Patterns of Change, Linguistic Innovations in the Development of Classical Mathematicsby
The main criteria which led the jury to decide in favour of Professor Kvasz’s book for the prize was the originality of his work and the scholarly way in which he supported his position. His book concerns the way in which mathematics develops, and it formulates three important patterns of change which are named: recoding, relativization, and reformulation. The first two of these are entirely novel, and show the great originality of Professor Kvasz’s work. However, Professor Kvasz is not content merely to state that these patterns occur. He demonstrates his thesis by numerous examples from the history of mathematics of which he has a profound and scholarly knowledge.
Biosemiotics: a new understanding of life
Biosemiotics is the idea that life is based on semiosis, i.e., on signs and codes. This idea has been strongly suggested by the discovery of the genetic code, but so far it has made little impact in the scientific world and is largely regarded as a philosophy rather than a science. The main reason for this is that modern biology assumes that signs and meanings do not exist at the molecular level, and that the genetic code was not followed by any other organic code for almost four billion years, which implies that it was an utterly isolated exception in the history of life. These ideas have effectively ruled out the existence of semiosis in the organic world, and yet there are experimental facts against all of them. If we look at the evidence of life without the preconditions of the present paradigm, we discover that semiosis is there, in every single cell, and that it has been there since the very beginning. This is what biosemiotics is really about.
Creating Scientific Concepts
Nancy J. Nersessian
How do novel scientific concepts arise? In Creating Scientific Concepts, Nancy Nersessian seeks to answer this central but virtually unasked question in the problem of conceptual change. She argues that the popular image of novel concepts and profound insight bursting forth in a blinding flash of inspiration is mistaken. Instead, novel concepts are shown to arise out of the interplay of three factors: an attempt to solve specific problems; the use of conceptual, analytical, and material resources provided by the cognitive-social-cultural context of the problem; and dynamic processes of reasoning that extend ordinary cognition.
Focusing on the third factor, Nersessian draws on cognitive science research and historical accounts of scientific practices to show how scientific and ordinary cognition lie on a continuum, and how problem-solving practices in one illuminate practices in the other. Her investigations of scientific practices show conceptual change as deriving from the use of analogies, imagistic representations, and thought experiments, integrated with experimental investigations and mathematical analyses. She presents a view of constructed models as hybrid objects, serving as intermediaries between targets and analogical sources in bootstrapping processes. Extending these results, she argues that these complex cognitive operations and structures are not mere aids to discovery, but that together they constitute a powerful form of reasoning — model-based reasoning — that generates novelty. This new approach to mental modeling and analogy, together with Nersessian's cognitive-historical approach, makes Creating Scientific Concepts equally valuable to cognitive science and philosophy of science.
The MIT Press
272 pages · November 2008
Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection
In 1859 Darwin described a deceptively simple mechanism that he called "natural selection," a combination of variation, inheritance, and reproductive success. He argued that this mechanism was the key to explaining the most puzzling features of the natural world, and science and philosophy were changed forever as a result. The exact nature of the Darwinian process has been controversial ever since, however. Godfrey-Smith draws on new developments in biology, philosophy of science, and other fields to give a new analysis and extension of Darwin's idea. The central concept used is that of a "Darwinian population," a collection of things with the capacity to undergo change by natural selection. From this starting point, new analyses of the role of genes in evolution, the application of Darwinian ideas to cultural change, and "evolutionary transitions" that produce complex organisms and societies are developed. Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection will be essential reading for anyone interested in evolutionary theory.
Oxford University Press
224 pages · May 2009
In Defence of Objective Bayesianism
How strongly should you believe the various propositions that you can express? That is the key question facing Bayesian epistemology. Subjective Bayesians hold that it is largely (though not entirely) up to the agent as to which degrees of belief to adopt. Objective Bayesians, on the other hand, maintain that appropriate degrees of belief are largely (though not entirely) determined by the agent's evidence.
Objective Bayesianism has been challenged on a number of different fronts. For example, some claim it is poorly motivated, or fails to handle qualitative evidence, or yields counter-intuitive degrees of belief after updating, or suffers from a failure to learn from experience. It has also been accused of being computationally intractable, susceptible to paradox, language dependent, and of not being objective enough.
