1. 786994.609212
    I recently posted criticisms of Robin Hanson and Kevin Simler's excellent new social science book The Elephant in the Brain. Hanson responds here. The response is short so I will reproduce it here: The fourth blog review was 1500 words, and is the one on a 4-rank blog, by philosopher Tristan Haze. …
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on Tristan Haze's blog
  2. 808592.609286
    A major part of the ontologist’s dream has always been to find a small number of fundamental categories—maybe one, maybe two or three or maybe ten—into which everything falls. Aristotle says somewhere that the philosopher knows all things—in general terms. …
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  3. 882031.60933
    As part of a just war, Alice drops a bomb on the enemy military headquarters. Next door to the enemy headquarters are the world headquarters of a corporation that Alice knows has been responsible for enormous environmental degradation, and the bomb will level the whole block. …
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  4. 882033.609368
    The Rules established in the Schools … seem to lay the foundation of all other Knowledge in these Maxims … [but in fact] where our Ideas are determined in our Minds, and have annexed to them by us known and steady, Names under those settled Determinations, there is little need, or no use at all of these Maxims … he that needs any proof to make him certain, and give his Assent to this Proposition, that Two are equal to two, will also have need of proof to make him admit that What is, is. …
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on The Mod Squad
  5. 906731.609398
    A countably infinite number of people, including me, is about to roll fair indeterministic dice? What probability should I assign to rolling six? Obviously, 1/6. But suppose I describe the situation thus: “There are two equally sized groups of people. …
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  6. 908971.609426
    Back again, finally, from the many distractions of the past year. With any luck I’ll now be able to catch up on the long list of subjects that has accumulated in the mean time. I was already way behind before this long absence, and can’t catch up all at once. …
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on André Carus's Carnap Blog
  7. 922559.609441
    It has recently been argued that a non-Bayesian probabilistic version of inference to the best explanation (IBE*) has a number of advantages over Bayesian conditionalization (Douven [2013]; Douven and Wenmackers [2017]). We investigate how IBE* could be generalized to uncertain evidential situations and formulate a novel updating rule IBE**. We then inspect how it performs in comparison to its Bayesian counterpart, Jeffrey conditionalization (JC), in a number of simulations where two agents, each updating by IBE** and JC, respectively, try to detect the bias of a coin while they are only partially certain what side the coin landed on. We show that IBE** more often prescribes high probability to the actual bias than JC. We also show that this happens considerably faster, that IBE** passes higher thresholds for high probability, and that it in general leads to more accurate probability distributions than JC.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on PhilPapers
  8. 965134.609455
    Johannes Kepler loved geometry, so of course he was fascinated by Platonic solids. His early work Mysterium Cosmographicum, written in 1596, includes pictures showing how the 5 Platonic solids correspond to the 5 elements: Five elements? …
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Azimuth
  9. 987640.609469
    Space exploration has long been a source of fascination and wonderment to me. I grew up reading the classic science fiction novels of the mid-20th century, many of which idealised the notion of space travel. …
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on John Danaher's blog
  10. 1046394.609486
    This paper proposes a reading of the history of equivalence in mathematics. The paper has two main parts. The first part focuses on a relatively short historical period when the notion of equivalence is about to be decontextualized, but yet, has no commonly agreed-upon name. The method for this part is rather straightforward: following the clues left by the others for the ‘first’ modern use of equivalence. The second part focuses on a relatively long historical period when equivalence is experienced in context. The method for this part is to strip the ideas from their set-theoretic formulations and methodically examine the variations in the ways equivalence appears in some prominent historical texts. The paper reveals several critical differences in the conceptions of equivalence at different points in history that are at variance with the standard account of the mathematical notion of equivalence encompassing the concepts of equivalence relation and equivalence class.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  11. 1095687.609501
    On the basis of the finding that the principle of causal closure permits causal connections between universes (Gamper 2017) Gamper has suggested a new line of research, scientific ontology (manuscript), which addresses the modal properties of a universe that can be joined with another universe via an interface. In this study a preliminary issues is penetrated. To solve a threatening inconsistency between two central definitions in Gamper (2017) I propose a hypothesis that aligns them. The hypothesis, it is found, also offers a new interpretation of the quantum physics wave function.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on PhilPapers
