Many people have argued that the evolution of the human language faculty cannot be explained by Darwinian natural selection. Chomsky and Gould have suggested that language may have evolved as the by-product of selection for other abilities or as a consequence of as-yet unknown laws of growth and form. Others have argued that a biological specialization for grammar is incompatible with every tenet of Darwinian theory – that it shows no genetic variation, could not exist in any intermediate forms, (...) confers no selective advantage, and would require more evolutionary time and genomic space than is available. We examine these arguments and show that they depend on inaccurate assumptions about biology or language or both. Evolutionary theory offers clear criteria for when a trait should be attributed to natural selection: complex design for some function, and the absence of alternative processes capable of explaining such complexity. Human language meets these criteria: Grammar is a complex mechanism tailored to the transmission of propositional structures through a serial interface. Autonomous and arbitrary grammatical phenomena have been offered as counterexamples to the position that language is an adaptation, but this reasoning is unsound: Communication protocols depend on arbitrary conventions that are adaptive as long as they are shared. Consequently, language acquisition in the child should systematically differ from language evolution in the species, and attempts to analogize them are misleading. Reviewing other arguments and data, we conclude that there is every reason to believe that a specialization for grammar evolved by a conventional neo-Darwinian process. (shrink)
Recent work on Natural Kind Essentialism has taken a deflationary turn. The assumptions about the grounds of essentialist truths concerning natural kinds familiar from the Kripke-Putnam framework are now considered questionable. The source of the problem, however, has not been sufficiently explicated. The paper focuses on the Twin Earth scenario, and it will be demonstrated that the essentialist principle at its core (which I call IDENT)—that necessarily, a sample of a chemical substance, A, is of the same kind (...) as another sample, B, if and only if A and B have the same microstructure—must be re-evaluated. The Twin Earth scenario also assumes the falsity of another essentialist principle (which I call INST): necessarily, there is a 1:1 correlation between (all of ) the chemical properties of a chemical substance and the microstructure of that substance. This assumption will be questioned, and it will be argued that, in fact, the best strategy for defending IDENT is to establish INST. The prospects for Natural Kind Essentialism and microstructural essentialism regarding chemical substances will be assessed with reference to recent work in the philosophy of chemistry. Finally, a weakened form of INST will be presented. (shrink)
This edited volume of 13 new essays aims to turn past discussions of natural kinds on their head. Instead of presenting a metaphysical view of kinds based largely on an unempirical vantage point, it pursues questions of kindedness which take the use of kinds and activities of kinding in practice as significant in the articulation of them as kinds. The book brings philosophical study of current and historical episodes and case studies from various scientific disciplines to bear on (...) class='Hi'>natural kinds as traditionally conceived of within metaphysics. Focusing on these practices reveals the different knowledge-producing activities of kinding and processes involved in natural kind use, generation, and discovery. -/- Specialists in their field, the esteemed group of contributors use diverse empirically responsive approaches to explore the nature of kindhood. This groundbreaking volume presents detailed case studies that exemplify kinding in use. Newly written for this volume, each chapter engages with the activities of kinding across a variety of disciplines. Chapter topics include the nature of kinds, kindhood, kinding, and kind-making in linguistics, chemical classification, neuroscience, gene and protein classification, colour theory in applied mathematics, homology in comparative biology, sex and gender identity theory, memory research, race, extended cognition, symbolic algebra, cartography, and geographic information science. -/- The volume seeks to open up an as-yet unexplored area within the emerging field of philosophy of science in practice, and constitutes a valuable addition to the disciplines of philosophy and history of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. -/- Contributions from a diverse group of established and junior scholars in the fields of Philosophy and History and Philosophy of Science including Hasok Chang, Jordi Cat, Sally Haslanger, Joyce C. Havstad, Catherine Kendig, Bernhard Nickel, Josipa Petrunic, Samuli Pöyhönen, Thomas A. C. Reydon, Quayshawn Spencer, Jackie Sullivan, Michael Wheeler, and Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther. (shrink)
The notion of 'natural kinds' has been central to contemporary discussions of metaphysics and philosophy of science. Although explicitly articulated by nineteenth-century philosophers like Mill, Whewell and Venn, it has a much older history dating back to Plato and Aristotle. In recent years, essentialism has been the dominant account of natural kinds among philosophers, but the essentialist view has encountered resistance, especially among naturalist metaphysicians and philosophers of science. Informed by detailed examination of classification in the natural (...) and social sciences, this book argues against essentialism and for a naturalist account of natural kinds. By looking at case studies drawn from diverse scientific disciplines, from fluid mechanics to virology and polymer science to psychiatry, the author argues that natural kinds are nodes in causal networks. On the basis of this account, he maintains that there can be natural kinds in the social sciences as well as the natural sciences. (shrink)
