Cover of The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy
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61. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Alberto Cordero Physics and the Underdetermination Thesis: Some Lessons from Quantum Theory
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Although exceptionally successful in the laboratory, the standard version of quantum theory is marred as a realist-objectivist proposition because of its internal conceptual difficulties and its tension with important parts of physics—most conspicuously, relativity theory. So, to meet these challenges, in recent years at least three distinct major objectivist programs have been advanced to further quantum theory into a proper general account of material systems. Unfortunately, the resulting proposals turn out to be, for all practical purposes, empirically equivalent both among themselves and against the standard version. This paper analyzes the basic issues involved in the case. It is argued that (a) the global anti-realist conclusion derived from it are fallacious, and (b) the encountered underdetermination shows how contingent upon the state of empirical knowledge talk about the “limits of science” actually is.
62. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Tian Yu Cao Representation or Construction?: An Interpretation of Quantum-Ffield Theory
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In this essay, I argue that the basic entities in the causally organized hierarchy of entities that quantum field theory describes are not particles but fields. Then I move to discuss, from the perspective of a structural realist, in what sense and to what degree this theoretical construction of fields can be taken as an objective representation of physical reality.
63. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Gary S. Rosenkrantz What Is Life?
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I attempt to define the concept of ‘living organism’. Intuitively, a living organism is a substantial entity with a capacity for certain relevant activities. But biology has discovered that living organisms have a particular compositional or microstructural nature. This nature includes carbon-based macromolecules and water molecules. I argue that such living organisms belong to a natural kind of compound physical object, viz., carbon-based living organism. My definition of a living organism encompasses both the intuitively relevant activities and the empirically discovered compositional nature. The definition is designed to deal with a variety of problem cases, e.g., viruses, proteinoid microspheres, sterile organisms, suspended animation cases, and living parts of organisms.
64. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
David Gruender On Explanation: Aristotelian and Hempelean
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Given the great historical distance between scientific explanation as Aristotle and Hempel saw it, some important similarities and differences between he two approaches are examined and appraised, especially the inclination to take deduction itself as the very model of scientific knowledge: an inclination we have good reason to reject.
65. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
David Grünberg Bootstrapping and the Problem of Testing Quantitative Theoretical Hypotheses
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Two alternative solutions to the problem of computing the values of theoretical quantities and of testing theoretical hypotheses are Sneed’s structuralist eliminationism and Glymour’s bootstrapping. Sneed attempts to solve the problem by eliminating theoretical quantities by means of the so-called Ramsey-Sneed sentence that represents the global empirical claim of the given theory. Glymour proposes to solve the problem by deducing the values of the theoretical quantities from the hypothesis to be tested. In those cases where the theoretical quantities are not strongly Ramsey-eliminable, eliminationism does not succeed in computing the values of theoretical quantities, and it is compelled to use bootstrapping in this task. On the other hand, we see that a general notion of bootstrapping provides a formally correct procedure for computing theoretical quantities, and thus contributes to the solution to the problem of testing theoretical hypotheses involving these quantities.
66. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Manuel Comesaña ¿Tiene Derecho a Existir la Filosofía de la Ciencia?
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En este trabajo se suscribe la tesis de que la filosofía de la ciencia—al igual que las demás ramas de la filosofía—consiste en discusiones interminables sobre problemas que no se pueden resolver, pero se sostiene también que, a pesar (o a causa) de eso, tiene derecho a existir debido a que cumple funciones importantes, entre ellas precisamente la de dar lugar a discusiones interminables sobre problemas que no se pueden resolver, actividad que a las personas con genuina vocación filosófica les produce una satisfacción intelectual difícil de entender para quienes no comparten esa vocación.
67. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Marcelo Dascal Controversies and Epistemology
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I present and defend the thesis that the impasse at which the philosophy and history of science find themselves in the last couple of decades is due, to a large extent, either to the complete neglect or to a misguided treatment of the role of scientific controversies in the evolution of science. In order to do so, I first provide a preliminary clarification of the impasse to which I refer. I go on to explain why I see the study of controversies as a fundamental step in solving it. I locate controversies within the set of empirical phenomena of the class of ‘polemical discourses’, and I single out the properties of controversies which explain their potential role for solving the impasse. I then show how the extant epistemological options are unable to handle controversies in a satisfactory form, which explains their inability to solve the impasse. I conclude by formulating an essential desideratum for the solution of the impasse.
68. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Miriam Solomon Consensus in Science
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Because the idea of consensus in contemporary philosophy of science is typically seen as the locus of progress, rationality, and, often, truth, Mill’s views on the undesirability of consensus have been largely dismissed. The historical data, however, shows that there are many examples of scientific progress without consensus, thus refuting the notion that consensus in science has any special epistemic status for rationality, scientific progress (success), or truth. What needs to be developed instead is an epistemology of dissent. I suggest that normative accounts of dissent be used as prototypes for theories of scientific rationality that can also be applied to episodes of consensus. Consensus in this case is to be treated as a special case of dissent, when the amount of dissent approaches zero. My main goal in this paper is to sketch how a normative account of dissent that aims to capture the idea of epistemic fairness can apply to situations of consensus.
69. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Vladislav A. Lektorsky Scientific Knowledge as Historical and Cultural Phenomenon
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I intend to demonstrate that the usual understanding of the ideals and norms of scientific cognition, which is often considered inseparable from the very notion of science itself, arose in concrete historical conditions; furthermore, these ideals and norms were connected with a certain type of research and a certain type of culture. As we are beginning to realize, such an understanding of ideals and norms does not work in other historical and cultural situations. I also try to show that some interpretations of the ideals and goals of science, as well as some ideas about the world (which were considered pre-scientific) gain new significance in the context of contemporary knowledge.
70. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Jesús Mosterín Self-Conciousness and Cosmic Consciousness
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This paper provides a brief survey of the human consciousness, beginning with the origins of humanism in the Renaissance period, moving on through the anthropocentrism of Enlightenment individualism, and its ensuing breakdown in our contemporary era. In agreement with the thesis that the task of the humanities is the enhancement of our selfconsciousness as human beings, I argue that only from the standpoint of a deeper and better-informed human self-consciousness, rooted in a cosmic consciousness, can we engage the unforeseen problems, opportunities and dilemmas that lie before us.
71. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Evandro Agazzi Science and the Humanities in the New Paideia
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The paideia of modernity is now in crisis. What is needed is a deeper, global understanding of the human being, and a broader determination of its ends and needs. Such a picture of the human being, its life, its real problems and expectations, can be called a paideia, in a sense that is the hard core of the different modulations this concept has received during its long history. It is suggested that this new paideia will be of service to humanity only insofar as it bridges the gap between the sciences and the humanities, between facts and values.
series introduction
72. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Jaakko Hintikka, Robert Cummings Neville, Ernest Sosa, Alan M. Olson, Stephen Dawson Series Introduction
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volume introduction
73. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Bernard Elevitch Volume Introduction
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articles
74. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Josep E. Corbí, Josep L. Prades Mental Contents, Tracking Counterfactuals, and Implementing Mechanisms
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In the ongoing debate, there are a set of mind-body theories sharing a certain physicalist assumption: whenever a genuine cause produces an effect, the causal efficacy of each of the nonphysical properties that participate in that process is determined by the instantiation of a well-defined set of physical properties. These theories would then insist that a nonphysical property could only be causally efficacious insofar as it is physically implemented. However, in what follows we will argue against the idea that fine-grained mental contents could be physically implemented in the way that functional properties are. Therefore, we will examine the metaphysical conditions under which the implementing mechanism of a particular instance of a functional property may be individuated, and see how genuine beliefs and desires—insofar as they track the world—cannot meet such conditions.
75. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Jesús Ezquerro, Agustín Vicente Explanatory Exclusion, Over-Determination, and the Mind-Body Problem
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Taking into account the difficulties that all attempts at a solution of the problem of causal-explanatory exclusion have experienced, we analyze in this paper the chances that mind-body causation is a case of overdetermination, a line of attack that has scarcely been explored. Our conclusion is that claiming that behaviors are causally overdetermined cannot solve the problem of causal-explanatory exclusion. The reason is the problem of massive coincidence, that can only be avoided by establishing a relation between mind and body; that is, by denying overdetermination. The only way to defend that mind-body causation is a case of overdetermination would be by denying any modal force whatever to the principle of the causal closure of the physical, and this is a claim we would not like to reject.
76. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Sydney Shoemaker Realization and Mental Causation
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A common conception of what it is for one property to “realize” another suggests that it is the realizer property that does the causal work, and that the realized property is epiphenomenal. The same conception underlies George Bealer’s argument that functionalism leads to the absurd conclusion that what we take to be self-ascriptions of a mental state are really self-ascriptions of “first-order” properties that realize that state. This paper argues for a different concept of realization. A property realizes another if its “forward looking” causal features are a subset of those of the property realized. The instantiation of the realizer property will include the instantiation of the property realized; and when the effects produced are due to the causal features of the latter, it is the instantiation of it that is appropriately regarded as their cause. Epiphenomenalism is avoided, and so is Bealer’s absurd conclusion.
77. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Stephen Yablo The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Thinkers
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By effective thinkers I mean not people who think effectively, but people who understand “how it’s done,” i.e., people not paralyzed by the philosophical problem of epiphenomenalism. I argue that mental causes are not preempted by either neural or narrow content states, and that extrinsically individuated mental states are not out of proportion with their putative effects. I give three examples/models of how an extrinsic cause might be more proportional to an effect than the competition.
78. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Henry Jackman Belief, Rationality, and Psychophysical Laws
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Davidson has argued that the connection between belief and the “constitutive ideal of rationality” precludes the possibility of their being any type-type identities between mental and physical events. However, there are radically different ways to understand both the nature and the content of this “constitutive ideal,” and the plausibility of Davidson’s argument depends on blurring the distinction between two of these ways. Indeed, it will be argued here that no consistent understandingthe constitutive ideal will allow it to play the dialectical role Davidson intends for it.
79. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Carlos J. Moya A Proposal About Intentional Action
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In this paper, I want to defend the proposal that one has to be a realist about the existence and causal efficacy of reasons if one wants to have rationally justified actions. On this basis, I will propose to understand intentional action in terms of justification alone, not in terms of justification plus causation. I shall argue that an action is intentional, under a certain description, if, and only if, it is justified, under that description, by the agent’s reasons. The proposal recommends itself as being capable of solving the problem of wayward causal chains and is promising as a way of avoiding epiphenomenalism of mental properties.
80. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Ted Honderich Consciousness as Existence Again
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Perceptual and other consciousness is left out of or is not adequately characterized in naturalist accounts, including eliminative materialism and neural functionalism. We need a radically new start. Phenomenologically, if you are perceptually conscious, then a world—a changing totality of things—must somehow exist. Partly because with consciousness nothing is hidden and all can be reported without inference, perceptual consciousness itself is literally to be understood as things existing spatio-temporally. This account of consciousness as existence does not reduce it to mental worlds and satisfies our conviction of the reality of consciousness—mainly we do not think of it as ethereal or gossamer. The account also explains fundamental subjectivity, as the naturalist accounts cannot, and passes a test having to do with the mind-body problem. It is a near-naturalism. The account can be defended against objections about brains in vats, chairs in minds, and leaving out consciousness.