ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201906.0050.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: mind brain interaction, Avicenna, consciousness, cognition, incorporeity of mind, mind matter interaction
Online: 6 June 2019 (12:58:52 CEST)
Mind and brain/matter interaction is one of the important and controversial issues in Islamic philosophy. In fact, in the resources of Islamic philosophy, one of the basic parts of philosophical discussions is related to mind’s nature and its interaction with the brain. Especially, in Avicenna’s philosophy, there are many articles and books which have addressed the topic of mind and brain and the relation between them. Avicenna was a profound philosopher, an expert physicist and a proficient physician of his time. Because of his experimental proficiency in medicine and surgery and his deep philosophical analysis, his discussion about mind and brain is very interesting for our time, due to recent advances in neuroscience. In this article, we have explained one of Avicenna’s arguments (in his famous opus “al-Isharat”) about the incorporeity of mind (self), which is very close to modern neuroscience and physics literature. In addition, we explain his model of mind and brain interaction. Avicenna described the mechanism of the causal effect of mind on the brain via a third identity, which works as an interface between them (in his main book “al-Shifa”). We try to illustrate his model by the use of some examples, inspired from modern physics. Also, we explore the philosophical constraints which must be considered in any model of mind-matter interaction, within the Islamic philosophy framework. In fact, we propose a new understanding of Avicenna’s philosophy which is in agreement with modern physics and neuroscience.
Mon, 2 January 2017
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201701.0005.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: logical laws; normativity of logic; reasoning; thinking
Online: 2 January 2017 (11:12:15 CET)
In this paper it is examined how, if at all, logical laws can be normative for human reasoning, wherein the notion of normativity is analysed with respect to approaches to logic given in works of Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Frege and Wittgenstein. During the ancient and medieval period, logic was being considered in terms of discourse and dialogical practice, but since Descartes and especially Kant it has been treated as a system of laws with which the process of individual human reasoning has been compared. Therefore, normativity can be investigated in private sphere (for thinking and reasoning) and in public sphere (for dialogic practices in a community). Wittgenstein discussed both aspects of normativity: in Tractatus, a focus is on laws of logic that are primarily normative for the state of affairs in the world, while in Philosophical Investigations an emphasis is on a social aspect of normativity (which is closer to Aristotle’s view), which is derived from adopted rules that have been applied in a certain community. Taken that way, logic is certainly normative in the public sphere, but the more difficult issue is whether logic is normative for thinking, regarding to the difference between the logical laws and those of thought.
Fri, 8 November 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201911.0083.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: complexity; uncertainty; cognition; allostasis; homeostasis; free energy principle; active inference; environmental complexity thesis
Online: 8 November 2019 (03:50:08 CET)
What is the function of cognition? On one influential account, cognition evolved to co-ordinate behaviour with environmental change or complexity (Godfrey-Smith 1996). Liberal interpretations of this view ascribe cognition to an extraordinarily broad set of biological systems – even bacteria, which modulate their activity in response to salient external cues, would seem to qualify as cognitive agents. However, equating cognition with adaptive flexibility per se glosses over important distinctions in the way biological organisms deal with environmental complexity. Drawing on contemporary advances in theoretical biology and computational neuroscience, we cash these distinctions out in terms of the representation and resolution of different varieties of uncertainty. This analysis leads us to propose a formal criterion for delineating cognition from other, more pervasive forms of adaptive plasticity. On this view, biological cognition is rooted in a particular kind of functional organisation; namely, one that enables the agent to detach from the present and engage in counterfactual (active) inference.
Wed, 28 December 2016
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201612.0131.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: physicists, experimental set-up, drawings, spirituality, interaction
Online: 28 December 2016 (10:24:28 CET)
To understand the possibility of interaction between scientific experimenting and artistic drawing in the form of drawings made in notebooks, assumed is a common element, a spiritual property, and transference as a mechanism for causality. Scientists, scientific experiments and artistic drawings all have different merits. Here the concept ‘speaking out’ in its meaning of expressiveness is proposed to bridge these differences. Scientific action and artistic action cannot be compared directly. However, a common spiritual element will make the investigated object, experimental set-up and notebook drawings comparable in the sense of translations authorized by the physicist. They all then speak out from the same source. In this paper considered are recent drawings made by physicists during experimentation, in notebooks and diaries. Discussed is transferal causality between the physicist, the artistic drawing and all the relevant objects belonging to the experiment. Spiritual properties are introduced for the physicist being a person, and for the investigated object, the experimental set-up and the drawings as objects.
