1. 33358.753592
    The Holodeck - Star Trek There is an apple in front of me. I can see it, but I can’t touch it. The reason is that the apple is actually a 3-D rendered model of an apple. It looks like an apple, but exists only within a virtual environment — one that is projected onto the computer screen in front of me. …
    Found 9 hours, 15 minutes ago on John Danaher's blog
  2. 134357.753681
    According to priority monism there are many concrete entities and there is one, the cosmos, that is ontologically prior to all the others. I begin by clarifying this thesis as well as its main rival, priority atomism. I show how the disagreement between the priority monist and atomist ultimately turns on how the thesis of concrete foundationalism is implemented. While it’s standard to interpret priority monism as being metaphysically non-contingent, I show that there are two competing, prima facie plausible conceptions of metaphysical necessity—the essence-based and law-based conceptions—on which it is reasonable to view its modal status differently. This, I suggest, is good for the priority monist—various objections to the thesis presuppose that it’s metaphysically non-contingent, while there are arguments for the thesis that don’t make the presupposition.
    Found 1 day, 13 hours ago on PhilPapers
  3. 192588.753703
    In the comments on the previous post I was alerted, by Matthias Michel, to a couple of papers that I had not yet read. The first was a paper in Neuroscience Research which came out in 2016: Using category theory to assess the relationship between consciousness and integrated information theory by Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Shigeru Taguchi, and Hayato Saigo And the second was a paper in Philosophy Compass that came out in March 2017: “What is it like to be a bat?”—a pathway to the answer from the integrated information theory by Naotsugu Tsuchiya After reading these I realized that I had heard an early version of this stuff when I was part of a plenary session with Tsuchiya in Tucson back in April of 2016. …
    Found 2 days, 5 hours ago on Richard Brown's blog
  4. 192593.753719
    We owe to Frege in Begriffsschrift our modern practice of taking unrestricted quantification (in one sense)  as basic. I mean, he taught us how to rephrase restricted quantifications by using unrestricted quantifiers plus connectives in the now familiar way, so that e.g. …
    Found 2 days, 5 hours ago on Peter Smith's blog
  5. 636125.753736
    Scientists have developed a new technology, CRISPR-Cas9, for editing genes in day old human embryos. The technology (explained here with terrific graphics) was used to edit out a gene that leads to a severe heart detect, though the embryos were then discarded. …
    Found 1 week ago on Jean Kazez's blog
  6. 661352.753752
    Psychophysical supervenience requires that the mental properties of a system cannot change without the change of its physical properties. For a system with many minds, the principle requires that the mental properties of each mind of the system cannot change without the change of the physical properties of the system. In this paper, I argue that Everett’s theory seems to violate this principle of psychophysical supervenience. The violation results from the three key assumptions of the theory: (1) the completeness of the physical description by the wave function, (2) the linearity of the dynamics for the wave function, and (3) multiplicity. For a post-measurement state with two decoherent result branches, multiplicity means that each result branch corresponds to a mindful observer, whose mental properties supervene on the branch, and in particular, whose mental content contains a definite record corresponding to the result branch. Under certain unitary evolution which swaps the two result branches, the post-measurement state does not change, and the completeness of the physical description by the wave function then means that the physical state of the composite system does not change. While the linearity of the dynamics for the wave function requires that each result branch changes, and correspondingly the mental properties of the observer which supervene on the branch also change. Thus the principle of psychophysical supervenience as defined above is violated by Everett’s theory.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  7. 701013.753767
    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.
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  8. 701019.753781
    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.
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  9. 758742.753795
    Scientists and philosophers frequently speak about levels of description, levels of explanation, and ontological levels. This paper proposes a unified framework for modelling levels. I give a general definition of a system of levels and show that it can accommodate descriptive, explanatory, and ontological notions of levels. I further illustrate the usefulness of this framework by applying it to some salient philosophical questions: (1) Is there a linear hierarchy of levels, with a fundamental level at the bottom? And what does the answer to this question imply for physicalism, the thesis that everything supervenes on the physical? (2) Are there emergent properties? (3) Are higher-level descriptions reducible to lower-level ones? (4) Can the relationship between normative and non-normative domains be viewed as one involving levels? Although I use the terminology of “levels”, the proposed framework can also represent “scales”, “domains”, or “subject matters”, where these are not linearly but only partially ordered by relations of supervenience or inclusion.
