In a recent paper , O. F. de Alcantara Bonfim, J. Florencio, and F. C. S´ a Barreto claim to have found numerical evidence of chaos in the motion of a Bohmian quantum particle in a double square-well potential, for a wave function that is a superposition of five energy eigenstates. But according to the result proven here, chaos for this motion is impossible. We prove in fact that for a particle on the line in a superposition of n (...) + 1 energy eigenstates, the Bohm motion x(t) is always quasiperiodic, with (at most) n frequencies. This means that there is a function F (y1, . . . , yn) of period 2π in each of its variables and n frequencies ω1, . . . , ωn such that x(t) = F (ω1t, . . . , ωnt). The Bohm motion for a quantum particle of mass m with wave function ψ = ψ(x, t), a solution to Schrödinger’s equation, is defined by.. (shrink)
First published in 1986. Nations have a unity often described as 'cultural'; and within them there are divergences some of which are termed 'political'. But culture and politics do not, therefore, comprise two wholly distinct zones or orders of experience, the one marked by unity, the other by plurality. Unity and plurality interpenetrate. These insights, which derive from the thinking of Herder, have been fundamental to the work of F. M. Barnard. In this volume a number of scholars contribute, in (...) Barnardian vein, reflections on the tensions between unity and plurality in the history of ideas. The central underlying question is, in essence, 'what is the context of political life?' The question remains of more importance than any single answer. (shrink)
Richard M Weaver, a thinker and writer celebrated for his unsparing diagnoses and realistic remedies for the ills of our age, is known largely through a few of his works that remain in print. This new collection of Weaver's shorter writings, assembled by Ted J Smith III, Weaver's leading biographer, presents many long-out-of-print and never-before-published works that give new range and depth to Weaver's sweeping thought. Included are eleven previously unpublished essays and speeches that were left in near-final form at (...) the time of Weaver's death in 1963. In all, there are some one hundred and twenty-six essays, speeches, book reviews, and editorials. (shrink)
Most moral philosophers who have recently expressed sympathy with feminist or ‘care-based’ perspectives on ethical theory have thought that such perspectives can make valuable contributions to more comprehensive ethical theories. Few have thought that an ethics of care can offer a complete normative theory. However, Michael Slote is one of the ambitious few. In his recent book, The Ethics of Care and Empathy, he seeks to show that a care-based perspective can do a lot of service in first-order moral and (...) political theory as well as in metaethics. Here is a quick overview of the book's content: In Chapter 1, Slote explicates the notion of empathy that is central in his ethics of care, which he locates within the sentimentalist paradigm, stemming from philosophers such as Hume and Hutcheson. Slote's account of empathy and moral development draws substantially on work by the psychologist Martin Hoffman. Chapter 2 discusses care ethics and our obligation to help others, including both the near and the distant needy. Chapter 3 aims to show how the notion of empathy can further the case for deontology in ethics. Chapters 4 through 6 discuss the relation of care ethics to pivotal issues in political philosophy, such as autonomy, liberalism, social justice and rights. Slote maintains that autonomy …. (shrink)
The main aim of this article is to show how a possible theoretical articulation between Uexküll’s notion of Funktionskreis and the stratificational model of semiotic structures proposed by Louis Hjelmslev can be made. In order to bridge the gap between these two models, Luis Prieto’s model of cognition will be used. The advantage of Prieto’s model is that it retains the Hjelmslevian stratificational ideas, while it also pays attention to agency and practice. To put it briefly, according to Prieto the (...) foundation of practice and knowledge is to be found on aisthesis. Hence, as in Uexküll, there is a way to merge action with perception, while retaining the semiotic structure that makes such a merging possible. The key point, however, is that Prieto’s model calls for an “ontological commitment” to the substance strata. Therefore, bridging Uexküll and Hjelmslev via Prieto suggests a possible way to provide a general structural model of semiosis which is closer to semiotic realism than to immanentism usually attributed to structuralism. (shrink)
Using as a springboard a three-way debate between theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright and myself, I address in layman’s terms the issues of why we need a unified theory of the fundamental interactions and why, in my opinion, string and M-theory currently offer the best hope. The focus will be on responding more generally to the various criticisms. I also describe the diverse application of string/M-theory techniques to other branches of physics and mathematics which render the (...) whole enterprise worthwhile whether or not “a theory of everything” is forthcoming. (shrink)
Twentieth century philosophers introduced the distinction between “objective rightness” and “subjective rightness” to achieve two primary goals. The first goal is to reduce the paradoxical tension between our judgments of what is best for an agent to do in light of the actual circumstances in which she acts and what is wisest for her to do in light of her mistaken or uncertain beliefs about her circumstances. The second goal is to provide moral guidance to an agent who may be (...) uncertain about the circumstances in which she acts, and hence is unable to use her standard moral principle directly in deciding what to do. This paper distinguishes two important senses of “moral guidance”; proposes criteria of adequacy for accounts of subjective rightness; canvasses existing definitions for “subjective rightness”; finds them all deficient; and proposes a new and more successful account. It argues that each comprehensive moral theory must include multiple principles of subjective rightness to address the epistemic situations of the full range of moral decision-makers, and shows that accounts of subjective rightness formulated in terms of what it would reasonable for the agent to believe cannot provide that guidance. (shrink)
