The main question addressed by this article is this: How should one understand the role of the sentences of the Tractatus, given Wittgenstein’s statement that they are nonsensical? I begin with a presentation of three general principles of interpretation in order to avoid answering the question in an inappropriate way. I then move on to a short presentation and commentary on a selection of readings – namely, the ineffabilist, resolute and elucidatory ones – and elaborate the answers given by advocates (...) of these to the question explored here. I agree on many points with resolute and elucidatory readings: the Tractatus presents an austere conception of nonsense, and is not a book that seeks to present ontological or semantic theories. I point out, however, that these readings cannot fully explain the nature of Tractarian elucidations. Then I discuss those parts of the Tractatus which refer to the sentences of the book itself. The main proposal of my own approach is this: Tractarian elucidations should be construed as rules of translation, in that they show how to substitute certain expressions for others. They enable us to construct a notation in which everything that is expressible in ordinary language can be said perspicuously. (shrink)
The main question of our article is: What is the logical form of statements containing expressions such as “… is true” and “it is true that …”? We claim that these expressions are generally not used in order to assign a certain property to sentences. We indicate that a predicative interpretation of these expressions was rejected by Frege and adherents to the prosentential conception of truth. We treat these expressions as operators. The main advantage of our operational reading is the (...) fact that it adequately represents how the words, “true” and “truth,” function in everyday speech. Our approach confirms the intuition that so-called T-equivalences are not contingent truths, and explains why they seem to be—in some sense—necessary sentences. Moreover, our operational readingof truth expressions dissolves problems arising from the belief that there is some specific property—truth. The fact that we reject that truth is a certain property does not mean that we deny that the concept of truth plays a very important role in our language, and hence in our life. We indicate that the concept of truth is inseparable from the concept of sentence and vice versa—it is impossible to explicate one of these concepts without appeal to the other. (shrink)
The main aim of this article is to pose and consider the following question: Does the reasoning that led to Kripkenstein’s sceptical paradox undermine all versions of materialism, including nonreductive materialism? First, I present other versions of materialism in the philosophy of mind. Then I point out that, according to nonreductive materialists, one can neither define mental properties in terms of physical properties nor derive psycho‑physical laws from the laws of physics. The presently‑understood thesis of materialism is confined by the (...) following claim: the same distribution of physical properties entails the same distribution of mental properties. In other words, the mental properties supervene upon physical properties. This account then leads to the following formulation of the main question: Assuming that Kripkenstein is right, do mental properties supervene upon physical properties? Taking into account that answering this question requires a discussion of the notions of supervenience and Kripkenstein’s paradox, I devote two parts of my paper to these topics. The conclusion which I reach is as follows: If the reasoning that led to Kripkenstein’s paradox is correct, mental properties can only globally supervene upon physical properties, and consequently no version of materialism can be empirically justified. (shrink)
The topic of the article is the distinction between descriptions of facts and their evaluation. This distinction is of interest to both in philosophy and in the theory of journalism. The article considers one of the assumptions supporting the view that journalists should clearly separate descriptions of facts from their assessment - the assumption that descriptions of facts can be separated from their evaluation. I present various interpretations of this assumption. I point out the existence of a relationship between the (...) thesis of the possibility of separating descriptions from assessments and the belief that descriptions of facts are by their very nature objective, while assessments or valuations are subjective, and then I proceed to criticize the latter conviction. These arguments are not intended to undermine the distinction between descriptions of facts and their evaluation. What I am trying to undermine are the metaphysical justifications and interpretations of this distinction. (shrink)
Józef Bremer's book, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Religion, is the first extensive Polish commentary on Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion and is worth reading even if for no other reason. As author suggests in the subtitle, the book is not intended for specialists. However, it is difficult to understand the arguments without a general knowledge of Wittgenstein's philosophy. It has a loose structure and can be regarded as a collection of essays preceded by a chapter introducing the problems of Wittgenstein's philosophy. The (...) task which the author has undertaken is very ambitious, because even a sketchy presentation and interpretation of Wittgenstein's remarks on religion is difficult - precisely because it is sketchy. There are several reasons for this. First, understanding Wittgenstein's views concerning religion requires a perfect understanding of all aspects of his philosophy, since it is impossible to separate his considerations on religion from the rest of his investigations. Secondly, Wittgenstein's writings are full of ambiguous aphorisms and not always conclusive mini-dialogues, which is why there exist many alternative interpretations of his texts. Thirdly, only a few of his notes about religion have been published. (shrink)
