Transitional forms of the recent classes of vertebrates are only known in paleontology. The well described examples are:Eusthenopteron foordi,Ichthyostega andAcanthostega between Osteichthyes and Amphibia,Seymouria baylorensis between Amphibia and Reptilia,Archaeopteryx lithographica between Reptilia and Aves, and the mammal-like reptiles Pelycosauria, Therapsida and Cynodontia between Reptilia and Mammalia. The description of their phylogenetical heterochronies in terms of peramorphosis and paedomorphosis shows the progressive role of the motorial, especially the locomotorial organ systems and their functions in comparison with the retarded evolution of the (...) axial system, especially the skull and central nervous system. The evolution of the Hominidae shows the same rule. — The evaluation of these transitional forms in their fossil context reveals them as inhabitants of biotopes situated in the border areas of coastal and shore landscapes of marine, brackish or fresh water. These biotopes have obviously favoured the innovations on the high taxonomic level of macro-evolutionary characteristics. (shrink)
When in 1801, after the assassination of Paul I., the more liberal Alexander I. became Czar, he began to reorganize the educational system in Russia. He founded a Ministry for Peopleâs Englightenment , re-opened the University of Dorpat (in 1802), planned to restore the University of Wilna and made preparations for the foundation of new universities in Kazan, Charkov, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Tobolâsk, and Ustiug-Velikii. One of the mediating personalities involved in the negotiations about German professors for Russia was Johann (...)Wolfgang von Goethe. Proposed by Goethe, the chemist Ludwig Schnaubert and the philosopher Johann Baptist Schad were appointed professors at the University of Charkov in 1804. Based on documents from the Goethe-Schiller-archives in Weimar, Goetheâs efforts concerning German academic personnal for Russia are described. (shrink)
Is there life after theory? If the death of the Author has now been followed by the death of the Theorist, what's left? Indeed, who's left? To explore such riddles Life. After.Theory brings together new interviews with four theorists who are left, each a major figure in their own right: Jacques Derrida, Frank Kermode, Toril Moi, and Christopher Norris. Framed and introduced by Michael Payne and John Schad, the interviews pursue a whole range of topics, both familiar and unfamiliar. (...) Among other things, Derrida, Kermode, Moi and Norris discuss being an outsider, taking responsibility, valuing books, getting angry, doing science, listening to music, remembering Empson, rereading de Beauvoir, being Jewish, asking forgiveness, smoking in libraries, befriending the dead, committing bigamy, forgetting to forget, thinking, not thinking, believing, and being mad. These four key thinkers explore why there is life after theory...but not as we know it. Jacques Derrida is Professor at the +cole des Hautes +tudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He is the author of a range of extraordinarily influential works including Of Grammatology, Writing and Difference and Dissemination. Sir Frank Kermode is a former King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge and author of, among many other books, The Sense of An Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction, Shakespeare's Language, and Not Entitled, his memoirs. Toril Moi is James B. Duke Professor of Literature and Romance Studies at Duke University. Her books include Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory, Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman and What Is a Woman? And Other Essays. Christopher Norris is Distinguished Research Professor in Philosophy at the University of Cardiff. He has published some twenty books to date, including, most recently, Deconstruction and the Unfinished Project of Modernity, Quantum Theory and the Flight from Realism, Truth Matters: Realism, Anti-Realism, and Response-Dependence, and Hilary Putnam: Reason, Realism, and the Uses of Uncertainty. (shrink)
In response to the chronic overuse and misuse of pesticides in agriculture, governments in Southeast Asia have sought to improve food safety by introducing public standards of good agricultural practices (GAP). Using quantitative farm-level data from an intensive horticultural production system in northern Thailand, we test if fruit and vegetable producers who follow the public GAP standard use fewer and less hazardous pesticides than producers who do not adhere to the standard. The results show that this is not the case. (...) By drawing on qualitative data from expert interviews and an action research project with local litchi (“lychee”) producers we explain the underlying reasons for the absence of significant differences. The qualitative evidence points at poor implementation of farm auditing related to a program expansion that was too rapid, at a lack of understanding among farmers about the logic of the control points in the standard, and at a lack of alternatives given to farmers to manage their pest problems. We argue that by focusing on the testing of farm produce for pesticide residues, the public GAP program is paying too much attention to the consequences rather than the root cause of the pesticide problem; it needs to balance this by making a greater effort to change on-farm practices. (shrink)
Truth is one of the most debated topics in philosophy; Wolfgang Kunne presents a comprehensive critical examination of all major theories, from Aristotle to the present day. He argues that it is possible to give a satisfactory 'modest' account of truth without invoking problematic notions like correspondence, fact, or meaning. The clarity of exposition and the wealth of examples will make Conceptions of Truth an invaluable and stimulating guide for advanced students and scholars.
