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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 5, Issue 2, 2005
Philosophy of Science

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Displaying: 1-15 of 15 documents

1. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Samir Okasha Bayesianism and the Traditional Problem of Induction
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Many philosophers argue that Bayesian epistemology cannot help us with the traditional Humean problem of induction. I argue that this view is partially but not wholly correct. It is true that Bayesianism does not solve Hume’s problem, in the way that the classical and logical theories of probability aimed to do. However I argue that in one important respect, Hume’s sceptical challenge cannot simply be transposed to a probabilistic context, where beliefs come in degrees, rather than being a yes/no matter.
2. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Ronald de Sousa Biological Individuality
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The question What is an individual? goes back beyond Aristotle’s discussion of substance to the Ionians’ preoccupation with the paradox of change -- the fact that if anything changes it must stay the same. Mere reflection on this fact and the common-sense notion of a countable thing yields a concept of a “minimal individual”, which is particular (a logical matter) specific (a taxonomic matter), and unique (an evaluative empirical matter). Individuals occupy space, and therefore might be dislodged. Even minimal individuals, therefore (Strawsonian individual or Aristotelian substance) already contain the potential for competition or conflict. What is added by biology to this basic notion? It emerges from some recent work on the evolution of metazoan animals that individuals as we know them are minimal individuals towhich four features have been added, and which appear to be inseparable: differentiated multicellularity; sexual reproduction; segregation of germ from somatic cells; and obligatory death. Whether or not individuals are to be counted as units of selection, they are not the beneficiaries of natural selection.
3. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Max Kistler Is Functional Reduction Logical Reduction?
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The functionalist conception of mental properties, together with their multiple realizability, is often taken to entail their irreducibility. It might seem that the only way to revise that judgement is to weaken the requirements traditionally imposed on reduction. However, Jaegwon Kim has recently argued that we should, on the contrary, strengthen those requirements, and construe reduction as what I propose to call “logical reduction”, a model of reduction inspired by emergentism. Moreover, Kim claims that what he calls “functional reduction” allows one to reduce (at least some) mental properties by these new standards. I argue against both theses. First, I present a counterexample to the emergentist model of reduction: The model judges irreducible certain properties which are clearly reducible. Second, I contestthat functional reduction as construed by Kim satisfies the emergentist constraints. Functional reduction implies, over and above a functional definition of the reduced property, the indication of its realizers. But the latter information corresponding to the discovery of a (local) bridge law, is empirical and not purely logical.
4. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Michel Ghins Putnam and the God’s Eye Point of View
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In this paper, I criticize Putnam’s argument, which contends that scientific realism implies adherence to a God’s eye point of view. I also show that some sort of God’s eye point of view in a weak sense, i.e. interest-free, is indeed accessible to humans and that a moderate version of scientific realism is philosophically defensible.
5. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Robert G. Hudson Searching for WIMPs
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The WIMP (weakly interacting dark matter) is currently the leading candidate for what is thought to be dark matter, the cosmological material claimed to make up almost 99% of the matter of the universe and which is indiscernible by means of electromagnetic radiation. There are many research groups dedicated to experimentally isolating WIMPs, and in this paper we describe the work of three of these groups, the Saclay group, DAMA and UKDM. This exploration into the recent history of astroparticle physics serves to illuminate two philosophical issues. First, is confirmatory evidence more compelling if it coordinates results gleaned from independent experimental investigations? And secondly, in justifying experimental conclusions, how strong must this justification be? Are the high standards set by philosophers, in the spirit of Descartes, relevant to experimental research?
6. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Osvaldo Pessoa Jr. Causal Models in the History of Science
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The investigation of a method for postulating counterfactual histories of science has led to the development of a theory of science based on general units of knowledge, which are called “advances”. Advances are passed on from scientist to scientist, and may be seen as “causing” the appearance of other advances. This results in networks which may be analyzed in terms of probabilistic causal models, which are readily encodable in computer language. The probability for a set of advances to give rise to another advance is taken to be invariant through history, but depends on a typical time span which is an inverse function of the degree of development of science. Examples are given from the early science of magnetism and from the 19th century physics.
7. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
J. J. MacIntosh Boyle and Locke on Observation, Testimony, Demonstration and Experience
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In Warranted Christian Beliet Alvin Plantinga claims that “The Enlightenment looked askance at testimony and tradition; Locke saw them as a preeminent source of error.” Locke, Plantinga suggests, is the “fountainhead” of this stance. This is importantly wrong about Locke and Locke”s views, and an examination of the views of Locke’s much admired friend and slightly older contemporary, Robert Boyle, reveals that the claim is mistaken about him as well, reinforcing the view that Plantinga is in general mistaken about the intellectual milieu in which Locke wrote. In this paper I consider the views of Locke and Boyle on demonstration, observation, experiment, and testimony with a view to showing what, in the case of science and religion, their views actually were. For Locke I draw mainly on the Essay, while for Boyle I draw heavily on the MSS in the Royal Society Library, as well as on the printed works.
8. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Nenad Miščević Empirical Concepts and A Priori Truth
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Merely conceptual knowledge, not based on specific sensitivity to the referential domain, is not seriously a priori. It is argued here that it is either weakly and superficially a priori, or downright a posteriori. This is done starting from the fact that many of our definitions (or concepts) are recognizably empirically established, and pointing out that recognizably empirical grounding yields superficial apriority. Further, some (first-order) concept analyzing propositions are empirically false about their referents and thus empirically refutable. Therefore, our empirical definitions (or concepts) are fallible and empirically revisable: they can turn out to be incorrect about the intended satisfiers of the concept defined, and their concept analyzing propositions to be false. Now, empirical revisability is incompatible with strong apriority (and entails at best a weak apriority or aposteriority). The result is quite shocking: analyticity does not entail apriority.
9. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Björn Eriksson Understanding Narrative Explanation: An Eclectic Approach
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The paper describes and defends an eclectic approach to narrative explanation in history and social sciences (as well as in natural history). The view of narrative explanation defended allows combinations of several recent ideas concerning the nature of narrative explanation.The guiding idea is that the explanatory power of narratives consists in their capacity to accommodate various forms of explanations and interpretations. Narrative explanations are seen as theories abouthappenings that may consist of diverse forms of explanations, interpretations and explanation sketches. There is no single form of narrative explanation, rather narrative is seen as a form tor synthesizing various explanations.Several problems concerning explanation and narrative are discussed with relation to the proposed approach: laws in explanations, literary or fictional aspects of narratives, relativism, constructivism and noncognitivism or antirealism. Hayden White’s theory of the explanatory role of “emplotment” is discussed and criticized.The upshot is that the eclectic approach defended does not face any problems unique to it: problems faced are general epistemological problem. The literary aspects of historical narrative are interpreted as normative and rhetorical, making the relevance of these aspects tor narrative explanation depend on the question whether there are legitimate moral explanations.
10. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
David Davies Atran’s Unnatural Kinds
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Scott Atran has argued that scientific thinking about living things necessarily emerges out of a common-sense structure of ideas which reflects the ways in which humans are constitutionally disposed to think about ‘manifestly perceivable empirical fact’. He maintains that the uniformity in folk-biological taxonomy under diverse socio-cultural learning conditions established by recent ethnobiological research undermines the predominant view that folk classifications of living things are a function of local interests and culture, and he further maintains that such uniformity must be grounded in species-specific and domain-specific cognitive capacities. I consider certain philosophically controversial lessons that Atran wishes to draw from these claims, concerning (a) philosophical theories of natural kinds, and (b) the ‘reality’ of folk-biological kinds and the relation between such kinds and the kinds posited by biological science. I argue that, even if we grant the ethnobiological evidence to which he appeals, such evidencedoes not bear upon the philosophical issues in the ways that he proposes.
11. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Tea Logar Moral Obligations and Practical Identities: Discussion of Christine Korsgaard’s The Sources of Normativity
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book reviews
12. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Andra Lazaroiu Unsanctifying Human Life
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13. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Nenad Miščević The Realm of Reason
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14. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Morana Kušić Art as Performance
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15. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Dragica Vujadinović Solidarität: Von der Bürgerfreundschaft zur globalen Rechtsgenossenschaft
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