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2016

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Articles 1 - 30 of 316

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Understanding Imperfection, Martin Zwick Dec 2016

Understanding Imperfection, Martin Zwick

Martin Zwick

Because of their inherent abstraction, systems ideas are not themselves sufficient for gaining scientific knowledge or solving practical problems, but they can be a source of insights into the universality of imperfection, insights which can contribute to a new scientific world view. Systems theory offers a metaphysics, or more precisely an ontology, of imperfection. Through it, we can heed Spinoza's injunction, “Not to lament, not to curse, but to understand.”


Complexity Theory & Political Change: Talcott Parsons Occupies Wall Street, Martin Zwick Dec 2016

Complexity Theory & Political Change: Talcott Parsons Occupies Wall Street, Martin Zwick

Martin Zwick

Complexity theory can assist our understanding of social systems and social phenomena. This paper illustrates this assertion by linking Talcott Parsons' model of societal structure to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Parsons' model is used to organize ideas about the underlying causes of the recession that currently afflicts the US. While being too abstract to depict the immediate factors that precipitated this crisis, the model is employed to articulate the argument that vulnerability to this type of event results from flaws in societal structure. This implies that such crises can be avoided only if, in Parsons' terms, structural change occurs ...


Systems Metaphysics: A Bridge From Science To Religion, Martin Zwick Dec 2016

Systems Metaphysics: A Bridge From Science To Religion, Martin Zwick

Martin Zwick

'Systems theory' is familiar to many as the scientific enterprise that includes the study of chaos, networks, and complex adaptive systems. It is less widely appreciated that the systems research program offers a world view that transcends the individual scientific disciplines. We do not live, as some argue, in a post-metaphysical age, but rather at a time when a new metaphysics is being constructed. This metaphysics is scientific and derives from graph theory, information theory, non-linear dynamics, decision theory, game theory, generalized evolution, and other transdisciplinary theories. These 'systems' theories focus on form and process, independent of materiality; they are ...


Information, Constraint, And Meaning, Martin Zwick Dec 2016

Information, Constraint, And Meaning, Martin Zwick

Martin Zwick

Despite the familiar and correct disclaimer that information theory (Shannon and Weaver, 1949) does not concern the semantic level of communication, the technical definition of information nonetheless bears directly and importantly on the subject of meaning. Meaning, at least in one sense of the word, is the recognition of constraint and is based on isomorphism of structure. Constraint reduces information yet information is also the very substrate of meaning. Meaning is thus the union of the informative and the intelligible (Moles, 1958), the reconciliation of this dialectical opposition being achievable in several different ways.


A Conversation On Theodicy, Martin Zwick Dec 2016

A Conversation On Theodicy, Martin Zwick

Martin Zwick

The following is a dialog, published in The Global Spiral, January 9, 2008, about the idea of a systems-theoretic 'secular theodicy,' discussed in the author's "Towards an Ontology of Problems," "Understanding lmperfection," and (exemplified in a preliminary way in) "Incompleteness, Negation, and Hazard: On the Precariousness of Systems." The dialog was inspired by Susan Neiman's Evil in Modem Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 2002.


Systems Theory And The Metaphysics Of Composition, Martin Zwick Dec 2016

Systems Theory And The Metaphysics Of Composition, Martin Zwick

Martin Zwick

Ideas from systems theory - recursive unity and emergent attributes - are applied to the metaphysical and meta-metaphysical debates about the ontological status of composites. These ideas suggest the rejection of both extremes of universalism and nihilism, favoring instead the intermediate position that some composites exist in a nontrivial sense - those having unity and emergent novelty - while others do not. Systems theory is egalitarian: it posits that what exist are systems, equal in their ontological status. Some systems are fundamental, but what exists is not merely the fundamental, and the fundamental is not merely the foundational. The status of composites raises non-trivial ...


Levels Of Altruism, Martin Zwick, Jeffrey Alan Fletcher Dec 2016

Levels Of Altruism, Martin Zwick, Jeffrey Alan Fletcher

Martin Zwick

The phenomenon of altruism extends from the biological realm to the human sociocultural realm. This paper sketches a coherent outline of multiple types of altruism of progressively increasing scope that span these two realms and are grounded in an ever-expanding sense of "self." Discussion of this framework notes difficulties associated with altruisms at different levels. It links scientific ideas about the evolution of cooperation and about hierarchical order to perennial philosophical and religious concerns. It offers a conceptual background for inquiry into societal challenges that call for altruistic behavior, especially the challenge of environmental and social sustainability.


