If a quest for universal ethical standards in journalism is to be productive, we should first be able to articulate an overarching set of universal ethical standards that can apply across cultures, across ethical schools of thought, across professions. In this article I offer 4 likely universal standards that have relevance to journalism, suggesting universal journalism standards can also be identified. Although these and other standards will not be panaceas for the ethical dilemmas journalists often face, they provide needed anchors (...) for decision making. (shrink)
Ulrich Meyer defends a novel theory about the nature of time, and argues against the consensus view that time and space are fundamentally alike. He presents the first comprehensive defense of a 'modal' account, which emphasizes the similarities between times and possible worlds in modal logic, and is easily reconciled with the theory of relativity.
This paper defends three theses: that presentism is either trivial or untenable; that the debate between tensed and tenseless theories of time is not about the status of presentism; and that there is no temporal analogue of the modal thesis of actualism.
Ethological theory standardly attributes representational content to animal signals. In this article I first assess whether Ruth Millikan’s teleosemantic theory accounts for the content of animal signals. I conclude that it does not, because many signals do not exhibit the required sort of cooperation between signal‐producing and signal‐consuming devices. It is then argued that Kim Sterelny’s proposal, while not requiring cooperation, sometimes yields the wrong content. Finally, I outline an alternative view, according to which consumers alone are responsible for conferring (...) representational status and determining content. I suggest that consumer‐based teleosemantics reconstruct the content of both cooperative and noncooperative signals and explain how a given trait can mean different things to different consumers. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, U.K.; e‐mail: ulrich[email protected] (shrink)
Acknowledgements Andrea Scarantino, Nicholas Shea, Mark Sprevak, and three anonymous referees provided incisive and constructive comments, for which I am very grateful. In 2012, earlier versions of this paper were delivered in Edinburgh, at the Joint Session in Stirling, and at a workshop on natural information in Aberdeen. I thank participants for their feedback.
Fara and Williamson (Mind, 2005) argue that counterpart theory is unable to account for modal claims that use an actuality operator. This paper argues otherwise. Rather than provide a different counterpart translation of the actuality operator itself, the solution presented here starts out with a quantified modal logic in which the actuality operator is redundant, and then translates the sentences of this logic into claims of counterpart theory.
The goal of this article is to show that the structuralist approachprovides a powerful framework for the analysis of certain holistic phenomena in empirical theories.We focus on two aspects of holism. The first refers to the involvement of comprehensive complexes of hypothesesin the theoretical treatment of systems regarded in isolation. By contrast, the second refers to thecorrelation between the theoretical descriptions of different systems. It is demonstrated how these two aspectscan be analysed by making use of the structuralist notion of (...) theory-nets, and how they are reflected by a refinedversion of the Ramsey sentence. Furthermore, it is argued that there exists a tight correlation between theoccurrence of these two holistic phenomena, a specific form of underdetermination of terms which occur in thefundamental principles of an empirical theory, and the shaping of the theory's protective belt. After having dealtwith these questions in abstracto, the relevance of these considerations for a better understanding of the dynamicsof empirical theories is demonstrated in a concrete case study. It refers to the role holistic phenomenaplayed in the investigation of the anomalous advance of Mercury's perihelion and in the various attempts to eliminate this anomaly. (shrink)
The concept of genetic information is controversial because it attributes semantic properties to what seem to be ordinary biochemical entities. I argue that nucleic acids contain information in a semantic sense, but only about a limited range of effects. In contrast to other recent proposals, however, I analyze genetic information not in terms of a naturalized account of biological functions, but instead in terms of the way in which molecules determine their products during processes known as template-directed syntheses. I argue (...) that determining an outcome in a certain way is constitutive for being an instruction. On this account, the content of genetic information is identified with the template's properties, which determine the product in the way constitutive for instructions. (shrink)
Ulrich Beck's best selling Risk Society established risk on the sociological agenda. It brought together a wide range of issues centering on environmental, health and personal risk, provided a rallying ground for researchers and activists in a variety of social movements and acted as a reference point for state and local policies in risk management. The Risk Society and Beyond charts the progress of Beck's ideas and traces their evolution. It demonstrates why the issues raised by Beck reverberate widely (...) throughout social theory and covers the new risks that Beck did not foresee, associated with the emergence of new technologies, genetic and cybernetic. The book is unique because it offers both an introduction to the main arguments in Risk Society and develops a range of critical discussions of aspects of this and other works of Beck. (shrink)
Critical Heuristics of Social Planning has been recognised as the seminal work on critical systems thinking. Ulrich offers a new approach both to practical philosophy (which has until now remained rather unpractical) and to systems thinking (which has reduced the systems idea to a tool of merely instrumental, rather than practical, reason). Critical systems heuristics (CSH), as the approach is now generally called, provides planners, practitioners and policy makers with a conceptual tool for practising practical reason. It will enable (...) them to identify and discuss systematically the value implications of policies, plans, problem definitions, or program evaluations. In addition, the book offers the most thorough-going introduction available today to the espistemological foundations of critical systems thinking, including a practicable model of cogent argumentation on disputed value implications of designs. A must for practitioners and scholars who are interested in a self-critical and practicable understanding of the widespread call for holistic or systems thinking! "Critical Heuristics will be recognised as a very important book in the emerging systems discipline and will hold a significant position for many years to come". Peter B. Checkland, University of Lancaster, England. "An outstanding contribution to an adequate philosophical and heuristic framework for critical social inquiry and design". C. West Churchman, University of California, Berkeley, USA. "The book fills a major gap in the literature on the systems tradition". Michael C. Jackson, University of Hull, England. "Drawing on a profound knowledge of both Anglo-American systems theory and German practical philosophy, this book belongs to the best studies I have seen on the normative foundations of planning and systems design." Horst Steinmann, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. "Mandatory for libraries in the field of planning". John Friedmann, University of California, Los Angeles, USA. (shrink)
