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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 3
30 years of the Philosophy of Science Course in Dubrovnik

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Displaying: 1-20 of 28 documents


articles
1. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Nenad Miščević 30 years of the Philosophy of Science Course in Dubrovnik
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2. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Paul Thompson The Revival of ‘Emergence’ in Biology: Autocatalysis, Self-Organisation and Mathematical Necessity
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Holism and emergence are coherent notions. The paper points to the classes of emergent phenomena -- such as autocatalysis -- that are taken as commonplace phenomena in biological sciences. Thus it questions the Democritean credo, “wholes are completely determined by their parts” (in some of its forms, called mereological determinism), that has become a dogma of contemporary philosophy. A living thing requires the ability to initiate, mediate and terminate processes that produce products that make up the whole. Autocatalysis is one such mechanism, and its action at the level of the whole produces effects on the parts such that the properties, manifested by the parts in the absence of the whole engaged in autocatalysis, are altered. For these reasons, some writers suggest that autocatalysis is a law of organization and that it is emergent. It also appears that this is a case of downward causation -- one that clearly occurs in nature. If this is not a case of downward causation on Kim’s terms, then biological systems that are claimed to be emergent do not need to involve downward causation in his sense. The author thinks that this constitutes downward causation in an important sense -- the causal properties of the whole drive the behavior of the parts. Another set of examples comes from chaos dynamics. Relying on this evidence, the author challenges the Democritean credo (and mereological determinism) and shifts the onus of proof
3. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Georges Rey Why Wittgenstein Ought to Have Been a Computationalist: (And What a Computationalist Can Gain from Wittgenstein)
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Wittgenstein’s views invite a modest, functionalist account of mental states and regularities, or more specifically a causal/computational, representational theory of the mind (CRTT). It is only by understandingWittgenstein’s remarks in the context of a theory like CRTT that his insights have any real force; and it is only by recognizing those insights that CRTT can begin to account for sensations and our thoughts about them. For instance, Wittgenstein’s (in)famous remark that “an inner process stands in need of outward criteria” (PI:§580), so implausible read behaviorally, is entirely plausible if the “outward” is allowed to include computational facts about our brains. But what is especially penetrating about Wittgenstein’s discussion is his unique diagnosis of our puzzlement in this area, in particular, his suggestion that it is due to our captivation by “pictures” whose application to reality is left crucially under-specified. It is only by understanding. What sustains the naive picture is not a captivation by language, but, at least in part, our largely involuntary reactions to things that look and act like our conspecifics. We project a property into them correlative to that reaction in ourselves, and are, indeed, unwilling to project it into things that do not induce that reaction.
4. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
William Seager Yesterday’s Algorithm: Penrose and the Gödel Argument
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Roger Penrose is infamous for defending aversion of John Lucas’s argument that Gödel’s incompleteness results show that the mind cannot be mechanistically (or, today, computationally) explained. Penrose’s argument has been subjected to a number of criticisms which, though correct as far as they go, leave open some peculiar and troubling features of the appeal to Gödel’s theorem. I try to reveal these peculiarities and develop a new criticism of the Penrose argument.
5. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
James McGilvray Common Sense Concepts: a Cartesian Proposal
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Descartes was right: commonsense concepts are acquired, not learned; scientific concepts are learned, not acquired.
6. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Bryson Brown Notes on Hume and Skepticism of the Senses
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In A Treatise of Human Nature Hume wrote a long section titled “Of skepticism with regard to the senses.” The discussion examines two key features of our beliefs about the objects making up the external world: 1. They continue to exist, even when unperceived. 2. They are distinct from the mind and its perceptions. The upshot of the discussion is a graceful sort of intellectual despair:I cannot conceive how such trivial qualities of the fancy, conducted by such false suppositions, can ever lead to any solid and rational system... ’Tis a gross illusion to suppose, that our resembling perceptions are numerically the same; and ’tis this illusion, which leads us into the opinion, that these perceptions are uninterrupted, and are still existent, even when they are not present to the senses. This is the case with our popular system. And as to our philosophical one, ’tis liable to the same difficulties; and is over-and-above loaded with this absurdity, that it at once denies and establishes the vulgar supposition. (Treatise, 217-8)These notes examine the argument of this section of the Treatise in detail. The upshot is that Hume’s despair is founded on an error. The notes finish by drawing some lessons about the epistemology of our common-sense world view.
7. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Janez Bregant The Problem of Causal Exclusion and Horgan’s Causal Compatibilism
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It is quite obvious why the antireductionist picture of mental causation that rests on supervenience is an attractive theory. On the one hand, it secures uniqueness of the mental; on the other hand, it tries to place the mental in our world in a way that is compatible with the physicalist view. However, Kim reminds us that anti-reductionists face the following dilemma: either mental properties have causal powers or they do not. If they have them, we risk a violation of the causal closure of the physical domain; if they do not have them, we embrace epiphenomenalism, which denies any sort of causal powers to the mental. So, either we violate the causal closure of physics, or we end up with epiphenomenalism. The first two sections of the article describe the problem of causal exclusion and Kim’s causal dilemma. The last two introduce Horgan’s antireductionist answer and my objection to that answer.
interview
8. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Nataša Šegota Lah Interview with Professor Ivan Supek on the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik
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in memoriam
9. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Nenad Miščević Kathleen V. Wilkes (1946-2003)
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articles
10. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Adele Mercier Are Language Conventions Philosophically Explanatory?: (Or: “It’s Shirt-Buttoning All the Way Down, Ruthl”)
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Conventional behavior is behavior engaged in because of, or due to, convention. There are two senses of “due to”: the convention explains my behavior by actually causing it; or the convention explains my behavior by providing reasons I have for engaging in this behavior. Either way, behaviors cannot be explained by conventions unless the conventions exist; and conventions cannot provide me with (conscious) reasons for engaging in my behavior unless I know what they are. I argue that, far from causing behavior, conventions are the results of behavior: conventions exist, in the sense in which they may be said to exist at all, only retrospectively. Moreover, as natural language speakers, we are ever at best in the position of thinking we know what the conventions are. But thinking one is acting conventionally is not the same thing as acting conventionally. Claims about the role of convention in linguistic competence interestingly both mirror and differ from claims about the role of genes in evolutionary theory, as I briefly pointout by way of conclusion.
11. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Franca D’Agostini The Epistemological Liar
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Is it possible truthfully to assert the non-existence of truth? It is a classical problem whose solution is still controversial. I present here an analysis of the sentence “there is no truth” (and its translations and paraphrases, such as “no proposition is true”, “every proposition is false”), with some remarks about its epistemological and ontological implications, and its consequences tor a general theory of reason.
12. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Nikola Grahek Austin and the Very Idea of the Theory of Knowledge
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Austin’s destructive contextualist criticism of the theory of knowledge, as grounded on foundationalism, is presented. It is claimed that incorrigibility is not a secondary issue for the foundationalist conception of knowledge and justification, even if the hallmark of foundationalism is not to be sought in the so-called ‘quest for certainty’, but rather in the idea of epistemological realism.
13. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Katalin Farkas Does Twin Earth Rest on a Mistake?
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In this paper I argue against Twin-Earth externalism. The mistake that Twin Earth arguments rest on is the failure to appreciate the force of the following dilemma. Some features of things around us do matter for the purposes of conceptual classification, and others do not. The most plausible way to draw this distinction is to see whether a certain feature enters the cognitive perspective of the experiencing subject in relation to the kind in question or not. If it does, we can trace conceptual differences to internal differences. If it doesn’t, we do not have a case of conceptual difference. Neither case supports Twin Earth externalism.
14. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Roberta de Monticelli On Ontology: a Dialogue between a Linguistic Philosopher, a Naturalist and a Phenomenologist
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This paper compares two basic approaches to “ontology”. One originated within the analytic tradition, and it encompasses two diverging streams, philosophy of language and (contemporary) philosophy of mind which lead to “reduced ontology” and “neo-Aristotelian ontology”, respectively. The other approach is “phenomenological ontology” (more precisely, the Husserlian, not the Heideggerian version).Ontology as a theory of reference (“reduced” ontology, or ontology dependent on semantics) is presented and justified on the basis of some classical thesis of traditional philosophy of language (from Frege to Quine). “Reduced ontology” is shown to be identifiable with one level of the traditional, Aristotelian ontology, which corresponds to one ofthe four “senses of Being” listed in Aristotle’s Metaphysics: “being” as “being true”. This identification is justified on the basis of Brentano’s “rules for translation” of the Aristotelian table of judgements in terms of (positive and negative) existential judgments such as are easily translatable into sentences of first order predicate logic.The second part of the paper is concerned with “neo-Aristotelian ontology”, i.e. with naturalism and physicalism as the main ontological options underlying most of the contemporary discussion in philosophy of mind. The qualification of such options as “neo-Aristotelian” is justified; the relationships between “neo-Aristotelian” and “reduced” ontology are discussed. The third part presents the basic claim of “phenomenological ontology”: the claim that a logical theory of existence and being does capture a sense of “existing” and “being” which, even if not itself the basic one, is grounded in the basic one. An attempt is done at further clarifying this “more basic” sense of “being”. An argument making use of this supposedly “more basic” sense is advanced in favour of “phenomenological ontology”.
15. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Roberta Sala Contextualistic Critiques of the Principle-Based Approach to Bioethics: The Case of Abortion
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Among the main assumptions of the well-known principle-based method in bioethics, the ideal of consensus assumes central importance. Indeed, by proposing this method, Beauchamp and Childress offer a base for a practical agreement that can be reached starting from different moral perspectives: they defend the universality of the principles shared by the common-morality theories. The ideal of consensus based on the universal acceptability of the principles is criticized by a large number of authors, communitarians and feminists. They attack the notion of universality in different ways: universal principles cannot yield any practical solution to ethical problems. The feminists in particular emphasize the relational, emotional involvement, and also the particular context ofeach situation, as central elements of any practical decision, rather than the cold detachment of the conformity to principles and norms. The case of abortion provides a good example of this position.
book reviews
16. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Massimo Reichlin Bioetica e pluralismo dei valori: Tolleranza, principi, ideali morali: (Bioethics and pluralism of values: Toleration, principles, moral ideals)
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17. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Davor Pećnjak Filozofija Bečkog kruga: (The Philosophy of the Vienna Circle)
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18. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Elvio Baccarini Il dilemma morale e i limiti della teoria etica: (Moral Dilemma and the Limits of Ethical Theory)
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19. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Milica Czerny The Right to Die with Dignity: An Argument in Ethics, Medicine, and Law
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articles
20. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
James Robert Brown Kitcher’s Mathematical Naturalism
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Recent years have seen a number of naturalist accounts of mathematics. Philip Kitcher’s version is one of the most important and influential. This paper includes a critical exposition of Kitcher’s views and a discussion of several issues including: mathematical epistemology, practice, history, the nature of applied mathematics. It argues that naturalism is an inadequate account and compares it with mathematical Platonism, to the advantage of the latter.