Philosophers have often claimed that generalideas or representations have their origin in abstraction, but it remains unclear exactly what abstraction as a psychological process consists in. We argue that the Lockean aspiration of using abstraction to explain the origins of all general representations cannot work and that at least some general representations have to be innate. We then offer an explicit framework for understanding abstraction, one that treats abstraction as a computational process that operates over (...) an innate quality space of fine-grained general representations. We argue that this framework has important philosophical implications for the nativism-empiricism dispute, for questions about the acquisition of unstructured representations, and for questions about the relation between human and animal minds. (shrink)
With a new foreword by Dermot Moran 'the work here presented seeks to found a new science though, indeed, the whole course of philosophical development since Descartes has been preparing the way for it a science covering a new field of ...
Husserl's _Ideas_ is one of the most important works of twentieth-century philosophy, offering a detailed introduction to the phenomenological method, including the reduction, and outlining the overall scope of phenomenological philosophy. Husserl's explorations of the a priori structures of intentionality, consciousness, perceptual experience, evidence and rationality continue to challenge contemporary philosophy of mind. Dan Dahlstrom's accurate and faithful translation, written in pellucid prose and in a fluid, modern idiom, brings this classic work to life for a new generation. --Dermot Moran, (...) University College, Dublin. (shrink)
In Book I, Part I, Section VII of the Treatise, Hume sets out to settle, once and for all, the early modern controversy over abstract ideas. In order to do so, he tries to accomplish two tasks: (1) he attempts to defend an exemplar-based theory of general language and thought, and (2) he sets out to refute the rival abstraction-based account. This paper examines the successes and failures of these two projects. I argue that Hume manages to articulate (...) a plausible theory of generalideas; indeed, a version of his account has defenders in contemporary cognitive science. But Hume fails to refute the abstraction-based account, and as a result, the early modern controversy ends in a stalemate, with both sides able to explain how we manage to speak and think in general terms. Although Hume fails to settle the controversy, he nevertheless advances it to a point from which we have yet to progress: the contemporary debate over abstract ideas in cognitive science has stalled on precisely this point. (shrink)
Abstract. The theory-change epistemological model, tried on maxwellian revolution and special relativity genesis, is unfolded to apprehend general relativity genesis. It is exhibited that the dynamics of general relativity (GR) construction was largely governed by internal tensions of special relativity and Newton’s theory of gravitation. The research traditions’ encounter engendered construction of the hybrid domain at first with an irregular set of theoretical models. However, step by step, on revealing and gradual eliminating the contradictions between the models involved, (...) the hybrid set was put into order with a help of equivalence principle. A hierarchy of theoretical models starting from the crossbreeds and up to usual hybrids was moulded. The claim to put forward is that Einstein’s unification design could be successfully implemented since his programme embraced the ideas of the Nordström research programme, as well as the presuppositions of the programme of Max Abraham. By and large Einstein’s victory over his rivals became possible because the core of his research strategy was formed by the equivalence principle comprehended in the light of Kantian epistemology. It is stated that the theories of Nordström and Abraham contrived before November 25, 1915, were not merely the scaffolds to construct the GR basic model. They are still the necessary part of the whole GR theory necessary for its common use. Key words: Einstein, Nordstrom, Abraham, general relativity. -/- . (shrink)
The doctrine of abstract ideas contains Locke’s views on the nature of generality and how we think in general terms-the nature of universals, of general concepts, and how we classify. While Reid rejects abstract ideas, he accepts Locke’s insight that we have an ability to abstract. In this paper, I show how Reid preserves Locke’s insight, while providing a more versatile and forward-looking account of universals and concepts than Locke was able to give.Reid replaces abstract (...) class='Hi'>ideas with what he calls “general conceptions.” But general conceptions are really three different things. First, they are universals---non-mental intrinsically general objects of acts of abstraction and conception. I show how Reid is able to make the claim that there are universals without being committed to holding that universals really exist. This claim, together with his type/token distinction, enables Reid to better explain how we have knowledge of attributes and use general terms meaningfully. The general features of our experience are not ideas and are not produced by the faculty of abstraction---but that faculty enables us to distinguish them.In the second sense, a general conception is an act of mind which takes universals as objects. Thinking in general tenns is not the manipulation of abstract ideas---it is engaging in acts of conceiving. Such acts are made possible by general conceptions in the third sense, namely, general concepts. While Reid does not distinguish this sense explicitly, I argue that he takes general concepts to be dispositions or abilities to distinguish general features of objects and to use the general terms of language as other users do. So rather than producing mental entities---abstract ideas---that act as standards to help us classify, abstraction makes possible the development of abilities to use general terms and classify objects. (shrink)
