This dialogue between Achilles and the Tortoise – in the spirit of those of Carroll and Hofstadter – argues against the idea, identified with the “traditional” interpretation of Aristotle’s “sea battle argument”, that future contingents are an exception to the Principle of Bivalence. It presents examples of correct everyday predictions, without which one would not be able to decide and to act; however, doing this is incompatible with the belief that the content of these predictions lacks a truth-value. The cost (...) of using a non-classical logic to cope with that may be too high for Stagirite’s defenders, and they would still need to explain why our ordinary predictions seem to have a binary truth-value. In the end, the paper suggests that the problem of future contingents – and of free will – is not a logical problem at all, but rather a limit on what an agent can believe before taking a decision. (shrink)
This paper aims to provide a philosophical and theoretical account of biological communication grounded in the notion of organisation. The organisational approach characterises living systems as organised in such a way that they are capable to self-produce and self-maintain while in constant interaction with the environment. To apply this theoretical framework to the study of biological communication, we focus on a specific approach, based on the notion of influence, according to which communication takes place when a signal emitted by a (...) sender triggers a change in the behaviour of the receiver that is functional for the sender itself. We critically analyse the current formulations of this account, that interpret what is functional for the sender in terms of evolutionary adaptations. Specifically, the adoption of this etiological functional framework may lead to the exclusion of several phenomena usually studied as instances of communication, and possibly even of entire fields of investigation such as synthetic biology. As an alternative, we reframe the influence approach in organisational terms, characterising functions in terms of contributions to the current organisation of a biological system. We develop a theoretical account of biological communication in which communicative functions are distinguished from other types of biological functions described by the organisational account (e.g. metabolic, ecological, etc.). The resulting organisational-influence approach allows to carry out causal analyses of current instances of phenomena of communication, without the need to provide etiological explanations. In such a way it makes it possible to understand in terms of communication those phenomena which realise interactive patterns typical of signalling interactions – and are usually studied as such in scientific practice – despite not being the result of evolutionary adaptations. Moreover, this approach provides operational tools to design and study communicative interactions in experimental fields such as synthetic biology. (shrink)
In September 2008, 10 years after the untimely death of Pere Alberch (1954–1998), the 20th Altenberg Workshop in Theoretical Biology gathered a group of Pere’s students, col- laborators, and colleagues (Figure 1) to celebrate his contribu- tions to the origins of EvoDevo. Hosted by the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) outside Vienna, the group met for two days of discussion. The meeting was organized in tandem with a congress held in May 2008 at the Cavanilles Institute (...) for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology (ICBiBE) in Valencia, Spain. The talks at the KLI were equal parts: nostalgic remembrance, excitement over new ways of thinking about old problems, and an unrepressed vitriol against the resurgence of reductionist thinking in EvoDevo. Here we highlight some of the key aspects of Pere’s life and work that informed and infused the talks. (shrink)
An account of assertion along truth-relativistic lines is offered. The main lines of relativism about truth are laid out and the problematic features that assertion acquires in the presence of relative truth are identified. These features are the possibility of coherently formulating norms of assertion and the possibility of grounding a rational practice of assertion upon relative truth. A solution to these problems is provided by formulating norms for making and assessing assertions that employ a suitably relativized truth predicate and (...) a perspectival notion of correctness. Two potential objections to this proposal are addressed. (shrink)
This article puts forward solutions to some of the ethical and legal dilemmas posed in the current discussion on how to program crash algorithms in autonomous or self-driving cars. The first part of the paper defines the scope of the problem in the criminal legal field, and the next section gives a critical analysis of the proposal to always prioritise the interest of the occupant of the vehicle in situations with conflict of interests. The principle of minimizing social damage as (...) a model for configuring self-driving cars is examined in the third section. Despite its apparent plausibility, within the framework of a liberal legal system that recognises humans as free agents who have rights and responsibilities, maximizing the function of social utility does not justify harmful interference into a person’s legal sphere. Therefore, in the fourth part, the author argues the need to program the crash algorithms of autonomous cars based on a deontological understanding of the system of justifications in criminal law. The solution to the dilemma lies in a prior analysis of the legal positions of all agents involved in the conflict, from a perspective of the principles of autonomy and solidarity as the core of the system of justifications. (shrink)
