1. 20961.742293
    In this paper, I evaluate the prospects and limitations of radical enactivism as recently developed by Hutto and Myin (henceforth, “H&M”) (2013, 2017). According to radical enactivism, cognition does not essentially involve content and admits explanations on a semantic level only as far as cognition is scaffolded with social and linguistic practices. I investigate their claims, focusing on H&M’s criticism of the predictive processing account of cognition (dubbed the bootstrap hell argument) and their own account of the emergence of content (the natural origins of content). I argue that H&M fail on two fronts: unsupervised learning can arrive at contentful representations and H&M’s account of the emergence of content assumes an equivalent bootstrapping. My case is illustrated with Skyrms’ evolutionary game-theoretic account of the emergence of content and recent deep learning research on neural language models. These arguments cast a shadow of doubt on whether radical enactivism is philosophically interesting or empirically plausible. Keywords: hard problem of content; radical enactivism; predictive processing; neural language models; deep learning; bootstrap hell; semantic information.
    Found 5 hours, 49 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  2. 103518.742358
    Albert Einstein (1879–1955) is well known as the most prominent physicist of the twentieth century. His contributions to twentieth-century philosophy of science, though of comparable importance, are less well known. Einstein’s own philosophy of science is an original synthesis of elements drawn from sources as diverse as neo-Kantianism, conventionalism, and logical empiricism, its distinctive feature being its novel blending of realism with a holist, underdeterminationist form of conventionalism. Of special note is the manner in which Einstein’s philosophical thinking was driven by and contributed to the solution of problems first encountered in his work in physics.
    Found 1 day, 4 hours ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  3. 103547.742388
    Joane Petrizi (12th century)—the most significant Georgian medieval philosopher—devoted intensive work to neo-Platonic philosophy. He translated Nemesius of Emesa’s On the Nature of Man into Georgian, a work which in that day attracted considerable attention. Of particular importance is his Georgian translation of Proclus’s Elementatio theologica, to which he also wrote a step-by-step commentary. Petrizi’s commentary on the Elementatio theologica represents a significant effort at reception inasmuch as the Georgian philosopher interprets the work immanently, that is, on the basis of Proclus’s philosophy itself.
    Found 1 day, 4 hours ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  4. 123065.742415
    It is widely thought that there is an important argument to be made that starts with premises taken from the science of physics and ends with the conclusion of physicalism. Maybe the argument isn’t decisive, and maybe physics isn’t univocal on the topic. Still, surely there is some sort of physics­based argument for physicalism to be made. My question in what follows is, just how should this argument go?
    Found 1 day, 10 hours ago on PhilPapers
  5. 126796.74244
    The aim of this paper is to give a simple argument against certain views of modality and then to explore a slightly more complicated response. The argument is based on the idea that some views of modality leave modal patterns unexplained, in a way that is inappropriate. These modal patterns call out for explanation and that’s a problem for theories that take them to be unexplained. The argument targets certain versions of modal primitivism, but also some non-primitivist views of modality, like Lewisian modal realism. In order to respond we have to deny that the modal patterns call out for explanation – their being unexplained is not a problem for the theory. This requires considering when patterns can reasonably be left unexplained and when they can’t. This is an extremely complicated question to answer in full generality, but, I argue, the answer depends upon the conception of explanation that we accept.
    Found 1 day, 11 hours ago on Harjit Bhogal's site
  6. 126827.742466
    Armstrong, along with many others, criticized Humean views for having a problem with induction. If there is no glue holding the world together, as the Humean believes, then there seems to be no basis on which to infer from past to future. However, Humeans have typically been unconcerned. After all, they say, everyone has a problem with induction. But, if we look at the connection between induction and explanation, we can develop the problem of induction in a way that hits the Humean, but not the anti-Humean. The Humean faces an ‘internal’ problem with induction – inductive skepticism naturally flows from their position in a way that it doesn’t for the anti- Humean. This is a major problem for the Humean, but I’ll end by suggesting a possible way that the Humean could respond – this response is based on larger considerations about what different theories can appropriately take as basic and unexplained.
    Found 1 day, 11 hours ago on Harjit Bhogal's site
  7. 129607.742498
    Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) was a mathematician and astronomer who proposed that the sun was stationary in the center of the universe and the earth revolved around it. Disturbed by the failure of Ptolemy’s geocentric model of the universe to follow Aristotle’s requirement for the uniform circular motion of all celestial bodies and determined to eliminate Ptolemy’s equant, an imaginary point around which the bodies seemed to follow that requirement, Copernicus decided that he could achieve his goal only through a heliocentric model. He thereby created a concept of a universe in which the distances of the planets from the sun bore a direct relationship to the size of their orbits.
