Recently the complexity of discursive practices has been widely acknowledged by the humanities and social sciences. In fact, to know anything is to know in terms of one or more discourse. The "discursive turn" in psychology may be considered as a new paradigm oriented to a correct study of (wo)man only if it is able to grasp the semiotical ground of psychic experience both as an "effort after meaning" and as a "struggle over meaning." In this sense the notion of (...) "diatext" has been proposed as a contribution in working out a psychosemiotical approach to understand how the discursive practices assign subject-positions to the agents of each interlocution scenario. (shrink)
Unlike the standard Quantum Computational Logic, where the carrier of information is conventionally assumed to be only the last qubit over a sequence of many qubits, here we propose an extended version of the QCL where the number and the position of the target qubits are arbitrary.
This book provides a general survey of the main concepts, questions and results that have been developed in the recent interactions between quantum information, quantum computation and logic. Divided into 10 chapters, the books starts with an introduction of the main concepts of the quantum-theoretic formalism used in quantum information. It then gives a synthetic presentation of the main “mathematical characters” of the quantum computational game: qubits, quregisters, mixtures of quregisters, quantum logical gates. Next, the book investigates the puzzling entanglement-phenomena (...) and logically analyses the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paradox and introduces the reader to quantum computational logics, and new forms of quantum logic. The middle chapters investigate the possibility of a quantum computational semantics for a language that can express sentences like “Alice knows that everybody knows that she is pretty”, explore the mathematical concept of quantum Turing machine, and illustrate some characteristic examples that arise in the framework of musical languages. The book concludes with an analysis of recent discussions, and contains a Mathematical Appendix which is a survey of the definitions of all main mathematical concepts used in the book. (shrink)
Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler have been arguing for what they named libertarian paternalism (henceforth LP). Their proposal generated extensive debate as to how and whether LP might lead down a full-blown paternalistic slippery slope. LP has the indubitable merit of having hardwired the best of the empirical psychological and sociological evidence into public and private policy making. It is unclear, though, to what extent the implementation of policies so constructed could enhance the capability for the exercise of an autonomous (...) citizenship. Sunstein and Thaler submit it that in most of the cases in which one is confronted with a set of choices, some default option must be picked out. In those cases whoever devises the features of the set of options ought to rank them according to the moral principle of non-maleficence and possibly to that of beneficence. In this paper we argue that LP can be better implemented if there is a preliminary deliberative debate among the stakeholders that elicits their preferences, and makes it possible to rationally defend them. (shrink)
Open futurism is the indeterministic position according to which the future is ‘open’, i.e., there is now no fact of the matter as to what future contingent events will actually obtain. Many open futurists hold a branching conception of time, in which a variety of possible futures exist. This paper introduces two challenges to branching-time open futurism, which are similar in spirit to a challenge posed by Fine to tense realism. The paper argues that, to address the new challenges, open (...) futurists must adopt an objective, non-perspectival notion of actuality and subscribe to an A-theoretic, dynamic conception of reality. Moreover, given a natural understanding of “actual future”, it is perfectly sensible for open futurists to hold that a unique, objectively actual future exists, contrary to a common assumption in the current debate. The paper also contends that recognising the existence of a unique actual future helps open futurists to avoid potential misconceptions. (shrink)
The moving spotlight account (MS) is a view that combines an eternalist ontology and an A-theoretic metaphysics. The intuition underlying MS is that the present time is somehow privileged and experientially vivid, as if it were illuminated by a moving spotlight. According to MS-theorists, a key reason to prefer MS to B-theoretic eternalism is that our experience of time supports it. We argue that this is false. To this end, we formulate a new family of positions in the philosophy of (...) time, which differ from MS in that, intuitively, they admit a plurality of moving spotlights. We argue that these ‘deviant’ variants of MS cannot be dismissed as conceptually incoherent, and that they are as well-supported by our experience as is MS. One of these variants, however, is consistent with the B-theory. Thus, if our experience of time supports MS, then it supports the B-theory as well. (shrink)