Neutral Counterpart Theories of slurs hold that the truth-conditional contribution of a slur is the same as the truth-conditional contribution of its neutral counterpart. In, DiFranco argues that these theories, even if plausible for single-word slurs like ‘kike’ and ‘nigger’, are not suitable for complex slurs such as ‘slanty-eyed’ and ‘curry muncher’, figurative slurs like ‘Jewish American Princess’, or iconic slurring expressions like ‘ching chong’. In this paper, we argue that these expressions do not amount to genuine counterexamples to neutral (...) counterpart theories of slurs. We provide a positive characterization of DiFranco's examples that doesn't deviate from the core of those theories. (shrink)
Since the publication of Elga's seminal paper in 2000, the Sleeping Beauty paradox has been the source of much discussion, particularly in this journal. Over the past few decades the Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics 1 has also been much debated. There is an interesting connection between the way these two topics raise issues about subjective probability assignments.This connection is often alluded to, but as far as we know Peter J. Lewis's ‘Quantum Sleeping Beauty’ is the first attempt to examine (...) it explicitly. Lewis claims that the two debates are not independent: to be specific, he argues that accepting the Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics requires you to be a ‘halfer’ about Sleeping Beauty, in opposition to the more widely accepted ‘thirder’ solution.This paper will argue that Lewis is wrong. Everettians do not have to be halfers. It is perfectly cogent to be both an Everettian and a thirder. (shrink)
Noël Carroll denies and Robert Stecker affirms that it is a necessary condition of aesthetic experience that it should be valued for its own sake. I make use of their controversy to argue for the psychological impossibility of discharging very common practices of art evaluation and analysis without undergoing an aesthetic experience valued for its own sake. By way of supporting my thesis and also making progress in Stecker and Carroll’s dispute about aesthetic experience, I analyse their methodological assumptions and (...) develop further our understanding of negative, indifferent and unexpected aesthetic experiences. The article provides a defence of Stecker’s position based on my contention regarding art evaluation and analysis. (shrink)
This paper analyses conceptual and experimental work in synthetic biology on different types of interactions considered as minimal examples or models of communication. It discusses their pertinence and relevance for the wider understanding of this biological and cognitive phenomenon. It critically analyses their limits and it argues that a conceptual framework is needed. As a possible solution, it provides a theoretical account of communication based on the notion of organisation, and characterised in terms of the functional influence exerted by the (...) sender upon the receiver. It shows that this account can be operationalised in synthetic biology, and that it can supply criteria and guidelines for the design and evaluation of synthetic models. (shrink)
In this article we argue for an extension of Pere Alberch’s notion of developmental morphospace into the realm of cognition and introduce the notion of cognitive phenotype as a new tool for the evolutionary and developmental study of cognitive abilities.
The explanatory role of natural selection is one of the long-term debates in evolutionary biology. Nevertheless, the consensus has been slippery because conceptual confusions and the absence of a unified, formal causal model that integrates different explanatory scopes of natural selection. In this study we attempt to examine two questions: (i) What can the theory of natural selection explain? and (ii) Is there a causal or explanatory model that integrates all natural selection explananda? For the first question, we argue that (...) five explananda have been assigned to the theory of natural selection and that four of them may be actually considered explananda of natural selection. For the second question, we claim that a probabilistic conception of causality and the statistical relevance concept of explanation are both good models for understanding the explanatory role of natural selection. We review the biological and philosophical disputes about the explanatory role of natural selection and formalize some explananda in probabilistic terms using classical results from population genetics. Most of these explananda have been discussed in philosophical terms but some of them have been mixed up and confused. We analyze and set the limits of these problems. (shrink)
In this article I argue that a high capacity for courage, in the sense of the strength of character that enables one to face distress, angst or psychological pain, is required of Hume’s ideal critics just as the other well-known five characteristics are. I also explore the implications of my proposal for several aspects of Hume’s aesthetics, including the one brought into relief by Shelley’s interpretation of Hume along the lines of distinguishing between the perceptual and affective stages in aesthetic (...) appreciation. (shrink)
Peter J. Lewis argued that the Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics implies the unpopular halfer position in the Sleeping Beauty debate. We retorted that it is perfectly coherent to be an Everettian and an ordinary thirder. In a recent reply to our paper Lewis further clarifies the basis for his thinking. We think this brings out nicely where he goes wrong: he underestimates the importance of metaphysical considerations in determining rational credences.
