Now in a new edition, this volume updates Davidson's exceptional Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984), which set out his enormously influential philosophy of language. The original volume remains a central point of reference, and a focus of controversy, with its impact extending into linguistic theory, philosophy of mind, and epistemology. Addressing a central question--what it is for words to mean what they do--and featuring a previously uncollected, additional essay, this work will appeal to a wide audience of philosophers, (...) linguists, and psychologists. (shrink)
This investigation takes full account of the findings of the social and historical sciences while offering a religious interpretation of the religions as different culturally conditioned responses to a transcendent Divine Reality.
Statutory interpretation involves the reconstruction of the meaning of a legal statement when it cannot be considered as accepted or granted. This phenomenon needs to be considered not only from the legal and linguistic perspective, but also from the argumentative one - which focuses on the strategies for defending a controversial or doubtful viewpoint. This book draws upon linguistics, legal theory, computing, and dialectics to present an argumentation-based approach to statutory interpretation. By translating and summarizing the existing legal (...) interpretative canons into eleven patterns of natural arguments - called argumentation schemes - the authors offer a system of argumentation strategies for developing, defending, assessing, and attacking an interpretation. Illustrated through major cases from both common and civil law, this methodology is summarized in diagrams and maps for application to computer sciences. These visuals help make the structures, strategies, and vulnerabilities of legal reasoning accessible to both legal professionals and laypeople. (shrink)
We argue that artificial networks are explainable and offer a novel theory of interpretability. Two sets of conceptual questions are prominent in theoretical engagements with artificial neural networks, especially in the context of medical artificial intelligence: Are networks explainable, and if so, what does it mean to explain the output of a network? And what does it mean for a network to be interpretable? We argue that accounts of “explanation” tailored specifically to neural networks have ineffectively reinvented the wheel. In (...) response to, we show how four familiar accounts of explanation apply to neural networks as they would to any scientific phenomenon. We diagnose the confusion about explaining neural networks within the machine learning literature as an equivocation on “explainability,” “understandability” and “interpretability.” To remedy this, we distinguish between these notions, and answer by offering a theory and typology of interpretation in machine learning. Interpretation is something one does to an explanation with the aim of producing another, more understandable, explanation. As with explanation, there are various concepts and methods involved in interpretation: Total or Partial, Global or Local, and Approximative or Isomorphic. Our account of “interpretability” is consistent with uses in the machine learning literature, in keeping with the philosophy of explanation and understanding, and pays special attention to medical artificial intelligence systems. (shrink)
Sue Campbell reinstates the personal as an important dimension in analytic philosophy of mind. She argues that the category of feelings has a unique role in psychological explanation: the expression of feelings is the attempt to communicate personal significance. To develop a model for affective meaning, the author moves attention away from the classic emotions to feelings that are more personal, inchoate, and idiosyncratic.
Philosophers of mind have long been interested in the relation between two ideas: that causality plays an essential role in our understanding of the mental; and that we can gain an understanding of belief and desire by considering the ascription of attitudes to people on the basis of what they say and do. Many have thought that those ideas are incompatible. William Child argues that there is in fact no tension between them, and that we should accept both. He shows (...) how we can have a causal understanding of the mental without having to see attitudes and experiences as internal, causally interacting entities and he defends this view against influential objections. The book offers detailed discussions of many of Donald Davidson's contributions to the philosophy of mind, and also considers the work of Dennett, Anscombe, McDowell, and Rorty, among others. Issues discussed include: the nature of intentional phenomena; causal explanation; the character of visual experience; psychological explanation; and the causal relevance of mental properties. (shrink)
