An infinite lottery machine is used as a foil for testing the reach of inductive inference, since inferences concerning it require novel extensions of probability. Its use is defensible if there is some sense in which the lottery is physically possible, even if exotic physics is needed. I argue that exotic physics is needed and describe several proposals that fail and at least one that succeeds well enough.
John Norton has proposed a position of “material induction” that denies the existence of a universal inductive inference schema behind scientific reasoning. In this vein, Norton has recently presented a “dome scenario” based on Newtonian physics that, in his understanding, is at variance with Bayesianism. The present note points out that a closer analysis of the dome scenario reveals incompatibilities with material inductivism itself.
The recent discovery of an indeterministic system in classical mechanics, the Norton dome, has shown that answering the question whether classical mechanics is deterministic can be a complicated matter. In this paper I show that indeterministic systems similar to the Norton dome were already known in the nineteenth century: I discuss four nineteenth century authors who wrote about such systems, namely Poisson, Duhamel, Boussinesq and Bertrand. However, I argue that their discussion of such systems was very different from (...) the contemporary discussion about the Norton dome, because physicists in the nineteenth century conceived of determinism in essentially different ways: whereas in the contemporary literature on determinism in classical physics, determinism is usually taken to be a property of the equations of physics, in the nineteenth century determinism was primarily taken to be a presupposition of theories in physics, and as such it was not necessarily affected by the possible existence of systems such as the Norton dome. (shrink)
In my contribution to the Symposium ("On the Vagaries of Determinism and Indeterminism"), I will identify several issues that arise in trying to decide whether Newtonian particle mechanics qualifies as a deterministic theory. I'll also give a mini-tutorial on the geometry and dynamical properties of Norton's dome surface. The goal is to better understand how his example works, and better appreciate just how wonderfully strange it is.
John D. Norton defends an empiricist epistemology of thought experiments, the central thesis of which is that thought experiments are nothing more than arguments. Philosophers have attempted to provide counterexamples to this claim, but they haven’t convinced Norton. I will point out a more fundamental reason for reformulation that criticizes Norton’s claim that a thought experiment is a good one when its underlying logical form possesses certain desirable properties. I argue that by Norton’s empiricist standards, no (...) thought experiment is ever justified in any deep sense due to the properties of its logical form. Instead, empiricists should consider again the merits of evaluating thought experiments more like laboratory experiments, and less like arguments. (shrink)
Norton’s very simple case of indeterminism in classical mechanics has given rise to a literature critical of his result. I am interested here in posing a new objection different from the ones made to date. The first section of the paper expounds the essence of Norton’s model and my criticism of it. I then propose a specific modification in the absence of gravitational interaction. The final section takes into consideration a surprising consequence for classical mechanics from the new (...) model introduced here. (shrink)
David and Mary Norton present the definitive scholarly edition of Hume's Treatise, one of the greatest philosophical works ever written. This set comprises the two volumes of texts and editorial material, which are also available for purchase separately. -/- David Hume (1711 - 1776) is one of the greatest of philosophers. Today he probably ranks highest of all British philosophers in terms of influence and philosophical standing. His philosophical work ranges across morals, the mind, metaphysics, epistemology, religion, and aesthetics; (...) he had broad interests not only in philosophy as it is now conceived but in history, politics, economics, religion, and the arts. He was a master of English prose. -/- The Clarendon Hume Edition will include all of his works except his History of England and minor historical writings. It is the only thorough critical edition, and will provide a far more extensive scholarly treatment than any previous editions. This edition (which has been in preparation since the 1970s) offers authoritative annotation, bibliographical information, and indexes, and draws upon the major advances in textual scholarship that have been made since the publication of earlier editions - advances both in the understanding of editorial principle and practice and in knowledge of the history of Hume's own texts. (shrink)
With respect to inductive reasoning, there are at least two broad projects that have been of interest to philosophers. The first project is that of accurately describing paradigmatic instances of inductive reasoning in the sciences and in everyday life. Thus, we might ask, of some particular historical episode, how exactly Newton, or Darwin, or Einstein arrived at some conclusion on the basis of the evidence that was before him. The second project is one of justification. The task here is that (...) of showing why paradigmatic inductive reasoning is good reasoning, or why skeptical challenges which purport to undermine the legitimacy of such reasoning fail to do so. As I understand it, this second, justificatory project prominently includes, but is not limited to, the task of either solving or dissolving Hume’s skeptical critique of induction. Neither of these projects is trivial. Indeed, many think that we are currently far from successfully completing either one. But in any case, it would seem that the descriptive project has a certain priority to the justification project. After all, how could one justify our inductive practices, or defend them against skeptical challenge, in the absence of some reasonably detailed and accurate description of those practices? Given this apparent priority, it is a striking fact that the justification project has often been pursued in the absence of any significant attention to the project of accurate description. In particular, a great deal of the traditional discussion of Hume’s problem of induction has proceeded against the background of hopelessly crude models of our actual inductive practice—a fact sometimes acknowledged by participants in such discussions themselves. Plausibly, the thought which underlies this procedure is the following: whatever force Hume’s critique ultimately possesses, that force is not tied to the specific content of the general rules or principles that we follow in reasoning inductively. Rather, the force of Hume’s critique depends on our following any general rules or principles at all.. (shrink)
