We make a brief review of the Kramers escape rate theory for the probabilistic motion of a particle in a potential well U(x), and under the influence of classical fluctuation forces. The Kramers theory is extended in order to take into account the action of the thermal and zero-point random electromagnetic fields on a charged particle. The result is physically relevant because we get a non-null escape rate over the potential barrier at low temperatures (T → 0). It is found (...) that, even if the mean energy is much smaller than the barrier height, the classical particle can escape from the potential well due to the action of the zero-point fluctuating fields. These stochastic effects can be used to give a classical interpretation to some quantum tunneling phenomena. Relevant experimental data are used to illustrate the theoretical results. (shrink)
We consider the simple case of a nonrelativistic charged harmonic oscillator in one dimension, to investigate how to take into account the radiation reaction and vacuum fluctuation forces within the Schrödinger equation. The effects of both zero-point and thermal classical electromagnetic vacuum fields, characteristic of stochastic electrodynamics, are separately considered. Our study confirms that the zero-point electromagnetic fluctuations are dynamically related to the momentum operator p=−i ℏ ∂/∂ x used in the Schrödinger equation.
As everyone knows, since the end of the Second World War there has been a sensational revival of interest in the non-Christian religions particularly in the United States and in this country. The revival has taken two forms, the one popular, the other academic. The first of these has turned almost exclusively to Hindu and Buddhist mysticism and can be seen as an energetic reaction against the dogmatic and until very recently rigid structure of institutionalised Christianity and a search for (...) a lived experience of the freedom of the spirit which is held to be the true content of mysticism, obscured in Christianity by the basic dogma of a transcendent God, the ‘wholly Other’ of Rudolf Otto and his numerous followers, but wholly untrammelled by any such concept in the higher reaches of Vedanta and Buddhism, particularly in its Zen manifestation. On the academic side the picture is less clear. There is, of course, the claim that the study of religion, like any other academic study, must be subjected to and controlled by the same principles of ‘scientific’ objectivity to which the other ‘arts’ subjects have been subjected, to their own undoing. But even here there would seem to be a bias in favour of the religions of India and the Far East as against Islam, largely, one supposes, in response to popular demand. (shrink)
‘Mysticism means to isolate the eternal from the originated.’ This is not my definition of the word ‘mysticism’ but that of the founder of the ‘orthodox’ school of Muslim mysticism, Al-Junayd of Baghdad who flourished in the ninth century a.d . In actual fact it is not a definition of mysticism at all but of the Arabic word tawḥīd which means primarily ‘the affirmation of unity’; and that surely is an essential ingredient of any form of mysticism: it is the (...) affirmation through personal experience of unity either absolutely or in some qualified sense. (shrink)
The first Philosophers -- Plato -- Aristotle -- Augustine -- Thomas Aquinas -- Rene Descartes -- John Locke -- David Hume -- Immanuel Kant -- Karl Marx -- Soren Kierkegaard -- Fredrich Nietzsche -- Jean-Paul Sartre -- Darwin and Freud.
