Purpose: Examination of the main arguments for radical constructivism and the critical arguments put forward against it. Findings: Although there is no reason to doubt the value of constructivism as such, it can be stated that any epistemological radicalism lacks plausibility. There is ample evidence that we still can adopt a critical realist outlook, even if every part of our world view is a construction. Implications: We should engage ourselves in the development of an anti-metaphysical, non-objectivist epistemology. By far the (...) most promising contribution should be a version of pragmatism. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the target article “Arguments Opposing the Radicalism of Radical Constructivism” by Gernot Saalmann. First paragraph: Gernot Saalmann presents in his paper an exposition of radical constructivism that throws together such diverse thinkers as von Glasersfeld, Maturana, Varela and Luhmann. He presents their views as something of a unified front, although actually only Glasersfeld consistently represents radical constructivism. In his exhibition and critique of radical constructivism Saalmann fluctuates between ontological, epistemological and neurophysiological arguments that (...) have often little bearing on the original ideas of radical constructivism. For example, his discussion on sensory coding (§16) is hardly relevant to the basic tenets of radical constructivism. “Sensory coding” entails that there is information in the environment that can be transmitted to the organism through senses; a model denied by radical constructivism (see e.g. Glasersfeld 1995a, pp. 115–116). (shrink)
In The Varieties of Reference, Gareth Evans argues that the content of perceptual experience is nonconceptual, in a sense I shall explain momentarily. More recently, in his book Mind and World, John McDowell has argued that the reasons Evans gives for this claim are not compelling and, moreover, that Evans’s view is a version of “the Myth of the Given”: More precisely, Evans’s view is alleged to suffer from the same sorts of problems that plague sense-datum theories of perception. In (...) particular, McDowell argues that perceptual experience must be within “the space of reasons,” that perception must be able to give us reasons for, that is, to justify, our beliefs about the world: And, according to him, no state that does not have conceptual content can be a reason for a belief. Now, there are many ways in which Evans’s basic idea, that perceptual content is nonconceptual, might be developed; some of these, I shall argue, would be vulnerable to the objections McDowell brings against him. But I shall also argue that there is a way of developing it that is not vulnerable to these objections. (shrink)
Some ways of defending inequality against the charge that it is unjust require premises that egalitarians find easy to dismiss—statements, for example, about the contrasting deserts and/or entitlements of unequally placed people. But a defense of inequality suggested by John Rawls and elaborated by Brian Barry has often proved irresistible even to people of egalitarian outlook. The persuasive power of this defense of inequality has helped to drive authentic egalitarianism, of an old-fashioned, uncompromising kind, out of contemporary political philosophy. The (...) present essay is part of an attempt to bring it back in. (shrink)
1. The present paper is a continuation of my “Self-Ownership, World Ownership, and Equality,” which began with a description of the political philosophy of Robert Nozick. I contended in that essay that the foundational claim of Nozick's philosophy is the thesis of self-ownership, which says that each person is the morally rightful owner of his own person and powers, and, consequently, that each is free to use those powers as he wishes, provided that he does not deploy them aggressively against (...) others. To be sure, he may not harm others, and he may, if necessary, be forced not to harm them, but he should never be forced to help them, as people are in fact forced to help others, according to Nozick, by redistributive taxation. (shrink)
Reminiscences of Peter, by P. Oppenheim.--Natural kinds, by W. V. Quine.--Inductive independence and the paradoxes of confirmation, by J. Hintikka.--Partial entailment as a basis for inductive logic, by W. C. Salmon.--Are there non-deductive logics?, by W. Sellars.--Statistical explanation vs. statistical inference, by R. C. Jeffre--Newcomb's problem and two principles of choice, by R. Nozick.--The meaning of time, by A. Grünbaum.--Lawfulness as mind-dependent, by N. Rescher.--Events and their descriptions: some considerations, by J. Kim.--The individuation of events, by D. Davidson.--On properties, by (...) H. Putnam.--A method for avoiding the Curry paradox, by F. B. Fitch.--Publications (1934-1969) by Carl G. Hempel (p. -270). (shrink)
As opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ approach, precision medicine uses relevant biological, medical, behavioural and environmental information about a person to further personalize their healthcare. This could mean better prediction of someone’s disease risk and more effective diagnosis and treatment if they have a condition. Big data allows for far more precision and tailoring than was ever before possible by linking together diverse datasets to reveal hitherto-unknown correlations and causal pathways. But it also raises ethical issues relating to (...) the balancing of interests, viability of anonymization, familial and group implications, as well as genetic discrimination. This article analyses these issues in light of the values of public benefit, justice, harm minimization, transparency, engagement and reflexivity and applies the deliberative balancing approach found in theEthical Framework for Big Data in Health and Research to a case study on clinical genomic data sharing. Please refer to that article for an explanation of how this framework is to be used, including a full explanation of the key values involved and the balancing approach used in the case study at the end. Our discussion is meant to be of use to those involved in the practice as well as governance and oversight of precision medicine to address ethical concerns that arise in a coherent and systematic manner. (shrink)
Abstract G.A. Cohen has produced an influential criticism of libertarian?ism that posits joint ownership of everything in the world other than labor, with each joint owner having a veto right over any potential use of the world. According to Cohen, in that world rationality would require that wealth be divided equally, with no differential accorded to talent, ability, or effort. A closer examination shows that Cohen's argument rests on two central errors of reasoning and does not support his egalitarian conclusions, (...) even granting his assumption of joint ownership. That assumption was rejected by Locke, Pufendorf and other writers on property for reasons that Cohen does not rebut. (shrink)
Editor James Fetzer presents an analytical and historical introduction and a comprehensive bibliography together with selections of many of Carl G. Hempel's most important studies to give students and scholars an ideal opportunity to appreciate the enduring contributions of one of the most influential philosophers of science of the 20th century.
This article examines the main aspects of Husserl's phenomenology, which are analyzed in "Appearance and Sense" by Gustav Shpet: the relation between sense and comprehension and between noesis and noema. Shpet emphasizes the hermeneutical theme of "comprehension" as a resolutive dimension to solve aspects not clarified by Husserl. Shpet's critical enquiry, in the course of his subsequent observation, converge into an hermeneutical logic. Shpet identifies the centrality of language as a form of thinking, through the recovery of Humbodt's meaning of (...) the "inner form". (shrink)
In ‘Wittgenstein on Language and Rules’, Professor N. Malcolm took us to task for misinterpreting Wittgenstein's arguments on the relationship between the concept of following a rule and the concept of community agreement on what counts as following a given rule. Not that we denied that there are any grammatical connections between these concepts. On the contrary, we emphasized that a rule and an act in accord with it make contact in language. Moreover we argued that agreement in judgments and (...) in definitions is indeed necessary for a shared language. But we denied that the concept of a language is so tightly interwoven with the concept of a community of speakers as to preclude its applicabilty to someone whose use of signs is not shared by others. Malcolm holds that ‘This is an unwitting reduction of Wittgenstein's originality. That human agreement is necessary for “shared” language is not so striking a thought as that it is essential for language simpliciter.’ Though less striking, we believe that it has the merit of being a true thought. We shall once more try to show both that it is correct, and that it is a correct account of Wittgenstein's arguments. (shrink)
Among the most outstanding discoveries of the last century is one that is not quite as momentous as the theory of relativity or cybernetics. It may even still be enigmatic. It has no one single author, it is not expressed in a single formula, conception, or invention. Nonetheless it is worth all the others combined.