A ﬁnite data set is consistent with inﬁnitely many alternative theories. Scientiﬁc realists recommend that we prefer the simplest one. Anti-realists ask how a ﬁxed simplicity bias could track the truth when the truth might be complex. It is no solution to impose a prior probability distribution biased toward simplicity, for such a distribution merely embodies the bias at issue without explaining its eﬃcacy. In this note, I argue, on the basis of computational learning theory, that a ﬁxed simplicity bias (...) is necessary if inquiry is to converge to the right answer eﬃciently, whatever the right answer might be. Eﬃciency is understood in the sense of minimizing the least ﬁxed bound on retractions or errors prior to convergence. (shrink)
Hegel introduced the Phenomenology of Mind as a work on the problem of knowledge. In the first chapter, entitled “Sense Certainty, or the This and Meaning,” he concluded that knowledge cannot consist of an immediate awareness of particulars ). The tradition discusses sense certainty in terms of this failure of immediate knowledge without, however, specifically addressing the problem of reference. Yet reference is distinct from knowledge in the sense that while there can be no knowledge of objects without reference, there (...) may be reference without knowledge. If that is the case, then the failure of immediate knowledge does not entitle us to conclude anything about the success or failure of reference. It is not surprising, then, that a few scholars have begun to examine sense certainty primarily as a thesis about reference. (shrink)
Following an analysis of the work of Stanley Cavell, Arthur Danto, Umberto Eco, Susan Sontag, and other philosophers of the 1960s who made aesthetics more responsive to contemporary art, Kelly considers Sontag's aesthetics in greater detail ...
A step-by-step guide to Foucault's History of Sexuality Volume I, The Will to Knowledge. Mark Kelly systematically unpacks the intricacies of Foucault's dense and sometimes confusing exposition, in a straightforward way, putting it in its historical and theoretical context.
Co-published with the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, this book is a collection of 10 original translations of articles written by philosophers on the topics of art and aesthetics in the 20th century. It is a significant contribution to the subject of aesthetics in making available previously untranslated texts by European philosophers. Suitable for courses in the philosophy of art, aesthetics and art history.
One of the crucial intellectual and social challenges facing corporation leaders is to foster a new way of thinking about business and society which recognizes the multinational corporation as a key player in society's responsibility to support and maintain fairness in the global reorganization of markets. In order to establish a sound global social economy, we are in need of the organizing and directing principles of solidarity and subsidiarity. Both of these principles speak to the need of transforming our public (...) and private institutions in such a way that all persons are placed in positions whereby they can share in the benefits of the newly-formed global economy. (shrink)
Self-reported data are regarded by medical researchers as invalid and less reliable than data produced by experts in clinical settings, yet individuals can increasingly contribute personal information to medical research through a variety of online platforms. In this article we examine this ‘participatory turn’ in healthcare research, which claims to challenge conventional delineations of what is valid and reliable for medical practice, by using aggregated self-reported experiences from patients and ‘pre-patients’ via the internet. We focus on 23andMe, a genetic testing (...) company that collects genetic material and self-reported information about disease from its customers. Integral to this research method are relations of trust embedded in the information exchange: trust in customers’ data; trust between researchers/company and research subjects; trust in genetics; trust in the machine. We examine the performative dimension of these trust relations, drawing on Shapin and Schaffer’s discussion of how material, literary and social technologies are used in research in order to establish trust.Our scepticism of the company’s motives for building trust with the self-reporting consumer forces us to consider our own motives. How does the use of customer data for research purposes by 23andMe differ from the research practices of social scientists, especially those who also study digital traces? By interrogating the use of self-reported data in the genetic testing context, we examine our ethical responsibilities in studying the digital selves of others using internet methods. How researchers trust data, how participants trust researchers, and how technologies are trusted are all important considerations in studying the social life of digital data. (shrink)