The argument of the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories in the Critique of Pure Reason is the deepest and most far-reaching in philosophy. In his new book, Robert Howell interprets main themes of the Deduction using ideas from contemporary philosophy and intensional logic, thereby providing a keener grasp of Kant's many subtleties than has hitherto been available. No other work pursues Kant's argument through every twist and turn with the careful, logically detailed attention maintained here. Surprising new accounts of apperception, (...) the concept of an object, the logical functions of thought, the role of the Metaphysical Deduction, and Kant's relations to his Aristotelian-Cartesian background are developed. Howell makes a precise contribution to the discussion of most of the disputed issues in the history of Deduction interpretation. Controversial in its conclusions, this book demands the attention of all who take seriously the task of understanding Kant's work and evaluating it dispassionately. (shrink)
Hawthorne and Magidor's criticisms of the model of presupposition and assertion that I have used and defended are all based on a rejection of some transparency or introspection of assumptions about speaker presupposition. This response to those criticisms aims first to clarify, and then to defend, the required transparency assumptions. It is argued, first, that if the assumptions are properly understood, some prima facie problems for them do not apply, second, that rejecting the assumptions has intuitively implausible consequences, and third, (...) that the 'margin of error' argument against the principle of positive introspection has a false premiss. The paper concludes with a response to a criticism of what Hawthorne and Magidor call 'the uniformity principle' that is used in the model to explain some pragmatic phenomena. (shrink)
What clearly emerges from Hegel's writings is that "Geist" refers to some sort of general consciousness, a single "mind" common to all men. The entire sweep of the Phenomenology of Spirit is away from the "disharmonious" conceptions of men as individuals to the "absolute" conception of all men as one. In the Phenomenology, we are first concerned with the inadequacy of conceptions of oneself as an individual in opposition to others and in opposition to God. This opposition is first resolved (...) in ethics, in the conception of oneself as a member of a family, of a community, of Kant's "Kingdom of Ends," as a citizen of the state, and then in religion, in which one conceives of oneself as "part" of God and a religious community. Absolute consciousness is the explicit recognition of one's identity as universal Spirit. The concept of "Geist" is the hallmark of a theory of self identity--a theory in which I am something other than a person. (shrink)
The problem that confronts us when we try to compare the structure of discourse and explanation in different domains of knowledge is that no one is an insider in more than one field, and insider information is essential. An observer who is not immersed in the practice of a particular scholarship and who wants to understand it is at the mercy of the practitioners. Yet those practitioners are themselves mystified by a largely unexamined communal myth of how scholarship is carried (...) on. R. G. Collingwood, although primarily a philosopher, was immersed in the community of historians and understood how history is done, so that he has had an immense influence on our ideas about historiography. Every historian knows The Idea of History.1 He was also a metaphysician, yet his influence on scientists’ understanding of nature, and of science, has been nil, and it is a rare scientist indeed who has ever heard of Collingwood or read The Idea of Nature.2 Collingwood’s views of the structure of science had to be constructed in large part from the elaborate fictions created by scientists and by an earlier generation of philosophers and historians of science who participated in the Baconian myth of the hypothetical-deductive scheme. 1. See R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History .2. See Collingwood, The Idea of Nature . R. C. Lewontin is Alexander Agassiz Professor at Harvard University. He is an experimental and theoretical evolutionary geneticist who has also worked extensively on epistemological issues in biology. He is the author of The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change and, with Richard Levins, of The Dialectical Biologist . His current research concerns the nature of genetic variation among individuals within species. (shrink)
When this work was first published in 1960, it immediately filled a void in Kantian scholarship. It was the first study entirely devoted to Kant's _Critique of Practical Reason_ and by far the most substantial commentary on it ever written. This landmark in Western philosophical literature remains an indispensable aid to a complete understanding of Kant's philosophy for students and scholars alike. This _Critique_ is the only writing in which Kant weaves his thoughts on practical reason into a unified argument. (...) Lewis White Beck offers a classic examination of this argument and expertly places it in the context of Kant's philosophy and of the moral philosophy of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
Chalmers (2018) maintains that even if we understood every physical process in the brain we could still wonder why these processes give rise to conscious experience. The meta-problem is the challenge of explaining why we think this 'hard problem' exists. This response to the target paper endorses illusionist accounts of three 'problem intuitions' about consciousness: duality, presentation, and revelation. Subject–object duality is explained in terms of a clash between two compelling but contradictory convictions about consciousness. Phenomenal presence is understood in (...) relation to the configurational features of sensory experiences. And intuitions of revelation are explained as due to an unfounded belief in introspective ontological access. These illusionist analyses are used to bolster the case for physicalist realism rather than to support 'strong' illusionism. In addition to addressing the meta-problem they suggest a promising approach to the hard problem as wel. (shrink)