A part of the scientific literature consists of intermediate results within a longer project. Scientists often publish a first result in the course of their work, while aware that they should soon achieve a more advanced result from this preliminary result. Should they follow the proverb “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”, and publish any intermediate result they get? This is the normative question addressed in this paper. My aim is to clarify, to refine, (...) and to assess informal arguments about the choice whether to publish intermediate results. To this end, I adopt a rational decision framework, supposing some utility or preferences, and I propose a formal model. The best publishing strategy turns out to depend on the research situation. In some simple circumstances, even selfish and short-minded scientists should publish their intermediate results, and should thus behave like their altruistic peers, i. e. like society would like them to behave. In other research situations, with inhomogeneous reward or difficulty profiles, the best strategy is opposite. These results suggest qualified philosophical morals. (shrink)
1.Summary The key terms. 1. Key term: ‘Sunyata’. Nagarjuna is known in the history of Buddhism mainly by his keyword ‘sunyata’. This word is translated into English by the word ‘emptiness’. The translation and the traditional interpretations create the impression that Nagarjuna declares the objects as empty or illusionary or not real or not existing. What is the assertion and concrete statement made by this interpretation? That nothing can be found, that there is nothing, that nothing exists? Was Nagarjuna denying (...) the external world? Did he wish to refute that which evidently is? Did he want to call into question the world in which we live? Did he wish to deny the presence of things that somehow arise? My first point is the refutation of this traditional translation and interpretation. 2. Key terms: ‘Dependence’ or ‘relational view’. My second point consists in a transcription of the keyword of ‘sunyata’ by the word ‘dependence’. This is something that Nagarjuna himself has done. Now Nagarjuna’s central view can be named ‘dependence of things’. Nagarjuna is not looking for a material or immaterial object which can be declared as a fundamental reality of this world. His fundamental reality is not an object. It is a relation between objects. This is a relational view of reality. This is the heart of Nagarjuna’s ideas. In the 19th century a more or less unknown Italian philosopher, Vincenzo Goberti, spoke about relations as the mean and as bonds between things. Later, in quantum physics and in the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead we are talking about interactions and entanglements. These ideas of relatedness or connections or entanglements in Eastern and Western modes of thought are the main idea of this essay. Not all entanglements are known. Just two examples: the nature of quantum entanglements is not known. Quantum entanglements should be faster than light. That's why Albert Einstein had some doubts. A second example: the completely unknown connections between the mind and the brain. Other examples are mysterious like the connections between birds in a flock. Some are a little known like gravitational forces. 3. Key terms: ‘Arm in arm’. But Nagarjuna did not stop there. He was not content to repeat this discovery of relational reality. He went on one step further indicating that what is happening between two things. He gave indications to the space between two things. He realized that not the behaviour of bodies, but the behaviour of something between them may be essential for understanding the reality. This open space is not at all empty. It is full of energy. The open space is the middle between things. Things are going arm in arm. The middle might be considered as a force that bounds men to the world and it might be seen as well as a force of liberation. It might be seen as a bondage to the infinite space. 4. Key term: Philosophy. Nagarjuna, we are told, was a Buddhist philosopher. This statement is not wrong when we take the notion ‘philosophy’ in a deep sense as a love to wisdom, not as wisdom itself. Philosophy is a way to wisdom. Where this way has an end wisdom begins and philosophy is no more necessary. A.N. Whitehead gives philosophy the commission of descriptive generalization. We do not need necessarily a philosophical building of universal dimensions. Some steps of descriptive generalization might be enough in order to see and understand reality. There is another criterion of Nagarjuna’s philosophy. Not his keywords ‘sunyata’ and ‘pratityasamutpada’ but his 25 philosophical examples are the heart of his philosophy. His examples are images. They do not speak to rational and conceptual understanding. They speak to our eyes. Images, metaphors, allegories or symbolic examples have a freshness which rational ideas do not possess. Buddhist dharma and philosophy is a philosophy of allegories. This kind of philosophy is not completely new and unknown to European philosophy. Since Plato’s allegory of the cave it is already a little known. (Plato 424 – 348 Befor Current Era) The German philosopher Hans Blumenberg has underlined the importance of metaphors in European philosophy. 