1. 676.679592
    One of the classic debates in cognitive science is between nativist and empiricist explanations of the development of psychological capacities. In principle, the debates is empirically driven. However, in practice nativist hypotheses have also been challenged for offering explanations that rely on a purportedly ill-defined—and even unscientific—notion of innateness. Indeed, few notions in the field enjoy as stubborn a reputation for resisting philosophical illumination. If queried for a description, the temptation lingers to simply rehearse the platitude that what is innate is “not learned”. However, on its own this minimal conception of innateness is typically dismissed as inadequate if our goal is greater clarity regarding the form of nativist hypotheses about psychological development.
    Found 11 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  2. 714.679654
    In his excellent recent book Nicholas Shea offers what he takes to be a naturalistic account of representational content. The view, a version of teleosemantics, has much to commend it. One of its virtues – reflected in its name, Varitel semantics – is that it is pluralistic about the grounds for representation, recognizing that a variety of processes can give rise to content. I argue that the account secures determinate content only by appeal to pragmatic considerations, and so it fails to respect naturalism. But that is fine, because representational content is not, strictly speaking, necessary for explanation in cognitive science. Even in Shea’s own account, content serves only a variety of heuristic functions.
    Found 11 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  3. 4790.67967
    This article provides an overview of the Appendix to Reichenbach’s 1928 Philosophie der Raum-Zeit-Lehre, which was not included in the widely read English translation of the book published 30 years later. The Appendix, after a lengthy introduction of the basic concepts of differential geometry and of the problem of the their physical interpretation, presents an intentionally artificial example of geometrization of the electromagnetic field, by allowing spacetime to have torsion, in addition to curvature. At that time, it was a widespread opinion that, after Einstein’s ‘geometrization’ of the gravitational field, the ‘geometrization’ program should be extended to the other known field, the electromagnetic field. However, Reichenbach aimed to prove that dressing a physical field in a geometrical ‘cloak’ is a display of mathematical sophistication, not of physical insight. A geometrical ‘cloak,’ as Reichenbach put it, is useful only if it reveals something new about the shape of the ‘body’ under it, the physical field. The present study, through comparison of Newtonian gravitation (Newton-Cartan theory) with Friedrichs’s geometrization, indicates that Reichenbach’s geometrization attempt was doomed to failure. Nevertheless, it is argued, the philosophical message of the Appendix should be considered an integral part of the line of argument of Philosophie der Raum-Zeit-Lehre, particular its last chapter on general relativity. The book’s main message was that general relativity was not the beginning of the new era of ‘geometrization of physics,’ but the culmination of a historical process of ‘physicalization of geometry.’
    Found 1 hour, 19 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  4. 4838.679686
    In this paper, I develop an original view of the structure of space—called infinitesimal atomism—as a reply to Zeno’s paradox of measure. According to this view, space is composed of ultimate parts with infinitesimal size, where infinitesimals are understood within the framework of Robinson’s (1966) nonstandard analysis. Notably, this view satisfies a version of additivity: for every region that has a size, its size is the sum of the sizes of its disjoint parts. In particular, the size of a finite region is the sum of the sizes of its infinitesimal parts. Although this view is a coherent approach to Zeno’s paradox and is preferable to Skyrms’s (1983) infinitesimal approach, it faces both the main problem for the standard view (the problem of unmeasurable regions) and the main problem for finite atomism (Weyl’s tile argument), leaving it with no clear advantage over these familiar alternatives.
    Found 1 hour, 20 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  5. 4933.6797
    In a 1919 article for the Times of London, Einstein declared the relativity theory to be a ‘principle theory,’ like thermodynamics, rather than a ‘constructive theory,’ like the kinetic theory of gases. The present paper attempts to trace back the prehistory of this famous distinction through a systematic overview of Einstein’s repeated use of the relativity theory/thermodynamics analysis after 1905. Einstein initially used the comparison to address a specific objection. In his 1905 relativity paper he had determined the velocity-dependence of the electron’s mass by adapting Newton’s particle dynamics to the relativity principle. However, according to many, this result was not admissible without making some assumption about the structure of the electron. Einstein replied that the relativity theory is similar to thermodynamics. Unlike the usual physical theories, it does not directly try to construct models of specific physical systems; it provides empirically motivated and mathematically formulated criteria for the acceptability of such theories. New theories can be obtained by modifying existing theories valid in limiting case so that they comply with such criteria. Einstein progressively transformed this line of the defense into a positive heuristics.
