Ladyman and Ross (LR) argue that quantum objects are not individuals (or are at most weakly discernible individuals) and use this idea to ground their metaphysical view, ontic structural realism, according to which relational structures are primary to things. LR acknowledge that there is a version of quantum theory, namely the Bohm theory (BT), according to which particles do have definite trajectories at all times. However, LR interpret the research by Brown et al. as implying that “raw stuff” or haecceities are needed for the individuality of particles of BT, and LR dismiss this as idle metaphysics. In this paper we note that Brown et al.’s research does not imply that haecceities are needed. Thus BT remains as a genuine option for those who seek to understand quantum particles as individuals. However, we go on to discuss some problems with BT which led Bohm and Hiley to modify it.
This paper explores the theme “quantum approaches to consciousness” by considering the work of one of the pioneers in the field. The physicist David Bohm (1917-1992) not only made important contributions to quantum physics, but also had a long-term interest in interpreting the results of quantum physics and relativity in order to develop a general world view. His idea was further that living and mental processes could be understood in a new, scientifically and philosophically more coherent way in the context of such a new world view. This paper gives a brief overview of different – and sometimes contradictory - aspects of Bohm’s research programme, and evaluates how they can be used to give an account of topics of interest in contemporary consciousness studies, such as analogies between thought and quantum processes, the problem of mental causation, the mind-body problem and the problem of time consciousness.
This paper considers the importance of unification in the context of developing scientific theories. I argue that unifying hypotheses are not valuable simply because they are supported by multiple lines of evidence. Instead, they can be valuable because they guide experimental research in different domains in such a way that the results from those experiments inform the scope of the theory being developed. I support this characterization by appealing to the early development of quantum theory. I then draw some comparisons with discussions of robustness reasoning.
Many religions offer hope for a life that transcends death and believers find great comfort in this. Non-believers typically do not have such hopes. In the face of death, they may find consolation in feeling contented with the life they have lived. But do they have hopes? I will identify a range of distinctly secular hopes at the end of life. Nothing stops religious people from sharing these secular hopes, in addition to their hope for eternal life. I will distinguish between (a) hopes about one’s life, (b) hopes about one’s death, (c) hopes about attitudes of others, and (d) hopes about the future. But before turning to these hopes, I will reflect on the following question: What is it that would keep a person from hoping for eternal life?
Received: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published online: 3 August 2017 # The Author(s) 2017. This article is an open access publication Abstract This paper develops a fourth model of public engagement with science, grounded in the principle of nurturing scientific agency through participatory bioethics. It argues that social media is an effective device through which to enable such engagement, as it has the capacity to empower users and transforms audiences into co-producers of knowledge, rather than consumers of content. Social media also fosters greater engagement with the political and legal implications of science, thus promoting the value of scientific citizenship. This argument is explored by considering the case of nanoscience and nanotechnology, as an exemplar for how emerging technologies may be handled by the scientific community and science policymakers.
In an exchange with Axel Honneth and in other writings in the late 1990s, Nancy Fraser argued against privileging recognition in social and political philosophy without a concomitant consideration of the requirement for redistribution. Thus she argued for coupling the recognition of identities—racial, gender, cultural, etc.—with attention to the need for economic redistribution. In reply, Axel Honneth suggested instead that recognition itself is at the root of the theory of justice. However divergent their approaches, both theorists discussed this issue in the context of a nation-state or political society, leaving open the question of the applicability of these notions in a more global perspective. And although Fraser has recently turned to consider norms for this transnational domain, the question remains not only how to conceive the general interrelation of these two concepts of recognition and redistribution but also more specifically which sorts of differences should be recognized as playing a significant role within redistributive principles themselves or in their practical application. This problem becomes acute in the context of global justice and transnational recognition, where a multitude of differences comes into play— not only between the global south and north, but also in terms of culture, nationality, and gender, among others.
Computer simulation of an epistemic landscape model, modified to include explicit representation of a centralised funding body, show the method of funding allocation has significant effects on communal trade-off between exploration and exploitation, with consequences for the community’s ability to generate significant truths. The results show this effect is contextual, and depends on the size of the landscape being explored, with funding that includes explicit random allocation performing significantly better than peer-review on large landscapes. The paper proposes a way of incorporating external institutional factors in formal social epistemology, and offers a way of bringing such investigations to bear on current research policy questions.
