The hypothesis that family size limitation by parents enhances the upward mobility chances of their children in (post)industrial populations has a long-standing record in many disciplines, including sociology and economics, as well as evolutionary anthropology and social biology. Yet the empirical record supporting or contradicting the theory is surprisingly limited. The aim of this contribution is to develop a test of the effect of family size limitation on children’s intergenerational mobility. This test is applied to an urban population in Belgium (...) that was in the process of experiencing its demographic transition, including the decline of fertility, at the end of the 19th century. The results indicate that the effect of family size was strong, even after controlling for parental social status as well as birth order. Surprisingly, the effects of birth order and family size appear to be largely independent. (shrink)
Studies of economic decision-making have revealed the existence of consistent contributors, who always make contributions to the collective good. It is difficult to understand such behavior in terms of mutualistic motives. Furthermore, consistent contributors can elicit apparently altruistic behavior from others. Therefore, although mutualistic motives are likely an important contributor to moral action, there is more to morality than mutualism.
We argue that how players perceive the attack-defense game might matter far more than its actual underlying structure in determining the outcomes of intergroup conflict. Leaders can use various tactics to dynamically modify these perceptions, from collective victimization to the distortion of the perceived payoffs, with some followers being more receptive than others to such leadership tactics.
In this commentary, we offer an additional function of rationalization. Namely, in certain social contexts, the proximal and ultimate function of beliefs and desires is social inclusion. In such contexts, rationalization often facilitates distortion of rather than approximation to truth. Understanding the role of social identity is not only timely and important, but also critical to fully understand the function of rationalization.
Commentaries focused on the emotional appraisal part of our article. Cunningham and Van Bavel argued for distinguishing core disgust from moral disgust, and we describe how the theory might accommodate their proposal. They also suggested that temporal and other comparisons could account for emotional variety. We concur, but see such comparisons as inherent in the different emotional objects. Winkielman emphasized unconscious affect, but we suggest its power flows from the absence of situational constraints on its meaning. He characterized our (...) appraisal model as coldly cognitive rather than embodied, but the complaint is misdirected, as the model addresses emotional structure, not emotional process. Indeed, embodied accounts will still require structural accounts to determine why one emotion rather than another is elicited. (shrink)
The observable/unobservable distinction, realistically construed, is a feature which lies at the very heart of van Fraassen’s constructive empiricism. The aim of this paper is to approach it by taking a close look at van Fraassen’s concept of observation. We will argue that if van Fraassen’s most recent writings about “literate experience”, especially his remarks on the status of observation reports and his general a-metaphysical stance, are taken into account, his realistic interpretation of the observable/unobservable distinction paves the road for (...) inconsistency. In particular, we will show that a dilemma emerges to the effect that van Fraassen is forced to accept skeptical consequences blatantly at odds with constructive empiricism and its restatement of the aim of science. We will finally suggest that the only way out for van Fraassen involves giving up his realistic construal of observability and thus taking sides with constructivism. (shrink)
The article analyzes and criticizes the assumptions of Peter Van Inwagen’s argument for the alleged contradiction of the foreknowledge of God and human freedom. The argument is based on the sine qua non condition of human freedom defined as access to possible worlds containing such a continuation of the present in which the agent implements a different action than will be realized de facto in the future. The condition also contains that in every possible continuation of the present state of (...) affairs, the same propositions about the ‘present past’ (the past before the present moment) are true as are true in the present state of affairs. The paper argues that Van Inwagen’s reasoning is inconclusive, it contains the type of mistake of confusing conditional impossibility with unconditional and presents a methodologically wrong method of solving a philosophical problem. It is because in the very construction of the problem determining the available solution. The article points to the possibility that the human freedom of some action is not excluded by the fact that specific past facts logically entail that this event will occur. (shrink)
In this paper, the author defends Peter van Inwagen’s modal skepticism. Van Inwagen accepts that we have much basic, everyday modal knowledge, but denies that we have the capacity to justify philosophically interesting modal claims that are far removed from this basic knowledge. The author also defends the argument by means of which van Inwagen supports his modal skepticism, offering a rebuttal to an objection along the lines of that proposed by Geirrson. Van Inwagen argues that Stephen Yablo’s recent and (...) influential account of the relationship between conceivability and possibility supports his skeptical claims. The author’s defence involves a creative interpretation and development of Yablo’s account, which results in a recursive account of modal epistemology, what the author calls the “safe explanation” theory of modal epistemology. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Peter van Inwagen’s claim (in “Free Will Remains a Mystery”), that agent-causal views of free will could do nothing to solve the problem of free will (specifically, the problem of chanciness). After explaining van Inwagen’s argument, I argue that he does not consider all possible manifestations of the agent-causal position. More importantly, I claim that, in any case, van Inwagen appears to have mischaracterized the problem in some crucial ways. Once we are clear on (...) the true nature of the problem of chanciness, agent-causal views do much to eradicate it. (shrink)
We show that van Lambalgen's Theorem fails with respect to recursive randomness and Schnorr randomness for some real in every high degree and provide a full characterization of the Turing degrees for which van Lambalgen's Theorem can fail with respect to Kurtz randomness. However, we also show that there is a recursively random real that is not Martin-Löf random for which van Lambalgen's Theorem holds with respect to recursive randomness.
