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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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.
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)
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.
I will argue that Aristotle’s fourfold division of four causes naturally arises from a combination of two distinctions (a) between things and changes, and (b) between that which potentially is something and what it potentially is. Within this scheme, what is usually called the “efficient cause” is something that potentially is a certain natural change, and the “final cause” is, at least in a basic sense, what the efficient cause potentially is. I will further argue that the essences of things (...) and changes are not features or attributes of them, but paradigms that set the standards according to which these things and changes may be judged to be natural or typical. The “formal cause” of a natural thing will be shown to be its essence in this sense: it sets the standards of typicality that apply to instances of its kind. The final cause will be shown to set the standard of typicality for natural changes. When we understand Aristotle’s doctrine of the four causes in this way, it becomes clear on what basis he could convincingly argue that final causality is operative in the whole of nature. (shrink)
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)
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)
The bibliography provides a list of Boris Uspenskij’s publications in English, including works written in co-authorship and various reprints/reissues. For the most part, Uspenskij’s publications in English are translations of his books and articles originally written in Russian and previously published in the Soviet Union/Russia. The first English-language publication of his work, the monograph Principles of Structural Typology appeared in 1968; the current bibliography consists of 65 entries from a period spanning from 1968 till today.
Standard theories of expected utility require that preferences are complete, and/or Archimedean. We present in this paper a theory of decision under uncertainty for both incomplete and non-Archimedean preferences. Without continuity assumptions, incomplete preferences on a lottery space reduce to an order-extension problem. It is well known that incomplete preferences can be extended to complete preferences in the full generality, but this result does not necessarily hold for incomplete preferences which satisfy the independence axiom, since it may obviously happen that (...) the extension does not satisfy the independence axiom. We show, for incomplete preferences on a mixture space, that an extension which satisfies the independence axiom exists. We find necessary and sufficient conditions for a preorder on a finite lottery space to be representable by a family of lexicographic von Neumann–Morgenstern Expected Utility functions. (shrink)
Although Descartes is often said to have coined the modern notion of ‘consciousness’, he defines it neither explicitly nor implicitly. This may imply (1) that he was not the first to use ‘conscientia’ in its modern, psychological sense, or (2) that he still used it in its traditional moral sense. In this paper, I argue for the latter assumption. Descartes used ‘conscientia’ according to the meaning we also find in texts of St. Paul, Augustine, Aquinas and later scholastics. Thus the (...) Cartesian conscientia is, technically speaking, a shared knowledge of the specific value of our thoughts as thoughts and at the same time the cause of this value. This means that it is not itself a kind of individual knowledge, awareness, or a particular thought. Rather, ‘conscientia’ refers to the evaluative knowledge of an ideal observer. (shrink)
The complete system of knowledge is a standard trope of science fiction, a techno-utopian dream and an aesthetic ideal. It is Solomon’s House, the Encyclopaedia and the Museum. It is also an ideology – of Enlightenment, High Modernism and absolute governance. Far from ending the dream of a total archive, 20th-century positivist rationality brought it ever closer. From Paul Otlet’s ‘Mundaneum’ to Mass-Observation, from the Unity of Science movement to Wikipedia, the dream of universal knowledge dies hard. As a political (...) tool, the total archive encompasses population statistics, gross domestic product, indices of the Standard of Living and the international ideology of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Health Organization, the free market and, most recently, Big Data. Questions of the total archive engage key issues in the philosophy of classification, the poetics of the universal, the ideology of surveillance and the technologies of information retrieval. What are the social structures and political dynamics required to sustain total archives, and what are the temporalities implied by such projects? This introduction and the articles that follow describe and place in historical context a series of concrete instances of totality. Our analysis is arranged according to four central themes: the relationship between the Archive and archives ; the image of the archive and the aesthetics of totality; pathologies of accumulation; and the specific historical trajectory of the total archive in the 19th and 20th centuries. (shrink)
The paper deals with the question of the attribution to Epicurus of the classification of pleasures into 'kinetic' and 'static'. This classification, usually regarded as authentic, confronts us with a number of problems and contradictions. Besides, it is only mentioned in a few sources that are not the most reliable. Following Gosling and Taylor, I believe that the authenticity of the classification may be called in question. The analysis of the ancient evidence concerning Epicurus' concept of pleasure is made according (...) to the following principle: first, I consider the sources that do not mention the distinction between 'kinetic' and 'static' pleasures, and only then do I compare them with the other group of texts which comprises reports by Cicero, Diogenes Laertius and Athenaeus. From the former group of texts there emerges a concept of pleasure as a single and not twofold notion, while such terms as 'motion' and 'state' describe not two different phenomena but only two characteristics of the same phenomenon. On the other hand, the reports comprising the latter group appear to derive from one and the same doxographical tradition, and to be connected with the classification of ethical docrines put forward by the Middle Academy and known as the divisio Carneadea. In conclusion, I argue that the idea of Epicurus' classification of pleasures is based on a misinterpretation of Epicurus' concept in Academic doxography, which tended to contrapose it to doctrines of other schools, above all to the Cyrenaics' views. (shrink)
Søren Kierkegaard -- Leo Shestov -- Martin Heidegger -- Jacques Derrida -- Walter Benjamin -- Theodor Lessing -- Ernst Jünger's technologies of immortality -- Three ends of history : Hegel, Solvyov, Kojève -- Nietzsche's influence on the non-official culture of the 1930s -- A genealogy of participatory art -- Lessing, Greenberg, McLuhan.
Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary effort to understand the structures and functions of the brain and brain-mind relations. This effort results in an increasing amount of data, generated by sophisticated technologies. However, these data enhance our descriptive knowledge, rather than improve our understanding of brain functions. This is caused by methodological gaps both within and between subdisciplines constituting neuroscience, and the atomistic approach that limits the study of macro- and mesoscopic issues. Whole-brain measurement technologies do not resolve these issues, but rather (...) aggravate them by the complexity problem. The present article is devoted to methodological and epistemic problems that obstruct the development of human neuroscience. We neither discuss ontological questions nor review data, except when it is necessary to demonstrate a methodological issue. As regards intradisciplinary methodological problems, we concentrate on those within neurobiology and psychology. As regards interdisciplinary problems, we suggest that core disciplines of neuroscience can be integrated using systemic concepts that also entail human-environment relations. We emphasize the necessity of a meta-discussion that should entail a closer cooperation with philosophy as a discipline of systematic reflection. The atomistic reduction should be complemented by the explicit consideration of the embodiedness of the brain and the embeddedness of humans. The discussion is aimed at the development of an explicit methodology of integrative human neuroscience, which will not only link different fields and levels, but also help in understanding clinical phenomena. (shrink)