I use Carl Gillett’s much heralded dimensioned theory of realization as a platform to develop a plausible part–whole theory. I begin with some basic desiderata for a theory of realization that its key terms should be defined and that it should be explanatory. I then argue that Gillett’s original theory violates these conditions because its explanatory force rests upon an unspecified “in virtue of” relation. I then examine Gillett’s later version that appeals instead to theoretical terms tied to “mechanisms.” (...) Yet I argue that it too violates the desiderata, since it defines realization for mechanisms in terms of two undefined ideas whose explanatory credentials have not been established—“implementation” and “grounds.” Thus I drop those ideas in favor of an explicit constraint that the parts and properties provide a mechanistic explanation. I also distinguish a special mechanistic theory from a preferred general theory that incorporates other kinds of part–whole explanations that target causal powers or capacities. The result is a theory that has the explanatory virtues of mechanistic theories as well as a broader scope desired by Gillett. I also compare the result to a similar idea from Robert Cummins that has been neglected in recent discussions of realization, namely, his general property analysis rather than his functional analysis. Finally, I defend the preferred general theory against possible objections that attempt to show a conflict between metaphysical demands on a theory of realization versus facts about good scientific explanation. (shrink)
The most popular concepts of happiness among psychologists and philosophers nowadays are concepts of happiness according to which happiness is defined as " satisfaction with life as a whole ". Such concepts are " Whole Life Satisfaction " concepts of happiness. I show that there are hundreds of non-equivalent ways in which a WLS conception of happiness can be developed. However, every precise conception either requires actual satisfaction with life as a whole or requires hypothetical satisfaction with (...) life as a whole. I show that a person can be "happy" at a time even though he is not actually satisfied with his life as a whole at that time. I also show that a person can be "happy" at a time even though it is not correct to say that if he were to think about his life at that time, he would be satisfied with it as a whole. My thesis is that if you think that happiness is the Good, you should avoid defining happiness as whole life satisfaction. (shrink)
There has been widespread academic and popular debate about the transformative potential of consumption choices, particularly food shopping. While popular food media is optimistic about “shopping for change,” food scholars are more critical, drawing attention to fetishist approaches to “local” or “organic,” and suggesting the need for reflexive engagement with food politics. We argue that reflexivity is central to understanding the potential and limitations of consumer-focused food politics, but argue that this concept is often relatively unspecified. The first objective of (...) this paper is to operationalize reflexivity and advance understanding of reflexivity as an important tool for understanding the lived experience of food shopping. Our second objective is to explore the range of reflexivity observed in a mainstream “shopping for change” market sector. To do this, we draw from in-depth interviews with shoppers at Whole Foods Market (WFM)—a retail venue with the stated goal of making consumers “feel good about where [they] shop.” This group is chosen because of our interest in investigating the reflexivity of consumer engagement with the corporatized arm of ethical consumption—a realm of concern to food scholars as alternative agricultural initiatives are absorbed (both materially and symbolically) into corporate institutions. Our analysis suggests that shopping at venues like WFM is primarily motivated by traditional consumer pleasures, even for politicized consumers, a finding that poses serious limitations for a consumer-regulated food system. (shrink)
In this paper I intend to analyse whether a certain kind of physicalism (part-wholephysicalism)is supported by what classical mechanics and quantum mechanics have to say about the part whole relation. I will argue that not even the most likely candidates – namely cases of microexplanation of the dynamics of compound systems – provide evidence for part whole-physicalism, i.e. the thesis that the behaviour of the compound obtains in virtue of the behaviour of the parts. Physics does not dictate (...) part-whole-physicalism. (shrink)
This paper explores the meaning of dreamless sleep. First, I consider four reasons why we commonly pass over sleep's ontological significance. Second, I compare and contrast death and sleep to show how each is oriented to questions regarding the possibilities of "being-a-whole." In the third and final part, I explore the meaning and implications of "being-toward-sleep," arguing that human existence emerges atop naturally anonymous corporeality (i.e. living being). In sum, I try to show that we can recover an authentic (...) — if somewhat ambiguous — sense of "being-a-whole" only by recognizing the ontological significance of dreamless sleep. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to investigate Plato’s conception of the whole in the Phaedrus and the theory of medical dialectic underlying this conception. Through this analysis Plato’s conception of kairos will also be adressed. It will be argued that the epistemological holism developed in the dialogue and the patient-typology emerging from it provides us with a way of perceiving individual situations of medical discourse and decision-making that makes it possible to bridge the gap between observations of a (...) professional nature, i.e. of diagnostics and therapy—of whom to treat and in what magnitude—and individual patients’ perceptions of their situation. Besides, it will be argued that such a patient-typology represents a conceptual framework to assess and deal normatively with patients’ ailments and needs that is more robust than the current standards in use, i.e. the Subjective Standard, the Reasonable Person Standard and the Professional Practice Standard. Finally, it will be argued that the possession of kairos, which according to Plato is the hallmark of a true physician, represents a normative conception of time that today’s medicine is in need of revisiting. (shrink)
Rapid advances in high throughput genomic technologies and next generation sequencing are making medical genomic research more readily accessible and affordable, including the sequencing of patient and control whole genomes and exomes in order to elucidate genetic factors underlying disease. Over the next five years, the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) Initiative, funded by the Wellcome Trust (United Kingdom) and the National Institutes of Health (United States of America), will contribute greatly towards sequencing of numerous African samples (...) for biomedical research. (shrink)
The centrality of the whole/part relation in mathematics is demonstrated through the presentation and analysis of examples from algebra, geometry, functional analysis,logic, topology and category theory.
