Though a chorus of voices has risen to deny the alarm about climate changes during last years, the great majority of the scientific community believe that without further commitment and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, due to human activities the world will have to face a series of climate changes dangerous both for people and the Earth ecosystems. Climate change is thus an ethical issue from many points of view, mainly because those who are and will be most negatively (...) affected are the least responsible for having caused the problem. (shrink)
Climate change has historically been an evolutionary determinant for our species, affecting both hominin evolutionary innovations and extinction rates, and the early waves of migration and expansion outside Africa. Today Homo sapiens has turned itself into a major geological force, able to cause a biodiversity crisis comparable to previous mass extinction events, shaping the Earth surface and impacting biogeochemical cycles and the climate at a global level. We argue that anthropogenically-driven climate change must be understood in terms of a monumental (...) niche construction process, generating long-term ecological inheritance and eco-evolutionary feedbacks that are putting our health and well-being and those of future generations at risk. We then list five major sources of climate change counter-intuitiveness, highlighting how evolved cognitive biases and heuristics may stand in the way of providing effective responses within tight deadlines. Drawing on our framing of the climate breakdown, we finally call for an evolutionary perspective in approaching the adaptive challenge posed by climate change: we argue that putting the brakes on a genuine self-endangering evolutionary trap ultimately depends on our counteractive niche constructing abilities, played at the level of our institutional and innovation capacity. (shrink)
Stefano Predelli comes to the defense of the traditional "formal" approach to natural-language semantics, arguing that it has been misrepresented not only by its critics, but also by its foremost defenders. In Contexts he offers a fundamental reappraisal, with particular attention to the treatment of indexicality and other forms of contextual dependence which have been the focus of much recent controversy. In the process, he presents original approaches to a number of important semantic issues, including the relationship between validity (...) and indexicality, the limits of token-reflexive systems, the significance of contextualist arguments, and the interpretation of attitude reports. Contexts will make invigorating reading for all philosophers of language and many linguists. (shrink)
Stefano Predelli explores the relationships between semantic notions of meaning and truth. He develops a 'Theory of Bias' in order to approach notorious semantic problems, offers a solution to Quine's 'Giorgione' puzzle and a new version of the demonstrative theory quotation, and defends a bare-boned approach to demonstratives and demonstrations.
Paraconsistent Weak Kleene logic is the 3-valued logic with two designated values defined through the weak Kleene tables. This paper is a first attempt to investigate PWK within the perspective and methods of abstract algebraic logic. We give a Hilbert-style system for PWK and prove a normal form theorem. We examine some algebraic structures for PWK, called involutive bisemilattices, showing that they are distributive as bisemilattices and that they form a variety, \, generated by the 3-element algebra WK; we also (...) prove that every involutive bisemilattice is representable as the Płonka sum over a direct system of Boolean algebras. We then study PWK from the viewpoint of AAL. We show that \ is not the equivalent algebraic semantics of any algebraisable logic and that PWK is neither protoalgebraic nor selfextensional, not assertional, but it is truth-equational. We fully characterise the deductive filters of PWK on members of \ and the reduced matrix models of PWK. Finally, we investigate PWK with the methods of second-order AAL—we describe the class \ of PWK-algebras, algebra reducts of basic full generalised matrix models of PWK, showing that they coincide with the quasivariety generated by WK—which differs from \—and explicitly providing a quasiequational basis for it. (shrink)
Stefano Predelli defends a semantics of proper names which has simplicity and common sense in its favour: proper names are non-indexical devices of rigid and direct reference. He grounds this view in accounts of the shape and form of names, and of their introduction within language use, and he responds to widespread misconceptions and objections.
We establish a duality between the category of involutive bisemilattices and the category of semilattice inverse systems of Stone spaces, using Stone duality from one side and the representation of involutive bisemilattices as Płonka sum of Boolean algebras, from the other. Furthermore, we show that the dual space of an involutive bisemilattice can be viewed as a GR space with involution, a generalization of the spaces introduced by Gierz and Romanowska equipped with an involution as additional operation.