The new externalist picture of natural kind terms due to Kripke, Putnam, and others has become quite popular in philosophy. Many philosophers of science have remained sceptical. Häggqvist and Wikforss have recently criticised this view severely. They contend it depends essentially on a micro-essentialist view of natural kinds that is widely rejected among philosophers of science, and that a scientifically reasonable metaphysics entails the resurrection of some version of descriptivism. It is argued in this paper that the situation (...) is not quite as dark for the new theory of reference as many critics suggest. There are several distinct questions here which should not be conflated and ought to be dealt with one by one. Descriptivism remains arguably problematic. (shrink)
This book shows how political argument in terms of rights and natural rights began in medieval Europe, and how the theory of natural rights was developed in the seventeenth century after a period of neglect in the Renaissance. Dr Tuck provides a new understanding of the importance of Jean Gerson in the formation of the theories, and of Hugo Grotius in their development; he also restores the Englishman John Selden's ideas to the prominence they once enjoyed, and shows (...) how Thomas Hobbes's political theory can best be understood against this background. In general, the book enables us to understand more fully the characteristics of the natural rights theories available to the men of the Enlightenment, and thereby to appreciate the complexity and equivocal nature of modern right theories. (shrink)
Philosophers have long been interested in a series of interrelated questions about natural kinds. What are they? What role do they play in science and metaphysics? How do they contribute to our epistemic projects? What categories count as natural kinds? And so on. Owing, perhaps, to different starting points and emphases, we now have at hand a variety of conceptions of natural kinds—some apparently better suited than others to accommodate a particular sort of inquiry. Even if coherent, (...) this situation isn’t ideal. My goal in this article is to begin to articulate a more general account of ‘natural kind phenomena’. While I do not claim that this account should satisfy everyone—it is built around a certain conception of the epistemic role of kinds and has an obvious pragmatic flavour—I believe that it has the resources to go further than extant alternatives, in particular the homeostatic property cluster view of kinds. (shrink)
It is often presumed that the laws of nature have special significance for scientific reasoning. But the laws' distinctive roles have proven notoriously difficult to identify--leading some philosophers to question if they hold such roles at all. This study offers original accounts of the roles that natural laws play in connection with counterfactual conditionals, inductive projections, and scientific explanations, and of what the laws must be in order for them to be capable of playing these roles. Particular attention is (...) given to laws of special sciences, levels of scientific explanation, natural kinds, ceteris-paribus clauses, and physically necessary non-laws. (shrink)
According to the received tradition, the language used to to refer to natural kinds in scientific discourse remains stable even as theories about these kinds are refined. In this illuminating book, Joseph LaPorte argues that scientists do not discover that sentences about natural kinds, like 'Whales are mammals, not fish', are true rather than false. Instead, scientists find that these sentences were vague in the language of earlier speakers and they refine the meanings of the relevant natural-kind (...) terms to make the sentences true. Hence, scientists change the meaning of these terms, This conclusions prompts LaPorte to examine the consequences of this change in meaning for the issue of incommensurability and for the progress of science. This book will appeal to students and professional in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
Natural Right and History (Chicago, 1953).Leo Strauss - 1953 - The Correspondence Between Ethical Egoists and Natural Rights Theorists is Considerable Today, as Suggested by a Comparison of My" Recent Work in Ethical Egoism," American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (2):1-15.details
In this classic work, Leo Strauss examines the problem of natural right and argues that there is a firm foundation in reality for the distinction between right and wrong in ethics and politics. On the centenary of Strauss's birth, and the fiftieth anniversary of the Walgreen Lectures which spawned the work, _Natural Right and History_ remains as controversial and essential as ever. "Strauss... makes a significant contribution towards an understanding of the intellectual crisis in which we find ourselves... [and] (...) brings to his task an admirable scholarship and a brilliant, incisive mind."—John H. Hallowell, _American Political Science Review_ Leo Strauss was the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Political Science at the University of Chicago. (shrink)
