At the beginning of the twentieth century in the Russian-speaking philosophical space philosophical projects emerged which brought ontology and gnoseology closer together. One can observe this process, for example, in the philosophical doctrines of the Russian intuitivists Nikolay Lossky and Semyon Frank. I demonstrate that the emergence of these doctrines and the development of their onto-gnoseological categorial apparatus were mainly connected with the criticism of the Neo-Kantian theory of cognition and the possibility of transcendent knowledge as such. The main sources (...) of my study are The Intuitive Basis of Knowledge and The World as an Organic Whole by N. O. Lossky and The Object of Knowledge and The Unknowable by S. L. Frank. My investigation makes it possible to treat Lossky’s categorial framework as the representation of a system of levels of the universe each of which is characterised by two aspects: the ontological, i.e. it is part of the unity of the world, and the gnoseological, i.e. it has an independent cognitive significance. Frank considers categories to be an organic part of the ontological proof of intuitivism. A common trend in the construction of categorial schemes by Lossky and Frank is their striving to combine gnoseological and ontological descriptions of categories. The key difference is the way an onto-gnoseological system as a whole is justified. In revealing the contradictions in Lossky’s conception, I proceed from the critical remarks of S. A. Askoldov, pointing out that these contradictions stem from an absolutisation of intuition in cognition, the renunciation of the idea of gnoseological transcendence, incompleteness of the theory of immanence and discordance between onto-gnoseological categories. Askoldov’s critical comments clarify the substantive features of Lossky’s theory and the essence of the transformations carried out in Frank’s absolute ideal-realism. (shrink)
Reductionism--understanding complex processes by breaking them into simpler elements--dominates scientific thinking around the world and has certainly proved a powerful tool, leading to major discoveries in every field of science. But reductionism can be taken too far, especially in the life sciences, where sociobiological thinking has bordered on biological determinism. Thus popular science writers such as Richard Dawkins, author of the highly influential The Selfish Gene, can write that human beings are just "robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish (...) molecules known as genes." Indeed, for many in science, genes have become the fundamental unit for understanding human existence: genes determine every aspect of our lives, from personal success to existential despair: genes for health and illness, genes for criminality, violence, and sexual orientation. Others would say that this is reductionism with a vengeance. In Lifelines, biologist Steven Rose offers a powerful alternative to the ultradarwinist claims of Dawkins, E.O. Wilson, Daniel Dennett and others. Rose argues against an extreme reductionist approach that would make the gene the key to understanding human nature, in favor of a more complex and richer vision of life. He urges instead that we focus on the organism and in particular on the organism's lifeline: the trajectory it takes through time and space. Our personal lifeline, Rose points out, is unique--even identical twins, with identical genes at birth, will differ over time. These differences are obviously not embedded in our genes, but come about through our developmental trajectory in which genes, as part of the biochemical orchestra of trillions of cells in each human body, have an important part--but only a part--to play. To illustrate this idea, Rose examines recent research in modern biology, and especially two disciplines--genetics (which looks at the impact of genes on form) and developmental biology (which examines the interaction between the organism and the environment)--and he explores new ideas on biological complexity proposed by scientists such as Stuart Kauffman. He shows how our lifelines are constructed through the interplay of physical forces--such as the intrinsic chemistry of lipids and proteins, and the self-organizing and stabilizing properties of complex metabolic webs--and he reaches a startling conclusion: that organisms are active players in their own fate, not simply the playthings of the gods, nature, or the inevitable workings out of gene-driven natural selection. The organism is both the weaver and the pattern it weaves. Lifelines will be a rallying point for all who seek an alternative to the currently fashionable, deeply determinist accounts which dominate popular science writing and, in fact, crowd the pages of some of the major scientific journals. Based on solid, state-of-the-art research, it not only makes important contributions to our understanding of Darwin and natural selection, but will swing the pendulum back to a richer, more complex view of human nature and of life. (shrink)
I aim to illuminate foundational epistemological issues by reflecting on 'epistemic consequentialism'—the epistemic analogue of ethical consequentialism. Epistemic consequentialism employs a concept of cognitive value playing a role in epistemic norms governing belief-like states that is analogous to the role goodness plays in act-governing moral norms. A distinction between 'direct' and 'indirect' versions of epistemic consequentialism is held to be as important as the familiar ethical distinction on which it is based. These versions are illustrated, respectively, by cognitive decision-theory and (...) reliabilism. Cognitive decision-theory is defended, and various conceptual issues concerning it explored. A simple dilemma suggests that epistemic consequentialism has radical consequences. (shrink)
Contents include Language as a Means of Mental Culture and International Communication (1853; 2 vols) by Claude Marcel; The Mastery of Languages, or the Art of Speaking Foreign Tongues Idiomatically (1864) by Thomas Prendergast; Introduction to the Teaching of Living Languages without Grammar or Dictionary (1874) by Lambert Sauveur; and The Art of Teaching and Studying Languages (1880; English translation 1892) by Francois Goiun.
According to the causal interpretation of quantum mechanics, one can precisely define the state of an individual particle in a many-body system by its position, momentum, and spin. It is shown in the EPR spin experiment that the quantum torque brings about an instantaneous change in the state of one of the particles when the other undergoes a local interaction, but that such a transfer of “information” cannot be extracted by any experiment subject to the laws of quantum mechanics.