Henry Thoreau boasted that he was widely travelled in Concord, Massachusetts. He was born there on 12 July 1817, and he died there on 6 May 1862, of tuberculosis, at the age of forty-four years. In 1837 he graduated from Harvard College, and in 1838 he joined Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and others in the informal group that became known as the New England Transcendentalists. The author of four books, many essays and poems, and a voluminous journal, he is (...) best known for the book Walden and the essay ‘Civil Disobedience’, and for the circumstances attending these two milestones in American thought and literature. (shrink)
I deny that the world is fundamentally causal, deriving the skepticism on non-Humean grounds from our enduring failures to find a contingent, universal principle of causality that holds true of our science. I explain the prevalence and fertility of causal notions in science by arguing that a causal character for many sciences can be recovered, when they are restricted to appropriately hospitable domains. There they conform to loose and varying collections of causal notions that form folk sciences of causation. This (...) recovery of causation exploits the same generative power of reduction relations that allows us to recover gravity as a force from Einstein's general relativity and heat as a conserved fluid, the caloric, from modern thermal physics, when each theory is restricted to appropriate domains. Causes are real in science to the same degree as caloric and gravitational forces. (shrink)
Bryan Norton’s 2005 book Sustainability describes a pragmatic approach to environmental philosophy that stresses philosophy’s role as one of mediating between scientific and ordinary language. But on two topics, Norton’s approach is not pragmatic enough. In the case of his discussion of risk, he accedes to a scientific notion that fails to acknowledge the way that ordinary usage of the word risk involves pragmatic links to human action and moral responsibility. With respect to the word sustainability, his analysis (...) fails to acknowledge important scientific work that characterizes the functional integrity of system cycling, opting instead for usage grounded either in economic accounting or in an even less substantive sense of a broad social movement for environmental improvement. On each of these topics, adherence to the pragmatic orientation of Norton’s philosophy results in a different analysis of the concepts in question. (shrink)
That past patterns may continue in many different ways has long been identified as a problem for accounts of induction. The novelty of Goodman’s ”new riddle of induction” lies in a meta-argument that purports to show that no account of induction can discriminate between incompatible continuations. That meta-argument depends on the perfect symmetry of the definitions of grue/bleen and green/blue, so that any evidence that favors the ordinary continuation must equally favor the grue-ified continuation. I argue that this very dependence (...) on the perfect symmetry defeats the novelty of the new riddle. The symmetry can be obtained in contrived circumstances, such as when we grue-ify our total science. However, in all such cases, we cannot preclude the possibility that the original and grue-ified descriptions are merely notationally variant descriptions of the same physical facts; or if there are facts that separate them, these facts are ineffable, so that no account of induction should be expected to pick between them. In ordinary circumstances, there are facts that distinguish the regular and grue-ified descriptions. Since accounts of induction can and do call upon these facts, Goodman’s meta-argument cannot provide principled grounds for the failure of all accounts of induction. It assures us only of the failure of accounts of induction, such as unaugmented enumerative induction, that cannot exploit these symmetry breaking facts. (shrink)
The singularity arising from the violation of the Lipschitz condition in the simple Newtonian system proposed recently by Norton (2003) is so fragile as to be completely and irreparably destroyed by slightly relaxing certain (infinite) idealizations pertaining to elastic phenomena in this model. I demonstrate that this is also true for several other Lipschitz-indeterministic systems, which, unlike Norton's example, have no surface curvature singularities. As a result, indeterminism in these systems should rather be viewed as an artefact of (...) certain infinite idealizations essential for these models, depriving them of much of their intended metaphysical import. (shrink)
