Starting from the idea that functions are formally similar to actions in that they are described and explained in a similar way, so that both admit of an accordion effect, I turn to Anscombe’s insight that the point of practical reasoning is to render explicit the relation between the different descriptions of an action generated by the accordion effect. The upshot is, roughly, that an item has a function if what it does can be accounted for by functional reasoning. Put (...) differently, a part of a system has a function if what it does is a functional part of what the system does. (shrink)
The aim of Modality and Explanatory Reasoning (MER) is to shed light on metaphysical necessity and the broader class of modal properties to which it belongs. This topic is approached with two goals: to develop a new and reductive analysis of modality, and to understand the purpose and origin of modal thought. I argue that a proper understanding of modality requires us to reconceptualize its relationship to causation and other forms of explanation such as grounding, a relation that connects metaphysically (...) fundamental facts to non-fundamental ones. While many philosophers have tried to give modal analyses of causation and explanation, often in counterfactual terms, I argue that we obtain a more plausible, explanatorily powerful and unified theory if we regard explanation as more fundamental than modality. The function of modal thought is to facilitate a common type of thought experiment – counterfactual reasoning – that allows us to investigate explanatory connections and which is closely related to the controlled experiments of empirical science. Necessity is defined in terms of explanation, and modal facts often reflect underlying facts about explanatory relationships. The study of modal facts is important for philosophy not because these facts are of much metaphysical interest in their own right, but largely because they provide evidence about explanatory connections. (shrink)
Boris Kment takes a new approach to the study of modality that emphasises the origin of modal notions in everyday thought. He argues that the concepts of necessity and possibility originate in counterfactual reasoning, which allows us to investigate explanatory connections. Contrary to accepted views, explanation is more fundamental than modality.
I propose a general alethic theory of epistemic risk according to which the riskiness of an agent’s credence function encodes her relative sensitivity to different types of graded error. After motivating and mathematically developing this approach, I show that the epistemic risk function is a scaled reflection of expected inaccuracy. This duality between risk and information enables us to explore the relationship between attitudes to epistemic risk, the choice of scoring rules in epistemic utility theory, and the selection of priors (...) in Bayesian epistemology more generally. (shrink)
In this article, modern standards of early years mathematics education are criticized and a proposal for change is presented. Today's early years mathematics education standards rest on a view of mathematics that became obsolete almost two hundred years ago, while the spirit of children's mathematics is precisely the spirit of modern mathematics. The proposal for change is not a return to the “new mathematics” movement, but something different.
H. Arendt developed largely her hermeneutical interpretation of understanding in line with the rethinking of I. Kant’s philosophical heritage. Although she was able to offer a rather original interpretation of the theoretical views of the great German philosopher, her hermeneutic strategy was also influenced by the approaches to their understanding that were proposed by her teachers M. Heidegger and K. Jaspers. Arendt’s hermeneutical teaching proceeds from the need to realize the close unity of practical action and spiritual activity of the (...) human subject - Vita Activa and Vita Contemplativa. Accepting the initial position of Heidegger’s metaphysics of finiteness about the “abandonment” of man in the flow of time, Arendt simultaneously follows Jaspers’ call for the need for an existential-hermeneutic interpretation of practical action and the abilities of the spirit by their understanding on the basis of Kant’s legacy. Singling out thinking, will and judgement among the main vectors of self-realization of the spirit, she demonstrates their close relationship with the main types of practical human activity - work, work and action. Analyzing the abilities of the spirit, Arendt emphasizes the major role of thinking, which brings together the processes of knowledge acquisition and meaning creation. It highlights the primacy of the meaning-producing function of the reason in relation to the ability of the intellect to generate true knowledge on the basis of generalization of the data of contemplation. Describing thinking after Kant as a “thing in itself”, Arendt speaks of its involvement in eternity and time in the moment of the present, the ability to generalize the past and design the future. Thinking forms the core of practical reason, which Kant identified with the will, and opens a new horizon of meaning generation in its aspiration to the future. The ability to judge also turns out to be a product of thinking, referring to the past while relying on common sense and imagination. Arendt rightly argues that the “paralysis” of the faculty of judgement, indicating the significance of Kant’s categorical imperative, threatens not only to produce a distorted vision of history, but also the triumph of the “banality of evil” in the sphere of politics. (shrink)
We further investigate a divisibility relation on the set of BN ultrafilters on the set of natural numbers. We single out prime ultrafilters (divisible only by 1 and themselves) and establish a hierarchy in which a position of every ultrafilter depends on the set of prime ultrafilters it is divisible by. We also construct ultrafilters with many immediate successors in this hierarchy and find positions of products of ultrafilters.