    Found 1 day, 12 hours ago on John Danaher's site
  8. 136594.742536
    Historians recently rehabilitated Einstein’s “physical strategy” for General Relativity (GR). Independently, particle physicists similarly re-derived Einstein’s equations for a massless spin 2 field. But why not a light massive spin 2, like Neumann and Seeliger did to Newton? Massive gravities are bimetric, supporting conventionalism over geometric empiricism. Nonuniqueness lets field equations explain geometry but not vice versa. Massive gravity would have blocked Schlick’s critique of Kant’s synthetic a priori. Finally in 1970 massive spin 2 gravity seemed unstable or empirically falsified. GR was vindicated, but later and on better grounds. However, recently dark energy and theoretical progress have made massive spin 2 gravity potentially viable again.
    Found 1 day, 13 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  9. 136627.742562
    This survey covers some of the main philosophical debates raised by the framework of effective field theories during the last decades. It is centered on three issues: whether effective field theories underpin a specific realist picture of the world, whether they support an anti-reductionist picture of physics, and whether they provide reasons to give up the ultimate aspiration of formulating a final and complete physical theory. Reviewing the past and current literature, we argue that effective field theories do not give convincing reasons to adopt a particular stance towards these speculative issues. They hold good prospects for asking ontologically perspicuous and sensible questions about currently accessible domains. With respect to more fundamental questions, however, the only certainty is provisional and instrumental: effective theories are currently indispensable for conducting fruitful scientific research.
    Found 1 day, 13 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  10. 136666.742587
    In a series of papers Colbeck and Renner (2011, 2015a,b) claim to have shown that the quantum state provides a complete description for the prediction of future measurement outcomes. In this paper I argue that thus far no solid satisfactory proof has been presented to support this claim. Building on the earlier work of Leifer (2014), Landsman (2015) and Leegwater (2016), I present and prove two results that only partially support this claim. I then discuss the arguments by Colbeck, Renner and Leegwater concerning how these results are to generalize to the full claim. This argument turns out to hinge on the implicit use of an assumption concerning the way unitary evolution is to be represented in any possible completion of quantum mechanics. I argue that this assumption is unsatisfactory and that possible attempts to validate it based on measurement theory also do not succeed.
    Found 1 day, 13 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  11. 151948.742612
    Semantic universals are properties of meaning shared by the languages of the world. We offer an explanation of the presence of such universals by measuring simplicity in terms of ease of learning, showing that expressions satisfying universals are simpler than those that do not according to this criterion. We measure ease of learning using tools from machine learning and analyze universals in a domain of function words (quantifiers) and content words (color terms). Our results provide strong evidence that semantic universals across both function and content words reflect simplicity as measured by ease of learning.
    Found 1 day, 18 hours ago on Jakub Szymanik's site
  12. 194774.742637
    This paper argues that a plant together with the symbiotic fungus attached to its roots, a mycorrhizal collective, is an evolutionary individual, and further, that mycorrhizal individuality has important implications for evolutionary theory. Theoretical individuation is defended and then employed to show that mycorrhizal collectives function as interactors according to David Hull’s replicator-interactor model of evolution by natural selection, and because they have the potential to engage in pseudo-vertical transmission, mycorrhizal collectives also function as Darwinian individuals, according to Peter Godfrey-Smith’s Darwinian Populations model of evolution by natural selection. Mycorrhizae in nature usually connect the roots of multiple plants, so mycorrhizal individuality entails the existence of overlapping evolutionary individuals, and because the potential to engage in pseudo-vertical transmission comes in degrees, it follows that these overlapping evolutionary individuals also come in degrees. I suggest here that the degree of evolutionary individuality in a symbiotic collective corresponds to its probability of reproducing with vertical or pseudo-vertical transmission. This probability constitutes a fourth parameter of graded Darwinian individuality in collective reproducers and warrants an update to Godfrey-Smith’s 3D model.
    Found 2 days, 6 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  13. 194805.742666
    Following Reichenbach, it is widely held that in making a direct inference, one should base one’s conclusion on a relevant frequency statement concerning the most specific reference class for which one is able to make a warranted and relatively precise-valued frequency judgment. In cases where one has accurate and precise-valued frequency information for two relevant reference classes, R1 and R2, and one lacks accurate and precise-valued frequency information concerning their intersection, R R2, it is widely held, following Reichenbach, that no inference may be drawn. In contradiction to Reichenbach and the common wisdom, I argue for the view that it is often possible to draw a reasonable informative conclusion, in such circumstances. As a basis for drawing such a conclusion, I show that one is generally in a position to formulate a reasonable direct inference for a reference class that is more specific than either of R1 and R2.
