The paper offers a theoretical investigation into the sources of normativity in practical argumentation. The chief question is: Do we need objectively-minded, unbiased arguers or can we count on “good” argumentative processes in which individual biases cancel each other out? I address this question by analysing a detailed structure of practical argument and its varieties, and by discussing the tenets of a comparative approach to practical reason. I argue that given the comparative structure proposed, reasoned advocacy in argumentative activity upholds (...) reasonableness whenever that activity is adequately designed. I propose some basic rules for such a design of practical argumentation. (shrink)
The editor's introduction discusses Clarence I. Lewis's conceptual pragmatism when compared with post-empiricist epistemology and argues that several Cartesian assumptions play a major role in the work, not unlike those of Logical Positivism. The suggestion is made that the Cartesian legacy still hidden in Logical Positivism turns out to be a rather heavy ballast for Lewis’s project of restructuring epistemology in a pragmatist key. More in detail, the sore point is the nature of inter-subjectivity. For Lewis, no less than for (...) the Logical Positivists at the time of the Protocols Controversy and Husserl in the Cartesian Meditations, this is a problem without a solution. The reason is that all these philosophers are apparently unable to realize that the existence of a plurality of knowing subjects cannot be treated at once both as a speculative problem and a methodological one. Lewis, thanks to his pragmatist approach both comes closer to the right answer and offers an even more naïve unsatisfactory solution to the pseudo-problem under discussion. The fact that he has clear in mind that inter-subjectivity means not only a plurality of linguistic utterances but also a co-existence of different kinds of practical behaviour. Eventually, the very idea of mind, the key-idea in the book, suffers from the above mentioned tension. In fact, if inter-subjective communication and action is considered at a methodological level, the very idea of mind would not need an analysis, and no kind of ‘reflexive’ analysis. Methodology might be limited to a ‘naïve’ level where the existence of the world and a plurality of subjects be taken as a bedrock of uncritically accepted evidence. Philosophical reflection on ultimate evidence, instead, would take a different approach, maybe the one Wittgenstein was putting into practice in the same years when Mind and the world order was written, namely it would be bound to question the very meaning of the idea of ‘mind’ as an undue fiction – the same carried out by Descartes – when he assumed the Cogito to be at once a body of self-evident truths and a thing or substance, the familiar Platonic idea of psyche or soul. (shrink)
Second part of the translation into Spanish of David Lewis' "New Work for a Theory of Universals", corresponding to the last sections of the original paper. || Segunda parte de la traducción al español del trabajo de David Lewis "New Work for a Theory of Universals", correspondiente a últimas secciones del artículo original. Artículo original publicado en: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 61, No. 4, Dec. 1983, pp. 343-377.
The claim defended in the paper is that the mechanistic account of explanation can easily embrace idealization in big-scale brain simulations, and that only causally relevant detail should be present in explanatory models. The claim is illustrated with two methodologically different models: Blue Brain, used for particular simulations of the cortical column in hybrid models, and Eliasmith’s SPAUN model that is both biologically realistic and able to explain eight different tasks. By drawing on the mechanistic theory of computational explanation, I (...) argue that large-scale simulations require that the explanandum phenomenon is identified; otherwise, the explanatory value of such explanations is difficult to establish, and testing the model empirically by comparing its behavior with the explanandum remains practically impossible. The completeness of the explanation, and hence of the explanatory value of the explanatory model, is to be assessed vis-à-vis the explanandum phenomenon, which is not to be conflated with raw observational data and may be idealized. I argue that idealizations, which include building models of a single phenomenon displayed by multi-functional mechanisms, lumping together multiple factors in a single causal variable, simplifying the causal structure of the mechanisms, and multi-model integration, are indispensable for complex systems such as brains; otherwise, the model may be as complex as the explanandum phenomenon, which would make it prone to so-called Bonini paradox. I conclude by enumerating dimensions of empirical validation of explanatory models according to new mechanism, which are given in a form of a “checklist” for a modeler. (shrink)
Metaphysicians should pay attention to quantum mechanics. Why? Not because it provides definitive answers to many metaphysical questions-the theory itself is remarkably silent on the nature of the physical world, and the various interpretations of the theory on offer present conflicting ontological pictures. Rather, quantum mechanics is essential to the metaphysician because it reshapes standard metaphysical debates and opens up unforeseen new metaphysical possibilities. Even if quantum mechanics provides few clear answers, there are good reasons to think that any adequate (...) understanding of the quantum world will result in a radical reshaping of our classical world-view in some way or other. Whatever the world is like at the atomic scale, it is almost certainly not the swarm of particles pushed around by forces that is often presupposed. This book guides readers through the theory of quantum mechanics and its implications for metaphysics in a clear and accessible way. The theory and its various interpretations are presented with a minimum of technicality. The consequences of these interpretations for metaphysical debates concerning realism, indeterminacy, causation, determinism, holism, and individuality are explored in detail, stressing the novel form that the debates take given the empirical facts in the quantum domain. While quantum mechanics may not deliver unconditional pronouncements on these issues, the range of possibilities consistent with our knowledge of the empirical world is relatively small-and each possibility is metaphysically revisionary in some way. This book will appeal to researchers, students, and anybody else interested in how science informs our world-view. (shrink)
Lewis Gordon presents the first detailed existential phenomenological investigation of antiblack racism as a form of Sartrean bad faith. Bad faith, the attitude in which human beings attempt to evade freedom and responsibility, is treated as a constant possibility of human existence. Antiblack racism, the attitude and practice that involve the construction of black people as fundamentally inferior and subhuman, is examined as an effort to evade the responsibilities of a human and humane world. Gordon argues that the concept of (...) bad faith militates against any human science that is built upon a theory of human nature and as such offers an analysis of antiblack racism that stands as a challenge to our ordinary assumptions of what it means to be human. (shrink)