Heroism is apparently nonadaptive in Darwinian terms, so why does it exist at all? Risk-taking and heroic behavior are predominantly male tendencies, and literature and legend reflect this. This study explores the possibility that heroism persists in many human cultures owing to a female preference for risk-prone rather than risk-averse males as sexual partners, and it suggests that such a preference may be exploited as a male mating strategy. It also attempts to quantify the relative influences of altruism and bravery (...) in the evolution of heroism. Our study found that females do prefer risk-prone brave males to risk-averse non-brave males, and that men are aware of this preference. Bravery in a male was shown to be the stronger factor influencing female choice of short-term partners, long-term partners, and male friends, with altruism playing a lesser part in their choice. Altruism was deemed important in long-term relationships and friendships, but for short-term liaisons, non-altruists were preferred to altruists. Heroism may therefore have evolved owing to a female preference for brave, risk-prone males because risk-taking acts as an honest cue for "good genes." Altruism was judged to be a less influential factor in the evolution of heroism than bravery and a demonstrated willingness to take risks. (shrink)
In this article, I re-examine the relationship between the thoughts of contemporaneous and associated late twentieth-century French philosophers Michel Foucault and Louis Althusser, through the prism of the notion of the problem. I discuss the philology of the use of the noun “problematic” in French philosophy in relation to Foucault and Althusser’s use of it, concluding that while Althusser makes this a term of art in his thought, Foucault does not make any particular use of this concept. I nonetheless consider (...) the possibility of the existence of a similar notion under a different name, episteme, in Foucault’s thought, but conclude that this is a distinct notion from Althusser’s “problematic.” I then consider Foucault’s later, idiosyncratic notion of problematization and its possible relation to Althusser’s conceptual framework. I conclude that, despite divergent vocabularies, Althusser and Foucault do have a common problematic and approach to problematization, though Foucault also problematizes aspects of Althusser’s problematic, effectively taking problematization a step further. (shrink)
In this article, I review recent findings in cognitive neuroscience in learning, particularly in the learning of mathematics and of reading. I argue that while cognitive neuroscience is in its infancy as a field, theories of learning will need to incorporate and account for this growing body of empirical data.
This paper critically examines the relation between problems and the formation and development of concepts in Bergson’s work, as well as in Bachelard, Canguilhem and Deleuze. Building on work by Elie During, I argue that it is not only Bergson but also Deleuze who shares with the French epistemological tradition an “anti-positivist” conception of concept formation, founded upon the posing and solving of novel problems as opposed to the acquisition and verification of empirical facts. Contrary to During, however, I argue (...) that it is not Bergson but Deleuze who furnishes us with an “anti-positivist” conception of problems that is adequate to this anti-positivist conception of concept formation. Deleuze’s anti-positivist view of problems holds, firstly, that genuine problems require the creation of novel terms in which to state and solve them. He shares this view with Bergson, Bachelard and Canguilhem. Secondly, however, Deleuze holds that a problem’s “truth” is not to be evaluated with reference to its eventual solutions, nor with reference to some privileged and contentful experience of reality, but is rather a matter of its purely intrinsic productivity. (shrink)
This article is a critique of Étienne Balibar's philosophical orientation towards Europe, construed as both an ideal and an institutional reality, in light of recent European crises. I argue that Balibar's commitment to Europe follows from his longstanding political-philosophical preference for a compromise position between political utopianism and political realism, but that this compromise is ultimately incoherent, combining the ungroundedness of utopianism with the undue self-limitation of realism.
Introspection is often cited as providing rational warrant for either a libertarian or a compatibilist view of human free will. C. A. Campbell argues for the former position, while Adolf Grünbaum argues for the latter. Others, such as Peter van Inwagen, attempt to show that introspection fails to provide adequate warrent for the belief that humans have free will. The paper seeks to demonstrate how all three views are mistaken, and to show just what introspective evidence rationally justifies. The epistemic (...) status of introspective truth claims is also discussed, as is the possibility of parallels between introspection related issues and the mind body problem. (shrink)