1. 3912.734768
    Lakatos’s analysis of progress and degeneration in the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes is well-known. Less known, however, are his thoughts on degeneration in Proofs and Refutations. I propose and motivate two new criteria for degeneration based on the discussion in Proofs and Refutationssuperfluity and authoritarianism. I show how these criteria augment the account in Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes, providing a generalized Lakatosian account of progress and degeneration. I then apply this generalized account to a key transition point in the history of entropy – the transition to an information-theoretic interpretation of entropy – by assessing Jaynes’s 1957 paper on information theory and statistical mechanics.
    Found 1 hour, 5 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  2. 14180.735236
    What is to be a human person? Since the cognitive revolution half a century ago, the analytic philosophy of mind has interpreted the question as the mind-body problem: how are mental states that have cognitive or semantic content related to their concomitant brain states or causal neural processes? Let me call this the vertical problem. Functionalism seems to offer the most convincing account of this relationship: the mind is not the brain; the mind is what the brain does.
    Found 3 hours, 56 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  3. 14402.735263
    These responses are replies to the contributions to a book symposium devoted to my book Knowing and Seeing. Groundwork for a New Empiricism (2019), held at the University of Vienna in February 2020.
    Found 4 hours ago on PhilPapers
  4. 14534.735279
    The present paper proposes a route to modal claims that allows us to infer to certain possibilities even if they are sensorily unimaginable and beyond the evidential capacity of stipulative imagining. After a brief introduction, Sect. 2 discusses imaginative resistance to help carve a niche for the kinds of inferences about which this essay is chiefly concerned. Section provides three classic examples, along with a discussion of their similarities and differences. Section 4 recasts the notion of potential explanation in Lipton’s (Inference to the best explanation, Routledge, Abingdon, 2004) in order to accommodate inferences to possibility claims; Sect. 5 then attempts to characterise a principle underlying such inferences. Section 6 concludes by discussing how the proposal relates to other modal epistemologies, with emphasis on the potential of such inferences to produce genuinely new ideas.
    Found 4 hours, 2 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  5. 14623.735293
    The literature on epistemic responsibility has traditionally focused on justified belief formation and actions that lead to it. Similarly, accounts of collective epistemic responsibility have addressed the issue of collective belief formation and associated actions. However, cases in which we face an epistemic harm that could be prevented only by a collective action, requiring an effort of an unorganized group, have been left out of these discussions. Examples of collectively preventable epistemic harms include a premature abandonment of a promising research program within a given scientific domain, or the prevalence of pernicious biases in a certain field of study. In this paper we propose an account of collective epistemic responsibility, which fills this gap. Building on Hindriks’ (2018) account of collective moral responsibility, we introduce the Epistemic Duty to Join Forces. Our theory provides an account of the responsibilities of scientists to prevent epistemic harms during inquiry. It also suggests fruitful applications to other discussions, such as those concerning epistemic injustice and epistemically pernicious groups.
    Found 4 hours, 3 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  6. 43758.735307
    You're a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Of course you are! How could you not be? (Okay, if you don't know what I'm talking about, check it out here.) And if you're a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, you love Uncle Iroh. …
    Found 12 hours, 9 minutes ago on The Splintered Mind
  7. 53092.735322
    We have various everyday measures for identifying the presence of consciousness, such as the capacity for verbal report and the intentional control of behaviour. However, there are many contexts in which these measures are difficult (if not impossible) to apply, and even when they can be applied one might have doubts as to their validity in determining the presence/absence of consciousness. Everyday measures for identifying consciousness are particularly problematic when it comes to ‘challenging cases’—human infants, people with brain damage, non-human animals, and AI systems. There is a pressing need to identify measures of consciousness that can be applied to challenging cases. This paper explores one of the most promising strategies for identifying and validating such measures—the natural kind strategy. The paper is in two broad parts. Part I introduces the natural kind strategy, and contrasts it with other influential approaches in the field. Part II considers a number of objections to the approach, arguing that none succeeds.
    Found 14 hours, 44 minutes ago on Nicholas Shea's site
  8. 72482.735336
    This thesis is made available online and is protected by original copyright. Please scroll down to view the document itself. Please refer to the repository record for this item for information to help you to cite it. Our policy information is available from the repository home page.