5. Key terms: Quantum Physics. Why quantum physics? European modes of thought had no idea of the space between two this. They were bound to the ideas of substance or subject, two main metaphysical traditions of European philosophical history, two main principles. These substances and these subjects are two immaterial bodies which were considered by traditional European metaphysics as lying, as a sort of core, inside the objects or underlying the empirical reality of our world. The first European scientist who saw with his inner eye the forces between two things had been Michael Faraday (1791-1867). Faraday was an English scientist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism. Later physicists like Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg and others followed his view in modern physics. This is a fifth point of my work. I compare Nagarjuna with European scientific modes of thought for a better understanding of Asia. I do not compare Nagarjuna with European philosophers like Hegel, Heidegger, Wittgenstein. The principles and metaphysical foundations of physical sciences are more representative for European modes of thought than the ideas of Hegel, Heidegger and Wittgenstein and they are more precise. And slowly we are beginning to understand these principles. Let me take as an example the interpretation of quantum entanglement by the British mathematician Roger Penrose. Penrose discusses in the year of 2000 the experiences of quantum entanglement where light is separated over a distance of 100 kilometers and still remains connected in an unknown way. These are well known experiments in the last 30 years. Very strange for European modes of thought. The light should be either separated or connected. That is the expectation most European modes of thought tell us. Aristotle had been the first. Aristotle (384 - 322 Before Current Era) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and a teacher of Alexander the Great. He told us the following principle as a metaphysical foundation: Either a situation exists or not. There is not a third possibility. Now listen to Roger Penrose: “Quantum entanglement is a very strange type of thing. It is somewhere between objects being separate and being in communication with each other” (Roger Penrose, The Large, the Small and the Human Mind, Cambridge University Press. 2000 page 66). This sentence of Roger Penrose is a first step of a philosophical generalization in a Whiteheadian sense. 6. Key terms: ‘The metaphysical foundations of modern science’ had been examined particularly by three European and American philosophers: E. A. Burtt, A.N. Whitehead and Hans-Georg Gadamer, by Gadamer eminently in his late writings on Heraclitus and Parmenides. I try to follow the approaches of these philosophers of relational views and of anti-substantialism. By ‘metaphysical foundations’ Edwin Arthur Burtt does not understand transcendental ideas but simply the principles that are underlying sciences. -/- 7. Key terms: ‘Complementarity’, ‘interactions’, ‘entanglements’. Since 1927 quantum physics has three key terms which give an indication to the fundamental physical reality: Complementarity, interactions and entanglement. These three notions are akin to Nagarjuna’s relational view of reality. They are akin and they are very precise, so that Buddhism might learn something from these descriptions and quantum physicists might learn from Nagarjuna’s examples and views of reality. They might learn to do a first step in a philosophical generalisation of quantum physical experiments. All of us we might learn how objects are entangled or going arm in arm. [The end of the summary.] -/- « Wenn du gerade das, wodurch auch immer du gefesselt bist, erkennst, wirst du zur Freiheit gelangen. Wenn du diesen speziellen Pfad verwirklichst, gelangst du in einem Leben zur Buddhaschaft. Deswegen verhält es sich folgendermaßen : Wenn plötzlich die Geistesregung « Begierde » enststeht, dann betrachte, ohne ihr zu folgen, direkt ihre Essenz und verweile in dieser Betrachtung, ohne Ablenkungen zuzulassen. Auf diese Weise reinigt Begierde sich selbst, ohne aufgegeben zu werden, da sie ohne Grundlage und Ursprung entsteht. Das wird « Befreiung in sich selbst », « unterscheidende ursprüngliche Weisheit » oder Buddha Amitabha » genannt ». Jigden Sumgön, Licht, das die Dunkelheit durchbricht, Otter Verlag, München 2006, Seite 47, 48 . (shrink)