    Found 1 hour, 22 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  6. 5047.679715
    In his 1916 review paper on general relativity, Einstein made the often-quoted oracular remark that all physical measurements amount to a determination of coincidences, like the coincidence of a pointer with a mark on a scale. This argument, which was meant to express the requirement of general covariance, immediately gained great resonance. Philosophers like Schlick found that it expressed the novelty of general relativity, but the mathematician Kretschmann deemed it as trivial and valid in all spacetime theories. With the relevant exception of the physicists of Leiden (Ehrenfest, Lorentz, de Sitter, and Nordström), who were in epistolary contact with Einstein, the motivations behind the point-coincidence remark were not fully understood. Only at the turn of the 1960s did Bergmann (Einstein’s former assistant in Princeton) start to use the term ‘coincidence’ in a way that was much closer to Einstein’s intentions. In the 1980s, Stachel, projecting Bergmann’s analysis onto his historical work on Einstein’s correspondence, was able to show that what he started to call ‘the point-coincidence argument’ was nothing but Einstein’s answer to the infamous ‘hole argument.’ The latter has enjoyed enormous popularity in the following decades, reshaping the philosophical debate on spacetime theories. The point-coincidence argument did not receive comparable attention. By reconstructing the history of the argument and its reception, this paper argues that this disparity of treatment is not justified. The paper will also show that the notion that only coincidences are observable in physics marks every critical step of Einstein’s struggle with the meaning of coordinates in physics.
    Found 1 hour, 24 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  7. 5164.679728
    In 1925 Reichenbach, by reacting to the positive result of Miller’s ether-drift experiments, introduced a distinction between two types of rod contraction in special relativity: a kinematical ‘Einstein contraction,’ which depends on the definition of simultaneity, and a dynamical ‘Lorentz contraction.’ He argued that although both contractions happen to amount to the same Lorentz factor, they are conceptually different. In Reichenbach’s view, only the ‘Lorentz contraction’ is at stake in the Michelson-Morley experiment. The arm of Michelson’s interferometer is shorter than it would have been in classical mechanics in both Einstein and Lorentz’s theories. In both theories, the Lorentz contraction requires an atomistic explanation based on a yet-unknown theory of matter. This paper concludes that Reichenbach’s interpretation of special relativity shares features of the current neo-Lorentzian interpretations.
    Found 1 hour, 26 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  8. 5217.679742
    According to the orthodox interpretation of bounce cosmologies, the universe was born from an entropy reducing phase in a previous universe. To defend the thesis that the whole of physical reality was caused to exist a finite time ago, William Lane Craig and co-author James Sinclair have argued the low entropy interface between universes should instead be understood as the beginning of two universes. Here, I present Craig and Sinclair with a dilemma. On the one hand, if the direction of time is reducible, as friends of the Mentaculus – e.g., David Albert, Barry Loewer, and David Papineau – maintain, then there is reason to think that the direction of time and the entropic arrow of time align. But on that account, efficient causation is likely reducible to non-causal phenomena. In consequence, contrary to Craig and Sinclair’s theological aims, things can begin to exist without causes. On the other hand, if the direction of time is not reducible, Craig and Sinclair’s interpretation of bounce cosmologies is unjustified. Lastly, a reply to a potential objection motivates a discussion of how to interpret bounce cosmologies on the tensed theory of absolute time favored by Craig and Sinclair. I offer two interpretations of bounce cosmologies that, given a tensed theory of absolute time, are preferable to those Craig and Sinclair offer, yet inconsistent with their project in natural theology; on one interpretation, the universe does not require a supernatural cause and, on the other, bounce cosmologies represent the universe as never having begun to exist.
    Found 1 hour, 26 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  9. 31033.67976
    « An alternative argument for why women leave STEM: Guest post by Karen Morenz From shtetl to Forum Today I’m headed to the 50th World Economic Forum in Davos, where on Tuesday I’ll participate in a panel discussion on “The Quantum Potential” with Jeremy O’Brien of the quantum computing startup PsiQuantum, and will also host an ask-me-anything session about quantum computational supremacy and Google’s claim to have achieved it. …
    Found 8 hours, 37 minutes ago on Scott Aaronson's blog
  10. 34793.679774
    Debates between empiricists and rationalists are often taken to rest on two major points of contention (e.g., Markie 2017): whether knowledge is ultimately grounded in perception alone or (at least partly) in a priori sources, and whether mental contents are acquired through perception alone or are (at least partly) innate. Another point of contention, however, concerns the process of thinking. Is thinking fundamentally a matter of triggering arational associative links, or is there irreducible logical structure? For rationalists, logical structure is required to distinguish an associatively generated string of representations like BODIES; HEAVY from the thought that bodies are heavy (Kant 1781/1787, B140– B143; Fodor 2003, 13), as well as to distinguish logical inference from other sorts of mental transitions (Fodor & Pylyshyn 1988).
