Abstract Starting with Ben-Menahem's definition of historical contingency as sensitivity to variations in initial conditions, we suggest that historical events and processes can be thought of as forming a complex landscape of contingency and necessity. We suggest three different ways of extending and elaborating Ben-Menahem's concepts: (1) By supplementing them with a notion of historical disturbance; (2) by pointing out that contingency and necessity are subject to scaling effects; (3) by showing how degrees of contingency/necessity can change over time. We (...) also argue that further development of Sterelny's notion of conditional inevitability leads to our conclusion that the topography of historical contingency is something that can change over time. (shrink)
Starting with Ben-Menahem’s definition of historical contingency as sensitivity to variations in initial conditions, we suggest that historical events and processes can be thought of as forming a complex landscape of contingency and necessity. We suggest three different ways of extending and elaborating Ben-Menahem’s concepts: By supplementing them with a notion of historical disturbance; by pointing out that contingency and necessity are subject to scaling effects; by showing how degrees of contingency/necessity can change over time. We also argue that further (...) development of Sterelny’s notion of conditional inevitability leads to our conclusion that the topography of historical contingency is something that can change over time. (shrink)
This accessible and engaging text explores the relationship between philosophy, science and physical geography. It addresses an imbalance that exists in opinion, teaching and to a lesser extent research, between a philosophically enriched human geography and a perceived philosophically ignorant physical geography. Science, Philosophy and Physical Geography , challenges the myth that there is a single self-evident scientific method, that can and is applied in a straightforward manner by physical geographers. It demonstrates the variety of alternative philosophical perspectives. Furthermore it (...) emphasizes the difference that the real world geographical context and the geographer make to the study of environmental phenomenon. This includes a consideration of the dynamic relationship between human and physical geography. Finally, it demonstrates the relevance of philosophy for both an understanding of published material and for the design and implementation of studies in physical geography. Key themes such as global warming, species and evolution and fluvial geomorphology are used to provide illustrations of key concepts in each chapter. Further reading is provided at the end of each chapter. (shrink)
The troubling ethics and politics of philanthropy Is philanthropy, by its very nature, a threat to today’s democracy? Though we may laud wealthy individuals who give away their money for society’s benefit, Just Giving shows how such generosity not only isn’t the unassailable good we think it to be but might also undermine democratic values and set back aspirations of justice. Big philanthropy is often an exercise of power, the conversion of private assets into public influence. And it is a (...) form of power that is largely unaccountable, often perpetual, and lavishly tax-advantaged. The affluent—and their foundations—reap vast benefits even as they influence policy without accountability. And small philanthropy, or ordinary charitable giving, can be problematic as well. Charity, it turns out, does surprisingly little to provide for those in need and sometimes worsens inequality. These outcomes are shaped by the policies that define and structure philanthropy. When, how much, and to whom people give is influenced by laws governing everything from the creation of foundations and nonprofits to generous tax exemptions for donations of money and property. Rob Reich asks: What attitude and what policies should democracies have concerning individuals who give money away for public purposes? Philanthropy currently fails democracy in many ways, but Reich argues that it can be redeemed. Differentiating between individual philanthropy and private foundations, the aims of mass giving should be the decentralization of power in the production of public goods, such as the arts, education, and science. For foundations, the goal should be what Reich terms “discovery,” or long-time-horizon innovations that enhance democratic experimentalism. Philanthropy, when properly structured, can play a crucial role in supporting a strong liberal democracy. Just Giving investigates the ethical and political dimensions of philanthropy and considers how giving might better support democratic values and promote justice. (shrink)
