Matching Items (16)

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Is interactive computation a superset of Turing computation?

Description

Modern computers interact with the external environment in complex ways — for instance, they interact with human users via keyboards, mouses, monitors, etc., and with other computers via networking. Existing

Modern computers interact with the external environment in complex ways — for instance, they interact with human users via keyboards, mouses, monitors, etc., and with other computers via networking. Existing models of computation — Turing machines, λ-calculus functions, etc. — cannot model these behaviors completely. Some additional conceptual apparatus is required in order to model processes of interactive computation.

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  • 2013-05

Carnap and Conventionality

Description

One of the central ideas in Rudolf Carnap's philosophy is that of convention. For Carnap, conventionality holds as long as there is some latitude of choice for which theoretical reasoning

One of the central ideas in Rudolf Carnap's philosophy is that of convention. For Carnap, conventionality holds as long as there is some latitude of choice for which theoretical reasoning (correctness vs. incorrectness with regard to the facts) is insufficient and practical reasoning is needed to decide between the alternatives. Carnap uses this understanding of convention to show how one can circumvent the problem of justification for areas such as physical geometry and logic, and he also uses it to propose a new paradigm for philosophy, namely his proposal of the Principle of Tolerance. I maintain that such an understanding of conventionality is helpful and that it ought to be more widely adopted. I also believe that it would be difficult to apply this understanding of conventionality to the realm of religion, but it can be easily and helpfully applied to the realm of politics.

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  • 2016-05

Perspectives on Inductive Inference

Description

There is no doubt that inductive logic and inductive arguments are vital to the formation of scientific theories. This thesis questions the use of inductive inferences within the sciences. Specifically,

There is no doubt that inductive logic and inductive arguments are vital to the formation of scientific theories. This thesis questions the use of inductive inferences within the sciences. Specifically, it will examine various perspectives on David Hume's famed "problem of induction". Hume proposes that inductive inferences cannot be logically justified. Here we will explore several assessments of Hume's ideas and inductive logic in general. We will examine the views of philosophers and logicians: Karl Popper, Nelson Goodman, Larry Laudan, and Wesley Salmon. By comparing the radically different views of these philosophers it is possible to gain insight into the complex nature of making inductive inferences. First, Popper agrees with Hume that inductive inferences can never be logically justified. He maintains that the only way around the problem of induction is to rid science of inductive logic altogether. Goodman, on the other hand, believes induction can be justified in much the same way as deduction is justified. Goodman sets up a logical schema in which the rules of induction justify the particular inductive inferences. These general rules are then in turn justified by correct inferences. In this way, Goodman sets up an explication of inductive logic. Laudan and Salmon go on to provide more specific details about how the particular rules of induction should be constructed. Though both Laudan and Salmon are completing the logic schema of Goodman, their approaches are quite different. Laudan takes a more qualitative approach while Salmon uses the quantitative rules of probability to explicate induction. In the end, it can be concluded that it seems quite possible to justify inductive inferences, though there may be more than one possible set of rules of induction.

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  • 2016-05

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The Genesis Mechanism: an explorative undertaking across academic disciplines in the effort to synthesize a more comprehensive understanding of complexity and the role it has served in the gensis of life

Description

The field of biologic research is particularly concerned with understanding nature's complex dynamics. From deducing anatomical structures to studying behavioral patterns, evolutionary theory has developed greatly beyond the simple notions

The field of biologic research is particularly concerned with understanding nature's complex dynamics. From deducing anatomical structures to studying behavioral patterns, evolutionary theory has developed greatly beyond the simple notions proposed by Charles Darwin. However, because it rarely considers the concept of complexity, modern evolutionary theory retains some descriptive weakness. This project represents an explorative approach for considering complexity and whether it plays an active role in the development of biotic systems. A novel theoretical framework, titled the Genesis Mechanism, was formulated reconsidering the major tenets of evolutionary theory to include complexity as a universal tendency. Within this framework, a phenomenon, referred to as "social transitioning," occurs between higher orders of complexity. Several potential properties of social transitions were proposed and analyzed in order to validate the theoretical concepts proposed within the Genesis Mechanism. The successful results obtained through this project's completion help demonstrate the scientific necessity for understanding complexity from a more fundamental, biologic standpoint.

