In 1885, during initial discussions of J. C. Maxwell's celebrated thermodynamic demon, Whiting (1) observed that the demon-like velocity selection of molecules can occur in a gravitationally bound gas. Recently, a gravitational Maxwell demon has been proposed which makes use of this observation [D. P. Sheehan, J. Glick, and J. D. Means, Found. Phys. 30, 1227 (2000)]. Here we report on numerical simulations that detail its microscopic phase space structure. Results verify the previously hypothesized mechanism of its paradoxical behavior. This (...) system appears to be the only example of a fully classical mechanical Maxwell demon that has not been resolved in favor of the second law of thermodynamics. (shrink)
In 1885, during initial discussions of J. C. Maxwell's celebrated thermodynamic demon, Whiting observed that the demon-like velocity selection of molecules can occur in a gravitationally bound gas. Recently, a gravitational Maxwell demon has been proposed which makes use of this observation [D. P. Sheehan, J. Glick, and J. D. Means, Found. Phys. 30, 1227 ]. Here we report on numerical simulations that detail its microscopic phase space structure. Results verify the previously hypothesized mechanism of its paradoxical behavior. This system (...) appears to be the only example of a fully classical mechanical Maxwell demon that has not been resolved in favor of the second law of thermodynamics. (shrink)
Anselm presented his ontological argument in three main forms. In Proslogion II he argued that the very concept of God implies his actual existence. In Reply to Gaunilo —the argument from aseity—he argued that the conception of God as an eternal existent rules out his conception as a merely possible existent. In Proslogion III he argued that the concept of God implies his actual existence as logically necessary. Each of these arguments has its traditional refutation. Against Proslogion II it is (...) argued that the analytic use of ‘exists’ conceptually and descriptively is logically distinct from its synthetic use as an empirical judgement. Against the argument from aseity the same point is made about ‘exists eternally’, and against the detail of his argument it is said that the second premise is not a proposition with a single implication, but a disjunction. Against Proslogion III it is argued that ‘logically necessary existence’ is a meaningless notion. This paper is designed to show that Anselm's arguments may be refuted without recourse to these traditional criticisms; that each of his arguments contains at least one further error, of equal if not more importance, which has passed unnoticed. If this appears to be bringing yet further coals to Newcastle, the revival of the argument by Hartshorne and Malcolm, and the supposed ‘ontological disproof’ by Findlay, may indicate our need of further fuel. (shrink)
This long-awaited book replaces Hughes and Cresswell's two classic studies of modal logic: _An Introduction to Modal Logic_ and _A Companion to Modal Logic_. _A New Introduction to Modal Logic_ is an entirely new work, completely re-written by the authors. They have incorporated all the new developments that have taken place since 1968 in both modal propositional logic and modal predicate logic, without sacrificing tha clarity of exposition and approachability that were essential features of their earlier works. The book takes (...) readers from the most basic systems of modal propositional logic right up to systems of modal predicate with identity. It covers both technical developments such as completeness and incompleteness, and finite and infinite models, and their philosophical applications, especially in the area of modal predicate logic. (shrink)
Over a longer period than I sometimes care to contemplate I have worked on possible-worlds semantics. The earliest work was in modal logic, to which I keep returning, but a sabbatical in 1970 took me to UCLA, there to discover the work of Richard Montague in applying possible-worlds semantics to natural lan guage. My own version of this appeared in Cresswell (1973) and was followed up in a number of articles, most of which were collected in Cresswell (1985b). A central (...) problem for possible worlds semantics is how to accommodate propositional attitudes. This problem was addressed in Cresswell (1985a), and the three books mentioned so far represent a reasonably complete picture of my positive views on formal semantics. I have regarded the presentation of a positive view as more important than the criticism of alternatives, although the works referred to do contain many passages in which I have tried to defend my own views against those of others. But such criticism is important in that a crucial element in establishing the content of a theory is that we be able to evaluate it in relation to its com petitors. It is for that reason that I have collected in this volume a number of articles in which I attempt to defend the positive semantical picture I favour against objections and competing theories. (shrink)
Expressions in a language, whether words, phrases, or sentences, have meanings. So it seems reasonable to suppose that there are meanings that expressions have. Of course, it is fashionable in some philosophical circles to deny this.
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)
The book offers a proposal on how to define truth in all its complexity, without reductionism, showing at the same time which questions a theory of truth has to answer and which questions, although related to truth, do not belong within the scope of such a theory. Just like any other theory, a theory of truth has its structure and limits. The semantic core of the position is that truth-ascriptions are pro-forms, i.e. natural language propositional variables. The book also offers (...) an explanation of the syntactic behaviour of truth-terms, and the pragmatic roles of truth-acts. The theory of truth we present is a technical proposal, relatively uncontaminated by radical philosophical discussion. It makes indeed philosophical points, but it is intended to be a conceptual analysis, as neutral as possible, of the aspects that may serve as a point of departure for more philosophically-laden destinations. Like the Fregean account of quantifiers, which is prior to and, to a large extent, independent of the metaphysical debate about existence and its forms, or the Kaplanian view on demonstratives, that is neutral regarding the debate about individuals and the possibilities we have to actually “reach” them in a referring act, we intend our proposal about truth to be a sophisticated and explicative setting that helps to situate other debates about truth accurately, far from the distorted and sometimes strongly ideological discussions that have turned the topic into a paradigm of philosophical impasse. (shrink)