  12. 1104078.609519
    We discuss Russell’s 1913 essay arguing for the irrelevance of the idea of causation to science and its elimination from metaphysics as a precursor to contemporary philosophical naturalism. We show how Russell’s application raises issues now receiving much attention in debates about the adequacy of such naturalism, in particular, problems related to the relationship between folk and scientific conceptual influences on metaphysics, and to the unification of a scientifically inspired worldview. In showing how to recover an approximation to Russell’s conclusion while explaining scientists’ continuing appeal to causal ideas (without violating naturalism by philosophically correcting scientists) we illustrate a general naturalist strategy for handling problems around the unification of sciences that assume different levels of naïvet´e with respect to folk conceptual frameworks. We do this despite rejecting one of the premises of Russell’s argument, a version of reductionism that was scientifically plausible in 1913 but is not so now.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on PhilPapers
  13. 1104086.609546
    In an unpublished paper on “The History of Philosophy as a Discipline,” which Barbara Donagan kindly sent me recently, Alan Donagan commented on the habit philosophers have of speaking of their predecessors in the present tense: “Hume says that . . .” “Hume’s reasons for saying that are. . . .” Alan was commenting on ]. G. A. Pocock’s view that this shows a lack of real historical interest in your subject, that if you were thinking about your subject historically, you would, as historians do, use the past tense. What philosophers do betrays a desire to treat the great figures of philosophy’s past as if they were our contemporaries. This may produce good philosophy; it does not produce good history.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on PhilPapers
  14. 1142689.609561
    I have now, I say, the satisfaction to see how I lay directly in your lordship’s [Stillingfleet’s] way, in opposing these gentlemen, who lay all foundation of certainty, as to matters of faith, upon clear and distinct ideas; i.e. …
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on The Mod Squad
  15. 1153019.609575
    According to doxastic pragmatism, certain perceived practical factors, such as high stakes and urgency, have systematic effects on normal subjects’ outright beliefs. Endorsement of doxastic pragmatism can be found in Weatherson (2005), Bach (2005, 2008, 2010), Ganson (2008) and Nagel (2008, 2010). Upholders of doxastic pragmatism have so far endorsed a particular version of this view, which we may call threshold pragmatism. This view holds that the sensitivity of belief to the relevant practical factors is due to a corresponding sensitivity of the threshold on the degree of credence necessary for outright belief. According to an alternative but yet unrecognised version of doxastic pragmatism, practical factors affect credence rather than the threshold on credence. Let’s call this alternative view credal pragmatism. In this paper, I argue that credal pragmatism is more plausible than threshold pragmatism. I show that the former view better accommodates a cluster of intuitive and empirical data. I conclude by considering the issue of whether our doxastic attitudes’ sensitivity to practical factors can be considered rational, and if yes, in what sense.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  16. 1153068.609588
    In the biomedical context, policy makers face a large amount of potentially discordant evidence from different sources. This prompts the question of how this evidence should be aggregated in the interests of best-informed policy recommendations. The starting point of our discussion is Hunter and Williams’ recent work on an automated aggregation method for medical evidence. Our negative claim is that it is far from clear what the relevant criteria for evaluating an evidence aggregator of this sort are. What is the appropriate balance between explicitly coded algorithms and implicit reasoning involved, for instance, in the packaging of input evidence? In short: What is the optimal degree of ‘automation’? On the positive side: We propose the ability to perform an adequate robustness analysis (which depends on the nature of the input variables and parameters of the aggregator) as the focal criterion, primarily because it directs efforts to what is most important, namely, the structure of the algorithm and the appropriate extent of automation. Moreover, where there are resource constraints on the aggregation process, one must also consider what balance between volume of evidence and accuracy in the treatment of individual evidence best facilitates inference. There is no prerogative to aggregate the total evidence available if this would in fact reduce overall accuracy.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  17. 1153118.609601
