Category Archives: Articles and Book Chapters

“Ontology and Methodology in Analytic Philosophy” in Theories and Applications of Ontology Vol. 1 J. Seibt and R. Poli (eds.) New York: Springer. 349-394, 2010.

This is a highly incomplete sketch of the methodology and history of ontology in the analytic tradition from Frege to Lewis.  It appeared as Chapter 16 of  Theories and Applications of Ontology Vol. 1 J. Seibt and R. Poli (eds.) New York: Springer. 349-394, 2010. You can read a penultimate version here:  Ontology and Methodology in Analytic Philosophy

“Intuition and Philosophical Methodology” Axiomathes (2008) 18:67–89

Intuition serves a variety of roles in contemporary philosophy. This paper provides a historical discussion of the revival of intuition in the 1970s, untangling some of the ways that intuition has been used and offering some suggestions concerning its proper place in philosophical investigation. Contrary to some interpretations of the results of experimental philosophy, I argue that generalized skepticism with respect to intuition is unwarranted. Intuition can continue to play an important role as part of a methodologically conservative stance towards philosophical investigation. I argue that methodological conservatism should be sharply distinguished from the process of evaluating individual propositions. Nevertheless, intuition is not always a reliable guide to truth and experimental philosophy can serve a vital ameliorative role in determining the scope and limits of our intuitive competence with respect to various areas of inquiry. Please continue reading here: intuition and philosophical methodology

Computational Models of Emergent Properties in “Minds & Machines” (2008) 18:475–491

Computational models fail to shed light on general metaphysical questions concerning the nature of emergence. At the same time, they may provide plausible explanations of particular cases of emergence. This paper outlines the kinds of modest explanations to which computational models are suited. Read more here: Computational Models of Emergent Properties

‘A Computational Modeling Strategy for Levels’ Philosophy of Science 75, (2008) pp. 608-620

Rather than taking the ontological fundamentality of an ideal microphysics as a starting point, this article sketches an approach to the problem of levels that swaps assumptions about ontology for assumptions about inquiry. These assumptions can be implemented formally via computational modeling techniques that will be described below. It is argued that these models offer a way to save some of our prominent commonsense intuitions concerning levels. This strategy offers a way of exploring the individuation of higher level properties in a systematic and formally constrained manner.

Computational Modeling Strategy for Levels

“The Complexity of Information Processing Tasks in Vision.’” In Carlos Gershenson, Diederik Aerts, and Bruce Edmonds (eds.) “Philosophy and Complexity: Essays on Epistemology, Evolution, and Emergence.” Singapore: World Scientific 300-314, 2007

The basic presupposition of cognitive science is that mental life is more complicated (or complex) than it appears; there is more to memory, attention, perception and the like, than meets the inner eye.  In most mainstream cognitive science, the hidden workings of the mind are treated as information processing systems…Read more here: The Complexity of Information Processing Tasks in Vision

Towards a General Description of Physical Invariance in Category Theory (with Julio Urenda and Vladik Kreinovich) in “The Journal of Uncertain Systems” 2007, 1, pp.170-175

Invariance is one of the most important notions in applications of mathematics. It is one of the key concepts in modern physics, is a computational tool that helps in solving complex equations, etc. In view of its importance, it is desirable to come up with a definition of invariance which is as general as possible. In this paper, we describe how to formulate a general physically meaningful (e.g., unit-invariant) notion of physical invariance in categorial terms.

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Where’s the Bridge: Epistemology and Epistemic Logic (with Vincent Hendricks) in “Philosophical Studies” Vol. 128, No. 1 2006 pp. 137-167

 

Epistemic logic begins with the recognition that our everyday talk about knowing and believing has some systematic features that we can track and reflect upon. Epistemic logicians have studied and extended these glints of systematic structure in fascinating and important ways since the early 1960s. However, for one reason or another,mainstream epistemologists have shown little interest. It is striking to contrast the marginal role of epistemic logic in contemporary epistemology with the centrality of modal logic for metaphysicians. This article is intended to help in correcting this oversight by presenting some important developments in epistemic logic and suggesting ways to understand their applicability to traditional epistemological problems. Obviously, by itself, tweaking the formal apparatus of epistemic logic does not solve traditional epistemological problems. Epistemic logic can help us to navigate through problems in a systematic fashion by unpacking the logic of the problematic concepts, it can also lead us to recognize problems that we had not anticipated. This is basically analogous to the role that modal logic has played in contemporary metaphysics.

In the pages that follow, three prominent sets of connections between epistemic logic and traditional epistemology will be sketched. Epistemic logic permits formal consideration of the kind of strategies that are available to us in responding to skepticism. It permits a detailed grasp of the social and temporal character of inquiry and of course it allows us insight into the problem of defining the class of scenarios compatible with what someone knows…

Continue reading: Where’s the bridge Epistemology and Epistemic logic