Are humans alone in their ability to reminisce about the past and imagine the future? Recent evidence suggests that food-storing birds (scrub jays) have access to information about what they have stored where and when. This has raised the possibility of mental time travel (MTT) in animals and sparked similar research with other species. Here we caution that such data do not provide convincing evidence for MTT. Examination of characteristics of human MTT (e.g. non-verbal declaration, generativity, developmental prerequisites) points to (...) other avenues as to how a case for animal MTT could be made. In light of the current lack of evidence, however, we maintain that MTT is a uniquely human characteristic. (shrink)
This stimulating collection of essays in ethics eschews the simple exposition and refinement of abstract theories. Rather, the author focuses on everyday moral issues, often neglected by philosophers, and explores the deeper theoretical questions which they raise. Such issues are: Is it wrong to tell a lie to protect someone from a painful truth? Should one commit a lesser evil to prevent another from doing something worse? Can one be both autonomous and compassionate? Other topics discussed are servility, weakness of (...) will, suicide, obligations to oneself, snobbery, and environmental concerns. A feature of the collection is the contrast of Kantian and utilitarian answers to these problems. The essays are crisply and lucidly written and will appeal to both teachers and students of philosophy. (shrink)
Thomas Hill, a leading figure in the recent development of Kantian moral philosophy, presents a set of essays exploring the implications of basic Kantian ideas for practical issues. The first part of the book provides background in central themes in Kant's ethics; the second part discusses questions regarding human welfare; the third focuses on moral worth-the nature and grounds of moral assessment of persons as deserving esteem or blame. Hill shows moral, political, and social philosophers just how valuable moral (...) theory can be in addressing practical matters. (shrink)
Respect, Pluralism, and Justice is a series of essays which sketches a broadly Kantian framework for moral deliberation, and then uses it to address important social and political issues. Hill shows how Kantian theory can be developed to deal with questions about cultural diversity, punishment, political violence, responsibility for the consequences of wrongdoing, and state coercion in a pluralistic society.
The contributors to this volume describe a range of programs that use picture books to teach philosophy to diverse audiences. From a pre-school program in which college students to do the teaching to a program focused on overcoming the legacy of violence and genocide in Mali in which the teachers write and illustrate their own picture books, the authors demonstrate the impact that learning philosophy has on diverse communities of young students and their teachers.
John Rawls’ account in Law of Peoples of a realist utopia composed of a society of liberal and decent peoples is a stark contrast to his description of “outlaw states,” which seek to undermine the legal and moral frameworks that constitute a pacific global order. Rawls argues that outlaw states cannot conceive of political accommodation with their external enemies; instead, they opt for the rule of force, terror, and brutality. Rawls even urges that liberal peoples are justified in maintaining a (...) nuclear deterrent to prevent outlaw states from obtaining and then using nuclear weapons on liberal societies if the opportunity arose. This article examines the paradoxical question of liberal societies that, in the name of opposing outlaw states, undertake security policies which correspond to “outlaw” statist behavior. It then explores the implications of liberal roguishness for the legitimacy of liberal international security arrangements, such as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Regime. (shrink)
Thomas E. Hill, Jr., interprets and extends Kant's moral theory in a series of essays that highlight its relevance to contemporary ethics. He introduces the major themes of Kantian ethics and explores its practical application to questions about revolution, prison reform, and forcible interventions in other countries for humanitarian purposes.