In this book Mark Bevir and Jason Blakely set out to make the most comprehensive case yet for an 'interpretive' or hermeneutic approach to the social sciences. Interpretive approaches are a major growth area in the social sciences today. This is because they offer a full-blown alternative to the behavioralism, institutionalism, rational choice, and other quasi-scientific approaches that dominate the study of human behavior. In addition to presenting a systematic case for interpretivism and a critique of scientism, Bevir and Blakely (...) also propose their own uniquely 'anti-naturalist 'notion of an interpretive approach. This anti-naturalist framework encompasses the insights of philosophers ranging from Michel Foucault and Hans-Georg Gadamer to Charles Taylor and Ludwig Wittgenstein, while also resolving dilemmas that have plagued rival philosophical defenses of interpretivism. In addition, working social scientists are given detailed discussions of a distinctly interpretive approach to methods and empirical research. The book draws on the latest social science to cover everything from concept formation and empirical inquiry to ethics, democratic theory, and public policy. An anti-naturalist approach to interpretive social science offers nothing short of a sweeping paradigm shift in the study of human beings and society. This book will be of interest to all who seek a humanistic alternative to the scientism that overwhelms the study of human beings today. (shrink)
Researchers have converged on the idea that a pragmatic understanding of communication can shed important light on the evolution of language. Accordingly, animal communication scientists have been keen to adopt insights from pragmatics research. Some authors couple their appeal to pragmatic aspects of communication with the claim that there are fundamental asymmetries between signalers and receivers in non-human animals. For example, in the case of primate vocal calls, signalers are said to produce signals unintentionally and mindlessly, whereas receivers are thought (...) to engage in contextual interpretation to derive the significance of signals. We argue that claims about signaler-receiver asymmetries are often confused. This is partly because their authors conflate two conceptions of pragmatics, which generate different accounts of the explanatory target for accounts of the evolution of language. Here we distinguish these conceptions, in order to help specify more precisely the proper explanatory target for language evolution research. (shrink)
This book applies philosophical hermeneutics to biblical studies. Whereas traditional studies of the Bible limit their analysis to the exploration of the texts' original historical sense, this book discusses how to move beyond these issues to a consideration of biblical texts' existential significance for the present. In response to the rejection of biblical significance in the late nineteenth century and the accompanying crisis of nihilism, B. H. McLean argues that the philosophical thought of Heidegger, Bultmann, Gadamer, Habermas, Ricoeur, Levinas, Deleuze (...) and Guattari provides an alternative to historically oriented approaches to biblical interpretation. He uses basic principles drawn from these philosophers' writings to create a framework for a new 'post-historical' mode of hermeneutic inquiry that transcends the subject-based epistemological structure of historical positivism. (shrink)
In this particularly well written volume Graeme Hirst presents a theoretically motivated foundation for semantic interpretation (conceptual analysis) by computer, and shows how this framework facilitates the resolution of both lexical and syntactic ambiguities.
Refutes the methodological separatists who hold that the logic of explanation and testing in the human sciences is fundamentally different than in the natural sciences, and develops complementary accounts for interpretation and explanation, ...
In the first half of this book, I offer a theory of fictional content or, as it is sometimes known, ‘fictional truth’.The theory of fictional content I argue for is ‘extreme intentionalism’. The basic idea – very roughly, in ways which are made precise in the book - is that the fictional content of a particular text is equivalent to exactly what the author of the text intended the reader to imagine. The second half of the book is concerned with (...) showing how extreme intentionalism and the lessons learnt from it can illuminate cognate questions in the philosophy of fiction and imagination. For instance, I argue, my position helps us to explain how fiction can provide us with reliable testimony ; it helps explain the phenomenon of imaginative resistance ; and it fits with, and so supports, a persuasive theory of the nature of fiction itself. In my final chapter, I show how attending to intentionalist practices of interpreting fictional content can illuminate the nature of propositional imagining itself. (shrink)
This book shows how research in linguistic pragmatics, philosophy of language, and rhetoric can be connected through argumentation to analyze a recognizably common strategy used in political and everyday conversation, namely the distortion of another’s words in an argumentative exchange. Straw man argumentation refers to the modification of a position by misquoting, misreporting or wrenching the original speaker’s statements from their context in order to attack them more easily or more effectively. Through 63 examples taken from different contexts (including political (...) and forensic discourses and dialogs) and 20 legal cases, the book analyzes the explicit and implicit types of straw man, shows how to assess the correctness of a quote or a report, and illustrates the arguments that can be used for supporting an interpretation and defending against a distortion. The tools of argumentation theory, a discipline aimed at investigating the uses of arguments by combining insights from pragmatics, logic, and communication, are applied to provide an original account of interpretation and reporting, and to describe and illustrate tactics and procedures that can be used and implemented for practical purposes.. This book will appeal to scholars in the fields of political communication, communication in general, argumentation theory, rhetoric and pragmatics, as well as to people working in public speech, speech writing, and discourse analysis. (shrink)
