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Abstract

The Verisimilitudinarian approach to scientific progress (VS, for short) is traditionally considered a realist-correspondist model to explain the proximity of our best scientific theories to the way things really are in the world out there (ʻthe Truthʻ, with the capital ʻtʻ). However, VS is based on notions, such as ʻestimated verisimilitudeʻ or ʻapproximate truthʻ, that dilute the model in a functionalist-like theory. My thesis, then, is that VS tries to incorporate notions, such as ʻprogressʻ, in a pre-constituted metaphysical conception of the world, but fails in providing a fitting framework. The main argument that I will develop to support this claim is that the notions that they use to explain scientific progress (ʻestimated verisimilitudeʻ or ʻapproximate truthʻ) have nothing to do with ʻthe Truthʻ. After presenting Cevolani and Tamboloʻs answer (2013) to Birdʻs arguments (2007), I will claim that VS sacrifices the realist-correspondist truth in favor of an epistemic notion of truth, which can obviously be compatible with certain kinds of realism but not with the one the authors have in mind (the correspondence between our theories and the way things really are).

Abstract

This article concerns Quentin Meillassoux’s claim that Kant’s revolution is responsible for philosophy’s catastrophic loss of the ‘great outdoors’, of our knowledge of things as they are in themselves. I argue that Meillassoux’s critique of Kant’s ‘weak’ correlationism and his defence of ‘strong’ correlationism are predicated on a fallacious argument (termed ‘the Gem’ by David Stove) and the traditional, but in my view mistaken, metaphysical interpretation of Kant’s transcendental distinction. I draw on Henry Allison’s interpretation of Kant’s idealism to argue that when Kant’s transcendental distinction is understood epistemologically we can avoid the fallacious reasoning underpinning Meillassoux’s argument, and at the very least attenuate his concerns about the ‘Kantian catastrophe’.

Abstract

Can phenomenologists allow for the existence of unobservable entities such as atoms, electrons, and quarks? Can we justifiably believe in the existence of entities that are in principle unobservable? This paper addresses the relationship between Husserlian transcendental phenomenology and scientific realism. More precisely, the focus is on the question of whether there are basic epistemological principles phenomenologists are committed to that have anti-realist consequences with respect to unobservable entities. This question is relevant since Husserl’s basic epistemological principles, such as the “principle of all principles,” seem to suggest that epistemic justification is limited to what can be originally given in the sense that if an object cannot be given in an originary presentive intuition, then one cannot be justified in believing that this object exists. It is the main aim of this paper to show (i) that interpretative reasons exist for not reading Husserl in such a way and (ii) that systematic reasons exist as to why phenomenologists should not subscribe to this criterion. I shall put forward a different criterion of justification that satisfies the spirit of Husserlian transcendental phenomenology and allows for justifiably believing in the existence of unobservable scientific entities.

Abstract

This paper aims to investigate the dialogue between some postmodern thinkers (mostly Lyotard, Rorty and Vattimo) and Habermas’ criticism in light of a different conception of dialogue itself. Therefore, we shall first give an account of how Habermas establishes his neomodern discourse (1985) in a very close dialogue with the key concepts of postmodernism: the subject and its social role, language and the concept of philosophical truth and the postmodernist view of history (, , , ; ; ). Secondly, dialogue will be addressed as a structural difference between Habermas’ universal normative ethic of discourse (together with Karl-Otto Apel, 1983) and the postmodern local and linguistic pluralism, emancipated from any metaphysical ratio. In the end, it will be argued that philosophy ought to be dialogical in line with Habermas’ view, within the foundation and normativity of dialogue. Postmodernist dialogue in philosophy and in society displays instead many shortcomings if understood as a pluralist linguistic game of interpretation.

Abstract

My aim in this paper is to consider a series of arguments against Dispositional Moral Realism and argue that these objections are unsuccessful. I will consider arguments that try to either establish a dis-analogy between moral properties and secondary qualities or try to show that a dispositional account of moral properties fails to account for what a defensible species of moral realism must account for. I also consider criticisms from , who argues that there could not be a corresponding perceptual faculty for moral properties, and , who argues that Dispositional Moral Realism does not most plausibly explain the difference between moral disagreements and disagreements of mere preference. Finally, I examine a novel criticism concerning the relationship between the diverse variety of moral properties and the range of our normative affective attitudes, arguing that the view has no problem accounting for this diversity.

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Abstract

Michela Massimi is a Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Edinburgh and was the keynote speaker for Philosophy as a Way of Life. She is currently the PI for an ERC-funded project ʽPerspectival Realism. Science, Knowledge, and Truth from a Human Vantage Point.ʼ Massimi has extensive experience working on interdisciplinary projects and has frequently engaged in public philosophy. In this interview, she discusses the future of research in the UK post-Brexit, the challenges and rewards of interdisciplinary research, shares some thoughts on the history of philosophy and science and our relationship with it, and emphasises the importance of bringing philosophy into the public sphere. She also offers advice for early career researchers and graduate students in philosophy.

Abstract

charges public philosophy with being “neoliberal”. To understand that charge better, I define, in §1, three versions of public philosophy which might be concerned and two pictures of its practice targeted by Leiter. I also compare two deliberative sites wherein those pictures may play out. In §2, I sketch how Leiter’s two paradoxes for “neoliberal” public philosophy lead to a revised public philosophy. §3 questions the paradoxes’ empirical grounding and scope. Lastly, in §4, I assume Leiter’s picture and illustrate how philosophical dialogue, through appeal to personal self-image and “moral perceptions”, may still influence public discourse. I conclude that Leiter both over- and understates his case and that his conclusions require greater scrutiny.

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of two text analytic projects on the Aberdeen burgh records, which are legal records of the city of Aberdeen, Scotland. These records contain detailed information about a range of activities in the city and their legal treatment. The projects cover the periods 1398–1511 (Law in the Aberdeen Council Registers project – LACR) and 1530–1531 (A Text Analytic Approach to Rural and Urban Legal Histories project – TAHL). The completed TAHL project annotated a selected corpus with rich semantic information for the purpose of facilitating historical research by querying and extracting data from across the corpus. The LACR project, which is ongoing, focuses on transcribing the first eight volumes of the Aberdeen burgh records (1398–1511) into the Text Encoding Initiative’s standard, thus making the text machinereadable. This project lays the foundation for further analysis and enrichment of the corpus.