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on PhilSci Archive
  10. 834460.753809
    Transhumanism is a movement aimed at enhancing and lengthening our lives by means of futuristic technology. The name derives from the ultimate goal of freeing us from the limitations imposed by our humanity. Human beings are subject to many ills: disability, exhaustion, hunger, injury, disease, ageing, and death, among others. They set a limit to the length and quality of our lives. There’s only so much you can do to make a human being better off, simply because of what it is to be human. But if we could cease to be human in the biological sense–better yet, if we could cease to be biological at all–these limitations could be overcome. An inorganic person would not be subject to exhaustion, disease, ageing, or death. The length and quality of her life could be extended more or less indefinitely. So it would be a great benefit, transhumanists say, if we could make ourselves inorganic.
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on Eric Olson's site
  11. 868009.753826
    J. D. Hamkins and O, “The modal logic of set-theoretic potentialism and the potentialist maximality principles.” (manuscript in preparation)   Citation arχiv @ARTICLE{HamkinsLinnebo:Modal-logic-of-set-theoretic-potentialism, author = {Joel David Hamkins and {\O}ystein Linnebo}, title = {The modal logic of set-theoretic potentialism and the potentialist maximality principles}, journal = {}, year = {}, volume = {}, number = {}, pages = {}, month = {}, note = {manuscript in preparation}, abstract = {}, keywords = {}, source = {}, eprint = {1708.01644}, archivePrefix = {arXiv}, primaryClass = {math.LO}, url = {http://jdh.hamkins.org/set-theoretic-potentialism}, doi = {}, } Abstract. …
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on Joel David Hamkins's blog
  12. 874099.753853
    The standard propositional account of necessary and sufficient conditions in many introductory logic textbooks is based on the material conditional. Some examples include (Barker-Plummer, Barwise, and Etchemendy 2011: 181-182), (Churchill 1986: 391-392), (Forbes 1994: 20-25), (Gabbay 2002: 68), (Haight 1999: 187-189), (Halverson 1984: 285- 286), (Hardegree 2011: 129), (Layman 2002: 250-251), (Leblanc and Wisdom 1976: 16-18), (Salmon 1984: 47-48), (P. Smith 2003: 132), (Suppes 1957: 8-10) and (Watson and Arp 2015: 149). In the appendix, pertinent excerpts from some of these resources are provided. In general, the typical exposition goes along the following lines (again, cf. the appendix): • “A is sufficient for B” is best rendered as “if A, then B”, or symbolically, (A ⊃ B). • “A is necessary for B” is best rendered as ”if not A, then not B”, or symbolically, (¬A ⊃ ¬B). This is equivalent to (B ⊃ A).
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on The Australasian Journal of Logic
  13. 901855.753886
    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.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on Barry Smith's site
  14. 924423.753902
    What is an epiphenomenal property? This question needs to be settled before we get to decide whether higher-level properties are epiphenomenal or not. In this paper, I offer an account of what it is for a property to have some causal power. From this, I derive a characterisation of the notion of an epiphenomenal property. I then argue that physically realized higher-level properties are not epiphenomenal because laws of nature impose causal similarities on the bearers of such properties, and these similarities figure as powers in the causal profiles of these properties.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on PhilPapers
  15. 1064469.753917
    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. …
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on Richard Brown's blog
  16. 1116628.753933
    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.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on Jonathan Cohen's site
  17. 1148166.753948
    University of Massachusetts Amherst 1. Introduction. Humeans have a problem with quantities. A core principle of any Humean account of modality is that fundamental entities can freely recombine. But determinate quantities, if fundamental, seem to violate this core principle: determinate quantities belonging to the same determinable necessarily exclude one another. Call this the problem of exclusion. Prominent Humeans have responded in various ways. Wittgenstein (1929), when he resurfaced to philosophy, gave the problem of exclusion as a reason to abandon the logical atomism of the Tractatus with its free recombination of elementary propositions. Armstrong (1978) and (1989) promoted a mereological solution to the problem of exclusion; but his account fails in manifold ways to provide a general solution to the problem. Lewis studiously avoided committing to any one solution, trusting simply that, since Humeanism was true, there had to be some solution. Abandonment; failure; avoidance: we Humeans need to do better. It is high time we Humeans confronted and dispatched this elephant in the room.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Phillip Bricker's site
  18. 1150131.753964
    Is virtual reality truly real? The most common view is that virtual reality is a sort of fictional or illusory reality, and that what goes in in virtual reality is not truly real. I will defend the opposite view: virtual reality is a sort of genuine reality, and what goes on in virtual reality is truly real. The issue manifests itself in a number of questions. Are virtual objects, such as the avatars and tools found in a typical virtual world, real or fictional? Do virtual events, such as a trek through a virtual world, really take place? When we perceive virtual worlds by having immersive experiences of a world surrounding us, are our experiences illusory? And are experiences in a virtual world as valuable as experiences in a nonvirtual world?