This bold and unabashedly utopian book advances the thesis that Marx's notion of communism is a defensible, normative ideal. However, unlike many others who have written in this area, Levine applies the tools and techniques of analytic philosophy to formulate and defend his radical, political programme. The argument proceeds by filtering the ideals and institutions of Marxism through Rousseau's notion of the 'general will'. Once Rousseau's ideas are properly understood it is possible to construct a community of equals (...) who share some vision of a common good that can be achieved and maintained through cooperation or coordination that is at once both voluntary and authoritative. The book engages with liberal theory in order to establish its differences from Rousseauean-Marxian political theory. This provocative book will be of particular interest to political philosophers and political scientists concerned with Marxism, socialist theory and democratic theory. (shrink)
There is a virtual consensus among commentators on Descartes that the causal principle by which he relates the objective reality of his ideas to the formal reality of their causes isindefensible. In particular, Descartes’ claim that this principle follows from the general principle which states that the cause must contain at least as much reality as the effect has been examined and rejected as logically implausible. I challenge this view by showing that there is a logically plausible derivation (...) of the causal principle of ideas from the general causal principle. This result has important implications due to the crucial role the causal principle of ideas plays in Descartes’ first a posteriori argument for the existence of God. (shrink)
This paper revisits one of the first models of analog computation, the General Purpose Analog Computer . In particular, we restrict our attention to the improved model presented in  and we show that it can be further refined. With this we prove the following: the previous model can be simplified; it admits extensions having close connections with the class of smooth continuous time dynamical systems. As a consequence, we conclude that some of these extensions achieve Turing universality. Finally, (...) it is shown that if we introduce a new notion of computability for the GPAC, based on ideas from computable analysis, then one can compute transcendentally transcendental functions such as the Gamma function or Riemann's Zeta function. (shrink)
String theory is often depicted as the best chance for natural science to find a Theory of Everything. Whiteheadians may object that only a philosophical cosmology such as Whitehead presents in PR can “frame a coherent, logical, necessary system of generalideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted”. But then they have to show that Whitehead’s scheme and string theory fit together nicely, with each helping to resolve residual problem areas in the (...) other. The present article conjectures that the tiny vibrating strings postulated by string theory and the superjects of individual actual entities might correspond to the “final, real things of which the world is made up”. Likewise, the extra spatial dimensions required by the mathematics of string theory might be more intelligible in terms of the interaction of different levels of subsocieties within a Whiteheadian structured society. (shrink)
This article suggests that the enterprise of Mark Bevir's book , is the reverse of what his title implies. Bevir seeks not to delineate the peculiar logic of a specialised subfield of history called the ‘history of ideas’, but rather the logic which underlies historical pursuit considered in general as the ‘explanation of belief’. If this is so, then the relationship between belief, meaning, and speech act in intellectual texts, and the task and method of the intellectual historian, (...) must be reinterpreted along lines closer to those of Quentin Skinner than Bevir would allow. Indeed, Bevir's criticism of Skinner, which hinges on his own account of malapropism, is shown here to fail. The article concludes with brief reflections on the purpose and nature of studying the ‘history of ideas’. (shrink)
The central thesis of my article is that people live a life worthy of a human being only as self-ruling members of some autarchic (or self-governing) communities. On the one hand, nobody is born as a self-ruling individual, and on the other hand, everybody can become such a person by observing progressively the non-aggression principle and, ipso facto, by behaving as a moral being. A self-ruling person has no interest in controlling her neighbors, but in mastering his own impulses, needs, (...) wishes, desires, behaviors, etc. Inasmuch as he is an imperfect being who lives in an imperfect world, he needs to share certain interests, beliefs, values, customs and other characteristics with other people, i.e. to be involved in some communities. Depending on the following four criteria – the regulatory principle, the essential resources, the specific feedback and the fundamental values –, the countless and manifold human communities can be grouped in three categories: (1) affinity communities, (2) economic communities, and (3) civic communities. In other words, every community or human behavior has an affinity, an economic, and