Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', 'objectivity in political (...) economy', 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
On Anselmian theism, God is, amongst other things, a necessary being. On genuine modal realism, possible worlds are maximal mereological sums of spatiotemporally connected individuals. I argue in this paper that AT and GMR are either incompatible or their conjunction leads to—amongst other things—modal collapse. Specifically, I argue: regardless of whether God is concrete or abstract, His necessary existence either is inconsistent with AT-GMR or it leads to, amongst other things, modal collapse for AT-GMR. I conclude the paper by contending (...) that, if I am correct, the ATist will have an argument against the truth of GMR, and the GMRist will have an argument against the truth of AT. (shrink)
In Being and Worth Andrew Collier argues that beings both in the natural and human worlds have worth in themselves, whether we recognize it or not. He builds on recent work in critical realism to provide a reassessment of Spinoza's philosophy of mind and ethics. Conclusions are developed with particular reference to environmental ethics.
Since the origins of the notion of emergence in attempts to recover the content of vitalistic anti-reductionism without its questionable metaphysics, emergence has been treated in terms of logical properties. This approach was doomed to failure, because logical properties are either sui generis or they are constructions from other logical properties. If the former, they do not explain on their own and are inevitably somewhat arbitrary (the problem with the related concept of supervenience, Collier, 1988a), but if the latter, (...) reducibility is assured because logical constructs are reducible, by definition, to their logical components. A satisfactory account of emergence must recognise that it is a dynamical, not a logical property of property of natural systems, and that its basis is dynamical rather than logical composition. Collier (1988a) introduced the concept of cohesion as the closure of the causal relations among the dynamical parts of a dynamical particular that determine its resistance to external and internal fluctuations that might disrupt its integrity. Cohesion is an equivalence relation that partitions a set of dynamical particulars into unified and distinct entities, providing the identity conditions for such particulars. Cohesion blocks reduction of dynamical particulars, and is necessary for dynamical emergence. We will give reasons for thinking that cohesion might be sufficient for emergence as well. (shrink)
As was announced at the beginning of this volume of Business Ethics: A European Review, the current editor is retiring from the editorship at the end of this year. It gives him great pleasure to announce that he will be succeeded as Editor of the Review by Dr Jane Collier, of the Judge Institute, Cambridge. In this invited article Dr Collier offers some reflections on how she envisages the future of the Review.
Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council offered criteria for excellence in research which appear to express a shared basic idea of research–as–dialogue. This approach does not appear to be met very well by business ethics research in the USA or the UK, but it was seen to be impressively present in some of the German contributions to the European Business Ethics Network conference held in Frankfurt last year. Dr Collier analyses the conditions which may underlie this difference of approach (...) and considers the contribution of modern “discourse ethics to the process of dialogue, concluding that dialogue “is an essential characteristic of research excellence”, and that without it we therefore fail to meet both our own standards and the needs of the business community”. Dr Collier is Lecturer in Management Studies the Judge Institute of Management Studies at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College. (shrink)
Andrew Collier analyses recent cooperation between Christianity and Marxism after earlier years of antagonism. He first discusses the nature of Christianity and Marxism and their place amongst contemporary world views, before looking at areas of apparent conflict and possible reconciliation. This groundbreaking work will be of interest to those involved in philosophy, theology, politics and Marxism.
This volume develops and defends critical realism whilst engaging critically with existentialist philosophy in a number of ways. The work of existentialist thinkers as diverse as Kierkegarrd, R.D. Laing, Heideggar and Sartre is discussed at length and Andrew Collier argues that there is much to be learnt from their work, especially in Heidegger's critique of the technological view of the world. However the book concludes with a defence of objectivity against the various forms of subjectivism advanced by the existentialists.
Religious and Ethical Perspectives on Global Migration examines the complicated social ethics of migration in today's world. Editors Elizabeth W. Collier and Charles R. Strain bring the perspectives of an international group of scholars toward a theory of justice and ethical understanding for the nearly two hundred million migrants who have left their homes seeking asylum from political persecution, greater freedom and safety, economic opportunity, or reunion with family members.