According to the popular Whole Life Satisfaction theories of happiness, an agent is happy when she judges that her life fulfils her ideal life-plan. Fred Feldman has recently argued that such views cannot accommodate the happiness of spontaneous or pre-occupied agents who do not consider how well their lives are going. In this paper, I formulate a new Whole Life Satisfaction theory which can deal with this problem. My proposal is inspired by Michael Smith’s advice-model of desirability. According (...) to it, an agent is happy when a more informed and rational hypothetical version of her would judge that the agent’s actual life matches the best life-plan for her. This view turns out to be a flexible model which can avoid many problems of the previous theories of happiness. (shrink)
This paper develops the notion of a situated part structure and applies it to the semantics of the modifiers 'whole' and 'individual'. It argues that the ambiguity of 'whole' should be traced to two different conceptions of part structures of objects being at play: one according to which the parts of an objects are just the material parts and another, Aristotelian conception according to which the parts of an object include properties of form.
Since the early 1980s, metonymy has progressively gained central stage in linguistic investigations. The advent of cognitive linguistics marked a new turn in the study of this trope conceived, not as a deviation from semantic conventions, but as a phenomenon rooted in non-language-specific mechanisms of conceptualization of the world. Acknowledging that metonymy is ultimately cognitive in nature, this paper proposes to consider metonymy from its multiple levels of manifestation, integrating cognitive, pragmatic, semantic, but also ontological angles of approach. Taking (...) class='Hi'>whole-for-part metonymies as a case study, I aim to show how recent developments within these respective disciplines can enrich our understanding of such metonymic mechanisms, sometimes without even identifying them as such. This paper proposes to establish a dialog between these disciplines on the topic of WP-metonymy. So, after a presentation of the most standard cognitive and pragmatic approaches to WP-metonymy, I will argue for the relevance of recent semantic investigations on quantity gradability, and for the theoretical importance of keeping these two kinds of part-reference clearly apart. I will show that the literature on gradability provides strong semantic arguments for doing so. Finally, connecting the debate on WP-metonymy with the ontological debate on property inherence will open the way for a formal treatment of WP-metonymy within ground logic. (shrink)
It is often held that according to Aristotle the city is a natural organism. One major reason for this organic interpretation is no doubt that Aristotle describes the relationship between the individual and the city as a part-whole relationship, seemingly the same relationship that holds between the parts of a natural organism and the organism itself. Moreover, some scholars (most notably Jonathan Barnes) believe this view of the city led Aristotle to accept an implicit totalitarianism. I argue, however, that (...) an investigation of the various ways Aristotle describes parts and wholes reveals that for Aristotle the city has a unity (and thus a nature) quite different from that of a natural organism. (shrink)
Section 1. Prologue -- section 2. The whole being -- section 3. Engaging with wholeness -- section 4. Wholeness in Kashmiri Shaivism -- section 5. The Buddhist perspective -- section 6. Wholeness in the modern world -- section 7. The workings of wholeness in our world -- section 8. Epilogue.
Consider a circle and a pair of its semicircles. Which is prior, the whole or its parts? Are the semicircles dependent abstractions from their whole, or is the circle a derivative construction from its parts? Now in place of the circle consider the entire cosmos (the ultimate concrete whole), and in place of the pair of semicircles consider the myriad particles (the ultimate concrete parts). Which if either is ultimately prior, the one ultimate whole or its (...) many ultimate parts? (shrink)
In 'Aboutness' (MIT Press 2014), Yablo argues for the importance of the notions of partial content and partial truth. This paper argues that they are involved in a much greater range of entities than acknowledged by Yablo. The paper also argues that some of those entities involve a notion of partial satisfaction as well as partial existence (validity).