Artefacts do not always do what they are supposed to, due to a variety of reasons, including manufacturing problems, poor maintenance, and normal wear-and-tear. Since software is an artefact, it should be subject to malfunctioning in the same sense in which other artefacts can malfunction. Yet, whether software is on a par with other artefacts when it comes to malfunctioning crucially depends on the abstraction used in the analysis. We distinguish between “negative” and “positive” notions of malfunction. A negative malfunction, (...) or dysfunction, occurs when an artefact token either does not or cannot do what it is supposed to. A positive malfunction, or misfunction, occurs when an artefact token may do what is supposed to but, at least occasionally, it also yields some unintended and undesirable effects. We argue that software, understood as type, may misfunction in some limited sense, but cannot dysfunction. Accordingly, one should distinguish software from other technical artefacts, in view of their design that makes dysfunction impossible for the former, while possible for the latter. (shrink)
Accidents involving autonomous vehicles raise difficult ethical dilemmas and legal issues. It has been argued that self-driving cars should be programmed to kill, that is, they should be equipped with pre-programmed approaches to the choice of what lives to sacrifice when losses are inevitable. Here we shall explore a different approach, namely, giving the user/passenger the task of deciding what ethical approach should be taken by AVs in unavoidable accident scenarios. We thus assume that AVs are equipped with what we (...) call an “Ethical Knob”, a device enabling passengers to ethically customise their AVs, namely, to choose between different settings corresponding to different moral approaches or principles. Accordingly, AVs would be entrusted with implementing users’ ethical choices, while manufacturers/programmers would be tasked with enabling the user’s choice and ensuring implementation by the AV. (shrink)
Graham Priest proposed an argument for the conclusion that ‘nothing’ occurs as a singular term and not as a quantifier in a sentence like (1) ‘The cosmos came into existence out of nothing’. Priest's point is that, intuitively, (1) entails (C) ‘The cosmos came into existence at some time’, but this entailment relation is left unexplained if ‘nothing’ is treated as a quantifier. If Priest is right, the paradoxical notion of an object that is nothing plays a role in our (...) very understanding of reality. In this note, we argue that Priest's argument is unsound: the intuitive entailment relation between (1) and (C) does not offer convincing evidence that ‘nothing’ occurs as a term in (1). Moreover, we provide an explanation of why (1) is naturally taken to entail (C), which is both plausible and consistent with the standard, quantificational treatment of ‘nothing’. (shrink)
Computing, today more than ever before, is a multi-faceted discipline which collates several methodologies, areas of interest, and approaches: mathematics, engineering, programming, and applications. Given its enormous impact on everyday life, it is essential that its debated origins are understood, and that its different foundations are explained. On the Foundations of Computing offers a comprehensive and critical overview of the birth and evolution of computing, and it presents some of the most important technical results and philosophical problems of the discipline, (...) combining both historical and systematic analyses. -/- The debates this text surveys are among the latest and most urgent ones: the crisis of foundations in mathematics and the birth of the decision problem, the nature of algorithms, the debates on computational artefacts and malfunctioning, and the analysis of computational experiments. By covering these topics, On the Foundations of Computing provides a much-needed resource to contextualize these foundational issues. -/- For practitioners, researchers, and students alike, a historical and philosophical approach such as what this volume offers becomes essential to understand the past of the discipline and to figure out the challenges of its future. (shrink)
The _Maimonides Review of Philosophy and Religion_ is an annual collection of double-blind peer-reviewed articles, which seeks to provide a broad international arena for an intellectual exchange of ideas between the disciplines of philosophy, theology, religion, cultural history, and literature and to showcase their multifarious junctures within the framework of Jewish studies.