The author of this book is a professor of philosophy and of the classics; the book is a classicist literary history of sorts. Its novelty is in its author’s invitation to readers to argue with him on the Internet through an e-link that he provides. The book’s other novelty is its choice to view Plato more as a writer than as a philosopher—with a philosophical purpose in mind, of course. Until recently, discussions of the greatness of Plato as a philosopher eclipsed discussions of his artistic greatness as a writer. Thus, though his Symposium is a major literary masterpiece of almost unequalled loveliness, commentators on it discuss its aesthetics, tending to ignore it as art. The book at hand discusses some works of Plato as literary masterpieces while discussing a famous historical problem, namely, the Socratic problem: what part of Plato’s output expresses the opinions of his teacher Socrates? Unfortunately, the book is apologetic, and so its value is more that of a pioneering work than of a serious contribution. Its apologetic aspect shows when it skirts the unpleasant fact that whereas Socrates was a staunch defender of democracy, Plato was an elitist who preferred meritocracy.
The topic of unity in the sciences can be explored through the
following questions: Is there one privileged, most basic or
fundamental concept or kind of thing, and if not, how are the
different concepts or kinds of things in the universe related? Can the
various natural sciences (e.g.,physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology)
be unified into a single overarching theory, and can theories within a
single science (e.g., general relativity and quantum theory in
physics, or models of evolution and development in biology) be
unified? Are theories or models the relevant connected units? What
other connected or connecting units are there?
As Harvey Brown emphasizes in his book Physical Relativity, inertial motion in general relativity is best understood as a theorem, and not a postulate. Here I discuss the status of the “conservation condition”, which states that the energy-momentum tensor associated with non-interacting matter is covariantly divergence-free, in connection with such theorems.
The practical context for the theoretical reflections in this article is set by two apparently conflicting tendencies: On one side, we have the progression of global economic, technological, and, to a degree, legal and political integration, where this entails a certain diminution of sovereignty. Sovereign nation-states of the so-called Westphalian paradigm, possessing ultimate authority within a territory, are increasingly overwhelmed by the cross-border interconnections or networks that escape their purview; or they are legitimately constrained by new human rights regimes across borders. On the other side, especially in view of the hegemonic activities of the United States, but also in the European Union, new calls for the reestablishment of the sovereignty of nation-states can be heard. This may take the form of a reassertion of a right of states against military interference and a retreat from ideas of humanitarian intervention; or again, it may take the form of an assertion of the priority of nation-states from the standpoint of the administration of welfare or that of the distinctiveness of particular cultures that they sometimes embody. Indeed, a third tendency can also be discerned in present practice: In the face of economic globalization of the first sort, diagnosed as U.S.- led and one-sidedly serving the interests of large industrial societies, but also with an understandable fear of the power of coercive and sometimes violent sovereign nation-states, some actors in the global justice movement seek what they call autonomy, as a self-organization of societies or communities in a diversity of more local forms.
E.S. Pearson (11 Aug, 1895-12 June, 1980)
This is a belated birthday post for E.S. Pearson (11 August 1895-12 June, 1980). It’s basically a post from 2012 which concerns an issue of interpretation (long-run performance vs probativeness) that’s badly confused these days. …
In this chapter, I will discuss what it takes for a dynamical collapse theory to provide a reasonable description of the actual world. I will start with discussions of what is required, in general, of the ontology of a physical theory, and then apply it to the quantum case. One issue of interest is whether a collapse theory can be a quantum state monist theory, adding nothing to the quantum state and changing only its dynamics. Although this was one of the motivations for advancing such theories, its viability has been questioned, and it has been argued that, in order to provide an account of the world, a collapse theory must supplement the quantum state with additional ontology, making such theories more like hidden-variables theories than would first appear. I will make a case for quantum state monism as an adequate ontology, and, indeed, the only sensible ontology for collapse theories. This will involve taking dynamical variables to possess, not sharp values, as in classical physics, but distributions of values.
Persistence judgments are ordinary judgments about whether an object survives a change, or perishes. For instance, if a house fire only superficially damages the kitchen, people judge that the house survived. But if the fire burnt the house to the ground instead, people judge that the house did not survive but was instead destroyed. We are interested in what drives these judgments, in part because objects are so central to our conception of the world, and our persistence judgments get to the very heart of the folk notion of an object.