In this wide-ranging and authoritative volume, leading scholars engage with the philosophy and writings of Wilhelm Dilthey, a key figure in nineteenth-century thought. Their chapters cover his innovative philosophical strategies and explore how they can be understood in relation to their historical situation, as well as presenting incisive interpretations of Dilthey's arguments, including their development, their content, and their influence on later thought. A key focus is on how Dilthey's work remains relevant to current debates around art and literature, the (...) biographical and autobiographical self, knowledge, language, science, culture, history, society, and psychology and the embodied mind. The volume will be important for researchers in hermeneutics, aesthetics, practical philosophy, and the history of German philosophy, providing a valuable introduction to Dilthey's work as well as detailed critical analysis of its ongoing significance. (shrink)
In _Feminist Interpretations of John Rawls_, Ruth Abbey collects eight essays responding to the work of John Rawls from a feminist perspective. An impressive introduction by the editor provides a chronological overview of English-language feminist engagements with Rawls from his Theory of Justice onwards. She surveys the range of issues canvassed by feminist readers of Rawls, as well as critics’ wide disagreement about the value of Rawls’s corpus for feminist purposes. The eight essays that follow testify to the continuing ambivalence (...) among feminist readers of Rawls. From the perspectives of political theory and moral, social, and political philosophy, the essayists address particular aspects of Rawls’s work and apply it to a variety of worldly practices relating to gender inequality and the family, to the construction of disability, to justice in everyday relationships, and to human rights on an international level. The overall effect is to give a sense of the broad spectrum of possible feminist critical responses to Rawls, ranging from rejection to adoption. Aside from the editor, the contributors are Amy R. Baehr, Eileen Hunt Botting, Elizabeth Brake, Clare Chambers, Nancy J. Hirschmann, Anthony Simon Laden, Janice Richardson, and Lisa H. Schwartzman. (shrink)
This book engages in an analytical and realistic enquiry into legal interpretation and a selection of related matters including legal gaps, judicial fictions, judicial precedent, legal defeasibility, and legislation. Chapter 1 provides an outline of the central theoretical and methodological tenets of analytical realism. Chapter 2 presents a conceptual apparatus concerning the phenomenon of legal interpretation, which it subsequently applies to investigate the truth-in-legal-interpretation issue. Chapters 3 to 6 argue for a theory of legal interpretation - (...) pragmatic realism - by outlining a theory of interpretive games, revisiting the debate between literalism and contextualism in contemporary philosophy of language, and underscoring the many shortcomings of the container-retrieval view and pragmatic formalism. In turn, Chapter 7, focusing on comparative legal theory, advocates an interpretation-sensitive theory of legal gaps, as opposed to purely normativist ones. Chapter 8 explores the connection between judicial reasoning and judicial fictions, casting light on the structure and purpose of fictional reasoning. Chapter 9 provides an analytical enquiry into judicial precedent, examining a variety of ideal-typical systems in terms of their normative or de iure relevance. Chapter 10 addresses defeasibility and legal indeterminacy. In closing, Chapter 11 highlights the central tenets of a realistic theory of legislation. (shrink)
Karl Ameriks here collects his most important essays to provide a uniquely detailed and up-to-date analysis of Kant's main arguments in all three major areas of his work: theoretical philosophy (Critique of Pure Reason), practical philosophy (Critique of Practical Reason), and aesthetics (Critique of Judgment). Guiding the volume is Ameriks's belief that one cannot properly understand any one of these Critiques except in the context of the other two. The essays can be read individually, but read together they offer a (...) comprehensive guide to the main themes of the most influential of all modern philosophical systems. (shrink)
The Philosophy of Psychiatry is a unique area of research because the nature of the subject matter leads to quite distinct methodological issues. Naturalism, Interpretation, and Mental Disorder is an original new work focusing on the challenges we face when trying to interpret and understand mental illness. The book integrates a hermeneutical perspective, and shows how such an approach can reveal important facts about historical sources in psychiatry and the nature of dialogue in the therapeutic encounter. In addition, the (...) book demonstrates how such an approach can be valuable for understanding the concept of mental disorder itself. Naturalism, Interpretation, and Mental Disorder brings fresh thinking to the philosophy of psychiatry, and will be of interest to students and scholars in the fields of Mental Health and Philosophy. (shrink)
