Philosophical Progress and blog posts found on 13 June 20242024-06-13T23:59:00Z2024-06-13T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2024-06-13://<b>Ben Caplan, Carl Matheson: <a href="">37 Ontology of Music</a></b> (pdf, 3234 words)<br /> <div>Let’s start with some uncontroversial facts. In 1817–1818, Beethoven composed the Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Opus 106, which is known as the <i>Hammerklavier Sonata</i>. In 1970, Glenn Gould performed the <i>Hammerklavier</i> in Toronto. In 1995, András Schiff performed the <i>Hammerklavier</i> in New York. We can conclude that there is something— the <i>Hammerklavier</i>—that Beethoven composed and that Gould and Schiff performed. But what sort of thing is this?</div><br /> <b>The Archimedean Point: <a href="">Democracy, Nationalism, and Public Reason</a></b> (html, 1815 words)<br /> <div>As predicted, the nationalist parties have slightly improved their scores in the European parliamentary elections. Put together, the parties belonging to the European Conservatives & Reformists and Identity & Democracy groups have won 131 seats over the 720 of the European Parliaments, to which we should also add part of the 100 seats earned by non-aligned parties. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 12 June 20242024-06-12T23:59:00Z2024-06-12T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2024-06-12://<b>Katherine Valde: <a href="">When Will Scientific Disagreement Bear Fruit?: A Case Study About Angiosperm Origins</a></b> (pdf, 5471 words)<br /> <div>The timing of the origin of flowering plants (Angiosperm) is hotly debated. It has been suggested that the disagreement between the fossil record of angiosperm origin strongly conflicts with the origin estimates generated by molecular clocks. I argue that this conflict reveals lessons about whether or under what conditions scientific disagreement is likely to bear fruit. Specifically, I point to issues of evidence quality and social epistemic structures which deserve more attention in understanding the productivity of disagreement.</div><br /> <b>Marco Facchin: <a href="">Maps, simulations, spaces and dynamics: on distinguishing types of structural representations</a></b> (pdf, 11549 words)<br /> <div>Structural representations are likely the most talked about representational posits in the contemporary debate over cognitive representations. Indeed, the debate surrounding them is so vast virtually every claim about them has been made. Some, for instance, claimed structural representations are di erent from indicators. Others argued they are the same. Some claimed structural representations mesh perfectly with mechanistic explanations, others argued they can’t in principle mash. Some claimed structural representations are central to predictive processing accounts of cognition, others rebuked predictive processing networks are blissfully structural representation free. And so forth. Here, I suggest this confusing state of a airs is due to the fact that the term “structural representations” is applied to a number of distinct conceptions of representations. In this paper, I distinguish four such conceptions, argue that these four conceptions are actually distinct, and then show that such a fourfold distinction can be used to clarify some of the most pressing questions concerning structural representations and their role in cognitive theorizing, making these questions more easily answerable.</div><br /> <b>Mark Povich: <a href="">The Symbolic Approach to the Omega Rule</a></b> (doc, 2803 words)<br /> <div><b></b>According to the ω-rule, it is valid to infer that all natural numbers possess some property, if possesses it, 1 possesses it, 2 possesses it, and so on. The ω-rule is important because its inclusion in certain arithmetical theories results in true arithmetic. It is controversial because it seems impossible for finite human beings to follow, given that it seems to require accepting infinitely many premises. Inspired by a remark of Wittgenstein’s, I argue that the mystery of how we follow the ω-rule subsides once we treat the rule as helping to give meaning to the symbol, “…”.</div><br /> <b>Ronald J. Planer, Ross Pain: <a href="">Expanding the Causal Menu: An Interventionist Perspective on Explaining Human Behavioral Evolution</a></b> (pdf, 11388 words)<br /> <div>Pain, Ross; University of Bristol, Philosophy interventionism, transitions in human evolution, cultural complexity, causation Theorists of human evolution are interested in understanding major shifts in human behavioral capacities (e.g., the creation of a novel technological industry, such as the Acheulean). This task faces empirical challenges arising both from the complexity of these events and the time-depths involved. However, we also confront issues of a more philosophical nature, such as how to best think about causation and explanation. This article considers such fundamental questions from the perspective of a prominent theory of causation in the philosophy of science literature, namely, the interventionist theory of causation. A signature feature of this framework is its recognition of a family of distinct types of causes. We set out several of these causal notions and show how they can contribute to explaining transitions in human behavioral complexity. We do so, first, in a preliminary way, and then in a more detailed way, taking the origins of behavioral modernity as our extended case study. We conclude by suggesting some ways in which the approach developed here might be elaborated and extended.