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  • 2013-05

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Problem Class Dominance in Predictive Dilemmas

Description

One decision procedure dominates a given one if it performs well on the entire class of problems the given decision procedure performs well on, and then goes on to perform

One decision procedure dominates a given one if it performs well on the entire class of problems the given decision procedure performs well on, and then goes on to perform well on other problems that the given decision procedure does badly on. Performing well will be defined as generating higher expected utility before entering a problem. In this paper it will be argued that the timeless decision procedure dominates the causal
and evidential decision procedures. It will also be argued in turn that the updateless decision procedure dominates the timeless decision procedure. The difficulties of formalizing a modern variant of the ”smoking gene” problem will then be briefly examined.

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  • 2014-05

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Cornering the truth: a defense of scientific realism

Description

This is a study of scientific realism, and of the extent to which it is undermined by objections that have been raised by advocates of various forms of antirealism. I

This is a study of scientific realism, and of the extent to which it is undermined by objections that have been raised by advocates of various forms of antirealism. I seek to develop and present a version of scientific realism that improves on past formulations, and then to show that standard antirealist arguments against it do not succeed. In this paper, I will first present my formulation of scientific realism, which conceives of theories as model-based and as fundamentally non-linguistic. I advocate an epistemic position that accords with indirect realism, and I review and assess the threat posed by theses of underdetermination. Next, I review and discuss three important views: the antirealist constructivist view of Thomas Kuhn, the realist view of Norwood Hanson, and the antirealist constructive empiricist view of Bas van Fraassen. I find merits and flaws in all three views. In the course of those discussions, I develop the theme that antirealists' arguments generally depend on assumptions that are open to question, especially from the perspective of the version of realism I advocate. I further argue that these antirealist views are undermined by their own tacit appeals to realism.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Three perspectives on multilevel selection: an experimental, historical, and synthetic analysis of group-level selection

Description

During the 1960s, the long-standing idea that traits or behaviors could be

explained by natural selection acting on traits that persisted "for the good of the group" prompted a series of

During the 1960s, the long-standing idea that traits or behaviors could be

explained by natural selection acting on traits that persisted "for the good of the group" prompted a series of debates about group-level selection and the effectiveness with which natural selection could act at or across multiple levels of biological organization. For some this topic remains contentious, while others consider the debate settled, even while disagreeing about when and how resolution occurred, raising the question: "Why have these debates continued?"

Here I explore the biology, history, and philosophy of the possibility of natural selection operating at levels of biological organization other than the organism by focusing on debates about group-level selection that have occurred since the 1960s. In particular, I use experimental, historical, and synthetic methods to review how the debates have changed, and whether different uses of the same words and concepts can lead to different interpretations of the same experimental data.

I begin with the results of a group-selection experiment I conducted using the parasitoid wasp Nasonia, and discuss how the interpretation depends on how one conceives of and defines a "group." Then I review the history of the group selection controversy and argue that this history is best interpreted as multiple, interrelated debates rather than a single continuous debate. Furthermore, I show how the aspects of these debates that have changed the most are related to theoretical content and empirical data, while disputes related to methods remain largely unchanged. Synthesizing this material, I distinguish four different "approaches" to the study of multilevel selection based on the questions and methods used by researchers, and I use the results of the Nasonia experiment to discuss how each approach can lead to different interpretations of the same experimental data. I argue that this realization can help to explain why debates about group and multilevel selection have persisted for nearly sixty years. Finally, the conclusions of this dissertation apply beyond evolutionary biology by providing an illustration of how key concepts can change over time, and how failing to appreciate this fact can lead to ongoing controversy within a scientific field.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Slaves of the defunct: the epistemic intractability of the Hayek-Keynes debate

Description

The present essay addresses the epistemic difficulties involved in achieving consensus with respect to the Hayek-Keynes debate. In particular, it is argued that the debate cannot be settled on the