Gary Hatfield examines theories of spatial perception from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century and provides a detailed analysis of the works of Kant and Helmholtz, who adopted opposing stances on whether central questions about spatial perception were fully amenable to natural-scientific treatment. At stake were the proper understanding of the relationships among sensation, perception, and experience, and the proper methodological framework for investigating the mental activities of judgment, understanding, and reason issues which remain at the core of philosophical (...) psychology and cognitive science. (shrink)
This paper addresses philosophical issues concerning whether mental disorders are natural kinds and how the DSM should classify mental disorders. I argue that some mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, depression) are natural kinds in the sense that they are natural classes constituted by a set of stable biological mechanisms. I subsequently argue that a theoretical and causal approach to classification would provide a superior method for classifying natural kinds than the purely descriptive approach adopted by the DSM (...) since DSM-III. My argument suggests that the DSM should classify natural kinds in order to provide predictively useful (i.e., projectable) diagnostic categories and that a causal approach to classification would provide a more promising method for formulating valid diagnostic categories. (shrink)
David B. Wong proposes that there can be a plurality of true moralities, moralities that exist across different traditions and cultures, all of which address facets of the same problem: how we are to live well together. Wong examines a wide array of positions and texts within the Western canon as well as in Chinese philosophy, and draws on philosophy, psychology, evolutionary theory, history, and literature, to make a case for the importance of pluralism in moral life, and to establish (...) the virtues of acceptance and accommodation. Wong's point is that there is no single value or principle or ordering of values and principles that offers a uniquely true path for human living, but variations according to different contexts that carry within them a common core of human values. We should thus be modest about our own morality, learn from other approaches, and accommodate different practices in our pluralistic society. (shrink)
Natural Law and Natural Rights is widely recognised as a seminal contribution to the philosophy of law, and an essential reference point for all students of the subject. This new edition includes a substantial postscript by the author responding to thirty years of comment, criticism, and further work in the field.
It is commonly assumed that natural kind terms constitute a distinct semantic category. This idea emerged during the 1970's following Kripke's and Putnam's well-known remarks on natural kind terms. The idea has stayed with us, although it is now recognized that the issues are considerably more complex than initially thought. Thus, it has become clear that much of Kripke's and Putnam's discussions were based on rather simplified views of natural kinds. It also turns out that the semantic (...) issues are less straightforward than assumed - in particular, it is far from clear what it might mean to say that a kind term is rigid. Strikingly, however, these worries have not done much to undermine the confident assumption that natural kind terms form a special semantic category. In the paper I try to shake that confidence. I argue that although natural kind terms are no doubt important (for instance, from an explanatory point of view), we are certainly not warranted in concluding that they form a separate, semantic category among the kind terms. (shrink)
The thesis that natural selection explains the frequencies of traits in populations, but not why individual organisms have the traits tehy do, is here defended and elaborated. A general concept of ‘distributive explanation’ is discussed.
This paper discusses whether it can be known a priori that a particular term, such as water, is a natural kind term, and how this problem relates to Putnams claim that natural kind terms require an externalist semantics. Two conceptions of natural kind terms are contrasted: The first holds that whether water is a natural kind term depends on its a priori knowable semantic features. The second.
The performance of natural behavior is commonly used as a criterion in the determination of animal welfare. This is still true, despite many authors having demonstrated that it is not a necessary component of welfare – some natural behaviors may decrease welfare, while some unnatural behaviors increase it. Here I analyze why this idea persists, and what effects it may have. I argue that the disagreement underlying this debate on natural behavior is not one about which conditions (...) affect welfare, but a deeper conceptual disagreement about what the state of welfare actually consists of. Those advocating natural behavior typically take a “teleological” view of welfare, in which naturalness is fundamental to welfare, while opponents to the criterion usually take a “subjective” welfare concept, in which welfare consists of the subjective experience of life by the animal. I argue that as natural functioning is neither necessary nor sufficient for understanding welfare, we should move away from the natural behavior criterion to an alternative such as behavioral preferences or enjoyment. This will have effects in the way we understand and measure welfare, and particularly in how we provide for the welfare of animals in a captive setting. (shrink)
This volume examines the notion of an analytic proof as a natural deduction, suggesting that the proof's value may be understood as its normal form--a concept with significant implications to proof-theoretic semantics.