Environmental ethics needs an “axiological bridge” between natural and cultural environments. This enables it to attribute certain rights to nonhumans as well as specific moral duties to Homo sapiens. The way is thru evolutionary ethics which is the natural history of moral sensitivity as well as the ability to value. Ethology, sociobiology, zoopsychology, and zoosemiotics are supposed to provide evolutionary ethics with relevant data, and ethics, in turn, can stimulate these sciences to new investigations to solve a big problem: why (...) has Homo sapiens not found a proper niche among species, which means that he has not created an environment—friendly model of culture. (shrink)
This article aims to show that Wittgenstein’s remarks on religious belief and religious statements can be understood in modest philosophical terms, consistent with the thought that they are neither intended as serving to justify or undermine religious beliefs, nor as the expression of any theorizing about the nature of religious belief or the meaning of religious language. Instead, their philosophical significance is held to consist in their functioning to remind us of what we already know about the latter: such things (...) as in what circumstances one utters religious statements, what the consequences of accepting or rejecting religious beliefs are, and so on. His position is that all attempts to say something more than this are either a mark of philosophical arrogance or a manifestation of one’s own personal commitment to adopting a stance of religious belief or non-belief. As such, they do not furnish us with genuine philosophical insights. I argue that such an interpretation possess two principal merits. Firstly, it demonstrates that there is no tension between Wittgenstein’s remarks on the nature of philosophy and his remarks on religious belief and religious statements. Secondly, it shows that it is possible to philosophize about religion in a manner that does not assume that this has to consist either in presenting an apology for or critique of religion or in formulating philosophical theories regarding the nature of religious belief and the meaning of religious language. (shrink)
In this paper I want to point out the multifaceted impact of utilitarianism as well as pragmatism, applied as the unified philosophy of environmental protection. Special attention is paid to the utilitarian aspect of Marxism, and a continuous, comprehensive case study from Poland – in the context of European economic realities – serves as an example of social receptionof the utilitarian paradigm in contemporary environmental protection policy.
Presented here is the German translation of Jan Patočka’s fragment Nitro a svět which was written in the 1940s and belongs to the so called „Strahov Papers“. The fragment reflects Patočka’s early attempts towards a thinking of subjectivity and the world. Thereby Patočka’s approach is phenomenological, but also integrates motives of German Idealism. The critical impact of the fragment lies in its orientation against the scientific biologism of its times.
The subject of this essay is political, and therefore social, philosophy; and therefore, ethics. We want to know whether the right thing for a society to do is to incorporate in its structure requirements that we bring about equality, or liberty, or both if they are compatible, and if incompatible then which if either, or what sort of mix if they can to some degree be mixed. But this fairly succinct statement of the issue before us requires considerable clarification, even (...) as a statment of the issue. For it is widely, and in my view correctly, held that some sort of equality is utterly fundamental in these matters. We seek a principle, or principles, that apply to all, are the same for all. In that sense, certainly, equality is fundamental and inescapable. But this is a very thin sort of “equality.” It will almost equally widely be agreed that the principles in question should in some more interesting sense “treat” people equally, e.g., by allotting to all the same set of rights, and moreover, rights that are – again we have to say “in some sense” – nonarbitrary, so that whatever they are, persons of all races, sexes, and so on will have the same fundamental rights assigned to them. Taking this to be, again, essentially uncontroversial, though not without potentially worrisome points of unclarity, it needs, now, to be pointed out that this characterization does not settle the issue that this essay is concerned with. That issue is about economic matters in particular. (shrink)
Jan Sprenger and Stephan Hartmann offer a fresh approach to central topics in philosophy of science, including causation, explanation, evidence, and scientific models. Their Bayesian approach uses the concept of degrees of belief to explain and to elucidate manifold aspects of scientific reasoning.
