Machine generated contents note: -- Chapter 1. A Short View of Ignorance -- Chapter 2. Finding Out -- Chapter 3. Limits, Uncertainty, Impossibility, and Other Minor Problems -- Chapter 4. Unpredicting -- Chapter 5. The Quality of Ignorance -- Chapter 6. Ignorance in Action: Case Histories -- Chapter 7. Ignorance beyond the Lab.
Bentham.--Coleridge.--M. de Tocqueville on democracy in America.--On liberty.--Utilitarianism.--From Considerations on representative government.--From An examination of Sir William Hamilton's philosophy, volume 1.--From Three essays on religion.--John Stuart Mill, a select bibliography (p. -530).
Matthew Stuart offers a fresh interpretation of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, arguing for the work's profound contribution to metaphysics. He presents new readings of Locke's accounts of personal identity and the primary/secondary quality distinction, and explores Locke's case against materialism and his philosophy of action.
In this highly relevant and important contribution to the debate on the future of the welfare state, Stuart White reconsiders the principles of economic citizenship appropriate to a democratic society, and explores the radical implications of these principles for public policy.
We might think that thought experiments are at their most powerful or most interesting when they produce new knowledge. This would be a mistake; thought experiments that seek understanding are just as powerful and interesting, and perhaps even more so. A growing number of epistemologists are emphasizing the importance of understanding for epistemology, arguing that it should supplant knowledge as the central notion. In this chapter, I bring the literature on understanding in epistemology to bear on explicating the different ways (...) that thought experiments increase three important kinds of understanding: explanatory, objectual and practical. (shrink)
Stuart M. Shieber’s name is well known to computational linguists for his research and to computer scientists more generally for his debate on the Loebner Turing Test competition, which appeared a decade earlier in Communications of the ACM. 1 With this collection, I expect it to become equally well known to philosophers.
Despite protestations to the contrary, philosophers have always been renowned for espousing theories that do violence to common-sense opinion. In the last twenty years or so there has been a growing number of philosophers keen to follow in this tradition. According to these philosophers, if a story of pure fic-tion tells us that an individual exists, then there really is such an individual. According to these realists about fictional characters, ‘Scarlett O’Hara,’ ‘Char-lie Brown,’ ‘Batman,’ ‘Superman,’ ‘Tweedledum’ and ‘Tweedledee’ are not (...) denotationless terms, but names that really refer. What is truly surprising about this situation is that almost no one has inveighed against this unfortunate real-ist tendency. My aim here will be to challenge this new orthodoxy, and to defend an anti-realist position against the arguments proffered by the realist. (shrink)
What role does the imagination play in scientific progress? After examining several studies in cognitive science, I argue that one thing the imagination does is help to increase scientific understanding, which is itself indispensable for scientific progress. Then, I sketch a transcendental justification of the role of imagination in this process.
Sometimes we learn through the use of imagination. The epistemology of imagination asks how this is possible. One barrier to progress on this question has been a lack of agreement on how to characterize imagination; for example, is imagination a mental state, ability, character trait, or cognitive process? This paper argues that we should characterize imagination as a cognitive ability, exercises of which are cognitive processes. Following dual process theories of cognition developed in cognitive science, the set of imaginative processes (...) is then divided into two kinds: one that is unconscious, uncontrolled, and effortless, and another that is conscious, controlled, and effortful. This paper outlines the different epistemological strengths and weaknesses of the two kinds of imaginative process, and argues that a dual process model of imagination helpfully resolves or clarifies issues in the epistemology of imagination and the closely related epistemology of thought experiments. (shrink)
The prescription that lays down how one ought to reason in moral matters is normally supported by a more general account of reasoning, which suggests limits upon what can be counted as reasoning of any kind, whether practical or theoretical. If, for example, one accepts, or presupposes, a Cartesian theory of reasoning, the normal case of reasoning is apt to be represented as conscious and explicit inference from one more or less clear idea to another in a set of distinguishable (...) steps. The distinguishable steps are the feature that I wish to stress now. Given this Cartesian account, the normal case of rational deliberation before decision will also be represented as more or less explicit inference from one idea, or proposition, to another in successive, distinct steps. (shrink)
Over the last fifty years, traditional farming has been replaced by industrial farming. Unlike traditional farming, industrial farming is abhorrently cruel to animals, environmentally destructive, awful for rural America, and wretched for human health. In this essay, I document those facts, explain why the industrial system has become dominant, and argue that we should boycott industrially produced meat. Also, I argue that we should not even kill animals humanely for food, given our uncertainty about which creatures possess a right to (...) life. In practice, then, we should be vegetarians. To underscore the importance of these issues, I use statistics to show that industrial farming has caused more pain and suffering than the Holocaust. (shrink)
I claim that one way thought experiments contribute to scientific progress is by increasing scientific understanding. Understanding does not have a currently accepted characterization in the philosophical literature, but I argue that we already have ways to test for it. For instance, current pedagogical practice often requires that students demonstrate being in either or both of the following two states: 1) Having grasped the meaning of some relevant theory, concept, law or model, 2) Being able to apply that theory, concept, (...) law or model fruitfully to new instances. Three thought experiments are presented which have been important historically in helping us pass these tests, and two others that cause us to fail. Then I use this operationalization of understanding to clarify the relationships between scientific thought experiments, the understanding they produce, and the progress they enable. I conclude that while no specific instance of understanding (thus conceived) is necessary for scientific progress, understanding in general is. (shrink)
