Most decisions in life involve ambiguity, where probabilities can not be meaningfully specified, as much as they involve probabilistic uncertainty. In such conditions, the aspiration to utility maximization may be self-deceptive. We propose “robust satisficing” as an alternative to utility maximizing as the normative standard for rational decision making in such circumstances. Instead of seeking to maximize the expected value, or utility, of a decision outcome, robust satisficing aims to maximize the robustness to uncertainty of a satisfactory outcome. That is, (...) robust satisficing asks, “what is a ‘good enough’ outcome,” and then seeks the option that will produce such an outcome under the widest set of circumstances. We explore the conditions under which robust satisficing is a more appropriate norm for decision making than utility maximizing. (shrink)
The domain of nonlinear dynamical systems and its mathematical underpinnings has been developing exponentially for a century, the last 35 years seeing an outpouring of new ideas and applications and a concomitant confluence with ideas of complex systems and their applications from irreversible thermodynamics. A few examples are in meteorology, ecological dynamics, and social and economic dynamics. These new ideas have profound implications for our understanding and practice in domains involving complexity, predictability and determinism, equilibrium, control, planning, individuality, responsibility and (...) so on. Our intention is to draw together in this volume, we believe for the first time, a comprehensive picture of the manifold philosophically interesting impacts of recent developments in understanding nonlinear systems and the unique aspects of their complexity. The book will focus specifically on the philosophical concepts, principles, judgments and problems distinctly raised by work in the domain of complex nonlinear dynamical systems, especially in recent years. -Comprehensive coverage of all main theories in the philosophy of Complex Systems -Clearly written expositions of fundamental ideas and concepts -Definitive discussions by leading researchers in the field -Summaries of leading-edge research in related fields are also included. (shrink)
Semantic Analysis is a lively and clearly written introduction to the study of meaning in language and to the language-culture connection. Goddard covers traditional and contemporary issues and approaches with the relationship between semantics, conceptualization, and culture as a key theme. He also details a number of case studies that draw on a wide range of material from non-Indo-European languages, particularly Australian Aboriginal languages and Malay, on which the author is an authority.
To mathematicians, mathematics is a happy game, to scientists a mere tool and to philosophers a Platonic mystery - or so the caricature runs. The caricature reflects the alleged 'cultural gap' between the disciplines a gap for which there too often has been, sadly, sound historical evidence. In many minds the lack of communication between philosophy and the exact disciplines is especially prominent. Yet in the past there was no separation - exact knowledge, covering both scientists and mathemati cians, was (...) known as natural philosophy and the business of providing a critical view of the nature of reality and an accurate mathematical de scription of it constituted a single task from the glorious tradition begun by the early Greek philosophers even up until Newton's day (but I am thinking of Descartes and Leibniz I). The lack of communication between these professional groups has been particularly unfortunate, for the past half century has seen the most ex citing developments in mathematical physics since Newton. These devel opments hinged on the introduction of vast new reaches of mathematics into physics (non-Euclidean geometries, covariant formulations, non commutative algebras, functional analysis and so on) and conversely have challenged mathematicians to develop the appropriate mathematical fields. Equally, these developments have posed profound philosophical problems to do with the rejection of traditional conceptions concerning the nature of physical reality and physical theorising. (shrink)
Complexity arises from interaction dynamics, but its forms are co-determined by the operative constraints within which the dynamics are expressed. The basic interaction dynamics underlying complex systems is mostly well understood. The formation and operation of constraints is often not, and oftener under appreciated. The attempt to reduce constraints to basic interaction fails in key cases. The overall aim of this paper is to highlight the key role played by constraints in shaping the field of complex systems. Following an introduction (...) to constraints, the paper develops the roles of constraints in specifying forms of complexity and illustrates the roles of constraints in formulating the fundamental challenges to understanding posed by complex systems. (shrink)
Strong recent selection for social cognition may well explain the persistence of genes that predispose to schizophrenia. The specific mechanism responsible may be a skewed fitness function in which selection pushes the mean for advantageous mental traits perilously close to a “fitness cliff” where the system fails catastrophically in some individuals.