In current philosophical discussions on evidence in the medical sciences, epidemiology has been used to exemplify a specific version of evidential pluralism. According to this view, known as the Russo–Williamson Thesis, evidence of both difference-making and mechanisms is produced to make causal claims in the health sciences. In this paper, I present an analysis of data and evidence in epidemiological practice, with a special focus on research on the exposome, and I cast doubt on the extent to which evidential pluralism (...) holds in this case. I start by focusing on the claim that molecular data allows for the production of mechanistic evidence. On the basis of a close look at the ways in which molecular data is used in exposome research, I caution against interpretations in terms of mechanistic evidence. Secondly, I expand my critical remarks on the thesis by addressing the conditions under which data is categorised as evidence in exposome research. I argue that these show that the classification of a dataset as a type of evidence is dependent on the ways in which the data is used. This is in contrast with the approach of evidential pluralism, where evidence is classified in different types on the basis of its intrinsic properties. Finally, I come back to what I consider the core of the thesis and suggest that the epidemiological research analysed in the paper indicates different interpretations of evidential pluralism and its applicability in the health sciences. (shrink)
This article examined how the group membership of the person being judged influenced the level of moral reasoning. Nearly 200 ordinary Italians were given two measures of moral ingroup inclusiveness and the short form of Rest’s Defining Issues Test. The protagonists in the dilemmas were either Italian or Romanian. Overall, the post-conventional score was related to higher inclusiveness. However, respondents with a narrow moral ingroup scored lower on post-conventional reasoning when the protagonists were Romanian than when they were Italian. By (...) contrast, those respondents with an inclusive moral ingroup obtained identical P scores on both types of dilemmas. Inclusiveness of the moral ingroup also mediated the relation of political affiliation and post-conventional reasoning. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIn this paper, I will establish a conversation between Rorty and the recent proposal of post-critical pedagogy. The assumption is that through this dialogue some tenets of the latter could find a Rortyan redescription that avoids the risk of ‘metaphysical’ formulations, whereas Rorty’s ideas can increase in their relevance with respect to education thanks to the post-critical perspective. In particular, the conversation will develop by focusing on the shared attitude towards the critical-negative attitude of poststructuralist thought, the significance of the (...) subject-matter in education and an interpretation of pedagogical hermeneutics through the lens of the Rortyan idea of edification. In the conclusion, by distinguishing two views of hope – an eventist and a transitionalist – it is argued that it is precisely in this theme, which seems to be a privileged meeting ground for Rorty and post-critical pedagogy, that there may lie a major fault line. (shrink)
This paper investigates the effects of Buddhist ethics on consumers’ materialism, that is, the propensity to attach a fundamental role to possessions. The literature shows that religion and religiosity influence various attitudes and behaviors of consumers, including their ethical beliefs and ethical decisions. However, most studies focus on general religiosity rather than on the specific doctrinal ethical tenets of religions. The current research focuses on Buddhism and argues that it can tame materialism directly, similar to other religions, and through the (...) specific Buddhist ethical doctrines of the Four Immeasurables: compassion, loving kindness, empathetic joy, and equanimity. The empirical results show the following: (1) Buddhism reduces materialism directly and through some of the Four Immeasurables, and (2) despite the doctrine of non-existence of the self, positive emotions toward the self are still present, and the self absorbs the effects of Buddhist ethics on materialism. The latter finding suggests a “resistance of the self” that is coherent with the idea of a consumer who leverages the self to go beyond it. (shrink)
This essay aims at neutralizing the contextualist challenge against traditional semantics. According to contextualism, utterances of non-elliptical, non-ambiguous, and non-indexical sentences may be associated with contrasting truth-conditions. In this essay, I grant the contextualist analysis of the sentences in question, and the contextualist assessment of the truth-conditions for the corresponding utterances. I then argue that the resulting situation is by no means incompatible with the traditional approach to semantics, and that the evidence put forth by the contextualists may easily be (...) taken into account by the customary treatment of natural languages. (shrink)