Einstein learned from the magnet and conductor thought experiments how to use field transformation laws to extend the covariance to Maxwell’s electrodynamics. If he persisted in his use of this device, he would have found that the theory cleaves into two Galilean covariant parts, each with different field transformation laws. The tension between the two parts reflects a failure not mentioned by Einstein: that the relativity of motion manifested by observables in the magnet and conductor thought experiment does not extend (...) to all observables in electrodynamics. An examination of Ritz’s work shows that Einstein’s early view could not have coincided with Ritz’s on an emission theory of light, but only with that of a conveniently reconstructed Ritz. One Ritz-like emission theory, attributed by Pauli to Ritz, proves to be a natural extension of the Galilean covariant part of Maxwell’s theory that happens also to accommodate the magnet and conductor thought experiment. Einstein's famous chasing a light beam thought experiment fails as an objection to an ether-based, electrodynamical theory of light. However it would allow Einstein to formulate his general objections to all emission theories of light in a very sharp form. Einstein found two well known experimental results of 18th and19th century optics compelling (Fizeau’s experiment, stellar aberration), while the accomplished Michelson-Morley experiment played no memorable role. I suggest they owe their importance to their providing a direct experimental grounding for Lorentz’ local time, the precursor of Einstein’s relativity of simultaneity, and do it essentially independently of electrodynamical theory. I attribute Einstein’s success to his determination to implement a principle of relativity in electrodynamics, but I urge that we not invest this stubbornness with any mystical prescience. (shrink)
Spacetime substantivalism leads to a radical form of indeterminism within a very broad class of spacetime theories which include our best spacetime theory, general relativity. Extending an argument from Einstein, we show that spacetime substantivalists are committed to very many more distinct physical states than these theories' equations can determine, even with the most extensive boundary conditions.
In this paper we provide a psychological explanation for ‘grounding observations’—observations that are thought to provide evidence that there exists a relation of ground. Our explanation does not appeal to the presence of any such relation. Instead, it appeals to certain evolved cognitive mechanisms, along with the traditional modal relations of supervenience, necessitation and entailment. We then consider what, if any, metaphysical conclusions we can draw from the obtaining of such an explanation, and, in particular, if it tells us anything (...) about whether we ought to posit a relation of ground. (shrink)
The focus of Norton's book is the distinction between objectives and values in developing environmental policies. Norton argues that environmentalism is a coalition of many groups working toward common objectives, but unlike other social action movements the environmental coalition does not have shared moral principles.
In his new book, Sustainability: A Philosophy of Adaptive Ecosystem Management, Bryan G. Norton proposes an account of sustainability grounded in the deliberation of local communities as part of an adaptive management process. One can distinguish two different ways of justifying his account—resulting in “political” and “metaphysical” conceptions of sustainability—in much the same way that John Rawls famously distinguishes between political and metaphysical conceptions of justice. Whereas the metaphysical conception of sustainability depends on principles that are specific to American (...) pragmatist philosophical theory, the political conception draws on relatively uncontroversial elements of democratic political culture. Although Norton seems to lean toward a metaphysical conception of sustainability in his book, a political conception would actually be more compatible with the overarching aims of his project. Finally, the distinction between political and metaphysical conceptions could prove valuable as a model for thinking about how many of the current projects in environmental pragmatism relate to other strands of environmental philosophy. Thus, a potentially fruitful alteration to Norton’s recent work provides some conciliatory lessons for relating different projects in the field of environmental philosophy. (shrink)
Responding to a major pandemic and planning for allocation of scarce resources under crisis standards of care requires coordination and cooperation across federal, state and local governments in tandem with the larger societal infrastructure. Maryland remains one of the few states with no state-endorsed ASR plan, despite having a plan published in 2017 that was informed by public forums across the state. In this article, we review strengths and weaknesses of Maryland’s response to COVID-19 and the role of the Maryland (...) Healthcare Ethics Committee Network in bridging gaps in the state’s response to prepare health care facilities for potential implementation of ASR plans. Identified “lessons learned” include: Deliberative Democracy Provided a Strong Foundation for Maryland’s ASR Framework; Community Consensus is Informative, Not Normative; Hearing Community Voices Has Inherent Value; Lack of Transparency & Political Leadership Gaps Generate a Fragmented Response; Pandemic Politics Requires Diplomacy & Persistence; Strong Leadership is Needed to Avoid Implementing ASR … And to Plan for ASR; An Effective Pandemic Response Requires Coordination and Information-Sharing Beyond the Acute Care Hospital; and The Ability to Correct Course is Crucial: Reconsidering No-visitor Policies. (shrink)
Eternalists believe that there is no ontological difference between the past, present and future. Thus, a challenge arises: in virtue of what does time have a direction? Some eternalists, Oaklander and Tegtmeier ) argue that the direction of time is primitive. A natural response to positing primitive directionality is the suspicion that said posit is too mysterious to do any explanatory work. The aim of this paper is to relieve primitive directionality of some of its mystery by offering a novel (...) way to understand the phenomenon in terms of the recently popularised notion of grounding. (shrink)
Many think that sentences about what metaphysically explains what are true iff there exist grounding relations. This suggests that sceptics about grounding should be error theorists about metaphysical explanation. We think there is a better option: a theory of metaphysical explanation which offers truth conditions for claims about what metaphysically explains what that are not couched in terms of grounding relations, but are instead couched in terms of, inter alia, psychological facts. We do not argue that our account is superior (...) to grounding-based accounts. Rather, we offer it to those already ill-disposed towards grounding. (shrink)