We address the question whether there is an explanation for the fact that as Fodor put it the micro-level “converges on stable macro-level properties”, and whether there are lessons from this explanation for other issues in the vicinity. We argue that stability in large systems can be understood in terms of statistical limit theorems. In the thermodynamic limit of infinite system size N → ∞ systems will have strictly stable macroscopic properties in the sense that transitions between different macroscopic phases (...) of matter (if there are any) will not occur in finite time. Indeed stability in this sense is a consequence of the absence of fluctuations, as (large) fluctuations would be required to induce such macroscopic transformations. These properties can be understood in terms of coarse-grained descriptions, and the statistical limit theorems for independent or weakly dependent random variable describing the behaviour averages and the statistics of fluctuations in the large system limit. We argue that RNG analyses applied to off-critical systems can provide a rationalization for the applicability of these limit theorems. Furthermore we discuss some related issues as, for example, the role of the infinite-system idealization. (shrink)
Plato’s demiurge makes a series of questionable decisions in creating the world. Most notoriously, he endeavors to replicate, to the extent possible, some of the features that his model possesses just insofar as it is a Form. This has provoked the colorful complaint that the demiurge is as raving mad as a general contractor who constructs a house of vellum to better realize the architect’s vellum plans (Keyt 1971). The present paper considers the sanity of the demiurge’s reasoning in light (...) of Timaeus 32c5-33b1, where he invokes considerations of wholeness, completeness, uniqueness, and eternality in deciding to build the body of the world from all of each of the simple bodies. Since the passage makes no appeal to the demiurge’s intelligible model, one can mine it for indications of the value that the demiurge takes those features to have independent of mimetic goals. I argue that, for Plato, those features are intrinsically good-making and, thus, that it is not only appropriate for them to characterize Forms qua Forms but also that it is appropriate for the demiurge to aim at replicating them, to the extent possible, in his creation. In particular, I argue that the demiurge’s success in instilling a circumscribed version of each feature in his creation helps to qualify it as a genuine being despite the fact that it comes to be. (shrink)
This report is grounded in several social concepts: First, the primary goal of genetic testing should be to promote the well-being of the child. Second, the recognition that children are part of a network of family relationships supports an approach to potential conflicts that is not adversarial but, rather, emphasizes a deliberative process that seeks to promote the child's well-being within this context. Third, as children grow through successive stages of cognitive and moral development, parents and professionals should be attentive (...) to the child's increasing interest and ability to participate in decisions about his or her own welfare. (shrink)
Whole-genome analysis and whole-exome analysis generate many more clinically actionable findings than traditional targeted genetic analysis. These findings may be relevant to research participants themselves as well as for members of their families. Though researchers performing genomic analyses are likely to find medically significant genetic variations for nearly every research participant, what they will find for any given participant is unpredictable. The ubiquity and diversity of these findings complicate questions about disclosing individual genetic test results. We outline an (...) approach for disclosing a select range of genetic results to the relatives of research participants who have died, developed in response to relatives? requests during a pilot study of large-scale medical genetic sequencing. We also argue that studies that disclose individual research results to participants should, at a minimum, passively disclose individual results to deceased participants? relatives. (shrink)
In this paper, I set out and defend a new theory of value, whole-life welfarism. According to this theory, something is good only if it makes somebody better off in some way in his life considered as a whole. By focusing on lifetime, rather than momentary, well-being, a welfarist can solve two of the most vexing puzzles in value theory, The Badness of Death and The Problem of Additive Aggregation.
The connection between whole and part is intimate: not only can we share the same space, but I’m incapable of leaving my parts behind; settle the nonmereological facts and you thereby settle what is a part of what; wholes don’t seem to be an additional ontological commitment over their parts. Composition as identity promises to explain this intimacy. But it threatens to make the connection too intimate, for surely the parts could have made a different whole and the (...)whole have had different parts. In this paper I attempt to offer an account of parthood that is intimate enough but not too intimate: the parts generate the whole, but they are not themselves the whole. (shrink)
Recent work has defended “Euclidean” theories of set size, in which Cantor’s Principle (two sets have equally many elements if and only if there is a one-to-one correspondence between them) is abandoned in favor of the Part-Whole Principle (if A is a proper subset of B then A is smaller than B). It has also been suggested that Gödel’s argument for the unique correctness of Cantor’s Principle is inadequate. Here we see from simple examples, not that Euclidean theories of (...) set size are wrong, but that they must be either very weak and narrow or largely arbitrary and misleading. (shrink)
In its October 2001 issue, this journal published a series of articles questioning the Whole-Brain-based definition of death. Much of the concern focused on whether somatic integration - a commonly understood basis for the whole-brain death view - can survive the brain's death. The present article accepts that there are insurmountable problems with whole-brain death views, but challenges the assumption that loss of somatic integration is the proper basis for pronouncing death. It examines three major themes. First, (...) it accepts the claim of the "disaggregators" that some behaviors traditionally associated with death can be unbundled, but argues that other behaviors (including organ procurement) must continue to be associated. Second, it rejects the claims of the "somaticists," that the integration of the body is critical, arguing instead for equating death with the irreversible loss of "embodied consciousness," that is, the loss of integration of bodily and mental function. Third, it defends higher-brain views against the charge that they are necessarily "mentalist," that is, that they equate death with losing some mental function such as consciousness or personhood. It argues, instead, for the integration of bodily and mental function as the critical feature of human life and that its irreversible loss constitutes death. (shrink)
Legally defining “death” in terms of brain death unacceptably obscures a value judgment that not all reasonable people would accept. This is disingenuous, and it results in serious moral flaws in the medical practices surrounding organ donation. Public policy that relies on the whole-brain concept of death is therefore morally flawed and in need of revision.