    Found 9 hours, 39 minutes ago on Jake Quilty-Dunn's site
  11. 53394.679792
    The Arabic-Latin translation movements in the Middle Ages, which paralleled that from Greek into Latin, led to the transformation of almost all philosophical disciplines in the medieval Latin world. The impact of Arabic philosophers such as al-Fārābī, Avicenna and Averroes on Western philosophy was particularly strong in natural philosophy, psychology and metaphysics, but also extended to logic and ethics. Among the influential Arabic theories are: the logical distinction between first and second intentions; the intension and remission of elementary forms; the soul’s faculty of estimation and its object, the intentions; the conjunction between human intellect and separate active intellect; the unicity of the material intellect (Averroism); naturalistic theories of miracles and prophecy; the eternity of the world and the concept of eternal creation; the active intellect as giver of forms; the first cause as necessary being in itself; the emanation of intelligences from the first cau
    Found 14 hours, 49 minutes ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  12. 58534.679806
    Nick Shea’s Representation in Cognitive Science commits him to representations in perceptual processing that are about probabilities. This commentary concerns how to adjudicate between this view and an alternative that locates the probabilities rather in the representational states’ associated “attitudes”. As background and motivation, evidence for probabilistic representations in perceptual processing is adduced, and it is shown how, on either conception, one can address a specific challenge Ned Block has raised to this evidence.
    Found 16 hours, 15 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  13. 58662.679819
    Can you find an xy-equation that, when graphed, writes itself on the plane? This idea became internet-famous when a Wikipedia article on Tupper’s self-referential formula went viral in 2012. Under scrutiny, the question has two flaws: it is meaningless (it depends on fonts) and it is trivial. To see the latter, let F : R → {0, 1} be the function such that the graph F (x, y) = 1 is given by Figure 1. The equation F (x, y) = 1 is self-graphing by construction. (Objection: this equation is not in closed form! But what does that mean? Closed form is not a formally defined, or universally agreed upon, notion [2].) In Section 1 we fix these two flaws by formalizing the problem. In Sections 2 and 3 we use mathematical logic to prove existence of self-graphing equations in a conceptual way (no messy details required). The proof resembles the abstract proof that there are self-printing computer programs (or quines).
    Found 16 hours, 17 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  14. 99559.679833
    As I emphasized on Wednesday, phenomenal concepts are, in a sense, private. They are acquaintance-based indexicals that aren’t governed by any set of public norms, and which don’t defer to the expertise of others. …
    Found 1 day, 3 hours ago on The Brains Blog
  15. 105856.679847
    Suppose that the captain impersonates an admiral and yells: “Turn hard to starboard!” The sailors ought to turn hard to starboard and the captain had the authority to command them this. But nonetheless the captain has failed to issue a valid order. …
    Found 1 day, 5 hours ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  16. 111085.679861
    Rabbi Hasdai Crescas (ca. 1340–1410/11) was the head of the Jewish community of Aragon, and in some ways all of Hispanic Jewry, during one of its most critical periods. Crescas was one of the leading rabbinic authorities of his time,[ 1 ] the political leader of the Jews of Aragon, and a philosophical polemicist against Christianity. As one of the main medieval Jewish philosophers, Crescas critiques the radical Aristotelian philosophy of Maimonides and some of his philosophical heirs. He denounces the different Aristotelian opinions as contradicting not only the Jewish tradition, but also the true empirical and rational understanding of the world.
    Found 1 day, 6 hours ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  17. 120611.679875
    One of the most difficult problems in the foundations of physics is what gives rise to the arrow of time. Since the fundamental dynamical laws of physics are (essentially) symmetric in time, the explanation for time’s arrow must come from elsewhere. A promising explanation introduces a special cosmological initial condition, now called the Past Hypothesis: the universe started in a low-entropy state. In this paper, I argue that, in a universe where there are many copies of us (in the distant past or the distant future), the Past Hypothesis needs to be supplemented with de se (self-locating) probabilities. However, letting in de se probabilities also helps its rival—the Fluctuation Hypothesis, leading to a kind of empirical underdetermination and radical epistemological skepticism. The skeptical problem is exacerbated by the possibility of “Boltzmann bubbles.” Hence, it seems that explaining time’s arrow is more complicated than we have realized, and that its explanation may depend on how we resolve philosophical issues about de se probabilities. Thus, we need to carefully examine the epistemological and probabilistic principles underlying our explanation of time’s arrow. The task is especially urgent for theories that invoke the Past Hypothesis. The philosophical analysis offered in the paper aims at preparing the conceptual foundation for such a task.
