Papers presented cover: new approaches to evolutionary epistemology, new applications, critical evaluations, and the nature of the mind. Paper edition (unseen), $25.50. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
The seminal work by one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century, Physics and Philosophy is Werner Heisenberg's concise and accessible narrative of the revolution in modern physics, in which he played a towering role. The outgrowth of a celebrated lecture series, this book remains as relevant, provocative, and fascinating as when it was first published in 1958. A brilliant scientist whose ideas altered our perception of the universe, Heisenberg is considered the father of quantum physics; he (...) is most famous for the Uncertainty Principle, which states that quantum particles do not occupy a fixed, measurable position. His contributions remain a cornerstone of contemporary physics theory and application. Book jacket. (shrink)
Die historische Aufklärung hat eine Reihe ihrer wichtigsten Leitgedanken im Feld der Praktischen Philosophie entwickelt. Aus der Orientierung an der Praxis erwuchsen Veränderungen, die das überkommene System der Wissenschaften und das Gefüge der gesellschaftlichen Institutionen ebenso betrafen wie die Formen der Kommunikation und nicht zuletzt die Regeln der individuellen Lebensführung. Der vorliegende Band versucht im Ausgang von Einzelanalysen und aus der Eigenperspektive der Epoche wichtige Grundzüge des denkgeschichtlichen und kulturellen Wandels zu beschreiben, um der Frage nach den Wirkungen der aufklärerischen (...) Praxislehren eine historische Grundlage zu geben. (shrink)
The Information Artifact Ontology (IAO) was created to serve as a domain‐neutral resource for the representation of types of information content entities (ICEs) such as documents, data‐bases, and digital im‐ages. We identify a series of problems with the current version of the IAO and suggest solutions designed to advance our understanding of the relations between ICEs and associated cognitive representations in the minds of human subjects. This requires embedding IAO in a larger framework of ontologies, including most importantly the Mental (...) Func‐tioning Ontology (MFO). It also requires a careful treatment of the aboutness relations between ICEs and associated cognitive representa‐tions and their targets in reality, which implies in turn a new treatment of the relation of truthmaking. (shrink)
Philosophers of science traditionally have ignored the details of scientific research, and the result has often been theories that lack relevance either to science or to philosophy in general. In this volume, leading philosophers of biology discuss the limitations of this tradition and the advantages of the "naturalistic turn"—the idea that the study of science is itself a scientific enterprise and should be conducted accordingly. This innovative book presents candid, informal debates among scholars who examine the benefits and problems of (...) studying science in the same way that scientists study the natural world. Callebaut achieves the effect of face-to-face engagement through separate interviews with participants. Contributors include William Bechtel, Robert Brandon, Richard M. Burian, Donald T. Campbell, Patricia Churchland, Jon Elster, Ronald N. Giere, David L. Hull, Philip Kitcher, Karin Knorr Cetina, Bruno Latour, Richard Levins, Richard C. Lewontin, Elisabeth Lloyd, Helen Longino, Thomas Nickles, Henry C. Plotkin, Robert J. Richards, Alexander Rosenberg, Michael Ruse, Dudley Shapere, Elliott Sober, Ryan Tweney, and William Wimsatt. "Why can't we have both theoretical ecology and natural histories, lovingly done?"—Philip Kitcher "Don't underestimate the arrogance of philosophers!"—Elisabeth Lloyd. (shrink)
Big data biology—bioinformatics, computational biology, systems biology (including ‘omics’), and synthetic biology—raises a number of issues for the philosophy of science. This article deals with several such: Is data-intensive biology a new kind of science, presumably post-reductionistic? To what extent is big data biology data-driven? Can data ‘speak for themselves?’ I discuss these issues by way of a reflection on Carl Woese’s worry that “a society that permits biology to become an engineering discipline, that allows that science to slip into (...) the role of changing the living world without trying to understand it, is a danger to itself.” And I argue that scientific perspectivism, a philosophical stance represented prominently by Giere, Van Fraassen, and Wimsatt, according to which science cannot as a matter of principle transcend our human perspective, provides the best resources currently at our disposal to tackle many of the philosophical issues implied in the modeling of complex, multilevel/multiscale phenomena. (shrink)
