This volume has 41 chapters written to honor the 100th birthday of Mario Bunge. It celebrates the work of this influential Argentine/Canadian physicist and philosopher. Contributions show the value of Bunge’s science-informed philosophy and his systematic approach to philosophical problems. The chapters explore the exceptionally wide spectrum of Bunge’s contributions to: metaphysics, methodology and philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of physics, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of social science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of technology, moral philosophy, social and political (...) philosophy, medical philosophy, and education. The contributors include scholars from 16 countries. Bunge combines ontological realism with epistemological fallibilism. He believes that science provides the best and most warranted knowledge of the natural and social world, and that such knowledge is the only sound basis for moral decision making and social and political reform. Bunge argues for the unity of knowledge. In his eyes, science and philosophy constitute a fruitful and necessary partnership. Readers will discover the wisdom of this approach and will gain insight into the utility of cross-disciplinary scholarship. This anthology will appeal to researchers, students, and teachers in philosophy of science, social science, and liberal education programmes. 1. Introduction Section I. An Academic Vocation Section II. Philosophy Section III. Physics and Philosophy of Physics Section IV. Cognitive Science and Philosophy of Mind Section V. Sociology and Social Theory Section VI. Ethics and Political Philosophy Section VII. Biology and Philosophy of Biology Section VIII. Mathematics Section IX. Education Section X. Varia Section XI. Bibliography. (shrink)
TARTALOM Előszó 5 Módszer és problémái "A tiszta ész kritikájá"-ban 12 Kari Jaspers Nyugat és Kelet között 28 A szent, avagy a fény csendes hangjai 51 "A lélek és a formák"-tól az Ontológiáig 67 Georg Simmel és a titok szociológiája 89 Beavatás, hallgatás, álarc 117 A titok és kategoriális szerkezete 134 Titok és tilalom 154 Az összeesküvés 167 A "volt titkok" 196 Elzártság, elfedettség és rejtőzködés Heideggernél 223 Utószó 307 Jegyzetek 313.
The article is devoted to the memory of Vyacheslav Semenovich Stepin and Nikita Nikolaevich Moiseev, whose multifaceted work was integrally focused on philosophical, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research of the key ideas and principles of universal human-dimensional evolutionism. Other remarkable Russian scientists V.I. Vernadsky, S.P. Kurdyumov, S.P. Kapitsa, D.S. Chernavsky worked in the same tradition of universal evolutionism. While V.I. Vernadsky and N.N. Moiseev had been the originators of that scientific approach, V.S. Stepin provided philosophical foundations for the ideas of those (...) remarkable scientists and thinkers. The scientific legacy of V.S. Stepin and N.N. Moiseev maintained the formation of a new quality of research into the philosophy of science and technology as well as into the philosophy of culture. This new quality is multidimensional and it is difficult to define unambiguously, but we presume the formation of those areas of philosophical knowledge as constructively oriented languages of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary co-participation of philosophy in the convergent-evolutionary development of scientific knowledge in general. In this regard, attention is paid to V.S. Stepin’s affirmations about non-classical nature of modern social and humanitarian knowledge. Quantum mechanics teaches us that the reality revealed through it is a hybrid construct, or symbiosis, of both mean and object of cognition. Therefore, the very act of cognitive observation constructs quantum reality. Thus, it is very close to the process of cognition in modern sociology and psychology. V.S. Stepin insisted that these principles are applicable to all complex selfdeveloping systems, and such are all “human-dimensional” objects of modern humanities. In all the phases of homeostasis changes, or crises, there is necessarily a share of chaos, instability, uncertainty in the selection process of future development scenarios, which is ineliminably affected by our observation. Therefore, a cognitive observer in the humanities should be considered as a concept of post-non-classical rationality, that is as an observer of complexity. (shrink)
