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.
This book discusses the major issues of the current AI debate from the perspectives of philosophy, theology, and the social sciences: Can AI have a consciousness? Is super intelligence possible and probable? How does AI change individual and social life? Can there be artificial persons? What influence does AI have on religious worldviews?
In Western societies, we are surrounded by artificially intelligent systems. Most of these systems are embedded in online platforms. But embodiment of AI, be it by voice (Siri, Alexa, Cortana) or by actual physical embodiment (e.g., robots) give artificially intelligent systems another dimension in terms of their impact on how we perceive these systems, how they shape our communication with them and with fellow humans and how we live and work together. AI in any form gives a new twist to the big questions that humanity has concerned herself with for centuries: What is consciousness? How should we treat each other - what is right and what is wrong? How do our creations change the world we are living in? Which challenges do we have to face in the future?
In The Quantity of the Soul, Augustine puts forward the view that the soul is immaterial and that its quantity (quantitas) must be understood in terms of power rather than spatial extension. Against this view, his friend and interlocutor Evodius raises an important objection, The Objection from Touch, which argues that the soul’s exercise of tactile sensation requires that it be extended through the parts of the body. This paper examines Evodius’s objection and Augustine’s response to it. Particular attention is given to certain features of Augustine’s theory of sensation that this exchange reveals, especially his view that the eyes undergo passion-at-a-distance or are acted on at a place where they are not present.
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.