The publication of the Report of the International Bioethics Committee of Unesco on Social responsibility and health provides an opportunity to reshape the conceptual framework of the right to health care and its practical implications. The traditional distinctions between negative and positive, civil-political and economic-social, legal and moral rights are to be questioned and probably overcome if the goal is to pursue ‘the highest attainable standard of health’ as a fundamental human right, that should as such be guaranteed to every (...) human being. What we are called upon to, is the commitment not to exclude now and forever anyone from having access to the ‘excellence’ of scientific and medical progress. Therefore, the addressees of this ‘responsibility’ cannot be just the governments and the states within the limits of their ‘jurisdiction’. The challenge is to tackle at the same time the social and global determinants of health. (shrink)
Skepticism toward the existence of neonatal differential imitation is fostered by views that assign it an excessive significance, making it foundational for social cognition. Moreover, a misleading theoretical framework may generate unwarranted expectations about the kinds of findings experimentalists are supposed to look for. Hence we propose a theoretical analysis that may help experimentalists address the empirical question of whether early differential imitation really exists. We distinguish three models of early imitation. The first posits automatic visuo-motor links evolved for sociocognitive (...) functions and we call it Genetically Programmed Direct Matching. The second is Meltzoff and Moore’s Active Intermodal Matching, which postulates a comparison between the acts of self and other. The third is the alternative we propose and we call it “Association by Similarity Theory”, as it relies on the tacit functioning of this domain-general process. AST describes early imitation merely as the differential induction or elicitation of behaviors that already tend to occur spontaneously. We focus on the contrast between AIM and AST, and argue that AST is preferable to AIM for two reasons. First, AST is more parsimonious and more plausible, especially because it does not require infants to be able to recognize self-other similarities. Second, whereas the extant findings tend to disqualify AIM, AST can account for them adequately. Furthermore, we suggest that AST has the potential to give new impulse to empirical research because it discriminates promising lines of inquiry from unproductive ones. (shrink)
Recently, it has been argued that the use of Big Data transforms the sciences, making data-driven research possible and studying causality redundant. In this paper, I focus on the claim on causal knowledge by examining the Big Data project EXPOsOMICS, whose research is funded by the European Commission and considered capable of improving our understanding of the relation between exposure and disease. While EXPOsOMICS may seem the perfect exemplification of the data-driven view, I show how causal knowledge is necessary for (...) the project, both as a source for handling complexity and as an output for meeting the project’s goals. Consequently, I argue that data-driven claims about causality are fundamentally flawed and causal knowledge should be considered a necessary aspect of Big Data science. In addition, I present the consequences of this result on other data-driven claims, concerning the role of theoretical considerations. I argue that the importance of causal knowledge and other kinds of theoretical engagement in EXPOsOMICS undermine theory-free accounts and suggest alternative ways of framing science based on Big Data. (shrink)
Kant's Notion of "Transcendental Truth". [English] The aim of this work is to elucidate the notion of “transcendental truth” and to show its role in the Kantian system. I will argue that this notion is in line with the traditional definition of truth, i.e., that it consists in the correspondence between knowledge and object. I will also argue that criteria of transcendental truth are provided by transcendental logic, and that it is this notion of truth what makes it possible to (...) establish the truth of a priori knowledge and delimitate the field of empirical truth. [Español] El objetivo de este trabajo es dilucidar la noción de “verdad trascendental” y mostrar su lugar en el sistema kantiano. Se defenderá que la verdad trascendental consiste, en línea con la definición tradicional de verdad, en un sentido de correspondencia entre conocimiento y objeto, que la lógica trascendental establece criterios de verdad trascendental, y que es esta noción de verdad la que permite establecer la verdad del conocimiento a priori y delimitar el territorio de la verdad empírica. (shrink)