    The thesis that the concept of a reason is the fundamental normative concept is in the air. In this paper, I examine what it amounts to, how to formulate it, and how ambitious it should be. I distinguish a semantic version, according to which any normative predicate is definitionally reducible to a reason predicate, and a conceptual version, according to which the sole normative ingredient in any normative concept is the concept of a reason. Although I reject the semantic version, I examine its potential in some detail. And I claim that the conceptual version is plausible.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  18. 1161520.609614
    In this paper we present a new categorical approach which attempts to provide an original understanding of QM. Our logos categorical approach attempts to consider the main features of the quantum formalism as the standpoint to develop a conceptual representation that explains what the theory is really talking about —rather than as problems that need to be bypassed in order to allow a restoration of a classical “common sense” understanding of what there is. In particular, we discuss a solution to Kochen-Specker contextuality through the generalization of the meaning of global valuation. This idea has been already addressed by the so called topos approach to QM —originally proposed by Isham, Butterfiled and Doring— in terms of sieve-valued valuations. The logos approach to QM presents a different solution in terms of the notion of intensive valuation. This new solution stresses an ontological (rather than epistemic) reading of the quantum formalism and the need to restore an objective (rather than classical) conceptual representation and understanding of quantum physical reality.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  19. 1161565.60963
    One of the critical problems with the classical philosophy of science is that it has not been quantitative in the past. But today the modern quantitative theory of information gives us the mathematical tools that are needed to make philosophy quantitative for the first time. A quantitative philosophy of science can provide vital insights into critical scientific questions ranging from the nature and properties of a Theory of Everything (TOE) in physics to the quantitative implications of Goedel’s celebrated incompleteness theorem for mathematics and physics. It also provides us with something that was conspicuously lacking in Kuhn’s famous book (1962) that introduced the idea of on paradigm shifts: a precise definition of a paradigm. This paper will begin to investigate these and other philosophical implications of the modern quantitative theory of information.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  20. 1161588.609644
    According to the Butterfield–Isham proposal, to understand quantum gravity we must revise the way we view the universe of mathematics. However, this paper demonstrates that the current elaborations of this programme neglect quantum interactions. The paper then introduces the Faddeev–Mickelsson anomaly which obstructs the renormalization of Yang–Mills theory, suggesting that to theorise on many-particle systems requires a many-topos view of mathematics itself: higher theory. As our main contribution, the topos theoretic framework is used to conceptualise the fact that there are principally three different quantisation problems, the differences of which have been ignored not just by topos physicists but by most philosophers of science. We further argue that if higher theory proves out to be necessary for understanding quantum gravity, its implications to philosophy will be foundational: higher theory challenges the propositional concept of truth and thus the very meaning of theorising in science.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  21. 1161612.609657
    In their recent book Merchants of Doubt [New York:Bloomsbury 2010], Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway describe the “tobacco strategy”, which was used by the tobacco industry to influence policy makers regarding the health risks of tobacco products. The strategy involved two parts, consisting of (1) promoting and sharing independent research supporting the industry’s preferred position and (2) funding additional research, but selectively publishing the results. We introduce a model of the Tobacco Strategy, and use it to argue that both prongs of the strategy can be extremely effective—even when policy makers rationally update on all evidence available to them. As we elaborate, this model helps illustrate the conditions under which the Tobacco Strategy is particularly successful. In addition, we show how journalists engaged in ‘fair’ reporting can inadvertently mimic the effects of industry on public belief.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  22. 1161659.60967
    If it could be shown that one of Gentzen’s consistency proofs for pure number theory could be shown to be finitistically acceptable, an important part of Hilbert’s program would be vindicated. This paper focuses on whether the transfinite induction on ordinal notations needed for Gentzen’s second proof can be finitistically justified. In particular, the focus is on Takeuti’s purportedly finitistically acceptable proof of the well-ordering of ordinal notations in Cantor normal form. The paper begins with a historically informed discussion of finitism and its limits, before introducing Gentzen and Takeuti’s respective proofs. The rest of the paper is dedicated to investigating the finitistic acceptability of Takeuti’s proof, including a small but important fix to that proof. That discussion strongly suggests that there is a philosophically interesting finitist standpoint that Takeuti’s proof, and therefore Gentzen’s proof, conforms to.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  23. 1163984.609683