    Found 1 day, 9 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  18. 138934.679888
    This paper argues that public statues of persons typically express a positive evaluative attitude towards the subject. It also argues that states have duties to repudiate their own historical wrongdoing, and to condemn other people’s serious wrongdoing. Both duties are incompatible with retaining public statues of people who perpetrated serious rights violations. Hence, a person’s being a serious rights violator is a suffi cient condition for a state’s having a duty to remove a public statue of that person. I argue that this applies no less in the case of the ‘morally ambiguous’ wrongdoer, who both accomplishes signifi cant goods and perpetrates serious rights violations. The duty to remove a statue is a defeasible duty: like most duties, it can be defeated by lesser-evil considerations. If removing a statue would, for example, spark a violent riot that would risk unjust harm to lots of people, the duty to remove could be outweighed by the duty not to foreseeably cause unjust harm. This would provide a lesser-evil justifi cation for keeping the statue. But it matters that the duty to remove is outweighed, rather than negated, by these consequences. Unlike when a duty is negated, one still owes something in cases of outweighing. And it especially matters that it is outweighed by the predicted consequences of wrongful behaviour by others.
    Found 1 day, 14 hours ago on Helen Frowe's site
  19. 156970.679903
    Abraham ibn Daud (c.1110–1180) can be regarded as a pioneer in Jewish philosophy. His philosophical treatise ha-Emunah ha-Ramah (The Exalted Faith, c. 1160) constitutes the first systematic attempt to integrate Aristotelianism into Jewish thought. However, only a few decades later Moses Maimonides, the medieval Jewish philosopher par excellence, wrote his philosophical magnum opus, Moreh Nevukhim (The Guide of the Perplexed), a work that has much in common with Ibn Daud’s book. As a result, ha-Emunah ha-Ramah was soon superseded. However, traces of its influence are visible in later medieval Jewish thought.
    Found 1 day, 19 hours ago on John Danaher's site
  20. 169316.679916
    Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d’Holbach was a philosopher, translator, and prominent social figure of the French Enlightenment. In his philosophical writings Holbach developed a deterministic and materialistic metaphysics, which grounded his polemics against organized religion as well as his utilitarian ethical and political theory. As a translator, Holbach made significant contributions to the European Enlightenment in science and religion. He translated German works on chemistry and geology into French, summarizing many of the German advances in these areas in his entries in Diderot’s Encyclopedia.
    Found 1 day, 23 hours ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  21. 174351.679929
    According to some accounts, an individual participates in joint intentional cooperative action by virtue of conceiving of him- or herself and other participants as if they were parts of a single agent or body that performs the action. I argue that this notional singularization move fails if they act as if they were parts of a single agent. It can succeed, however, if the participants act as if to bring about the goal of a properly functioning single body in action of which they would be parts. This latter version of the move manages to capture the cooperative character of joint intentional cooperative action. It does this without requiring of participants that they act on higher-order interlocking intentions.
    Found 2 days ago on PhilPapers
  22. 174711.679961
    The perspective of natural phenomena as computational expression can help us find ways to carry out anticipatory computing. With this goal in mind, we can reach back to Feynman’s attempt to define quantum computation. His understanding that space-time states can be defined not only in reference to the past and the present, but also to the future proves significant for showing how anticipatory processes can be computationally simulated. Anticipatory computing is embodied in adaptive, non-deterministic, and open-ended information processes. Given the realization that failure to acknowledge anticipation results in major breakdowns (such as the current global financial crisis), the need for anticipation-based computational applications is higher than ever. In this article, an anticipatory control mechanism implemented for the automotive industry is presented. Keywords: adaptive, anticipation, DNA computing, feed forward, quantum computing, self-referential.