Creativity: Theory, History, Practice offers important new perspectives on creativity in the light of contemporary critical theory and cultural history. Innovative in approach as well as argument, the book crosses disciplinary boundaries and builds new bridges between the critical and the creative. It is organized in four parts: · Why creativity now? offers much-needed alternatives to both the Romantic stereotype of the creator as individual genius and the tendency of the modern creative industries to treat everything as a commodity. · (...) Defining creativity, creating definitions traces the changing meaning of "create" from religious ideas of divine creation from nothing to advertising notions of concept creation. It also examines the complex history and extraordinary versatility of terms such as imagination, invention, inspiration and originality. · Creation as myth, story, metaphor begins with modern re-telling of early African, American and Australian creation myths and -picking up Biblical and evolutionary accounts along the way - works round to scientific visions of the Big Bang, bubble universes and cosmic soup. · Creative practices, cultural processes is a critical anthology of materials, chosen to promote fresh thinking about everything from changing constructions of "literature" and "design" to artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. Rob Pope takes significant steps forward in the process of rethinking a vexed yet vital concept, all the while encouraging and equipping readers to continue the process in their own creative or "re-creative" ways. Creativity: Theory, History, Practice is invaluable for anyone with a live interest in exploring what creativity has been, is currently, and yet may be. (shrink)
But to admit things not visible to the gross creatures that we are is, in my opinion, to show a decent humility, and not just a lamentable addiction to metaphysics. J. S. Bell, Are There Quantum Jumps? ON CANADIAN THANKSGIVING WEEKEND in the autumn of 1994, a lively conference was held at The University of Western Ontario under the title "Conceptual Problems of Relativistic Quantum Mechanics". Most of the eighteen papers in this volume are directly connected with that conference. Articles (...) by both theoretical physicists and philosophers of science are included, and many authors will be recognized immediately for their already substantive work in the foundations of physics. A quarter century ago Howard Stein suggested that relativistic quantum field theory should be 'the contemporary locus of metaphysical research', but there were few takers. Only fairly recently has that changed, with the result that the bulk of the papers here pursue issues that go beyond nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. Nevertheless, problems interpreting the nonrelativistic theory remain a persistent thorn in the side of any such endeavor, and so some of the papers develop innovative approaches to those issues as well. (shrink)
Rob Clifton was one of the most brilliant and productive researchers in the foundations and philosophy of quantum theory, who died tragically at the age of 38. Jeremy Butterfield and Hans Halvorson collect fourteen of his finest papers here, drawn from the latter part of his career (1995-2002), all of which combine exciting philosophical discussion with rigorous mathematical results. Many of these papers break wholly new ground, either conceptually or technically. Others resolve a vague controversy intoa precise technical problem, which (...) is then solved; still others solve an open problem that had been in the air for soem time. All of them show scientific and philosophical creativity of a high order, genuinely among the very best work in the field. The papers are grouped into four Parts. First come four papers about the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics. Part II comprises three papers on the foundations of algebraic quantum field theory, with an emphasis on entanglement and nonlocality. The two papers in Part III concern the concept of a particle in relativistic quantum theories. One paper analyses localization; the other analyses the Unruh effect (Rindler quanta) using the algebraic approach to quantum theory. Finally, Part IV contains striking new results about such central issues as complementarity, Bohr's reply to the EPR argument, and no hidden variables theorems; and ends with a philosophical survey of the field of quantum information. The volume includes a full bibliography of Clifton's publications. Quantum Entanglements offers inspiration and substantial reward to graduates and professionals in the foundations of physics, with a background in philosophy, physics, or mathematics. (shrink)
Lefebvre, Love and Struggle provides the only comprehensive guide to Lefebvre's work. It is an accessible introduction to one of the most significant European thinkers of the twentieth century. Rob Shields draws on the full range of Lefebvre's writings, including many previously untranslated and unpublished works and correspondence. Topics covered include Lefebvre's early relationship with Marxism, his critique of the rise of fascism, as well as his Critique of Everyday Life and the significant work on urban space for which he (...) is best known today. (shrink)
This book looks at the origins and the many contemporary meanings of the virtual. Rob Shields shows how the construction of virtual worlds has a long history. He examines the many forms of faith and hysteria that have surrounded computer technologies in recent years. Moving beyond the technologies themselves he shows how the virtual plays a role in our daily lives at every level. The virtual is also an essential concept needed to manage innovation and risk. It is real but (...) not actual, ideal but not abstract. The virtual, he argues, has become one of the key organizing principles of contemporary society in the public realms of politics, business and consumption as well as in our private lives. (shrink)