Many philosophers and non-philosophers who reflect on the causal antecedents of human action get the impression that no agent can have morally relevant freedom. Call this the ‘non-existence impression.’ The paper aims to understand the (often implicit) reasoning underlying this impression. On the most popular reconstructions, the reasoning relies on the assumption that either an action is the outcome of a chance process, or it is determined by factors that are beyond the agent’s control or which she did not bring (...) about. I argue that arguments based on this premise fail to apply to some possible agents for whom the non-existence impression arises. On the alternative reconstruction I offer, the impression rests on the assumption that free will requires being involved in the ultimate explanation of one’s actions in a novel sense in which nothing can be involved in the ultimate explanation of anything. (shrink)
In a wide-ranging 2007 study of Claude Lévi-Strauss's aesthetic thought, Boris Wiseman demonstrates not only its centrality within his oeuvre but also the importance of Levi-Strauss for contemporary aesthetic enquiry. Reconstructing the internal logic of Lévi-Strauss's thinking on aesthetics, and showing how anthropological and aesthetic ideas intertwine at the most elemental levels in the elaboration of his system of thought, Wiseman demonstrates that Lévi-Strauss's aesthetic theory forms an integral part of his approach to Amerindian masks, body decoration and mythology. (...) He reveals the significance of Lévi-Strauss's anthropological analysis of an 'untamed' mode of thinking at work in totemism, classification and myth-making for his conception of art and aesthetic experience. In this way, structural anthropology is shown to lead to ethnoaesthetics. Lévi-Strauss, Anthropology and Aesthetics adopts a broad-ranging approach that combines the different perspectives of anthropology, philosophy, aesthetic theory and literary criticism into an unusual and imaginative whole. (shrink)
Approximate coherentism suggests that imperfectly rational agents should hold approximately coherent credences. This norm is intended as a generalization of ordinary coherence. I argue that it may be unable to play this role by considering its application under learning experiences. While it is unclear how imperfect agents should revise their beliefs, I suggest a plausible route is through Bayesian updating. However, Bayesian updating can take an incoherent agent from relatively more coherent credences to relatively less coherent credences, depending on the (...) data observed. Thus, comparative rationality judgments among incoherent agents are unduly sensitive to luck. (shrink)
Though it has been nearly two decades since the fall of Communism in the former Soviet Union and the accompanying disintegration of the Soviet state, a strange aspect of the current cultural situation in Russia and in the other former republics of the USSR is that the people still identify themselves as post-Soviet. Yet, the difference between the Soviet past and a capitalist present is striking, which raises many questions: Why are the new elites referring to the old times to (...) legitimize themselves? Why do commercial advertisements stress that the products they offer are exactly the same as they used to be in Soviet times? And, why, year after year, does the government in Moscow organize impressive celebrations for Victory Day, inevitably drawing parallels to the old Soviet ceremonies? Back in the USSR by Boris Kagarlitsky tackles these questions and more as it reflects on what happened in Russia after the collapse of the old regime and how this has affected social and cultural life, as well as the everyday lives of ordinary people. In this arresting work, Kagarlitsky also delves into what type of intelligentsia still exists in the former USSR and the cultural products that are being produced by these artists, including novels, films, and music. (shrink)
Seen through the eyes of filmmaker David Teboul—who completed a documentary about the artist in 2010—Boris Mikhailov: I’ve Been Here Before offers an overview of Ukrainian photographer Boris Mikhailov’s career. One of the most important artists to have emerged from the former Soviet Union, Mikhailov has for more than thirty years taken photographs that engage with the idea of the individual in the public sphere, as well as the breakup of the Soviet Union and its many human casualties. (...) Extensively illustrated with stills from Teboul’s film, the book also includes transcripts of Mikhailov’s discussions with Teboul, in which he provides insight into both his work and, more generally, the life of an artist in the Soviet Union before and after its fall. This volume brings back into focus Mikhailov’s beautifully crafted and often melancholy body of work which was relatively unknown prior to the Soviet Union’s collapse. (shrink)