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on David Chalmers's site
  19. 1150142.753978
    When I was in graduate school, I recall hearing “One starts as a materialist, then one becomes a dualist, then a panpsychist, and one ends up as an idealist”. I don’t know where this comes from, but I think the idea was something like this. First, one is impressed by the successes of science, endorsing materialism about everything and so about the mind. Second, one is moved by problem of consciousness to see a gap between physics and consciousness, thereby endorsing dualism, where both matter and consciousness are fundamental. Third, one is moved by the inscrutability of matter to realize that science reveals at most the structure of matter and not its underlying nature, and to speculate that this nature may involve consciousness, thereby endorsing panpsychism. Fourth, one comes to think that there is little reason to believe in anything beyond consciousness and that the physical world is wholly constituted by consciousness, thereby endorsing idealism. Some recent strands in philosophical discussion of the mind–body problem have recapitulated this progression: the rise of materialism in the 1950s and 1960s, the dualist response in the 1980s and 1990s, the festival of panpsychism in the 2000s, and some recent stirrings of idealism. In my own work, I have certainly taken the first two steps and have flirted heavily with the third. In this paper I want to examine the prospects for the fourth step: the move to idealism.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on David Chalmers's site
  20. 1154944.753992
    We define a notion of difference-making for partial grounds of a fact in rough analogy to existing notions of difference-making for causes of an event. Using orthodox assumptions about ground, we show that it induces a non-trivial division with examples of partial grounds on both sides. We then demonstrate the theoretical fruitfulness of the notion by applying it to the analysis of a certain kind of putative counter-example to the transitivity of ground recently described by Jonathan Schaffer. First, we show that our conceptual apparatus of difference-making enables us to give a much clearer description than Schaffer does of what makes the relevant instances of transitivity appear problematic. Second, we suggest that difference-making is best seen as a mark of good grounding-based explanations rather than a necessary condition on grounding, and argue that this enables us to deal with the counter-example in a satisfactory way. Along the way, we show that Schaffer’s own proposal for salvaging a form of transitivity by moving to a contrastive conception of ground is unsuccessful. We conclude by sketching some natural strategies for extending our proposal to a more comprehensive account of grounding-based explanations.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  21. 1162188.754006
    According to the iterative conception of sets, standardly formalized by ZFC, there is no set of all sets. But why is there no set of all sets? A simple-minded, though unpopular, “minimal” explanation for why there is no set of all sets is that the supposition that there is contradicts some axioms of ZFC. In this paper, I first explain the core complaint against the minimal explanation, and then argue against the two main alternative answers to the guiding question. I conclude the paper by outlining a close alternative to the minimal explanation, the conception-based explanation, that avoids the core complaint against the minimal explanation.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  22. 1166074.75402
    A number of philosophers and logicians have argued for the conclusion that maps are logically tractable modes of representation by analyzing them in propositional terms. But in doing so, they have often left what they mean by ‘propositional’ undefined or unjustified. I argue that propositions are characterized by a structure that is digital, universal, asymmetrical, and recursive. There is little positive evidence that maps exhibit these features. Instead, we can better explain their functional structure by taking seriously the observation that maps arrange their constituent elements in a non-hierarchical, holistic structure. This is compatible with the more basic claim advanced by defenders of a propositional analysis: that (many) maps do have a formal semantics and logic.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Elisabeth Camp's site
  23. 1171401.754034