    A favorite passage of mine from Mengzi (Mencius) is this one: That which people are capable of without learning is their genuine capability. That which they know without pondering is their genuine knowledge. …
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on The Splintered Mind
  24. 1166811.609698
    Much recent metaphysics is built around notions such as naturalness, fundamentality, grounding, dependence, essence, and others besides. In this paper I raise a problem for this kind of metaphysics, the “problem of missing value”. I survey a number of possible solutions to the problem and find them all wanting. This suggests a return to a kind of Goodmanian view that the world is a structureless mess onto which we project our own categorizations, not something with categories already built in.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Shamik Dasgupta's site
  25. 1167732.609712
    Totality statements—i.e. those of the form ‘α and that’s all’—play an important role in metaphysics. They are introduced to allow adequate formulations of overarching theories such as physicalism. One might initially be tempted to state this as: physics entails everything. That is, if P is a complete physical description of the world, then P entails every truth. The problem is that it seems clear that physics will not entail everything. For example, it will not decide whether there are demons. But then either the claim that there are demons or its negation will be a truth that physics fails to entail. This seems to be a problem with the suggested formulation, rather than with the underlying idea of physicalism, however. For suppose that there are in fact no demons. The idea behind physicalism is that the world is wholly physical, and the fact that physics fails to entail that there are no demons hardly seems to count against this. We should thus give a better formulation—and that is where totality statements come in. For while a complete physical description P will not entail that there are no demons, the claim that P and that’s all—typically regimented as TP, for a ‘totality operator’ T—does seem to entail that there are no demons. For if there were, P would not be all there is to the world.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Bruno Whittle's site
  26. 1170158.609728
    Jennifer Windt’s (2015) Dreaming is an enormously rich and thorough book, developing many important and illuminating connections between dreaming, the methodology of psychology, and various subfields in philosophy—especially the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of psychology, the philosophy of cognitive science, and epistemology. In this commentary, I’ll focus one two of the epistemological threads that run through the book.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  27. 1170164.609741
    A common understanding of the very broad sweep of European political history goes something like this. In the ancient world, and in many other places until recently, political societies could be divided into two classes – the rulers and the ruled. Of course, for a society of any complexity there was also a „middle‟ class of administrators, tax collectors and bureaucrats of one kind or another. But the members of this middle class nonetheless fell on the side of „the ruled‟ and though the division between ruler and ruled might be porous enough to allow the occasional move from one side to the other, this was always a matter of military success or historical chance. Such occasional shifts in power did not alter the underlying political structure in which whatever rights and entitlements the ruled might from time to time enjoy were bestowed by the authority of the ruler, while the ruler‟s own entitlements to wealth and power derived from conquest, lineage or divine appointment.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  28. 1170170.609755
    A version of the Kalaam argument for the existence of God can be put as follows: (1) There is a cause. (2) There is no circle of causes. (3) There is no infinite regress of causes. (4) If (1)–(3), there is an uncaused cause. (5) So, there is an uncaused cause. (6) If there is an uncaused cause, God exists. (7) So, God exists. Here, premise (1) is widely accepted, though there are some philosophers who think that because fundamental physics can be formulated without the word “cause”, we should be sceptical of whether there is causation. Premise (4) is even less controversial. If there are no uncaused causes, then every cause has a cause, and this either leads to a circle or a regress.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Alexander R. Pruss's site
  29. 1200990.609809
    The purpose of this post is just to call everyone’s attention to a beautiful and accessible new article by John Preskill: Quantum Computing in the NISQ era and beyond. The article is based on John’s keynote address at the recent “Q2B” (Quantum Computing for Business) conference, which I was unfortunately unable to attend. …
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Scott Aaronson's blog
  30. 1258591.609824
    It is said that Alexander the Great, after his conquests in Asia, looked out over his lands and was sad because there was nothing left to conquer. Of course, this was not true. There was plenty of land left to conquer at the time. …
    Found 2 weeks ago on John Danaher's blog