This paper describes the work of the Polish logician Jan Kalicki (1922?1953). After a biographical introduction, his work on logical matrices and equational logic is appraised. A bibliography of his papers and reviews is also included.
To get distracted, to enclose and to give oneself. The Gesture of Transcendence in Jan Patočka The problem of transcendence can be traced throughout the whole work of Jan Patočka. The appeal to transcend our bonds to mere objectivity is a constant issue of his thought. It finds a new substantiation in the 1960s in his studies focusing on the meaning of the other as human being. The relation to the other person offers a special "occasion" or "place" of transcendence (...) and poses the challenge to transcend one's own particular setting. While in the mid-1960s Patočka maintains his earlier dramatic vocabulary to describe the process of transcendence, in the late 1960s his idiom becomes less vehement. Yet, it is precisely within this more "sober" framework that he symbolizes the process of transcendence with an emphatic turn to a "myth of the divine man" and its key metaphor of resurrection. To transcend means, for Patočka, always to liberate oneself from a state of self-distraction between things. However, in his late lectures, he briefly refers to a deeper layer, suggesting that this self-distraction has its "roots" in a self-enclosure or self-isolation, in the exclusive concentration on our own interests and in the illusion of our self-sufficiency. Transcendence, then, means to overcome this self-enclosure by means of a self-forgetting love. Are these rarely mentioned "roots" perhaps implicitly present in all Patočka's accounts of transcendence? (shrink)
Why are conditional degrees of belief in an observation E, given a statistical hypothesis H, aligned with the objective probabilities expressed by H? After showing that standard replies are not satisfactory, I develop a suppositional analysis of conditional degree of belief, transferring Ramsey’s classical proposal to statistical inference. The analysis saves the alignment, explains the role of chance-credence coordination, and rebuts the charge of arbitrary assessment of evidence in Bayesian inference. Finally, I explore the implications of this analysis for Bayesian (...) reasoning with idealized models in science. (shrink)
There is concern that the use of neuroenhancements to alter character traits undermines consumer's authenticity. But the meaning, scope and value of authenticity remain vague. However, the majority of contemporary autonomy accounts ground individual autonomy on a notion of authenticity. So if neuroenhancements diminish an agent's authenticity, they may undermine his autonomy. This paper clarifies the relation between autonomy, authenticity and possible threats by neuroenhancements. We present six neuroenhancement scenarios and analyse how autonomy accounts evaluate them. Some cases are considered (...) differently by criminal courts; we demonstrate where academic autonomy theories and legal reasoning diverge and ascertain whether courts should reconsider their concept of autonomy. We argue that authenticity is not an appropriate condition for autonomy and that new enhancement technologies pose no unique threats to personal autonomy. (shrink)
A unifying framework of probabilistic reasoning Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9573-x Authors Jan Sprenger, Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
This paper provides an analysis of the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction, as applied both to properties and to relations. In contrast to other accounts, the approach taken here locates the source of a property’s intrinsicality or extrinsicality in the manner in which that property is ‘logically constituted’, and thus – plausibly – in its nature or essence, rather than in e.g. its modal profile. Another respect in which the present proposal differs from many extant analyses lies in the fact that it does (...) not seek to analyse the ‘global’ distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties on the basis of the ‘local’ distinction between having a property intrinsically and having it extrinsically. Instead, the latter distinction is explicated on the basis of the former. (shrink)
One of the most troubling and persistent challenges for Bayesian Confirmation Theory is the Problem of Old Evidence. The problem arises for anyone who models scientific reasoning by means of Bayesian Conditionalization. This article addresses the problem as follows: First, I clarify the nature and varieties of the POE and analyze various solution proposals in the literature. Second, I present a novel solution that combines previous attempts while making weaker and more plausible assumptions. Third and last, I summarize my findings (...) and put them into the context of the general debate about POE and Bayesian reasoning. (shrink)
