This is a tentative theory of quantum measurement performed on particles with unspecified mass. For such a particle, the center of the wave packet undergoes a classical motion which is a precious guide to our approach. The framework is manifestly covariant and a priori nonlocal. It allows for describing an irreversible process which lasts during a nonvanishing lapse of time. The possibility to measure a dynamical variable in an arbitrary slate is discussed. Our picture is most satisfactory if we focus (...) on free particles and constants of the motion. Two-particle systems and measurement of individual observables in a correlated slate are considered. (shrink)
Directly interacting particles are considered in the multitime formalism of predictive relativistic mechanics. When the equations of motion leave a phase-space volume invariant, it turns out that the phase average of any first integral, covariantly defined as a flux across a 7n-dimensional surface, is conserved. The Hamiltonian case is discussed, a class of simple models is exhibited, and a tentative definition of equilibrium is proposed.
The open Nambu string is revisited in the spirit of an early approach by Rohrlich. Strictly timelike motions only are considered. The proper-time of the center-of-mass is taken as preferred parameter. We propose a canonical formalism in terms of a countable infinity of variables, among them the modes. But the barycentric coordinates have noncommuting components, which makes possible a consistent quantization (in any dimension, four in particular) within the framework of a transverse space of states. If a maximal number of (...) modes is further fixed, a transverse Hilbert space emerges, where spacetime displacements preserve the (positive-definite) scalar product. (shrink)
It has become a truism that we live in so-called information societies where new information technologies have made information abundant. At the same time, information science has made us aware of many phenomena tied to the way we process information. This article explores a series of socio-epistemic information phenomena resulting from processes that track truth imperfectly: pluralistic ignorance, informational cascades, and belief polarization. It then couples these phenomena with the hypothesis that modern information technologies may lead to their amplification so (...) as to give rise to what are called “infostorms.” This points to the need for studying further the exact relations between information technologies and such infostorms, as well as the ways we may design technologies to avoid being misled away from what we have good reasons to believe. (shrink)
I am honoured and pleased to address you this evening on the life and work of an extraordinary American thinker, Charles Sanders Peirce. Although Peirce is perhaps most often remembered as the father of the philosophical movement known as pragmatism, I would like to impress upon you that he was also, and perhaps, especially, a logician, a working scientist and a mathematician. During his life time Peirce most often referred to himself, and was referred to by his colleagues, as a (...) logician. Furthermore, Peirce spent thirty years actively engaged in scientific research for the US Coast Survey. The National Archives in Washington, DC, holds some five thousand pages of Peirce's reports on this work. Finally, the four volumes of Peirce's mathematical papers edited by Professor Carolyn Eisele eloquently testify to his contributions to that field as well. (shrink)
In recent years, Charles Sanders Peirce has emerged, in the eyes of philosophers both in America and abroad, as one of America’s major philosophical thinkers. His work has forced us back to philosophical reflection about those basic issues that inevitably confront us as human beings, especially in an age of science. Peirce’s concern for experience, for what is actually encountered, means that his philosophy, even in its most technical aspects, forms a reflective commentary on actual life and on the world (...) in which it is lived. In Charles S. Peirce: On Norms and Ideals, Potter argues that Peirce’s doctrine of the normative sciences is essential to his pragmatism. No part of Peirce’s philosophy is bolder than his attempt to establish esthetics, ethics, and logic as the three normative sciences and to argue for the priority of esthetics among the trio. Logic, Potter cites, is normative because it governs thought and aims at truth; ethics is normative because it analyzes the ends to which thought should be directed; esthetics is normative and fundamental because it considers what it means to be an end of something good in itself. This study shows that pierce took seriously the trinity of normative sciences and demonstrates that these categories apply both to the conduct of man and to the workings of the cosmos. Professor Potter combines sympathetic and informed exposition with straightforward criticism and he deals in a sensible manner with the gaps and inconsistencies in Peirce’s thought. His study shows that Peirce was above all a cosmological and ontological thinker, one who combined science both as a method and as result with a conception of reasonable actions to form a comprehensive theory of reality. Peirce’s pragmatism, although it has to do with "action and the achievement of results, is not a glorification of action but rather a theory of the dynamic nature of things in which the "ideal" dimension of reality – laws, nature of things, tendencies, and ends – has genuine power for directing the cosmic order, including man, toward reasonable goals. (shrink)
