Scientiﬁc progress depends crucially on scientiﬁc discoveries. Yet the topic of scientiﬁc discoveries has not been central to debate in the philosophy of science. This book aims to remedy this shortcoming. Based on a broad reading of the term “science” (similar to the German term “Wissenschaft ”), the book convenes experts from different disciplines who reﬂect upon several intertwined questions connected to the topic of making scientiﬁc discoveries.
Among these questions are the following: What are the preconditions for making scientiﬁc discoveries? What is it that we (have to) do when we make discoveries in science? What are the objects of scientiﬁc discoveries, how do we name them, and how do scientiﬁc names function? Do dis-coveries in, say, physics and biology, share an underlying structure, or do they differ from each other in crucial ways? Are other ﬁelds such as theology and environmental studies loci of scientiﬁc discovery? What is the purpose of making scientiﬁc discoveries? Explaining nature or reality? Increasing scientiﬁc knowledge? Finding new truths? If so, how can we account for instructive blunders and serendipities in science?
In the light of the above, the following is an encompassing question of the book: What does it mean to make a discovery in science, and how can scientiﬁc discoveries be distinguished from non-scientiﬁc discoveries?
The Sorites Paradox and the Nature and Logic of Vague Language
This book reassesses philosophical approaches to linguistic vagueness, a puzzling feature of natural language that gives rise to the ancient Sorites paradox.
The paradox consists in three claims: (1) One grain of sand does not make a heap. (2) One billion grains of sand do make a heap. (3) For any two amounts of sand differing by at most one grain: either both are heaps of sand, or neither one is.
Claim (3) is rendered plausible by an initial conviction that vague predicates like ‘heap’ tolerate small changes. The repeated application of a tolerance principle to claim (2), however, yields the further proposition that one grain of sand does make a heap – which contradicts claim number one. Consequently, many philosophers reject or modify tolerance principles for vague predicates.
Inga Bones reassesses prominent responses to the Sorites and defends a Wittgensteinian dissolution of the paradox. She argues that vague predicates are, indeed, tolerant and discusses how this finding relates to the paradox itself, to the notion of validity and to the concept of a borderline case.
Panpsychism has become a highly attractive position in the philosophy of mind. On panpsychism, both the physical and the mental are inseparable and fundamental features of reality. Panentheism has also become immensely popular in the philo-sophy of religion. Panentheism strives for a higher reconciliation of an atheistic pantheism, on which the universe itself is causa sui, and the ontological dualism of necessarily existing, eternal creator and contingent, ﬁ nite creation. Historically and systematically, panpsychism and panentheism often went together as essential parts of an all-embracing metaphysical theory of Being.
The present collection of essays analyses the relation between panpsychism and panentheism and provides critical reﬂections on the signiﬁcance of panpsychistic and panentheistic thinking for recent debates in philosophy and theology.
Without joint action, man’s cultural, scientific and everyday achievements would be unthinkable. What special cognitive abilities make it possible for this to happen so often and in so many ways? Dancing, waging war, building a castle together in the sandbox - joint action is a central component of everyday life and the success of mankind. This ability is based on special socio-cognitive abilities, the scope and interplay of which characterize the human species. Literature often focuses on the large and complex forms of joint action.
This book represents an attempt to present a philosophical reconstruction of joint action through an interdisciplinary investigation of small forms with few actors. This is suitable for explaining the behavior of children and adults, as well as for taking into account empirical results from related disciplines, especially developmental psychology.
What ought individual agents do with regard to climate change? This book challenges the common intuition that every individual agent is morally required to do her bit by refraining from individual polluting actions and still does not leave individuals off the hook. Climate change requires an extremely ambitious, collective solution. This book defends the primacy of promotional duties and focuses on getting individuals as members of society involved. By taking a rights-based approach, it provides a profound normative basis to lead a heated discussion e.g. with regard to what can reasonably be demanded of individuals. Next to addressing duties of specific groups of agents such as young parents, this book aims to derive concrete recommendations for action. But, more broadly, it aims to empower individual agents to finally be able to make a meaningful difference in the global fought against climate change.
Do Animals Have a Time-Relative Interest in Continuing to Live?
Are animals mentally stuck in the present, unable to think beyond the here and now, or are they mental time travelers, capable of planning ahead in time? And why should this matter to us?
“Planning for the Future” provides a thorough conceptual clarification of the most important but ambiguously used concepts in the debate and differentiates between two types of planning. In analyzing several influential studies with birds and apes, the book concludes that there is indeed evidence for anticipatory planning in some animals, but not for strategic planning so far. In a chapter of its own, ethical consequences regarding the wrongness of killing animals from utilitarian and animal rights perspectives are laid out. Do at least some animals have a strong interest in continuing to live? Should they even be ascribed with a right not to be killed? And why might the awareness of our own mortality hinder us in finding answers?
Is it permissible to kill an innocent person against her will in order to prevent several other innocent persons from being killed against their will? The answer to which this essay comes after extensive discussion is – under certain conditions and limitations – affirmative.
On the way to this answer, the book offers a comprehensive in-depth discussion of so-called deontic restrictions – that is, the idea of an action’s being prohibited in circumstances in which performing it once would be the only way to prevent its being performed multiple times. The book’s leading question is whether there is a plausible rationale for deontic restrictions. To this effect, a taxonomy and critical discussions of the most important approaches to justify deontic restrictions are provided – where many of these approaches undergo a deeper examination for the first time ever. In addition, the book clarifies some adjoining questions, such as why deontic restrictions are often perceived as being problematic or how the concept of agent-relativity should best be understood and formalized. Put into broader perspective, the conclusions offered should have a bearing on a number of debates in normative ethics, not least on the debate between deontologists and consequentialist.
In his book, Peter Rohs develops a dualism of process-types founded in a theory of time: a type of mental processes belonging to a time-theoretical ontology and a type of physical processes belonging to a timeless ontology (the ontology of physics). This dualism should be proved as a basis for a non-naturalistic philosophy of mind, through which a libertarian concept of freedom and of personal autonomy can be defended. This theory is, as Rohs tries to demonstrate, compatible with the theory of evolution.
Ever since the rise of the so-called analytic school in 20th century philosophy, philosophical analysis has often been considered to be synonymous with conceptual analysis. However, criticism has also been levelled at the conceptual analysis procedures, which undermined confidence in the merits of conceptual analysis. As far as the clarification of concepts is concerned, explication is therefore sometimes proposed as an alternative means. Combining historical and systematic perspectives, this volume collects new work on analytical and explicatory methods within 20th century philosophy. The contributions explore how clarificatory and reformatory methods of engaging with concepts have been construed and utilized by such different authors as Aristotle, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap or Mackie, marking out underappreciated congruencies and reevaluating historical disputes. They explore the role of analysis in metaphysics as well as metaethics and examine how methodological accounts relate to underlying ideas about concepts.
Assessing causal and moral responsibility for the things we fail to do
This book empirically investigates the social practice of ascribing moral responsibility to others for the things they failed to do, and it discusses the philosophical relevance of this practice. In our everyday life, we often blame others for things they failed to do. For instance, we might blame our neighbour for not watering our plants during our vacation. Interestingly, the attribution of blame is typically accompanied by the attribution of causal responsibility. We do not only blame our neighbour for not watering our plants, but we do so because we believe that not watering the plants caused them to dry up and die. In this book, I investigate how we make moral and causal judgments about omissions. I discuss different philosophical perspectives on this matter, and I outline to what extent the actual social practice is in line with philosophical theories.