‘Disastrologies’ explores Derrida's fascination with dates and how that fascination reveals a secret correspondence, in every sense of the word, with Walter Benjamin – a man who has the same birth-date as Derrida. It is, though, the date of Benjamin's death and indeed its infamous mise-en-scène, the cheap hotel on the Franco-Spanish border, that dominates this text which takes the form of a dramatic monologue delivered by the hotel manager, Juan Suñer, a man known to be both a manipulator of (...) dates and, indeed, close to the Gestapo. As the monologue unfolds, Suñer advances an elaborate calendrical re-reading of a host of Derrida texts which probes at the mystery not only of Benjamin's last night but also of living with both Jewish and Christian calendars. Finally, we see how this last of nights puts under unbearable pressure the infinite promise of both the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday. (shrink)
The large swinging bell Gloriosa, cast in 1497 for Erfurt Cathedral by Gherardus de Wou, ranks as an outstanding masterpiece of Gothic bell-founding art. Its musical quality and formal aesthetics became an object of emulation for generations of succeeeding bell founders and there have been repeated attempts to discover the hidden deisgn of the bell's profile. An early drawing is based on measurements made in 1865 by Sorge and consistent or modified reproductions of it were subsequently published by several authors. (...) Since 1985, a new admeasure of the bell's profile has been available. From these data a shape-fitting reconstruction was obtained by means of computer aided design (CAD) but following the traditional principles of bell design. With the aid of the finite element method (FEM) the frequencies of the partials of a bell can be calculated from its material and its profile. They make up the inner harmony as an important part of euphony, namely the purity of sound. Calculated values for the most important partials are given in terms of deviation from ideal harmonic intervals and are compared with acoustically ascertained values and modern standards. A further part of euphony, i.e. reverberation and sonority, is related to the bell metal, makingGloriosa highly resonant. As a piece of luck with a singular coincidence of perfect profile and excellent material.Gloriosa will remain the undefeatable prototype of western bells. (shrink)
This is one of a pair of discussion notes comparing some features of the account of causation in Wolfgang Spohn’s Laws of Belief with the “interventionist” account in James Woodward’s Making Things Happen. This note locates the core difference of the accounts in the fact that Woodward’s account follows an epistemological order, while Spohn’s follows a conceptual order. This unfolds in five further differences: type- versus token-level causation, reference to time, actual/counterfactual intervention versus epistemic/suppositional wiggling, a circular versus a (...) circle-free conception of the circumstances of a direct causal relation, and absolute versus model-relative causation. (shrink)
Magnetism in meta-semantics is the view that the meaning of our words is determined in part by their use and in part by the objective naturalness of candidate meanings. This hypothesis is commonly attributed to David Lewis, and has been put to philosophical work by Brian Weatherson, Ted Sider and others. I argue that there is no evidence that Lewis ever endorsed the view, and that his actual account of language reveals good reasons against it.
It is natural and important to have a formal representation of plain belief, according to which propositions are held true, or held false, or neither. (In the paper this is called a deterministic representation of epistemic states). And it is of great philosophical importance to have a dynamic account of plain belief. AGM belief revision theory seems to provide such an account, but it founders at the problem of iterated belief revision, since it can generally account only for one step (...) of revision. The paper discusses and rejects two solutions within the confines of AGM theory. It then introduces ranking functions (as I prefer to call them now; in the paper they are still called ordinal conditional functions) as the proper (and, I find, still the best) solution of the problem, proves that conditional independence w.r.t. ranking functions satisfies the so-called graphoid axioms, and proposes general rules of belief change (in close analogy to Jeffrey's generalized probabilistic conditionalization) that encompass revision and contraction as conceived in AGM theory. Indeed, the parallel to probability theory is amazing. Probability theory can profit from ranking theory as well since it is also plagued by the problem of iterated belief revision even if probability measures are conceived as Popper measures (see No. 11). Finally, the theory is compared with predecessors which are numerous and impressive, but somehow failed to explain the all-important conditional ranks in the appropriate way. (shrink)
This collection includes twenty original philosophical essays in honour of Wolfgang Spohn. The contributions mirror the scope of Wolfgang Spohn’s work. They address topics from epistemology (e.g., the theory of ranking functions, belief revision, and the nature of knowledge and belief), philosophy of science (e.g., causation, induction, and laws of nature), the philosophy of language (e.g., the theory of meaning and the semantics of counterfactuals), and the philosophy of mind (e.g., intentionality and free will), as well as problems (...) of ontology, logic, the theory of practical rationality, and meta-philosophy. ― Contributors: Ansgar Beckermann, Wolfgang Benkewitz, Bernd Buldt, Ralf Busse, Christoph Fehige, Wolfgang Freitag, Gordian Haas, Volker Halbach, Franz Huber, Andreas Kemmerling, Manfred Kupffer, Hannes Leitgeb, Godehard Link, Arthur Merin, Thomas Müller, Julian Nida-Rümelin, Martine Nida-Rümelin, Hans Rott, Holger Sturm, Thomas Ede Zimmermann, Alexandra Zinke. (shrink)