So-called Locke's thesis is the view that no two things of the same kind may coincide, that is, may be completely in the same place at the same time. A number of counter-examples to this view have been proposed. In this paper, some new and arguably more convincing counter-examples to Locke's thesis are presented. In these counter-examples, a particular entity (a string, a rope, a net, or similar) is interwoven to obtain what appears to be a distinct, thicker entity of (...) the same kind. It is argued that anyone who subscribes to certain standard metaphysical arguments, which are generally taken for granted in the debate about Locke's thesis, is virtually compelled to accept the counter-examples. (shrink)
The time marked by the clock hands, the so-called “objective time,” is deeply different from the one perceived by the individual. Starting from this hypothesis, directly connected to the subjective modality of “living” the time and defined as time perspective, we will try to understand how much it affects the various domains of people's lives, attitudes, and experiences. Therefore, the research investigates whether all our decisions can be influenced by one or more time perspectives beyond our awareness. Last, but not (...) least, we will try to understand if some time perspectives in specific contexts are more functional and adaptive than others. (shrink)
This paper proposes a critical analysis of that interpretation of the Nāgārjunian doctrine of the two truths as summarized—by both Mark Siderits and Jay L. Garfield—in the formula: “the ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth”. This ‘semantic reading’ of Nāgārjuna’s theory, despite its importance as a criticism of the ‘metaphysical interpretations’, would in itself be defective and improbable. Indeed, firstly, semantic interpretation presents a formal defect: it fails to clearly and explicitly express that which it contains logically; (...) the previously mentioned formula must necessarily be completed by: “the conventional truth is that nothing is conventional truth”. Secondly, after having recognized what Siderits’ and Garfield’s analyses contain implicitly, other logical and philological defects in their position emerge: the existence of the ‘conventional’ would appear—despite the efforts of semantic interpreters to demonstrate quite the contrary—definitively inconceivable without the presupposition of something ‘real’; moreover, the number of verses in Nāgārjuna that are in opposition to the semantic interpretation (even if we grant semantic interpreters that these verses do not justify a metaphysical reconstruction of Nagarjuna’s doctrine) would seem too great and significant to be ignored. (shrink)
There is wide support in logic, philosophy, and psychology for the hypothesis that the probability of the indicative conditional of natural language, P(if A then B), is the conditional probability of B given A, P(B|A). We identify a conditional which is such that P(if A then B)=P(B|A) with de Finetti's conditional event, B|A. An objection to making this identification in the past was that it appeared unclear how to form compounds and iterations of conditional events. In this paper, we illustrate (...) how to overcome this objection with a probabilistic analysis, based on coherence, of these compounds and iterations. We interpret the compounds and iterations as conditional random quantities which, given some logical dependencies, may reduce to conditional events. We show how the inference to B|A from A and B can be extended to compounds and iterations of both conditional events and biconditional events. Moreover, we determine the respective uncertainty propagation rules. Finally, we make some comments on extending our analysis to counterfactuals. (shrink)
We analyze selected iterated conditionals in the framework of conditional random quantities. We point out that it is instructive to examine Lewis's triviality result, which shows the conditions a conditional must satisfy for its probability to be the conditional probability. In our approach, however, we avoid triviality because the import-export principle is invalid. We then analyze an example of reasoning under partial knowledge where, given a conditional if A then Cas information, the probability of A should intuitively increase. We explain (...) this intuition by making some implicit background information explicit. We consider several iterated conditionals, which allow us to formalize different kinds of latent information. We verify that for these iterated conditionals the prevision is greater than or equal to the probability of A. We also investigate the lower and upper bounds of the Affirmation of the Consequent inference. We conclude our study with some remarks on the supposed "independence" of two conditionals, and we interpret this property as uncorrelation between two random quantities. 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (shrink)
A widespread opinion holds that norms and codes of conduct as such can only be established via words, that is, in some lexical form. This perspective can be criticized: some norms produced by human acts are not word-based at all. For example, many norms are actually conveyed through graphics, sounds, a silent gesture. In this article, we will focus on the norms that are created by means of drawings and can be termed “drawn norms” or “graphical norms.” Specifically, we will (...) inquire into the phenomenon of graphical norms with particular regard to traffic signs and land-use plans, and we will discuss the philosophical and legal problems to which these phenomena give rise. (shrink)
Notwithstanding the recent prominence of the term “problem” in the humanities, few scholars have analysed its history. This essay tries to partially fill that lack, principally covering the period from late modernity through to the 1960s, in order to understand the role that the term plays in “Continental” philosophy, with special emphasis on the writings of Gilles Deleuze. This analysis focuses on the strategies employed by different agents to define “philosophical” problems, or “philosophical” ways of posing problems. The term, originally (...) used in antiquity by knowledge-producers located in an autonomous position, implied an idea of cognition oscillating between production and reproduction. Once the term escaped the context of geometry, it was involved in symbolic struggles that radicalized during modernity. The Kantians placed “philosophy” in a supposedly neutral position of science treating “the problem of all the problems” and invented a new genre, the “history of philosophy,” focusing on the analysis of “philosophical problems.” This approach had great institutional success in the German and French universities and clashed, during the twentieth century, with another usage of philosophy as a practice of “dissolution of problems,” developed in the United Kingdom and the Austro-Habsburg Empire. (shrink)
This article reflects on a survey carried out at a non-profit organization that deals with health care for oncological terminally ill in order to find out for those who are involved in this project each worker's time projection and well-being class. The survey has pointed out each single team member's time perspective and well-being class and allowed building a pedagogical path for work orientation that has involved the same team members.