Paul Ricœur has been one of the most influential and intellectually challenging philosophers of the last century, and his work has contributed to a vast array of fields: studies of language, of history, of ethics and politics. However, he has up until recently only had a minor impact on the philosophy of technology. Interpreting Technology aims to put Ricœur’s work at the centre of contemporary philosophical thinking concerning technology. It investigates his project of critical hermeneutics for rethinking established theories of (...) technology, the growing ethical and political impacts of technologies on the modern lifeworld, and ways of analysing global sociotechnical systems such as the Internet. Ricœur’s philosophy allows us to approach questions such as: how could narrative theory enhance our understanding of technological mediation? How can our technical practices be informed by the ethical aim of living the good life, with and for others, in just institutions? And how does the emerging global media landscape shape our sense of self, and our understanding of history? These questions are more timely than ever, considering the enormous impact technologies have on daily life in the 21st century: on how we shape ourselves with health apps, how we engage with one-another through social media, and how we act politically through digital platforms. (shrink)
With his _An Interpretation of Nietzsche’s "On the Uses and Disadvantage of History for Life_", Anthony K. Jensen shows how 'timely' Nietzsche’s second "Untimely Meditation" really is. This comprehensive and insightful study contextualizes and analyzes a wide range of Nietzsche’s earlier thoughts about history: teleology, typology, psychology, memory, classical philology, Hegelianism, and the role historiography plays in modern culture. _On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life_ is shown to be a ‘timely’ work, too, insofar as it weaves (...) together a number of Nietzsche's most important influences and thematic directions at that time: ancient culture, science, epistemology, and the thought of Schopenhauer and Burckhardt. Rather than dismiss it as a mere ‘early’ work, Jensen shows how the text resonates in Nietzsche’s later perspectivism, his theory of subjectivity, and Eternal Recurrence. And by using careful philological analysis of the text’s composition history, Jensen is in position to fully elucidate and evaluate Nietzsche’s arguments in their proper contexts. As such Jensen’s _Interpretation_ should restore Nietzsche’s second "Untimely Meditation" to a prominent place among 19 th Century philosophies of history. (shrink)
_Interpretation and Construction _examines the interpretation and products of intentional human behavior, focusing primarily on issues in art, law, and everyday speech. Focuses on artistic interpretation, but also includes extended discussion of interpretation of the law and everyday speech and communication. Written by one of the leading theorists of interpretation. Theoretical discussions are consistently centered around examples for ease of comprehension.
Unlike most current researchers in philosophy and psychology, who view interpretation as a way to understand the minds and behavior of others, Radu J. Bogdan sets out to establish a new evolutionary and practical view of interpretation. According to Bogdan, the ability to interpret others' mental states has evolved under communal, political, and epistemic pressures to enable us to cope with the impact of other organisms on our own goals in the competition to survive. Interpretation evolved among (...) primates by natural and then cultural selection. As an adaptation, it is a competence in the form of a battery of practical skills that serve the interpreter's interests in social interactions. Evolutionary theory does not just deepen our understanding of interpretation; without it, we cannot understand what interpretation is and how it does its job. Interpreting Minds raises many thought-provoking issues for philosophers of mind and culture; evolutionary, developmental, and social psychologists; ethologists; cognitive and cultural anthropologists; evolutionary biologists; and others interested in cognitive development. (shrink)
Interpreting Figurative Meaning critically evaluates the recent empirical work from psycholinguistics and neuroscience examining the successes and difficulties associated with interpreting figurative language. There is now a huge, often contradictory literature on how people understand figures of speech. Gibbs and Colston argue that there may not be a single theory or model that adequately explains both the processes and products of figurative meaning experience. Experimental research may ultimately be unable to simply adjudicate between current models in psychology, linguistics and philosophy (...) of how figurative meaning is interpreted. Alternatively, the authors advance a broad theoretical framework, motivated by ideas from 'dynamical systems theory', that describes the multiple, interacting influences which shape people's experiences of figurative meaning in discourse. This book details past research and theory, offers a critical assessment of this work and sets the stage for a new vision of figurative experience in human life. (shrink)
What knowledge would suffice to yield an interpretation of an arbitrary utterance of a language when such knowledge is based on evidence plausibly available to a nonspeaker of that language? it is argued that it is enough to know a theory of truth for the language and that the theory satisfies tarski's 'convention t' and that it gives an optimal fit to data about sentences held true, Under specified conditions, By native speakers.
