How can we best reconstruct the origin of a notion, its development, and possible spread to multiple fields? We present a pilot study on the spread of the notion of conceptual scheme. Though the notion is philosophically important, its origin, development, and spread are unclear. Several purely qualitative and competing historical hypotheses have been offered, which rely on disconnected disciplinary traditions, and have never been tested all at once in a single comprehensive investigation fitting the scope of its subject matter. (...) As a step toward such an investigation, we trace the use of the bigram “conceptual scheme” in about 42,000 US journal articles in social sciences from 1888-1959 by using a novel method combining a quantitative procedure aided by basic computational techniques with qualitative elements informed by Betti and van den Berg (2014)’s ‘model approach to the history of ideas’. (shrink)
Caspar Hare presents a bold and original approach to questions of what we ought to do, and why we ought to do it. He breaks with tradition to argue that we can tackle difficult problems in normative ethics by starting with a principle that is humble and uncontroversial. Being moral involves wanting particular other people to be better off.
Caspar Hare makes an original and compelling case for "egocentric presentism," a view about the nature of first-person experience, about what happens when we see things from our own particular point of view. A natural thought about our first-person experience is that "all and only the things of which I am aware are present to me." Hare, however, goes one step further and claims, counterintuitively, that the thought should instead be that "all and only the things of which I (...) am aware are present." There is, in other words, something unique about me and the things of which I am aware. On Myself and Other, Less Important Subjects represents a new take on an old view, known as solipsism, which maintains that people's experiences give them grounds for believing that they have a special, distinguished place in the world--for example, believing that only they exist or that other people do not have conscious minds like their own. Few contemporary thinkers have taken solipsism seriously. But Hare maintains that the version of solipsism he argues for is in indeed defensible, and that it is uniquely capable of resolving some seemingly intractable philosophical problems--both in metaphysics and ethics--concerning personal identity over time, as well as the tension between self-interest and the greater good. This formidable and tightly argued defense of a seemingly absurd view is certain to provoke debate. (shrink)
This is about the rights and wrongs of bringing people into existence. In a nutshell: sometimes what matters is not what would have happened to you, but what would have happened to the person who would have been in your position, even if that person never actually exists.
Computational modeling has long been one of the traditional pillars of cognitive science. Unfortunately, the computer models of cognition being developed today have not kept up with the enormous changes that have taken place in computer technology and, especially, in human-computer interfaces. For all intents and purposes, modeling is still done today as it was 25, or even 35, years ago. Everyone still programs in his or her own favorite programming language, source code is rarely made available, accessibility of models (...) to non-programming researchers is essentially non-existent, and even for other modelers, the profusion of source code in a multitude of programming languages, written without programming guidelines, makes it almost impossible to access, check, explore, re-use, or continue to develop. It is high time to change this situation, especially since the tools are now readily available to do so. We propose that the modeling community adopt three simple guidelines that would ensure that computational models would be accessible to the broad range of researchers in cognitive science. We further emphasize the pivotal role that journal editors must play in making computational models accessible to readers of their journals. (shrink)
This article reports original research conducted among animal rights activists and elites in Switzerland and the United States, and the finding that activism functioned in activists' and elites' lives like religious belief. The study used reference sampling to select Swiss and American informants. Various articles and activists have identified both latent and manifest quasi-religious components in the contemporary movement. Hence, the research followed upon these data and anecdotes and tested the role of activism in adherents' lives. Using extensive interviews, the (...) research discovered that activists and elites conform to the five necessary components of Yinger's definition of functional religion: intense and memorable conversion experiences, newfound communities of meaning, normative creeds, elaborate and well-defined codes of behavior, and cult formation. The article elaborates on that schema in the context of animal rights belief, elucidates the deeply meaningful role of activism within a filigree of meaning, and concludes that the movement is facing schismatic forces not dissimilar to redemptive and religious movements. (shrink)