[...] the book argues that these criticisms can be met and that objective Bayesianism is a promising theory with an exciting agenda for further research.
Oxford University Press
192 pages · May 2010
Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs
Delusions are a common symptom of schizophrenia, dementia and other psychiatric disorders. Though delusion is commonly defined as a false and irrational belief, there is currently a lively debate about whether delusions are really beliefs and indeed, whether they are even irrational.
The book is an interdisciplinary exploration of the nature of delusions. It brings together the psychological literature on the aetiology and the behavioural manifestations of delusions, and the philosophical literature on belief ascription and rationality. The thesis of the book is that delusions are continuous with ordinary beliefs, a thesis that could have not only significant theoretical implications for debates in the philosophy of mind and psychology, but also practical implications for psychiatric classification and the clinical treatment of subjects with delusions.
Based on recent work in philosophy of mind, cognitive psychology and psychiatry, the book offers a comprehensive review of the philosophical issues raised by the psychology of normal and abnormal cognition, defends the doxastic conception of delusions, and develops a theory about the role of judgements of rationality and self-knowledge in belief ascription.
International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry
320 pages · November 2009
Everyday Pratice of Science: Where Intuition and Passion Meet Objectivity and Logic
Scientific facts can be so complicated that only specialists in a field fully appreciate the details, but the nature of everyday practice that gives rise to these facts should be understandable by everyone interested in science. This book describes how scientists bring their own interests and passions to their work, illustrates the dynamics between researchers and the research community, and emphasizes a contextual understanding of science in place of the linear model found in textbooks with its singular focus on "scientific method." Everyday Practice of Science also introduces readers to issues about science and society. Practice requires value judgments: What should be done? Who should do it? Who should pay for it? How much? Balancing scientific opportunities with societal needs depends on appreciating both the promises and the ambiguities of science. Understanding practice informs discussions about how to manage research integrity, conflict of interest, and the challenge of modern genetics to human research ethics. Society cannot have the benefits of research without the risks. The last chapter contrasts the practices of science and religion as reflective of two different types of faith and describes a holistic framework within which they dynamically interact.
Oxford University Press
248 pages · December 2008
Every Thing Must Go. Metaphysics Naturalized
James Ladyman and Don Ross with David Spurrett and John Collier
Every Thing Must Go argues that the only kind of metaphysics that can contribute to objective knowledge is one based specifically on contemporary science as it really is, and not on philosophers' a priori intuitions, common sense, or simplifications of science. In addition to showing how recent metaphysics has drifted away from connection with all other serious scholarly inquiry as a result of not heeding this restriction, they demonstrate how to build a metaphysics compatible with current fundamental physics ('ontic structural realism'), which, when combined with their metaphysics of the special sciences ('rainforest realism'), can be used to unify physics with the other sciences without reducing these sciences to physics itself. Taking science metaphysically seriously, Ladyman and Ross argue, means that metaphysicians must abandon the picture of the world as composed of self-subsistent individual objects, and the paradigm of causation as the collision of such objects.
Everything Must Go also assesses the role of information theory and complex systems theory in attempts to explain the relationship between the special sciences and physics, treading a middle road between the grand synthesis of thermodynamics and information, and eliminativism about information. The consequences of the author's metaphysical theory for central issues in the philosophy of science are explored, including the implications for the realism vs. empiricism debate, the role of causation in scientific explanations, the nature of causation and laws, the status of abstract and virtual objects, and the objective reality of natural kinds.
ISBN 978-0-19-927619-6 · 368 pages
Evidence and Evolution
How should the concept of evidence be understood? And how does the concept of evidence apply to the controversy about creationism as well as to work in evolutionary biology about natural selection and common ancestry? In this rich and wide-ranging book, Elliott Sober investigates general questions about probability and evidence and shows how the answers he develops to those questions apply to the specifics of evolutionary biology. Drawing on a set of fascinating examples, he analyzes whether claims about intelligent design are untestable; whether they are discredited by the fact that many adaptations are imperfect; how evidence bears on whether present species trace back to common ancestors; how hypotheses about natural selection can be tested, and many other issues. His book will interest all readers who want to understand philosophical questions about evidence and evolution, as they arise both in Darwin's work and in contemporary biological research.
