Mark Wilson presents a highly original and broad-ranging investigation of the way we get to grips with the world conceptually, and the way that philosophical problems commonly arise from this. He combines traditional philosophical concerns about human conceptual thinking with illuminating data derived from a large variety of fields including physics and applied mathematics, cognitive psychology, and linguistics. Wandering Significance offers abundant new insights and perspectives for philosophers of language, mind, and science, and will also reward the interest of psychologists, (...) linguists, and anyone curious about the mysterious ways in which useful language obtains its practical applicability. (shrink)
Mark Wilson explores our strategies for understanding the world. We frequently cannot reason about nature in the straightforward manner we anticipate, but must use alternative thought processes that reach useful answers in opaque and roundabout ways; and philosophy must find better descriptive tools to reflect this.
"Mark Wilson aims to reconnect analytic philosophy with the evolving practicalities within science from which many of its grander concerns originally sprang. He offers an alternative history of how the subject might have developed had the insights of its philosopher/scientist forebears not been cast aside in the vain pursuit of 'ersatz rigor'"--.
This article surveys the difficulties in establishing determinism for classical physics within the context of several distinct foundational approaches to the discipline. It explains that such problems commonly emerge due to a deeper problem of ‘missing physics'. The Problems of Formalism Norton's Example Three Species of Classical Mechanics 3.1 Mass point physics 3.2 The physics of perfect constraints 3.3 Continuum mechanics Conclusion CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
Let us begin with the simple observation that applied mathematics can be very tough! It is a common occurrence that basic physical principle instructs us to construct some syntactically simple set of differential equations, but it then proves almost impossible to extract salient information from them. As Charles Peirce once remarked, you can’t get a set of such equations to divulge their secrets by simply tilting at them like Don Quixote. As a consequence, applied mathematicians are often forced to pursue (...) roundabout and shakily rationalized expedients if any useful progress is to be made. Often these provisional and quasi-empirical procedures within applied mathematics loom large in motivating the “anti-realist” or “anti-unificationist” conclusions of Nancy Cartwright and allied authors. (shrink)
Following Jacques Hadamard, applied mathematicians typically investigate their models in the form of well-set problems, which actually consist of a family of applicational circumstances that vary in specific ways with respect to their initial and boundary values. The chief motive for investigating models in this wider manner is to avoid the improper behavioral conclusions one might reach from the consideration of a more restricted range of cases. Suitable specifications of the required initial and boundary variability typically appeal to previously established (...) experimental conclusions as to how the target system will behave under a range of eternally applied manipulations of the form “If the conditions pertaining to S were altered in manner M, internal features X would/would not alter”. In his investigations of causal reasoning within other parts of science, our first author has emphasized the conceptual importance of counterfactuals of this nature, for which he was been often criticized by authors of a self-styled “metaphysical” inclination. The purpose of this note is to argue, pace these objections, that closely analogous considerations have long been part of the practice of investigating differential equation models in a sensible way. (shrink)
Explanations in physics commonly appeal to data drawn from different length or time scales, as when a “top-down” macroscopic constraint such as rigidity is used to evade the complexities one would confront in attempting to model the situation in a purely “bottom-up” fashion. Such techniques commonly embody rather complex shifts in explanatory strategy.