Sun, 10 November 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201911.0111.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: predictive brain; modularity of the mind; cognitive function; functional segregation
Online: 10 November 2019 (13:40:28 CET)
Modularity is arguably one of the most influential theses guiding research on brain and cognitive function since phrenology. This paper considers the following question: is modularity entailed by recent Bayesian models of brain and cognitive function, especially the predictive processing framework? It starts by considering three of the most well-articulated arguments for the view that modularity and predictive processing work well together. It argues that all three kinds of arguments for modularity come up short, albeit for different reasons. The analysis in this paper, although formulated in the context of predictive processing, speaks to broader issues with how to understand the relationship between functional segregation and integration and the reciprocal architecture of the predictive brain. These conclusions have implications for how to study brain and cognitive function. Specifically, when cognitive neuroscience works within an acyclic Markov decision scheme, adopted by most Bayesian models of brain and cognitive function, it may very well be methodologically misguided. This speaks to an increasing tendency within the cognitive neurosciences to emphasise recurrent and reciprocal neuronal processing captured within newly emerging dynamical causal modelling frameworks. The conclusions also suggest that functional integration is an organising principle of brain and cognitive function.
Fri, 29 September 2017
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201709.0147.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: history of psychology; humanism; reformation; metaphysics; empirical psychology
Online: 29 September 2017 (03:41:09 CEST)
Subjectivity has always been a part of philosophical speculations. However, Immanuel Kant is mentioned as the main figure to bring in subjectivity in modern philosophy by comparing the Critique of Pure Reason with the Copernican revolution. We might include Descartes as well, and not least the followers of Kant, like Fichte and Hegel. Yet none of these end up with subjectivity as the only premise for thinking, but rather combine it with objectivity. Hence, subjectivity has appeared as a stranger in philosophy and yet not fully accepted. In this paper, I try to pursue the aspect of subjectivity by not looking at philosophy, but rather at psychology. The appearance of the term can be dated back to 1520 when the Croatian humanist Marcus Marulus published the thesis entitled “Psychology, the Nature of the Soul”. This thesis is lost, but by pursuing the appearance of the term, four different movements seem to contribute with and highlight an aspect of subjectivity. One is Humanism, the other is Reformation, the third is a focus on the empirical aspects of science and the fourth is the dissemination of folk culture to academics and aristocracy by means of the art of printing. The finding, therefore, is that psychology is not to be regarded as a discipline that grows out of philosophy, but rather as a discipline that conflicts philosophy, but nevertheless intervenes it and makes it progress.
Mon, 8 July 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201907.0110.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: causality; deep learning; machine learning; counterfactual; explainable AI; blended cognition; mechanisms; system
Online: 8 July 2019 (08:10:29 CEST)
Causality is the most important topic in the history of Western Science, and since the beginning of the statistical paradigm, it meaning has been reconceptualized many times. Causality entered into the realm of multi-causal and statistical scenarios some centuries ago. Despite of widespread critics, today Deep Learning and Machine Learning advances are not weakening causality but are creating a new way of finding indirect factors correlations. This process makes possible us to talk about approximate causality, as well as about a situated causality.
Mon, 22 October 2018
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: irrationality; human senses; human mind; material continuity; existence
Online: 22 October 2018 (12:57:08 CEST)
It has been a challenge to visualize in nature some concepts from abstract subjects such as mathematics and philosophy. Irrationality is certainly among the least comprehensive. This essay aimed to propose that irrationality is simply an illusion resulting from the human inability to grasp the full nature of reality, rather than actual continuity flaws in the fabric of existence. There are three major arguments: (1) human senses have limitations and these are likely to be extended to the intellect, (2) there are no observable existential discontinuities in everyday experience, and (3) some rational phenomena have irrational components. These arguments point towards the existence of a physical existence of irrational quantities or distances, visible to the human eye but not fully comprehended through arithmetic abstraction.
Thu, 20 September 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201809.0403.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: philosophy; epistemology; empirio-criticism; neuroscience; brain
Online: 20 September 2018 (08:04:55 CEST)
The French-Swiss Professor in inductive philosophy Richard Avenarius (1843-1896), the father of empirio-criticism together with Ernst Mach, is one of the most underrated and misunderstood philosophers ever. It mostly depends upon his terminology, which displays an insurmountable difficulty. However, influenced by the most innovative proposals of his times of transition between the idealistic/rationalist legacies and the new Materialism/scientific interpretation of reality – i.e, by cultural evolutionism, linguistics, biomechanics, entropy/energy and, above all, by the newborn experimental psychology-, he produced a complete system of philosophy and innovative methods of investigation of the laws of knowledge. Hints (chunk, scrap, fragments) of his original ideas can be found not only in philosophers of mind after him - such as Gestalt, phenomenalism, behaviourism, functionalism and cybernetics, autopoiesis, dynamical systems theory, embedded/embodied mind, free-energy principle of the brain – but also in recent neuroscientific theories – nervous transduction, electric spikes, cracking of neural code, multisensory integration -. Our aim is to provide the first chronological English summary of his masterpiece, the “Kritik”, to give the possibility to the (almost) totally unaware English speakers to appreciate such a neglected and innovative thinker.