This essay focuses on personal love, or the love of particular persons
as such. Part of the philosophical task in understanding personal love
is to distinguish the various kinds of personal love. For example, the
way in which I love my wife is seemingly very different from the way I
love my mother, my child, and my friend. This task has typically
proceeded hand-in-hand with philosophical analyses of these kinds of
personal love, analyses that in part respond to various puzzles about
love. Can love be justified? If so, how? What is the value of personal
love? What impact does love have on the autonomy of both the lover and
The essay begins with a taxonomy of the major contexts in which the
notion of ‘style’ in mathematics has been appealed to
since the early twentieth century. These include the use of the notion
of style in comparative cultural histories of mathematics, in
characterizing national styles, and in describing mathematical
practice. These developments are then related to the more familiar
treatment of style in history and philosophy of the natural sciences
where one distinguishes ‘local’ and
‘methodological’ styles. It is argued that the natural
locus of ‘style’ in mathematics falls between the
‘local’ and the ‘methodological’ styles
described by historians and philosophers of science.
Nelson Goodman has certainly been one of the most influential figures
in contemporary aesthetics and analytic philosophy in general (in
addition to aesthetics, his contributions cover the areas of applied
logic, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science). His
Languages of Art (first published in 1968 [Goodman 1976]),
together with Ernst Gombrich’s Art and Illusion (1960)
and Richard Wollheim’s Art and Its Objects (1968),
represents a fundamental turning point in the analytic approach to
artistic issues in Anglo-American philosophy. His often unorthodox
take on art is part of a general approach to knowledge and reality,
and is always pervasively informed by his cognitivism, nominalism,
relativism, and constructivism.
The claim of inflationary cosmology to explain certain observable facts, which the Friedmann-Roberston-Walker models of ‘Big-Bang’ cosmology were forced to assume, has already been the subject of significant philosophical analysis. However, the principal empirical claim of inflationary cosmology, that it can predict the scale-invariant power spectrum of density perturbations, as detected in measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation, has hitherto been taken at face value by philosophers. The purpose of this paper is to expound the theory of density perturbations used by inflationary cosmology, to assess whether inflation really does predict a scale-invariant spectrum, and to identify the assumptions necessary for such a derivation. The first section of the paper explains what a scale-invariant power-spectrum is, and the requirements placed on a cosmological theory of such density perturbations. The second section explains and analyses the concept of the Hubble horizon, and its behaviour within an inflationary space-time. The third section expounds the inflationary derivation of scale-invariance, and scrutinises the assumptions within that derivation. The fourth section analyses the explanatory role of ‘horizon-crossing’ within the inflationary scenario.
Much emotional charge is involved with everything related to intellectual rubbish, and thus also to the intellectual standards which it falls short of. It is one thing to refuse to share my neighbor’s tastes, and a hard enough and alienating enough matter at that. It is much worse to declare intellectual rubbish what they highly approve of, what they devote much time and concern for, perhaps even what they are engaged in the production of. To say that what they are concerned with is intellectual rubbish is plainly to punch them in the nose. Admittedly, I may try to escape trouble: I may try to find out what are the tastes of my associates, and avoid talking about intellectual rubbish except in the company of those whose tastes are sufficiently close to mine. This will not do. First, word goes round, and one may hear from other associates or from friends' friends what others think about one's preferences and life work. Second, if two people agree about one thing and then their conversation shifts to talk about another, they may then find unexpected strong discrepancies. Most people I have met find in our cultural milieu more rubbish than things of value: they consider rubbish so much art, science, or whatever else cultural. This fact makes it hardly possible for anyone to express freely opinions about tastes without the fear of offending many people.
Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768–1834) perhaps
cannot be ranked as one of the very greatest German philosophers of the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (like Kant, Herder, Hegel, Marx, or
Nietzsche). But he is certainly one of the best second-tier
philosophers of the period (a period in which the second-tier was still
extremely good). He was not only a philosopher, but also an eminent
classical scholar and theologian. Much of his philosophical work was in
the philosophy of religion, but from a modern philosophical point of
view it is his hermeneutics (i.e., theory of interpretation) and his
theory of translation that deserve the most attention.
The medieval name for paradoxes like the famous Liar Paradox
(“This proposition is false”) was “insolubles”
[ 1 ]
though besides semantic paradoxes, they included epistemic paradoxes,
e.g., “You do not know this proposition”. From the
late-twelfth century to the end of the Middle Ages and beyond, such
paradoxes were discussed at length by an enormous number of authors. Yet, unlike twentieth century interest in the paradoxes, medieval
interest seems not to have been prompted by any sense of theoretical
“crisis”. The history of the medieval discussions can be divided into three main
periods: (a) an early stage, from the late-twelfth century to the
1320s; (b) a period of especially intense and original work, during
roughly the second quarter of the fourteenth century; (c) a late
period, from about 1350 on.