Some moral theories tell you, in some situations in which you are interacting with a group of people, to avoid acting in the way that is expectedly best for everybody. This essay argues that such theories are mistaken. Go ahead and do what is expectedly best for everybody. The argument is based on the thought that when interacting with an individual it is fine for you to act in the expected interests of the individual and that many interactions with individuals (...) may compose an interaction with a group. (shrink)
In this dissertation I spell out, and make a case for, egocentric presentism, a view about what it is for a thing to be me. I argue that there are benefits associated with adopting this view. ;The chief benefit comes in the sphere of ethics. Many of us, when we think about what to do, feel a particular kind of ambivalence. On the one hand we are moved by an impartial concern for the greater good. We feel the force of (...) considerations of the form: 'all things considered, doing...will make things better overall'. On the other hand we are selfish. We feel the force of considerations of the form 'doing...will make things better for me.' And it appears as if these sorts of considerations often conflict. Often by doing what makes things better for me I do not make things better overall, and vice-versa. But egocentric presentism is capable of resolving this conflict. As an egocentric presentist I can think both that considerations of the greater good always count in favor my doing what's good for me, and that considerations of the greater good always count in favor of other people doing what's good for them. ;Another benefit comes in the sphere of metaphysics. As an egocentric presentist I can make sense of some otherwise perplexing puzzles about personal identity over time, by combining a non-reductionist view about who I will be, with Parfitian reductionism about personal identity over time and a lean physicalist ontology. (shrink)
The presence of symmetries in physical theories implies a pernicious form of underdetermination. In order to avoid this theoretical vice, philosophers often espouse a principle called Leibniz Equivalence, which states that symmetry-related models represent the same state of affairs. Moreover, philosophers have claimed that the existence of non-trivial symmetries motivates us to accept the Invariance Principle, which states that quantities that vary under a theory’s symmetries aren’t physically real. Leibniz Equivalence and the Invariance Principle are often seen as part of (...) the same package. I argue that this is a mistake: Leibniz Equivalence and the Invariance Principle are orthogonal to each other. This means that it is possible to hold that symmetry-related models represent the same state of affairs whilst having a realist attitude towards variant quantities. Various arguments have been presented in favour of the Invariance Principle: a rejection of the Invariance Principle is inter alia supposed to cause indeterminism, undetectability or failure of reference. I respond that these arguments at best support Leibniz Equivalence. (shrink)
On one view of time past, present and future things exist, but their being past, present or future does not consist in their standing in before‐ and after‐relations to other things. So, for example, the event of the signing of the Magna Carta is past, and its being so does not consist in, or reduce to, its coming before the events of 2010.In this paper I discuss arguments for and against this view and view in its near vicinity, perspectival realism. (...) I suggest that perspectival realism is a better view than tense realism. It shares the principal virtues, but not the principal vices, of tense realism. (shrink)
Should we be time-biased on behalf of other people? 'Sometimes yes, sometimes no'—it is tempting to answer. But this is not right. On pain of irrationality, we cannot be too selective about when we are time-biased on behalf of other people.
Ruetsche () argues that the occurrence of unitarily inequivalent representations in quantum theories with infinitely many degrees of freedom poses a novel interpretational problem. According to Ruetsche, such theories compel us to reject the so-called ideal of pristine interpretation; she puts forward the ‘coalescence approach’ as an alternative. In this paper I offer a novel defence of the coalescence approach. The defence rests on the claim that the ideal of pristine interpretation already fails before one considers the peculiarities of QM∞: (...) there are pre-QM∞ parallels to coalescence. Despite this departure from pristinism, the ‘modest’ view that emerges poses no threat to scientific realism. (shrink)
- Emilie du Châtelet offers an interesting and unusual account of the origin of our representation of extension. - She is an idealist about the essence extension, bodies and space, regarding them as mental constructs. - Du Châtelet's account requires a brute fact about the mind, in apparent tension with the Principle of Sufficient Reason.
Should we be time-biased on behalf of other people? ‘Sometimes yes, sometimes no’—it is tempting to answer. But this is not right. On pain of irrationality, we cannot be too selective about when we are time-biased on behalf of other people.