Analysing several characteristic mathematical models: natural and real numbers, Euclidean geometry, group theory, and set theory, I argue that a mathematical model in its final form is a junction of a set of axioms and an internal partial interpretation of the corresponding language. It follows from the analysis that (i) mathematical objects do not exist in the external world: they are our internally imagined objects, some of which, at least approximately, we can realize or represent; (ii) mathematical truths are not (...) truths about the external world but specifications (formulations) of mathematical conceptions; (iii) mathematics is first and foremost our imagined tool by which, with certain assumptions about its applicability, we explore nature and synthesize our rational cognition of it. (shrink)
We continue the research of an extension of the divisibility relation to the Stone‐Čech compactification. First we prove that ultrafilters we call prime actually possess the algebraic property of primality. Several questions concerning the connection between divisibilities in and nonstandard extensions of are answered, providing a few more equivalent conditions for divisibility in. Results on uncountable chains in are proved and used in a construction of a well‐ordered chain of maximal cardinality. Probably the most interesting result is the existence of (...) a chain of type in. Finally, we consider ultrafilters without divisors in and among them find the greatest class. (shrink)
The concept of inertial frame of reference in classical physics and special theory of relativity is analysed. It has been shown that this fundamental concept of physics is not clear enough. A definition of inertial frame of reference is proposed which expresses its key inherent property. The definition is operational and powerful. Many other properties of inertial frames follow from the definition, or it makes them plausible. In particular, the definition shows why physical laws obey space and time symmetries and (...) the principle of relativity, it resolves the problem of clock synchronization and the role of light in it, as well as the problem of the geometry of inertial frames. (shrink)
We construct and study structures imitating the field of complex numbers with exponentiation. We give a natural, albeit non first-order, axiomatisation for the corresponding class of structures and prove that the class has a unique model in every uncountable cardinality. This gives grounds to conjecture that the unique model of cardinality continuum is isomorphic to the field of complex numbers with exponentiation.
In this paper, we reflect on the connection between the notions of organism and organisation, with a specific interest in how this bears upon the issue of the reality of the organism. We do this by presenting the case of Buffon, who developed complex views about the relation between the notions of “organised” and “organic” matter. We argue that, contrary to what some interpreters have suggested, these notions are not orthogonal in his thought. Also, we argue that Buffon has a (...) view in which organisation is not just ubiquitous, but basic and fundamental in nature, and hence also fully natural. We suggest that he can hold this view because of his anti-mathematicism. Buffon’s case is interesting, in our view, because he can regard organisation, and organisms, as perfectly natural, and can admit their reality without invoking problematic supernaturalist views, and because he allows organisation and the organismal to come in kinds and degrees. Thus, his view tries to do justice to two cautionary notes for the debate on the reality of the organism: the need for a commitment to a broadly naturalist perspective, and the need to acknowledge the interesting features of organisms through which we make sense of them. (shrink)
The following two theses constitute the theoretical core of all epistemic conceptions of truth: (1) The concept of truth can be explicated in epistemic terms (e.g. in terms of justified assertability under ideal epistemic conditions, ideal coherence, ideal consensus etc.). (2) The assumption that there could be truths which cannot, in principle, be known to be true is false or even absurd. The book scrutinizes theses (1) and (2). It contains discussions of the truth-theoretical approaches of Peirce, Putnam, Dummett, C. (...) Wright, Apel, Habermas and others, offers an account of the speech act of assertion, a critique of deflationism about truth, an analysis of the concept of fallibility and a discussion of Fitch's paradox of knowability. Im Zentrum epistemischer Wahrheitskonzeptionen stehen die folgenden beiden Thesen: (1) Der Wahrheitsbegriff kann durch epistemische Konzepte idealer Begründbarkeit, Behauptbarkeit, Kohärenz oder Konsensfähigkeit expliziert werden. (2) Die Annahme, es könnte wahre Aussagen geben, die prinzipiell nicht als wahr erkennbar oder doch begründbar sind, ist falsch oder sogar sinnlos. "Wahrheit, Begründbarkeit und Fallibilität" unterzieht diese Thesen einer kritischen Prüfung. Neben der Diskussion wahrheitstheoretischer Ansätze von Peirce, Putnam, Wright, Apel und anderen enthält dieses Buch eine Bestimmung der normativen Relevanz des Wahrheitsbegriffs für Behauptungshandlungen, eine Kritik des Deflationismus, eine Analyse des Konzepts der Fallibilität sowie eine Diskussion des Paradox of Knowability. (shrink)