In this work, Mill reflects on the struggle between liberty and authority and defends the view that “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” He questions the justification for the limits of freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of speech, freedom of action, and the nature of liberalism itself. This new Broadview Edition demonstrates the ways in which Mill’s intellectual landscape differed (...) markedly from our own, while also drawing attention to the reasons why the work remains relevant and essential reading in the present day. Appendices include antecedents to Mill’s work, critical discussions by his contemporaries, and related writings by Mill. Please note: Broadview offers two separate editions of On Liberty. The Kahn edition is particularly relevant to readers who are interested in how the work is situated in the history of political philosophy, whereas the Alexander edition is recommended to those most interested in the work’s Victorian literary and social contexts. (shrink)
Philosophers of science typically associate the causal-mechanical view of scientific explanation with the work of Railton and Salmon. In this paper I shall argue that the defects of this view arise from an inadequate analysis of the concept of mechanism. I contrast Salmon's account of mechanisms in terms of the causal nexus with my own account of mechanisms, in which mechanisms are viewed as complex systems. After describing these two concepts of mechanism, I show how the complex-systems approach avoids certain (...) objections to Salmon's account of causal-mechanical explanation. I conclude by discussing how mechanistic explanations can provide understanding by unification. (shrink)
When philosophers discuss the possibility of machines making scientific discoveries, they typically focus on discoveries in physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics. Observing the rapid increase of computer-use in science, however, it becomes natural to ask whether there are any scientific domains out of reach for machine discovery. For example, could machines also make discoveries in qualitative social science? Is there something about humans that makes us uniquely suited to studying humans? Is there something about machines that would bar them from (...) such activity? A close look at the methodology of interpretive social science reveals several abilities necessary to make a social scientific discovery, and one capacity necessary to possess any of them is imagination. For machines to make discoveries in social science, therefore, they must possess imagination algorithms. (shrink)
Computational systems biologists create and manipulate computational models of biological systems, but they do not always have straightforward epistemic access to the content and behavioural profile of such models because of their length, coding idiosyncrasies, and formal complexity. This creates difficulties both for modellers in their research groups and for their bioscience collaborators who rely on these models. In this paper we introduce a new kind of visualization that was developed to address just this sort of epistemic opacity. The visualization (...) is unusual in that it depicts the dynamics and structure of a computer model instead of that model’s target system, and because it is generated algorithmically. Using considerations from epistemology and aesthetics, we explore how this new kind of visualization increases scientific understanding of the content and function of computer models in systems biology to reduce epistemic opacity. (shrink)
Thought experiments are a means of imaginative reasoning that lie at the heart of philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to the modern era, and they also play central roles in a range of fields, from physics to politics. The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments is an invaluable guide and reference source to this multifaceted subject. Comprising over 30 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Companion covers the following important areas: -/- · the history of thought experiments, from antiquity to (...) the trolley problem and quantum non-locality; -/- · thought experiments in the humanities, arts, and sciences, including ethics, physics, theology, biology, mathematics, economics, and politics; -/- · theories about the nature of thought experiments; -/- · new discussions concerning the impact of experimental philosophy, cross-cultural comparison studies, metaphilosophy, computer simulations, idealization, dialectics, cognitive science, the artistic nature of thought experiments, and metaphysical issues. -/- This broad ranging Companion goes backwards through history and sideways across disciplines. It also engages with philosophical perspectives from empiricism, rationalism, naturalism, skepticism, pluralism, contextualism, and neo-Kantianism to phenomenology. This volume will be valuable for anyone studying the methods of philosophy or any discipline that employs thought experiments, as well as anyone interested in the power and limits of the mind. (shrink)
In this article, we analyse the evidential value of the corpus of experimental philosophy. While experimental philosophers claim that their studies provide insight into philosophical problems, some philosophers and psychologists have expressed concerns that the findings from these studies lack evidential value. Barriers to evidential value include selection bias and p-hacking. To find out whether the significant findings in x-phi papers result from selection bias or p-hacking, we applied a p-curve analysis to a corpus of 365 x-phi chapters and articles. (...) Our results suggest that this corpus has evidential value, although there are hints of p-hacking in a few parts of the x-phi corpus. (shrink)
Accounts of video game play developed from an ethnomethodological and conversation analytic perspective remain relatively scarce. This study collects together an emerging, if scattered, body of research which focuses on the material, practical “work” of video game players. The study offers an example-driven explication of an EMCA perspective on video game play phenomena. The materials are arranged as a “tactical zoom.” We start very much “outside” the game, beginning with a wide view of how massive-multiplayer online games are played within (...) dedicated gaming spaces; here, we find multiple players, machines, and many different sorts of activities going on. Still remaining somewhat distanced from the play of the game itself, we then take a closer look at the players themselves by examining a notionally simpler setting involving pairs taking part in a football game at a games console. As we draw closer to the technical details of play, we narrow our focus further still to examine a player and spectator situated “at the screen” but jointly analyzing play as the player competes in an online first-person shooter. Finally, we go “inside” the game entirely and look at the conduct of avatars on-screen via screen recordings of a massively multiplayer online game. Having worked through specific examples, we provide an elaboration of a selection of core topics of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis that is used to situate some of the unstated orientations in the presentation of data fragments. In this way, recurrent issues raised in the fragments are shown as coherent, interconnected phenomena. In closing, we suggest caution regarding the way game play phenomena have been analyzed in this study, while remarking on challenges present for the development of further EMCA-oriented research on video game play. (shrink)