In their “Free Will and the Bounds of the Self”, Knobe and Nichols try to get at the root of the discomfort that people feel when confronted with the picture of the mind that characterizes contemporary cognitive science in order to establish whether such discomfort is warranted or not. Their conclusion is that people’s puzzlement cannot be dismissed as a product of confusion, for it stems from some fundamental aspects of their conception of the self. In this paper I suggest, (...) contrary to their conclusion, that there is a sense in which the skeptical worries about responsibility elicited by the computer model of the mind do result from confusion. Those worries can be traced back to an irrational over-generalization concerning the scope of cognitive science and the alleged exhaustiveness of the range of facts formulated in its vocabulary. (shrink)
In this article, the theory of argumentation set out by the Dutch scholars Frans van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst is brought to bear in subjecting the general form of the argument from coherence to a critical analysis. First, a distinction is brought out between two basic kinds of argument from coherence: in one use this argumentative structure occurs as a sequence of two arguments establishing that a standpoint constitutes a particular instantiation or a inherent quality of the system it will (...) become part of (symptomatic argument); in the other use we have a main symptomatic argument supported by a subordinate argument appealing to instrumental considerations (pragmatic argument). It is then claimed that arguments from coherence are complex types of argumentation, structured at various argumentative levels, where the premises must be taken together to yield an adequate defence of the conclusion (coordinative argumentation). Finally, an evaluative assessment is made as to whether arguments from coherence can serve acceptably as tools for settling disputes: it will be maintained that we can generally welcome these argumentative structures as sound and fully acceptable provided we are aware of the interpretive discretion their use entails. (shrink)
In this paper we present a method to reduce the decision problem of several infinite-valued propositional logics to their finite-valued counterparts. We apply our method to Łukasiewicz, Gödel and Product logics and to some of their combinations. As a byproduct we define sequent calculi for all these infinite-valued logics and we give an alternative proof that their tautology problems are in co-NP.
Di Bella and Schmaltz write in their introduction that the early modern problem of universals originates largely in a turn away from ancient and late-medieval problems. The modern problem, they suggest, investigates universals by asking what it means to include them as contents of our thoughts. The collection of essays that follows demonstrates persuasively, however, that we should resist the impulse, no matter how heuristic, to regard each era as having its own—much less a single—problem of universals. Despite the variety (...) and interest of other contributions to the collection, I focus here on essays that display greater continuity among the eras, and on two essays addressing thinkers whose position on... (shrink)
The editors of this bulky volume tell us that an issue of the Stanford Humanities Review ‘constituted the seed of the project that culminated in this book’ (vii). They don’t say that it was the Spring 1995 issue of that pioneering open-access e-journal, nor do they tell us how many or which of the 19 papers in this book derive from it. But since that issue is still online (as at August 28, 2006), at http://www.stanford.edu/group/SHR/4-2/text/toc.html, any reader can see that (...) 12 of its 15 papers have been reprinted almost unaltered here, a decade later, while in addition almost all of the editors’ 1995 introduction appears again in their expanded text. (shrink)
Upshot: Written by recognized experts in their fields, the book is a set of essays that deals with the influences of early cybernetics, computational theory, artificial intelligence, and connectionist networks on the historical development of computational-representational theories of cognition. In this review, I question the relevance of computability arguments and Jonasian phenomenology, which has been extensively invoked in recent discussions of autopoiesis and Ashby’s homeostats. Although the book deals only indirectly with constructivist approaches to cognition, it is useful reading for (...) those interested in machine-based models of mind. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell's contributions to last century's philosophy and, in particular, to the philosophy of mathematics cannot be overestimated.Russell, besides being, with Frege and G.E. Moore, one of the founding fathers of analytical philosophy, played a major rôle in the development of logicism, one of the oldest and most resilient1 programmes in the foundations of mathematics.Among his many achievements, we need to mention the discovery of the paradox that bears his name and the identification of its logical nature; the generalization to (...) the whole of mathematics of Frege's idea that it is not possible to draw a demarcation line between logic and arithmetic; the programme, carried out with Whitehead, of derivation of mathematics from the logical system of Principia Mathematica ; and the ramified theory of types, devised by Russell to protect the system of PM from the known paradoxes.Although there is an ample literature on these topics, it is quite important to reconsider Russell's contributions to the foundations of mathematics at a time when, as a consequence of the crisis of the classical programmes in the foundations of mathematics, new trends are beginning to develop within the philosophy of mathematics. These are trends which move in a very different direction from that of logicism, intuitionism, and Hilbert's programme.To see this we need to consider that, in spite of profound disagreements on the nature of mathematical activity, on the relationship existing between logic and mathematics, on the causes of and therapies for the paradoxes, etc., logicism, intuitionism, and Hilbert's programme share an important metaphor: the idea that mathematics is an edifice built on unshakable foundations,2 an edifice which makes possible only a cumulative growth of mathematical knowledge.Such a metaphor—which, together with more specific theses belonging to these schools of thought, remained unsupported …. (shrink)
This book will be of considerable interest to those familiar with Hellenistic philosophy generally and with Cicero’s philosophical dialogues in particular. Maso’s close readings of the primary texts produce many valuable insights into Cicero’s philosophical worldview and his complex and nuanced attitude toward Epicurean physics, theology, epistemology, and ethics. One of the central themes of the work is the tempering of Cicero’s devotion to the primacy of the political life. Maso aims to show how this is reflected over time in (...) his attitude toward Epicureanism, while he struggles against the political realities that excluded him from playing the civic role he craved and that eventually cost him his life. Indeed, we... (shrink)