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1. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Elliott Sober Instrumentalism Revisited
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Instrumentalism is usually understood as a semantic thesis: scientific theories are neither true nor false, but are merely instruments for making predictions. Scientific realists are on firm ground when they reject this semantic claim. This paper focuses on epistemological rather than semantic instrumentalism. This form of instrumentalism claims that theories are to be judged by their ability to make accurate predictions, and that predictive accuracy is the only consideration that matters in the end. I consider how instrumentalism is related to a quite different proposal concerning how theories should be evaluated—scientific realism. Instrumentalism allows for the fact that a false model can get one closer to the truth than a true one.
2. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Ryszard Wójcicki What Do We Know?
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In what follows, I will address three fundamental questions regarding the theory of knowledge. They are as follows: What is knowledge? How can it be represented? How may one evaluate its quality? In this essay I outline a certain conceptual framework within which, I believe, these questions should be examined.
3. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Theo A. F. Kuipers Epistemological Positions in the Light of Truth Approximation
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I sketch the most important epistemological positions in the instrumentalism-realism debate, viz., instrumentalism, constructive empiricism, referential realism, and theory realism. I order them according to their answers to a number of successive leading questions, where every next question presupposes an affirmative answer to the foregoing one. I include the answer to questions concerning truth, as well as the most plausible answer to questions concerning truth approximation. Restricting my survey to the natural sciences and hence to the natural world, I indicate the implications of the results of the study of empirical progress and truth approximation for the way these epistemological positions are related. I conclude that there are good reasons for the instrumentalist to become a constructive empiricist; in order to give deeper explanations of success differences, the constructive empiricist is forced to become a referential realist; and, there are good reasons for the referential realist to become a theory realist of a non-essentialist nature, here called a constructive realist.
4. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Eduardo H. Flichman Newton’s Dynamics, Kuhn, and Incommensurability
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In this paper I will attempt to show how incommensurability between theories is usually manifested, framing this notion in a sense similar to the Kuhnian one in certain aspects, though very different in others. Further, I will show that it is possible, and desirable, to rid Kuhn’s thesis of the idea that in many important theories a certain part of the theoretical nucleus partially contains in a more or less vague sense, synthetic a priori or even analytic statements. Alternatively, I present a motive for the change of meaning in the basic terms of a theory wherein fundamental laws maintain their synthetic a posteriori character. Incommensurability in this case has to do with the change of lexicon for internal properties, independently of whether or not there is a change in the meaning of the primitive terms of the theory.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Jaakko Hintikka, Robert Cummings Neville, Ernest Sosa, Alan M. Olson, Stephen Dawson Series Introduction
13. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 10
Tian Yu Cao Volume Introduction
14. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Newton Garver Politics and Anti-Politics
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Three very different things present themselves under the title “politics,” even when we restrict the domain of politics to civic concerns. One is the highly partisan activity that begins with the distinction between friends and enemies and culminates in wars or elections. Another is legislation, litigation, and diplomacy, often making use of conciliatory negotiation with adversaries (no longer “enemies” but honorable fellows). The third is civic action aimed at limiting, circumventing, or constraining the role of the first two. I call the first kind “zero-sum politics,” the second “integrative politics,” and the third “anti-politics,” anti-politics having affinities with what Pettit calls anti-power. My aim is to distinguish the three by sketching their salient differences. The important point, as Wittgenstein said, is that these language-games are played. Clarity about their differences can enhance both our understanding of public affairs and the quality of public discourse.
15. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Michael Halberstam Aestheticism, or Aesthetic Approach, in Arendt and Heidegger on Politics
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Hannah Arendt’s aesthetic approach to politics is regarded as frequently reflecting the anti-political substitution of nonpolitical concerns for political ones characteristic of the German tradition from Schiller to Heidegger and beyond. Arendt’s relationship to this tradition can be understood as squarely calling into question her central claim to have rehabilitated the political. This paper examines the relationship between Arendt’s and Heidegger’s political thought in light of the distinction between an aestheticism and an aesthetic approach. Two issues are at stake: can such a distinction help distance Arendt’s aesthetic approach from those elements we find so troubling in Heidegger’s thinking and his relation to politics? Can this help us to recuperate a certain aspect of German political thought which is reflected in Arendt’s work?
16. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Thomas Magnell Educating for Practical Reasoning
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Some decisions can be made employing closed systems of practical reasoning. Other decisions require open systems of practical reasoning. These kinds of practical reasoning differ epistemically. Closed systems of practical reasoning can rely on thinking with a basis that is epistemically robust. Open systems of practical reasoning must also allow for thinking with a basis that is epistemically slight. In making moral and prudential decisions about what we are to make of our lives, we use open systems of practical reasoning that proceed by precept. Precepts are generalizations for use as premises in practical reasoning that may only be indirectly tied to empirical evidence. Intelligent selection of precepts may come from education in the arts and sciences. The twin towers of a liberal education offer the best hope for judgment in the practical reasoning that may help us to make the moral and prudential decisions that are our concern.
17. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Ioanna Kuçuradi Paideia as the Subjective Condition for a Sagacious Implementation of Human Rights
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Two opposite tendencies characterize the intellectual and political developments in our world as a whole at the end of the twentieth century: on the one hand, we promote respect for human rights, i.e., for certain “universal” norms; on the other, we promote equal respect for all cultures, i.e., respect also for sets of parochial, “relative” norms, which are not only often discrepant among themselves, but often discrepant vis-à-vis human rights as well. In light of this, I argue that we need paideia for a sagacious implementation of human rights in the twenty-first century.
18. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Pierre Aubenque Paideia et Physis dans la Conception Grecque Antique
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Ce discours va partir des livres VI and VII de la République de Platon pour montrer en quoi il gouverne encore notre projet d’éducation philosophique de l’humanité, mais aussi en quoi il n’est pas seul représentatif de la conception grecque antique, à l’intérieur de laquelle sont nés plusiers modèles concurrents, générateurs d’une alternative peut-être encore instructive pour la discussion actuelle.
19. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Karl-Otto Apel Is a Political Conception of “Overlapping Consensus” an Adequate Basis for Global Justice?
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This paper considers how the problem of justice is to be globalized in the political theory of John Rawls. I discuss first the conception of “overlapping consensus” as an innovation in Rawls’s Political Liberalism and point out the recurrence of the problem of a philosophical foundation in his pragmatico-political interpretation. I suggest an intensification of Rawls’s notion of the “priority of the right to the good” as a philosophical correction to his political self-interpretation, and then finally carry through on a theory of globalization of the problem of justice as extended from his “The Law of Peoples.”
20. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 11
Antonio Perez-Estevez Intercultural Dialogue and Human Rights: A Latin American Reading of Rawls’s “The Law of Peoples”
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In “The Law of Peoples,” John Rawls proposes a model for multi-culural dialogue based upon agreement. In liberal societies, we find agreement on issues such as human rights. However, I argue here that this proposal overcomes neither Eurocentrism nor Western-centrism, as liberal nations would decide which nations are “well organized hierarchical societies.” This second circle of nations would be merely invited peoples, who would not be allowed to contribute new proposals but only to accept the proposals of the liberal nations. I propose a model for attaining human rights through truly universal dialogue in which the representatives of all peoples are able to speak, make proposals, and accept the proposals of others on an equal basis.