This book expounds the transcendental realist theory of science and critical naturalist social philosophy that have been developed by Bhaskar and are used by many contemporary social scientists. It defends Bhaskar's view that the possibility and necessity of experiment show that reality is structured and stratified, his use of this idea to develop a non-reductive explanatory account of human sciences, and his notion that to explain social structures can sometimes be to criticize them. After a discussion of the uses of (...) critical realism in controversial areas of social science, Bhaskar's optimism about the prospects of human sciences is criticized. (shrink)
Both natural and engineered systems are fundamentally dynamical in nature: their defining properties are causal, and their functional capacities are causally grounded. Among dynamical systems, an interesting and important sub-class are those that are autonomous, anticipative and adaptive (AAA). Living systems, intelligent systems, sophisticated robots and social systems belong to this class, and the use of these terms has recently spread rapidly through the scientific literature. Central to understanding these dynamical systems is their complicated organisation and their consequent capacities for (...) re- and self- organisation. But there is at present no general analysis of these capacities or of the requisite organisation involved. We define what distinguishes AAA systems from other kinds of systems by characterising their central properties in a dynamically interpreted information theory. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to create a framework which can serve as a guide to the understanding of organizational ethicality. This is done by linking ethical and organizational theory. Organizational ethicality is about “being” as well as “doing”: relevant ethical theory is therefore both substantive (agent-centred, concerned with the “good”) as well as procedural (act-centred, concerned with the “right” in the sense of the moral or just thing to do). The ethical theories of Alasdair MacIntyre and Jurgen Habermas, (...) as representatives of these two traditions, are mapped onto a framework which characterises organizations as assemblages of practices supported by a climate embedded within an organizational culture. Organizational practice is articulated and given meaning within a discourse of “sensemaking” in which narrative creates spacetime links between people and events. Within that same communicative climate practices are evaluated and decisions taken. This theoretical framework is specified in such a way as to highlight the parallels withthe ethical theories of MacIntyre, who uses notions of practice, tradition and the narrative unity of moral experience to create an ethical theory of the “good,” and Habermas, who spells out the process of moral argumentation by which consensus on the “just” or“right” is reached. Some possibilities for further research are suggested at the end of the paper. (shrink)
We propose an objective and justifiable ethics that is contingent on the truth of evolutionary theory. We do not argue for the truth of this position, which depends on the empirical question of whether moral functions form a natural class, but for its cogency and possibility. The position we propose combines the advantages of Kantian objectivity with the explanatory and motivational advantages of moral naturalism. It avoids problems with the epistemological inaccessibility of transcendent values, while avoiding the relativism or subjectivism (...) often associated with moral naturalism. Our position emerges out of criticisms of the contemporary sociobiological views of morality found in the writings of Richard Alexander, Michael Ruse, and Robert Richards. (shrink)
Anticipation allows a system to adapt to conditions that have not yet come to be, either externally to the system or internally. Autonomous systems actively control their own conditions so as to increase their functionality (they self-regulate). Living systems self-regulate in order to increase their own viability. These increasingly stronger conditions, anticipation, autonomy and viability, can give an insight into progressively stronger classes of models of autonomy. I will argue that stronger forms are the relevant ones for Artificial Life. This (...) has consequences for the design of and accurate simulation of living systems. Keywords: autonomy, modelling, function, simulation, anticipation, emergence DUBOIS’ CONJECTURE Autonomy basically means self-regulation. Self-regulation implies internal control of system states to achieve greater functionality, either internally or interactively with the environment. Functionality, as a teleological notion, implies that the system must be directed by likely future states; that is, it must anticipate and (possibly) adapt to likely future states. Functionality does not require autonomy (assuming functional goals are externally set), but merely that current states of the system can select suitable future states on the basis of suitable input. In this.. (shrink)
Evolutionary moral realism is the view that there are moral values with roots in evolution that are both specifically moral and exist independently of human belief systems. In beginning to sketch the outlines of such a view, we examine moral goods like fairness and empathetic caring as valuable and real aspects of the environments of species that are intelligent and social, or at least developing along an evolutionary trajectory that could lead to a level of intelligence that would enable individual (...) members of the species to recognize and respond to such things as the moral goods they in fact are. We suggest that what is most morally interesting and important from a biological perspective is the existence and development of such trajectories, rather than the position of one particular species, such as our own, on one particular trajectory. (shrink)
Daniel R. Brooks and E. O. Wiley have proposed a theory of evolution in which fitness is merely a rate determining factor. Evolution is driven by non-equilibrium processes which increase the entropy and information content of species together. Evolution can occur without environmental selection, since increased complexity and organization result from the likely capture at the species level of random variations produced at the chemical level. Speciation can occur as the result of variation within the species which decreases the probability (...) of sharing genetic information. Critics of the Brooks-Wiley theory argue that they have abused terminology from information theory and t thermodynamics. In this paper I review the essentials of the theory, and give an account of hierarchical physical information systems within which the theory can be interpreted. I then show how the major conceptual objections can be answered. (shrink)
