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.
In this article I assess the Invariance Principle, which states that only quantities that are invariant under the symmetries of our theories are physically real. I argue, contrary to current orthodoxy, that the variance of a quantity under a theory’s symmetries is not a sufficient basis for interpreting that theory as being uncommitted to the reality of that quantity. Rather, I argue, the variance of a quantity under symmetries only ever serves as a motivation to refrain from any commitment to (...) the quantity in question. (shrink)
Defining value as the requiredness of an activity or object, the author describes value experiences and the nature, meaning, development, and function of value on the physical, psychological, and philosophical levels. Bibliogs.
The concept ‘hereditary breast cancer’ is commonly used to delineate a group of people genetically at risk for breast cancer—all of whom also having risk for other cancers. People carrying pathogenic variants of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are often referred to as those having predisposition for ‘hereditary breast cancer’. The two genes, however, are when altered, associated with different risks for and dying from breast cancer. The main risk for dying for carriers of both genes is from ovarian cancer. (...) These biological facts are of philosophical interest, because they are the facts underlying the public debate on BRCA1/2 genetic testing as a model for the discussion of how to implement genetic knowledge and technologies in personalized medicine. A contribution to this public debate describing inherited breast cancer as ‘biological citizenship’ recently printed in Med Health Care and Philos illustrated how fragmented and detached from the biological and socio-political facts this debate sometimes is. We here briefly summarize some of the biological facts and how they are implemented in today’s healthcare based on agreed philosophical, ethical and moral principles. The suggestion of a ‘biological citizenship’ defined by hereditary breast cancer is incorrect and ill-advised. ‘Identity politics’ focusing hereditary breast cancer patients as a group based on a bundle of ill-defined negative arguments is well known, but is supported neither by scientific nor philosophical arguments. To those born with the genetic variants described, the philosophical rule of not doing harm is violated by unbalanced negative arguments. (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)
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)
There exists a common view that for theories related by a ‘duality’, dual models typically may be taken ab initio to represent the same physical state of affairs, i.e. to correspond to the same possible world. We question this view, by drawing a parallel with the distinction between ‘interpretational’ and ‘motivational’ approaches to symmetries.
There seem to be two ways of supposing a proposition: supposing “indicatively” that Shakespeare didn’t write Hamlet, it is likely that someone else did; supposing “subjunctively” that Shakespeare hadn’t written Hamlet, it is likely that nobody would have written the play. Let P be the probability of B on the subjunctive supposition that A. Is P equal to the probability of the corresponding counterfactual, A □→B? I review recent triviality arguments against this hypothesis and argue that they do not succeed. (...) On the other hand, I argue that even if we can equate P with P, we still need an account of how subjunctive conditional probabilities are related to unconditional probabilities. The triviality arguments reveal that the connection is not as straightforward as one might have hoped. (shrink)
This book has grown out of eight years of close collaboration among its authors. From the very beginning we decided that its content should come out as the result of a truly common effort. That is, we did not "distribute" parts of the text planned to each one of us. On the contrary, we made a point that each single paragraph be the product of a common reflection. Genuine team-work is not as usual in philosophy as it is in other (...) academic disciplines. We think, however, that this is more due to the idiosyncrasy of philosophers than to the nature of their subject. Close collaboration with positive results is as rewarding as anything can be, but it may also prove to be quite difficult to implement. In our case, part of the difficulties came from purely geographic separation. This caused unsuspected delays in coordinating the work. But more than this, as time passed, the accumulation of particular results and ideas outran our ability to fit them into an organic unity. Different styles of exposition, different ways of formalization, different levels of complexity were simultaneously present in a voluminous manuscript that had become completely unmanageable. In particular, a portion of the text had been conceived in the language of category theory and employed ideas of a rather abstract nature, while another part was expounded in the more conventional set-theoretic style, stressing intui tivity and concreteness. (shrink)
The paper critically examines an objection to epistemic contextualism recently developed by Elke Brendel and Peter Baumann, according to which it is impossible for the contextualist to know consistently that his theory is true. I first present an outline of contextualism and its reaction to scepticism. Then the necessary and sufficient conditions for the knowability problem to arise are explored. Finally, it will be argued that contextualism does not fulfil these minimal conditions. It will be shown that the contrary view (...) is based on a misunderstanding of what contextualists are claiming. (shrink)
The modalities come into the world by being projections or objectivizations of our epistemic constitution. Thus this paper is a statement of Humean projectivism. In fact, it goes beyond Simon Blackburn’s version. It is also designed as a comprehensive counter-program to David Lewis’ program of Humean supervenience. In detail, the paper explains: Already the basic fact that the world is a world of states of affairs is due to the nature of our epistemic states. Objects, which figure in states of (...) affairs and which embody metaphysical modality, are constitutable by their essential properties and in fact constituted by us according to our ontological policies. What the facts are, to which the correspondence notion of truth refers, is determined by applying an epistemic or pragmatic notion of truth to the world. Causation is a specific objectivization of our conditional beliefs. Nomicity is a ‘habit of belief’, a specific way of generalizing epistemic attitudes. This covers the basic metaphysical and natural modalities. The paper attempts to convey that talking of projection or objectivization is not just imagery, but a constructively realizable program. (shrink)
