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Interdisciplinary Reflections
Editor: Jan G. Michel
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 examines philosophical approaches to linguistic vagueness, a puzzling feature of natural language that gives rise to the ancient Sorites Paradox and challenges classical logic and semantics.
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.
'Seeing Objects' provides a novel neurophilosophical theory of the structure and nature of visual object representation, and of mental representation in general. The book compares psychological and neurophysiological accounts on how our visual system creates coherent representations of objects with philosophical accounts of the structure of higher-level cognition. By integrating accounts of visual binding operations with philosophical theories of mental representation, 'Seeing Objects' provides a sustained empirical argument that the visual system, like higher-cognitive systems, is systematic and deploys non-conceptual representations with a compositional structure. Moreover, by considering the structural similarities between visual and thought representations, the book establishes a new theoretical basis for studies into the nature of the relation and interaction between perception and higher-order cognition, a timely research topic in Cognitive Science.
An Essay on Space and Time
The book serves a twofold purpose. Firstly, it provides an introduction to classic and modern themes of the philosophy of space and time. Secondly, it presents a novel theoretical perspective on the field as the author develops his own position. Taking as a point of departure the seemingly naïve question How big is a thing?, Wyller argues that the particular size of spatially extended objects can neither be an intrinsic property of objects nor a relation between physical objects. Similar to the particular duration of events, the size of spatially extended objects is accessible only to embodied subjects. Consequently, determinate extension in space and time is essentially indexical, inconceivable in a world without human beings. The book requires no prior academic knowledge of philosophy or science, as all crucial concepts of relativistic physics, phenomenology and transcendental philosophy are carefully introduced and explained.
From Basic Self-Representation to Self-Related Cognition
One oft the most fascinating abilities of humans is the ability to become conscious of the own physical and mental states. In this systematic investigation of self-consciousness, a representational theory is developed that is able to distinguish between different levels of self-consciousness. The most basic levels are already present in such simple animals as ants. From these basic forms, which are also relevant for adult human self-consciousness, high-level self-consciousness including self-knowledge can arise. Thereby, the theory is not only able to integrate developmental considerations but also to sharply distinguish different aspects of the complex phenomenon self-consciousness. Pathological breakdowns of these different aspects, as they can be found in schizophrenia, are explained by specific impairments on different levels of self-representation. In this way, the work shows that a naturalistic theory of self-consciousness is possible, if the analysis starts with very simple and basic mechanisms instead of starting on the 'top of the iceberg'.
Ascertaining the nature and scope of a priori knowledge is of key import to philosophical thought. Philosophers do not merely ponder this issue in order to solve an epistemological puzzle. Philosophers do also strive to understand the a priori in order to understand what doing philosophy amounts to. So what is the nature of a priori knowledge? And is philosophy an a priori endeavour? Starting off from such epistemological and meta-philosophical considerations, the papers here collected trace the import and role of a priori knowledge through the diverse disciplines of philosophy - from metaphysics to ethics, and from the philosophy of Language to the philosophy of science. The Contributors A. Burri, S. Psillos and D. Christopoulou, G. Ernst, H.-J. Glock., S. Häggqvist, P. Horwich, N. Kompa, C. Misselhorn, C. Nimtz, G. Rey, O. Scholz, W. Spohn, I. Stojanovic, N. Strobach, C. Suhm
In this volume we have placed three essays concerning the history of philosophy in general before the thematic focus. These general essays comprise a new discussion of scepticism, an analysis of logical atomism, and a discussion of the concept of number. The thematic focus concerning the practical syllosism was organzized by our colleague Christof Rapp, Berlin. They have succeeded in putting together an impressive sequence of interlocking essays about a perennially important topic from ancient philosophy. The authors: Klaus Corncilius, Yiftach J.H. Fehige, Wolfgang Gombocz & Alessandro Salice, Paula Gottlieb, Jean-Baptiste Gourinat, Jörg Hardy, Vojtech Kolman, Holger Leerhoff, Pierre Marie Morel, Anselm Müller, Anthony W. Price, Christof Rapp & Philipp Brüllmann, Matthew Tugby, Sven Walter, Ron Wilburn.
Understanding Films as Communicative Actions
'See What I Mean' reintroduces the question of language-likeness to film theory: On the one hand, films are unlike natural languages. They don’t have arbitrary, concrete, conventional meaning-segments corresponding to the words of a natural language. Filmic images are non-naturally and naturally meaningful; they can indicate states of affairs, but they can also have speaker-intended meaning. On the other hand, films and natural languages are alike - both are used for communicative purposes. Films as a special class of moving images are intentional visual artifacts with the main goal of communication. This volume contributes to the theoretical foundations of film philosophy. It answers questions concerning the relation of films and truth, films and intentionality, films and reality; it evaluates different ideas of film realism and discursive film theories, and it asks what the meaning of films is and how we understand films. Drawing on H.P. Grice’s model of communication and G. Meggle’s critical revisions of this model, B.S. Kobow argues that films are (communicative) actions in the world. With films we maintain, shape and negotiate social reality as J.R. Searle constructs it.
Reflections on the universe of all Sets
That the structure V = UaVa be the universe of all sets, that the set theoretical axioms be true assertions about V or that a question like the Continuum Hypothesis be still open (since it is undecided whether it holds or fails in V) are common assertions in set theory. How one is to understand them, tough, is not an obvious matter. The aim of this book is just to interpret the façon de parler that V is the universe of all sets in a way that is faithful to what is actually done in set theory.
Editors: Uwe Meixner and Albert Newen
The authors: Ignacio Angelelli, Rüdiger Bittner, Thomas A. Blackson, Daniel Dohrn, Julian Fink, Axel Gelfert, Ralf Goeres, Christoph Horn Christoph Rapp, Andreas Krebs, Dirk Koppelberg, Yakir Levin, Erik J. Loomis, Marc A. Moffett, Michael Wreen