Peter van Inwagen ’s argument for incompatibilism uses a sentential operator, “N”, which can be read as “No one has any choice about the fact that....” I show that, given van Inwagen ’s understanding of the notion of having a choice, the argument is invalid. However, a different interpretation of “N” can be given, such that the argument is clearly valid, the premises remain highly plausible, and the conclusion implies that free will is incompatible with determinism.
Some artworks are called sublime because of their capacity to move human imagination in a different way than the experience of beauty. The following discussion explores how Van Gogh’s The Starry Night along with some of his other late landscape paintings accomplish this peculiar movement of imagination thus qualifying as sublime artworks. These artworks constitute examples of the higher aesthetic principles and must be judged according to the cosmological-aesthetic criteria for they manage to generate a transition between ethos and phusis (...) and present them in unity. Here, referring to Heraclitean, Kantian, Nietzschean and Heideggerian metaphysics and aesthetics, I propose that the principles of motion and transition be the new cosmologic-aesthetic categories for the judgment of sublime artworks as well as for the understanding of the world (Weltanschauung) they represent. (shrink)
In his recent book on the problem of evil, Peter van Inwagen argues that both the global and local arguments from evil are failures. In this paper, we engagevan Inwagen’s book at two main points. First, we consider his understanding of what it takes for a philosophical argument to succeed. We argue that while his criterion for success is interesting and helpful, there is good reason to think it is too stringent. Second, we consider his responses to the global and (...) local arguments from evil. We argue that although van Inwagen may have adequately responded to each of these arguments, his discussion points us toa third argument from evil to which he has yet to provide a response. (shrink)
I consider the broad perspectives in biology known as ‘functionalism’ and ‘structuralism’, as well as a modern version of functionalism, ‘adaptationism’. I do not take a position on which of these perspectives is preferable; my concern is with the prior question, how should they be understood? Adapting van Fraassen’s argument for treating materialism as a stance, rather than a factual belief with propositional content, in the first part of the paper I offer an argument for construing functionalism and structuralism as (...) stances also. The argument draws especially on Gould’s insights concerning functionalism and structuralism, in particular their apparent historical continuity from the pre-Darwinian period through to today. In the second part of the paper I consider Godfrey-Smith’s distinction between empirical and explanatory adaptationism, and suggest that while the former is an empirical scientific hypothesis, the latter is closely related to the functionalist stance. (shrink)
Bas van Fraassen’s recent book Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective modifies and refines the “constructive empiricism” of The Scientific Image in a number of ways. This paper investigates the changes concerning one of the most controversial aspects of the overall position, that is, van Fraassen’s agnosticism concerning the veridicality of microscopic observation. The paper tries to make plausible that the new formulation of this agnosticism is an advance over the older rendering. The central part of this investigation is an attempt (...) to answer Marc Alspector-Kelly’s 2004-criticism of an early version of van Fraassen’s new position. Alspector-Kelly’s contribution it is to date the most extensive attack on van Fraassen’s twenty-first-century work on the topic of microscopic observation. One of the central ideas emerging from the present discussion is a link between the debate over the veridicality of microscopic observation and the issue of the theory-ladenness of experience. (shrink)
Three-dimensional material models of molecules were used throughout the 19th century, either functioning as a mere representation or opening new epistemic horizons. In this paper, two case studies are examined: the 1875 models of van ‘t Hoff and the 1890 models of Sachse. What is unique in these two case studies is that both models were not only folded, but were also conceptualized mathematically. When viewed in light of the chemical research of that period not only were both of these (...) aspects, considered in their singularity, exceptional, but also taken together may be thought of as a subversion of the way molecules were chemically investigated in the 19th century. Concentrating on this unique shared characteristic in the models of van ‘t Hoff and the models of Sachse, this paper deals with the shifts and displacements between their operational methods and existence: between their technical and epistemological aspects and the fact that they were folded, which was forgotten or simply ignored in the subsequent development of chemistry. (shrink)