    Found 2 days, 6 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  14. 228517.742707
    Easy-road mathematical fictionalists grant for the sake of argument that quantification over mathematical entities is indispensable to some of our best scientific theories and explanations. Even so they maintain we can accept those theories and explanations, without believing their mathematical components, provided we believe the concrete world is intrinsically as it needs to be for those components to be true. Those I refer to as “mathematical surrealists” by contrast appeal to facts about the intrinsic character of the concrete world, not to explain why our best mathematically imbued scientific theories and explanations are acceptable in spite of having false components, but in order to replace those theories and explanations with parasitic, nominalistically acceptable alternatives. I argue that easy-road fictionalism is viable only if mathematical surrealism is and that the latter constitutes a superior nominalist strategy. Two advantages of mathematical surrealism are that it neither begs the question concerning the explanatory role of mathematics in science nor requires rejecting the cogency of inference to the best explanation.
    Found 2 days, 15 hours ago on Kenny Boyce's site
  15. 234058.742804
    In our representations of the world, especially in physics, (mathematical) infinities play a crucial role. The continuum of the real numbers, \(\Re\), as a representation of time or of one-dimensional space is surely the best known example and, by extension, the \(n\)-fold cartesian product, \(\Re^{n}\), for \(n\)-dimensional space. However, these same infinities also cause problems. One just has to think about Zeno’s paradoxes or the present-day continuation of that discussion, namely the discussion about supertasks, to see the difficulties (see the entry on supertasks in this encyclopedia for a full treatment).
    Found 2 days, 17 hours ago on Wes Morriston's site
  16. 264427.742839
    Scientific knowledge (and its transformation) is often presented in terms of models or overarching theories (Parke this volume). This chapter, in contrast, focuses on concepts as units and organizers of scientific knowledge. Concepts, on the one hand, are more fine-grained units in that a scientific theory contains many individual concepts. On the other hand—and this makes a look at concepts in biology particularly interesting—a concept can be used across several theories, and it can persist even when a theory has been discarded. The concept of a species continues to be used well after pre-Darwinian theories about species were abandoned, and this concept is used across all of biology, in such different theoretical context as vertebrate development and microbial ecology. The gene concept is likewise used in very different fields, and has survived despite the flaws of the original Mendelian theory of inheritance and a move toward molecular accounts.
    Found 3 days, 1 hour ago on Ingo Brigandt's site
  17. 297023.742867
    The philosopher wrote: The big move in the statistics wars these days is to fight irreplication by making it harder to reject, and find evidence against, a null hypothesis. Mayo is referring to, among other things, the proposal to “redefine statistical significance” as p less than 0.005. …
    Found 3 days, 10 hours ago on D. G. Mayo's blog
  18. 310870.742897
    I respond to recent criticism of my analysis of the permissive-instructive distinction and outline problems with the alternative analysis on offer. Amongst other problems, I argue that the use of formal measures is unclear and unmotivated, that the distinction is conflated with others that are not equivalent, and that no good reasons are provided for thinking the alternative model or formal measure tracks what biologists are interested in. I also clarify my own analysis where it has been misunderstood or ignored.
    Found 3 days, 14 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  19. 310926.74293
    The “Cosmological Constant Problem” (CCP) has historically been understood as describing a conflict between cosmological observations in the framework of general relativity (GR) and theoretical predictions from quantum field theory (QFT), which a future theory of quantum gravity ought to resolve. I argue that this view of the CCP is best understood in terms of a bet about future physics made on the basis of particular interpretational choices in GR and QFT respectively. Crucially, each of these choices must be taken as itself grounded in the success of the respective theory for this bet to be justified.
    Found 3 days, 14 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  20. 334116.742959
    In Principia Ethica, G. E. Moore (1903) argued that goodness is a “non-natural” property and thereby sparked the so-called “naturalism vs. non-naturalism” debate in metaethics. This debate is still live, but unwell, today because, while much ink has been spilled defending both sides, there is a lack of consensus amongst parties to the debate (even within their own camps) about what exactly it would mean for normative properties to be non-natural in the first place. In fact, most naturalists and non-naturalists simply stipulate what they take “non-naturalism” to mean, rather than get bogged down in the tricky taxonomical question of what is the best way to characterize the view. For example, Jackson (1998), Shafer-Landau (2003), and Parfit (2011) stipulate that they take non-naturalism to be the view that some normative properties are not identical to descriptive properties, while Schroeder (2007), Chang (2013), Scanlon (2014), and Dunaway (2016) take non-naturalism to be the view that some normative facts are not fully grounded in – i.e. metaphysically explained by – non-normative facts.
    Found 3 days, 20 hours ago on Stephanie Leary's site
  21. 404389.742991
    It is widely recognized that the process used to make observations often has a significant effect on how hypotheses should be evaluated in light of those observations. Arthur Stanley Eddington (1939, Ch. II) provides a classic example. You’re at a lake and are interested in the size of the fish it contains. You know, from testimony, that at least some of the fish in the lake are big (i.e., at least 10 inches long), but beyond that you’re in the dark. You devise a plan of attack: get a net and use it to draw a sample of fish from the lake. You carry out your plan and observe: O : 100% of the fish in the net are big.