This paper argues that human beings possess the rational capabilities necessary to achieve the goal of more just and peaceable social orders, but that our educational institutions are failing in their responsibility to do what in fact can be done to produce graduates who make decisions in ways most likely to achieve this goal.Data compiled by us, consistent with other research, indicates that only a small percentage of the individuals graduating from universities and professional schools have developed the capacity for (...) post-conventional moral reasoning. (shrink)
A system is autonomous if it uses its own information to modify itself and its environment to enhance its survival, responding to both environmental and internal stimuli to modify its basic functions to increase its viability. Autonomy is the foundation of functionality, intentionality and meaning. Autonomous systems accommodate the unexpected through self-organizing processes, together with some constraints that maintain autonomy. Early versions of autonomy, such as autopoiesis and closure to efficient cause, made autonomous systems dynamically closed to information. This contrasts (...) with recent work on open systems and information dynamics. On our account, autonomy is a matter of degree depending on the relative organization of the system and system environment interactions. A choice between third person openness and first person closure is not required. (shrink)
This paper addresses questions of ethics in the professional practice of architecture. It begins by discussing possible relationships between ethics and aesthetics. It then theorises ethics within concepts of 'practice', and argues for the importance of the context in architecture where narrative can be used to learn and to integrate past and present experience. Narrative reflection also takes in the future, and in the case of architecture there is a positive but not yet well accepted move (particularly within the 'academy') (...) to realise the imperative nature of architecture's responsibility with respect of global sustainability. Architects, more perhaps than other professions, use the faculty of imagination in their work, and this paper therefore maintains that architects as artists are uniquely qualified to exercise 'moral imagination' when it comes to situations where moral deliberation is needed. Pragmatism has given a new impetus to the importance of imagination in moral reflection, and I focus on John Dewey's categories of 'empathy' and 'dramatic rehearsal' as descriptors of moral imagination as applied in situations. I argue in conclusion firstly that empathy between end-users and architects is an essential but not always realised part of morality in architecture, and secondly that 'dramatic rehearsal', when extended more widely that a given situation, may lead architects to question the social, political and ecological contexts of their work and thus motivate them to prioritise the 'ethical' in all the choices they make. (shrink)
Complex systems are dynamic and may show high levels of variability in both space and time. It is often difficult to decide on what constitutes a given complex system, i.e., where system boundaries should be set, and what amounts to substantial change within the system. We discuss two central themes: the nature of system definitions and their ability to cope with change, and the importance of system definitions for the mental metamodels that we use to describe and order ideas about (...) system change. Systems can only be considered as single study units if they retain their identity. Previous system definitions have largely ignored the need for both spatial and temporal continuity as essential attributes of identity. After considering the philosophical issues surrounding identity and system definitions, we examine their application to modeling studies. We outline a set of five alternative metamodels that capture a range of the basic dynamics of complex systems. Although Holling’s adaptive cycle is a compelling and widely applicable metamodel that fits many complex systems, there are systems that do not necessarily follow the adaptive cycle. We propose that more careful consideration of system definitions and alternative metamodels for complex systems will lead to greater conceptual clarity in the field and, ultimately, to more rigorous research. (shrink)
Organizations in changing environments need to become flexible, responsive and participative. We develop an understanding of governance in these organizations by drawing analogies between organization theory and theories of non-linear dynamics. We identify freedom and creativity as driving principles in 'chaotic' participative organizations, and explore the ethics of their exercise within organizational communities of practice, communities of discernment and communities of commitment.
In Book I, part iv, section 2 of the Treatise, "Of scepticism with regard to the senses," Hume presents two different answers to the question of how we come to believe in the continued existence of unperceived objects. He rejects his first answer shortly after its formulation, and the remainder of the section articulates an alternative account of the development of the belief. The account that Hume adopts, however, is susceptible to a number of insurmountable objections, which motivates a reassessment (...) of his original proposal. This paper defends a version of Hume's initial explanation of the belief in continued existence and examines some of its philosophical implications. (shrink)
Economic logic impinges on contemporary political theory through both economic reductionism and economic methodology applied to political decision-making (through game theory). The authors argue that the sort of models used are based on mechanistic and linear methodologies that have now been found wanting in physics. They further argue that complexity based self-organization methods are better suited to model the complexities of economy and polity and their interactions with the overall social system.
