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.
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)
On the received view, counterfactuals are analysed using the concept of closeness between possible worlds: the counterfactual 'If it had been the case that p, then it would have been the case that q' is true at a world w just in case q is true at all the possible p-worlds closest to w. The degree of closeness between two worlds is usually thought to be determined by weighting different respects of similarity between them. The question I consider in the (...) paper is which weights attach to different respects of similarity. I start by considering Lewis's answer to the question and argue against it by presenting several counterexamples. I use the same examples to motivate a general principle about closeness: if a fact obtains in both of two worlds, then this similarity is relevant to the closeness between them if and only if the fact has the same explanation in the two worlds. I use this principle and some ideas of Lewis's to formulate a general account of counterfactuals, and I argue that this account can explain the asymmetry of counterfactual dependence. The paper concludes with a discussion of some examples that cannot be accommodated by the present version of the account and therefore necessitate further work on the details. (shrink)
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)
This paper’s core concern is Boris Groys’ theory of the total art of Stalinism, which is devoted to rewriting Soviet art history and reinterpreting Socialist Realism from the perspective of the equal rights between political and artistic Art Power. The aim of this article is to decode Groys and the total art of Stalinism, based on answering the following three questions: 1) why did Groys want to rewrite Soviet art history? 2) How did Groys re-narrate Soviet art history? 3) (...) What are the pros and cons of his reordering of the total art of Stalinism? Groys offers an effective paradigm that could rethink two theoretical genres: a) other Socialist Realisms inside or outside the Soviet bloc, during or after the Soviet era; b) the aesthetical rights of political artworks before, during and after the Cold War, and the historical debates about art, especially about art for art’s sake, or art for political propaganda. However, Groys’ total art of Stalinism and its core theory of the Socialist Realism frame hides some dangers of aestheticizing Stalin and Stalinism. (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)
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)
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)
The concept of inertial frame of reference 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)
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)
During the last quarter of a century, a number of philosophers have become attracted to the idea that necessity can be analyzed in terms of a hyperintensional notion of essence. One challenge for proponents of this view is to give a plausible explanation of our modal knowledge. The goal of this paper is to develop a strategy for meeting this challenge. My approach rests on an account of modality that I developed in previous work, and which analyzes modal properties in (...) terms of the notion of a metaphysical law. I discuss what information about the metaphysical laws is required for modal knowledge. Moreover, I describe two ways in which we might be able to acquire this information. The first way employs inference to the best explanation. The metaphysical laws, including the essential truths, play a crucial role in causal and grounding explanations and we can gain knowledge of these laws by abductive inferences from facts of which we have perceptual or a priori knowledge. The second way of gaining information about the metaphysical laws rests on knowledge that is partly constitutive of competence with the concepts that are needed to express the relevant information. Finally, I consider how knowledge of the metaphysical laws can be used to establish modal claims, paying special attention to the much-discussed connection between conceiving and possibility. (shrink)
Descartes’ metaphysics lays the foundation for the special sciences, and the notion of consciousness (conscientia) belongs to metaphysics rather than to psychology. I argue that as a metaphysical notion, ‘consciousness’ refers to an epistemic version of moral conscience. As a consequence, the activity on which science is based turns out to be conscientious thought. The consciousness that makes science possible is a double awareness: the awareness of what one is thinking, of what one should be doing, and of the possibility (...) of a gap between the two. (shrink)
The perception of time is culturally conditioned which means that in different cultures time may be experienced – perceived, conceptualized and evaluated – in diverse ways. The distinction between past, present and future seems to be a universal phenomenon, but the relations of these categories may be different in different cultural codes. The author defines two models of temporal perception, ‘historical’ and ‘cosmological’, analysing the conceptualization of time in each of them.
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)
The essential role of language in rational cognition is analysed. The approach is functional: only the results of the connection between language, reality, and thinking are considered. Scientific language is analysed as an extension and improvement of everyday language. The analysis gives a uniform view of language and rational cognition. The consequences for the nature of ontology, truth, logic, thinking, scientific theories, and mathematics are derived.
