Mind: Vol. 121, No. 482, April 2012.
Philosophers of mathematics have become increasingly interested in the explanatory role of mathematics in empirical science, in the context of new versions of the Quinean "Indispensability Argument" which employ inference to the best explanation for the existence of abstract mathematical objects. Little attention, however, has been paid to analyzing the nature of the explanatory relation involved in these mathematical explanations in science (MES). This paper attacks the only articulated account of MES in the literature (an account sketched by Mark Steiner), according to which a genuine MES incorporates an explanatory proof of the mathematical result being used. The central case study involves an explanation for why bees build the cells of their honeycombs in the shape of hexagons. The paper makes a distinction between two kinds of MES, mathematics-driven explanation in science and science-driven mathematical explanation, and argues that it is the second category which is both scientifically and philosophically more central. It concludes that the explanatory relation involved in MES is genuinely scientific and hence that the phenomenon of MES poses a challenge to general accounts of scientific explanation.
Hierarchies Ontological and Ideological, OYSTEIN LINNEBO and AGUSTIN RAYO
Godel claimed that Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory is "what becomes of the theory of types if certain superfluous restrictions are removed." The aim of this paper is to develop a clearer understanding of Godel's remark, and of the surrounding philosophical terrain. In connection with this, the paper discusses some technical issues concerning infinitary type theories and the program of developing the semantics for higher-order languages in other higher-order languages.
Knowing Without Evidence, ANDREW MOON
This paper presents counterexamples to the evidence thesis, the thesis that S knows that p at t only if S believes that p on the basis of evidence at t. In section one, the paper explains the evidence thesis and makes clear what a successful counterexample to the evidence thesis will look like. In section two, it shows that instances of nonoccurrent knowledge are counterexamples to the evidence thesis. At the end of the section, the article considers the primary thesis--that the evidence thesis is false--to be successfully defended. In the third section, the paper continues with consideration of three variations of the evidence thesis. The first variation restricts the evidence thesis to occurrent knowledge; the second requires for knowledge that one's belief could be based on evidence; and the third requires for knowledge that the belief was based on evidence at a suitable prior time. The secondary thesis of this paper is that these variations are also subject to serious objections.
Colour in a Physical World: A Problem Due to Visual Noise, JOHN MORRISON
This article develops a new problem for almost all realist theories of color. The problem involves fluctuations in our color experiences that are due to visual noise rather than changes in the objects we are looking at.
Desires and Normative Truths: A Holist's Response to the Sceptics, ROBERT H. MYERS
According to the practicality requirement, there could be truths about what people have reason to do only if people's motivating states could be, in an appropriate sense, either correct or incorrect. Yet according to the Humean theory of motivation, people's motivating states are a species of desire, and these desires are not a species of belief, being neither identical to nor entailed by them; and according to the standard view of desire, P's desire to f is, at bottom, a disposition to act in whatever ways he believes will increase his chances of f-ing. As there is no obvious sense in which such dispositions are aiming to get P's reasons right, they seem incapable of satisfying the practicality requirement, and skepticism about normative truths seems to follow. This paper argues, first, that this skeptical conclusion is best avoided, not by rejecting either the practicality requirement or the Humean theory of motivation, but rather by rejecting the standard view of desire, and second, that this is best done by endorsing a holistic view, according to which the contents of people's desires depend importantly, though not essentially, on the contents of their normative beliefs.
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|Title Annotation:||PHILOSOPHICAL ABSTRACTS|
|Publication:||The Review of Metaphysics|
|Article Type:||Periodical review|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2013|
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