The structure of derivations in natural deduction is analyzed through isomorphism with a suitable sequent calculus, with twelve hidden convertibilities revealed in usual natural deduction. A general formulation of conjunction and implication elimination rules is given, analogous to disjunction elimination. Normalization through permutative conversions now applies in all cases. Derivations in normal form have all major premisses of elimination rules as assumptions. Conversion in any order terminates.Through the condition that in a cut-free derivation of the sequent Γ⇒C, no (...) inactive weakening or contraction formulas remain in Γ, a correspondence with the formal derivability relation of natural deduction is obtained: All formulas of Γ become open assumptions in natural deduction, through an inductively defined translation. Weakenings are interpreted as vacuous discharges, and contractions as multiple discharges. In the other direction, non-normal derivations translate into derivations with cuts having the cut formula principal either in both premisses or in the right premiss only. (shrink)
Frege's invention of the predicate calculus has been the most influential event in the history of modern logic. The calculus' place in logic is so central that many philosophers think, in fact, of it when they think of logic. This book challenges the position in contemporary logic and philosophy of language of the predicate calculus claiming that it is based on mistaken assumptions. Ben-Yami shows that the predicate calculus is different from natural language in its fundamental semantic characteristics, primarily (...) in its treatment of reference and quantification, and that as a result the calculus is inadequate for the analysis of the semantics and logic of natural language. Ben-Yami develops both an alternative analysis of the semantics of natural language and an alternative deductive system comparable in its deductive power to first order predicate calculus but more adequate than it for the representation of the logic of natural language. Ben-Yami's book is a challenge to classical first order predicate calculus, casting doubt on many of the central claims of modern logic. (shrink)
Does natural selection explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do? According to "the Negative View," natural selection does not explain why any individual organism has the traits that it does. According to "the Positive View," natural selection at least sometimes does explain why an individual organism has the traits that it does. In this paper, I argue that recent arguments for the Positive View fail in virtue of running afoul of the doctrine of origin (...) essentialism and I demonstrate that other recent defenses of the Negative View depend upon my own for their plausibility. (shrink)
One not infrequently hears rumors that the robust practice of natural theology reeks of epistemic pride. Paul Moser’s is a paradigm of such contempt. In this paper we defend the robust practice of natural theology from the charge of epistemic pride. In taking an essentially Thomistic approach, we argue that the evidence of natural theology should be understood as a species of God’s general self-revelation. Thus, an honest assessment of that evidence need not be prideful, but can (...) be an act of epistemic humility, receiving what God has offered, answering God’s call. Lastly, we provide criticisms of Moser’s alternative approach, advancing a variety of philosophical and theological problems against his conception of personifying evidence. (shrink)
The author proposes the thesis that all perception, including observation in natural science, is hermeneutical as well as causal; that is, the perceiver (or observer) learns to 'read' instrumental or other perceptual stimuli as one learns to read a text. This hermeneutical aspect at the heart of natural science is located where it might be least expected, within acts of scientific observation. In relation to the history of science, the question is addressed to what extent the hermeneutical component (...) within scientific observation opens natural science to the charge of reflecting merely cultural values, and of providing merely a culturally acceptable reading of the "Book of Nature", rather than, as the author states, one stating universal antecedent conditions of possibility of cultural activity itself. (shrink)
We articulate a view of natural kinds as complex universals. We do not attempt to argue for the existence of universals. Instead, we argue that, given the existence of universals, and of natural kinds, the latter can be understood in terms of the former, and that this provides a rich, flexible framework within which to discuss issues of indeterminacy, essentialism, induction, and reduction. Along the way, we develop a 'problem of the many' for universals.