How can one distinguish the concept of second modernity from the concept of postmodernity? Postmodernists are interested in deconstruction without reconstruction, second modernity is about deconstruction and reconstruction. Social sciences need to construct new concepts to understand the world dynamics at the beginning of the 21st century. Modernity has not vanished, we are not post it. Radical social change has always been part of modernity. What is new is that modernity has begun to modernize its own foundations. This is what (...) it means to say modernity has become reflexive. It has become directed at itself. This causes huge new problems both in reality and in theory. There has been a pluralization of the boundaries within and between societies, between society and nature, between Us and Other, between life and death. This pluralization also changes the inherent nature of boundaries. They become not so much boundaries as a variety of attempts to draw of boundaries. Border conflicts become transformed into conflicts over the drawing of boundaries. Where postmodernism simply celebrates this multiplication of boundaries, the theory of second modernity starts with the problem this new reality poses for individual and collective decisions, and with the problem that the continued existence of such decisions poses for theory. Institutions that are capable of such conscious boundary drawing are enabled in a way that those of the first modernity were not. But this process also generates qualitatively new kinds of trouble and crises. To investigate those troubles is to unveil the emergence of the second modernity. (shrink)
At the beginning of the 21st century the conditio humana cannot be understood nationally or locally but only globally. This constitutes a revolution in the social sciences. The `sociological imagination' so far has basically been a nation state imagination. The main problem is how to redefine the sociological frame of reference in the horizon of a cosmopolitan imagination. For the purpose of empirical research I distinguish between three concepts: interconnectedness, liquid modernity and cosmopolitization from within. The latter is a kind (...) of class analysis after class analysis, which takes on board globalization internalized. For the purposes of social analysis, therefore, it is necessary to distinguish systematically between the national manifestation on the one hand and cosmopolitan reality of `global flows', currents of information, symbols, money, risks, people, social inequalities, on the other. This internal involuntary and often unseen cosmopolitanization from below of the national sphere of experience is occurring, however, with the power of economic globalization. So what does inner `cosmopolitanization' mean? The key concepts and questions of a way of life, such as nourishment, production, identity, fear, memory, pleasure, fate, power and politics, can no longer be located and understood nationally, but only globally whether in the shape of globally shared collective futures, capital flows, impending ecological or economic catastrophes, global foodstuff chains, transnational power games, or the `Esperanto' of pop music. In this article I look at transformation in the understanding of space-time, of identity, of the production paradigms, as well as at the resulting consequences for key sociological concepts like class and power and, within this frame, point to certain dilemmas of cosmopolitanism. (shrink)
Karlfriedrich Herb shows that the new theory of representation in Leviathan implies a rejection of direct democracy, which was still referred to, and active as a political model, in The Elements of Law and De cive. Since the social contract gives full authority to the sovereign, there is no longer any reason to consider democracy as the original form of all governments. Democracy thus plays no part in the definition of the citizen’s liberty, and consequently the liberty of the (...) subject is not at all a matter of participation in political life. To the contrary, this civil liberty is directly proportional to the independence left to the citizen by the legislator. The famous maxim defining liberty as the silence of the law is therefore to be considered anew in the perspective of the theory of representative sovereignty. The authority of the sovereign has nothing to do, in Hobbes’s thought, with the authoritas of the ancient Romans, since actual peace is its only source of legitimacy. It is not possible, therefore, to include Leviathan in a history of Republicanism. (shrink)
The discourse on climate politics so far is an expert and elitist discourse in which peoples, societies, citizens, workers, voters and their interests, views and voices are very much neglected. So, in order to turn climate change politics from its head onto its feet you have to take sociology into account. There is an important background assumption which shares in the general ignorance concerning environmental issues and, paradoxically, this is in corporated in the specialism of environmental sociology itself — this (...) is the category of ‘the environment’. If ‘the environment’ only includes everything which is not human, not social, then the concept is sociologically empty. If the concept includes human action and society, then it is scientifically mistaken and politically suicidal. (shrink)
This e-special issue of Theory, Culture & Society showcases work published in the journal by and about the late German sociologist Ulrich Beck. Beck became known as a pioneering and inventive thinker, continuously engaged in a quest to capture the essence of the modern age, whilst simultaneously wrestling with the upcoming horizons of the future. During his career, he was responsible for developing some of the defining sociological concepts of the late 20th and early 21st century, including risk, reflexive (...) modernization, individualization and cosmopolitanism. He published many articles in Theory, Culture & Society, inspiring acolytes to mobilize his ideas and provoking critics to dispute them. Complementing articles written by Beck, this collection also includes critical commentaries, applications of his work, a selection of interviews and several reflective pieces which consider his legacy. The key aspiration of this special issue is to encourage contemplation on both the richness and the range of Ulrich Beck’s academic contribution. The contents stimulate reflection on the intricacies of Beck’s method of inquiry and flag up ways in which his work can influence the future trajectory of social theory. (shrink)
A central idea of developmental systems theory is ‘parity’ or ‘symmetry’ between genes and non-genetic factors of development. The precise content of this idea remains controversial, with different authors stressing different aspects and little explicit comparisons among the various interpretations. Here I characterise and assess several influential versions of parity.
