While the members of the school of Logical Empiricism may differ in various details, nearly all of them are opposed to metaphysics on the ground that a scientific metaphysics is the only possible one. All philosophy is to become scientific. This assumption is based on their epistemological criterion of verifiability which appears to be a basic doctrine of this school. The implications of this doctrine have not been worked out in detail by many, but one of the most explicit accounts (...) has been given by A. J. Ayer in his book on Language, Truth and Logic, which can be taken as a representative work in its attack on metaphysics. (shrink)
Reductionist explanations in biology generally assume that biological mechanisms are highly deterministic and basically similar between individuals. A contrasting view has emerged recently that takes into account the degeneracy of biological processes—the ability to arrive at a given endpoint by a variety of available paths, even within the same individual. This perspective casts significant doubt on the prospects for the ability to predict behavior accurately based on brain imaging or genotyping, and on the ability of neuroscience to stipulate ethics.
The life sciences in the 20th century were guided to a large extent by a reductionist program seeking to explain biological phenomena in terms of physics and chemistry. Two scientists who figured prominently in the establishment and dissemination of this program were Jacques Loeb in biology and Ivan P. Pavlov in psychological behaviorism. While neither succeeded in accounting for higher mental functions in physical-chemical terms, both adopted positions that reduced the problem of consciousness to the level of reflexes and associations. (...) The intellectual origins of this view and the impediment to the study of consciousness as an object of inquiry in its own right that it may have imposed on peers, students, and those who followed is explored. (shrink)
Theoretical arguments that psychopathy eliminates individual responsibility for illegal behavior and can therefore serve as a basis for an insanity defense are largely premised on emotional characteristics of psychopathy that impede the individual’s capacity to appreciate right from wrong. We offer arguments and countervailing evidence indicating psychopaths do have the capacity to appreciate right from wrong and therefore should not be absolved of criminal responsibility.
In this paper, we discuss the macroscopic quantum behavior of simple superconducting circuits. Starting from a Lagrangian for electromagnetic field with broken gauge symmetry, we construct a quantum circuit model for a superconducting weak link (SQUID) ring, together with the appropriate canonical commutation relations. We demonstrate that this model can be used to describe macroscopic excitations of the superconducting condensate and the localized charge states found in some ultrasmall-capacitance weak-link devices.
The statistical properties of a single quantum object and an ensemble of independent such objects are considered in detail for two-level systems. Computer simulations of dynamic zero-point quantum fluctuations for a single quantum object are reported and compared with analytic solutions for the ensemble case.
Originally published in 1951, this concise book presents an engaging study of the works and influence of the renowned English philosopher Ralph Cudworth, the leader of the Cambridge Platonists. A bibliography of writings by and about Cudworth is also included, together with an appendix section on his manuscripts. The text was an early work by Australian philosopher and historian of ideas John Passmore. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in Cudworth, the Cambridge Platonists and (...) the historical development of philosophy. (shrink)