David Hume endorses three claims that are difficult to reconcile: (1) sympathy with those in distress is sufficient to produce compassion towards their plight, (2) adopting the general point of view often requires us to sympathize with the pain and suffering of distant strangers, but (3) our care and concern is limited to those in our close circle. Hume manages to resolve this tension, however, by distinguishing two types of sympathy. We feel compassion towards those around us because associative sympathy (...) causes us to mirror their pain and suffering, but our ability to enter into the afflictions of those remote from us involves cognitive sympathy and merely requires us to reflect upon how we would feel in their shoes. This hybrid theory of sympathy receives support from recent work on affective mirroring and cognitive pretense. Hume’s account should appeal to contemporary researchers, therefore, who are interested in the nature of moral imagination. (shrink)
Every manifestation of information, semiosis and meaning we have been able to study experimentally has a physical form. Neglect of their dynamical (energetic) ground tends towards dualism or idealism, leaving the causal basis of semiosis and the causal powers of representations mysterious. Consideration of the necessary physical requirements for the embodiment of semiotic categories imposes a discipline on semiotics required for its integration into the rest of science, especially for the emerging field of biosemiotics, as well as any future extensions (...) to chemistry physics or other realms that might constitute a general, primal semiotics. Without this discipline, or something equally strong, there is a risk of projection of anthropomorphic semiotic terminology onto unsuitable hosts, leading, if unchecked, to the sort of animism that biology in particular has only recently escaped. The problem is suspect whenever teleological notions are used outside of mental or social contexts.1 Although our animistic ancestors may have had a closer rapport with Nature than modern scientists, contemporary scientific explanation requires an understanding of causal structure (Salmon 1984). On the other hand, unless the causal rendition of semiosis can capture full blown cognitive semiosis, it is likely to be too restrictive for the evaluation of primal semiosis in general. (shrink)
We must rethink our assessment of Hume’s theory of probabilistic inference. Hume scholars have traditionally dismissed his naturalistic explanation of how we make inferences under conditions of uncertainty; however, psychological experiments and computer models from cognitive science provide substantial support for Hume’s account. Hume’s theory of probabilistic inference is far from obsolete or outdated; on the contrary, it stands at the leading edge of our contemporary science of the mind.
Integrating concepts of maintenance and of origins is essential to explaining biological diversity. The unified theory of evolution attempts to find a common theme linking production rules inherent in biological systems, explaining the origin of biological order as a manifestation of the flow of energy and the flow of information on various spatial and temporal scales, with the recognition that natural selection is an evolutionarily relevant process. Biological systems persist in space and time by transfor ming energy from one state (...) to another in a manner that generates structures which allows the system to continue to persist. Two classes of energetic transformations allow this; heat-generating transformations, resulting in a net loss of energy from the system, and conservative transformations, changing unusable energy into states that can be stored and used subsequently. All conservative transformations in biological systems are coupled with heat-generating transformations; hence, inherent biological production, or genealogical proesses, is positively entropic. There is a self-organizing phenomenology common to genealogical phenomena, which imparts an arrow of time to biological systems. Natural selection, which by itself is time-reversible, contributes to the organization of the self-organized genealogical trajectories. The interplay of genealogical (diversity-promoting) and selective (diversity-limiting) processes produces biological order to which the primary contribution is genealogical history. Dynamic changes occuring on times scales shorter than speciation rates are microevolutionary; those occuring on time scales longer than speciation rates are macroevolutionary. Macroevolutionary processes are neither redicible to, nor autonomous from, microevolutionary processes. (shrink)
The first half of Annette Baier's book opens up a fascinating new area of Hume scholarship. We all know that Hume wore two hats, as a philosopher and a historian. But what exactly is the relationship between his general philosophical writings and his History of England? In particular, what can his portrayals of influential monarchs and religious leaders, such as Oliver Cromwell or Bishop Tunstal, teach us about his philosophical commitments?