The main aim of this paper is that of providing a unified analysis for some interesting uses of quotation marks, including so-called scare quotes. The phenomena exemplified by the cases I discuss have remained relatively unexplored, notwithstanding a growing interest in the behavior of quotation marks. They are, however, of no lesser interest than other, more widely studied effectsachieved with the help of quotationmarks. In particular, as I argue in whatfollows, scare quotes and other similar instances bear interesting relations with (...) someimportant themes in the study of natural languages, such as questions regarding alleged devicesof conventional implicature, cases of so-called metalinguistic negation, and, moregenerally, problems pertaining to the distinction between semantic and pragmatic fieldsof inquiry.In Section 1, I begin with a description of some examples involvingthe uses of quotation marks I intend to discuss, and I hint at some desiderata fortheir analysis. In Section 2, I temporarily abandon quotation marks, and, inspired by therecent work of Stephen Neale and Kent Bach on alleged devices of conventional implicature,I present what I call the theory of message and attachment. In Sections 3 and 4,I return to my initial examples, I employ the theory of message and attachment in theiranalysis, and I discuss certain features regarding the behavior of negation in some related cases. (shrink)
How is scientific data used to represent phenomena and as evidence for claims about phenomena? In this paper, I propose that a specific type of claims – evidential claims – is involved in data practices to define and restrict the representational and evidential content of a dataset. I present an account of data practices in the epidemiology of the exposome based on the notion of evidential claims, which helps unpack the approaches, assumptions and warrants that connect different stages of research. (...) I identify three different strategies to generate different types of evidential claims in this case. The macro strategy, which individuates the dataset that serves as the initial evidential space for research. The micro strategy, which is used to generate evidential claims about the microscopic and individual component of target phenomena. The association strategy, that uses evidence from the other strategies to identify a dataset as representation of the different levels and relations of exposure and disease. Differentiating between these strategies sheds light on the multi-faceted landscape of biomedical research on environment and health; and the roles of data and evidence in the process of inquiry. (shrink)
I present a novel explanation of the apparent truth of certain remarks about fiction, such as an utterance of ''Salieri commissioned the Requiem'' during a discussion of the movie Amadeus. I criticize the traditional view, which alleges that the uttered sentence abbreviates the longer sentence ''it is true in the movie Amadeus that Salieri commissioned the Requiem''. I propose a solution which appeals to some independently motivated results concerning the contexts relevant for the semantic evaluation of indexical expressions.
This paper argues in favor of a treatment of discourse about fiction in terms of operators on character, that is, Kaplanesque ‘monsters’. The first three sections criticize the traditional analysis of ‘according to the fiction’ as an intensional operator, and the approach to fictional discourse grounded on the notion of contextual shifts. The final sections explain how an analysis in terms of monsters yields the correct readings for a variety of examples involving modal and temporal indexicals.
Humans are always interested in distinguishing natural and artificial entities although there is no sharp demarcation between the two categories. Surprisingly, things do not improve when the second type of entities is restricted to the arguably more constrained realm of physical technical artifacts. This paper helps to clarify the relationship between natural entities and technical artifacts by developing a conceptual landscape within which to analyze these notions. The framework is developed by studying three definitions of technical artifact which arise from (...) different perspectives. All these perspectives share two intuitions: that technical artifacts are physical objects that exist by human intervention; and that technical artifacts are entities to be contrasted to natural entities. Yet the perspectives are different in the way they spell out these intuitions: the relevant human intervention may range from intentional selection to intentional production; and the contrast between technical artifacts and natural entities may be introduced by a constitution relation or by defining properties that set technical artifacts apart. The three perspectives are compared and their similarities and dissimilarities are explored with the help of ontological analysis. (shrink)
Płonka sums consist of an algebraic construction similar, in some sense, to direct limits, which allows to represent classes of algebras defined by means of regular identities. Recently, Płonka sums have been connected to logic, as they provide algebraic semantics to logics obtained by imposing a syntactic filter to given logics. In this paper, I present a very general topological duality for classes of algebras admitting a Płonka sum representation in terms of dualisable algebras.