a civic dimension. If a civic community is merely a state shaped society, it can be called a political community. All communities are intrinsically variable. Throughout time, they ceaselessly change their composition, values, interpersonal processes and relations, territory, etc. Interestingly enough, the variability is unanimously recognized and accepted in affinity and communities economic, but is denied or abusively interpreted in the case of state shaped societies. If we confuse two types of order − cosmos and taxis – and two types of rule – nomos and thesis –, as well as we exaggerate the importance of certain type of community we bring some social maladies, namely the traditionalism, the commercialism and the civism, (with the worst form of it – the politicality). Whatever the communities they are involved in, all persons relate (implicitly or explicitly) to the libertarian non-aggression principle, living their life in strict accordance with the logical implications of the position they adopt. People who respect the non-aggression axiom necessarily manifest self-control, consideration for the life and property of the others, commitment to offer value for value, love of freedom and a high level of individual responsibility. By contrast, people who violate this axiom – the villains and the statists – invariably strive to control their neighbors, behave as parasites or predators, prefer forced exchanges, reject the personal responsibility (at most accepting the idea of social responsibility), and apply double moral standards. The first category of people generates a libertarian civic discourse as a spontaneous order, and the second creates a political/ statist civic discourse as a result of the human design and will to power. As a spontaneous order, the libertarian civic discourse implies free involvement, peaceful coordination, free expression, free reproduction of ideas and the power of one. Every communication performance in the frame of the libertarian civic discourse is important and has relevant results. All participants to the libertarian civic discourse are automatically members of some self-governing communities (at least members of the general libertarian community). The most important thing for these communities is to be connected to a communicational infrastructure which would make possible free involvement, free expression and the free reproduction of ideas. Inasmuch as today democracy means the tyranny of majority and participatory democracy the tyranny of majority plus the power of vested (and illegitimate) interests, only the emergence of self-governing communities by libertarian discourse offers us a little hope. It’s high time to fall in love (again) with liberty and to embrace the non-aggression principle. We don’t have to create a perfect world, but we can strive to develop our human nature. (shrink)
Relativity is the most important scientific idea of the twentieth century. Albert Einstein is the unquestioned founder of modern physics. His Special and General theories of Relativity introduced the idea to the world. In this classic short book he explains clearly, using the minimum amount of mathematical terms, the basic ideas and principles of his theory of Relativity. Unsurpassed by any subsequent books on Relativity, this remains the most popular and useful exposition of Einstein's immense contribution to human (...) knowledge. (shrink)
Working in constructive set theory we formulate notions of constructive topological space and set-generated locale so as to get a good constructive general version of the classical Galois adjunction between topological spaces and locales. Our notion of constructive topological space allows for the space to have a class of points that need not be a set. Also our notion of locale allows the locale to have a class of elements that need not be a set. Class sized mathematical structures (...) need to be allowed for in constructive set theory because the powerset axiom and the full separation scheme are necessarily missing from constructive set theory. We also consider the notion of a formal topology, usually treated in Intuitionistic type theory, and show that the category of set-generated locales is equivalent to the category of formal topologies. We exploit ideas of Palmgren and Curi to obtain versions of their results about when the class of formal points of a set-presentable formal topology form a set. (shrink)
Formulation of a general model of evolution is presented which is based upon the recognition of the ?biosocial? entity, that is the biosphere and human society, as a component?system. It can be demonstrated that the interactions of the components (moleculas, cells, organisms, ecosystems in the biological realms and people, artifacts and ideas in the societies) have replicative organization. We suggest an explanation for the spontaneous emergence of replicative function and organization, a process called autogenesis. During autogenesis, hierarchical levels (...) of replicative organization emerge and compartmentalization and convergence of replicative information occurs. Questions of the origin and evolution of life are discussed. The replicative paradigm can also be applied to the processes of cultural evolution, in which complex replicative networks of people, ideas, and man?made artifacts show all stages and phenomena of autogenesis. Finally, the present state of evolution of the whole global biosocial system is discussed. (shrink)
This is a short response to Aaron Cotnoir's 'Composition as General Identity', in which I suggest some further applications of his ideas, and try to press the question of why we should think of his 'general identity relation' as a genuine identity relation.