“Brain death,” the determination of human death by showing the irreversible loss of all clinical functions of the brain, has become a worldwide practice. A biophilosophical account of brain death requires four sequential tasks: agreeing on the paradigm of death, a set of preconditions that frame the discussion; determining the definition of death by making explicit the consensual concept of death; determining the criterion of death that proves the definition has been fulfilled by being both necessary and sufficient for death; (...) and determining the tests of death for physicians to employ at the patient's bedside to demonstrate that the criterion of death has been fulfilled. The best definition of death is “the cessation of functioning of the organism as a whole.” The whole-brain criterion is the only criterion that is both necessary and sufficient for death. Brain death tests are used only in the unusual case in which a patient's ventilation is being supported. Brain death critics have identified weaknesses in its formulation. But despite its shortcomings, the whole-brain death formulation comprises a concept and public policy that make intuitive and practical sense and that has been well accepted by many societies. (shrink)
In this article, I explore plant semiosis with a focus on plant learning. I distinguish between the scales and levels of learning conceivable in phytosemiosis, and identify organism-scale learning as the distinguishing question for plant semiosis. Since organism-scale learning depends on organism-scale semiosis, I critically review the arguments regarding whole-plant functional cycles. I conclude that they have largely relied on Uexküllian biases that have prevented an adequate interpretation of modern plant neurobiology. Through an examination of trophic growth in plant (...) roots, I expose some conceptual difficulties in attributing functional cycles to whole-plants. I conclude that the mapping of resource areas in the root system is a learning activity requiring higher-scale sign activity than is possible at the cellular scale, strongly suggesting the presence of organism-scale functional cycles. I do, however, question whether all perception-action cycles in organisms are accompanied with organism-scale semiosis. (shrink)
Many accounts of the historical development of neurological criteria for determination of death insufficiently distinguish between two strands of interpretation advanced by advocates of a "whole-brain" criterion. One strand focuses on the brain as the organ of integration. Another provides a far more complex and nuanced account, both of death and of a policy on the determination of death. Current criticisms of the whole-brain criterion are effective in refuting the first interpretation, but not the second, which is advanced (...) in the 2008 President's Council report on the determination of death. In this essay, I seek to further develop this second strand of interpretation. I argue that policy on determination of death aligns moral, biological, and ontological death concepts. Morally, death marks the stage when respect is no longer owed. Biologically, death concerns integrated functioning of an organism as a whole. But the biological concepts are underdetermined. The moral concerns lead to selection of strong individuality concepts rather than weak ones. They also push criteria to the "far side" of the dying process. There is a countervailing consideration associated with optimizing the number of available organs, and this pushes to the "near side" of death. Policy is governed by a conviction that it is possible to align these moral and biological death concepts, but this conviction simply lays out an agenda. There is also a prescription—integral to the dead donor rule—that lexically prioritizes the deontic concerns and that seeks to balance the countervailing tendencies by using science-based refinements to make the line between life and death more precise. After showing how these concerns have been effectively aligned in the current policy, I present a modified variant of a "division" scenario and show how an "inverse decapitation problem" leads to a conclusive refutation of the nonbrain account of death. (shrink)
Priority monism is the view that the cosmos is the only independent concrete object. The paper argues that, pace its proponents, Priority monism is in conflict with the dependence of any whole on any of its parts: if the cosmos does not depend on its parts, neither does any smaller composite.
Many biologists and philosophers have worried that importing models of reasoning from the physical sciences obscures our understanding of reasoning in the life sciences. In this paper we discuss one example that partially validates this concern: part-whole reductive explanations. Biology and physics tend to incorporate different models of temporality in part-whole reductive explanations. This results from differential emphases on compositional and causal facets of reductive explanations, which have not been distinguished reliably in prior philosophical analyses. Keeping these two (...) facets distinct facilitates the identifi cation of two further aspects of reductive explanation: intrinsicality and fundamentality. Our account provides resources for discriminating between different types of reductive explanation and suggests a new approach to comprehending similarities and differences in the explanatory reasoning found in biology and physics. (shrink)