Sat, 29 February 2020
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: complexity; uncertainty; cognition; allostasis; homeostasis; free energy principle; active inference; environmental complexity thesis; adaptation; representation; interoception; biorhythms; life-mind continuity
Online: 29 February 2020 (12:33:12 CET)
What is the function of cognition? On one influential account, cognition evolved to co-ordinate behaviour with environmental change or complexity (Godfrey-Smith 1996). Liberal interpretations of this view ascribe cognition to an extraordinarily broad set of biological systems – even bacteria, which modulate their activity in response to salient external cues, would seem to qualify as cognitive agents. However, equating cognition with adaptive flexibility per se glosses over important distinctions in the way biological organisms deal with environmental complexity. Drawing on contemporary advances in theoretical biology and computational neuroscience, we cash these distinctions out in terms of different kinds of generative models, and the representational and uncertainty-resolving capacities they afford. This analysis leads us to propose a formal criterion for delineating cognition from other, more pervasive forms of adaptive plasticity. On this view, biological cognition is rooted in a particular kind of functional organisation; namely, that which enables the agent to detach from the present and engage in counterfactual (active) inference.
Fri, 2 August 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201908.0016.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: Wittgenstein; Derrida; meaning; hierarchy; deferral; learnability; teachability; différance; origin; identity; difference
Online: 2 August 2019 (05:30:26 CEST)
Meaning understood in terms of teachability and learnability is crucial to Wittgenstein’s later work. As regards the resolution of philosophical problems – and epistemological problems in particular - this approach seems to posit a hierarchy of meaning that excludes endless deferral. This is the basis of Wittgenstein’s attack on philosophical scepticism. Derrida’s approach to language seems to require both non-hierarchy and endless deferral. Consequently fundamental to his concept of origin is identity and difference simultaneously, irreducibly, non-simply. One question is whether it is possible for there to be a compromise between the two philosophers: a hierarchy of meaning that does not in principle exclude endless deferral.
Fri, 30 November 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0635.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: justice, fascism, Nazi, Gnosticism, power, ethics, will
Online: 30 November 2018 (15:49:55 CET)
To show that underlying Schmitt's account of fascist politics lies a Gnostic-like metaphysical dualism separating the realms of value and power. Contrary to the normative political tradition of the West, which defends an ethical politics, Schmitt - jurist and theorist of the Nazis - aligns himself with Machiavelli and Hobbes to defend realpolitik: where sovereignty is ultimately a function of the Dictator's will alone. This paper shows the contradiction within such a position, which criticizes values in politics but by its advocacy, and its defense of the Dictator's willing, relies on valuation, choice, and hence the ethical.
Fri, 11 October 2019
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: evo-devo; individuality; novelty; pregnancy; reproduction; transition
Online: 11 October 2019 (05:38:00 CEST)
The question of how to conceive of the relation between the pregnant female and the embryo has become a recent focus of debate in the philosophical literature. Here we consider this problem in the context of current debates on individuality in the philosophy of biology by looking at how pregnancy is individuated in different disciplinary contexts. Firstly, we review different notions of biological individuality in the literature, examine how each of them applies to the case of pregnancy, and claim that recent work on the evolution of eutherian reproduction offers insights for new criteria for rethinking the individuality of pregnancy. Then, we reconstruct the main assumptions underlying the established biological account of pregnancy. Finally, we develop an alternative account based on the hypothesis that pregnancy is an evolved relational novelty and maintain that pregnant females are conceived as historical reproductive individuals. In the final section before the conclusions, we discuss how the historical reproductive biological individuality of pregnancy differs from, and coexists with, other views of individuality, and examine some of its consequences.
Tue, 4 December 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0042.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: information theory; epistemology; Buddhism; worldviews; causality
Online: 4 December 2018 (03:13:08 CET)
Information theory has been developed for seventy years with technological applications that have transformed our societies. The increasing ability to store, transmit, and process information is having a revolutionary impact in most disciplines. The goal of this work is to compare the formal approach to information with Buddhist philosophy. Considering both approaches as compatible and complementary, I argue that information theory can improve our understanding of Buddhist philosophy and vice versa. The resulting synthesis leads to a worldview based on information that overcomes limitations of the currently dominating physics-based worldview.
Thu, 8 November 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0213.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: Quantum field theory, Quantum gravity, Causality, Unitarity, Fakeons, Quantization, Correspondence principle, Philosophy, Philosophy of science
Online: 8 November 2018 (11:52:55 CET)
We discuss the fate of the correspondence principle beyond quantum mechanics, specifically in quantum field theory and quantum gravity, in connection with the intrinsic limitations of the human ability to observe the external world. We conclude that the best correspondence principle is made of unitarity, locality, proper renormalizability (a refinement of strict renormalizability), combined with fundamental local symmetries and the requirement of having a finite number of fields. Quantum gravity is identified in an essentially unique way. The gauge interactions are uniquely identified in form. Instead, the matter sector remains basically unrestricted. The major prediction is the violation of causality at small distances.