In its simplest form, a Spritz is an aperitif made with (sparkling) water and (white) wine. A ‘gunky Spritz’, as I will call it, is a Spritz in which the water and the wine are mixed through and through, so that every proper part of the Spritz has a proper part containing both water and wine. In the literature on the notion of location the possibility of mixtures like a gunky Spritz has been thought of (...) as either threatening seemingly intuitive locative principles, or as requiring the position of multiple primitive locative relations. In this paper I present a new theory of location which assumes as primitive only the notion of pervasive location and show that it can account for the possibility of gunky Spritz in an intuitive and adequate way. (shrink)
Norton argues on pragmatic “Deweyan” grounds that we should cease to ask scientists for value neutral definitions of “sustainability,” developed independently of moral and social values, to guide our environmental policy making debates. “Sustainability,” like human “health,” is a normative concept from the start—one that cannot be meaningfully developed by scientists or economists without input by all the stake holders affected. While I endorse Norton’s approach, I question his apparent presumption that concern for sustainability for the future is (...) at odds with and ought to trump concern for enhancement in the present of public opportunities to access the goods nature represents. I argue that the two are not separable in practice. I argue for Passmore’s position that unless we take care to enhance equitable access to the good and services nature represents in the present, we cannot succeed in promoting sustainability for future generations. (shrink)
David Hume is, arguably, the most important philosopher ever to have written in English. Although best known for his contributions to epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion, Hume also made substantial and influential contributions to psychology and the philosophy of mind, ethics, the philosophy of science, political and economic theory, political and social history, and, to a lesser extent, aesthetic and literary theory. All facets of Hume's output are discussed in this volume, the first genuinely comprehensive overview of his (...) work. The picture that emerges is of a thinker who, though critical to the point of scepticism, was nonetheless able to build on that scepticism a profoundly important, and still viable, constructive philosophy. (shrink)
There has been an ongoing debate about the best approach in environmental ethics. Bryan Norton believes that “weak anthropocentrism” will yield the best results for public policy, and that it is the most defensible position. In contrast, I have argued that an ecocentric, holistic position is required to deal with the urgent environmental problems that face us, and that position is complemented by the ecosystem approach and complex systems theory. I have called this approach “the ethics of integrity,” and (...) in this paper I show why this perspective suggests better solutions to difficult cases, for which “weak anthropocentrism” fails to provide an answer. (shrink)
According to the No Alternate Possibilities argument, if time passes then the rate at which it passes could be different but time cannot pass at different rates, and hence time cannot pass. Typically, defenders of the NAP argument have focussed on defending premise, and have taken the truth of for granted: they accept the orthodox view of rate necessitarianism. In this paper we argue that the defender of the NAP argument needs to turn her attention to. We describe a series (...) of worlds that appear to contain differential passage: worlds where time passes at different rates in different subregions. If the NAP argument is to succeed, rate necessitarians must show that each of these worlds is either metaphysically impossible, or does not contain differential passage. (shrink)
Is there progress in philosophy? If so, how much? Philosophers have recently argued for a wide range of answers to these questions, from the view that there is no progress whatsoever to the view that philosophy has provided answers to all the big philosophical questions. However, these views are difficult to compare and evaluate, because they rest on very different assumptions about the conditions under which philosophy would make progress. This paper looks to the comparatively mature debate about scientific progress (...) for inspiration on how to formulate four distinct accounts of philosophical progress, in terms of truthlikeness, problem-solving, knowledge, and understanding. Equally importantly, the paper outlines a common framework for how to understand and evaluate these accounts. We distill a series of lessons from this exercise, to help pave the way for a more fruitful discussion about philosophical progress in the future. (shrink)
This paper offers a new account of metaphysical explanation. The account is modelled on Kitcher’s unificationist approach to scientific explanation. We begin, in Sect. 2, by briefly introducing the notion of metaphysical explanation and outlining the target of analysis. After that, we introduce a unificationist account of metaphysical explanation before arguing that such an account is capable of capturing four core features of metaphysical explanations: irreflexivity, non-monotonicity, asymmetry and relevance. Since the unificationist theory of metaphysical explanation inherits irreflexivity and non-monotonicity (...) directly from the unificationist theory of scientific explanation that underwrites it, we focus on demonstrating how the account can secure asymmetry and relevance. (shrink)
David and Mary Norton present the definitive scholarly edition of Hume's Treatise, one of the greatest philosophical works ever written. This second volume contains their historical account of how the Treatise was written and published; an explanation of how they have established the text; an extensive set of annotations which illuminate Hume's texts; and a comprehensive bibliography and index.