Drawing from cognitive learning theories we hypothesize that exposure to nationalistic appeals that suggest consumers should shun foreign brands for moral reasons increases the general belief in consumers that buying foreign brands is morally wrong. In parallel, drawing from the theory of psychological reactance we posit that such appeals may, against their communication goal, increase the reputation of foreign luxury brands. We term the juxtaposition of these apparently contradictory effects the “Ambivalence Hypothesis.” Further, drawing from prior research on source-similarity effects (...) we posit that foreign luxury brands that communicate cultural proximity to target consumers reinforce psychological reactance. We test these hypotheses experimentally in the context of luxury car brand advertising in China, a market that is heavily dominated by foreign brands, and therefore provides a breeding ground for ambivalent consumer reactions. Results show that exposure to nationalistic appeals enhances consumers’ national identity dispositions, which results in higher levels of consumer ethnocentrism. Further, nationalistic appeals enhance the social responsibility associations that consumers hold for foreign luxury brands and their countries of origin, which results in a higher brand reputation. Finally, effects of nationalistic appeals on foreign luxury brand reputation are positively stronger for brands using a local vs. a foreign or a global positioning. These findings suggest that nationalistic appeals are a double-edged sword with important implications for ethics in political communication and luxury brand marketing. (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 have argued that statistical evidence regarding group char- acteristics (particularly stereotypical ones) can create normative conflicts between the requirements of epistemic rationality and our moral obligations to each other. In a recent paper, Johnson-King and Babic argue that such conflicts can usually be avoided: what ordinary morality requires, they argue, epistemic rationality permits. In this paper, we show that as data gets large, Johnson-King and Babic’s approach becomes less plausible. More constructively, we build on their project and develop (...) a generalized model of reasoning about stereotypes under which one can indeed avoid normative conflicts, even in a big data world, when data contain some noise. In doing so, we also articulate a general approach to rational belief updating for noisy data. (shrink)
This article informally presents a solution to the paradoxes of truth and shows how the solution solves classical paradoxes (such as the original Liar) as well as the paradoxes that were invented as counter-arguments for various proposed solutions (``the revenge of the Liar''). Any solution to the paradoxes of truth necessarily establishes a certain logical concept of truth. This solution complements the classical procedure of determining the truth values of sentences by its own failure and, when the procedure fails, through (...) an appropriate semantic shift allows us to express the failure in a classical two-valued language. Formally speaking, the solution is a language with one meaning of symbols and two valuations of the truth values of sentences. The primary valuation is a classical valuation that is partial in the presence of the truth predicate. It enables us to determine the classical truth value of a sentence or leads to the failure of that determination. The language with the primary valuation is precisely the largest intrinsic fixed point of the strong Kleene three-valued semantics (LIFPSK3). The semantic shift that allows us to express the failure of the primary valuation is precisely the classical closure of LIFPSK3: it extends LIFPSK3 to a classical language in parts where LIFPSK3 is undetermined. Thus, this article provides a content-wise argumentation, which has not been present in contemporary debates so far, for the choice of LIFPSK3 and its classical closure as the right model for the logical concept of truth. In the end, an erroneous critique of Kripke-Feferman axiomatic theory of truth, which is present in contemporary literature, is pointed out. (shrink)
In this paper, I make a contribution to a naturalistically-minded theory of truthmakers by proposing a solution to the nasty problem of truthmakers for negative truths. After formulating the difficulty, I consider and reject a number of solutions to the problem, including Armstrong's states of affairs of totality, incompatibility accounts, and JC Beall 's polarity view. I then defend the position that absences of truthmakers are real and are responsible for making negative truths true. According to the positive account of (...) absences I offer, absences of contingent states of affairs are causally relevant mind-independent features of the physical world, located within space and time, and capable of being discovered by scientific inquiry. Recognition of the reality of absences strengthens truthmaker theory as a naturalistic metaphysics, as truth and falsity of each and every contingent proposition finds an ontological grounding in some region of the physical universe. (shrink)
In this paper, I will discuss a certain conception of matter that Aristotle introduces in Metaphysics Z3. It is often assumed that Aristotle came to distinguish between matter and form only in his physical writings, and that this lead to a conflict with the doctrine of primary substances in the Categories that he tries to resolve in Z3. I will argue that there is no such conflict. In Z3, Aristotle seems to suggest that matter is what is left over when (...) we strip a thing of all its properties. I take it that he does not want us to strip away these properties by physical means or in our imagination. Rather, we are asked to strip a referring noun phrase of all its predicative parts. We are thus not supposed to be able to refer to something that has no qualities whatsoever, but to construct a phrase that refers to something that has properties without referring to its having them, and without implying which properties it has. The idea that there might be a way of referring to something definite without mentioning any of its qualities is platonic and it still underlies modern predicate logic. In Z3, Aristotle argues against this conception and thus against the basic idea of predicate logic. According to him, matter is at best an inseparable aspect of a primary substance, which substance is best referred to as a compound τóδε τι (“this such”). Matter is what the τóδε refers to as part of this phrase. But it cannot exist in separation from form, and we cannot refer to it by a separated term, without also referring to the substantial form of the substance of which it is an aspect. (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)
According to a standard interpretation of the term, ‘gender’ denotes sets of social roles and expectations conventionally associated with the sexual physiology of human beings. Originally introduced in psychology, the term is now widely used in the social sciences and humanities, as well as in the biological sciences. In this article we introduce and discuss the central themes of contemporary philosophical debates on gender. Particular attention is paid to recent feminist arguments concerning the distinction between sex and gender, and to (...) how feminist debates today intersect with neuroscience research on sex-related differences between human brains. (shrink)