The overcoming of all human weakness is often viewed as a personal right as well as a common good. But fully overcoming human weakness would undermine the basis for mutual support and recognition. The achievement of complete technical independence from natural forces would end the embeddedness of humanity within natural history. This book defends the necessity of ethical assessment against the automatism of relying on technical developments or market processes. To identify both the values and ethical limits of technology development, criteria for the goodness of human life, and for nature in general, are required. This includes a meta-ethical discussion of moral objectivity, philosophical anthropology, and moral history. On the basis of that discussion, conclusions are drawn about ethical debates in the domains of medicine, biotechnology, and information technology.
Within the broad framework of processual hermeneutics, this monograph studies rationality by investigating what are the fundamental cognitive mechanisms required for the cultural development of rational constructions. It analyses the basic cognitive competences through which the human being connects categories and operations in a manner that allows it to orient itself in the world. If both understanding and explaining are forms of human-specific orientation, what does asking the question “how” imply cognitively? This monograph focuses therefore on the human-specific array of cognitive mechanisms, here referred to as enarrativity.
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, or Paradox of the Heap, 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. The third claim is rendered plausible by an initial conviction that vague predicates like ‘heap’ tolerate small changes. However, the repeated application of a tolerance principle to the second claim 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.