Sun, 21 June 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0267.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: quality of care; Covid-19; relational caring; care ethics; practical wisdom; mismatch; humanness: solicitude: habitability
Online: 21 June 2020 (11:49:59 CEST)
The Covid-19 pandemic is a tragedy for those who have been hard hit worldwide. At the same time, it is also a test of concepts and practices of what good care is and requires, and how quality of care can be accounted for. In this paper we put our Care-Ethical Model of Quality (CEMQ) to the test. Instead of thinking about care in healthcare and social welfare as a set of separate care acts, we think about care as a complex practice of relational caring, crossed by other practices. Instead of thinking about professional caregivers as functionaries obeying external rules, we think about them as practically wise professionals. Instead of thinking about developing external quality criteria and systems, we think about cultivating (self-)reflective quality awareness. Instead of abstracting from societal forces that make care possible but also limit it, we acknowledge them and find ways to deal with them. Based on these critical insights, the CEMQ model can be helpful to describe, interrogate, evaluate, and improve existing care practices. It has four entries: (i) the care receiver considered from their humanness, (ii) the caregiver considered from their solicitude, (iii) the care facility considered from its habitability and (iv) the societal, institutional and scholarly context considered from the perspective of the good life, justice and decency. The crux is enabling all these different entries with all their different aspects to be taken into account. In Corona times this turns out to be more crucial than ever.
Fri, 8 June 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0143.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: induction; naturalism; evidence and justification; epistemic norms; induction and concept formation; induction and discovery of laws
Online: 8 June 2018 (16:24:17 CEST)
Epistemological naturalism dismisses the notion that epistemology is a basis for the empirical sciences. In particular, it rejects the demand for a general justification of induction. Making inductive generalisations is a basic habit among humans. There is no such thing as a logic of inductive inference. The role of induction in science is heuristic; it is our way of inventing new theoretical predicates and developing theories. We discover new laws by applying inductive thinking; but this is not any kind of inference which can be evaluated as more or less rational.
Sun, 29 September 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201909.0325.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: speciesism; intuition; evolutionary debunking arguments; experimental philosophy; species-egalitarianism; conservation; singer; williams; kagan; jacquet
Online: 29 September 2019 (06:07:31 CEST)
This article argues for five correctives to the current ethical debate about speciesism, and proposes normative, conceptual, methodological and experimental avenues to move this debate forward. Firstly, it clarifies the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests and points out limitations of its scope. Secondly, it disambiguates between ‘favouritist’ and ‘species-relative’ views about moral treatment. Thirdly, it argues that not all moral intuitions about speciesism should be given equal weight. Fourthly, it emphasizes the importance of empirical research to corroborate statements about ‘folk speciesism’. Fifthly, it disambiguates between the moral significance of species and the moral status of their individual members. For each of these issues, it is shown that they have either been overlooked, or been given inapt treatment, in recent contributions to the debate. Building on the correctives, new directions are proposed for ethical inquiry into the moral relevance of species and species membership.
Fri, 26 October 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0628.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: natural philosophy; philosophy of science; Jungian psychology; depth psychology; analytical psychology; phenomenological psychology; evolutionary psychology; active imagination; Aristotle’s four causes; aesthetics in science; philosophy as a way of life
Online: 26 October 2018 (11:30:46 CEST)
A revitalized practice of natural philosophy can help people to live a better life and promote a flourishing ecosystem. Such a philosophy is natural in two senses. First, it is natural by seeking to understand the whole of nature, including mental phenomena, In particular, a comprehensive natural philosophy should address the phenomena of sentience by embracing first- and second-person methods of investigation. Moreover, to expand our understanding of the world, natural philosophy should embrace a full panoply of explanations, similar to Aristotle’s four causes. Second, such a philosophy is natural by being grounded in human nature, taking full account of human capacities and limitations. Future natural philosophers should also make use of all human capacities, including emotion and intuition as well as reason and perception, to investigate nature. Finally, since the majority of our brain's activities are unconscious, natural philosophy should explore the unconscious mind with the aim of deepening our relation to the rest of nature and enhancing well-being.