Presento una extensión del marco de Stalnaker para modelar los efectos conversacionales de la aserción, de modo que este pueda aplicarse a la aserción de proposiciones cuya verdad es relativa a parámetros adicionales respecto de un mundo posible. Desarrollo dos maneras de aplicar este marco a la aserción de proposiciones evaluativas, según la apreciación de las emisiones evaluativas mismas refleje una concepción relativista moderada de sus condiciones de corrección o una concepción radical. Argumento que, en virtud de la diferencia que (...) existe a la hora de concebir la aserción, el relativismo radical tiene una ventaja por sobre el relativismo moderado, dado que el relativismo moderado tiene inconvenientes a la hora de interpretar los desacuerdos evaluativos. I present an extension of Stalnaker's framework for modeling the conversational effects of assertion, so that it may be applied to the assertion of propositions whose truth is relative to parameters beyond a possible world. I develop two ways in which the new framework may be applied to the assertion of evaluative propositions, depending on whether the assessment of evaluative utterances reflects a moderate or a radical conception of their correctness conditions. I argue that, in virtue of this difference in the conceptualization of assertion, radical relativism has an advantage over moderate relativism, for moderate relativism faces problems with respect to the interpretation of evaluative disagreement. (shrink)
What role does “discursive consciousness” play in decision-making? How does it interact with “practical consciousness?” These two questions constitute two important gaps in strong practice theory that extend from Pierre Bourdieu's habitus to Stephen Vaisey's sociological dual-process model and beyond. The goal of this paper is to provide an empirical framework that expands the sociological dual-process model in order to fill these gaps using models from cognitive neuroscience. In particular, I use models of memory and moral judgment that highlight the (...) importance of executive functions and semantic memory. I outline each model as it pertains to the aforementioned gaps in strong practice theory. I then use the models from cognitive neuroscience to create an expanded dual-process model that addresses how and when conscious mental systems override and interact with subconscious mental systems in the use of cultural ends for decision-making. Finally, using this expanded model I address the sociological debate over the use of interview and survey data. My analysis reveals that surveys and interviews both elicit information encoded in declarative memory and differ primarily in the process of information retrieval that is required of respondents. (shrink)
In this paper, Britten’s opera Peter Grimes (1945) is used as an illustrative case study through which to examine the depiction of psychiatric disorders in opera. It is argued that Peter Grimes is a powerful example of how opera, in the hands of a great composer, can become an invaluable tool for examining subjective human experience. After a brief discussion of opera as a vehicle to express emotions, various operas are drawn upon to provide a historical perspective and to demonstrate (...) the long interconnection existing between opera and madness. An in-depth analysis of Peter Grimes, its background and central character, is then provided, in order to demonstrate how opera can elicit empathy for individuals affected by mental health problems. (shrink)
Objetivamos elaborar um balanço sobre lógica das perguntas científicas na produção do conhecimento stricto sensu. Tomamos como fontes 100 dissertações e 32 teses escritas por docentes que trabalham em cursos de Educação Física no Estado da Bahia – 1982 a 2018, abordando enquanto objeto a lógica instituída pelas perguntas científicas na referida produção. Trata-se de uma pesquisa documental, tendo como método o materialismo histórico e dialético. Os resultados apontam que 48% das produções têm suas perguntas de investigação construída a partir (...) da lógica formal; 28% apresenta uma lógica dialética na elaboração das perguntas científicas; e 24% não apresentam problema de investigação. (shrink)
Este artigo visa a apresentar, em linhas gerais, o que é a epistemologia da prioridade do conhecimento, quais são suas principais características e o que a distingue das teorias concorrentes. Focalizando essa meta, o autor avalia alguns problemas tanto do ponto de vista de sua posição, quanto do ponto de vista das principais concorrentes e analisa os resultados.Tradução de: Williamson, Timothy. Knowledge First Epistemology. In Sven Bernecker & Duncan Pritchard. The Routledge Companion to Epistemology. Routledge, 2011, pp. 208-218.