</div><br /> <b>Samuel Schindler: <a href="">Convergence on the Kuhnian view of theory choice</a></b> (pdf, 4821 words)<br /> <div>The Kuhnian view of theory choice (post <i>Structure</i>) leaves a lot of space for a diversity of theory choice preferences. It remains mysterious, however, how scientists could ever converge on a theory, given this diversity. This paper will argue that there is a solution to the problem of convergence, which can be had even on Kuhn’s own terms.</div><br /> <b>Sergiy Koshkin: <a href="">Functional completeness and primitive positive decomposition of relations on finite domains</a></b> (pdf, 10318 words)<br /> <div>We give a new and elementary construction of primitive positive decomposition of higher arity relations into binary relations on finite domains. Such decompositions come up in applications to constraint satisfaction problems, clone theory and relational databases. The construction exploits functional completeness of 2-input functions in many-valued logic by interpreting relations as graphs of partially defined multivalued ‘functions’. The ‘functions’ are then composed from ordinary functions in the usual sense. The construction is computationally effective and relies on well-developed methods of functional decomposition, but reduces relations only to ternary relations. An additional construction then decomposes ternary into binary relations, also effectively, by converting certain disjunctions into existential quantifications. The result gives a uniform proof of Peirce’s reduction thesis on finite domains, and shows that the graph of any Sheffer function composes all relations there.</div><br /> <b>Sergiy Koshkin: <a href="">Logical reduction of relations: from relational databases to Peirce's reduction thesis</a></b> (pdf, 16980 words)<br /> <div>We study logical reduction (factorization) of relations into relations of lower arity by Boolean or relative products that come from applying conjunctions and existential quantifiers to predicates, i.e. by primitive positive formulas of predicate calculus. Our algebraic framework unifies natural joins and data dependencies of database theory and relational algebra of clone theory with the bond algebra of C.S. Peirce. We also offer new constructions of reductions, systematically study irreducible relations and reductions to them, and introduce a new characteristic of relations, ternarity, that measures their ‘complexity of relating’ and allows to refine reduction results. In particular, we refine Peirce’s controversial reduction thesis, and show that reducibility behavior is dramatically different on finite and infinite domains.</div><br /> <b>Sergiy Koshkin: <a href="'s%20Reduction%20Thesis.pdf">Is Peirce's reduction thesis gerrymandered?</a></b> (pdf, 12985 words)<br /> <div>We argue that traditional formulations of the reduction thesis that tie it to privileged relational operations do not suffice for Peirce’s justification of the categories, and invite the charge of gerrymandering to make it come out as true. We then develop a more robust invariant formulation of the thesis by explicating the use of triads in any relational operations, which is immune to that charge. The explication also allows us to track how Thirdness enters the structure of higher order relations, and even propose a numerical measure of it. Our analysis reveals new conceptual phenomena when negation or disjunction are used to compound relations.</div><br /> <b>Xavier Parent: <a href="">Report on “Axiomatizing Conditional Normative Reasoning”</a></b> (pdf, 3870 words)<br /> <div>This is a report on the project “Axiomatizing Conditional Normative Reasoning” (ANCoR, M 3240-N) funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). The project aims to deepen our understanding of conditional normative reasoning by providing an axiomatic study of it at the propositional but also first-order level. The focus is on a particular framework, the so-called preference-based logic for conditional obligation, whose main strength has to do with the treatment of contrary-to-duty reasoning and reasoning about exceptions. The project considers not only the meta-theory of this family of logics but also its mechanization.