Critical Heuristics of Social Planning has been recognised as the seminal work on critical systems thinking. Ulrich offers a new approach both to practical philosophy (which has until now remained rather unpractical) and to systems thinking (which has reduced the systems idea to a tool of merely instrumental, rather than practical, reason). Critical systems heuristics (CSH), as the approach is now generally called, provides planners, practitioners and policy makers with a conceptual tool for practising practical reason. It will enable them (...) to identify and discuss systematically the value implications of policies, plans, problem definitions, or program evaluations. In addition, the book offers the most thorough-going introduction available today to the espistemological foundations of critical systems thinking, including a practicable model of cogent argumentation on disputed value implications of designs. A must for practitioners and scholars who are interested in a self-critical and practicable understanding of the widespread call for holistic or systems thinking! "Critical Heuristics will be recognised as a very important book in the emerging systems discipline and will hold a significant position for many years to come". Peter B. Checkland, University of Lancaster, England. "An outstanding contribution to an adequate philosophical and heuristic framework for critical social inquiry and design". C. West Churchman, University of California, Berkeley, USA. "The book fills a major gap in the literature on the systems tradition". Michael C. Jackson, University of Hull, England. "Drawing on a profound knowledge of both Anglo-American systems theory and German practical philosophy, this book belongs to the best studies I have seen on the normative foundations of planning and systems design." Horst Steinmann, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. "Mandatory for libraries in the field of planning". John Friedmann, University of California, Los Angeles, USA. (shrink)
The goal of referent tracking is to create an ever-growing pool of data relating to the entities existing in concrete spatiotemporal reality. In the context of Electronic Healthcare Records (EHRs) the relevant concrete entities are not only particular patients but also their parts, diseases, therapies, lesions, and so forth, insofar as these are salient to diagnosis and treatment. Within a referent tracking system, all such entities are referred to directly and explicitly, something which cannot be achieved when familiar concept-based systems (...) are used in what is called “clinical coding”. In this paper we describe the components of a referent tracking system in an informal way and we outline the procedures that would have to be followed by healthcare personnel in using such a system. We argue that the referent tracking paradigm can be introduced with only minor – though nevertheless ontologically important – technical changes to existing EHR infrastructures, but that it will require a radically different mindset on the part of those involved in clinical coding and terminology development from that which has prevailed hitherto. (shrink)
There are many things that philosophy of biology might be. But, given the existence of a professional philosophy of biology that is arguably a progressive research program and, as such, unrivaled, it makes sense to define philosophy of biology more narrowly than the totality of intersecting concerns biologists and philosophers (let alone other scholars) might have. The reasons for the success of the “new” philosophy of biology remain poorly understood. I reflect on what Dutch and Flemish, and, more generally, European (...) philosophers of biology could do to improve the situation of their discipline locally, regionally, and internationally, paying particular attention to the lessons to be learned from the “Science Wars.”. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop a naturalistic conception of evolutionary progress. I argue that the Waddingtonian notion of adaptability can be embedded meaningfully into a framework which views living things as nonequilibrium structures. This thermodynamic interpretation places great emphasis on the dynamics of environmental change, whereas the classical conceptions are based on equilibrium conceptions of the evolutionary process. What improves in evolution is the ability of living things to stay alive in increasingly heterogeneous environments.