As philosophers of mind we seem to hold in common no very clear view about the relevance that work in psychology or the neurosciences may or may not have to our own favourite questions—even if we call the subject ‘philosophical psychology’. For example, in the literature we find articles on pain some of which do, some of which don't, rely more or less heavily on, for example, the work of Melzack and Wall; the puzzle cases used so extensively in discussions (...) of personal identity are drawn sometimes from the pleasant exercise of scientific fantasy, at times from surprising reports of scientific fact; and there are those who deny, as well as those who affirm, the importance of the discovery of rapid-eye-movement sleep to the philosophical treatment of dreaming. A general account of the relation between scientific, and philosophical, psychology is long overdue and of the first importance. Here I shall limit myself to just one area where the two seem to connect, discussing one type of neuropsychological research and its relevance to questions in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of psychology. (shrink)
We introduce a new model of reduction inspired by Kemeny and Oppenheim’s model [Kemeny & Oppenheim 1956] and argue that this model is operative in a “ruthlessly reductive” part of current neuroscience. Kemeny and Oppenheim’s model was quickly rejected in mid-20th-century philosophy of science and replaced by models developed by Ernest Nagel and Kenneth Schaffner [Nagel 1961], [Schaffner 1967]. We think that Kemeny and Oppenheim’s model was correctly rejected, given what a “theory of reduction” was supposed to account for at (...) that time. But their guiding insights about what constitutes scientific reduction—increases in explanatory scope and systematization—reflect actual practices of current reductionistic neuroscience. The key rehabilitative step to make their insights fit current scientific details is to restate them using resources from recent work on causal-mechanistic explanation. We begin with a scientific case study, drawn from the relatively new field of “molecular and cellular cognition”. It provides an explanation of the well-known Ebbinghaus spacing effect on learning and memory in terms of interactions between a transcriptional enhancer protein and its inhibiting phosphatase in neurons recruited into the memory trace. Next we briefly describe some popular models of reduction from mid-20th-century philosophy of science. We point out how these models fail to illuminate key features of our scientific case study. Finally we present our causal-mechanistically updated Kemeny and Oppenheim-inspired model and argue that it nicely accounts for the details of our scientific case study. We close with a remark that will hopefully undercut the surprise many may feel to learn that a long-rejected philosophical account of reduction actually is at work in one of the most prominent reductionistic endeavors in current science. (shrink)
Definiteness is commonly seen as the watershed between those noun phrases (NPs) that introduce new referents and those that refer to referents already familiar. Furthermore, for definite NPs, the anaphoric use is taken to be the paradigm case, while other, so-called first-mention uses are regarded as secondary. The aim of the present paper is to challenge this view, and to argue for a more complex picture of the role of definiteness in the processing of NPs. The paper consists of two (...) parts. The first part presents a corpus-based study of the co-referential properties of definite and indefinite NPs in natural, unrestricted texts. The data bring into light several issues with regard to co-referentiality in unrestricted discourse and the possible referential functions of indefinite and definite NPs. Particular attention is drawn to the fact that the most common function of definite NPs is not anaphoric but different types of first-mention uses. This is the point of departure for the second part of the paper, in which three different approaches to first-mention definities are discussed, and some preliminaries to an alternative model of the processing of first-mention definite NPs are presented. (shrink)
Throughout Christianity, its activities are in one way or another connected to the historical reality of its time. Usually, for different epochs, the strength of these bonds was different, but during the Middle Ages, they were significantly stronger than before and after. It is here that perhaps the most important moment was the rise of Christianity, which spread over a relatively short period of time almost throughout Europe. It was then - and never again in all its history - that (...) the Church was able to participate in the formation of all aspects of its contemporary life, in accordance with its spirit. When solving this task, it inevitably came in close contact with the "world" and the various forms in which it was represented. (shrink)