We re-examine Peres' statement “opposite momenta lead to opposite directions”. It will be shown that Peres' statement is only valid in the large distance or large time limit. In the short distance or short time limit an additional deviation from perfect alignment occurs due to the uncertainty of the location of the source. This error contribution plays a major role in Popper's orginal experimental proposal. Peres' statement applies rather to the phenomenon of optical imaging, which was regarded (...) by him as a verification of his statement. This is because this experiment can in a certain sense be seen as occurring in the large distance limit. We will also reconsider both experiments from the viewpoint of Bohmian mechanics. In Bohmian mechanics particles with perfectly opposite momenta will move in opposite directions. In addition it will prove particularly useful to use Bohmian mechanics because the Bohmian trajectories coincide with the conceptual trajectories drawn by Pittman et al. In this way Bohmian mechanics provides a theoretical basis for these conceptual trajectories. (shrink)
The present work explores the possibility of conciliating the truth-conditional relevance of referential uses of definite descriptions with the assignment of a univocal linguistic meaning to these constructions. It is argued that conciliation is possible if we reject the thesis, central to the debate between Russellians and ambiguity theorists, according to which referential uses are truth-conditionally relevant if and only if they constitute referential meanings. We sketch a framework within which the denial of that thesis has theoretical content, by drawing (...) on the conceptual resources of Relevance Theory and on a pragmatic conception of reference, following Strawson. The linguistic meaning of definite descriptions is analyzed as a procedural meaning that is semantically underdetermined with respect to both referential and attributive readings, and a pragmatic strategy for understanding this ambiguity is sketched. El presente trabajo explora una posible conciliación de la relevancia para las condiciones de verdad de los usos referenciales de descripciones definidas con la postulación de un significado lingüístico unívoco para tales construcciones. Se argumenta que dicha conciliación es posible si se abandona la tesis, central en el debate entre russellianos y teóricos de la ambigüedad, según la cual los usos referenciales son relevantes para las condiciones de verdad si y sólo si constituyen significados referenciales. Se esboza un marco dentro del cual la negación de esta tesis tiene contenido teórico, apelando a los recursos conceptuales de la Teoría de la Relevancia y a una concepción pragmática de la referencia en la línea de Strawson. Se analiza el significado de las descripciones definidas como un significado procedimental, semánticamente subdeterminado respecto de una lectura referencial o atributiva, y se esboza una manera pragmática de entender esta ambigüedad. (shrink)
The Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paradox is reexamined in the light of Shannon’s information theory. The EPR argument did not take into account that the observer’s information was localized, like any other physical object.
Perner and Roessler Causing human action: new perspectives on the causal theory of action, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 199–228, 2010) hold that children who do not yet have an understanding of subjective perspectives, i.e., mental states, explain actions by appealing to objective facts. In this paper, we criticize this view. We argue that in order to understand objective facts, subjects need to understand perspectives. By analysing basic fact-expressing assertions, we show that subjects cannot refer to facts if they do (...) not understand two types of perspectivity, namely, spatial and doxastic perspectivity. To avoid conceptual confusion regarding different ways of referring to facts, we distinguish between reference to facts de re and de dicto. (shrink)
After Lavoisier's execution, the leading French chemists were Antoine-François Fourcroy , Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau and Claude-Louis Berthollet . At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Berthollet introduced a new conception of chemical change that challenged the theory of elective affinities which had dominated chemistry for nearly a hundred years. Berthollet's new affinities raised controversy among chemists and had to coexist with the firmly established theory of elective affinities. Apart from the public debate in research articles, Berthollet's affinities also had (...) to compete with the influence of Fourcroy and his school in the textbook market. This paper seeks to assess the extent to which French textbooks published at the beginning of the nineteenth century were committed to Berthollet's innovation, and how they contributed to its marginalization. (shrink)
Bell inequalities are derived for any number of observers, any number of alternative setups for each one of them and any number of distinct outcomes for each experiment. It is shown that if a physical system consists of several distant subsystems, and if the results of tests performed on the latter are determined by local variables with objective values, then the joint probabilities for triggering any given set of distant detectors are convex combinations of a finite number of Boolean arrays, (...) whose components are either 0 or 1 according to a simple rule. This convexity property is both necessary and sufficient for the existence of local objective variables. It leads to a simple graphical method which produces a large number of generalized Clauser-Horne inequalities corresponding to the faces of a convex polytope. It is plausible that quantum systems whose density matrix has a positive partial transposition satisfy all these inequalities, and therefore are compatible with local objective variables, even if their quantum properties are essentially non-local. (shrink)
This paper contains four new dialogues among Simplicio, Salviati, and Sagredo, on the fate of Schrödinger's cat, the existence of physical quantities, the paradigm of Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen, and why a watched kettle may boil, after all.