Wed, 19 February 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202001.0363.v2
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: Materialist philosophy; State of nature; Hobbes; Kropotkin
Online: 19 February 2020 (11:50:14 CET)
A methodological similarity between Thomas Hobbes and Pëtr Kropotkin is the intention to spread a theoretical foundation to everyone, in the sense that they are willing to give to all the people a clear description of the reality and a subsequent political view. To do so, they use a scientific method, deductive (starting from empirical observations) in the case of Hobbes, inductive-deductive in the case of Kropotkin. Kropotkin underlines the educational value of the scientific method.In this work we want to highlight that, although they both start their argumentations from a materialist ontology, Hobbes and Kropotkin conjecture two completely different states of nature. Hobbes describes the state of nature through the two famous metaphors homo homini lupus (citing Plautus) and bellum omnium contra omnes, while Kropotkin introduced the theory of mutual aid. Both the theory of a state of war by Hobbes and the theory of mutual aid by Kropotkin have been revolutionary. Hobbes has been influenced by the scientific revolution initiated by Francis Bacon, one of his mentors, and Galileo Galilei, together with a criticism towards the ancient Greece philosophers, in particular Aristotle. Kropotkin has been influenced by the ground-breaking writings of Charles Darwin together with a very fruitful Russian scientific environment.We want to stress here that the disenchanted view of the human nature in Hobbes, a state of war due to the fact that everyone has rights on everything, helps him to legitimate sovereignty, while the positive view of human nature in Kropotkin, a spontaneous mutual aid among people in a community, helps him to legitimate anarchy. Therefore, the fascinating scientific methods of the two materialists Hobbes and Kropotkin to structure a solid political theory cannot neglect different views on human nature due to their historical contexts.
Thu, 30 January 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202001.0363.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: Materialist philosophy; State of nature; Hobbes; Kropotkin
Online: 30 January 2020 (11:38:32 CET)
A methodological similarity between Thomas Hobbes and Pëtr Kropotkin is the intention to spread a theoretical foundation to everyone, in the sense that they are willing to give to all the people a clear description of the reality and a subsequent political view. To do so, they use a scientific method, deductive (starting from empirical observations) in the case of Hobbes, inductive-deductive in the case of Kropotkin. Kropotkin underlines the educational value of the scientific method.In this work we want to highlight that, although they both start their argumentations from a materialist ontology, Hobbes and Kropotkin conjecture two completely different states of nature. Hobbes describes the state of nature through the two famous metaphors homo homini lupus (citing Plautus) and bellum omnium contra omnes, while Kropotkin introduced the theory of mutual aid. Both the theory of a state of war by Hobbes and the theory of mutual aid by Kropotkin have been revolutionary. Hobbes has been influenced by the scientific revolution initiated by one of his mentors, Francis Bacon, together with a criticism towards the ancient Greece philosophers, in particular Aristotle. Kropotkin has been influenced by the ground-breaking writings of Charles Darwin together with a very fruitful Russian scientific environment.We want to stress here that the disenchanted view of the human nature in Hobbes, a state of war due to the fact that everyone has rights on everything, helps him to legitimate sovereignty, while the positive view of human nature in Kropotkin, a spontaneous mutual aid among people in a community, helps him to legitimate anarchy. Therefore, the fascinating scientific methods of the two materialists Hobbes and Kropotkin to structure a solid political theory cannot neglect different views on human nature due to their historical contexts.
Tue, 7 May 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0070.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: right to try; innovation in medicine; innovative care; innovative practice; distinction between research and practice
Online: 7 May 2019 (05:02:54 CEST)
The activity of innovative practice relates to seizing opportunities now for patients in desperate situations and the ethical dilemmas around it. Sadly, the term innovation has multiple meanings, adding confusion and misunderstanding to an already difficult debate. This paper aims to enhance the definition of innovative practice in two ways. Fist, we propose to curb ambiguity by replacing the term "innovative practice" with the more precise of "new non-validated practice" and by distinguishing the specific meaning of innovation at stake. To identify this meaning, we analyse the traditional research ethics’ distinction between research, validated practice, and innovation. Second, we propose the following unified definition of "new non-validated practice", that is, the first or recent use of diagnostic, therapeutic or preventive interventions that introduce a significant change (new); with an insufficient level of evidence of safety or efficacy for regular healthcare (non-validated); and with the main aim to benefit patients (practice). To avoid objections to our definition, we analyse its three core elements (significant novelty, insufficient validation for, and patients' best interests) and we present a 2D classification of medical practice that follows from our definition. If sound, our enhanced definition of "new non-validated practice" allows comparing exceptional activities in different fields of medicine that previously have been considered unconnected (e.g. compassionate use of investigational drugs, humanitarian uses of devices, novel off-label uses, etc.). In turn, it also provides a promising conceptual tool to inform empirical research, discuss responsible access to innovative care and evaluate the regulation of innovative practice (e.g. right-to-try laws).