This volume is a “state-of-the-art‘ assessment of comparative philosophy written by some of the leading practitioners of the field. While its primary focus is on gaining methodological clarity regarding the comparative enterprise of “interpreting across boundaries,‘ the book also contains new substantive essays on Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and European thought. The contributors are Roger T. Ames, William Theodore de Bary, Wing-tsit Chan, A. S. Cua, Eliot Deutsch, Charles Hartshorne, Daya Krishna, Gerald James Larson, Sengaku Mayeda, Hajime Nakamura, Raimundo Panikkar, Karl (...) H. Potter, Henry Rosemont, Jr., Ben-Ami Scharfstein, Ninian Smart, Fritz Staal, and Frederick J. Streng. Comparative or cross-cultural philosophy can be seen as a relative newcomer to the field of philosophy. It has its antecedents in the emergence of comparative studies in nineteenth-century European intellectual history, as well as in the sequence of East-West Philosophers’ Conferences at the University of Hawaii, which began in 1939. This book will prove to be of great significance in helping to define a field that is only now becoming fully self-conscious, methodologically and substantively, about its role and function in the larger enterprises of philosophy and comparative studies. (shrink)
This 2003 book offers an interpretation of Heidegger's major work, Being and Time. Unlike those who view Heidegger as an idealist, Taylor Carman argues that Heidegger is best understood as a realist. Amongst the distinctive features of the book are an interpretation explicitly oriented within a Kantian framework and an analysis of Dasein in relation to recent theories of intentionality, notably those of Dennett and Searle. Rigorous, jargon-free and deftly argued this book will be necessary reading for all (...) serious students of Heidegger. (shrink)
Laurent Stern here provides a concise account of the difficulties that arise within the interpretive process and in the context of interpretive conflict. Speakers and agents are expected by others to be occasionally insincere. Attempting to be tolerant of alternative interpretations, and dealing with the insincerity of others, often motivates interpreters themselves to become insincere. Accordingly, moral issues emerge for both speakers and interpreters. Interpretive Reasoning discusses such issues in the literature on interpretation. Stern offers a carefully argued account (...) of the very idea of interpretation. What are the constraints on interpretations? What are our grounds for demanding that others agree with our interpretations? How do we support our interpretations? What are the types of interpretations we encounter? How are problems of first-person authority and self-knowledge connected with interpreting? While the author argues for interpretations supported by principles rather than by the consensus of interpreters, he also shows that even well-supported interpretations may be mistaken, and that some interpretive conflicts are interminable. Although this is a book in philosophy, scholars and students in the humanities, the social sciences, and disciplines concerned with interpretive reasoning can read it profitably. (shrink)
We have made huge progress in understanding the biology of mental illnesses, but comparatively little in interpreting them at the psychological level. The eminent philosopher Jonathan Glover believes that there is real hope of progress in the human interpretation of disordered minds. -/- The challenge is that the inner worlds of people with psychiatric disorders can seem strange, like alien landscapes, and this strangeness can deter attempts at understanding. Do people with disorders share enough psychology with other people to (...) make interpretation possible? To explore this question, Glover tackles the hard cases—the inner worlds of hospitalized violent criminals, of people with delusions, and of those diagnosed with autism or schizophrenia. Their first-person accounts offer glimpses of inner worlds behind apparently bizarre psychiatric conditions and allow us to begin to learn the “language” used to express psychiatric disturbance. Art by psychiatric patients, or by such complex figures as van Gogh and William Blake, give insight when interpreted from Glover’s unique perspective. He also draws on dark chapters in psychiatry’s past to show the importance of not medicalizing behavior that merely transgresses social norms. And finally, Glover suggests values, especially those linked with agency and identity, to guide how the boundaries of psychiatry should be drawn. -/- Seamlessly blending philosophy, science, literature, and art, Alien Landscapes? is both a sustained defense of humanistic psychological interpretation and a compelling example of the rich and generous approach to mental life for which it argues. (shrink)