Cambridge University Press
ISBN 978-0521692748 ·
412 pages April 2008
Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience
Carl F. Craver
What distinguishes good explanations in neuroscience from bad? Carl F. Craver constructs and defends standards for evaluating neuroscientific explanations that are grounded in a systematic view of what neuroscientific explanations are: descriptions of multilevel mechanisms. In developing this approach, he draws on a wide range of examples in the history of neuroscience (e.g. Hodgkin and Huxleys model of the action potential and LTP as a putative explanation for different kinds of memory), as well as recent philosophical work on the nature of scientific explanation. Readers in neuroscience, psychology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of science will find much to provoke and stimulate them in this book.
330 pages · June 2007
Filosofia e História da Ciência em Portugal no
Augusto J. S. Fitas, Maria de Fátima Nunes, Marcial A. E. Rodrigues
Philosophy of science in Portugal in the the twentieth century, specially until 1974, was characterized mainly by the assimilation and diffusion of foreign ideas. In the history of science a nationalistic brand of memorialism was the norm.
The political and ideological circunstances and the reactionary landscape of the Portuguese philosophical culture, in what concerns scientific advances, are a possible reason for the marginal position to which epistemology was constrained in the country. Openess towards epistemological questions was something first found between thinkers with a scientific background.
After the 1974 revolution, this landscape changed and it was possible to embrace the philosophy of science. After the 40s, science historians expanded their field of interest from the Discoveries period to the XVII to XIX centuries, thus including, in historical studies about science in Portugal, the European scientific culture.
296 · pages 2008
Homo Sapiens technologicus. Philosophy of contemporary technology, philosophy of contemporary wisdom
The world is changing fast, so fast. And we change, as well. Haven´t we become a new species, a Homo sapiens technologicus? For, to live in today’s world, it isn´t enough for the Homo to be technologicus, coevolving with its techniques, it must also be sapiens, wise: the world that we have created, challenges us to be worthy of our technical exploits. How to do it? For we are torn between the dizzying promises of a new world and the disuses, the ancient habits of the old which drag us into a universe of outdated references.
Institutions – cultural and media, political and economic – offer us, every day, distressing illustrations of that. How to resist? We are called upon to create a wisdom, a new wisdom integrating the abundance, the comfort, and the power that are ours today. And also to adopt a resolute, "consistent" attitude, expressing itself through micro-actions – to transform our being in the end, not our knowledge or expertise.
487 · pages February 2008
Hunting Causes and Using Them: Approaches in Philosophy and Economics
Hunting Causes and Using Them argues that causation is not one thing, as commonly assumed, but many. There is a huge variety of causal relations, each with different characterizing features, different methods for discovery and different uses to which it can be put. In this collection of new and previously published essays, Nancy Cartwright provides a critical survey of philosophical and economic literature on causality, with a special focus on the currently fashionable Bayes-nets and invariance methods – and it exposes a huge gap in that literature. Almost every account treats either exclusively how to hunt causes or how to use them. But where is the bridge between? It's no good knowing how to warrant a causal claim if we don't know what we can do with that claim once we have it. This book will interest philosophers, economists and social scientists.
Cambridge University Press
280 pages · June 2007
The Game of Sciences with Heidegger and Derrida
Through the notion of play, defined by Derrida as the unity of chance and necessity, the author wants to state the phenomenological truth of major scientific discoveries, by showing how the field of science unifies and articulates itself according to the philosophical principles laid down by Husserl.
670 pages · November 2007
What is illness? Is it a physiological malfunction or a social label? Is it simply the absence of health? How do our physical, social, and emotional worlds change when we become ill? Havi Carel addresses these questions by interweaving a personal account of her own serious illness with a more abstract, philosophical account of illness in general. She argues that illness should be seen not simply as a localized biological dysfunction but as a transformation of our social, psychological, and physical worlds and our temporal existence. By focusing on illness as a lived experience, she reveals illness as a life-changing event rather than a limited physiological problem, showing that the body is not a lifeless container for the self but the core of human subjectivity and embodied existence.