</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 11 June 20242024-06-11T23:59:00Z2024-06-11T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2024-06-11://<b>Kelvin J McQueen, Naotsugu Tsuchiya: <a href="">When do parts form wholes? Integrated information as the restriction on mereological composition</a></b> (pdf, 9921 words)<br /> <div>Under what conditions are material objects, such as particles, parts of a whole object? This is the composition question and is a longstanding open question in philosophy. Existing attempts to specify a non-trivial <i>restriction</i> on composition tend to be vague and face serious counterexamples. Consequently, two extreme answers have become mainstream: composition (the forming of a whole by its parts) happens under <i>no</i> or <i>all</i> conditions. In this paper, we provide a self-contained introduction to the integrated information theory (IIT) of consciousness. We show that IIT specifies a non-trivial restriction on composition: composition happens when integrated information is maximized. We compare the IIT restriction to existing proposals and argue that the IIT restriction has significant advantages, especially in response to the problems of vagueness and counterexamples. An appendix provides an introduction to calculating parts and wholes with a simple system.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">A very simple counterexample to Integrated Information Theory?</a></b> (html, 647 words)<br /> <div>I’ve been thinking a bit about Integerated Information Theory (IIT) as a physicalist-friendly alternative to functionalism as an account of consciousness. The basic idea of IIT is that we measure the amount of consciousness in a system by subdividing the system into pairs of subsystems and calculating how well one can predict the next state of each of the two subsystems without knowing the state of the other. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Computation</a></b> (html, 627 words)<br /> <div>I’ve been imagining a very slow embodiment of computation. You have some abstract computer program designed for a finite-time finite-space subset of a Turing machine. And now you have a big tank of black and white paint that is constantly being stirred in a deterministic way, but one that is some ways into the ergodic hierarchy: it’s weakly mixing. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 10 June 20242024-06-10T23:59:00Z2024-06-10T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2024-06-10://<b>Azimuth: <a href="">The Grotthuss Mechanism</a></b> (html, 381 words)<br /> <div>If you could watch an individual water molecule, once in a while you’d see it do this. As it bounces around, every so often it hits another water molecule hard enough enough for one to steal a hydrogen nucleus—that is, a proton—from the other! &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Good Thoughts: <a href="">The Value of an Action</a></b> (html, 840 words)<br /> <div>In the middle chapters of Morality by Degrees, Alastair Norcross argues that there is no principled way to determine the absolute value of an action (incl. whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’), only whether it is better or worse than specific alternatives.1 It’s natural to assume that we should judge an action good (bad) just to the extent that it makes things go better (worse) than if the act hadn’t been performed. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 08 June 20242024-06-08T23:59:00Z2024-06-08T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2024-06-08://<b>Hong Joo Ryoo: <a href="">Concerning Multiple Context-Dependence, Uncertainty, and Understanding</a></b> (pdf, 3614 words)<br /> <div>Recent discourse in the philosophy of scientific explanation involves an account known as the Kairetic account[10]. I proposed implementing a complementarity view involving a mapping scheme to the Kairetic account and similar models[8]. There are two natural concerns related to this mapping. The first concern is the treatment of multiple mappings required for an explanation: phenomena may involve two complementarity features. The second concern is regarding the acquisition of understanding and whether context-dependence facilitates understanding. This article aims to address the first thought through an example involving interference and photon detectors in a telescope. I claim that context-dependent mapping is on a particle basis, accommodating the wave-particle duality for every single particle without generalization. I further introduce the implications of mathematical developments of a complementarity relation grounded in the uncertainty principle. In addition, I will offer the stance that context-dependence facilitates understanding because it ensures that explanations are logically consistent, precise, relevant, and comprehensive.