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Andrea Roselli

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).

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Philipp Berghofer

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.

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Toby Lovat

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’.

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Clarisse Monahan

Open access

Perspectives

International Postgraduate Journal of Philosophy

Open access

Tony Cheng

Abstract

This paper develops the situational model of primate beliefs from the Prior-Lurz line of thought. There is a strong skepticism concerning primate beliefs in the analytic tradition which holds that beliefs have to be propositional and non-human animals do not have them (e.g., Davidson 1975, 1982). The response offered in this paper is twofold. First, two arguments against the propositional model as applied to other animals are put forward: an a priori argument from referential opacity and an empirical argument from varieties of working memory. Second, the Prior-Lurz situational model based on state of affairs as opposed to propositions is introduced and defended with two significant modifications. With this model of primate beliefs we can make progress in understanding how other primates can have certain mindreading capacity.

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Max Skipper Griffiths

Abstract

According to Carruthers’ (2006) massive modularity (MM) thesis, the central systems of the mind are widely encapsulated and operate via heuristics and approximation techniques similar to those found in computer science. It follows from this, he claims, that widely encapsulated central systems are feasibly tractable. I argue that insofar as Carruthers uses this weakened definition of encapsulation, his thesis faces a dilemma: either is a misnomer (Prinz, 2006) and therefore unrecognisable as a version of MM, or it isn’t, and must put forward a convincing version of MM (Samuels, 2006). I claim that Carruthers’ commitment to this claim about central systems meets this challenge by adopting an understanding of central systems whose information-frugal and processing-frugal operations allow for feasible tractability. I conclude that the CWT provides a plausible and distinctive account of MM.

Open access

Genevieve Hayman

Abstract

The potential for mirror neuron research to explain various aspects of social cognition has received considerable attention over the past two decades. Initially, mirror neuron research may seem in accordance with a phenomenological understanding of intersubjectivity, but the work of Dan Zahavi will be used to highlight significant incompatibilities between the two. Likewise, the enactivists Thomas Fuchs and Hanne De Jaegher identify significant issues with current interpretations of mirror neuron research and provide an alternative description of intersubjectivity. This article will assess whether the enactivists are able to provide a more phenomenologically consistent alternative to mirror neuron research alone, eventually determining that their enactive account overcomes Zahavi’s incompatibilities. Consequently, Fuchs and De Jaegher should acknowledge their relation to Husserlian descriptions of empathy in their account, and mirror neuron research should be contextualised within a broader, phenomenologically-compatible framework, as that of the enactivists.

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