The collected volume Plato’s Statesman: Dialectic, Myth, and Politics presents some of the new interesting research being conducted on the Statesman. The volume is edited by John Sallis who is well known for his work in phenomenology, including writings on such authors as Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche and Immanuel Kant, and he has a continental approach to reading Plato. The new research on the Statesman will proceed by ways of the following three points in the collected volume. We (...) will look at the new trend among scholars to read into the Statesman the complete rejection of the existence of an ideal statesman in our contemporary society. Further, we will discuss the unexplored terrains in the dialogue scholars are gravitating to. And finally, we will comment on the fact that all contributors in the volume show a certain degree of sensitivity to the dramatic context of the dialogue and refrain from attributing Plato’s voice to a single character. A brief remark on an aspect of these points will be furnished at the end. (shrink)
In recent philosophical debates a number of arguments have been used which have so much in common that it is useful to study them as having a similar structure. Many arguments â Searle's Chinese Room, for example â make use of thought experiments in which we are told a story or given a narrative context such that we feel we are in comfortable surroundings. A new notion is then introduced which clashes with our ordinary habits and associations. As a result, (...) we do not bother to investigate seriously the new notion any further. I call such an arrangement, which is perhaps a variation of the fallacy of presumption, a Steep Cliff argument. One remedy for the misdirection of a Steep Cliff argument is to tell a counterstory from the point of view of the rejected notion. (shrink)
“All languages have ‘emotive interjections’ ” —and yet emotion researchers have invested only a tiny research effort into interjections, as compared with the huge body of research into facial expressions and words for emotion categories. This article provides an overview of the functions, meanings, and cross-linguistic variability of interjections, concentrating on non-word-based ones such as Wow!, Yuck!, and Ugh! The aims are to introduce an area that will be unfamiliar to most readers, to illustrate how one leading linguistic approach deals (...) with interjectional meaning, and to start a discussion about an interdisciplinary research agenda for the study of emotive interjections. Examples are drawn from English, Polish, and Cantonese. (shrink)
Every essay in this book is original, often highly original, and they will be of interest to practising scientists as much as they will be to philosophers of science — not least because many of the essays are by leading scientists who are currently creating the emerging new complex systems paradigm. This is no accident. The impact of complex systems on science is a recent, ongoing and profound revolution. But with a few honourable exceptions, it has largely been ignored by (...) scientists and philosophers alike as an object of reflective study. (shrink)
The point of this paper is to provide a principled framework for a naturalistic, interactivist-constructivist model of rational capacity and a sketch of the model itself, indicating its merits. Being naturalistic, it takes its orientation from scientific understanding. In particular, it adopts the developing interactivist-constructivist understanding of the functional capacities of biological organisms as a useful naturalistic platform for constructing such higher order capacities as reason and cognition. Further, both the framework and model are marked by the finitude and fallibility (...) that science attributes to organisms, with their radical consequences, and also by the individual and collective capacities to improve their performances that learning organisms display. Part A prepares the ground for the exposition through a critique of the dominant Western analytic tradition in rationalising science, followed by a brief exposition of the naturalist framework that will be employed to frame the construction. This results in two sets of guidelines for constructing an alternative. Part B provides the new conception of reason as a rich complex of processes of improvement against epistemic values, and argues its merits. It closes with an account of normativity and our similarly developing rational knowledge of it, including (reflexively) of reason itself. (shrink)
This article considers the multifaceted concept of ethics and how, despite being a familiar notion within education, it is still much contested within literature and professional practice. Drawing on postmodern, feminist and political literature, the authors explore conceptualisations of ethics and ethicality in relation to ethical identity, professionalism and practice. Applying philosophical and metaphorical tools, such as the rhizome and nomad, the authors suggest there is the potential to accommodate the multiple and often divergent facets of ethics, thereby engaging with (...) different ethical possibilities. It is argued that the propensity for reducing ethics to merely procedural protocols and guidelines marginalises the richness of ethics and, all too frequently, leaves practitioners ill-equipped to navigate the reality of day-to-day ethics.The article is positioned within the field of early years practice and training EY practitioners. This reflects the authors’ own specialism but also celebrates the propensity of the EY practitioner to reflect upon, question and challenge their own practice and ethical identities. This does not reduce the applicability of the subject matter which is relevant to educators of children of any age. The term ‘practitioner’ is used throughout to refer to any adult working with children in an educative role, this includes, but is not limited to nursery nurses, teachers or teaching assistants. (shrink)
Complex systems are used, studied and instantiated in science, with what con-sequences? To be clear and systematic in response it is necessary to distin-guish the consequences, for science, of science using and studying complex systems, for philosophy of science, of science using and studying complex systems, for philosophy of science, of philosophy of science modelling sci-ence as a complex system. Each of these is explored in turn, especially. While has been least studied, it will be shown how modelling science as (...) a complex process may change our conception of science and thereby query what a philosophy of science adequate to this complexity might look like. (shrink)