147 pages · September 2008
Knowing the Structure of Nature. Essays on Realism and Explanation
In Knowing the Structure of Nature, Stathis Psillos develops the articulation and defence of scientific realism that started in his very influential, widely read and discussed Scientific Realism: How Science Tracks Truth. Psillos argues in favour of the epistemic optimism associated with scientific realism. He criticises attempts to draw a sharp epistemic dichotomy between those aspects of nature that are knowable and those that will remain secret—attempts to set limits to the scientific knowledge of nature. The book focuses on recent arguments and views in the scientific realism debate and repositions this debate within broader metaphysical and epistemological perspectives. It takes issue with key elements of the structuralist turn in the philosophy of science and advances a new framework for inference to the best explanation. Professional philosophers of science, graduate students and anyone interested in scientific realism and inference to the best explanation will find this book rewarding, stimulating and provocative.
256 pages · May 2009
The meta inductivist's winning stategy in the prediction game: a new aproacch
This article suggests a "best alternative" justification of induction (in the sense of Reinchenbach) which is based on meta-induction. The meta-inductivist applies the principle of induction to all competing prediction methods which are accessible to her. It is demonstrated, and illustrated by computer simulations, that there exist meta-inductivistic prediction methods in arbitrary possible worlds, and which dominate the success of every noninductive prediction strategy. The proposed justification of meta-induction is mathematically analytical. It implies, however, an a posteriori justification of object-induction based on the experiences in our world.
Philosophy of Science, Vol.75
pp. 278-305 · Jul 2008
A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable
Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories give approximately true descriptions of both observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent world. Debates between realists and their critics are at the very heart of the philosophy of science. Anjan Chakravartty traces the contemporary evolution of realism by examining the most promising recent strategies adopted by its proponents in response to the forceful challenges of antirealist sceptics, resulting in a positive proposal for scientific realism today. He examines the core principles of the realist position, and sheds light on topics including the varieties of metaphysical commitment required, and the nature of the conflict between realism and its empiricist rivals. By illuminating the connections between realist interpretations of scientific knowledge and the metaphysical foundations supporting them, his book offers a compelling vision of how realism can provide an internally consistent and coherent account of scientific knowledge.
Cambridge University Press
272 pages · November 2007
The Metaphysics Within Physics
What fundamental account of the world is implicit in physical theory? Physics straightforwardly postulates quarks and electrons, but what of the more intangible elements, such as laws of nature, universals, causation and the direction of time? Do they have a place in the physical structure of the world?
Tim Maudlin argues that the ontology derived from physics takes a form quite different from those most commonly defended by philosophers. Physics postulates irreducible fundamental laws, eschews universals, does not require a fundamental notion of causation, and makes room for the passage of time. In a series of linked essays The Metaphysics Within Physics outlines an approach to metaphysics opposed to the Humean reductionism that motivates much analytical metaphysics.
Oxford University Press
192 pages · May 2007
An Objective Justification of Bayesianism I: Measuring Inaccuracy
Hannes Leitgeb and Richard Pettigrew
In this article and its sequel, we derive Bayesianism from the following norm: Accu- racy—an agent ought to minimize the inaccuracy of her partial beliefs. In this article, we make this norm mathematically precise. We describe epistemic dilemmas an agent might face if she attempts to follow Accuracy and show that the only measures of inaccuracy that do not create these dilemmas are the quadratic inaccuracy measures. In the sequel, we derive Bayesianism from Accuracy and show that Jeffrey Condi- tionalization violates Accuracy unless Rigidity is assumed. We describe the alternative updating rule that Accuracy mandates in the absence of Rigidity.
Philosophy of Science, Vol. 77
pp. 201–235 · April 2010
An Objective Justification of Bayesianism II: Measuring Inaccuracy
Hannes Leitgeb and Richard Pettigrew
In this article and its prequel, we derive Bayesianism from the following norm: Ac- curacy—an agent ought to minimize the inaccuracy of her partial beliefs. In the prequel, we make the norm mathematically precise; in this article, we derive its consequences. We show that the two core tenets of Bayesianism follow from Accuracy, while the characteristic claim of Objective Bayesianism follows from Accuracy together with an extra assumption. Finally, we show that Jeffrey Conditionalization violates Accuracy unless Rigidity is assumed, and we describe the alternative updating rule that Accuracy mandates in the absence of Rigidity.
