The University of Western Ontario hosted a lively and stimulating workshop in the spring of 2009 that brought together many of the philosophers actively working on QFT. This issue collects some of the papers presented at the workshop, along with one (Earman's) that was intended for the workshop but not presented there. These papers approach the foundational problems of QFT from a variety of different technical and philosophical perspectives.
The ambition of this book is a noble one: to provide a counter to the assumption, taken for granted made by many postmodernists, that quantum mechanics lends support to the view that scienti® c realism is nothing more than an outmoded fad. It is especially gratifying that this book comes from a literary theorist, author of a well-respected book on Derrida (Norris, 1987), who, by his own admission, has ª previously published several books on literary theory that might be construed (...) ¼ as going along with the emergent trend towards anti-realism and cultural relativism in various quarters of `advanced’ theoretical debateº (Introduction, p. 1). One wishes, however, that Norris had taken more time to familiarize himself with issues that he writes about, and that he had taken more care in constructing his arguments. Although ª there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentanceº (Luke 15: 7, RSV), we should not let jubilation blind us to the book’ s shortcomings. Among these is a lack of clarity in its central notion, that of realism. Early on, Norris quotes with approval William Alston’ s characterization of the alethic conception of realism, which is the conception advocated by Norris; the alethic conception ª implies that (almost always) what confers a truth-value on a statement is something independent of the cognitive-linguistic goings-on that issued in that statement, including any epistemic status of those goings-onº (p. 41). As the book progresses, however, additional conditions on what is to count as a realist interpretation of quantum mechanics emerge. Realism apparently becomes synonymous with ª causal-explanatoryº theories, and in one passage, Norris goes so far as to suggest that realism entails a commitment to synthetic a priori knowledge of the physical world: Bell’ s calculations and those applied in interpreting the Aspect results are themselves dependentÐ no less than EPRÐ on a range of distinctly ª classicalº assumptions, among them the existence of a physical object-domain which, however puzzling its details, permits such experiments to be carried out and conclusions to be drawn from them.. (shrink)
Georg Curtius' Griechische Schulgrammatik, achtzehnte wesentlich veränderte Auflage bearbeitet von Dr Wilhelm von Hartel. Leipzig. 1888. Mk. 2.40.Methodik des Grammatischen Unterrichtes im Griechischen im Anschlnsse an W. v. Hartel's Neubearbeitung der Griechischen Sehulgrammatik von Georg Curtius, verfasst von Dr August Scheindler. Leipzig. 1888.Abriss der Grammatik des homerischen nnd herodotischen Dialekts, im Anschlusse an die 18 Auflage, von Dr. Curtius' Griechischen Schulgrammatik bearbeitet von Dr Wilhelm Von Hartel. 60 pf.Kurzgefasste griechische Schulgrammatik bearbeitet von Dr Bernhardt Gerth. Zweite verbesserte Auflage. Leipzig. C. (...) F. Winter. 1 Mk. 60. (shrink)
Professor C. A. Mace, the psychologist, once wrote: ‘It is difficult … to present and defend any sort of behaviourism whatever without committing oneself to nonsense.’ I shall illustrate this thesis. I shall comment on the writings of some psychologists. This is relevant to my topic; for psychologists' expositions of behaviourism contain much more philosophy than science, and the inconsistencies which permeate their versions of behaviourism reappear in the works of eminent philosophers. My quotation from Mace comes from a paper (...) defending what he calls ‘analytical behaviourism’; which he distinguishes from ‘methodological behaviourism’ and ‘metaphysical behaviourism’. According to Mace, analytical behaviourism does not question the truth of our everyday statements about a person's mind or states of consciousness; what it claims is that such statements ‘turn out to be, on analysis, statements about the behaviour of material things’, that is, about a person's ‘bodily acts, bodily states, bodily dispositions, bodily “states of readiness” to act in various ways’. The father of behaviourism, J. B. Watson, rarely says anything suggesting this doctrine. As he presents it, behaviourism is both a methodological principle and a metaphysical theory. (shrink)
w a y s h a v e b e e n . W e a l l r e m e m b e r M a r x ' s p o l e m i c a g a i n s t P r o u d h o n , t h e Manifesto's critique of "historical action [yielding] to personal inventive action, historically created conditions of emancipation to fantastic ones, and the gradual spontaneous class (...) organizations of the proletariat to an organization of society specially contrived by these inventors" (Marx and Engels, 1986, 64), and the numerous other occasions when the fathers of "scientific socialism" went a f t e r t h e " u t o p i a n s . " I n general this Marxian aversion to drawing up blueprints has been healthy, fueled at least in part by a respect for the concrete specificity of the revolutionary situation and for the agents engaged in revolutionary activity: it is not the business of Marxist intellectuals to tell the agents of revolution how they are to construct their postrevolutionary economy. (shrink)
Many recent developments in artificial intelligence research are relevant for traditional issues in the philosophy of science. One of the developments in AI research we want to focus on in this article is diagnostic reasoning, which we consider to be of interest for the theory of explanation in general and for an understanding of explanatory arguments in economic science in particular. Usually, explanation is primarily discussed in terms of deductive inferences in classical logic. However, in recent AI research it is (...) observed that a diagnostic explanation is actually quite different from deductive reasoning. In diagnostic reasoning the emphasis is on restoring consistency rather than on deduction. Intuitively speaking, the problem diagnostic reasoning is concerned with is the following. Consider a description of a system in which the normal behavior of the system is characterized and an observation that conflicts with this normal behavior. The diagnostic problem is to determine which of the components of the system can, when assumed to be functioning abnormally, account for the conflicting observation. A diagnosis is a set of allegedly malfunctioning components that can be used to restore the consistency of the system description and the observation. In this article, this kind of reasoning is formalized and we show its importance for the theory of explanation. We will show how the diagnosis nondeductively explains the discrepancy between the observed and the correct system behavior. The article also shows the relevance of the subject for real scientific arguments by showing that examples of diagnostic reasoning can be found in Friedman's Theory of the Consumption Function. Moreover, it places the philosophical implications of diagnostic reasoning in the context of Mill's aprioristic methodology. (shrink)