The world we live in is unjust. Preventable deprivation and suffering shape the lives of many people, while others enjoy advantages and privileges aplenty. Cosmopolitan responsibility addresses the moral responsibilities of privileged individuals to take action in the face of global structural injustice. Individuals are called upon to complement institutional efforts to respond to global challenges, such as climate change, unfair global trade, or world poverty. Committed to an ideal of relational equality among all human beings, the book discusses the (...) impact of individual action, the challenge of special obligations, and the possibility of moral overdemandingness in order to lay the ground for an action-guiding ethos of cosmopolitan responsibility. This thought-provoking book will be of interest to any reflective reader concerned about justice and responsibilities in a globalised world. Jan-Christoph Heilinger is a moral and political philosopher. He teaches at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany, and at Ecole normale supérieure, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (shrink)
As the theory of the atom, quantum mechanics is perhaps the most successful theory in the history of science. It enables physicists, chemists, and technicians to calculate and predict the outcome of a vast number of experiments and to create new and advanced technology based on the insight into the behavior of atomic objects. But it is also a theory that challenges our imagination. It seems to violate some fundamental principles of classical physics, principles that eventually have become a part (...) of western common sense since the rise of the modern worldview in the Renaissance. So the aim of any metaphysical interpretation of quantum mechanics is to account for these violations. (shrink)
The article focuses on the report of the International Workshop on “17th Century Polish Jesuits in China: Michal Boym, Jan Mikolaj Smogulecki, and Andrzej Rudomina” held at the University School of Philosophy and Education in Poland organized by the Monumenta Serica Institute. The author focuses on the Chinese philosophy lecture by Professor Shi Yunli about the influence of Smogulecki on Xue Fengzou, Chinese culture and science and their work on astrology and astronomy.
According to an influential view by Elizabeth Harman, moral ignorance, as opposed to factual ignorance, never excuses one from blame. In defense of this view, Harman appeals to the following considerations: that moral ignorance always implies a lack of good will, and that moral truth is always accessible. In this paper, I clearly distinguish these considerations, and present challenges to both. If my arguments are successful, sometimes moral ignorance excuses.
The use of assisted reproductive technology is becoming more and more common nowadays and the procedures that a few years ago would be seen as experimental have now become basic benefits. The present text covers the issues of risks and conflicts faced by family members and related with the use of technology in the process of conceiving and giving birth to a child. The authors pay special attention to the possible use of foreign germ cells in the conception of a (...) child. The article aims to demonstrate that the use of modern and advanced medical technology in health care in the field of medically assisted procreation may be seen as a benefit for the family, which satisfies the desire to have a child, but in the long run it may give rise to legal or psychological problems as well. The authors examine the draft on the infertility treatment. (shrink)
It can be tempting to think of affect as a matter of the present moment – a reaction, a feeling, an experience or engagement that unfolds right now. This paper will make the case that affect is better thought of as not only temporally extended but as saturated with temporality, especially with the past. In and through affectivity, concrete, ongoing history continues to weigh on present comportment. In order to spell this out, I sketch a Heidegger-inspired perspective. It revolves around (...) two claims. The first is that we should understand what Heidegger calls 'Befindlichkeit' (findingness) as radical situatedness. Affectivity is a matter of 'finding oneself' constellated – thrown – into the world in ways that outrun what an individual or collective might grasp and process. The second claim is that the temporal dimension, as a relatedness to the past, takes precedence in affect's situatedness. Key to affect is the way in which the past continues to hold sway over present comportment, collectively and individually. In order to articulate this perspective, it is important to overcome the idea that affect must be understood mainly in terms of feeling or experiential states of other kinds. Better suited to grasp the idea of findingness is the concept of 'disclosive posture', as proposed by Katherine Withy. I suggest that this notion should be put at the fore of a phenomenological approach to situated affectivity. (shrink)