The genetic code has been regarded as arbitrary in the sense that the codon-amino acid assignments could be different than they actually are. This general idea has been spelled out differently by previous, often rather implicit accounts of arbitrariness. They have drawn on the frozen accident theory, on evolutionary contingency, on alternative causal pathways, and on the absence of direct stereochemical interactions between codons and amino acids. It has also been suggested that the arbitrariness of the genetic code justifies attributing (...) semantic information to macromolecules, notably to DNA. I argue that these accounts of arbitrariness are unsatisfactory. I propose that the code is arbitrary in the sense of Jacques Monod's concept of chemical arbitrariness: the genetic code is arbitrary in that any codon requires certain chemical and structural properties to specify a particular amino acid, but these properties are not required in virtue of a principle of chemistry. This notion of arbitrariness is compatible with several recent hypotheses about code evolution. I maintain that the code's chemical arbitrariness is neither sufficient nor necessary for attributing semantic information to nucleic acids. (shrink)
Abstract In order to illuminate the role of information in biology, Bergstrom and Rosvall (Biol Philos 26:159–176, 2011a ; Biol Philos 26:195–200, 2011b ) propose a ‘transmission sense of information’ which builds on Shannon’s theory. At the core of the transmission sense is an appeal to the reduction in uncertainty in receivers and to etiological function. I explore several ways of cashing out uncertainty reduction as well as the consequences of appealing to function. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI (...) 10.1007/s10539-012-9310-x Authors Ulrich E. Stegmann, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, Old Brewery, High Street, Aberdeen, AB24 3UB UK Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867. (shrink)
Economic development and growth are driven by the emergence of new technologies, new products and services, new institutions, new policies, and so on. Important though it is, the emergence of novelty is not well understood. Epistemological and methodological problems make it a difficult research topic. They imply a ?bound of unknowledge? (Shackle) for economic theorizing wherever novelty occurs in economic life. To make progress, this paper takes stock of the problems. The methodological consequences for causal explanations and the modelling of (...) economics dynamics are discussed, and some possibilities for positively theorizing about novelty are outlined. (shrink)
According to Hans Kamp and Frank Vlach, the two-dimensional tense operators “now” and “then” are ineliminable in quantified tense logic. This is often adduced as an argument against tense logic, and in favor of an extensional account that makes use of explicit quantification over times. The aim of this paper is to defend tense logic against this attack. It shows that “now” and “then” are eliminable in quantified tense logic, provided we endow it with enough quantificational structure. The operators might (...) not be redundant in some other systems of tense logic, but this merely indicates a lack of quantificational resources and does not show any deep-seated inability of tense logic to express claims about time. The paper closes with a brief discussion of the modal analogue of this issue, which concerns the role of the actuality operator in quantified modal logic. (shrink)
One approach to assess the explanatory power of natural selection is to ask what type of facts it can explain. The standard list of explananda includes facts like trait frequencies or the survival of particular organisms. Here, I argue that this list is incomplete: natural selection can also explain a specific kind of individual-level fact that involves traits. The ability of selection to explain this sort of fact vindicates the explanatory commitments of empirical studies on microevolution. Trait facts must be (...) distinguished from a closely related kind of fact, that is, the fact that a particular individual x has one trait rather than another. Whether or not selection can explain the latter type of fact is highly controversial. According to the so-called ‘Negative View’ it cannot be explained by selection. I defend the Negative View against Nanay’s objection. (shrink)
This paper explains how to obtain quantification over times in a tense logic in which all temporal distinctions are ultimately spelled out in terms of the two simple tense operators “it was the case that” and “it will be the case that.” The account of times defended here is similar to what is known as “linguistic ersatzism” about possible worlds, but there are noteworthy differences between these two cases. For example, while linguistic ersatzism would support actualism, the view of times (...) defended here does not support presentism. (shrink)