    Found 20 hours, 8 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  9. 91336.73535
    The structure of benzene is fascinating. Look at all these different attempts to depict it! Let me tell you a tiny bit of the history. In 1865, August Kekulé argued that benzene is a ring of carbon atoms with alternating single and double bonds. …
    Found 1 day, 1 hour ago on Azimuth
  10. 102457.735365
    In an earlier post, I said that an account that insists that all fundamental causation is simultaneous but secures the diachronic aspects of causal series by means of divine conservation is “a close cousin to occasionalism”. …
    Found 1 day, 4 hours ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  11. 131164.735392
    The kinds of real or natural kinds that support explanation and prediction in the social sciences are difficult to identify and track because they change through time, intersect with one another, and they do not always exhibit their properties when one encounters them. As a result, conceptual practices directed at these kinds will often refer in ways that are partial, equivocal, or redundant. To improve this epistemic situation, it is important to employ open-ended classificatory concepts, to understand when different research programs are tracking the same real kind, and to maintain an ongoing commitment to interact causally with real kinds to focus reference on those kinds. A tempting view of these non-idealized epistemic conditions should be avoided: that they signal an ontological structure of the social world so plentiful that it would permit ameliorated (norm-driven, conceptually engineered) classificatory schemes to achieve their normative aims regardless of whether they defer (in ways to be described) to real-kind classificatory schemes. To ground these discussions, the essay appeals to an overlooked convergence in the systematic naturalistic frameworks of Richard Boyd and Ruth Millikan.
    Found 1 day, 12 hours ago on PhilPapers
  12. 131242.735415
    Recent years have seen growing interest in modifying interventionist accounts of causal explanation in order to characterise noncausal explanation. However, one surprising element of such accounts is that they have typically jettisoned the core feature of interventionism: interventions. Indeed, the prevailing opinion within the philosophy of science literature suggests that interventions exclusively demarcate causal relationships. This position is so prevalent that, until now, no one has even thought to name it. We call it “intervention puritanism”. In this paper, we mount the first sustained defence of the idea that there are distinctively noncausal explanations which can be characterized in terms of possible interventions; and thus, argue that I-puritanism is false. We call the resultant position “intervention liberalism” (I-liberalism, for short). While many have followed Woodward (Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003) in committing to I-pluralism, we trace support for I-liberalism back to the work of Kim (in: Kim (ed) Supervenience and mind, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1974/1993). Furthermore, we analyse two recent sources of scepticism regarding I-liberalism: debate surrounding mechanistic constitution; and attempts to provide a monistic account of explanation. We show that neither literature provides compelling reasons for adopting I-puritanism. Finally, we present a novel taxonomy of available positions upon the role of possible interventions in explanation: weak causal imperialism; strong causal imperialism; monist intervention puritanism; pluralist intervention puritanism; monist intervention liberalism; and finally, the specific position defended in this paper, pluralist intervention liberalism.
    Found 1 day, 12 hours ago on PhilPapers
  13. 134349.735431
    Consider the Causal Simultaneity Thesis (CST) that all causation is simultaneous. Assume that simultaneity is absolute (rather than relative). Assume there is change. Here is a consequence I will argue for: determinism is false. …
    Found 1 day, 13 hours ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  14. 179656.735445
    This paper aims to clarify Merleau-Ponty’s contribution to an embodied-enactive account of mathematical cognition. I first identify the main points of interest in the current discussions of embodied higher cognition and explain how they relate to Merleau-Ponty and his sources, in particular Husserl’s late works. Subsequently, I explain these convergences in greater detail by more specifically discussing the domains of geometry and algebra and by clarifying the role of gestalt psychology in Merleau-Ponty’s account. Beyond that, I explain how, for Merleau-Ponty, mathematical cognition requires not only the presence and actual manipulation of some concrete perceptible symbols but, more strongly, how it is fundamentally linked to the structural transformation of the concrete configurations of symbolic systems to which these symbols appertain. Furthermore, I fill a gap in the literature by explaining Merleau-Ponty’s claim that these structural transformations are operated through motor intentionality. This makes it possible, in turn, to contrast Merleau-Ponty’s approach to ontologically idealistic and realistic views on mathematical objects. On Merleau-Ponty’s account, mathematical objects are relational entities, that is, gestalts that necessarily imply situated cognizers to whom they afford a specific type of engagement in the world and on whom they depend in their eventual structural transformations. I argue that, by attributing a strongly constitutive role to phenomenal configurations and their motor transformation in mathematical thinking, Merleau-Ponty contributes to clarifying the worldly, historical, and socio-cultural aspects of mathematical truths without compromising what we perceive as their universality, certainty, and necessity.