    Found 4 days, 16 hours ago on Philosopher's Imprint
  22. 437846.743022
    We approach the problem of the extended mind from a radically non-dualist perspective. The separation between mind and matter is an artefact of the outdated mechanistic worldview, which leaves no room for mental phenomena such as agency, intentionality, or experience. We propose to replace it by an action ontology, which conceives mind and matter as aspects of the same network of processes. By adopting the intentional stance, we interpret the catalysts of elementary reactions as agents exhibiting desires, intentions, and sensations. Autopoietic networks of reactions constitute more complex super-agents, which moreover exhibit memory, deliberation and sense-making. In the specific case of social networks, individual agents coordinate their actions via the propagation of challenges. The distributed cognition that emerges from this interaction cannot be situated in any individual brain. This non-dualist, holistic view extends and operationalizes process metaphysics and Eastern philosophies. It is supported by both mindfulness experiences and mathematical models of action, self-organization, and cognition.
    Found 5 days, 1 hour ago on PhilPapers
  23. 451573.743047
    Consciousness presents a series of characteristics that have been observed throughout the years: unity, continuity, richness and robustness are some of them. It manifests itself in regions of the brain capable of processing a huge quantity of integrated information with a level of neural activity close to criticality. We argue that the physics of consciousness cannot be exclusively based on classical physics. Consciousness unity cannot be explained classically as the classical properties are always Humean like a mosaic. One needs an entangled quantum system that can at least satisfy part of the functions of a quantum computer to allow to generate an inner aspect with the unity of consciousness and to couple with a classical system that gives it simultaneous access to preprocessed information at the neural level and to produce events that generate neural firings.
    Found 5 days, 5 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  24. 492136.743075
    « A rare classified ad Paul Bernays Lectures Last week, I had the honor of giving the annual Paul Bernays Lectures at ETH Zürich. My opening line: “as I look at the list of previous Bernays Lecturers—many of them Nobel physics laureates, Fields Medalists, etc.—I think to myself, how badly did you have to screw up this year in order to end up with me?” Paul Bernays was the primary assistant to David Hilbert, before Bernays (being Jewish by birth) was forced out of Göttingen by the Nazis in 1933. …
    Found 5 days, 16 hours ago on Scott Aaronson's blog
  25. 511446.743101
    In our commentary on Lynch et al.’s target paper (2019, this issue), we focus on decomposition as a research strategy. We argue that not only the presumptive microbial causes but also their supposed phenotypic effects need to be decomposed relative to each other. Such a dual decomposition strategy ought to improve the way in which causal claims in microbiome research can be made and understood.
    Found 5 days, 22 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  26. 757581.743129
    This paper discusses a heretofore under-explored connection between the philosophical literatures in bioethics and philosophy of science. The main point of the paper is that these two literatures can benefit from each other, which I demonstrate by showing how the philosophy of understanding can inform how we think about informed consent, and conversely. Specifically, I argue that possession of objectual understanding is one good-making feature of informed consent. This tells us something about informed consent, and has implications for the question of what the basic epistemic relations are between mind and world.
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on Daniel A. Wilkenfeld's site
  27. 772721.743165
    New essay, just out! published version: Res Philosophica, 96, 347-368 manuscript version Introduction I have an empirical thesis and a normative thesis. The empirical thesis is: Most people aim to be morally-mediocre. …
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on The Splintered Mind
  28. 818519.743194
    A venerable view holds that a border between perception and cognition is built into our cognitive architecture, and that this imposes limits on the way information can flow between them. While the deliverances of perception are freely available for use in reasoning and inference, there are strict constraints on information flow in the opposite direction. Despite its plausibility, this approach to the perception-cognition border has faced criticism in recent years. This paper develops an updated version of the architectural approach, which I call the dimension restriction hypothesis (DRH).
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on E. J. Green's site
  29. 848314.743261
    Too much of the contemporary ontological imagination is guided by the idea that the fundamental physical stuff in the world is discrete particles. Yet this is clearly dubious, since quantum mechanics (on non-Bohmian interpretations) suggests that the world is full of superpositions of states with different numbers of particles, while if discrete particles really exist, there had better be a well-defined number of them. …
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  30. 887625.743295
    According to Jens Høyrup, the propositions 1 to 10 of book 2 of Euclid’s Elements function as a critique of previous non-rigorous procedures of Old Babylonian mathematics. Høyrup’s remarks on his notion of critique are disseminated throughout his works. Here, we take them into account to make an integrated presentation of the notion of critique that also looks to reveal features left implicit in Høyrup’s account.
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on PhilSci Archive