Since Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), historians and philosophers of science have paid increasing attention to the implications of disciplinarity. In this chapter we consider restrictions posed to interdisciplinary exchange between ecology and economics that result from a particular kind of commitment to the ideal of disciplinary purity, that is, that each discipline is defined by an appropriate, unique set of objects, methods, theories, and aims. We argue that, when it comes to the objects of study in (...) ecology and economics, ideas of disciplinary purity have been underwritten by the artificial-natural distinction. We then problematize this distinction, and thus disciplinary purity, both conceptually and empirically. Conceptually, the distinction is no longer tenable. Empirically, recent interdisciplinary research has shown the epistemological and policy-oriented benefits of dealing with models which explicitly link anthropogenic (i.e., “artificial”) and non-anthropogenic factors (i.e., “natural”). We conclude that, in the current age of the Anthropocene, it is to be expected that without interdisciplinary exchange, ecology and economics may relinquish global relevance because the distinct and separate systems to which each “pure” science was originally made to apply will only diminish over time. (shrink)
In this paper I argue, first, that ecologists have routinely treated humans—or more specifically, anthropogenic causal factors—as disturbing conditions. I define disturbing conditions as exogenous variables, variables “outside” a model, that when present in a target system, inhibit the applicability or accuracy of the model. This treatment is surprising given that humans play a dominant role in many ecosystems and definitions of ecology contain no fundamental distinction between human and natural. Second, I argue that the treatment of humans as disturbing (...) conditions is an idealization: since it is, and has long been, known that humans are pervasive, this treatment amounts to an intentionally introduced theoretical distortion. Finally, characterizing this treatment as idealization forces us to confront the question of its justification, and so, drawing on three different kinds of idealization, I evaluate how this treatment may be justified. (shrink)
Why does American law allow the recreational use of some drugs, such as alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, but not others, such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin? The answer lies not simply in the harm the use of these drugs might cause, but in the perceived morality—or lack thereof—of their recreational use. Despite strong rhetoric from moral critics of recreational drug use, however, it is surprisingly difficult to discern the reasons they have for deeming the recreational use of (some) drugs morally (...) wrong. In this book, Rob Lovering lays out and dissects various arguments for the immorality of using marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs recreationally. He contends that, by and large, these arguments do not succeed. Lovering's book represents one of the first works to systematically present, analyze, and critique arguments for the moral wrongness of recreational drug use. Given this, as well as the popularity of the morality-based defense of the United States' drug laws, this book is an important and timely contribution to the debate on the recreational use of drugs. (shrink)
We show that three fundamental information-theoretic constraints -- the impossibility of superluminal information transfer between two physical systems by performing measurements on one of them, the impossibility of broadcasting the information contained in an unknown physical state, and the impossibility of unconditionally secure bit commitment -- suffice to entail that the observables and state space of a physical theory are quantum-mechanical. We demonstrate the converse derivation in part, and consider the implications of alternative answers to a remaining open question about (...) nonlocality and bit commitment. (shrink)
In his profound and deeply personal new book, New York Times bestselling author Rob Bell explores the endless dynamic questions and connections that have shaped his life to provide powerful insight into understanding your purpose and place in the world. Our home is a universe of endless dynamic connections that never stop inviting us to participate in the great mysterious love at the heart of it all. Everything is Spiritual is a brief history of how these ideas about creation, love, (...) and connection shaped the author--and can shape every one of us. In this book, Rob Bell explores the concept that what people really want, more than anything, is to understand their purpose here--so much so that it gives them an abiding sense of awe and wonder. And when you embrace where and who you come from and your wounds and pains and regrets, you will discover that there's an invitation lurking there in the mess of life: an invitation to expand just like the universe has been doing for 13 billions years. There is a space beyond all the parts and divisions and differences and polarization where you see that it's all one connected whole and it's all rigged in favor of your growth, expansion, and joy. (shrink)