This is the first of a series of commentaries on the works of the latest Heidegger; all of Heidegger's works published by Neske of Pfullingen since 1954 will be presented and interpreted in the series. The expository plan announced in the editor's preface calls for three-part commentaries, with the first part summarizing the work in question, the second presenting glosses of lines or paragraphs as required by their respective importance, and the third giving philological exegesis of texts also as required (...) in the judgment of the editors. The interpretative inspiration is generally traditional, with more emphasis given to themes with echoes in medieval and modern rationalism and in Italian and French ontologism. The editors adopt Heidegger's characteristic attitude in his latter period, his relinquishing of all objective or subjective idealistic presuppositions. Ontology thus becomes the unveiling of the conditions of possibility of Dasein's speech as truth-making. In Being and Time these conditions of possibility were given in the fundamental ontology and reached their existential expression in resolve. In Gelassenheit Dasein has become a mere instrumentality for the ultimate sense of Being to come to pass. The conditions of possibility of the new Dasein are well understood and highlighted by Landolt. Their existential expression is a new temporal tension within the Dasein, that of Warten or attending. If resolve was the modal intentionality of authentic Dasein, attending is the modal intentionality of poetic symbolic Dasein. Landolt does not seem to have been sufficiently critical of the reflective character of this new intentionality. Can it adequately ground essence, fact and freedom? The techniques of this commentary often depart from hermeneutical respect for the text.--A. M. (shrink)
Listening to someone from some distance in a crowded room you may experience the following phenomenon: when looking at them speak, you may both hear and see where the source of the sounds is; but when your eyes are turned elsewhere, you may no longer be able to detect exactly where the voice must be coming from. With your eyes again fixed on the speaker, and the movement of her lips a clear sense of the source of the sound will (...) return. This ‘ventriloquist’ effect reflects the ways in which visual cognition can dominate auditory perception. And this phenomenological observation is one what you can verify or disconfirm in your own case just by the slightest reflection on what it is like for you to listen to someone with or without visual contact with them. (shrink)
What should we do if we cannot figure what morality requires of us? Holly M. Smith argues that the best moral codes solve this problem by offering two tiers, one of which tells us what makes acts right and wrong, and the other of which provides user-friendly decision guides. She opens a path towards resolving a deep problem of moral life.
A large body of literature agrees that persons with schizophrenia suffer from a Theory of Mind deficit. However, most empirical studies have focused on third-person, egocentric ToM, underestimating other facets of this complex cognitive skill. Aim of this research is to examine the ToM of schizophrenic persons considering its various aspects, to determine whether some components are more impaired than others. We developed a Theory of Mind Assessment Scale and administered it to 22 persons with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia (...) and a matching control group. Th.o.m.a.s. is a semi-structured interview which allows a multi-component measurement of ToM. Both groups were also administered a few existing ToM tasks and the schizophrenic subjects were administered the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale and the WAIS-R. The schizophrenic persons performed worse than control at all the ToM measurements; however, these deficits appeared to be differently distributed among different components of ToM. Our conclusion is that ToM deficits are not unitary in schizophrenia, which also testifies to the importance of a complete and articulated investigation of ToM. (shrink)
We argue that thoughts are structures of concepts, and that concepts should be individuated by their origins, rather than in terms of their semantic or epistemic properties. Many features of cognition turn on the vehicles of content, thoughts, rather than on the nature of the contents they express. Originalism makes concepts available to explain, with no threat of circularity, puzzling cases concerning thought. In this paper, we mention Hesperus/Phosphorus puzzles, the Evans-Perry example of the ship seen through different windows, and (...) Mates cases, and we believe that there are many additional applications. (shrink)
There has recently been an expansion of anti-abortion measures in the United States. Within these various measures there is a divide over certain exceptions: some States permit abortion for pregnancies caused by rape while other States do not. This paper explores the underlying moral justification for such exceptions. I argue that within the dominant moral framework for reproductive ethics these exceptions are incoherent by their own lights. But this is not a defense of an exceptionless anti-abortion position. Rather, because the (...) typical way of making such exceptions is incoherent, this shows why the anti-abortion movement is dangerous: as these incoherencies are acknowledged, this may lead to ever stricter measures being put in place. I end by suggesting that those who are sympathetic to these exceptions should find it easier to move to a pro-choice position rather than to a more extreme, exceptionless one. (shrink)
This article compares James M. Buchanan's and John Rawls's theories of democratic governance. In particular it compares their positions on the characteristics of a legitimate social contract. Where Buchanan argues that additional police force can be used to quell political demonstrations, Rawls argues for a social contract that meets the difference principle.