Wed, 24 October 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0560.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: natural philosophy; cosmology; emptiness; vacuum; void; dark energy; space flight; exoplanet; big freeze; big crunch; everyday lifeworld
Online: 24 October 2018 (09:27:57 CEST)
The cosmological relevance of emptiness—that is, space without bodies—is not yet sufficiently appreciated in natural philosophy. This paper addresses two aspects of cosmic emptiness from the perspective of natural philosophy: the distances to the stars in the closer cosmic environment and the expansion of space as a result of the accelerated expansion of the universe. Both aspects will be discussed from both a historical and a systematic perspective. Emptiness can be interpreted as “coming” in a two-fold sense: Whereas in the past knowledge of emptiness as it were came to human beings, in the future it is coming insofar as its relevance in the cosmos will increase.The longer and more closely emptiness was studied since the beginning of modernity, the larger became the spaces over which it was found to extend. From a systematic perspective, I will show with regard to the closer cosmic environment that the earth may be separated from the perhaps habitable planets of other stars by an emptiness that is inimical to life and cannot be traversed by humans. This assumption is a result of the discussion of the constraints and possibilities of interstellar space travel as defined by the known natural laws and technical means. With the accelerated expansion of the universe, the distances to other galaxies (outside of the so-called local group) are increasing. According to the current standard model of cosmology and assuming that the acceleration will remain constant, in the distant future this expansion will lead first to a substantial change in the epistemic conditions of cosmological knowledge and finally to the completion of the cosmic emptiness and of its relevance, respectively. Imagining the postulated completely empty last state leads human thought to the very limits of what is conceivable.
Thu, 20 December 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0054.v2
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: philosophy of information; organised complexity; Kolmogorov complexity; logical depth; ethics of information; computational ethics; infoethics; machine ethics; computational complexity
Online: 20 December 2018 (05:34:55 CET)
I review previous attempts, including recent ones, to introduce technical aspects of digital information and computation into the discussion of ethics. I survey some limitations and advantages of these attempts to produce guiding principles at different scales. In particular, I briefly introduce and discuss questions, approaches, challenges, and limitations based on, or related to, simulation, information theory, integrated information, computer simulation, intractability, algorithmic complexity, and measures of computational organisation and sophistication. I discuss and propose a set of features that ethical frameworks must possess in order to be considered well-grounded, both in theoretical and methodological terms. I will show that while global ethical frameworks that are uncomputable are desirable because they provide non-teleological direction and open-ended meaning, constrained versions should be able to provide guidelines at more local and immediate time scales. In connection to the ethics of artificial intelligence, one point that must be underscored about computational approaches is that (General) AI should only embrace an ethical framework that we humans are willing to adopt. I think that such a framework is possible, taking the form of a general and universal (in the sense of computation) framework built from first computational principles.
Thu, 5 March 2020
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0072.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: consciousness; mental monism; idealism; automata; cellular automata
Online: 5 March 2020 (02:21:55 CET)
Models of consciousness are usually developed within physical monist or dualistic frameworks, in which the structure and dynamics of the mind derive from the workings of the physical world (in particular, the brain). Little attention has been given to modeling within a mental monist framework, deriving the structure and dynamics of the mental world from primitive mental constituents only. Mental monism is gaining attention as a candidate solution to Chalmers’ Hard Problem, and it is therefore timely to examine possible formal models of consciousness within it. Here, we propose a minimal set of hypotheses that any credible model of consciousness (within mental monism) should respect. From those hypotheses, it is feasible to construct many formal models that permit universal computation in the mental world, through cellular automata. We need further hypotheses to define transition rules for particular models, and we propose a transition rule with the unusual property of deep copying in the time dimension. In conclusion, we hope to dispel the notion that mental monism requires a deus ex machina, by showing that a parsimonious set of assumptions can yield a naturalistic and computationally potent mental world.
Fri, 4 September 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0098.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: Consciousness; Mind; Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics; Causality; Evolution
Online: 4 September 2020 (11:11:07 CEST)
We propose a novel interpretation of consciousness and an enlarged definition of locality, which provide a solution to the problem of the consistency of measurements in quantum mechanics: consciousness is a characteristics of the Universe as a whole. Besides its physical consequences, this interpretation has also moral implications: individuality comes out naturally to be just an accident functional to evolution which shaped past and present history through competition, and realizing this fact should enforce cooperation.
Tue, 29 October 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0070.v2
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: right to try; innovation in medicine; innovative care; innovative practice; distinction between research and practice
Online: 29 October 2019 (17:04:12 CET)
A significant part of the literature on innovative practice in medicine relates to seizing opportunities and curbing harms for patients in desperate situations. Unfortunately, the term innovation has multiple meanings and a rich rhetorical flourish that adds confusion and misunderstanding to an already difficult debate. This paper aims to enhance the current definition of innovative practice for medicine. First, we replace the term innovation with the more literal of new non-validated practice. To identify this meaning, we analyse the traditional research ethics’ distinction between research, validated practice, and innovation in the Belmont Report. Second, we propose the following explicit definition of new non-validated practice: the first or recent use of diagnostic, therapeutic or preventive interventions that introduce a significant change, with an insufficient level of evidence of safety or efficacy for regular healthcare, and with the main aim to benefit individual patients. This definition is a promising conceptual tool to inform empirical research, ethicists, and the harmonization of its regulation and legislation (e.g. right-to-try laws).