    Found 2 days, 1 hour ago on PhilSci Archive
  15. 179735.73546
    In this essay, I discuss what can be the underlying principle to the philosophy of cognitive science that is useful for us to understand human nature. Reviewing the principles of science as already presented by Noam Chomsky, I expand the discussion by briefly discussing the computational aspect of the human mind, the key I argued, to unify the mental and physical aspects of the human brain/mind. The discussion led to Aristotelian psychology (or epistemology) as the suggestion for a way forward in the understanding of the nature of human mind from the mysteriousness of its nature as understood by the rationalists started by René Descartes.
    Found 2 days, 1 hour ago on PhilSci Archive
  16. 191453.735473
    It is a platitude that when we reason, we often take things for granted, sometimes even justifiably so. The chemist might reason from the fact that a substance turns litmus paper red to that substance being an acid. In so doing, they take for granted, reasonably enough, that this test for acidity is valid. We ordinarily reason from things looking a certain way to their being that way. We take for granted, reasonably enough, that things are as they look.
    Found 2 days, 5 hours ago on PhilPapers
  17. 191590.735487
    Messiah: Al is a good man. He leads a fulfilling life. Those around him appreciate him and treat him with respect. Shortly before his death, he makes an unsettling discovery. Unbeknownst to him, those in his community believe he is a Messiah: someone chosen by God, with innate virtue, and deserving of unconditional respect. As it happens, Al really is a good man, worthy of respect. But if, counterfactually, his behaviour and personality were disagreeable, those around him would continue to be positively disposed towards him. They all interpret Al’s behaviour through the lens of the “Messiah-script,” without seeing him for who he really is.
    Found 2 days, 5 hours ago on PhilPapers
  18. 237428.7355
    Newton’s First Law of Motion is typically understood to govern only the motion of force-free bodies. This paper argues on textual and conceptual grounds that it is in fact a stronger, more general principle. The First Law limits the extent to which any body can change its state of motion –– even if that body is subject to impressed forces. The misunderstanding can be traced back to an error in the first English translation of Newton’s Principia, which was published a few years after Newton’s death.
    Found 2 days, 17 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  19. 237485.735514
    Paleontological evidence suggests that human artefacts with intentional markings might have originated already in the Lower Paleolithic, up to 500.000 years ago and well before the advent of ‘behavioural modernity’. These markings apparently did not serve instrumental, tool-like functions, nor do they appear to be forms of figurative art. Instead, they display abstract geometric patterns that potentially testify to an emerging ability of symbol use. In a variation on Ian Hacking’s speculative account of the possible role of “likeness-making” in the evolution of human cognition and language, this essay explores the central role that the embodied processes of making and the collective practices of using such artefacts might have played in early human cognitive evolution. Two paradigmatic findings of Lower Paleolithic artefacts are discussed as tentative evidence of likenesses acting as material scaffolds in the emergence of symbolic reference-making. They might provide the link between basic abilities of mimesis and imitation and the development of modern language and thought.
    Found 2 days, 17 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  20. 237561.735531
    Historical explanations in evolutionary biology are commonly characterized as narrative explanations. Examples include explanations of the evolution of particular traits and explanations of macroevolutionary transitions. In this paper, I present two case studies of explanations in accounts of pathogen evolution and host-pathogen coevolution, respectively, and argue that one of them is captured well by established accounts of time-sequenced narrative explanation. The other one differs from narrative explanations in important respects, even though it shares some characteristics with them as it is also a population-level historical explanation. I thus argue that the second case represents a different kind of explanation that I call historical explanation of type phenomena. The main difference between the two kinds of explanation is the conceptualization of the explanandum phenomena as a particulars or type phenomena, respectively. Narrative explanations explain particulars but also deal with generalization, regularities and type phenomena. Historical explanations of type phenomena, on the other hand, explain multiply realizable phenomena but also deal with particulars. The two kinds of explanation complement each other because they explain different aspects of evolution.
