth's poignant Making Women Pay, Karen Warren's finely articulated Ecofeminist Philosophy, and the eventual winning entry, Phillip Cole's Philosophies of Exclusion: Liberal Political Theory and Immigration. We're here today to discuss this important (...) book. (shrink)
The fatal on-field head injury and subsequent death in Sydney of 25-year-old professional cricketer Phillip Hughes has led to an exceptional outpouring of shock and grief throughout Australia, the cricketing world, and beyond. It was not just one more death. Not even the particular poignancy of a promising young life cut brutally short can account for the reaction.There were heartfelt tributes from players, prime ministers, and presidents. Parliament observed a minute’s silence. The Queen sent a private message to Hughes’s (...) parents. Schoolboy cricketers formed guards of honor and wore black armbands. One batsman paused as his run tally reached 63 to kiss his own black armband (63 was as far as Hughes got before his.. (shrink)
Reviews the book, Constructing the self, constructing America: A cultural history of psychotherapy by Phillip Cushman . Phillip Cushman's 1995 Constructing the self, constructing America: A cultural history of psychotherapy provides both a far-reaching critique of psychoanalysis in America and an alternative theoretical approach founded on the notion of the self as sociohistorically configured and moral. With the proliferation and sometime redundancy of critiques of the mainstream, it would not be unfair to ask what Cushman's critical analysis effects (...) beyond what has already found its way into print. To begin with, his contribution is distinguished by its object. Whereas most critiques are aimed at theories and practices as institutionalized in the academy, Cushman takes as his primary target those which have dominated the professional practice of psychotherapy in America. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Genetic determinism is the idea that many significant human characteristics are rendered inevitable by the presence of certain genes. The psychologist Susan Oyama has famously compared arguing against genetic determinism to battling the undead. Oyama suggests that genetic determinism is inherent in the way we currently represent genes and what genes do. As long as genes are represented as containing information about how the organism will develop, they will continue to be regarded as determining causes no matter how much evidence (...) exists to the contrary. Philip Kitcher has strongly disputed Oyama’s diagnosis, arguing that the conventional ‘interactionist’ perspective on development is the correct framework for understanding the role of the genes in development. While acknowledging the legitimacy of many of Kitcher’s observations, I believe that Oyama’s view is substantially correct. In this paper I provide several lines of support for support the Oyama diagnosis. (shrink)