Pain is an intensely subjective experience and one that is difficult for healthcare professionals to treat. Chronic pain, often diffuse, cyclical and involving many systems of the body, is often not well treated in a medical system that relies on discrete symptoms, identifiable causes, external pathogens and physician specialisation. Pain has its own problems specific to Somali diaspora populations, where chronic pain is prevalent but often undertreated, and where Somali patients face barriers of access to medicine. This study, conducted in (...) partnership with a Somali women’s health centre, seeks to understand Somali women’s use of informal and formal networks of healthcare. Drawing from qualitative interviews with Somali, refugee women, this article identifies four emerging frameworks through which participants experience chronic pain: pain as a symptom of exile; pain and the strength to bear pain as issues of faith; medicine as powerful, curative and fluid; medical discrimination and exclusion. (shrink)
While certain substantial moral dilemmas in health care have been given much attention, like abortion, euthanasia or gene testing, doctors rarely reflect on the moral implications of their daily clinical work. Yet, with its aim to help patients and relieve suffering, medicine is replete with moral decisions. In this qualitative study we analyse how doctors handle the moral aspects of everyday clinical practice. About one hundred consultations were observed, and interviews conducted with fifteen clinical doctors from different practices. It turned (...) out that the doctors’ approach to clinical cases followed a rather strict pattern across specialities, which implied transforming patients’ diverse concerns into specific medical questions through a process of ‘essentialising’: Doctors broke the patient’s story down, concretised the patient’s complaints and categorised the symptoms into a medical sense. Patients’ existential meanings were removed, and the focus placed on the patients’ functioning. By essentialising, doctors were able to handle a complex and ambiguous reality, and establish a medically relevant problem. However, the process involved a moral as well as a practical simplification. Overlooking existential meanings and focusing on purely functional aspects of patients was an integral part of clinical practice and not an individual flaw. The study thus questions the value of addressing doctors’ conscious moral evaluations. Yet doctors should be aware that their daily clinical work systematically emphasises beneficence at the expense of others—that might be more important to the patient. (shrink)
Next SectionThe principle of respect for autonomy has shaped much of the bioethics' discourse over the last 50 years, and is now most commonly used in the meaning of respecting autonomous choice. This is probably related to the influential concept of informed consent, which originated in research ethics and was soon also applied to the field of clinical medicine. But while available choices in medical research are well defined, this is rarely the case in healthcare. Consideration of ordinary medical practice (...) reveals that the focus on patient choice does not properly grasp the moral aspects involved in healthcare. Medical decisions are often portrayed as if doctors and patients in confidence confront specific decisions about examinations or treatment, yet the reality often involves many different participants, with decisions being made over time and space. Indeed, most of the decisions are never even presented to patients, as it would be unethical to suggest something that is not medically justifiable. The options patients do confront are somewhat arbitrarily constructed within the narrow framework of both what is deemed to be medically appropriate and how the healthcare system is organised practically. While the autonomy discourse has proven valuable, a failure to distinguish between the fields of medical research and clinical medicine has generated a focus on patient choice that does not reflect what is really at stake in healthcare settings. This is alarming, because the current discourse misrepresents medical practice in a way that actually contributes to bioethical self-delusion. (shrink)
ABSTRACT In this wide-ranging interview Professor Douglas V. Porpora discusses a number of issues. First, how he became a Critical Realist through his early work on the concept of structure. Second, drawing on his Reconstructing Sociology, his take on the current state of American sociology. This leads to discussion of the broader range of his work as part of Margaret Archer’s various Centre for Social Ontology projects, and on moral-macro reasoning and the concept of truth in political discourse.