In this paper we develop a general theory of algorithmic fairness. Drawing on Johnson King and Babic’s work on moral encroachment, on Gary Becker’s work on labor market discrimination, and on Strawson’s idea of resentment and indignation as responses to violations of the demand for goodwill toward oneself and others, we locate attitudes to fairness in an agent’s utility function. In particular, we first argue that fairness is a matter of a decision-maker’s relative concern for the plight of people from (...) different groups, rather than of the outcomes produced for different groups. We then show how an agent’s preferences, including in particular their attitudes to error, give rise to their decision thresholds. Tying these points together, we argue that the agent’s relative degrees of concern for different groups manifest in a difference in decision thresholds applied to these groups. (shrink)
A simple interpretation of quantity calculus is given. Quantities are described as two-place functions from objects, states or processes (or some combination of them) into numbers that satisfy the mutual measurability property. Quantity calculus is based on a notational simplification of the concept of quantity. A key element of the simplification is that we consider units to be intentionally unspecified numbers that are measures of exactly specified objects, states or processes. This interpretation of quantity calculus combines all the advantages of (...) calculating with numerical values (since the values of quantities are numbers, we can do with them everything we do with numbers) and all the advantages of calculating with standardly conceived quantities (calculus is invariant to the choice of units and has built-in dimensional analysis). This also shows that the standard metaphysics and mathematics of quantities and their magnitudes is not needed for quantity calculus. At the end of the article, arguments are given that the concept of quantity as defined here is a pivotal concept in understanding the quantitative approach to nature. As an application of this interpretation of quantity calculus, an easy proof of dimensional homogeneity of physical laws is given. (shrink)
La quatrième de couverture indique : "Ils souffrent comme nous. Comme nous aussi, ils jouissent du bien-être. Mieux que nous parfois, ils s'imposent par la ruse et l'intelligence. Comment continuer à les traiter comme des " choses " dont on se contenterait de condamner l'abus? Mais faut-il pour autant leur accorder des droits, et si oui lesquels? Et qui veillera à leur application? Pour répondre à ces questions et à tant d'autres, Boris Cyrulnik l'éthologue, Elisabeth de Fontenay la philosophe, (...) Peter Singer le bioéthicien croisent leurs regards et confrontent leurs savoirs sur la question animale. Trois sensibilités, trois parcours, trois formes d'engagement : la voie est tracée, au-delà des divergences et des contradictions, et en partie grâce à elles, pour que le législateur s'attelle à la rédaction du contrat qu'il nous faut maintenant passer sans délai avec nos frères en animalité, au nom de la dignité humaine.". (shrink)
This article explores the key role of “experiential style” (Erfahrungsstil) in Husserl’s account of social habituality. It demonstrates the developmental bridge this concept throws between the distinct intentionalities of empathy and communalization. The importance of Erfahrungsstil in Husserl has largely escaped scholarly attention. I claim, however, that in his later work, it becomes an inherent component to the relational dynamics of intermonadic temporalization, the process which underpins the generative constitution of sociality and opens a possibility for a transcendental phenomenological anthropology, (...) a project Husserl only sketched out but never ventured on. (shrink)
Businesses that rely heavily on cash transactions have been found to be particularly susceptible to low tax ethics. Recent research indicates that cash is a highly powerful and tempting reward, which elicits a strong emotional response. In this article, we investigate how emotions affect tax ethics in a series of experimental studies. Specifically, we show that affective priming and the ease with which tax information is retrieved moderate tax ethics. We also show that the relative effectiveness of deterrence, such as (...) audit probabilities and tax fines, is moderated by affect. These results point toward a complex picture of tax ethics, requiring a multifaceted policy approach that emphasizes not only enforcement, but also cognitive and affective aspects of human behavior. (shrink)