Interpretive Archaeologies provides a forum for debate between varied approaches to studying the past. It reflects the profound shift in the direction of archaeological study in the last fifteen years. The book argues that archaeologists must understand their own subjective approaches to the material they study as well as recognize how past researchers imposed their value systems on the evidence they presented. The book's authors, drawn from Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia, represent many different strands of archaeology. They address (...) the philosophical issues involved in interpretation and the origins of meaning in the evolution and emergence of "mind" in early hominids. They discuss the ways in which material culture is understood and presented in museums, and how the nature of history is itself in flux. (shrink)
The term probability can be used in two main senses. In the frequency interpretation it is a limiting ratio in a sequence of repeatable events. In the Bayesian view, probability is a mental construct representing uncertainty. This 2002 book is about these two types of probability and investigates how, despite being adopted by scientists and statisticians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Bayesianism was discredited as a theory of scientific inference during the 1920s and 1930s. Through the examination of (...) a dispute between two British scientists, the author argues that a choice between the two interpretations is not forced by pure logic or the mathematics of the situation, but depends on the experiences and aims of the individuals involved. The book should be of interest to students and scientists interested in statistics and probability theories and to general readers with an interest in the history, sociology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
This book is the companion to Difference and Disavowal: The Trauma of Eros (Stanford University Press, 2000), which dealt with the psychoanalytic clinical problem of resistance to interpretation. The key to this resistance is the unconscious registration and repudiation (disavowal) of the reality of difference. The surprising generality of this resistance intersects with Nietzsche's, Heidegger's, and Derrida's understanding of how and why difference is in general the “unthought of metaphysics.” All three see metaphysics engaged with a “registration and repudiation (...) of difference,” and all three rethink interpretation in relation to this question. The synthesis of these theories of interpretation and difference provides the philosophical foundations for a new thinking of how interpretation functions, and is a critical intersection of deconstruction and psychoanalysis. (shrink)
The genre to which an artwork belongs affects how it is to be interpreted and evaluated. An account of genre and of the criteria for genre membership should explain these interpretative and evaluative effects. Contrary to conceptions of genres as categories distinguished by the features of the works that belong to them, I argue that these effects are to be explained by conceiving of genres as categories distinguished by certain of the purposes that the works belonging to them are intended (...) to serve. (shrink)
Cet ouvrage met en œuvre une confrontation philosophique entre Heidegger et Patočka, deux figures majeures de la tradition phénoménologique, en prenant pour fil conducteur leurs interprétations respectives des concepts fondamentaux de la Physique d’Aristote. Mais tout d’abord, le point d’accord : l’herméneutique de l’aristotélisme représente aux yeux de Heidegger et de Patočka une première entrée pensante dans l’affaire même de la pensée, où le mouvement, irréductible au déplacement d’un étant dans l’espace, désigne le procès d’advenue au paraître qui sous-tend l’éclosion (...) à l’être des choses. Aristote met au jour la différence ontologique entre l’être et l’étant, en sorte que la Physique constitue de ce point de vue pour Heidegger et Patočka le véritable Grundbuch de la philosophie occidentale. Cependant, Heidegger et Patočka ne comprennent pas de la même manière le sens de ce mouvement ontologique au cœur de l’être. À travers l’examen de ces différences, l’enjeu de cet ouvrage est de mettre en évidence un point de tension au sein de la phénoménologie qui n’a pas encore été suffisamment remarqué, entre d’une part l’approche heideggérienne qui soumet l’être au sens, et s’expose de la sorte au risque d’un anthropocentrisme ontologique larvé. Et d’autre part, la tentative d’un réalisme phénoménologique, dont Patočka fut l’un des représentants, dans la double mesure où il brise l’identité classique de l’être et de l’intelligibilité, et où il pense l’homme comme radicalement décentré, prétendant en finir ainsi avec le sujet et tous ses avatars ; réalisme radical dont on peut toutefois se demander s’il ne met pas à mal le paradigme phénoménologique de l’a priori de la corrélation entre l’apparaître et ses modes subjectifs de donnée, et s’il ne remet pas en cause ainsi la possibilité même de la phénoménologie en la poussant au-delà de sa propre limite. (shrink)