An international team of four authors, led by distinguished philosopher of science, Nancy Cartwright, and leading scholar of the Vienna Circle, Thomas E. Uebel, have produced this lucid and elegant study of a much-neglected figure. The book, which depicts Neurath's science in the political, economic and intellectual milieu in which it was practised, is divided into three sections: Neurath's biographical background and the socio-political context of his economic ideas; the development of his theory of science; and his legacy as (...) illustrated by his contemporaneous involvement in academic and political debates. Coinciding with the renewal of interest in logical positivism, this is a timely publication which will redress a current imbalance in the history and philosophy of science, as well as making a major contribution to our understanding of the intellectual life of Austro-Germany in the inter-war years. (shrink)
James Fitzjames Stephen is remembered as a judge, legal historian, and the author of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, a reply to J. S. Mill's late works. He is less well remembered for his journalism, though it earned him a reputation among his contemporaries as one of the most trenchant writers on topics ranging across the social, religious, political, moral, and philosophical questions debated in his time. It was largely in his journalistic writing that Stephen set forth his views on these questions. (...) Despite such a reputation, however, only a small proportion of this writing was collected during his lifetime, and very little has been republished since his death.Selected Writings of James Fitzjames Stephen: On Society, Religion, and Government includes thirty-five essays expressing Stephen's views on the questions of his day, which have not lost their interest in ours. He wrote at a time when much of the finest writing in English was published in periodicals, often anonymously. The essays in this volume are drawn mostly from Stephen's unsigned contributions to the Saturday Review, with additions, both signed and unsigned, from other periodicals, extending from the 1850s to the 1880s. (shrink)
Organized around a series of philosophic questions about film,The Philosophy of Film: Introductory Text and Readingsoffers an accessible and engaging overview of the discipline. Provides thorough selection of readings drawn from philosophy,film studies, and film criticism Multiple points of view highlighted in discussion of filmtheory, narration, authorship, film and emotion, and the socialvalues of cinema Presents thought-provoking reading questions as well as clearand helpful introductions for each section More information about this text along with further resourcesare available from the accompanying (...) website at:http://www.mtholyoke.edu/omc/phil-film/index.html. (shrink)
THE NATURE OF ART is a collection of 29 seminal, historically-organized readings that are focused on a basic philosophical question: What is Art? Including writings from the Western tradition?both Continental and Analytic traditions?as well as non-Western, minority, and feminist writings, this volume provides students with a rich set of resources to explore this matter both broadly and deeply. Introductions to each reading situate the selection amidst each respective thinker's body of work and the greater philosophical context in which the remarks (...) arose. Reading questions accompany each selection, drawing students' attention to key points to be encountered. Hailed by reviewers and adopters for its clarity and rigor, Wartenberg's THE NATURE OF ART offers a lively and engaging introduction to the philosophy of art. (shrink)
Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy is an accessible and thought-provoking examination of the way films raise and explore complex philosophical ideas. Written in a clear and engaging style, Thomas Wartenberg examines films’ ability to discuss, and even criticize ideas that have intrigued and puzzled philosophers over the centuries such as the nature of personhood, the basis of morality, and epistemological skepticism. Beginning with a demonstration of how specific forms of philosophical discourse are presented cinematically, Wartenberg moves on to (...) offer a systematic account of the ways in which specific films undertake the task of philosophy. Focusing on the films The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Modern Times, The Matrix, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Third Man, The Flicker , and Empire , Wartenberg shows how these films express meaningful and pertinent philosophical ideas. This book is essential reading for students of philosophy with an interest in film, aesthetics, and film theory. It will also be of interest to film enthusiasts intrigued by the philosophical implications of film. (shrink)
Philosophers have debated for millennia about whether moral requirements are always rational to follow. The background for these debates is often what I shall call “the self-interest model.” The guiding assumption here is that the basic demand of reason, to each person, is that one must, above all, advance one's self-interest. Alternatively, debate may be framed by a related, but significantly different, assumption: the idea that the basic rational requirement is to develop and pursue a set of personal ends in (...) an informed, efficient, and coherent way, whether one's choice of ends is based on self-interested desires or not. For brevity I refer to this as “the coherence-and-efficiency model.” Advocates of both models tend to think that, while it is sufficiently clear in principle what the rational thing to do is, what remains in doubt is whether it is always rational to be moral. They typically assume that morality is concerned, entirely or primarily, with our relations to others, especially with obligations that appear to require some sacrifice or compromise with the pursuit of self-interest. (shrink)