Motivated by contemporary debates concerning whether directors inappropriately deploy corporate funds for corporate political donations and the limited research into managerial influence on corporate political donations, we examine the impact of director influences from a network perspective. Using a sample of large listed Australian corporations and their political party donation activity during 2000–2007, we find that both the professional and non-professional networks of directors influence corporate political donations. We observe these influences in relation to donations at the federal and state (...) levels, and with respect to the choice of recipient political parties. (shrink)
Inference and Correlational Truth.Mark Wilson - 2000 - In Andre Chapuis & Anil Gupta (eds.), Circularity, Definition and Truth. New Delhi, India: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. in Association with Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi.details
This is one of those cases to which Dr. 8 oodhouse's remark applies with all its force, that a method which leads to true results must have its logic Ã¢â¬â H.S Smith (" On Some of the Methods at Present in Use in Pure Geometry," p. 6) A goodly amount of modern metaphysics has concerned itself, in one form or another, with the question: what attitude should we take in regard to a language whose semantic underpinnings seem less than certain? (...) Since much of standard English is surely of this type, many philosophers have felt driven to extreme and unpalatable resolutions Ã¢â¬â wholesale rejection of attractive logical rules, radical "antirealism", "minimalism" about truth, and so forth, Scientists, however, have long dealt with analogous foundational insecurities and, under the duress of practicality, have framed a set of shifting attitudes towards language and reasoning that seem far more commonsensical than the extreme positions to which pure philosophy has often been led. Following this lead, this essay will recommend a more nuanced approach to linguistic insecurity that is neither naively optimistic nor mired in the gloomy sloughs of antirealism. (shrink)
Original explorers often see a puzzling conceptual landscape more vividly than jaded later travelers. This essay surveys several ways in which Descartes and Leibniz recognized descriptive problems within applied mathematics more clearly than later commentators have appreciated.
Beginning in the nineteenth century, mathematics' traditional domains of 'number and figure' became vigorously displaced by altered settings in which former verities became discarded as no longer sacrosanct. And these innovative recastings appeared everywhere, not merely within the familiar realm of the non-Euclidean geometries. How can mathematics retain its traditional status as a repository of necessary truth in the light of these revisions? The purpose of this Element is to provide a sketch of this developmental history.
Your story is there waiting for you, it has been waiting for you there a hundred years, long before you were born and you cannot change a comma of it. Everything you do you have to do. You are the twig, and the water you float on swept you here. You are the leaf, and the breeze you were borne on blew you here. This is your story and you cannot escape it.—Cornell Woolrich, I Married a Dead Man.
This paper concerns an information extraction process for building a dynamic legislation network from legal documents. Unlike supervised learning approaches which require additional calculations, the idea here is to apply information extraction methodologies by identifying distinct expressions in legal text in order to extract network information. The study highlights the importance of data accuracy in network analysis and improves approximate string matching techniques to produce reliable network data-sets with more than 98% precision and recall. The applications and the complexity of (...) the created dynamic legislation network are also discussed and challenged. (shrink)
Physicists often allow the "laws" of a discipline, formulated as partial differential equations, to be disobeyed along various surfaces, arrayed along the boundary and inside the medium under study. What kinds of considerations permit these lapses in the applicability of the equations? This paper surveys a variety of answers found in the physical literature.
This paper argues that the principle of necessary identity (f)(g)(f=g then necessarily f=g) cannot be maintained, At least in second order form. A paradox based upon scientific definitional practice is introduced to demonstrate this. A non-Fregean reading of standard contingent identity semantics is provided to explain how such 'definition breaking' works.
This survey article describes Frege's celebrated foundational work against the context of other late nineteenth century approaches to introducing mathematically novel "extension elements" within both algebra and geometry.