Freedom As A Natural Phenomenon, Martin Zwick Dec 2016

Freedom As A Natural Phenomenon, Martin Zwick

Martin Zwick

"Freedom" is a phenomenon in the natural world. This phenomenon - and indirectly the question of free will - is explored using a variety of systems-theoretic ideas. It is argued that freedom can emerge only in systems that are partially detennined and partially random, and that freedom is a matter of degree. The paper considers types of freedom and their conditions of possibility in simple living systems and in complex living systems that have modeling (cognitive) subsystems. In simple living systems, types of freedom include independence from fixed materiality, internal rather than external detennination, activeness that is unblocked and holistic, and the ...


Is The Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception Of Nature False?, Martin Zwick Dec 2016

Is The Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception Of Nature False?, Martin Zwick

Martin Zwick

This paper assesses the main argument of Thomas Nagel's recent book, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. The paper agrees with Nagel that, as an approach to the relation between mind and matter and the mystery of subjective experience, neutral monism is more likely to be true than either materialism or idealism. It disagrees with Nagel by favoring a version of neutral monism based on emergence rather than on a reductive pan-psychism. However, the paper invokes a reductive view when applied to information (as opposed to psyche), and posits a hierarchy ...


Mind And Life: Is The Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception Of Nature False?, Martin Zwick Dec 2016

Mind And Life: Is The Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception Of Nature False?, Martin Zwick

Martin Zwick

A partial review of Thomas Nagel's book, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist NeoDarwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False is used to articulate some systems-theoretic ideas about the challenge of understanding subjective experience. The article accepts Nagel' s view that reductionist materialism fails as an approach to this challenge, but argues that seeking an explanation of mind based on emergence is more plausible than one based on panpsychism, which Nagel favors. However, the article proposes something similar to Nagel's neutral monism by positing a hierarchy of information processes that span the domains of matter, life, and ...


Freedom As A Natural Phenomenon, Martin Zwick Dec 2016

Freedom As A Natural Phenomenon, Martin Zwick

Martin Zwick

This phenomenon of "freedom" in the natural world - and indirectly the question of free will - is explored using systems-theoretic concepts that link the idea of freedom to ideas about autonomy and agency. The focus is on living systems in general, and on living systems that have cognitive subsystems more specifically. After touching on the relevance to freedom of determinism vs. randomness, the paper examines four types of freedom: (i) independence from fixed materiality, (ii) activeness that is unblocked and wholistic, (iii) internal rather than external determination, and (iv) regulation by an informational subsystem. These types of freedom are not all-or-nothing ...


Ser Y Objeto, Víctor Velarde-Mayol Dec 2016

Ser Y Objeto, Víctor Velarde-Mayol

Víctor Velarde-Mayol

Being and Object
1. The perspective of the object: what is an object, types of objects and types of beings. The difference between the theory of objects and metaphysics.
2. Content and Object. Different intentional acts in Brentano. Arguments for the distinction between object and content. Existence and persistence from the perspective of the object. The inexistent object.
3. The pure object.


The Research Skills Of Undergraduate Philosophy Majors: Teaching Information Literacy, Heidi Gauder, Fred W. Jenkins Dec 2016

The Research Skills Of Undergraduate Philosophy Majors: Teaching Information Literacy, Heidi Gauder, Fred W. Jenkins

Fred W Jenkins

This article presents a case study of how one school introduced a one-credit course for philosophy majors focused on effective searching for and critical evaluation of primary and secondary sources. The course curriculum is based on departmental learning outcomes and is also aligned with the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) standards.


Vulnerability And Children With Disabilities: Ethical Spheres Of Concern In Research And Practice, Chris Kliewer, Susan Etscheidt Dec 2016

Vulnerability And Children With Disabilities: Ethical Spheres Of Concern In Research And Practice, Chris Kliewer, Susan Etscheidt

Christopher Kliewer

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requires that research involving children, including highly vulnerable social categories of children, detail adequate provisions to solicit the assent of children (in addition to receiving parental permission). The purpose appears to recognize the autonomy of children. In this presentation, we raise questions about the autonomy and rights of children in both research projects and educational/therapeutic practices (often the focus of research projects). Commonly, justification for research and/or practices proceeds from two seemingly complementary orientations: (1) a deficit/deficiency model of disability and (2) a utilitarian ethical consideration focused on ...


The Ethiopian Conception Of Time And Modernity, Messay Kebede Nov 2016

The Ethiopian Conception Of Time And Modernity, Messay Kebede

Messay Kebede

If there is one thing that philosophers agree upon, it is that the meaning of time is a central philosophical question. If we take the Western world as an example, there is no famous philosopher who has not investigated time. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger, to indicate the centrality of time, writes: “all ontology is rooted in the phenomenon of time correctly viewed and correctly explained.”