In 2016, a multidisciplinary body of scholars within the International Commission on Stratigraphy—the Anthropocene Working Group—recommended that the world officially recognize the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch. The most contested claim about the Anthropocene, that humans are a major geological and environmental force on par with natural forces, has proven to be a hotbed for discussion well beyond the science of geology. One reason for this is that it compels many natural and social scientists to confront problems and systems (...) that transgress traditional disciplinary boundaries, and as a result, calls for interdisciplinary research are now gaining traction. Proponents of such transgressions have dubbed the new scientific order that will result “Anthropocene Science”, and rhetoric notwithstanding, such discussions exemplify how recent changes within science justify rethinking a prevailing image of how science is done, and with it, the working relationship between scholars in the humanities, natural scientists, and social scientists. (shrink)
This article examines how the availability of Big Data, coupled with new data analytics, challenges established epistemologies across the sciences, social sciences and humanities, and assesses the extent to which they are engendering paradigm shifts across multiple disciplines. In particular, it critically explores new forms of empiricism that declare ‘the end of theory’, the creation of data-driven rather than knowledge-driven science, and the development of digital humanities and computational social sciences that propose radically different ways to make sense of culture, (...) history, economy and society. It is argued that: Big Data and new data analytics are disruptive innovations which are reconfiguring in many instances how research is conducted; and there is an urgent need for wider critical reflection within the academy on the epistemological implications of the unfolding data revolution, a task that has barely begun to be tackled despite the rapid changes in research practices presently taking place. After critically reviewing emerging epistemological positions, it is contended that a potentially fruitful approach would be the development of a situated, reflexive and contextually nuanced epistemology. (shrink)
The availability, range, cost and quality of food in Western societies have never been more favourable, yet food is also the focus of a great deal of anxiety. There are concerns that our current diets will mean we will get steadily fatter and more unhealthy while consuming ‘junk food', with consequences for our quality of life, our children's behaviour and even the environment. This book challenges these ideas and places the food debate in a wider context. As the political imagination (...) and the scope of social policy have narrowed, the focus on the personal and corporeal has filled this gap, creating an inward, individualised perspective that breeds a personal sense of vulnerability and distracts from issues of broader social importance.The book also examines the current use of ‘food as metaphor’ – the way that ‘bad food’ and obesity, for example, have become code words for an elite disdain for the masses, implicitly promoting the idea that the consequences of poverty are the fault of the poor, and that a solution to the problems of social inequality lies in the consumption of five fruit and veg a day.The author also discusses how health fears around food are used as a lever for greater official control of our everyday lives, from lunchbox inspections and school food crusades, to endless media health advice and scientifically-dubious ‘healthy labelling’ initiatives. The upshot of these connected trends is misplaced anxiety and wasted effort fixing what, for the most part, does not need to be fixed. Our modern food system allows us to be healthier than ever before, while transforming food from fuel into a source of entertainment, pleasure and choice.Rob Lyons is Deputy Editor of Spiked Online. (shrink)
Microbiologists are transitioning from the study and characterization of individual strains or species to the profiling of whole microbiomes and microbial ecology. Equipped with high-throughput methods for studying the taxonomic and functional characteristics of diverse samples, they are just beginning to encounter the conceptual, theoretical, and experimental problems of comparing taxonomy to function, and extracting useful measures from such comparisons. Although still unresolved, these problems are well studied in macro-ecology and are reiterated here as an historical precautionary for microbial ecologists. (...) Beyond expected and unresolved terminological vagueness, we argue that assessments and comparisons of taxonomic and functional profiles in micro-ecology suffer from theoretically unresolvable arbitrariness and ambiguities. We divide these into problems of scale, individuation, and commensurability. We argue that there is no technically/theoretically “correct” scale, individuation, or comparison of taxonomy and function, but there are nonetheless better and worse methodologies for profiling. (shrink)
Koonin, in an article in this issue, claims that CRISPR–Cas systems are mechanisms for the inheritance of acquired adaptive characteristics, and that the operation of such systems comprises a “Lamarckian mode of evolution.” We argue that viewing the CRISPR–Cas mechanism as facilitating a form of “directed mutation” more accurately represents how the system behaves and the history of neoDarwinian thinking, and is to be preferred.