Philosophy of Science, Vol. 77
pp. 236–272 · April 2010
Philosophical Instruments. Minds and Tools at Work
In Philosophical Instruments, Daniel Rothbart argues that our tools are not just neutral intermediaries between humans and the natural world, but are devices that demand new ideas about reality. Just as a new spear can change a hunter’s knowledge of the environment, so can the development of modern scientific equipment alter our view of the world.
Working at the intersections of science, technology, and philosophy, Rothbart examines the revolution in knowledge brought on by recent advances in scientific instruments. Full of examples from historical and contemporary science, including electron-scanning microscopes, sixteenth-century philosophical instruments, and diffraction devices used by biochemical researchers, Rothbart explores the ways in which instrumentation advances a philosophical stance about an instrument’s power, an experimenter’s skills, and a specimen’s properties. Through a close reading of the engineering of instruments, he introduces a philosophy from (rather than of) design, contending that philosophical ideas are channeled from design plans to models and from models into the use of the devices.
University of Illinois Press
160 pages · 2007
The Philosophy with sciences in the XXth century
This work assumes the form of a phenomenological compilation of the great scientific discoveries of the XXth century and is conducted in a way as to allow their articulation, and to render rigorous the interdisciplinarity that is sought today. It is about a path that goes from the intervention of the definition by Socrates, Plato (and geometry) and Aristotle (and his physics) to the reformulated Phenomenology: Husserl, Heidegger and Derrida with Prigogine and the sciences of their century.
238 pages · October 2009
Political Philosophy. Fact, Fiction, and Vision
This book is about politics, political theory, and political philosophy. [...] While these disciplines are distinct, Mario Bunge asserts that they must inform each other.
Political philosophy is not yet a well-defined field: it hovers between political theory and utopian fantasizing. Few, if any earlier thinkers could have anticipated any of the most pressing political issues of our time, such as the need to stop global warming, reduce nuclear armaments, stop the rise of inequality between individuals and nations, and fight authoritarianism, particularly when it comes disguised as democracy or as socialism. Not even more recent social thinkers had much to say about such topical issues as environmental degradation, gender and race discriminations, participative democracy, nationalism, imperialism, the North-South divide, resource wars, the industrial-military complex, or the connections between poverty and environmental degradation, and between inequality and bad health.
Beyond ideological divergences, most political philosophers have been nearly unanimous in their indifference to the plight of the Third World. Bunge does not share that indifference. He also believes that political philosophers should pay more attention to numbers, such as the standard index of income inequality and the more comprehensive United Nations human development index for the various nations. It is pointless to write about redistributive policies unless we have some of idea of current wealth distribution. This is, in short a modern treatise of inherited concerns.
320 pages · October 2008
Saving Truth From Paradox
Saving Truth from Paradox is an ambitious investigation into paradoxes of truth and related issues, with occasional forays into notions such as vagueness, the nature of validity, and the Gnulldel incompleteness theorems. Hartry Field presents a new approach to the paradoxes and provides a systematic and detailed account of the main competing approaches.
Part One examines Tarski's, Kripke's, and Lukasiewicz's theories of truth, and discusses validity and soundness, and vagueness. Part Two considers a wide range of attempts to resolve the paradoxes within classical logic. In Part Three Field turns to non-classical theories of truth that that restrict excluded middle. He shows that there are theories of this sort in which the conditionals obey many of the classical laws, and that all the semantic paradoxes (not just the simplest ones) can be handled consistently with the naive theory of truth. In Part Four, these theories are extended to the property-theoretic paradoxes and to various other paradoxes, and some issues about the understanding of the notion of validity are addressed. Extended paradoxes, involving the notion of determinate truth, are treated very thoroughly, and a number of different arguments that the theories lead to "revenge problems" are addressed. Finally, Part Five deals with dialetheic approaches to the paradoxes: approaches which, instead of restricting excluded middle, accept certain contradictions but alter classical logic so as to keep them confined to a relatively remote part of the language. Advocates of dialetheic theories have argued them to be better than theories that restrict excluded middle, for instance over issues related to the incompleteness theorems and in avoiding revenge problems. Field argues that dialetheists' claims on behalf of their theories are quite unfounded, and indeed that on some of these issues all current versions of dialetheism do substantially worse than the best theories that restrict excluded middle.