</div><br /> <b>Juliana Gutiérrez Valderrama: <a href="">Rethinking Geographic Diversity in Value-laden Ideals of Science</a></b> (pdf, 6641 words)<br /> <div>In this paper, I stress the need to broaden the scope of <i>diversity</i> in value-laden ideals of science to include <i>geographic</i> diversity. I argue that egalitarian and normic value-laden ideals have conceptual limitations when considering this dimension. While egalitarian frameworks advocate for a placeless science, normic frameworks predominantly locate scientific knowledge within the “Global North,” highlighting the importance of including “non- Western” perspectives from the “Global South.” These limitations have negative and unjust epistemic consequences: they risk perpetuating cultural imperialism, reproducing a colonial epistemic norming of space, and epistemic exoticization towards scientific communities in subaltern regions.</div><br /> <b>Leonardo Castellani, Gabetti Anna: <a href="">Space and time correlations in quantum histories</a></b> (pdf, 7128 words)<br /> <div>The formalism of generalized quantum histories allows a symmetrical treatment of space and time correlations, by taking different traces of the same history density matrix. We recall how to characterize spatial and temporal entanglement in this framework. An operative protocol is presented, to map a history state into the ket of a static composite system. We show, by examples, how the Leggett-Garg and the temporal CHSH inequalities can be violated in our approach.</div><br /> <b>Peter Morgan: <a href="">The collapse of a quantum state as a joint probability construction</a></b> (pdf, 12140 words)<br /> <div>The collapse of a quantum state can be understood as a mathematical way to construct a joint probability density even for operators that do not commute. We can formalize that construction as a non-commutative, non-associative collapse product that is nonlinear in its left operand as a model for joint measurements at time-like separation, in part inspired by the sequential product for positive semi-definite operators. The familiar collapse picture, in which a quantum state collapses after each measurement as a way to construct a joint probability density for consecutive measurements, is equivalent to a no-collapse picture in which Luders transformers applied to subsequent measurements construct a Quantum-Mechanics–Free-Subsystem of Quantum Non-Demolition operators, not as a dynamical process but as an alternative mathematical model for the same consecutive measurements. The no-collapse picture is particularly simpler when we apply signal analysis to millions or billions of consecutive measurements.</div><br /> <b>Richard Dawid, C.D. McCoy: <a href="">Testability and Viability: Is Inflationary Cosmology "Scientific"?</a></b> (pdf, 17189 words)<br /> <div>We provide a philosophical reconstruction and analysis of the debate on the scientific status of cosmic inflation that has played out in recent years. In a series of critical papers, Ijjas, Steinhardt, and Loeb have questioned the scientificality of current views on cosmic inflation. Proponents of cosmic inflation, such as Guth and Linde, have in turn defended the scientific credentials of their approach. We argue that, while this defense, narrowly construed, is successful against Ijjas, Steinhardt, and Loeb, the latters’ reasoning does point to a significant epistemic issue that arises with respect to inflationary theory. We claim that a broadening of the concept of theory assessment to include meta-empirical considerations is needed to address that issue in an adequate way.</div><br /> <b>Soroush Rafiee Rad, Sebastian Till Braun, Olivier Roy: <a href="">Anchoring as a Structural Bias of Deliberation</a></b> (pdf, 11845 words)<br /> <div>We study the anchoring effect in a computational model of group deliberation on preference rankings. Anchoring is a form of path-dependence through which the opinions of those who speak early have a stronger influence on the outcome of deliberation than the opinions of those who speak later. We show that anchoring can occur even among fully rational agents. We then compare the respective effects of anchoring and three other determinants of the deliberative outcome: the relative weight or social influence of the speakers, the popularity of a given speaker’s opinion, and the homogeneity of the group. We find that, on average, anchoring has the strongest effect among these. We finally show that anchoring is often correlated with increases in proximity to single-plateauedness. We conclude that anchoring can constitute a structural bias that might hinder some of the otherwise positive effects of group deliberation.</div><br /> <b>W. M. Stuckey: <a href="">Schrodinger's Cat: Qbit or Cbit?</a></b> (pdf, 4316 words)<br /> <div>In 1935, Schrodinger introduced what he considered to be a reductio against the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. His argument was based on a “ridiculous case” that is widely used today to portray the counterintuitive nature of quantum superposition. Schrodinger imagined that a cat was placed out of sight in a box with a mechanism that would kill the cat within an hour with 50% probability. Since the deadly mechanism employed a quantum process for its trigger, he supposed the cat was in a quantum superposition of 50% Live Cat + 50% Dead Cat.