Religious freedom is now widely accepted as fundamental to any liberal democracy. It is recognised in domestic, regional, and international human rights instruments and its importance is lauded by philosophers, lawyers, judges, clergy, and even politicians. While it is easy to support religious freedom in the abstract, tensions can arise between the activities of religious organizations and the law that challenge this general commitment to religious freedom. Should religious organizations be permitted to discriminate against women or gay people in their (...) employment practices, when admitting members, or in providing goods and services? Should the courts interfere in these organizations to protect the interests of a disaffected member or to resolve internal property disputes? Should the state allow religious tribunals to determine or advise on family matters?While much has been written about religious individuals and the law, there has been a discernible lack of literature on organizations and the law. Jane Norton fills this gap with Freedom of Religious Organizations. By exploring potential conflicts between the law and religious organizations, and examining whether the current British response to such conflicts is justified, this book will consider when English law ought to apply to religious organizations and how these conflicts should be dealt with. (shrink)
David and Mary Norton present the definitive scholarly edition of Hume's Treatise, one of the greatest philosophical works ever written. The first volume contains the critical text of David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature , followed by the shortin which Hume set out the key arguments of the larger work; the volume concludes with A Letter from a Gentleman to his Friend in Edinburgh , Hume's later defence of the Treatise.
This paper considers one unique solution to the puzzle of temporal passage in the block universe. argues that, although a precise description of its workings is currently beyond our understanding, time really passes. After introducing Norton’s account, I argue that it both implies a counterintuitive relationship between the “now” and passage and that it leads to an unlikely relationship between our experience and reality. I then propose that, even if one is willing to accept these consequences, there is reason (...) to question whether Norton builds a convincing case for the claim that, since we are not able to find any of the identifying characteristics of an illusion in the case of temporal passage, the passage of time is not an illusion. (shrink)
Edited by a team of four leading philosophers, The Norton Introduction to Philosophy introduces students to contemporary perspectives on major philosophical issues and questions. This text features an impressive array of readings, including 25 specially-commissioned essays by prominent philosophers. A student-friendly presentation, a handy format, and a low price make The Norton Introduction to Philosophy as accessible and affordable as it is up-to-date.
Muller and Saunders () purport to demonstrate that, surprisingly, bosons and fermions are discernible; this article disputes their arguments, then derives a similar conclusion in a more satisfactory fashion. After briefly explicating their proof and indicating how it escapes earlier indiscernibility results, we note that the observables which Muller and Saunders argue discern particles are (i) non-symmetric in the case of bosons and (ii) trivial multiples of the identity in the case of fermions. Both problems undermine the claim that they (...) have shown particles to be physically discernible. We then prove two results concerning observables that are truly physical: one showing when particles are discernible and one showing when they are not (categorically) discernible. Along the way we clarify some frequently misunderstood issues concerning the interpretation of quantum observables. 1 Background2 Criticisms2.1 Bosons2.2 Fermions3 Reformulating the Insight3.1 What weakly discerns?3.2 General results4 Conclusion. (shrink)
Monte Carlo simulations arrive at their results by introducing randomness, sometimes derived from a physical randomizing device. Nonetheless, we argue, they open no new epistemic channels beyond that already employed by traditional simulations: the inference by ordinary argumentation of conclusions from assumptions built into the simulations. We show that Monte Carlo simulations cannot produce knowledge other than by inference, and that they resemble other computer simulations in the manner in which they derive their conclusions. Simple examples of Monte Carlo simulations (...) are analysed to identify the underlying inferences. (shrink)
It is proposed that we use the term “approximation” for inexact description of a target system and “idealization” for another system whose properties also provide an inexact description of the target system. Since systems generated by a limiting process can often have quite unexpected, even inconsistent properties, familiar limit systems used in statistical physics can fail to provide idealizations, but are merely approximations. A dominance argument suggests that the limiting idealizations of statistical physics should be demoted to approximations.