Affirmative action programs remain controversial, I suspect, partly because the familiar arguments for and against them start from significantly different moral perspectives. Thus I want to step back for a while from the details of debate about particular programs and give attention to the moral viewpoints presupposed in different types of argument. My aim, more specifically, is to compare the “messages” expressed when affirmative action is defended from different moral perspectives. Exclusively forward-looking arguments, I suggest, tend to express the wrong (...) message, but this is also true of exclusively backward-looking arguments. However, a moral outlook that focuses on cross-temporal narrative values suggests a more appropriate account of what affirmative action should try to express. Assessment of the message, admittedly, is only one aspect of a complex issue, but it is a relatively neglected one. My discussion takes for granted some common-sense ideas about the communicative function of action, and so I begin with these. Actions, as the saying goes, often speak louder than words. There are times, too, when only actions can effectively communicate the message we want to convey and times when giving a message is a central part of the purpose of action. What our actions say to others depends largely, though not entirely, upon our avowed reasons for acting; and this is a matter for reflective decision, not something we discover later by looking back at what we did and its effects. The decision is important because “the same act” can have very different consequences, depending upon how we choose to justify it. (shrink)
This essay first distinguishes different questions regarding moral objectivity and relativism and then sketches a broadly Kantian position on two of these questions. First, how, if at all, can we derive, justify, or support specific moral principles and judgments from more basic moral standards and values? Second, how, if at all, can the basic standards such as my broadly Kantian perspective, be defended? Regarding the first question, the broadly Kantian position is that from ideas in Kant's later formulations of the (...) Categorical Imperative, especially human dignity and rational autonomous law-making, we can develop an appropriate moral perspective for identifying and supporting more specific principles. Both the deliberative perspective and the derivative principles can be viewed as “constructed,” but in different senses. In response to the second question, the essay examines two of Kant's strategies for defending his basic perspective and the important background of his arguments against previous moral theories. (shrink)
Epistemology, as I understand it, is a branch of philosophy especially concerned with general questions about how we can know various things or at least justify our beliefs about them. It questions what counts as evidence and what are reasonable sources of doubt. Traditionally, episte-mology focuses on pervasive and apparently basic assumptions covering a wide range of claims to knowledge or justified belief rather than very specific, practical puzzles. For example, traditional epistemologists ask “How do we know there are material (...) objects?” and not “How do you know which are the female beetles?” Similarly, moral epistemology, as I understand it, is concerned with general questions about how we can know or justify our beliefs about moral matters. Its focus, again, is on quite general, pervasive, and apparently basic assumptions about what counts as evidence, what are reasonable sources of doubt, and what are the appropriate procedures for justifying particular moral claims. (shrink)
I examine the thesis that Otto Neurath anticipated the programme of naturalised epistemology already at the time of the Vienna Circle and consider the relation between Neurath's proposals and those of two contemporary theorists whose research programmes he would thus have broadly anticipated. The thesis is confirmed by reference to Neurath's own writings. The connection between Neurath's programme and the programmes of his two successors considered here, however, is found to be highly indirect in one case and nonexistent in the (...) other — despite their undeniable overlap. (shrink)
Big Ideas for Little Kids includes everything a teacher, a parent, or a college student needs to teach philosophy to elementary school children from picture books. Written in a clear and accessible style, the book explains why it is important to allow young children access to philosophy during primary-school education. Wartenberg also gives advice on how to construct a "learner-centered" classroom, in which children discuss philosophical issues with one another as they respond to open-ended questions by saying whether they agree (...) or disagree with what others have said. (shrink)