Van Heijenoort’s main contribution to history and philosophy of modern logic was his distinction between two basic views of logic, first, the absolutist, or universalist, view of the founding fathers, Frege, Peano, and Russell, which dominated the first, classical period of history of modern logic, and, second, the relativist, or model-theoretic, view, inherited from Boole, Schröder, and Löwenheim, which has dominated the second, contemporary period of that history. In my paper, I present the man Jean van Heijenoort (Sect. 1); then (...) I describe his way of arguing for the second view (Sect. 2); and finally I come down in favor of the first view (Sect. 3). There, I specify the version of universalism for which I am prepared to argue (Sect. 3, introduction). Choosing ZFC to play the part of universal, logical (in a nowadays forgotten sense) system, I show, through an example, how the usual model theory can be naturally given its proper place, from the universalist point of view, in the logical framework of ZFC; I outline another, not rival but complementary, semantics for admissible extensions of ZFC in the very same logical framework; I propose a way to get universalism out of the predicaments in which universalists themselves believed it to be (Sect. 3.1). Thus, if universalists of the classical period did not, in fact, construct these semantics, it was not that their universalism forbade them, in principle, to do so. The historical defeat of universalism was not technical in character. Neither was it philosophical. Indeed, it was hardly more than the victory of technicism over the very possibility of a philosophical dispute (Sect. 3.2). (shrink)
Van Inwagen has an ingenious argument for the non-existence of human artefacts . But the argument cannot be accepted, since human artefacts are everywhere. However, it cannot be ignored. The proper response to it is to treat it as a refutation of its least plausible premise, i.e., to ‘tollens’ it. I first set out van Inwagen’s argument. I then identify its least plausible premise and explain the consequence of denying it, that is, the acceptance of a plenitudinous, pluralist ontology. I (...) argue that denying it is not so difficult, since its denial is an easy consequence of ordinary beliefs. I finish by explaining why van Inwagen has not persuaded me that it may be that artefacts do not exist and conclude that nothing stands in the way of tollensing van Inwagen and accepting the consequence of doing so. (shrink)
I discuss van inwagen's "first formal argument" for the incompatibility of causal determinism and freedom to do otherwise. I distinguish different interpretations of the important notion, "s can render p false." I argue that on none of these interpretations is the argument clearly sound. I point to gaps in the argument, Although I do not claim that it is unsound.
Many religiously minded materialist philosophers have attempted to understand the doctrine of the survival of death from within a physicalist approach. Their goal is not to show the doctrine false, but to explain how it can be true. One such approach has been developed by Peter van Inwagen. After explaining what I call the duplication objection, I present van Inwagen’s proposal and show how a proponent might attempt to solve the problem of duplication. I argue that the very features of (...) the view that aid the proponent in responding to the duplication objection entails the possibility of an impossible state of affairs—that two distinct persons can at the same time be identical with the same bundle of material simples. The religiously minded materialist is caught between the horns of a dilemma. One’s view regarding human persons must be robust enough to account for personal identity over time, and so not fall to the duplication objection. At the same time, the view must not entail the possibility of two persons temporarily having complete coincident existence. (shrink)
In a recent work published in this journal, “Van Fraassen e a inferência da melhor explicação” (2016), Minikoski and Rodrigues da Silva identify four critical lines proposed by Bas van Fraassen against the form of abductive reasoning known as ‘inference to the best explanation’ (IBE). The first one, put forward by the Dutch philosopher in his seminal book The Scientific Image (1980), concerns the distinction between observable and unobservable entities. Minikoski and Rodrigues da Silva consider that the distinction is of (...) no relevance to the scientific practice. For this reason, they address van Fraassen’s allegations against IBE qua justification of the existence of unobservable entities in a couple of pages and prefer focusing on the other lines they identified. The aim of this work is to pour over the analysis that the two authors perform about van Fraassen’s mentioned argument and some realists’ replies, particularly in the section that Minikoski and Rodrigues da Silva devote to this topic. This will allow us to clarify van Fraassen’s vision on scientific practice and on the ‘immersion in the theoretical world-picture’. The importance and the relevance of the distinction between observables and unobservables will also be reaffirmed. (shrink)