While there are satisfactory answers to the question “How should we teach children mathematics?”, there are no satisfactory answers to the question “What mathematics should we teach children?”. This paper provides an answer to the last question for preschool children (early childhood), although the answer is also applicable to older children. This answer, together with an appropriate methodology on how to teach mathematics, gives a clear conception of the place of mathematics in the children’s world and our role in helping (...) children develop their mathematical abilities. Briefly, children’s mathematics consists of the world of children’s internal activities that they eventually purposefully organize in order to understand and control the outside world and organize their overall activities in it. We need to support a child in mathematical activities that she does spontaneously and in which she shows interest, and we need to teach her mathematics that she is interested in developing through these activities. In doing so, we must be fully aware that the child’s mathematics is part of the child’s world of internal activities and is not outside of it. We help the child develop mathematical abilities by developing them in the context of her world and not outside of it. From the point of view of this conception, the standards established today are limiting and too focused on numbers and geometric figures: these topics are too prominent and elaborated, and other mathematical contents are subordinated to them. Adhering to the standards, we drastically limit the mathematics of the child’s world, hamper the correct mathematical development of a child, and we can turn her away from mathematics. (shrink)
If definitive evidence concerning treatment effectiveness becomes available from an ongoing randomized clinical trial, then the trial could be stopped early, with the public release of results benefiting current and future patients. However, stopping an ongoing trial based on accruing outcome data requires methodological rigor to preserve validity of the trial conclusions. This has led to the use of formal interim monitoring procedures, which include inefficacy monitoring that will stop a trial early when the experimental treatment appears not to be (...) working. For participants, inefficacy monitoring is especially important as it ensures that they are not being treated worse than if they had not enrolled on the trial. We discuss the importance of reporting with trial results the formal interim inefficacy monitoring guidelines that were utilized, and, if none were used, the reasons for their absence. A survey of two leading medical journals suggests that this is not current practice. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the historical context and systematic importance of Kant's hypothetical use of reason. It does so by investigating the role of hypotheses in Kant's philosophy of science. We first situate Kant’s account of hypotheses in the context of eighteenth-century German philosophy of science, focusing on the works of Wolff, Meier, and Crusius. We contrast different conceptions of hypotheses of these authors and elucidate the different theories of probability informing them. We then adopt a more systematic perspective to discuss (...) Kant's idea that scientific hypotheses must articulate real possibilities. We argue that Kant's views on the intelligibility of scientific hypotheses constitute a valuable perspective on scientific understanding and the constraints it imposes on scientific rationality. (shrink)
A significant thread in Boris Hessen‟s iconic essay, The Social and Economic Roots of Newton’s Principia (1931), is his critique of Newton‟s involving God in his physics. Contra Newton, Hessen believes that nature does not need God in order to function properly. Hessen gives two, quite distinct, „internal‟ explanations of Newton‟s failure to see this. The first explanation is that Newton‟s failure is caused by his believing that motion is a mode instead of an attribute or essence of matter. (...) The second explanation is that Newton‟s failure is owed to his considering mechanical motion as the sole form of the motion of matter: Newton, in Hessen‟s view, did not realize that matter has many forms of motion which constantly transform into one another while conserving energy. In the present paper, I defend the thesis that none of these explanations can account for Newton‟s failure. Hessen‟s first explanation is problematic because even if Newton believed that motion is an attribute or essence of matter, he would still be obliged to involve God in physics. His second explanation fails too because he does not show exactly how the multiplicity and inter-transformation of forms of motion can account for nature‟s organizational structure. (shrink)