Oxford University Press
432 pages · April 2008
Scientific and the Quest for Meaning
Alfred I. Tauber
In this deeply thoughtful exploration, Alfred Tauber, a practicing scientist and highly regarded philosopher, eloquently traces the history of the philosophy of science, seeking in the end to place science within the humanistic context from which it originated. Avoiding the dogmatism that has defined both extremes in the recent “Science Wars” and presenting a conception of reason that lifts the discussion out of the interminable debates about objectivity and neutrality, Tauber offers a way of understanding science as an evolving relationship between facts and the values that govern their discovery and applications. This timely philosophy of science presents a centrist but highly consequently view, wherein “truth” and “objectivity” can function as working ideals and serve as pragmatic tools within the sociological context in which they reside. For if the humanization of science is to reach completion, it must reveal not only the meaning it receives from its social and cultural settings but also that which it lends to them.
Packed with well-chosen case studies, Science and the Quest for Meaning is a trust-worthy and engaging introduction to the history of, and the current debate surrounding, the philosophy of science.
Baylor University Press
256 pages · September 2009
Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective
Bas C. van Fraassen
Bas C. van Fraassen presents an original exploration of how we represent the world. Science represents natural phenomena by means of theories, as well as in many concrete ways by such means as pictures, graphs, table-top models, and computer simulations. Scientific Representation begins with an inquiry into the nature of representation in general, drawing on such diverse sources as Plato's dialogues, the development of perspectival drawing in the Renaissance, and the geometric styles of modelling in modern physics. Starting with Mach's and Poincaré's analyses of measurement and the 'problem of coordination', van Fraassen then presents a view of measurement outcomes as representations. With respect to the theories of contemporary science he defends an empiricist structuralist version of the 'picture theory' of science, through an inquiry into the paradoxes that came to light in twentieth-century philosophies of science. Van Fraassen concludes with an analysis of the complex relationship between appearance and reality in the scientific world-picture.
Oxford University Press
416 pages · August 2008
The dumb look of things. Objectivity and science in the era of crisis
In the last decades of the nineteenth century, two seemingly distant disciplines, psychology and physics, have undermined the traditional categories of subject and object, showing that the world and our experience of it, are changed each other and there are no valid point of reference once and for all. Luca Guzzardi recounts the decisive moments that changed the face of physics and psychology, pointing out that even where the fundamentals are not there, is no reason to abandon objectivity.
180 pages · June 2010
Socratic Epistemology. Explorations of Knowledge-Seeking by Questioning
Socratic Epistemology challenges most current work in epistemology — which deals with the evaluation and justification of information already acquired — by discussing instead the more important problem of how knowledge is acquired in the first place.
Jaakko Hintikka’s model of information-seeking is the old Socratic method of questioning, which has been generalized and brought up to date through the logical theory of questions and answers that he has developed. Hintikka argues that the quest by philosophers for a definition of knowledge is ill-conceived and that the entire notion of knowledge should be replaced by the concept of information. And he further offers an analysis of the different meanings of the concept of information and of their interrelations. The result is a new and illuminating approach to the field of epistemology.
Jaakko Hintikka is an internationally renowned philosopher known as the principal architect of game-theoretical semantics and of the interrogative approach to inquiry, and as one of the architects of distributive normal forms, possible-worlds semantics, tree methods, infinitely deep logics, and present-day-theory of inductive generalization. Now a professor of philosophy at Boston University, he is the author of more than thirty books and has received a number of honors, most recently the Rolf Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy, for his pioneering contributions to logical analysis for modal concepts, in particular the concepts of knowledge and belief.
Cambridge University Press
248 pages · 2007