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41. Grazer Philosophische Studien: Volume > 12/13
Ernan McMullin The Rational and the Social
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How are rational and social factors to be balanced in writing the history of science? This is a crucial issue for the philosophy of science today because of the new reliance on case-studies. The essay distinguishes between epistemic and non-epistemic factors, and within the former, between standard and non-standard factors. Using these distinctions, a criticism is mounted of the Presumption of Standard Rationality proposed by writers such as Lakatos and Lau dan on the one hand, and on the Principle of Unrestricted Sociality defended by the Edinburgh group in sociology of science on the other. An intermediate position is outlined and defended.
42. Grazer Philosophische Studien: Volume > 12/13
Keith Lehrer The Evaluation of Method: A Hierarchy of Probabilities Among Probabilities
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A theory of probabilities of probabilities is articulated and defended. Hume's argument against higher probabiHties is critically evaluated. Conflicting probability assignments for a hypothetis or theory may result from the appHcation of different methods or perspectives, for example, those of consensual authority and individual ratiocination. When we have conflicting probabilities we may assign probabilities to the diverse probabilities initially obtained. These second level probabilities may also conflict as a result of applying diverse methods or perspectives, and the same is true of higher order probabilities. However, when higher order probabilities are normalized to obtain weights that are used to average the probabilities of the next lower level, the averaging process will yield convergence towards a single first order probability condensing higher order information. An infinite averaging process can be finitely calculated to obtain a coherent assignment. Hence there is no vicious regress of probabilities. Memory beliefs illustrate the convergence of an infinite hierarchy
43. Grazer Philosophische Studien: Volume > 12/13
Michael Dummett Ought Research to be Unrestricted?
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Freedom of scientific enquiry must be distinguished from freedom to communicate scientific results. The former demands freedom for scientists to communicate among one another, without which progress is hampered, but not, in itself, freedom to communicate conclusions to the public. The latter freedom may be taken as resting on a general principle of free speech, or, more specifically, on the right of all members of society to knowledge gained by that society, especially by means of public expenditure: it is not to be viewed as resting on the superior rationality of scientists as individuals. More important than knowledge are the social and practical consequences of scientific research, of which the most striking example is that of nuclear weapons; we may assume that the net practical effects of research will be, perhaps increasingly, disastrous. The social consequence, and the liability of scientists to prejudice, may both be illustrated by work on IQ and its genetic determination. Adequate safeguards are impossible; but some discouragement of what seems likely to be socially or practically malign Hnes of research may be exercised by relatively autonomous bodies in control of State funding.
44. Grazer Philosophische Studien: Volume > 12/13
Harald Ofstad How Can We - Irrational Persons Operating in Irrational Societies - Decide Rationality?
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Utilitarian deliberation has a number of weak or open points where the agent's judgements tend to be influenced by psychological and sociological factors, e.g., by his prejudices, anxieties, insecurities or group-identifications. The most vulnerable points are: the formulation of the problem, the selection of alternatives, the calculation of consequences, the weighing of evidence, the selection of ultimate values and the comparison of different values towards each other.— The utilitarian vocabulary provides the chooser with misleading expressions such as "The action A1 produces more value on the whole than A2" backing up his cpnviction of acting rationally. — In order to improve the situation, we must become aware of the delusiveness of such expressions and of society's and our own irrationality and try to develop more rational feelings and attitudes.
45. Grazer Philosophische Studien: Volume > 12/13
Lars Bergström Outline for an Argument for Moral Realism
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Moral realism is defined here as the ontological view that there are moral facts. This is compared with traditional views in moral philosophy, such as naturalism, nonnaturalism, and noncognitivism. It is argued that we have no good reasons to avoid inconsistencies among our moral views unless (we believe that) moral realism is true. Various counter-arguments to this claim are criticized. Moreover, it is argued that, since we do not want to give up the practice of moral reasoning, we have a good reason to believe that moral realism is true.
46. Grazer Philosophische Studien: Volume > 12/13
Gerald Dworkin The Concept of Autonomy
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In both theoretical and applied contexts the concept of autonomy has assumed increasing importance in recent normative philosophical discussion. Given various problems to be clarified or resolved the author characterizes the concept by first setting out conditions of adequacy. The author then links the notion of autonomy to the identification and critical reflection of an agent upon his first-order motivations. It is only when a person identifies with the influences that motivate him, assimilates them to himself, that he is autonomous. In addition this process of identification must itself meet certain procedural constraints.
47. Grazer Philosophische Studien: Volume > 12/13
Lorenz Krüger Unity of Science and Cultural Pluralism
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Modem science and technology tend to create one global civilization. To what extent and how can cultural pluralism be preserved under these conditions? Neither inherent limitations of natural science and technology nor alternative lines of developing them offer a promising road for pluralism. But it is to be expected that the unifying trend will not carry over into the realm of the human and social sciences; these are rather to be construed as "locally dispersed", i.e. uncapable of being developed into a unified theory of human nature, whereas natural science refers to a unified picture of non-human nature. Thus, modest hopes for preserving pluralism seem to be justified.
48. Grazer Philosophische Studien: Volume > 12/13
Ivan Supek Foundation of Justice
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From its start philosophy sought principles or values by which any action could be considered good or evil. The situation in a civil court is much simpler. The judge has before him an already worked-out criminal code, and since an evil action has already been settled, it is easy to determine the appropriate punishment. But we are here not interested in the punishment nor can we assume in advance the existence of some sort of book of laws. We are rather concerned with discovering the principles by which we can judge others and estabHsh appropriate laws. In all this, moreover, there are subtle and gross differences between men, but for moral behaviour it is essential that human freedom and universality remain preserved in every good purpose whether that be security, reform, improvement, or the enrichment of life.
49. Grazer Philosophische Studien: Volume > 12/13
Kuno Lorenz About Limits of Growth for Scientific Theories
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If self-determination shall apply as a norm also to scientific research and presentation, there are beside empirical limitations regarding data production, also conceptual limitations to data processing, because nobody can rely on knowledge by firsthand authority only. A transfer-condition (knowledge by n-th hand authority should " in principle" be available by first-hand authority) in order to save scientific rationality is shown to be equivalent with following "open" discourses, i.e. argumentations which combine competition and cooperation through developing the means to overcome their imperfections due to the empirical differences of the arguing persons.
50. Grazer Philosophische Studien: Volume > 12/13
William H. Newton-Smith On the Rational Explanation of the Scientific Chance
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On a rational model of science (cf. Lakatos or Laudan), to decide on the appropriate type of explanation of a given scientific change requires a normative assessment made by reference to the model. Showing that a transition fits the model, displays it to be rational and thereby explains it. On the strong programme in the sociology of scientific knowledge (cf. Bloor and Barnes), normative assessment is irrelevant to explanation. All changes require the same type of explanation (the symmetry thesis); namely, a sociological one. The symmetry thesis is false. Scientific change can be explained rationally but without extensive normative assessment using the minimal rationality model (minirät). However, explaining scientific progress as opposed to mere change, requires a maximal rationality model (maxirat) which involves normative assessment.