Thu, 6 December 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0076.v1
Online: 6 December 2018 (06:35:01 CET)
An examination of Emmanuel Levinas’ writings on money reveals his distance from—and indebtedness to—a philosophical predecessor, Georg Simmel. Levinas and Simmel share a phenomenological approach to analyses of the proximity of the stranger, the importance of the face, and the interruption of the dyadic relationship by the third. Money is closely linked to the conception of totality because money is the medium that compares heterogeneous values. Levinas goes beyond Simmel in positing an ethical relation to money permitting transcendence.
Fri, 2 November 2018
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0054.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: philosophy of information; organised complexity; Kolmogorov complexity; logical depth; ethics of information; computational ethics; in- foethics; machine ethics; computational complexity
Online: 2 November 2018 (11:16:09 CET)
I explore previous attempts, including recent ones, to introduce aspects of digital information and computation into the discussion of ethical frameworks. I study some limitations and advantages of previous attempts to produce guiding principles at different scales. In particular, I survey and discuss questions and approaches based on, or related to, simulation, information theory, integrated information, computer simulation, intractability, algorithmic complexity, and measures of computational organisation and sophistication. I discuss and propose a set of desirable features of ethical frameworks that may be considered well-grounded, both in theoretical and methodological terms. I will show that while global ethi- cal frameworks that are uncomputable are desirable because they provide non-teleological directions with open-ended meaning, constrained versions should be able to provide guidelines at more local and immediate time scales. In connection to the ethics of artificial intelligence, one point that must be underscored in relation to computational approaches is that (General) AI should only share and embrace an ethical framework that we humans are willing to adopt, preempting the need for possibly flawed distinctions between human and machine actions, especially in connection to concerns of a much more fundamental nature than the classical issues raised by AI development such as job displacement and legal liability. I think that such framework is possible by following a general and universal (in the sense of computation) framework from first computational principles.
Wed, 6 March 2019
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201903.0074.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: thought experiments, framework assumptions, Jonathan Swift, Newtonian Physics, Tamudic law of lost property, Talmudic laws of Damages, profanation of God's Name
Online: 6 March 2019 (11:01:18 CET)
The paper presents Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels as the first attempt to claim that thought experiments, namely the close analysis of contrived counterfactual scenarios, are the only way we challenge normative framework assumptions and learn anything significantly new in and outside science. The standard epistemologies of his day – Baconian empiricism and Cartesian rationalism –fiercely ridiculed in the course of Gulliver's third voyage, are cruelly dismissed as powerless to advance knowledge, and keep it in normative check. The transformative effect of the clever thought experiments presented in the three other voyages (of imagining London shrunk to a twelfth of its size and enlarged to giant proportions, and a more responsible and intelligent race of beings inserted above (normally sized) humans) enable Swift to obtain critical normative distance from several major assumptions about politics, religion, aesthetics, ethics, and much more, including the limits of the thought experiment itself. In the second part of the paper, the impressivre use to which the Talmudic literature puts such imagined counterfactual scenarios, is examined, with special reference to ethics and law.
Mon, 23 December 2019
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: Determinism; Uncertainty principle; Quantum mechanics; Chance
Online: 23 December 2019 (12:14:01 CET)
We define life as the amplification of quantum uncertainty up to macroscopic scales. A living being is any amplifier that achieves this goal. We argue that everything we know about life can be explained from this idea. We study a ladder mechanism to estimate the probability that the amplification occurs spontaneously in nature. The amplification mechanism is so sensitive to small variations of its own parameters that it acts as a bifurcation itself, i.e. it implies that the universe is either everywhere dead or alive wherever possible. Since the first option is excluded by the existence of life on earth, we infer that the universe hosts a huge number of inhabited planets (possibly one per star on average). We also investigate models of conscious and unconscious learning processes, as well as the structure of the brain and evolution. Finally, we address the problem of creating artificial life.
Wed, 15 July 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0316.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: JTB account of knowledge; Gettier problems; contextualization of belief and knowledge; epistemic and non-epistemic dimensions of law
Online: 15 July 2020 (05:43:24 CEST)
Echoing the long-held JTB account of knowledge, according to which knowledge can be conceptually analyzed as justified true belief, Backes (2019) argues that our epistemic aim is to believe truly or accurately and emphasizes on that “a belief is justified iff it is highly probable”. We maintain that this line of reasoning is deficient, in terms of epistemic concerns and non-epistemic concerns of interest for both philosophy and legal theory. Specifically, in this short paper, we argue for the ineffectiveness of the aforementioned Backes’ view to meet the challenges posed by the ongoing rapid techno-scientific transformation of our contemporary societies and ways-of life.