The current antireductionist consensus rests in part on the indefensibility of the deductive-nomological model of explanation, on which classical reductionism depends. I argue that the DN model is inessential to the reductionist program and that mechanism provides a better framework for thinking about reductionism. This runs counter to the contemporary mechanists’ claim that mechanism is an alternative to reductionism. I demonstrate that mechanists are committed to reductionism, as evidenced by the historical roots of the contemporary mechanist program. This view shares (...) certain core commitments with reductionism. It is these shared commitments that constitute the essential elements of the reductionist program. (shrink)
Recently, some mechanists have embraced reductionism and some reductionists have endorsed mechanism. However, the two camps disagree sharply about the extent to which mechanistic explanation is a reductionistic enterprise. Reductionists maintain that cellular and molecular mechanisms can explain mental phenomena without necessary appeal to higher-level mechanisms. Mechanists deny this claim. I argue that this dispute turns on whether reduction is a transitive relation. I show that it is. Therefore, mechanistic explanations at the cellular and molecular level explain mental phenomena. I (...) make my case in part by noting that mechanisms at higher levels are composed of mechanisms at lower levels. Compositional relations are transitive. In addition, they are explanatory. I conclude that there are explanatory linkages from cellular and molecular mechanisms to mental phenomena within a hierarchy of nested mechanisms. (shrink)
The history of concepts has partly replaced the older style of the `history of ideas' and can be extended to a critique of normative political theory and, thereby, understood as an indirect style of political theorizing. A common feature in Quentin Skinner's and Reinhart Koselleck's writings lies in their critique of the unhistorical and depoliticizing use of concepts. This concerns especially the classical contractarian theories, and both authors remark that this still holds for work by their contemporary heirs, such as (...) Rawls, Habermas and other contemporary normative theorists. Conceptual history offers us a chance to turn the contestability, contingency and historicity of the use of concepts into instruments for conceptualizing politics. The alternative, indirect mode of political theorizing Skinner and Koselleck practise consists of a `Verfremdungseffekt', which helps us to distance ourselves from thinking in terms of contemporary paradigms, unquestioned conventions, given constellations of alternatives or implicit value judgements. In the Skinnerian variant the conceptual changes are made intelligible through analysis of the rhetorical redescriptions among the political agents, whereas Koselleck thematizes the differences in the temporal index of concepts. The subversive aspect in the history of concepts consists of the explication and historical variation of the tacit normative content in the use of concepts. (shrink)
In recent years, many philosophers of science have attempted to articulate a theory of non-epistemic emergence that is compatible with mechanistic explanation and incompatible with reductionism. The 2005 account of Fred C. Boogerd et al. has been particularly influential. They argued that a systemic property was emergent if it could not be predicted from the behaviour of less complex systems. Here, I argue that Boogerd et al.'s attempt to ground emergence in complexity guarantees that we will see emergence, but at (...) the cost of rendering it either trivial or epistemic. There are three basic problems. First, neither the measures of complexity explicitly mentioned by Boogerd et al. nor the most popular measures in the literature can do the practical and theoretical work that they assign to complexity. Second, I argue that while the success of their view depends on restricting the base of information available to the reductionist, this cannot be done in a way that is metaphysically neutral with respect to emer.. (shrink)
Mechanistic explanation is at present the received view of scientific explanation. One of its central features is the idea that mechanistic explanations are both “downward looking” and “upward looking”: they explain by offering information about the internal constitution of the mechanism as well as the larger environment in which the mechanism is situated. That is, they offer both constitutive and contextual explanatory information. Adequate mechanistic explanations, on this view, accommodate the full range of explanatory factors both “above” and “below” the (...) target phenomenon. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that mechanistic explanation cannot furnish both constitutive and contextual information simultaneously, because these are different types of explanation with distinctly different aims. Claims that they can, I argue, depend on several intertwined confusions concerning the nature of explanation. Particularly, such claims tend to conflate mechanistic and functional explanation, which I argue ought to be understood as distinct. Conflating them threatens to oversell the explanatory power of mechanisms and obscures the means by which they explain. I offer two broad reasons in favor of distinguishing mechanistic and functional explanation: the first concerns the direction of explanation of each, and the second concerns the type of questions to which these explanations offer answers. I suggest an alternative picture on which mechanistic explanation is understood as fundamentally constitutive, and according to which an adequate understanding of a phenomenon typically requires supplementing the mechanistic explanation with a functional explanation. (shrink)