Several cases which have been considered by the courts in recent years have highlighted the legal dilemmas facing doctors whose decisions result in the ending of a patient's life. This paper considers the case of Dr Cox, who was convicted of attempting to murder one of his patients, and explores the roles of motive, diminished responsibility and consent in cases of "mercy killing". The Cox decision is compared to that of Tony Bland and Janet Johnstone, in which the patients were (...) in a persistent vegetative state. In all three cases, the doctors believed that their patients' quality of life was so poor that their continued existence was of no benefit to them, and decided that their lives should not be unduly prolonged, yet the doctor who was prosecuted was the one whose dying patient had requested that her death be hastened. The paper examines the law's seemingly contradictory approaches to such cases. (shrink)
Background: According to the Declaration of Helsinki, patients who take part in a clinical trial must be adequately informed about the trial's aims, methods, expected benefits, and potential risks. The declaration does not, however, elaborate on what “adequately informed” might amount to, in practice. Medical researchers and Local Research Ethics Committees attempt to ensure that the information which potential participants are given is pitched at an appropriate level, but few studies have considered whether the patients who take part in such (...) trials feel they have been given adequate information, or whether they feel able to understand that information.Objectives: To explore trial participants' views on the amount of information provided, and of their own understanding of that information.Design: Structured interviews of patients participating in clinical trials for the treatment of chronic medical condition.Findings: Patients generally felt they were given an appropriate amount of information, and that they were able to understand all or most of it. They felt they were given adequate time to ask questions before agreeing to take part. In comparison with treatment given outwith the research setting, patients generally felt they received more information when participating in a clinical trial.Conclusions: Researchers sometimes complain that patients are given too much information during clinical trials, and have limited understanding of that information. The present study shows that this perception is not necessarily shared by patients. More research is needed in this area, particularly to gauge whether patient understanding is indeed accurate. (shrink)
It was shown by de Broglie and Bohm that the concept of a deterministic particle trajectory is compatible with quantum mechanics. It is demonstrated by explicit construction that there exists another more general deterministic trajectory interpretation. The method exploits an internal angular degree of freedom that is implicit in the Schrödinger equation, in addition to the particle position. The de Broglie-Bohm model is recovered when the new theory is averaged over the internal freedom. The model exhibits a strong form of (...) entanglement which implies a primary role for the wavefunction of the Universe. The conditions of autonomy are examined, and the viability of the theory is established by application to the measurement problem. (shrink)
The geometrical structures implicit in the de Broglie waves associated with a relativistic charged scalar quantum mechanical particle in an external field are analyzed by employing the ray concept of the causal interpretation. It is shown how an osculating Finslerian metric tensor, a torsion tensor, and a tetrad field define respectively the strain, the dislocation density, and the Burgers vector in the “natural state” of the wave, which is a non-Riemannian space of distant parallelism. A quantum torque determined by the (...) quantum potential is introduced and the example of a screw dislocated wave is discussed. (shrink)
The Homeric description of the shield made for Achilles by Hephaestus is the type for all later ecphrases of works of art in ancient literature. It stands out as an extravagant example of the epic poet's powers of elaborate and vivid description, so extravagant that one notable ancient critic at least, Zenodotus, felt that it was more comfortable simply to athetize the greater bulk of the passage. More symphathetic commentators of modern times have sought ways of integrating the scenes displayed (...) on the divine artefact with the primary subject-matter of theIliad; the most common approach is to take the Shield as a summary of all human life, a mirror of society in all its aspects, against which to measure the significance of the narrow range of warfare and death that dominates the rest of the poem.The requirements of internal coherence and external relevance also guided the interpretative strategy of ancient critics less austere than Zenodotus. This paper is an inquiry into the ways that antiquity perceived and exploited the Homeric Shield of Achilles. In the first section I examine early Greek responses to the question of the contextual function of a decorated shield such as that of Achilles. (shrink)
Jensen limits himself mainly to the early work of Hutcheson, i.e., Inquiry Concerning Moral Good and Evil and Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with brief mention of his later work. This seems to be quite justified in that the more interesting and perhaps more creative work of Hutcheson appears in his earlier writings. The main thrust of this study is to examine Hutcheson’s theory of motivation and his moral sense theory, first individually and then (...) in their interrelationship. Jensen’s presentation of Hutcheson’s moral sense theory makes use of the work and scholarship of such writers as Broad, Frankena, Blackstone and Peach, although Jensen assesses these authors, and in the last chapter, offers his own suggestions for the improvement of Hutcheson’s theory. The real forte of this book lies in the author’s original examination and reflection upon Hutcheson’s theory of motivation. It is this theory, Jensen declares, which "... constitutes one of his most valuable contributions to moral philosophy." It seems to be by virtue of this theory that Hutcheson can be understood as stressing the practical and dynamic dimensions of morality. Yet coupled with the moral sense theory, the results, as Jensen takes care to show, are somewhat disastrous. Some of the problems arising from this union are the following: how the moral sense influences motivation, how "justifying reasons" relate to action, and how obligation relates to motivation. This book is a scholarly work in philosophy which illumines some perennial philosophical perplexities in the light of recent philosophical work, thus making these problems intelligible and meaningful to philosophers today.—P. R. (shrink)
A well-written translation of Cournot's Essai sur les fondements de nos connaissances et sur les caractères de la critique philosophique. The author, little known in this country except for his work in mathematics and economics, first published this work in 1851. The Essay is part rationalism, part empiricism. The first half of the Essay argues for Cournot's theory of knowledge; the second relates his theory to problems of mathematics, logic, law, history, psychology, ethics, esthetics, and to his philosophical predecessors. It (...) is a work which will reward careful study and which will be of special interest to students of Peirce and Bergson. The translator has provided a lengthy introduction which will be of value to those unfamiliar with Cournot and Cournot literature, and an excellent index. --R. P. (shrink)
Conditions are stated under which the "argument by analogy" is consistent with the principle of inverse probability. It is contended that the argument by analogy, in conjunction with a crucial test, has a legitimate place in scientific logic. As an example the astrophysical problem of solar granulation is discussed in detail and other examples are mentioned more briefly.