    Frege's logicism, the thesis that "the laws of arithmetic are analytic'' is standardly taken to be an important epistemological thesis. The traditional view of Frege's work is that his "reduction'' of arithmetic to logic was intended to provide the cornerstone of an argument that the truths of arithmetic are knowable a priori and independently of anything which Kant would have labelled “intuition”. The truth of Fregean logicism would, on this view, have repudiated the explanations of arithmetical knowledge offered by Kant and by Mill. It would have provided an explanation of arithmetical knowledge which was acceptable from a generally empiricist perspective, and which preserved the intuition that arithmetical truths are necessary and knowable a priori.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Patricia Blanchette's site
  24. 1177793.754048
    What we call the Hilbert-Bernays (HB) Theorem establishes that for any satisfiable first-order quantificational schema S, there are expressions of elementary arithmetic that yield a true sentence of arithmetic when they are substituted for the predicate letters in S. Our goals here are, first, to explain and defend W. V. Quine’s claim that the HB theorem licenses us to define the first-order logical validity of a schema in terms of predicate substitution; second, to clarify the theorem by sketching an accessible and illuminating new proof of it; and, third, to explain how Quine’s substitutional definition of logical notions can be modified and extended in ways that make it more attractive to contemporary logicians.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Gary Ebbs's site
  25. 1179745.754063
    Intuitively, some physical objects, like a typical organism, are connected, while other physical objects, like a typical chess set spilled on a table, are disconnected or scattered. What does it mean for an object O that occupies some region R of space to be connected? …
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  26. 1179749.754077
    There is an important link between necessity and apriority which can shed light on our knowledge of the former, but initially plausible attempts to spell out what it is fall victim to counterexamples. …
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Tristan Haze's blog
  27. 1179780.754092
    For the sake of this post, stipulate death to be permanent cessation of existence. Epicurus famously argues that death is not a harm to one, because the living aren’t harmed by death while the dead do not exist. …
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  28. 2248691.754107
    In metaphysics, the fundamental is standardly equated with that which has no explanation – with that which is, in other words, ‘brute’. But this doctrine of brutalism is in tension with physicists’ ambitions to not only describe but also explain why the fundamental is as it is. The tension would ease were science taken to be incapable of furnishing the sort of explanations that brutalism is concerned with, given that these are understood to be distinctively ‘metaphysical’ in character. But to assume this is to assume a sharp demarcation between physics and metaphysics that surely cannot be taken for granted.
    Found 3 weeks, 5 days ago on Kerry McKenzie's site
  29. 2250302.754121
    Human beings are conscious not only of the world around them but also of themselves: their activities, their bodies, and their mental lives. They are, that is, self-conscious (or, equivalently, self-aware). Self-consciousness can be understood as an awareness of oneself. But a self-conscious subject is not just aware of something that merely happens to be themselves, as one is if one sees an old photograph without realising that it is of oneself. Rather a self-conscious subject is aware of themselves as themselves; it is manifest to them that they themselves are the object of awareness.
    Found 3 weeks, 5 days ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  30. 2253731.754135
    This essay is about how the notion of “structure” in ontic structuralism might be made precise. More specifically, my aim is to make precise the idea that the structure of the world is (somehow) given by the relations inhering in the world, in such a way that the relations are ontologically prior to their relata. The central claim is the following: one can do so by giving due attention to the relationships that hold between those relations, by making use of certain notions from algebraic logic. In the remainder of this introduction, I sketch two motivations for structuralism, and make some preliminary remarks about the relationship between structuralism and ontological dependence; in the next section, I outline my preferred way of unpacking the notion of “structure”; in §3, I compare this view to Dasgupta’s algebraic generalism; and finally, I evaluate the view, by considering how well it can be defended against objections, and how well it discharges the motivations with which we began.
    Found 3 weeks, 5 days ago on PhilSci Archive