Likewise, according to the French philosopher Henri Bergson, the main reason that philosophical questions are difficult is because “we do not think about real time.” The fact that the question of time is very ...


The Roots And Fallouts Of Haile Selassie's Educational Policy, Messay Kebede Nov 2016

The Roots And Fallouts Of Haile Selassie's Educational Policy, Messay Kebede

Messay Kebede

This paper attempts to assess the impacts of Haile Selassie’s educational policy on Ethiopia’s educated elite. It also inquires into the reasons the policy was adopted in the first place. The negative role that the Ethiopian educated elite has played during, and since, the overthrow of Haile Selassie’s regime provides the context of the inquiry. Admittedly, the continuous political crises and economic stagnation of Ethiopia since the 1974 Revolution point to the leading role played by Ethiopian educated elite. The paper raises the question of knowing whether the adoption of an education system that completely relied on ...


The Ethiopian Conception Of Time And Modernity: Amharic Version, Messay Kebede Nov 2016

The Ethiopian Conception Of Time And Modernity: Amharic Version, Messay Kebede

Messay Kebede

If there is one thing that philosophers agree upon, it is that the meaning of time is a central philosophical question. If we take the Western world as an example, there is no famous philosopher who has not investigated time. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger, to indicate the centrality of time, writes: “all ontology is rooted in the phenomenon of time correctly viewed and correctly explained.”

Likewise, according to the French philosopher Henri Bergson, the main reason that philosophical questions are difficult is because “we do not think about real time.” The fact that the question of time is very ...


Meaning And Development, Messay Kebede Nov 2016

Meaning And Development, Messay Kebede

Messay Kebede

This book is a learned yet passionate critique of alternative theories of development as addressed to traditional societies. It offers a forceful argument for sacrifice to be made in the name of moral faith. The metaphysical grounds and the scientific verification for such a faith are explored. An eloquent and original case for pursuing economic development in accordance with democracy and human dignity.


Two Types Of Wisdom, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

Two Types Of Wisdom, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

The concept of wisdom is largely ignored by contemporary philosophers. But given recent movements in the fields of ethics and epistemology, the time is ripe for a return to this concept. This article lays some groundwork for further philosophical work in ethics and epistemology on wisdom. Its focus is the distinction between practical wisdom and theoretical wisdom or between phronesis and sophia. Several accounts of this distinction are considered and rejected. A more plausible, but also considerably more complex, account is offered. The discussion sheds light on the relation between practical wisdom and theoretical wisdom, and on the positive character ...


Sophia: Theoretical Wisdom And Contemporary Epistemology, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

Sophia: Theoretical Wisdom And Contemporary Epistemology, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

No abstract provided.


Virtue Epistemology, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

Virtue Epistemology, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

No abstract provided.


Review Of Michael Depaul & Linda Zagzebski, Intellectual Virtue: Perspectives From Ethics And Epistemology, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

Review Of Michael Depaul & Linda Zagzebski, Intellectual Virtue: Perspectives From Ethics And Epistemology, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

No abstract provided.


The Four Dimensions Of An Intellectual Virtue, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

The Four Dimensions Of An Intellectual Virtue, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

No abstract provided.


The Structure Of Open-Mindedness, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

The Structure Of Open-Mindedness, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

No abstract provided.


The Cognitive Demands Of Intellectual Virtue, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

The Cognitive Demands Of Intellectual Virtue, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

No abstract provided.


Must Knowledge Be Virtuously Motivated?, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

Must Knowledge Be Virtuously Motivated?, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

No abstract provided.


Open-Mindedness As A Christian Virtue?, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

Open-Mindedness As A Christian Virtue?, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

No abstract provided.


On The Reliability Of Moral And Intellectual Virtues, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

On The Reliability Of Moral And Intellectual Virtues, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

No abstract provided.


Four Varieties Of Character-Based Virtue Epistemology, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

Four Varieties Of Character-Based Virtue Epistemology, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

The terrain of character-based or “responsibilist” virtue epistemology has evolved dramatically over the last decade — so much so that it is far from clear what, if anything, unifies the various views put forth in this area. In an attempt to bring some clarity to the overall thrust and structure of this movement, I develop a fourfold classification of character-based virtue epistemologies. I also offer a qualified assessment of each approach, defending a certain account of the probable future of this burgeoning subfield.


Educating For Intellectual Virtues: From Theory To Practice, Jason Baehr Nov 2016

Educating For Intellectual Virtues: From Theory To Practice, Jason Baehr

Jason Baehr

No abstract provided.