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1. 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.
2. 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.
3. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Daniel Bonevac Defeasibly Sufficient Reason
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My aim is to show that supervenience claims follow from instances of a principle I call the principle of defeasibly sufficient reason. This principle construes the completeness of physics quite differently from strong or reductive physicalism and encodes both scientific and common sense patterns of explanation and justification. Rather than thoroughly defending the principle in the short space of this paper, I will sketch how one might defend it and a resulting fainthearted physicalism.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Bruce Glymour, Marcelo Sabatés Micro-Level Indeterminism and Macro-Level Determinism
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Quantum mechanics, and the micro level indeterminacy it implies, is generally accepted by philosophers. So too naturalism on which macro states are held to supervene on micro states is now orthodox in the philosophy of mind and science. Still, in both fields it is frequently assumed that macro systems evolve deterministically. This assumption is commonly implicit and undefended, though at times it is made explicit and given minimal defense. In neither case is the incompatability of quantum indeterminacy, macro-micro dependence, and macro level determinism fully acknowledged. Even when incompatability is recognized, it is held that there is hope that quantum indeterminacy might be confined to micro levels. We argue that this is a vain hope. For certain standard quantum mechanical systems, micro indeterminism entails macro indeterminism unless macro states are effectively independent from micro states. This result obtains whether the relationship between supervenient and subvenient states is deterministic or indeterministic.
7. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
C. Ulises Moulines Ontology, Reduction, and the Unity of Science
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Ontology should be conceived as supervenient on scientific theories. They tell us what categories of things there really are. Thus, we would have a unique system of ontology if we would attain the unity of science through a reductionist program. For this, it should be clear how a relation of intertheoretical reduction (with ontological implications) is to be conceived. A formal proposal is laid out in this paper. This allows us also to define the notion of a fundamental theory. Now, it appears that, considering the state of really existing science, the idea of reductionism as based on this explication is highly implausible. However, even if this is the case, the question whether it is possible to build up a unique ontological system remains open. Its resolution depends on the notion of compatibility between fundamental theories, and its application to existing theories and their empirical bases.
8. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Manuel Liz New Physical Properties
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Discussions on physicalism, reduction, special sciences, the layered image of reality, multiple realizability, emergence, downward causation, and so forth, typically make the ontological presupposition that there is no room for new properties in the physical world. It is my purpose in this paper to explore the alternative hypothesis that there can be—and in fact are—new physical properties. In the first section, I will propose a brief analysis of the notions of property, physical property, and new physical property. In the second section, I will present four general situations in which it would be plausible to speak of the existence of new physical properties. All of that will be used to evaluate the content and scope of the hypothesis of physical novelty. Finally, in the third section, I will examine certain very interesting and promising consequences of such a physical novelty in relation to some of the topics above mentioned.
9. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Michael Ruse Reduction in Biology
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In this paper I shall discuss the concept of reduction—ontological, methodological, and epistemological or theoretical—in the biological sciences, with special emphasis on genetics and evolutionary biology. I suggest that perhaps, because the biological world has a form different from the non-biological world, it is appropriate to think of terms or metaphors different from those we would use when trying to understand the inorganic world. As such, the attempt to show that the biological is simply a deductive consequence of the physicochemical is doomed to failure. The philosophical complexity of reductionism on the one hand and its potential for advancing the study of biology on the other thus requires continuing the ongoing dialogue between philosophers and biologists.
10. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Lawrence Sklar What Is an Isolated System?
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In this paper, I want to focus attention on ways in which the role of idealization in science has been rather neglected by standard methodology, and suggest that this distinct role for idealization is the truly important role it plays in science. Further, I suggest that there are a number of important cases in theoretical science where the issue of idealization is not the issue of misrepresentation in some sense. Rather, the question is which of several alternative idealizations correctly represents the fundamental causalstructure of the world, and which idealizations, consequently, are appropriate for the scientific account of the world that is correct in its basic notion of what is an appropriate explanatory format for dealing with the physical phenomena in question. My argument is that the issues of idealization are important for methodology not primarily for the reasons that have so far exercised most philosophers of science who have worried about idealization in science.