A companion volume to On Understanding Understanding, this second edition incorporates corrections to the previous text and includes new readings. The works collected in this volume are mainly from the British Empiricists. The breadth of the selection is not so diverse that the pieces cannot be readily understood by a newcomer to Epistemology, they have a logical progression of development (from Locke to Berkeley to Hume), and all of the philosophers whose work is represented have had great influence on contemporary (...) Anglo-American philosophy. In the Introduction, Potter sets the selections in their historical context and urges the readers to form their own viewpoint in terms of the period’s contribution to the advancement of culture, politics, and society. He gives a concise summary of the Enlightenment period, demonstrating how and why Rationalism and Empiricism came about, and challenges the reader not to simply note the points of disparity between the two schools, but to notice the similarities of their common assumptions – both substantive and methodological. Readings in Epistemology, Second Edition is an excellent classroom tool. A biographical note on the philosopher, and list of suggested books for further study, heads each of the readings. Study Questions which stimulate discussion, are at the end of each piece. (shrink)
This collection of thirteen essays, when viewed together, offers a unique perspective on the history of American philosophy. It illuminates for the first time in book form, how thirteen major American philosophical thinkers viewed a problem of special interest in the American philosophical tradition: the relationship between experience and reflection. Written by well-known authorities on the figure about which he or she writes, the essays are arranged chronologically to highlight the changes and developments in thought from Puritanism to Pragmatism to (...) Process Philosophy. While Doctrine and Experience will be of particular interest to specialists in American Philosophy, there is also much to offer anyone interested in the intellectual and cultural history of the United States. In order of appearance, the essays are: "Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening" by John E. Smith "Heart and Head: The Mind of Thomas Jefferson" by Andrew J. Reck"Emerson and the American Future" by Robert C. Pollock"Chauncey Wright and the Pragmatists" by Edward Madden"Charles S. Peirce: Action Through Thought – The Ethics of Experience" by Vincent G. Potter"Life Is in the Transitions’: Radical Empiricism and Contemporary Concerns" by John J. McDermott"John Dewey and the Metaphysics of American Democracy" by Ralph W. Sleeper"Individualization and Unification in Sartre and Dewey" by Thelma Z. Levine"Josiah Royce: Anticipator of European Existentialism and Phenomenology" by Jacqueline Ann K. Kegley"The Transcendence of Materialism and Idealism in American Thought" by John Lachs"C. I. Lewis and the Pragmatic Tradition in American Philosophy" by Sandra Rosenthal"The Social Philosophy of George Herbert Mead" by David Miller"Existence as Transaction: A Whiteheadian Study of Causality" by Elizabeth Kraus. (shrink)
In Charles S. Peirce: On Norms and Ideals, Potter argues that Peirce's doctrine of the normative sciences is essential to his pragmatism. No part of Peirce's philosophy is bolder than his attempt to establish esthetics, ethics, and logic as the three normative sciences and to argue for the priority of esthetics among the trio. Logic, Potter cites, is normative because it governs thought and aims at truth; ethics is normative because it analyzes the ends to which thought should be directed; (...) esthetics is normative and fundamental because it considers what it means to be an end or something good in itself. This study shows that Peirce took seriously the trinity of normative sciences and demonstrates that these categories apply both to the conduct of man and to the workings of the cosmos. (shrink)
In this article, the author presents the view that C. S. Peirce’s thought contains ideas that can help clarify and resolve many of the philosophical problems raised by contemporary thinkers. In the author’s opinion, these thinkers are more predisposed towards understanding Peirce’s thoughts than those who lived in his own time. This article discusses two such problems: the substantiality of beings and the foundations of human knowledge.