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Reform Efforts of Logic in Germany 1781-1879
Author: Risto Vilkko
Many historians and philosophers of logic have claimed that during the 19th century, before Gottlob Frege’s Begriffsschrift (1879), there was a long period of stagnation or even of decline in the field of logic. The aim of this book is to show that such an evaluation of 19th century logic is misdirected and needs to be corrected. A Hundred Years of Logical Investigations discusses both philosophical and mathematical efforts to reform logic in Germany from Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernunft (1781) up to Frege’s Begriffsschrift (1879). Amongst others, J.F. Herbart, M.W. Drobisch, G.W.F. Hegel, F.A. Trendelenburg, R. Graßmann, and E. Schröder are discussed in addition to Kant and Frege with regard to their thoughts about the place, the task, and the justification of logic not only as a philosophical discipline, but also as a formal and fundamental theory of science.
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.
This collection of essays intends to give an overview over new work on determinism in physics and biology. What is controversial in this area is not much the concept of determinism but rather the question whether certain theories ought to be qualified as deterministic or indeterministic. Thus most of the contributors focus on particular theories in physics or biology. Thomas Breuer concerns himself with recent developments in quantum mechanics. Claus Kiefer discusses the implications of various theories of gravitation for the concept of determinism. Bruno Eckhardt’s paper deals with classical and quantum chaos. Andreas Bartels investigates to what extent the determination relation between parts and wholes in physics supports materialism. The papers by Bruce Glymour, Roberta Millstein, Frédéric Bouchard and Alex Rosenberg concern the interpretation of the statistical aspects of evolutionary theory. Finally Ansgar Beckermann deals with the issue of free will. He argues that a biological determinism would not rule out the possibility of human freedom
Mehr als die meisten anderen Methoden der klassischen Physik hat das Prinzip der kleinsten Wirkung immer wieder philosophische Debatten ausgelöst. Durch historische und systematische Analysen wird in diesem Sammelband untersucht, ob durch dieses Prinzip in der Tat Aspekte formaler Teleologie und Modalität in der Physik existieren. Dabei repräsentiert formale Teleologie keinen eigenständigen Erklärungsbeitrag, sondern ist eng mit kausaler Erklärung verknüpft und durch sie mitbestimmt. Daher runden Arbeiten zur Kausalität in der Physik und zur funktionalen Erklärung in der Biologie den Band ab. Over the centuries, the principle of least action has intrigued philosophers more than quite another method of classical physics. The collection investigates whether elements of formal teleology and modality thus persist within physical science, to be sure, without, representing a genuine mode of explanation. Since formal teleology is closely linked with and its character partially defined by causality, the volume is rounded off by papers on causality in physics and functional explanation in biology.
An integrated account of joint action
Author: Nicolas Lindner
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.
An Ethical Analysis
Author: Tobias Hainz
Radical life extension is the direct and intentional extension of the maximum human life span through hypothetical biotechnologies. Although no such technologies do currently exist, it is imperative to analyze whether they should be developed because they could have considerable effects on individuals and societal structures. This book provides a comprehensive ethical analysis of radical life extension by investigating its possible influence on human welfare. Effects resulting from the actions of isolated individuals, such as the satisfaction or frustration of certain desires, are taken into account as well as collective effects, such as an increased trend towards overpopulation. Topics that are not directly related to human welfare are covered as well, for example, human nature and human dignity, the right to life, and the relationship between aging and the meaning of life. The book concludes with an outline of policy recommendations for future research on life extension technologies.
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'.
Author: Anika Fiebich
How do we understand other people’s minds? This question has been discussed intensively in the theory of mind debate. ‘Theory of mind’ is defined as the capacity to attribute mental states to oneself and to others and to make use of that capacity in behavior understanding. This book offers a critical analysis of a variety of tasks that have been conducted to investigate the development of a theory of mind in children. The heart of the book is a pluralistic account of social understanding. Rather than relying on a default procedure of social understanding (e.g., theory or simulation), individuals understand the behavior of another person in various ways dependent on their cognitive competencies and the socio-situational context. As a rule of thumb, individuals are prone to make use of that procedure that is cognitively least effortful to them in a given context. Covering a wide range of studies, the implications of the pluralistic account are discussed with respect to culture and psychopathology. Finally, the book points to the role that social interaction may play in social understanding.
Ethical and social consequences of neuroscientific progress
Author: Saskia K Nagel
Advances in the neurosciences have ethical and social implications which need careful consideration from an interdisciplinary perspective: The present book allows readers with different backgrounds gaining a better understanding of recent progress in the neurosciences and their implications. It first introduces to thinking in applied ethics and offers an approach that does justice to challenges from the neurosciences. State-of-the-art scientific work is discussed with respect to its implications for the individual and society. Methods of brain monitoring are explained looking at potentials and limitations as well as at implications of applications. Second, the wide field of brain manipulation is analysed with a focus on psychopharmacological enhancement. The discussion includes investigation of our capacity to handle the options opened to us, safety issues, the role of social pressures, equality of opportunity and distributive justice, as well as questions of the concept of normality, authenticity and naturalness. The book highlights crucial challenges for the individual, policy, law, and society emerging from neuroscientific and neurotechnological advances.The approach avoids problematic neuro-reductionism and is aware of promises and perils of neuroscientific progress. It thus balances overly sceptical with overenthusiastic positions by offering a profound analysis of scientific and ethical issues.
Modal Epistemology and Scepticism
Scepticism, the view that knowledge is impossible, threatens our conception of ourselves as epistemic subjects as much as it endangers our conception of the external world. The book develops a modal account of knowledge and provides an answer to scepticism based on a detailed examination of the main sceptical argument. It discusses prominent contemporary theories of knowledge, in particular safety and sensitivity theories, and shows that they cannot handle Gettier-type examples of a new kind. An alternative analysis of knowledge in terms of relevantly normal possibilities is developed. The sceptical argument addressed aims to show that we cannot know ordinary things because we cannot rule out that we are in a sceptical scenario. Classical responses, like dogmatism, non-closure theories, and epistemic contextualism, are explored and rejected as unnecessary for a refutation of the sceptical argument. A detailed investigation reveals, first, that the failure to know that we are not in a sceptical scenario does not conflict with ordinary knowledge, but only with knowledge that we know, and, second, that we can indeed know that we are not in a sceptical scenario. It is therefore claimed not only that we know, but also that we know that we know.