The dependence on history of both present and future dynamics of life is a common intuition in biology and in humanities. Historicity will be understood in terms of changes of the space of possibilities as well as by the role of diversity in life’s structural stability and of rare events in history formation. We hint to a rigorous analysis of “path dependence” in terms of invariants and invariance preserving transformations, as it may be found also in physics, while departing from (...) the physico-mathematical analyses. The idea is that the invariant traces of the past under organismal or ecosystemic transformations contribute to the understanding of present and future states of affairs. This yields a peculiar form of unpredictability in biology, at the core of novelty formation: the changes of observables and pertinent parameters may depend also on past events. In particular, in relation to the properties of synchronic measurement in physics, the relevance of diachronic measurement in biology is highlighted. This analysis may a fortiori apply to cognitive and historical human dynamics, while allowing to investigate some general properties of historicity in biology. (shrink)
We provide a full characterization of computational error states for information systems. The class of errors considered is general enough to include human rational processes, logical reasoning, scientific progress and data processing in some functional programming languages. The aim is to reach a full taxonomy of error states by analysing the recovery and processing of data. We conclude by presenting machine-readable checking and resolve algorithms.
Symmetries play a major role in physics, in particular since the work by E. Noether and H. Weyl in the first half of last century. Herein, we briefly review their role by recalling how symmetry changes allow to conceptually move from classical to relativistic and quantum physics. We then introduce our ongoing theoretical analysis in biology and show that symmetries play a radically different role in this discipline, when compared to those in current physics. By this comparison, we stress that (...) symmetries must be understood in relation to conservation and stability properties, as represented in the theories. We posit that the dynamics of biological organisms, in their various levels of organization, are not just processes, but permanent (extended, in our terminology) critical transitions and, thus, symmetry changes. Within the limits of a relative structural stability (or interval of viability), variability is at the core of these transitions. (shrink)
This paper proposes an interpretation of Nāgārjuna’s doctrine of the two truths that considers saṃvṛti and paramārtha-satya two visions of reality on which the Buddhas, for soteriological and pedagogical reasons, build teachings of two types: respectively in agreement with (for example, the teaching of the Four Noble Truths) or in contrast to (for example, the teaching of emptiness) the category of svabhāva. The early sections of the article show to what extent the various current interpretations of the Nāgārjunian doctrine of (...) the dve satye—despite their sometimes even macroscopic differences—have a common tendency to consider the notion of śūnyatā as a teaching not based on, but equivalent to supreme truth. This equivalence—philologically questionable—leads to interpretative paths that prove inevitably aporetic: indeed, according to whether the interpretation of śūnyatā is ‘metaphysical’ or ‘anti-metaphysical’, it gives rise to readings of Nāgārjuna’s thought incompatible, respectively, with anti-metaphysical and realistic types of verses traceable in the works of the author of the Mūla-madhyamaka-kārikā (MMK). On the contrary, by giving more emphasis to the expression samupāśritya (“based on”), which recurs in MMK.24.8, and therefore, by epistemologically separating the notion of śūnyatā from the notion of paramārtha-satya (and of some of its conceptual equivalents such as nirvāṇa, tattva and dharmatā), we may obtain an interpretation—at once realistic and anti-metaphysical—of the theory of the two truths compatible with the vast majority (or even totality) of Nāgārjuna’s verses. (shrink)
This paper introduces a multi-modal polymorphic type theory to model epistemic processes characterized by trust, defined as a second-order relation affecting the communication process between sources and a receiver. In this language, a set of senders is expressed by a modal prioritized context, whereas the receiver is formulated in terms of a contextually derived modal judgement. Introduction and elimination rules for modalities are based on the polymorphism of terms in the language. This leads to a multi-modal non-homogeneous version of a (...) type theory, in which we show the embedding of the modal operators into standard group knowledge operators. (shrink)