Research has analyzed the relationship between moral identity—the extent to which people experience their moral character as being central to their self-conception—and the inclusion of other people within one’s own moral circle. These studies underline that the higher the moral identity, the larger the moral circle. However, recent studies have observed that a person with a high moral identity feels morally obliged towards close people and may be intolerant towards distant groups. The aim of the present research was to deepen (...) the differences between moral identity and moral inclusion considering prejudicial attitudes, ethnocentrism, altruism and values. The results indicated that moral identity alone does not imply a reduction in intolerant attitudes. Instead, when moral inclusion is considered, the results even show a positive effect of moral identity internalization on prejudice and ethnocentrism. Moreover, moral identity internalization has an effect on values of benevolence, security, tradition and conformity. Hence, a strong moral identity does not denote an extension of one’s own moral circle. Instead, this variable is related to intolerance towards those groups considered not to be included in one’s own moral community. (shrink)
This essay proposes a systematic semantic account of Davidson’s demonstrative theory of pure quotation (Davidson Theory and decision, 11: 27–40, 1979) within a classic Kaplan-style framework for indexical languages (Kaplan 1977). I argue that Davidson’s informal hints must be developed in terms of the idea of ‘character-external’ aspects of meaning, that is, in terms of truth-conditionally idle restrictions on the class of contexts in which quotation marks may appropriately be used. When thus developed, Davidson’s theory may correctly take into account (...) the intuitively special status of disquotational sentences, such as “Boston’ refers to Boston’, and “‘Boston” refers to ‘Boston”, and is thus immune from the important objections recently raised in Cappelen and Lepore 2007. (shrink)
In this article, I defend a meta-normative account of constitutivism by specifically addressing what I take to be a fundamental criticism of the constitutivist stance, namely, the objection that constitutive standards have conceptual, not normative, force, and so that no practical normativity can be extracted from them as constitutive of agency. In reply to this objection, I argue that the conceptual role of the standards constitutive of agency? their applying to us by virtue of our being the kinds of creatures (...) we are? does not exclude, but rather combines with, the normative role the same standards play in our practical life. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend a view of names from fiction compatible with the Millian theory of proper names. Unlike other attempts at providing a Millian analysis of names from fiction, my approach gives semantic recognition to our pre‐theoretic intuitions without postulating metaphysically dubious entities. The intuitively correct treatment of typical examples, including true negative existential statements, is obtained by appealing only to independently motivated results in the semantics for natural languages.
This essay proposes a novel semantic account of demonstratives, aimed at clarifying the sense in which demonstratives are semantically dependent on demonstrations. Its first two sections summarize the main views currently on the market. Section 3 argues that they are all vitiated by the same shortcomings, and yield incorrect results of ‘truth in virtue of character’ and entailment. Section 4 proposes a different account of the relationships between demonstratives and demonstrations, grounded on the idea of truth-conditionally irrelevant aspects of the (...) meaning of certain expressions. The resulting view of demonstratives is consonant with the so-called ‘bare boned’ account of their truth-conditional role, but is also in the position to recognize that the dependence of a demonstrative on a demonstration is, in some sense of the term, meaning-governed. The final section of this essay discusses the distinction between ‘vacuous’ and ‘incomplete’ uses of demonstratives, and cases involving multiple occurrences of these expressions. (shrink)
Il volume raccoglie il lavoro di ricerca, di analisi e di commento, dedicati ai "Dialoghi Italiani" di Giordano Bruno, che è stato presentato quale tesi di dottorato in filosofia presso l'Università degli studi di Padova, nel febbraio del 2002. Il testo comprende un confronto fra la tradizione dei testi aristotelici della "Metafisica", "Fisica" e "Il cielo" ed i testi in volgare di Giordano Bruno, analizza i testi bruniani giungendo alla scoperta del principio dell'infinito creativo e doppiamente dialettico e presenta una (...) panoramica delle principali interpretazioni fornite al pensiero bruniano durante l'800 ed il '900. (shrink)