We propose an investigation of the ways in which speakers’ subjective perspectives are likely to affect the meaning of gradable adjectives like tall or heavy. We present the results of a study showing that people tend to use themselves as a yardstick when ascribing these adjectives to human figures of variable measurements: subjects’ height and weight requirements for applying tall and heavy are found to be positively correlated with their personal measurements. We draw more general lessons regarding the definition of subjectivity and the ways in which a standard of comparison and a significant deviation of that standard are specified.
Ontology is the philosophical discipline which aims to understand how things in the world are divided into categories and how these categories are related together. This is exactly what information scientists aim for in creating structured, automated representations, called 'ontologies,' for managing information in fields such as science, government, industry, and healthcare. Currently, these systems are designed in a variety of different ways, so they cannot share data with one another. They are often idiosyncratically structured, accessible only to those who created them, and unable to serve as inputs for automated reasoning. This volume shows, in a nontechnical way and using examples from medicine and biology, how the rigorous application of theories and insights from philosophical ontology can improve the ontologies upon which information management depends.
As with so many issues in gay and lesbian philosophy, Claudia Card may have said it best. Sexuality, she tells us, shows that “a more generous vocabulary is needed than is provided by the dichotomy of ‘freely chosen’ on the one hand and ‘fated’ or ‘determined’ on the other.” In this paper I will not claim that theorizing about sexual identity solves the philosophical dilemma of free will and determinism. I will argue, however, that gay and lesbian experience may show us a way to reject a rigid division between traits and aspects of the self (like sexuality) that seem determined and aspects of the self that seem freely chosen. To do this, however, it will be necessary to show that our enduring sexual desire, what we ordinarily think of as sexual orientation, is partly constituted by choice. Showing that our orientation originates partly in our own choices will of course change dramatically our understanding of sexual desire and sexual identity, as well as present a more ambiguous picture of the relationship between aspects of the self that appear determined and those that appear chosen.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to central locations. These have shown themselves in the long course of European history. In times of peace, there are important economic and cultural advantages (to illustrate: the present area of the Czech Republic was the richest country in Europe between the two World Wars). There are cross-currents of trade and culture in central Europe of great advantage. For, cultural cross-currents represent a potential benefit in comprehension and cultural growth. But under threat of large-scale conflict, these locations have proved extremely dangerous.
The Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness has been garnering some attention lately. There was even a very high profile piece in Nature. Having just listened to Hakwan Lau’s talk on this (available at this conference website) I thought I would write down a couple of reactions. …
Publicity can be opposed both to privacy and to secrecy. This entry
will mostly be dealing with the latter meaning. In everyday life,
calls for more transparency or openness in political and economic life
may seem rather uncontroversial. Still, the precise reasons why and
the extent to which publicity should be guaranteed are not
straightforward. Moral and political philosophers, along with social
scientists, have until now provided us with only fragmentary elements
in this respect. We shall review here what has been gathered so
far. This entry unfolds in three parts. We start with hypothetical
publicity, and singularly with Immanuel Kant’s publicity test,
contrasting his position with the one of Henry Sidgwick and looking
both at the justification and implications of the Kantian test
( § 1).
The principal aim of research on religious language is to give an
account of the meaning of religious sentences and utterances. Religious sentences are generally taken to be have a religious subject
matter; a religious utterance is the production in speech or writing
of a token religious sentence. In principle, religious subject matters
could encompass a variety of agents, states of affairs or
properties—such as God, deities, angels, miracles, redemption,
grace, holiness, sinfulness. Most attention, however, has been devoted
to the meaning of what we say about God. The scope of religious language and discourse could be construed more
Suppose a blind man can tell by touch the difference between a sphere and a cube: Suppose then the cube and sphere placed on a table, and the blind man to be made to see. Quaere, whether by his sight, before he touched them, he could now distinguish, and tell, which is the globe, which the cube.
Comparative work in the history of philosophy is a difficult thing to do well. It requires bringing into dialogue systems and arguments which are, even when close chronological and intellectual connections exist, often driven by very different ambitions and pressures, and which are frequently couched in terminological and conceptual frameworks untranslatable without remainder. Yet such comparative work is also extremely important. This is in part because of the complex and distinctive relation between philosophy and its past. It was for Kant, and for many of his successors within European thought, both natural and necessary to vindicate their work in part by relating it to pre-existing dialectics and texts: above all, by providing a type of error theory, an explanation of how one might plausibly arrive at, say Humean empiricism, and yet why it was nevertheless fundamentally mistaken - a tactic that at times achieves something close to methodological dominance once one reaches Hegel and Heidegger.