The proof of Bell's inequality is based on the assumption that distant observers can freely and independently choose their experiments. As Bell's inequality isexperimentally violated, it appears that distant physical systems may behave as a single, nonlocal, indivisible entity. This apparent contradiction is resolved. It is shown that the “free will” assumption is, under usual circumstances, an excellent approximation.I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life.... —Deuteronomy XXX, 19.
I argued that anyone who adopts the Everettian approach to the foundations of quantum mechanics must also accept the (unpopular) ‘halfer’ solution to the Sleeping Beauty puzzle. Papineau and Durà-Vilà have responded with an argument that it is perfectly cogent both to be an Everettian and to accept the (popular) ‘thirder’ solution to Sleeping Beauty. Here I attempt to rebut their argument, and to clarify my original position.
Linear combinations of “elements of reality,” as defined by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen, may not be themselves “elements of reality.” There are questions which can be formulated (and unambiguously answered) in the ordinary language of experimental physics, but cannot be represented in the mathematical framework of quantum theory in a nontrivial way.
An imprecise measurement of a dynamical variable (such as a spin component) does not, in general, give the value of another dynamical variable (such as a spin component along a slightly different direction). The result of the measurement cannot be interpreted as the value of any observable that has a classical analogue.
Popper conceived an experiment whose analysis led to a result that he deemed absurd. Popper wrote that his reasoning was based on the Copenhagen interpretation and therefore invalidated it. Many authors who have examined Popper's analysis have found in it various technical flaws which are briefly summarized here. However, the aim of the present article is not technical. My concern is to redress logical flaws in Popper's argument: the terminology he uses is ambiguous, his analysis involves counterfactual hypotheses, and it (...) violates Bohr's complementarity principle. Therefore, the absurdity of Popper's result only confirms Bohr's approach. (shrink)
El artículo tiene como propósito dar cuenta de la experiencia mística expresada en los Afectos Espirituales por la poetisa neogranadina de Tunja, Sor Josefa Del Castillo. Este famoso texto, de la época hispanoamericana colonial, permite explorar la mística, pero no como una enfermedad ni como una producción de gozo, sino como un fenómeno que encubre la realidad estética. Uno de los objetivos es responder, principalmente, ¿en qué consiste la experiencia mística, poetizada por Castillo, en los Afectos Espirituales?, teniendo como clave (...) hermenéutica la liminalidad desde el horizonte filosófico medieval y contemporáneo. De ahí que, en el primer apartado, se presenta una breve semblanza sobre la poetisa neogranadina; en el segundo, se hace una aproximación al método hermenéutico elegido, de cuño diltheyano, bajo el concepto de liminalidad. En el tercero, se atiende al concepto de vivencia, desde Dilthey, en la mística de los Afectos. En el cuarto apartado, se aborda la realidad estética en virtud de conceptos como los que ofrecen, Bajtín, Ficino, entre otros, y del lenguaje simbólico-poético. El artículo concluye con esa realidad estética que permite descubrir la coincidencia de sentido de su elaboración poético-simbólica y de su vivencia mística, con el concepto de “furor divino” del renacentista Marsilio Ficino, y que constituye la experiencia mística de la poetisa, cuya obra poética insinuaría claves desconocidas para leer de otra forma el pensamiento histórico-cultural y religioso colombiano, del período colonial hasta nuestros días. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to review and clarify the quantum “measurement problem.” The latter originates in the ambivalent nature of the “observer”: Although the observer is not described by the Schrödinger equation, it should nevertheless be possible to “quantize” him and include him in the wave function if quantum theory is universally valid. The problem is to prove that no contradiction may arise in these two conflicting descriptions. The proof invokes the notion of irreversibility. The validity of the (...) latter is questionable, because the standard rationale for classical irreversibility, namely mixing and coarse graining, does not apply to quantum theory. There is no chaos in a closed, finite quantum system. However, when a system is large enough, it cannot be perfectly isolated from its “environment,” namely from external (or even internal) degrees of freedom which are not fully accounted for in the Hamiltonian of that system. As a consequence, the long-range evolution of such a quantum system is essentially unpredictable. It follows that the notion of irreversibility is a valid one in quantum theory and the “measurement problem” can be brought to a satisfactory solution. (shrink)
The physicist not only observes phenomena, but he also has an active role in the formulation of some laws. For instance, laws involving irreversibility refer explicitly to what can or cannot be done by physicists. As the abilities of the latter may vary, we obtain sequences of laws, the convergence of which is discussed.
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