    Found 2 days, 17 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  21. 249101.735547
    According to a standard interpretation, Plato’s conception of our moral psychology evolved over the course of his written dialogues. In his earlier dialogues, notably the Protagoras, Meno, and Gorgias, Plato’s Socrates maintains that we always do what we believe is best. Many commentators infer from this that Socrates holds that the psyche is simple, in the sense that there is only one ultimate source of motivation: reason. By contrast, in the Republic, Phaedrus, and Timaeus, Socrates holds that the psyche is complex, or has three distinct and semi-autonomous sources of motivation, which he calls the reasoning, spirited, and appetitive parts. While the rational part determines what is best overall and motivates us to pursue it, the spirited and appetitive parts incline us towards different objectives, such as victory, honor, and esteem, or the satisfaction of our desires for food, drink, and sex.
    Found 2 days, 21 hours ago on Rachel Singpurwalla's site
  22. 256545.73557
    Taking perceptual experience to consist in a relation of acquaintance with the sensible qualities, I argue that the state of being acquainted with a sensible quality is intrinsically a form of knowledge, and not merely a means to more familiar kinds of knowledge, such as propositional or dispositional knowledge. We should accept the epistemic claim for its explanatory power and theoretical usefulness. That acquaintance is knowledge best explains the intuitive epistemic appeal of ‘Edenic’ counterfactuals involving unmediated perceptual contact with reality (cf. Chalmers, in: Gendler, Hawthorne (eds) Perceptual experience, Oxford University Press, 2006). It explains the elusiveness of knowledge gained through new acquaintances. It coheres with the knowledge-like functional role of acquaintance in the special context of evaluative beliefs and evaluative reasoning, where the objects of acquaintance serve as evidence and inferential basis. And, finally, taking acquaintance to be knowledge is theoretically fruitful: it helps vindicate claims about the relationship between knowledge and concern for others we already find intuitive or outright accept. After developing a novel case for the epistemic claim, I respond to two familiar objections against it: namely, (1) that there are no pre-propositional, pre-conceptual cases of perceptual experience that remain epistemically relevant (Sellars in Empiricism and the philosophy of mind, Routledge, 1968, McDowell, in: Lindgard (ed) John McDowell: Experience, norm, and nature, Blackwell, 2008); and (2) that the category of knowledge appears gerrymandered once we add ‘object’ knowledge to the epistemological mix (Farkas, in: Knowles, Raleigh (eds), Acquaintance: new essays, Oxford University Press, 2019).
    Found 2 days, 23 hours ago on Emad H. Atiq's site
  23. 316748.735585
    The mass-count distinction is a morpho-syntactic distinction among nouns in English and many other languages. Tree, chair, person, group, and portion are count nouns; water, furniture, population, and rice are mass nouns. The morpho-syntactic is generally taken to have semantic content or reflect a semantic mass-count distinction. Thus, count permit numerals like one and first, mass nouns don’t, and mass NPs permit predicates like is one of.., but mass NPs don’t. Thus, at the center of the semantic mass-count distinction is, in some way or another, a notion of unity or being a single entity, the basis of countability. There is little unanimity, however, of how that notion is to be understood and thus what the semantic mass-count distinction consists in. In this paper, I will give a very general outline of existing approaches to the mass-count distinction and focus on particular challenges they face. It will suggest a way of meeting those challenges in terms of a situation-based account of the mass-count distinction, without, though, giving an account of unity itself.
    Found 3 days, 15 hours ago on Friederike Moltmann's site
  24. 316758.735601
    A phenomenon resulting from a computationally irreducible (or computationally incompressible) process is supposedly unpredictable except via simulation. This notion of unpredictability has been deployed to formulate some recent accounts of computational emergence. Via a technical analysis of computational irreducibility, I show that computationally irreducibility can establish the impossibility of prediction only with respect to maximum standards of precision. By articulating the graded nature of prediction, I show that unpredictability to maximum standards is not equivalent to being unpredictable in general. I conclude that computational irreducibility fails to fulfill its assigned philosophical roles in theories of computational emergence.