This article introduces the neologism ‘odegeology’ to encompass theological discussion concerning divine guidance, a significant issue for spiritual formation and discipleship in the church. Jesus’ promise of power and his commission to be witnesses in Acts 1:8 establish the theme for the book called Praxeis in the Greek text. Acts is replete with examples of guidance for completing that mission, particularly in the ministries of Peter and Paul. Can Paul’s experiences with guidance, whether natural or supernatural, be considered a matter (...) of praxis for Christians today? In answering that question, this study will use Paul’s missionary journeys in Acts as a heuristic model for decision-making. The article will discuss the place of divine guidance in publications by Pentecostal/charismatic publishers and whether it is a subject addressed in the faculties of practical theology in their theological schools. The article closes with a discussion whether odegeology as practised in Acts should be normative for Christians today. (shrink)
Regulators have recently relaxed some provisions of the Global Research Analyst Settlement of 2003 and associated reforms, which arose from charges that conflicts of interest within investment banks had induced the issuance of fraudulent or otherwise misleading analyst research reports. We examine the effectiveness of the Global Settlement in reducing the systematic optimism observed in stock recommendations of analysts whose employer is a merger and acquisition advisor for the covered firm, by comparing the optimism exhibited in stock recommendations issued by (...) these analysts and by unaffiliated analysts before and after the Global Settlement. To control for the impact on analyst optimism of other time varying factors, our sample includes cases from the US and from other countries in which the Global Settlement had no direct impact. We argue that if the Global Settlement was effective, there should be a reduction in the relative optimism of affiliated analysts following this reform, and that reduction in the relative optimism should be greater for affiliated US analysts, than for affiliated analysts from non-US countries. When optimism is measured over a 180-day period surrounding the M&A announcement, we find a significantly greater reduction in US affiliated analysts’ optimism than occurs outside the US. However, evidence regarding analysts’ optimism in the 90-day period prior to the announcement of an M&A deal is mixed. (shrink)
There is considerable likelihood that Gottlob Frege began writing his Foundations of Arithmetic with the expectation that he could introduce his numbers, not with sets, but through some algebraic techniques borrowed from earlier writers of the Gottingen school. These rewriting techniques, had they worked, would have required strong philosophical justification provided by Frege's celebrated "context principle," which otherwise serves little evident purpose in the published Foundations.
A standard illustration' of this situation in this: let M~ be a theory of mechanics employing mass points as basic objects and let Mz be similar yet with only extended objects as its primitive elements. Let M> postulate that mass points come only in dense collections. Granted reasonable assumptions about the further details of Mq and M2, we can define the extended objects of Mz in M~ as dense sets of mass points whereas the latter can be defined in Mz (...) as nested sets of the former. Both theories offer equivalent descriptions of the world in the sense that any claim of Mq can be systematically translated into a theorem of Mz and conversely. (shrink)
The quality of philosophical diagnosis within the philosophy of science will be greatly improved if the original distinctions of applied mathematics are employed instead of the inadequate substitutes provided by the logical empiricists. The problem of evaluating counterfactual claims is examined from this point of view.
I'm scarcely the only reader who has found it puzzling that the self-consistent author of the Meditations, with his firm faith that God has supplied us with clear and distinct ideas sufficient to understand the material world, could have been satisfied with the messy jumble of physical doctrine we seem to find in his ~Priuci les. For example, although Descartes seems to be committed to a relationalism of some sort, his notorious laws of impact look as if they blatantly rely (...) upon an absolute compass of inertia, leading Julian Barbour to complain that Descartes' relationalism is but "froth on the surface of a deep underlying absolutism" (Barbour 1989 p. 600) (by "compass of inertia", I mean "a method of guidance lodged in an absolute background space or spacetime"). (shrink)
Paul uses the hapax legomenon ίλαστήριον in Romans 3:25. Pauline scholars have discussed the background for Paul’s use of the word, whether from the LXX, Second Temple practice or pagan inscriptions. Two altars were found in the Asian city of Metropolis in the early 1990s with the dedication Καίσαρος ἱλαστηρίου. This article discusses their discovery, the history of Metropolis and the possible relationship of Paul to the city. It explores the date of the erection of the altars by establishing a (...) viable sitz im leben early in the reign of Augustus. It then traces the semantic history of the ίλαστήριον and attempts to establish its possible meaning within Pauline theology. Finally, the question whether ίλαστήριον should be added to the vocabulary of imperial ideology in Paul’s writings is addressed. (shrink)
Many common approximation methods in physics practice 'causal process avoidance' in their operative procedures and such methodologies weave densely throughout the usual fabric of 'classical mechanics'. It is observed that Hume was unable to find any grounding for a robust conception of 'cause' largely because he unwittingly looked in those regions of mechanics where genuine causal processes had already been tacitly expunged.