The paper builds on the basically Humean idea that A is a cause of B iff A and B both occur, A precedes B, and A raises the metaphysical or epistemic status of B given the obtaining circumstances. It argues that in pursuit of a theory of deterministic causation this ‘status raising’ is best explicated not in regularity or counterfactual terms, but in terms of ranking functions. On this basis, it constructs a rigorous theory of deterministic causation that successfully deals (...) with cases of overdetermination and pre-emption. It finally indicates how the account's profound epistemic relativization induced by ranking theory can be undone. Introduction Variables, propositions, time Induction first Causation Redundant causation Objectivization. (shrink)
Conditionals somehow express conditional beliefs. However, conditional belief is a bi-propositional attitude that is generally not truth-evaluable, in contrast to unconditional belief. Therefore, this article opts for an expressivistic semantics for conditionals, grounds this semantics in the arguably most adequate account of conditional belief, that is, ranking theory, and dismisses probability theory for that purpose, because probabilities cannot represent belief. Various expressive options are then explained in terms of ranking theory, with the intention to set out a general interpretive scheme (...) that is able to account for the most variegated usage of conditionals. The Ramsey test is only the first option. Relevance is another, familiar, but little understood item, which comes in several versions. This article adds a further family of expressive options, which is able to subsume also counterfactuals and causal conditionals, and indicates at the end how this family allows for partial recovery of truth conditions for conditionals. (shrink)
The paper takes an expressivistic perspective, i.e., it takes conditionals of all sorts to primarily express conditional beliefs. Therefore it is based on what it takes to be the best account of conditional belief, namely ranking theory. It proposes not to start looking at the bewildering linguistic phenomenology, but first to systematically study the various options of expressing features of conditional belief. Those options by far transcend the Ramsey test and include relevancies of various kinds and in particular the so-called (...) “circumstances are such that” reading, under which also all conditionals representing causal relations can be subsumed. In this way a unifying perspective on the many kinds of conditionals is offered. The final section explains the considerable extent to which truth conditions for conditionals, which may seem lost in the expressivistic or epistemic perspective, may be recovered. (shrink)
I defend a general rule for updating beliefs that takes into account both the impact of new evidence and changes in the subject’s location. The rule combines standard conditioning with a shifting operation that moves the center of each doxastic possibility forward to the next point where information arrives. I show that well-known arguments for conditioning lead to this combination when centered information is taken into account. I also discuss how my proposal relates to other recent proposals, what results it (...) delivers for puzzles like the Sleeping Beauty problem, and whether there are diachronic constraints on rational belief at all. (shrink)
"A Survey of Ranking Theory": The paper gives an up-to-date survey of ranking theory. It carefully explains the basics. It elaborates on the ranking theoretic explication of reasons and their balance. It explains the dynamics of belief statable in ranking terms and indicates how the ranks can thereby be measured. It suggests how the theory of Bayesian nets can be carried over to ranking theory. It indicates what it might mean to objectify ranks. It discusses the formal and the philosophical (...) aspects of the tight relation and the complementarity of ranks and probabilities. It closes with comparative remarks on predecessors and other philosophical proposals as well as formal models developed in AI. (shrink)
Wolfgang Welsch examines global aestheticization phenomena, probes the relationship of aesthetics and ethics, and considers the broad relevance of aesthetics for contemporary thinking. He argues that modes of thought familiar from the aesthetic realm comprise fundamental paradigms for understanding todayÆs reality. The implications for specific and everyday issues are demonstrated in studies of architecture, advertising, the Internet, and our perception of the life world. Surgically precise, innovative, and, above all, relevant, this book is an essential resource, providing the analysis (...) of contemporary culture with philosophical bite. Aesthetics is to transcend itself, address the whole realm of aethesis, and hence enable orientation in the contemporary condition. Undoing aesthetics means releasing it from old cultural binds and giving it new ties with the future. (shrink)
Ranking theory delivers an account of iterated contraction; each ranking function induces a specific iterated contraction behavior. The paper shows how to reconstruct a ranking function from its iterated contraction behavior uniquely up to multiplicative constant and thus how to measure ranks on a ratio scale. Thereby, it also shows how to completely axiomatize that behavior. The complete set of laws of iterated contraction it specifies amend the laws hitherto discussed in the literature.
The characteristic difference between laws and accidental generalizations lies in our epistemic or inductive attitude towards them. This idea has taken various forms and dominated the discussion about lawlikeness in the last decades. Likewise, the issue about ceteris paribus conditions is essentially about how we epistemically deal with exceptions. Hence, ranking theory with its resources of defeasible reasoning seems ideally suited to explicate these points in a formal way. This is what the paper attempts to do. Thus it will turn (...) out that a law is simply the deterministic analogue of a sequence of independent, identically distributed random variables. This entails that de Finetti's representation theorems can be directly transformed into an account of confirmation of laws thus conceived. (shrink)