This is the second volume of philosophical essays by one of the most innovative and influential philosophers now writing in English. Containing thirteen papers in all, the book includes both new essays and previously published papers, some of them with extensive new postscripts reflecting Lewis's current thinking. The papers in Volume II focus on causation and several other closely related topics, including counterfactual and indicative conditionals, the direction of time, subjective and objective probability, causation, explanation, perception, free will, and rational (...) decision. Throughout, Lewis analyzes global features of the world in such a way as to show that they might turn out to supervene on the spatiotemporal arrangement of local qualities. (shrink)
This is a volume of specially commissioned essays of analytical philosophy, on topics of current interest in ethics and the philosophy of logic and language. Among the topics discussed are the making of wicked promises, G. E. Moore's early ethical views, as well as indexicals, tense, indeterminism, conventionalism in mathematics, and identity and necessity. The essays are all by former students of Casimir Lewy, until recently Reader in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and an exponent of a particularly thoroughgoing (...) form of philosophical analysis. Together, they represent some of the best work in these areas at present, and express what may be described as a characteristic 'Cambridge' voice. (shrink)
In an educational landscape dominated by discourses and practices of learning, standardized testing, and the pressure to succeed, what space and time remain for studying? In this book, Tyson E. Lewis argues that studying is a distinctive educational experience with its own temporal, spatial, methodological, aesthetic, and phenomenological dimensions. Unlike learning, which presents the actualization of a student’s "potential" in recognizable and measurable forms, study emphasizes the experience of potentiality, freed from predetermined outcomes. Studying suspends and interrupts the conventional logic (...) of learning, opening up a new space and time for educational freedom to emerge. Drawing upon the work of Italian philosopher and critical theorist Giorgio Agamben, Lewis provides a conceptually and poetically rich account of the interconnections between potentiality, freedom, and study. Through a mixture of educational critique, phenomenological description, and ontological analysis, Lewis redeems study as an invaluable and urgent educational experience that provides alternatives to the economization of education and the cooptation of potentiality in the name of efficiency. The resulting discussion uncovers multiple forms of study in a variety of unexpected places: from the political poetry of Adrienne Rich, to tinkering classrooms, to abandoned manifestos, and, finally, to Occupy Wall Street. By reconnecting education with potentiality this book provides an educational philosophy that undermines the logic of learning and assessment, and turns our attention to the interminable paradoxes of studying. The book will be key reading for scholars in the fields of educational philosophy, critical pedagogy, foundations of education, composition and rhetoric, and critical thinking and literacy studies. (shrink)
For many philosophical thinkers down through the centuries, the notion of a creation out of sheer nothing has been found to be quite unintelligible. Nevertheless the idea of creation preserves an important insight and needs to be freed from the difficulties of this traditional formulation. Alfred North Whitehead has offered an alternative theory of creation worth exploring: each individual actuality creates itself out of prior creative acts. God then serves to direct this creative process.
This paper offers a new way to make sense of disagreement expansion from a polylogical perspective by incorporating various places in addition to players and positions into the analysis. The concepts build on prior implicit ideas about disagreement space by suggesting how to more fully account for argumentative context, and its construction, in large-scale complex controversies. As a basis for our polylogical analysis, we use a New York Times news story reporting on an oil train explosion—a significant point in the (...) broader controversy over producing oil and gas via hydraulic fracturing. (shrink)
This is the first of a three-volume collection of David Lewis's most recent papers in all the areas to which he has made significant contributions. The purpose of this collection (and the two volumes to follow) is to disseminate even more widely the work of a preeminent and influential late twentieth-century philosopher. The papers are now offered in a readily accessible format. This first volume is devoted to Lewis's work on philosophical logic from the last twenty-five years. The topics covered (...) include: deploying the methods of formal semantics from artificial formalised languages to natural languages, model-theoretic investigations of intensional logic, contradiction, relevance, the differences between analog and digital representation, and questions arising from the construction of ambitious formalised philosophical systems. The volume will serve as an important reference tool for all philosophers and their students. (shrink)
For 30 years, Quine, a dominant figure in logical theory and philosophy of logic, has combined insights in methodology, language, epistemology, and ontology, to blur the boundaries of speculative metaphysics and natural sciences. This revised text contains two new essays with replies from Quine.
This selection of articles by Lewis E. Hahn addresses the philosophical school of contextualism and four contemporary American philosophers: John Dewey, Henry Nelson Wieman, Stephen C. Pepper, and Brand Blanshard. Stressing the relatively recent contextualistic worldview, which he considers one of the best world hypotheses, Hahn seeks to achieve a broad perspective within which all things may be given their due place. After providing a brief outline, Hahn explains contextualism in relation to other philosophies. In his opening chapter, as in (...) later chapters, he expresses contextualism as a form of pragmatic naturalism. In spite of Hahn’s high regard for contextualism, however, he does not think it would be good if we were limited to a single worldview. “The more different views we have and the more different sources of possible light we have, the better our chances that some of these cosmic maps will shed light on our world and our place in it.”. (shrink)
A repackaged edition of the revered author's classic work that examines the four types of human love: affection, friendship, erotic love, and the love of God—part of the C. S. Lewis Signature Classics series. C.S. Lewis—the great British writer, scholar, lay theologian, broadcaster, Christian apologist, and bestselling author of Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many other beloved classics—contemplates the essence of love and how it works in our daily lives in one of (...) his most famous works of nonfiction. Lewis examines four varieties of human love: affection, the most basic form; friendship, the rarest and perhaps most insightful; Eros, passionate love; charity, the greatest and least selfish. Throughout this compassionate and reasoned study, he encourages readers to open themselves to all forms of love—the key to understanding that brings us closer to God. (shrink)