While classifications of mental disorders have existed for over one hundred years, it still remains unspecified what terms such as 'mental disorder', 'disease' and 'illness' might actually denote. While ontologies have been called in aid to address this shortfall since the GALEN project of the early 1990s, most attempts thus far have sought to provide a formal description of the structure of some pre-existing terminology or classification, rather than of the corresponding structures and processes on the side of the patient. (...) We here present a view of mental disease that is based on ontological realism and which follows the principles embodied in Basic Formal Ontology and in the application of BFO in the Ontology of General Medical Science. We analyzed statements about what counts as a mental disease provided in the research agenda for the DSM-V, and in Pies' model. The results were used to assess whether the representational units of BFO and OGMS were adequate as foundations for a formal representation of the entities in reality that these statements attempt to describe. We then analyzed the representational units specific to mental disease and provided corresponding definitions. Our key contributions lie in the identification of confusions and conflations in the existing terminology of mental disease and in providing what we believe is a framework for the sort of clear and unambiguous reference to entities on the side of the patient that is needed in order to avoid these confusions in the future. (shrink)
Werner Jaeger was at his time the most brilliant and the most influential German classicist. His most important project was a tripartite study that he finally published under the title of Paideia. Die Formung des griechischen Menschen. Paideia was much more than a detailed scholarly book on pedagogy in the ancient world. It was an attempt to interpret the history of ancient thought—from Homeric epics to Attic tragedy and Platonic philosophy—as rooted in the intention to educate human beings. And (...) it was the attempt to contribute to a contemporary German movement called ‘Third Humanism’. In this article, I give a critical overview of this work, its strengths and its shortcomings. (shrink)
This paper expounds the central tenets of the Austro-German school of evolutionary epistemology and points out that it conflicts in important aspects with Popper's. The conflict arises because some of the members of the above-mentioned school consider induction to be an absolutely central feature of any evolutionary epistemology. Thus the question arises if Poppers 'method of trial-and-error' is still to be considered to be the evolutionary method. The present author suggests that what is being selected for during scientific evolution is (...) our capacity to apply induction appropriately. We learn when to use induction reliably and when to resort to the most elementary of all methods, the method of trial-and-error. (shrink)
Quality assurance in large terminologies is a difficult issue. We present two algorithms that can help terminology developers and users to identify potential mistakes. We demonstrate the methodology by outlining the different types of mistakes that are found when the algorithms are applied to SNOMED-CT. On the basis of the results, we argue that both formal logical and linguistic tools should be used in the development and quality-assurance process of large terminologies.
Digital Rights Management (DRM) covers the description, identification, trading, protection, monitoring and tracking of all forms of rights over both tangible and intangible assets. The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system provides a framework for the persistent identification of entities involved in this domain. Although the system has been very well designed to manage object identifiers, some important questions relating to the creation and assignment of identifiers are left open. The paradigm of a Referent Tracking System (RTS) recently advanced in the (...) healthcare and life sciences environment is able to fill these gaps. This is demonstrated by pointing out inconsistencies in the existing DOI models and by showing how they can be corrected using an RTS. (shrink)
A translation of Werner Hamacher’s essay “Andere Schmerzen,” which he was unable to complete before his death on July 7, 2017. The essay analyzes the connection between pain and language in the work of Pindar, Sophocles, Cicero, Seneca, Kant, Hegel, and Valéry.