    Found 3 days, 15 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  25. 316823.735618
    Newton’s Principia re-conceptualizes rational mechanics and physics, and offers a novel unification of these heretofore distinct disciplines. I argue for a reading of the Principia that insists on a strict distinction between the rational mechanics (in Books 1 and 2) and the physics (in Book 3), in which the Definitions and the Axioms/Laws play a surprising dual role that both distinguishes the rational mechanics from the physics and unifies them into a single project: a philosophical mechanics. This offers a new angle on existing questions in the secondary literature, including the sense in which Books 1 and 2 are to be understood as “mathematical”; whether or not the Principia is a text in mechanics; why Newton came to adopt the dual label “Axioms, or laws of motion”; the epistemic status of the axioms; the relationship between the axioms and the Definitions; in what sense Book 3 is incomplete as a physics; and the problem of applicability.
    Found 3 days, 16 hours ago on Katherine Brading's site
  26. 355772.735634
    This paper examines an ancient debate over the rationality of perception. What leads the Stoics to affirm, and the Epicureans to deny, that to form a sense-impression is an activity of reason? The answer, we argue, lies in a disagreement over what is required for epistemic success. For the Stoics, epistemic success consists in believing the right propositions, and only rational states, in virtue of their predicational structure, put us in touch with propositions. Since they identify some sense-impressions as criteria of truth and thus as the basis for epistemic success, the Stoics maintain that sense-impressions must be rational. The Epicureans agree with the Stoics that sense-impressions function as criteria of truth, and also agree broadly on what it means for a state to be rational, but deny that sense-impressions are rational because (1) they think that epistemic success must be supported by a state that is necessarily error-free and (2) accept that rational states can be false. In reconstructing this debate, we refine the standard interpretation of the fundamental difference between Epicurean and Stoic epistemology and also develop parallels with epistemological debates today. One upshot is a more nuanced appreciation of the merits of Epicurean epistemology vis-à-vis the Stoics.
    Found 4 days, 2 hours ago on Whitney Schwab's site
  27. 355840.735659
    The first philosophers in the Greek tradition to refer to themselves as “skeptics” (skeptikoi) were the Pyrrhonists, members of a movement that broke off from Plato's Academy in the first century BCE. From the perspective of Aenesidemus, the movement's founder, the Academics had over the previous two centuries increasingly compromised their philosophical stance, primarily under the pressure of Stoic objections. Aenesidemus pithily distilled his understanding of the contemporary philosophical scene as “Stoics fighting Stoics” (Photius, Biblio. 212, 170a16–17).
    Found 4 days, 2 hours ago on Whitney Schwab's site
  28. 355841.735678
    The first philosophers in the Greek tradition to refer to themselves as “skeptics” (skeptikoi) were the Pyrrhonists, members of a movement that broke off from Plato's Academy in the first century BCE. From the perspective of Aenesidemus, the movement's founder, the Academics had over the previous two centuries increasingly compromised their philosophical stance, primarily under the pressure of Stoic objections. Aenesidemus pithily distilled his understanding of the contemporary philosophical scene as “Stoics fighting Stoics” (Photius, Biblio. 212, 170a16–17).
    Found 4 days, 2 hours ago on Whitney Schwab's site
  29. 364878.735696
    This article examines the question ‘what is humour?’ In section 1, we set out default realist presuppositions about the question. In section 2, we characterize a broadly Moorean approach to answering the question. In section 3, we introduce popular response-dependence assumptions about humour and express puzzlement about their popularity. In section 4, we present extant answers to our question: superiority theory; relief theory; play theory; laughter-dispositional theory; and incongruity theory. We find each wanting, subjecting incongruity theory, in particular, to sustained scrutiny, and offer a novel critique of the approach. In section 5, we introduce precedents for primitivism from metaphysics, epistemology and action theory. In section 6, we present several primitivist theses about humour. In section 7, we conclude with some remarks about the methodological role primitivist theses can play in adjudicating answers to our question.
    Found 4 days, 5 hours ago on PhilPapers
  30. 364960.73571
    Separatists about grounding take explanations to be separate from their corresponding grounding-facts. Grounding-facts are supposed to underlie, or back, such explanations. However, the backing relation hasn’t received much attention in the literature. The aim of this paper is to provide an informative definition of backing. First, I examine two prominent proposals: backing as explaining (Kovacs 2017; 2019a) and backing as grounding (see Sjölin Wirling 2020). Finally, I put forward my own proposal. I argue that under plausible assumptions about the role of backing and the nature of explanation, backing should be understood as a form of truthmaking, minimally construed.
    Found 4 days, 5 hours ago on PhilPapers