In his paper, “Should the Numbers Count?" John Taurek imagines that we are in a position such that we can either save a group of five people, or we can save one individual, David. We cannot save David and the five. This is because they each require a life-saving drug. However, David needs all of the drug if he is to survive, while the other five need only a fifth each.Typically, people have argued as if there was a choice to (...) be made: either numbers matter, in which case we should save the greater number, or numbers don't matter, but rather there is moral value in giving each person an equal chance of survival, and therefore we should toss a coin. My claim is that we do not have to make a choice in this way. Rather, numbers do matter, but it doesn't follow that we should always save the greater number. And likewise, there is moral value in giving each person an equal chance of survival, but it doesn't follow that we should always toss a coin. (shrink)
The relationship of man himself to his environment is an inseparable part of ecology; for he also is an organism and other organisms are a part of his environment. Ecology, therefore, broadly conceived and rightly understood, instead of being an academic science merely, out of touch with humanistic interests, is really that part of every other biological science which brings it into immediate relation to human kind. The proper place of humans in ecological study has been a recurring issue for (...) ecology. Of course humans are part of Nature writ large, but are they part of the ecologist's nature? The question bothered biologists even before the discipline of ecology was firmly institutionalized.... (shrink)
Expert photographer Rob Sheppard explains the details of Camera Raw, the steps for using it, the workflow process, and certain best practices that demonstrates how Camera Raw can empower the digital photographer. Encouraging you to use it as you see fit, he explores the enhancements in the newest generation and helps you deal with RAW's limitations, manage white balance and exposure, reduce noise and learn to use camera settings that make the most of RAW capabilities.
If culture is defined as variation acquired and maintained by social learning, then culture is common in nature. However, cumulative cultural evolution resulting in behaviors that no individual could invent on their own is limited to humans, song birds, and perhaps chimpanzees. Circumstantial evidence suggests that cumulative cultural evolution requires the capacity for observational learning. Here, we analyze two models the evolution of psychological capacities that allow cumulative cultural evolution. Both models suggest that the conditions which allow the evolution of (...) such capacities when rare are much more stringent than the conditions which allow the maintenance of the capacities when common. This result follows from the fact that the assumed benefit of the capacities, cumulative cultural adaptation, cannot occur when the capacities are rare. These results suggest why such capacities may be rare in nature. (shrink)
In Alastair Norcross argues that scalar consequentialism is the most plausible form of consequentialism, but his arguments are flawed: he is simply mistaken when he suggests that there is a problem with deriving absolutes like right and wrong from gradable properties such as goodness; he cannot justify his claim that the choice of a threshold will always be arbitrary; and his argument only shows that the consequentialist doesn't care about permissibility. Furthermore, I argue that, although Norcross was right to claim (...) that a scalar theory can be action-guiding (to an extent), he was mistaken to think that ought If anything can be said in favour of scalar consequentialism, it is only that it is the most honest form of consequentialism, because it doesn't pretend to care about permissibility. (shrink)
In an essay on performance-enhancing drugs, author Chuck Klosterman (2007) argues that the category of enhancers extends from hallucinogens used to inspire music to steroids used to strengthen athletes—and he criticizes those who would excuse one means of enhancement while railing against the other as a form of cheating: After the summer of 1964, the Beatles started taking serious drugs, and those drugs altered their musical performance. Though it may not have been their overt intent, the Beatles took performance-enhancing drugs. (...) And . . . absolutely no one holds it against them. No one views “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver” as “less authentic” albums, despite the fact that they would not (and probably could .. (shrink)
In this paper (which is, at best, a work in progress), I discuss different modes of scientific explanation identified by philosophers (Hempel, Salmon, Kitcher, Friedman, Hughes) and examine how well or badly they capture the "explanations" of phenomena that modern quantum theory provides. I tentatively conclude that quantum explanation is best seen as "structural explanation", and spell out in detail how this works in the case of explaining vacuum correlations. Problems and prospects for structural explanation in quantum theory are also (...) discussed. (shrink)
It's time to see Photoshop as a tool of your craft This book is not about "fixing it in Photoshop." It's about how you, the serious nature photographer, can use technology to enhance your art. Rob Sheppard sees Photoshop not as an eraser for mistakes and the effects of careless shooting, but as an artist's tool, one that assists you in the craft of producing art from your digital camera. He shows you how to use Photoshop CS2 to extend tonal (...) range, remove color haze, correct lens distortions, create multi-frame panoramas, and so much more--all to reveal the work of art you knew was there all along. * Learn to apply Photoshop techniques to the unique requirements of landscape and nature photography * Be aware of correct exposure when shooting for Photoshop * Use layers to enhance images and correct tonality and color for optimum images * Discover a better way of dodging and burning * Understand midtones and manage color correction with an eye to the finished product * Process images twice in Camera Raw for better shadow and highlight detail * Explore how Photoshop CS2 can support proven techniques used by the masters of traditional nature photography Photoshop offers great power for controlling color so you can get natural, realistic colors that best express what you see in nature Unsharp Mask is unmasked so that you can get the most from this powerful sharpening tool Utilize the best methods of black-and-white conversion. (shrink)
Some conspicuous characteristics of argumentation as we all know this phenomenon from our shared everyday experiences are in my view vital to its theoretical treatment because they should have methodological consequences for the way in which argumentation research is conducted. To start with, argumentation is in the first place a communicative act complex, which is realized by making functional verbal communicative moves.
