A reluctant Aidan, recently returned home to Corenwald after three years in the Feechiefen Swamp, learns of a new party of Aidanites who believes he is the destined king to overthrow the tyrant King Darrow.
This book is a collection of secondary essays on America's most important philosophic thinkers—statesmen, judges, writers, educators, and activists—from the colonial period to the present. Each essay is a comprehensive introduction to the thought of a noted American on the fundamental meaning of the American regime.
This work is a lively philosophical debate exploring "the implications of classical and quantum Big Bang cosmology" for theism and atheism. Both authors accept one current estimate that the universe began about 15 billion years ago. The book has three parts. In the first two parts the authors offer theistic and atheistic cosmological arguments; in the third part they explore the quantum cosmology of Stephen Hawking.
ArgumentWe continue our analysis of modeling practices that focus more on qualitative understanding of system behavior than the attempt to provide sharp forecasts. The argument here is built around three episodes: the ambitious work of the Princeton Meteorological Project; the seemingly simple models of convection in weather systems by Edward Lorenz at MIT; and then finally analysis of the dripping faucet by Robert Shaw and the Dynamical Systems Collective at UC Santa Cruz. Using the Princeton Meteorological Project as an argumentative (...) foil for the later chaos work of Lorenz and Shaw, we first show how the epistemological interest of modeling came to shift fromissuingpredictions toprobingthe very meaning and limits of prediction. The second step of our argument shows that what may be seen in one context of use as a modeling technology that is error ridden, imprecise, or inadequate, may be parsed completely differently in another context. This argument about technology and practice, we argue, feeds through to epistemological conceptions of error. Far from being something that can be defined in the absolute, the notion of error is shown to be contextually plastic. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between operations research as practised during the Second World War and the claims of many of its proponents that it constituted an application of scientific method. It begins with an examination of the pre-war work of two of the most notable leaders in wartime OR, the British experimental physicist Patrick Blackett and the American theoretical physicist Philip Morse. Despite differences in their scientific work, each saw science as an essentially creative act relying on the skill (...) and judgement of the individual scientist in the deployment of rational methods for the development of legitimate conclusions. When scientists began to study military operations, their investigations were defined by the technically sophisticated heuristic practices already surrounding military planning. They did not seek to replace these practices with their own rational methods. Rather, they became scholars of the military's methods and adapted their pre-war experience by shifting their self-disciplined attitude to their own work to bodies of military knowledge. Thus scientists learned so well to navigate an alien heuristic system that investigations they conducted within it took on the characteristics that they judged defined scientific work. (shrink)
Thomas reviews economist Leland Yeager's Ethics as Social Science. Yeager presents an argument for a utilitarianism that in its commitment to a reality-oriented, practical, principled ethics of human happiness resembles Rand's Objectivism. The book incorporates a wide and varied literature, including virtually everything written on Objectivism. In sum, it is like an Old Right reconstruction of utilitarianism in response to Randian critiques. The principal shortcoming of the book is its lack of precision, novelty, and clarity in addressing philosophical problems. This (...) results in sloppy reasoning that renders its conclusions unconvincing. (shrink)
ArgumentThis paper is the first part of a two-part examination of computer modeling practice and philosophy. It discusses electrical engineer Jay Forrester's work on Industrial Dynamics, later called System Dynamics. Forrester developed Industrial Dynamics after being recruited to the newly-established School of Industrial Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which had been seeking a novel pedagogical program for management for five years before Forrester's arrival. We argue that Industrial Dynamics should be regarded in light of this institutional context. Unlike (...) economics, as well as operations research and management science, Industrial Dynamics was not meant to be applied by mathematicians and technical specialists in consultation with managers, but by managers themselves. This concern shifted the emphasis in modeling from the specialist act of analysis of a crucial problem to the managerial act of choosing which problems were crucial and developing effective policies around them. (shrink)
Thomas clarifies his basic criticism of Yeager's book, Ethics as Social Science, emphasizing his concern about lack of clarity of argument rather than style. Thomas discusses the role of ethical standards in contextual moral reasoning and defends Rand's rejection of ethical altruism against criticisms that it represents a "corner solution" or an unrealistic slippery-slope argument.