    Found 2 days ago on PhilPapers
  23. 179690.679978
    Suppose Callicles worships Apollo. Callicles is doing something he shouldn’t do: he is worshipping a being that doesn’t exist. So one root of Callicles’ practical mistake is a mistake about the non-normative metaphysics of the world, which does not include Apollo. …
    Found 2 days, 1 hour ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  24. 197466.679992
    It is important to realize that first-personal phenomenal consciousness is all-or-nothing. Any given mental state is either phenomenally conscious or it isn’t. It makes no sense to talk of degrees of phenomenal consciousness, or partial phenomenal consciousness. …
    Found 2 days, 6 hours ago on The Brains Blog
  25. 225278.680007
    J. D. Hamkins and A. R. Freire, “Bi-interpretation in weak set theories,” Mathematics arXiv, 2020. Citation arχiv @ARTICLE{HamkinsFreire:Bi-interpretation-in-weak-set-theories, author = {Joel David Hamkins and Alfredo Roque Freire}, title = {Bi-interpretation in weak set theories}, journal = {Mathematics arXiv}, year = {2020}, volume = {}, number = {}, pages = {}, month = {}, note = {}, abstract = {}, keywords = {}, source = {}, doi = {}, url = {http://jdh.hamkins.org/bi-interpretation-in-set-theory}, eprint = {2001.05262}, archivePrefix = {arXiv}, primaryClass = {math.LO}, } Abstract. …
    Found 2 days, 14 hours ago on Joel David Hamkins's blog
  26. 227667.680021
    Seneca is a major philosophical figure of the Roman Imperial Period. As a Stoic philosopher writing in Latin, Seneca makes a lasting contribution to Stoicism. He occupies a central place in the literature on Stoicism at the time, and shapes the understanding of Stoic thought that later generations were to have. Seneca’s philosophical works played a large role in the revival of Stoic ideas in the Renaissance. Until today, many readers approach Stoic philosophy through Seneca, rather than through the more fragmentary evidence that we have for earlier Stoics. Seneca’s writings are stunningly diverse in their generic range.
    Found 2 days, 15 hours ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  27. 231528.680034
    This paper defends a version of the realist view that fictional characters exist. It argues for an instance of abstract realist views, according to which fictional characters are roles, constituted by sets of properties. It is argued that fictional names denote individual concepts, functions from worlds to individuals. It is shown that a dynamic framework for understanding the evolution of discourse information can be used to understand how roles are created and develop along with story content. Taking fictional names to denote individual concepts provides accounts of a number of uses of fictional names. These include non-fictional uses, fictional uses, metafictional uses, interfictional uses, counterfictional uses, and negative existentials. It is argued that this account is not open to objections that have been raised in the literature.
    Found 2 days, 16 hours ago on Andreas Stokke's site
  28. 232563.680049
    Most philosophers writing on the ethics of war endorse “reductivist individualism,” a view that holds both that killing in war is subject to the very same principles of ordinary morality (reductivism); and that morality concerns individuals and their rights, and does not treat collectives as having any special status (individualism). I argue that this commitment to individualism poses problems for this view in the case of national defense. More specifically, I argue that the main strategies for defending individualist approaches to national defense either fail by their own lights or yield deeply counterintuitive implications. I then offer the foundations for a collectivist approach. I argue that such an approach must do justice to the collective goods that properly constituted states make possible and protect through certain acts of defensive war; and that any such picture of national defense must make room for some form of national partiality.
    Found 2 days, 16 hours ago on PhilPapers
  29. 232605.680062
    This paper presents a simple example of first-order theories T1 and T2 such that i) T1 can be embedded in T2 and vice versa, ii) T1 posits all of the structure of T2 and vice versa, but iii) T1 and T2 are not equivalent. This shows that theories lack both the Cantor-Bernstein and co-Cantor- Bernstein properties and are neither partially ordered by the relation ‘is embeddable in’ nor by ‘posits all of the structure of’. In addition, these results clarify the overall geography of notions of equivalence between theories and yield two philosophical payoffs related to the recent discussions of structure and equivalence.
    Found 2 days, 16 hours ago on PhilPapers
  30. 243929.680075
    Quantum weirdness has been in the news recently, thanks to an ingenious new experiment by a team led by Roland Hanson, at the Delft University of Technology. Much of the coverage presents the experiment as good (even conclusive) news for spooky action-at-a-distance, and bad news for local realism. We point out that this interpretation ignores an alternative, namely that the quantum world is retrocausal. We conjecture that this loophole is missed because it is confused for superdeterminism on one side, or action-at-a-distance itself on the other. We explain why it is different from these options, and why it has clear advantages, in both cases.
    Found 2 days, 19 hours ago on Huw Price's site