PURPOSE—A substantial fraction of the observations made by clinicians and entered into patient records are expressed by means of negation or by using terms which contain negative qualifiers (as in “absence of pulse” or “surgical procedure not performed”). This seems at first sight to present problems for ontologies, terminologies and data repositories that adhere to a realist view and thus reject any reference to putative non-existing entities. Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) and Referent Tracking (RT) are examples of such paradigms. The (...) purpose of the research here described was to test a proposal to capture negative findings in electronic health record systems based on BFO and RT. METHODS—We analysed a series of negative findings encountered in 748 sentences taken from 41 patient charts. We classified the phenomena described in terms of the various top-level categories and relations defined in BFO, taking into account the role of negation in the corresponding descriptions. We also studied terms from SNOMED-CT containing one or other form of negation. We then explored ways to represent the described phenomena by means of the types of representational units available to realist ontologies such as BFO. RESULTS—We introduced a new family of ‘lacks’ relations into the OBO Relation Ontology. The relation lacks_part, for example, defined in terms of the positive relation part_of, holds between a particular p and a universal U when p has no instance of U as part. Since p and U both exist, assertions involving ‘lacks_part’ and its cognates meet the requirements of positivity. CONCLUSION—By expanding the OBO Relation Ontology, we were able to accommodate nearly all occurrences of negative findings in the sample studied. (shrink)
Ontology is currently perceived as the solution of first resort for all problems related to biomedical terminology, and the use of description logics is seen as a minimal requirement on adequate ontology-based systems. Contrary to common conceptions, however, description logics alone are not able to prevent incorrect representations; this is because they do not come with a theory indicating what is computed by using them, just as classical arithmetic does not tell us anything about the entities that are added or (...) subtracted. In this paper we shall show that ontology is indeed an essential part of any solution to the problems of medical terminology – but only if it is understood in the right sort of way. Ontological engineering, we shall argue, should in every case go hand in hand with a sound ontological theory. (shrink)
Left and right libertarians alike are attracted to the thesis of self-ownership because, as Eric Mack says, they ‘believe that it best captures our common perception of the moral inviolability of persons’. Further, most libertarians, left and right, accept that some version of the Lockean Proviso restricts agents’ ability to acquire worldly resources. The inviolability of SO purports to make libertarianism more appealing than its egalitarian counterparts, since traditional egalitarian theories cannot straightforwardly explain why, e.g. forced organ donation and forced (...) labor are serious wrongs even when they generate more equitable outcomes or benefit the greater good. I argue that, when SO is coupled with LP, this appeal is unfounded. SO, as usually construed, allows for the possibility of justified incursions of non-culpable agents up to and including forced organ donation. I conclude by considering a few possible responses on behalf of the libertarian, assessing each one’s plausibility. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue, first, that Hegel defended a version of the analytic/synthetic distinction—that, indeed, his version of the distinction deserves to be called Kantian. For both Kant and Hegel, the analytic/synthetic distinction can be explained in terms of the discursive character of cognition: insofar as our cognition is discursive, its most basic form can be articulated in terms of a genus/species tree. The structure of that tree elucidates the distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments. Second, I argue that (...) Hegel has an interesting and so far unexplored argument for the analytic/synthetic distinction: Hegel argues that the systematic relationship between concepts expressed in a genus/species tree can only be expressed through synthetic judgments. Third and finally, I explore some of the implications that the arguments in the first two parts of the essay have for understanding the way in which Hegel differs from Kant. I argue that Hegel accepts Kant's point that discursive cognition cannot be used to cognize the absolute. However, Hegel thinks that we can, nevertheless, cognize the absolute. I explore the character of this non-discursive cognition and argue that we can understand Hegel's glosses on this form of cognition—as simultaneously analytic and synthetic and as having a circular structure—through contrasting it with his account of discursive cognition. As a consequence, I argue that we must give up on attempts to understand ‘the dialectical method’ and ‘speculative cognition’ on the model of discursive cognition. (shrink)
We present the details of a methodology for quality assurance in large medical terminologies and describe three algorithms that can help terminology developers and users to identify potential mistakes. The methodology is based in part on linguistic criteria and in part on logical and ontological principles governing sound classifications. We conclude by outlining the results of applying the methodology in the form of a taxonomy different types of errors and potential errors detected in SNOMED-CT.