In Book I, Part I, Section VII of the Treatise, Hume sets out to settle, once and for all, the early modern controversy over abstract ideas. In order to do so, he tries to accomplish two tasks: (1) he attempts to defend an exemplar-based theory of general language and thought, and (2) he sets out to refute the rival abstraction-based account. This paper examines the successes and failures of these two projects. I argue that Hume manages to articulate a plausible (...) theory of general ideas; indeed, a version of his account has defenders in contemporary cognitive science. But Hume fails to refute the abstraction-based account, and as a result, the early modern controversy ends in a stalemate, with both sides able to explain how we manage to speak and think in general terms. Although Hume fails to settle the controversy, he nevertheless advances it to a point from which we have yet to progress: the contemporary debate over abstract ideas in cognitive science has stalled on precisely this point. (shrink)
Abstract Many anticipatory systems cannot in themselves act meaningfully or represent intentionally. This stems largely from the derivative nature of their functionality. All current artificial control systems, and many living systems such as organs and cellular parts of organisms derive any intentionality they might have from their designers or possessors. Derivative functionality requires reference to some external autonomously functional system, and derivative intentionality similarly requires reference to an external autonomous intentional system. The importance of autonomy can be summed up in (...) the following slogan: No meaning without intention; no intention without function; no function without autonomy. This paper develops the role of autonomy to show how learning new tasks is facilitated by autonomy, and further by representational capacities that are functional for autonomy. (shrink)
Formal pragmatics plays an important, though secondary, role in modern analytical philosophy of language: its aim is to explain how context can affect the meaning of certain special kinds of utterances. During recent years, the adequacy of formal tools has come under attack, often leading to one or another form of relativism or antirealism.1 Our aim will be to extend the critique to formal pragmatics while showing that sceptical conclusions can be avoided by developing a different approach to the issues. (...) In particular, we will show that formal pragmatics cannot provide a complete account of how context affects the meaning of utterances, both on its own terms and when faced with evidence of important aspects of natural languages. The focal issue is the relevant kind of context in which pragmatics should examine utterances. Our contention will be that the relevant context of an utterance is determined by the function of that utterance, this function being dependent upon the primary function of language – to convey information. We will argue that the functions of utterances and of language are too broad to be caught by the tools of formal pragmatics of the sort advocated by Montague (1968, 1974), which are an extension the methods of traditional model-theoretic semantics.2 The particular formal approach we will use as the main example is David Kaplan’s position (1979, 1989),3 an extension of Montague’s program. (shrink)
Progress has become a suspect concept in evolutionary biology, not the least because the core concepts of neo-Darwinism do not support the idea that evolution is progressive. There have been a number of attempts to account for directionality in evolution through additions to the core hypotheses of neo-Darwinism, but they do not establish progressiveness, and they are somewhat of an ad hoc collection. The standard account of fitness and adaptation can be rephrased in terms of information theory. From this, an (...) information of adaptation can be defined in terms of a fitness function. The information of adaptation is a measure of the mutual information between biota and their environment. If the actual state of adaptation lags behind the state of optimal adaptation, then it is possible for the information of adaptation to increase indefinitely. Since adaptations are functional, this suggests the possibility of progressive evolution in the sense of increasing adaptation. Keywords: evolution, information, adaptation, fitness, entropy, progress.. (shrink)
We find symmetry attractive. It interests us. Symmetry is often an indicator of the deep structure of things, whether they be natural phenomena, or the creations of artists. For example, the most fundamental conservation laws of physics are all based in symmetry. Similarly, the symmetries found in religious art throughout the world are intended to draw attention to deep spiritual truths. Not only do we find symmetry pleasing, but its discovery is often also surprising and illuminating as well. For these (...) reasons, we are inclined to think that symmetries are informative, and that symmetries contain information. On the other hand, symmetries represent a kind of invariance under transformation. Such invariance implies that symmetrical things contain redundancies. Redundancy, in turn, implies that the information content of a symmetrical structure or configuration is less than that of a similar nonsymmetrical structure. Symmetry, then, entails a reduction in information content. These considerations present us with somewhat of a paradox: On the one hand, many symmetries that we find in the world are surprising, and surprise indicates informativeness. On the other hand, the surprise value of information arises because it presents us with the unexpected or improbable, but symmetries, far from creating the unexpected, ensure that the known can be extended through invariant transformations. How can this paradox be resolved? (shrink)
Functionality is essential to any form of anticipation beyond simple directedness at an end. In the literature on function in biology, there are two distinct approaches. One, the etiological view, places the origin of function in selection, while the other, the organizational view, individuates function by organizational role. Both approaches have well-known advantages and disadvantages. I propose a reconciliation of the two approaches, based in an interactivist approach to the individuation and stability of organisms. The approach was suggested by Kant (...) in the Critique of Judgment, but since it requires, on his account, the identification a new form of causation, it has not been accessible by analytical techniques. I proceed by construction of the required concept to fit certain design requirements. This construction builds on concepts introduced in my previous four talks to these meetings. (shrink)
ROBERT LARMER ARGUED THAT EVEN IF ALL PHYSICAL EVENTS ARE SUBJECT TO DETERMINISTIC NATURAL LAWS, MIRACLES ARE POSSIBLE. HE CONCLUDED THAT BECAUSE MIRACLES AND NATURAL LAWS ARE COMPATIBLE, HUME’S ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE RATIONALITY OF BELIEF IN MIRACLES IS FALLACIOUS. I FIRST SHOW THAT EVEN IF LARMER’S ARGUMENT FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF MIRACLES IS CORRECT, IT DOES NOT TOUCH HUME’S ARGUMENT. I THEN ARGUE THAT LARMER’S ARGUMENT IS MISTAKEN.