The present essay addresses the epistemic difficulties involved in achieving consensus with respect to the Hayek-Keynes debate. In particular, it is argued that the debate cannot be settled on the basis of the observable evidence; or, more precisely, that the empirical implications of the theories of Hayek and Keynes are such that, regardless of what is observed, both of the theories can be interpreted as true, or at least, not falsified. Regardless of the evidence, both Hayek and Keynes can be interpreted as right. The underdetermination of theories by evidence is an old and ubiquitous problem in science. The present essay makes explicit the respects in which the empirical evidence underdetermines the choice between the theories of Hayek and Keynes. In particular, it is argued both that there are convenient responses one can offer that protect each theory from what appears to be threatening evidence (i.e., that the choice between the two theories is underdetermined in the holist sense) and that, for particular kinds of evidence, the two theories are empirically equivalent (i.e., with respect to certain kinds of evidence, the choice between the two theories is underdetermined in the contrastive sense).

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Date Created
  • 2012

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The Aims and Structures of Research Projects That Use Gene Regulatory Information with Evolutionary Genetic Models

Description

At the interface of developmental biology and evolutionary biology, the very

criteria of scientific knowledge are up for grabs. A central issue is the status of evolutionary genetics models, which some

At the interface of developmental biology and evolutionary biology, the very

criteria of scientific knowledge are up for grabs. A central issue is the status of evolutionary genetics models, which some argue cannot coherently be used with complex gene regulatory network (GRN) models to explain the same evolutionary phenomena. Despite those claims, many researchers use evolutionary genetics models jointly with GRN models to study evolutionary phenomena.

How do those researchers deploy those two kinds of models so that they are consistent and compatible with each other? To address that question, this dissertation closely examines, dissects, and compares two recent research projects in which researchers jointly use the two kinds of models. To identify, select, reconstruct, describe, and compare those cases, I use methods from the empirical social sciences, such as digital corpus analysis, content analysis, and structured case analysis.

From those analyses, I infer three primary conclusions about projects of the kind studied. First, they employ an implicit concept of gene that enables the joint use of both kinds of models. Second, they pursue more epistemic aims besides mechanistic explanation of phenomena. Third, they don’t work to create and export broad synthesized theories. Rather, they focus on phenomena too complex to be understood by a common general theory, they distinguish parts of the phenomena, and they apply models from different theories to the different parts. For such projects, seemingly incompatible models are synthesized largely through mediated representations of complex phenomena.

The dissertation closes by proposing how developmental evolution, a field traditionally focused on macroevolution, might fruitfully expand its research agenda to include projects that study microevolution.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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A consequentialist model for just social contracts

Description

The paper reviews some of the models of consequentialist justice, the nature of social contracts, and the social coordination of behaviors through social norms.

The challenge with actualizing justice

The paper reviews some of the models of consequentialist justice, the nature of social contracts, and the social coordination of behaviors through social norms.

The challenge with actualizing justice in many contemporary societies is the broad and often conflicting individual beliefs on rights and responsibilities that each member of a society maintains to describe the opportunities and compensations they attribute to themselves and others. This obscurity is compounded through a lack of academic or political alignment on the definition and tenets of justice.

The result of the deficiency of commonality of the definition and tenants of justice often result in myopic decisions by individuals and discontinuity within a society that reduce the available rights, obligations, opportunities, and/or compensations that could be available through alternative modalities.

The paper begins by assessing the challenge of establishing mutual trust in order to achieve cooperation. I then examine utility enhancement strategies available through cooperation. Next, I turn to models that describe natural and artificial sources of social contacts, game theory, and evolutionary fitness to produce beneficial results. I then examine social norms, including the dual inheritance theory, as models which can selectively reinforce certain cooperative behaviors and reduce others. In conclusion, a possible connection among these models to improve the overall fitness of society as defined by the net average increase in available utility, rights, opportunities, and compensations is offered.

Through an examination of concepts that inform individual choice and coordination with others, concepts within social coordination, the nature of social contracts, and consequentialist justice to coordinate behaviors through social norms may illustrate an integrated perspective and, through additional examination, produce a comprehensive model to describe how societies could identify and foster just human coordination.

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Date Created
  • 2019