Gregor Schiemann führt allgemeinverständlich in das Denken dieses Physikers ein. Thema sind die Erfahrungen und Überlegungen, die Heisenberg zu seinen theoretischen Erkenntnissen geführt haben, die wesentlichen Inhalte dieser Erkenntnisse sowie die Konsequenzen, die er daraus für die Geschichte der Physik und das wissenschaftliche Weltbild gezogen hat. Heisenbergs Vorstellungswelt durchzieht durch ein Spannungsverhältnis, das heute noch das Denken vieler Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler bewegt. Er ist um ein umfassendes Verständnis der Naturprozesse bemüht, zugleich aber von der Berechenbarkeit und Beherrschbarkeit von Phänomenen auch (...) dann schon fasziniert, wenn die zugrunde liegenden Prozesse erst teilweise verstanden sind. Aus der Geschichte der Physik zieht er die wirkungsreiche Lehre, daß sich die naturwissenschaftliche Erkenntnis nicht kontinuierlich, sondern sprunghaft in Form von Revolutionen entwickelt. Die Reichweite des physikalischen Wissens begrenzt er in einer Schichtentheorie der Welt, nach der die komplexen Phänomene des Lebens nicht allein durch die Wechselwirkungen zwischen ihren Bestandteilen erklärt werden können. Der zunehmenden Technisierung der Welt steht Heisenberg kritisch gegenüber. Seiner Zeit weit voraus, glaubt er, daß die Technisierung der Welt eine epochal neue Stufe erreicht habe, in der der Mensch „nur noch sich selbst“ gegenüberstehe. (shrink)
Based on the Ontology for General Medical Science, we propose definitions for biomarkers of various types of. These definitions provide not only a complete formal representation of what biomarkers are according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), but also remove the ambiguities and inconsistencies encountered in the documentation provided by the IOM.
According to a posteriori ethical intuitionism, perceptual experiences can provide non-inferential justification for at least some moral beliefs. Moral epistemology, for the defender of AEI, is less like the epistemology of math and more like the epistemology of tables and chairs. One serious threat to AEI comes from the phenomenon of cognitive penetration. The worry is that even if evaluative properties could figure in the contents of experience, they would only be able to do so if prior cognitive states influence (...) perceptual experience. Such influences would undermine the non-inferential, foundationalist credentials of AEI. In this paper, I defend AEI against this objection. Rather than deny that cognitive penetration exists, I argue that some types of cognitive penetrability are actually compatible with AEI's foundationalist structure. This involves teasing apart the question of whether some particular perceptual process has justification-conferring features from the question of how it came to have those features in the first place. Once this distinction is made, it becomes clear that some kinds of cognitive penetration are compatible with the non-inferential status of moral perceptual experiences as the proponent of AEI claims. (shrink)
This article explores Adorno’s negative dialectics as a critical social theory of economic objectivity. It rejects the conventional view that Adorno does not offer a critique of the economic forms of capitalist society. The article holds that negative dialectics is a dialectics of the social world in the form of the economic object, one that is governed by the movement of economic quantities, that is, real economic abstractions. Negative dialectics refuses to accept the constituted economic categories as categories of economic (...) nature. Instead, the article argues, it amounts to a conceptualized social praxis [ begriffene Praxis] of the capitalistically constituted social relations, which manifest themselves in the form of seemingly independent economic categories. Economic nature is a socially constituted nature, which entails the class antagonism in its concept. The article concludes that for negative dialectics the explanation of real economic abstractions lies in the understanding of the class-divided nature of human practice. (shrink)
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are organized around two kinds of statements: those reporting observations made, and those reporting acts performed. In neither case does the record involve any direct reference to what such statements are actually about. They record not: what is happening on the side of the patient, but rather: what is said about what is happening. While the need for a unique patient identifier is generally recognized, we argue that we should now move to an EHR regime in (...) which all clinically salient particulars – from the concrete disorder on the side of the patient and the body parts in which it occurs to the concrete treatments given – should be uniquely identified. This will allow us to achieve interoperability among different systems of records at the level where it really matters: in regard to what is happening in the real world. It will also allow us to keep track of particular disorders and of the effects of particular treatments in a precise and unambiguous way. We discuss the ontological and epistemological aspects of our claim and describe a scenario for implementation within EHR systems. (shrink)