The paper is motivated by the need of accounting for the practical syllogism as a piece of defeasible reasoning. To meet the need, the paper first refers to ranking theory as an account of defeasible descriptive reasoning. It then argues that two kinds of ought need to be distinguished, purely normative and fact-regarding obligations. It continues arguing that both kinds of ought can be iteratively revised and should hence be represented by ranking functions, too, just as iteratively revisable beliefs. Its (...) central proposal will then be that the fact-regarding normative ranking function must be conceived as the sum of a purely normative ranking function and an epistemic ranking function. The distinctions defends this proposal with a comparative discussion of some critical examples and some other distinctions made in the literature. It gives a more rigorous justification of this proposal. Finally, it starts developing the logic of purely normative and of fact-regarding normative defeasible reasoning, points to the difficulties of completing the logic of the fact-regarding side, but reaches the initial aim of accounting for the defeasible nature of the practical syllogism. (shrink)
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)
Concentrating upon applications that are most relevant to modern physics, this valuable book surveys variational principles and examines their relationship to dynamics and quantum theory. Stressing the history and theory of these mathematical concepts rather than the mechanics, the authors provide many insights into the development of quantum mechanics and present much hard-to-find material in a remarkably lucid, compact form. After summarizing the historical background from Pythagoras to Francis Bacon, Professors Yourgrau and Mandelstram cover Fermat's principle of least time, the (...) principle of least action of Maupertuis, development of this principle by Euler and Lagrange, and the equations of Lagrange and Hamilton. Equipped by this thorough preparation to treat variational principles in general, they proceed to derive Hamilton's principle, the Hamilton-Jacobi equation, and Hamilton's canonical equations. An investigation of electrodynamics in Hamiltonian form covers next, followed by a resume of variational principles in classical dynamics. The authors then launch into an analysis of their most significant topics: the relation between variational principles and wave mechanics, and the principles of Feynman and Schwinger in quantum mechanics. Two concluding chapters extend the discussion to hydrodynamics and natural philosophy. Professional physicists, mathematicians, and advanced students with a strong mathematical background will find this stimulating volume invaluable reading. Extremely popular in its hardcover edition, this volume will find even wider appreciation in its first fine inexpensive paperbound edition. (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)
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)
The creation of new institutions and the initiation of new forms of behaviour cannot be explained only on the basis of constitutive rules – they also require a broader commitment of individuals who participate in social practices and, thus, to become members of a community. In this paper, I argue that the received conception of constitutive rules shows a problematic intellectualistic bias that becomes particularly manifest in three assumptions: (i) constitutive rules have a logical form, (ii) constitutive rules have no (...) normative force, and (iii) rules are essentially tied to a sanctioning authority. I discuss these three claims in light of real-life examples. The goal of this discussion is to show that the normative force of constitutive rules is based on the shared commitment of participants who engage in the relevant practices. The inner cohesion and the persistence in time of these practices is possible only because participants continuously calibrate their own forms of behaviour to that of the other members of the community, which underscores the social dimension of constitution. (shrink)
Many spiritual traditions employ certain mental techniques (meditation) which consist in inhibiting mental activity whilst nonetheless remaining fully conscious, which is supposed to lead to a realisation of one’s own true nature prior to habitual self-substantialisation. In this paper I propose that this practice can be understood as a special means of becoming aware of consciousness itself as such. To explain this claim I conduct some phenomenologically oriented considerations about the nature of consciousness qua presence and the problem of self-presence (...) of this presence. (shrink)
I have a clear idea of what it means that I have experiences in the past or future, and it does not seem to mean that experiences take place that possess certain content-characteristics, but simply and irreducibly that I experience them – i.e. that they are, at the time of their occurrence, experientially present to me –, whatever their contents may be. So the central question regarding personal identity is: What is this “I” to whom the experiences are present, and (...) what is the nature of its identity across changing experiences? Following Zahavi, I suggest that the subject is not to be conceived as a merely postulated trans-experiential entity but has its very being in experiential presence itself. Yet the question is how to conceive of this presence. When we understand it as a property or quality of the experiences, the problem is that every experience that has ever been experienced possesses this property, and so it cannot account for what it means that some experiences are experienced by me and not some other subject. In contrast, I suggest understanding experiential presence not as a property of the experiences but as a dimension which is able to comprise many experiences and to abide as identical through their change – an idea that can also be found in some formulations of Zahavi’s, but which he does not distinguish with the necessary clarity from the quality account. (shrink)
Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate advances a positive view of businesses that are hybrids between several traditional categories. He expects that the “logic of gift” that animates civil society infuses the market and the State with relations typical for it—reciprocity, gratuitousness, and solidarity. His theological rationale offers an answer to two questions that have largely remained open in the literature—why hybridization of business occurs and why it is desirable. A rational reconstruction of hybrid enterprise that goes beyond a simple (...) taxonomy of types benefits from the Pope’s call for an intrinsic integration of institutions and processes traditionally attributed to disparate spheres. The relational model of the Trinity defines the unity in diversity that accounts for the benefits of truly hybrid businesses, and the “logic of gift” serves as the agent of integration. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the nature of the “I” (or “self”) and whether it is presupposed by the very existence of conscious experiences (as that which “has” them) or whether it is, instead, in some way constituted by them. I argue for the former view and try to show that the very nature of experience implies a non-constituted synchronic and diachronic transcendence of the experiencing “I” with regard to its experiences, an “I” which defies any objective characterization. Finally I (...) suggest that the self, though irreducible to inter-experiential relations, is not a “separately existing entity”, but should be conceived of as a dimension , namely the dimension of first-personal manifestation of the experiences. (shrink)
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