The present volume contains a collection of papers presented at the 21st annual meeting “Sinn und Bedeutung” of the Gesellschaft fur Semantik, which was held at the University of Edinburgh on September 4th–6th, 2016. The Sinn und Bedeutung conferences are one of the leading international venues for research in formal semantics.
God and Evidence presents a new set of compelling problems for theistic philosophers. The problems pertain to three types of theistic philosopher, which Lovering defines here as 'theistic inferentialists,' 'theistic non-inferentialists,' and 'theistic fideists.' Theistic inferentialists believe that God exists, that there is inferential probabilifying evidence of God's existence, and that this evidence is discoverable not simply in principle but in practice. Theistic non-inferentialists believe that God exists, that there is non-inferential probabilifying evidence of God's existence, and that this evidence (...) is discoverable not simply in principle but in practice. Theistic fideists believe that God exists, that there is no discoverable probabilifying evidence (inferential or non-inferential) of God's existence, and that it is nevertheless acceptable-morally if not otherwise-to have faith that God exists. Lovering argues that each type of theistic philosopher faces a problem unique to his type and that they all share two particular problems. Some of these problems take us down an entirely new discursive path; others down a new discursive path branching off from an old one. (shrink)
Philosophical reflection on quantum field theory has tended to focus on how it revises our conception of what a particle is. However, there has been relatively little discussion of the threat to the "reality" of particles posed by the possibility of inequivalent quantizations of a classical field theory, i.e., inequivalent representations of the algebra of observables of the field in terms of operators on a Hilbert space. The threat is that each representation embodies its own distinctive conception of what a (...) particle is, and how a "particle" will respond to a suitably operated detector. Our main goal is to clarify the subtle relationship between inequivalent representations of a field theory and their associated particle concepts. We also have a particular interest in the Minkowski versus Rindler quantizations of a free Boson field, because they respectively entail two radically different descriptions of the particle content of the field in the *very same* region of spacetime. We shall defend the idea that these representations provide *complementary descriptions* of the same state of the field against the claim that they embody completely *incommensurable theories* of the field. (shrink)
Is prostitution immoral? In this book, Rob Lovering argues that it is not. Offering a careful and thorough critique of the many―twenty, to be exact―arguments for prostitution's immorality, Lovering leaves no claim unchallenged. Drawing on the relevant literature along with his own creative thinking, Lovering offers a clear and reasoned moral defense of the world's oldest profession. Lovering demonstrates convincingly, on both consequentialist and nonconsequentialist grounds, that there is nothing immoral about prostitution between consenting adults. The legal implications of this (...) view are also brought to bear on the current discourse surrounding this controversial topic. (shrink)
Emotion, Sense, Experience calls on historians of emotions and the senses to come together in serious and sustained dialogue. The Element outlines the deep if largely unacknowledged genealogy of historical writing insisting on a braided history of emotions and the senses; explains why recent historical treatments have sometimes profitably but nonetheless unhelpfully segregated the emotions from the senses; and makes a compelling case for the heuristic and interpretive dividends of bringing emotions and sensory history into conversation. Ultimately, we envisage a (...) new way of understanding historical lived experience generally, as a mutable product of a situated world-brain-body dynamic. Such a project necessarily points us towards new interdisciplinary engagement and collaboration, especially with social neuroscience. Unpicking some commonly held assumptions about affective and sensory experience, we re-imagine the human being as both biocultural and historical, reclaiming the analysis of human experience from biology and psychology and seeking new collaborative efforts. (shrink)