Philosophers of quantum mechanics have generally addressed exceedingly simple systems. Laura Ruetsche offers a much-needed study of the interpretation of more complicated systems, and an underexplored family of physical theories, such as quantum field theory and quantum statistical mechanics, showing why they repay philosophical attention. She guides those familiar with the philosophy of ordinary QM into the philosophy of 'QM infinity', by presenting accessible introductions to relevant technical notions and the foundational questions they frame--and then develops and defends answers (...) to some of those questions. Finally, Ruetsche highlights ties between the foundational investigation of QM infinity and philosophy more broadly construed, in particular by using the interpretive problems discussed to motivate new ways to think about the nature of physical possibility and the problem of scientific realism. (shrink)
This volume presents an exploration of the intersection between the work of Michel Foucault and feminist theory, focusing on Foucault's theories of sex/body, identity/subject, and power/politics. Like the other books in this series, this volume seeks to bring a feminist perspective to bear on the interpretation of a major figure in the philosophical canon. In the case of Michel Foucault, however, this aim is somewhat ironic because Foucault sees his work as disrupting that very canon. Since feminists see their (...) work as similarly disruptive, Foucault and feminism would seem to find much common ground, but, as the contributors to this collection reveal, the matter is not so simple. Foucault, like many feminists, is centrally concerned with questions related to sexuality and the body. This concern has led both Foucault and feminists to challenge the founding concept of the modernist philosophical canon: the disembodied transcendental subject. For both Foucault and feminists, this subject must be deconstructed and a new concept of identity articulated. The exciting possibilities of a Foucaultian approach to issues of the subject and identity, especially as they relate to sex and the body, are detailed in several of the essays collected here. Despite these possibilities, however, Foucault's approach has raised serious questions about an equally crucial area of feminist thought-politics. Some feminist critics of Foucault have argued that his deconstruction of the concept "woman" also deconstructs the possibility of a feminist politics. Several essays explore the implications of this deconstruction for feminist politics and suggest that a Foucaultian feminist politics is not viable. Overall, this collection illustrates the range of interest Foucault's thought has generated among feminist thinkers and both the advantages and liabilities of his approach for the development of feminist theory and politics. Contributors are Nancy Fraser, Nancy Hartsock, Judith Butler, Ellen L. McCallum, Linda Alcoff, Honi Haber, Jana Sawicki, Jon Simons, Monique Deveaux, Moya Lloyd, Amy Allen, and Terry Aladjem. (shrink)
How is that when scientists need some piece of mathematics through which to frame their theory, it is there to hand? What has been called 'the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics' sets a challenge for philosophers. Some have responded to that challenge by arguing that mathematics is essentially anthropocentric in character, whereas others have pointed to the range of structures that mathematics offers. Otavio Bueno and Steven French offer a middle way, which focuses on the moves that have to be made (...) in both the mathematics and the relevant physics in order to bring the two into appropriate relation. This relation can be captured via the inferential conception of the applicability of mathematics, which is formulated in terms of immersion, inference, and interpretation. In particular, the roles of idealisations and of surplus structure in science and mathematics respectively are brought to the fore and captured via an approach to models and theories that emphasize the partiality of the available information: the partial structures approach. The discussion as a whole is grounded in a number of case studies drawn from the history of quantum physics, and extended to contest recent claims that the explanatory role of certain mathematical structures in scientific practice supports a realist attitude towards them. The overall conclusion is that the effectiveness of mathematics does not seem unreasonable at all once close attention is paid to how it is actually applied in practice. (shrink)