This chapter describes the application of reduction concepts in emergence and self organization of complex dynamical system. Condition-dependent laws compress and dynamical equation sets provide implicit compressed representations even when most of that information is not explicitly available without decompression. And, paradoxically, there is still the determined march of fundamental analytical dynamics expanding its compression reach toward a Theory of Everything—even while the more rapidly expanding domain of complex systems dynamics confronts its assumptions and its monolithicity. Nor does science fall (...) apart into a disunified aggregate of particular cases since, with fundamental dynamics as a backbone, complex matching up of models across theoretical and empirical domains then articulates its model-structured skeleton. Discussion provides the delicately entwined dance of emergence and reduction providing constraints on compression that also permit its expansion. However, while the vision is not dead, it is currently substantially more complexly structured through model similarities and differences than that initially envisaged and individuals are left with deep questions about compression unresolved. (shrink)
For the general public, there is an intuitive appeal to an animal's living in the wild rather than in captivity. Rarely is it an appeal informed by careful scientific or ethical analysis, however. This paper discusses how animal release projects ought to be conducted, guided by the question, "what are the duties of humans toward animals that are to be released?" It studies the ethical responsibilities of caretakers, practical elements of a responsible release, and proper selection of candidate animals for (...) release, and what marine science tells us about how best these requirements might be achieved. (shrink)
In recent times it has become fashionable to emphasize the role of conceptual change in the history of science. To judge from recent writers, every significant theoretical change in science is first and foremost a revolution in scientific concepts—a conceptual revolution. According to this view, every level of experience is affected by each fundamental theoretical change: physical theory, experimental practice and even perceptual experience. The Aristotelian patrician who watched the sun sink beneath the horizon not only had different beliefs about (...) the phenomenon but actually saw something different from the Newtonian gentleman who saw the horizon rise above his eye-sun line, and the Einsteinian professional who saw the sun's varying geometrical relations to the world light-geodesics on which successive temporal stages of his eye world-line lay. Moreover, such is the completeness of the conceptual-experiential shifts undergone in a fundamental scientific change that it is impossible to meaningfully discuss the one theory within the confines of the other or, indeed, to provide any systematic, cumulative comparison of successive theories. (shrink)
A decade ago in this journal Farrell and Hooker published a study of an important episode in the history of Psychology, the empirical investigation of ape linguistic capacity. What was different about this study was that it was undertaken from within the framework of a bio-cognitively motivated process for strategic problem solving, supported by an enriched conception of rationality. Upon examination, the process proved to stretch across roughly three decades of research and many participants, revealing a much richer conception of (...) scientific process than a collection of narrow self-contained and inevitably superficial "problems." Since that time, understanding of... (shrink)
In “How Molecules Became Signs”, Prof. Deacon outlines a plausible mechanism whereby biochemical systems could be understood to fulfill the conditions of being “alive” in the context of the two broad families of requirements, namely the energetics of metabolism and the informatics of coding. In so doing, he addresses head-on how to account for the origin and the action of coding in physical systems, and thereby the necessary and sufficient conditions for life. I review some of the relevant issues around (...) the interlocking potential necessary and sufficient conditions whereby these two phenomena are included within systems of interpretation in organisms. (shrink)
Introduction -- Fallacy # 1, you can never be sure -- Fallacy # 2, "there is no truth" -- Fallacy # 3, there are no absolutes -- Fallacy # 4, there is only physical-experiential reality -- Fallacy # 5, philosophy is boring : I should know, I tried it once -- Fallacy # 6, God does not exist -- Fallacy # 7, isn't it a contradiction to say "God is good" when we see so much evil in the world, I (...) mean with so many wars, famines, plagues, and whale hunting and everything? -- Fallacy # 8, if God knows all things, even the future, then we are not free -- Fallacy # 9, if God is all-powerful can He make a "PB&J" so big he couldn't eat it in one bite? -- Fallacy # 10, man has no human nature -- Fallacy # 11, my body belongs to me! -- Fallacy # 12, the human person is a spiritual person and since spirits are neither female and male, our sexual distinctions are merely social constructs -- Fallacy # 13, I'm free to do whatever I want -- Fallacy # 14, don't force your ethics down my throat! -- Fallacy # 15, you just admitted that there is a lot of divergence of opinon as to how we should act : therefore, there can be no universally binding law to govern us -- Fallacy # 16, I know he shouldn't do that, but he's a good guy -- Fallacy # 17, if it feels good, do it -- Fallacy # 18, ...yeah, but it's my right! -- Fallacy # 19, I vas just followink orders -- Fallacy # 20, ethics are a personal matter, so what I do is my own business! -- Fallacy # 21, it doesn't matter if two consenting adults are married or not, what counts is their sincerity -- Fallacy # 22, the traditional family structure is arbitrary : actually there are many other valid expressions of this same reality -- Fallacy # 23, I learned at my university that monogamy is an out-dated social structure imposed on us by a Judeo-Christian culture! -- Fallacy # 24, no one's going to tell me how many children I going to have! -- Fallacy # 25, I can do whatever makes me happy! (shrink)
This paper presents a critical analysis of code-semiotics, which we see as the latest attempt to create paradigmatic foundation for solving the question of the emergence of life and consciousness. We view code semiotics as a an attempt to revise the empirical scientific Darwinian paradigm, and to go beyond the complex systems, emergence, self-organization, and informational paradigms, and also the selfish gene theory of Dawkins and the Peircean pragmaticist semiotic theory built on the simultaneous types of evolution. As such it (...) is a new and bold attempt to use semiotics to solve the problems created by the evolutionary paradigm’s commitment to produce a theory of how to connect the two sides of the Cartesian dualistic view of physical reality and consciousness in a consistent way. (shrink)
This comment questions the logic and evidence base of Lakoff’s account of metaphor, embodiment, and the so-called neural theory of language. It calls for proper attention to linguistic and cultural diversity and opposes biophysical reductionism.