Thu, 13 August 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0303.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: classical extensional mereology; summative mereology; mereology of quantum chemical systems; mereology of chemical wholes; behavioral mereology
Online: 13 August 2020 (11:28:55 CEST)
This paper examines whether classical extensional mereology is adequate for formalizing the whole-parts relation in quantum chemical systems. Although other philosophers have argued that classical extensional and summative mereology does not adequately formalize whole-parts relation within organic wholes and social wholes, such critiques often assume that summative mereology is appropriate for formalizing the whole-parts relation in inorganic wholes such as atoms and molecules. However, my discussion of atoms and molecules as they are conceptualized in quantum chemistry will establish that standard mereology cannot adequately fulfill this task, since the properties and behavior of such wholes are context-dependent and cannot simply be reduced to the summative properties of their parts. To the extent that philosophers of chemistry have called for the development of an alternative mereology for quantum chemical systems, this paper ends by proposing behavioral mereology as a promising step in that direction. According to behavioral mereology, considerations of what constitutes a part of a whole is dependent upon the observable behavior displayed by these entities. Thus, relationality and context-dependence are stipulated from the outset and this makes behavioral mereology particularly well-suited as a mereology of quantum chemical wholes. The question of which mereology is appropriate for formalizing the whole-parts relation in quantum chemical systems is relevant to contemporary philosophy of chemistry, since this issue is related to the more general question of the reducibility of chemical wholes to their parts and of the reducibility of chemistry to physics, which have been of central importance within the philosophy of chemistry for several decades. More generally, this paper puts contemporary discussions of mereology within the philosophy of chemistry into a broader historical and philosophical context. In doing so, this paper also bridges the gap between formal mereology, conceived as a branch of formal ontology, and ‘applied’ mereology, conceived as a branch of philosophy of science.
Tue, 5 May 2020
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0074.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: VR; aging effect; gender difference; control device; wayfinding strategy
Online: 5 May 2020 (11:32:12 CEST)
The application of Virtual Reality in a driving simulation is not novel, yet little is known about the use of this technology by senior populations. The effects of age, sex, control device (joystick or handlebar), and task type on wayfinding proficiency using a virtual reality (VR) driving simulation were explored. The driving experimental model involved 96 randomly recruited participants, including 48 young people and 48 seniors (split evenly by gender in each group). The experimental results and statistical analyses indicate that in a VR driving scenario task type significantly affected VR driving performance. Navigational scores were significantly higher for the straight (easy) task than for the curved (difficult) task. The aging effect was the main reason for significant and interacting effects of sex and control device. It was found that interactions between age and sex difference indicated that the young group exhibited better wayfinding performance than the senior group, and in the young group males had better performance than females. Similarly, interactions between age and control device indicated that the handlebar control device type resulted in better performance than the joystick device in the young group, but no difference was found in the senior group due to age or learning effects. Findings provide an understanding of the evaluation of the interface designs of navigational support systems, taking into consideration any effects of age, sex, control device, and task type within three-dimensional VR games and driving systems. With a VR driving simulator, seniors can test drive inaccessible products, such as electric bicycles or cars, using a computer at home.
Mon, 19 April 2021
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0473.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: 1.globalization, 2. participative democracy, 3. deliberative democracy, 4. Collective decision-making, 5. human nature
Online: 19 April 2021 (12:14:03 CEST)
We live in the time of profound transformations commonly labelled with the word “globalization”. The rise of one ecological-technological-social system encompassing our whole planet is an important element of these processes. Solving big global problems demands knowledge of two complementary sorts: on the one hand – going “in depth”, on the other – going “in breadth”. The present paper assumes the second (in a sense: philosophical) perspective. It tries to analyze some relations between the development of technology (IT) and the development of democracy. The notion of democracy, its various forms and axiological reasons for it are considered first. In the subsequent chapter different consequences (both positive and negative) the IT development has for contemporary democracy are discussed. In the next chapter the evolutionary nature of the technological development is debated as well as the question of (democratic) control of this process. The development of Artificial General Intelligence is presented as a challenge for democracy
Mon, 23 August 2021
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: Knighthood; international law; Canon Law; order of knighthood; Ramon Lull; Leon Gautier; Bushido
Online: 23 August 2021 (10:59:00 CEST)
Chivalry is a concept that is both familiar and distant to many Japanese. There is no other social class in the world that resembles knights as much as the samurai in Japan. However, why is it that there is such a gap between knights and warriors, even though they are both warriors with the same social status and honor? This paper reviews the legal debates on the deposed sovereigns’ rights have emerged since 20th century. Among them, the right to appoint knights by heads of deposed royal families is one of the focal points. The author begins with a comprehensive review of legal debates on the subject. Six principles on the appointment are extracted from the review. Then, a comparison between chivalry and Bushido, the Japanese Samurai code, was carried out.
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