In Natural Minds Thomas Polger advocates, and defends, the philosophical theory that mind equals brain -- that sensations are brain processes -- and in doing so brings the mind-brain identity theory back into the philosophical debate about consciousness. The version of identity theory that Polger advocates holds that conscious processes, events, states, or properties are type- identical to biological processes, events, states, or properties -- a "tough-minded" account that maintains that minds are necessarily indentical to brains, a position held (...) by few current identity theorists. Polger's approach to what William James called the "great blooming buzzing confusion" of consciousness begins with the idea that we need to know more about brains in order to understand consciousness fully, but recognizes that biology alone cannot provide the entire explanation. Natural Minds takes on issues from philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and metaphysics, moving freely among them in its discussion.Polger begins by answering two major objections to identity theory -- Hilary Putnam's argument from multiple realizability and Saul Kripke's modal argument against mind-brain identity. He then offers a detailed account of functionalism and functional realization, which offer the most serious obstacle to consideration of identity theory. Polger argues that identity theory can itself satisfy the kind of explanatory demands that are often believed to favor functionalism. (shrink)
In this paper I offer a unified causal account of natural kinds. Using as a starting point the widely held view that natural kind terms or predicates are projectible, I argue that the ontological bases of their projectibility are the causal properties and relations associated with the natural kinds themselves. Natural kinds are not just concatenations of properties but ordered hierarchies of properties, whose instances are related to one another as causes and effects in recurrent causal (...) processes. The resulting account of natural kinds as clusters of core causal properties that give rise to clusters of derivative properties enables us to distinguish genuine natural kinds from non-natural kinds. For instance, it enables us to say why some of the purely conventional categories derived from the social domain do not correspond to natural kinds, though other social categories may. (shrink)
Natural Justice is a bold attempt to lay the foundations for a genuine science of morals using the theory of games. Since human morality is no less a product of evolution than any other human characteristic, the book takes the view that we need to explore its origins in the food-sharing social contracts of our prehuman ancestors. It is argued that the deep structure of our current fairness norms continues to reflect the logic of these primeval social contracts, but (...) the particular fairness norm a society operates is largely a product of cultural evolution. In pursuing this point, the book proposes a naturalistic reinterpretation of John Rawls' original position that reconciles his egalitarian theory of justice with John Harsanyi's utilitarian theory by identifying the environment appropriate to each. (shrink)
A first-order language with a defined identity predicate is proposed whose apparatus for atomic predication is sensitive to grammatical categories of natural language. Subatomic natural deduction systems are defined for this naturalistic first-order language. These systems contain subatomic systems which govern the inferential relations which obtain between naturalistic atomic sentences and between their possibly composite components. As a main result it is shown that normal derivations in the defined systems enjoy the subexpression property which subsumes the subformula property (...) with respect to atomic and identity formulae as a special case. The systems admit a proof-theoretic semantics which does not only apply to logically compound but also to atomic and identity formulae—as well as to their components. The potential of the defined systems for a meticulous first-order analysis of natural inferences whose validity crucially depends on expressions of some of the aforementioned categories is demonstrated. (shrink)
Objects have dispositions. Dispositions are normally analyzed by providing a meaning to disposition ascriptions like ‘This piece of salt is soluble’. Philosophers like Carnap, Goodman, Quine, Lewis and many others have proposed analyses of such disposition ascriptions. In this paper we will argue with Quine that the proper analysis of ascriptions of the form ‘x is disposed to m ’, where ‘x’ denotes an object, ‘m’ a manifestation, and ‘C’ a condition, goes like this: ‘x is of natural kind (...) k’, and the generic ‘ks are m ’ is true. For the analysis of the generic, we propose an analysis in terms of causal powers: ‘ks have the causal power to m’. The latter, in turn, is analyzed in a very precise way, making use of Pearl’s probabilistic graphical causal models. We will show how this natural kind-analysis improves on standard conditional analyses of dispositions by avoiding the standard counterexamples, and that it gives rise to precise observable criteria under which the disposition ascription is true. (shrink)