</div><br /> <b>Under the Net: <a href="">Reader's Digest: June 8, 2024</a></b> (html, 300 words)<br /> <div>When the novelist Ali Smith was asked to give a series of lectures about European literature, well… it’s a rare work of criticism that cannot be summarized without spoilers. I encourage you to read it without so much as a glance at the back cover: imagine yourself in the original audience, unwitting, like the audience of A Room of One’ Own—Woolf is mentioned here more than once—but with another turn of the screw. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Good Thoughts: <a href="">Woke Axiology</a></b> (html, 297 words)<br /> <div>Tversky & Kahneman famously showed that many people judge (incoherently) that Linda is “more likely” to be a feminist bank teller than to be a bank teller. I’m often struck by people making a moral analogue of this mistake: thinking that something is more important when it affects just a subgroup than when it affects all of those people and more. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Scott Aaronson's blog: <a href="">Situational Awareness</a></b> (html, 360 words)<br /> <div>My friend Leopold Aschenbrenner, who I got to know and respect on OpenAI’s now-disbanded Superalignment team before he left the company under disputed circumstances, just released “Situational Awareness,” one of the most extraordinary documents I’ve ever read. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 07 June 20242024-06-07T23:59:00Z2024-06-07T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2024-06-07://<b>Luca Incurvati, Giorgio Sbardolini: <a href="*/1f2vH9oz7Ojo5iaycjvGMW48itESZ4Dia?e=download&uuid=fa32a800-945c-4f34-8453-c8d007cbaea7">The Evolution of Denial</a></b> (pdf, 13182 words)<br /> <div>Negation is common to all human languages. What explains its universality? Our hypothesis is that the emergence of expressions for denial, such as the word ‘not’, is an adaptation to existing conditions in the social and informational environment: a specific linguistic form was co-opted to express denial, given a preference for information sharing, the limits of a finite lexicon, and localized social repercussions against synonymy. In support of our hypothesis, we present a costly signalling model of communication. The model formalizes ordinary aspects of Stalnakerian conversations, implements the conditions we isolated for the emergence of denial, and computes their long-term consequences through a widely employed evolutionary dynamics, whose results are calculated by computer simulations. The model shows that under a reasonable configuration of parameter values, functional pressure derived from conversational constraints favours the emergence of denial by means of a dedicated expression, such as the word ‘not’.</div><br /> <b>Peter Galison, Juliusz Doboszewski, Jamee Elder, Niels C. M. Martens, Abhay Ashtekar, Jonas Enander, Marie Gueguen, Elizabeth A. Kessler, Roberto Lalli, Martin Lesourd, Alexandru Marcoci, Sebastián Murgueitio Ramírez, Priyamvada Natarajan, James Nguye...: <a href="">The Next Generation Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration: History, Philosophy, and Culture</a></b> (pdf, 15948 words)<br /> <div><b>Peter Galison 1,2,3,*, Juliusz Doboszewski 1,4,*, Jamee Elder 1,4,* , Niels C. M. Martens 5,4,6,7,* , Abhay Ashtekar , Jonas Enander , Marie Gueguen</b> <sup><b>10</b></sup> <b>, Elizabeth A. Kessler</b> <sup><b>11</b></sup><b>, Roberto Lalli 12,13, Martin Lesourd , Alexandru Marcoci</b> <sup><b>14</b></sup> <b>Luis Reyes-Galindo</b> <sup><b>19</b></sup> <b>, Sebastián Murgueitio Ramírez</b> <sup><b>15</b></sup> <b>, Priyamvada Natarajan 1,16,17, James Nguyen</b> <sup><b>18</b></sup><b>, , Sophie Ritson</b> <sup><b>20</b></sup> <b>, Mike D. Schneider</b> <sup><b>21</b></sup><b>, Emilie Skulberg 22,23, Helene Sorgner 7,24, , Mike D. Schneider</b> <sup><b>21</b></sup><b>, Emilie Skulberg 22,23, Helene Sorgner 7,24, Matthew Stanley</b> <sup><b>25</b></sup><b>, Ann C. Thresher</b> <sup><b>26</b></sup><b>, Jeroen Van Dongen 22,23, James Owen Weatherall</b> <sup><b>27</b></sup> <b>, Jingyi Wu</b> <sup><b>27</b></sup></div><br /> <b>Thomas William Barrett, J. B. Manchak, James Owen Weatherall: <a href="">On automorphism criteria for comparing amounts of mathematical structure</a></b> (pdf, 8003 words)<br /> <div>Wilhelm (Forthcom Synth 199:6357–6369, 2021) has recently defended a criterion for comparing structure of mathematical objects, which he calls Subgroup. He argues that Subgroup is better than SYM , another widely adopted criterion. We argue that this is mistaken; Subgroup is strictly worse than SYM . We then formulate a new criterion that improves on both SYM and Subgroup, answering Wilhelm’s criticisms of SYM along the way. We conclude by arguing that no criterion that looks only to the automorphisms of mathematical objects to compare their structure can be fully satisfactory.</div><br />