The paper pinpoints certain unrecognized difficulties that surface for recombination and duplication in modal realism when we ask whether the following inter-world fixity claims hold true: 1) A property is perfectly natural in a world iff it is perfectly natural in every world where it is instantiated; 2) Something is mereologically atomic in a world iff all of its duplicates in every world are atomic. In connection to 1), the hypothesis of idlers prompts four variants of Lewis’s doctrine (...) of perfectly natural properties, all deemed unsatisfactory for the purposes of duplication and recombination. By means of 2), instead, we show that the principle of recombination does not countenance the atomicity or non-atomicity of duplicates; but it should, because it is genuinely possible that: a) something, which is atomic, is non-atomic; and b) something, which is non-atomic, is atomic. In discussing 1) and 2), the paper substantiates a tension in Lewis’s metaphysics between modal intuitions and the reliance on the natural sciences. (shrink)
The Darwinian concept of natural selection was conceived within a set of Newtonian background assumptions about systems dynamics. Mendelian genetics at first did not sit well with the gradualist assumptions of the Darwinian theory. Eventually, however, Mendelism and Darwinism were fused by reformulating natural selection in statistical terms. This reflected a shift to a more probabilistic set of background assumptions based upon Boltzmannian systems dynamics. Recent developments in molecular genetics and paleontology have put pressure on Darwinism once again. (...) Current work on self-organizing systems may provide a stimulus not only for increased problem solving within the Darwinian tradition, especially with respect to origins of life, developmental genetics, phylogenetic pattern, and energy-flow ecology, but for deeper understanding of the very phenomenon of natural selection itself. Since self-organizational phenomena depend deeply on stochastic processes, self-organizational systems dynamics advance the probability revolution. In our view, natural selection is an emergent phenomenon of physical and chemical selection. These developments suggest that natural selection may be grounded in physical law more deeply than is allowed by advocates of the autonomy of biology, while still making it possible to deny, with autonomists, that evolutionary explanations can be modeled in terms of a deductive relationship between laws and cases. We explore the relationship between, chance, self-organization, and selection as sources of order in biological systems in order to make these points. (shrink)
This paper develops an inference system for natural language within the ‘Natural Logic’ paradigm as advocated by van Benthem, Sánchez and others. The system that we propose is based on the Lambek calculus and works directly on the Curry-Howard counterparts for syntactic representations of natural language, with no intermediate translation to logical formulae. The Lambek -based system we propose extends the system by Fyodorov et~al., which is based on the Ajdukiewicz/Bar-Hillel calculus Bar Hillel,. This enables the system (...) to deal with new kinds of inferences, involving relative clauses, non-constituent coordination, and meaning postulates that involve complex expressions. Basing the system on the Lambek calculus leads to problems with non-normalized proof terms, which are treated by using normalization axioms. (shrink)
The term natural is effective in the marketing of a wide variety of foods. This ambiguous term carries important meaning in Western culture. To challenge an uncritical understanding of natural with respect to food and to explore the ambiguity of the term, the development of Western ideas of nature is first discussed. Personification and hypostasization of nature are given special emphasis. Leo Marx’s idea of the pastoral design in literature is then used to explore the meaning of (...) class='Hi'>natural as applied to food, emphasizing Marx’s distinction between a sentimental and a complex pastoral. The latter is applied to natural as a means of collapsing a dichotomy of man and nature to the idea of second nature. From this perspective an understanding of the industrialization of the food system and the importance of local and organic food are considered. The extent to which processed foods might properly be considered natural is raised and discussed for several common foods. Although marketing of natural foods might make us think that we consume nature, I suggest that what is consumed is more appropriately second nature. I suggest that in order to maintain a critical perspective about one’s relationship to the natural world, everyone should make an attempt to experience the complex pastoral with respect to at least something that is consumed as food. When nature is understood as second nature in the context of a complex pastoral, the question of whether a food or ingredient is to be considered natural is replaced by deliberative thought based on our best knowledge and judgment, and the result will be less constrained by ideology. (shrink)
The latter half of the twentieth century has been marked by debates in evolutionary biology over the relative significance of natural selection and random drift: the so-called “neutralist/selectionist” debates. Yet John Beatty has argued that it is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the concept of random drift from the concept of natural selection, a claim that has been accepted by many philosophers of biology. If this claim is correct, then the neutralist/selectionist debates seem at best futile, and (...) at worst, meaningless. I reexamine the issues that Beatty raises, and argue that random drift and natural selection, conceived as processes, can be distinguished from one another. (shrink)