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Philosophies, Volume 2, Issue 4 (December 2017) – 5 articles

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Perspective
Consciousness: A Molecular Perspective
Philosophies 2017, 2(4), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies2040026 - 06 Dec 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2644
Abstract
This perspective examines the role of chemistry and molecular biology for a science of consciousness. Opposed to the consensus view, we argue that the molecular organization of biological systems is key to arrive at a thorough understanding of the dynamics correlated to the [...] Read more.
This perspective examines the role of chemistry and molecular biology for a science of consciousness. Opposed to the consensus view, we argue that the molecular organization of biological systems is key to arrive at a thorough understanding of the dynamics correlated to the phenomenology of consciousness in complex organisms. This is indicated by the fact that the molecular sciences either provide one or more mechanisms directly related to phenomenology or otherwise describe the dynamics of the underlying substrate. In addition, we discuss substrate-independence in information-processing theories of consciousness and the issue of combination in panpsychist theories of consciousness, both from the angle of the molecular sciences. In any case, molecular details matter. Full article
Article
Evolutionary Philosophy of Science: A New Image of Science and Stance towards General Philosophy of Science
Philosophies 2017, 2(4), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies2040025 - 14 Nov 2017
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1684
Abstract
An important question facing contemporary philosophy of science is whether the natural sciences in terms of their historical records exhibit distinguishing developmental patterns or structures. At least two philosophical stances are possible in answering this question. The first pertains to the plurality of [...] Read more.
An important question facing contemporary philosophy of science is whether the natural sciences in terms of their historical records exhibit distinguishing developmental patterns or structures. At least two philosophical stances are possible in answering this question. The first pertains to the plurality of the individual sciences. From this stance, the various sciences are analyzed individually and compared with one another in order to derive potential commonalities, if any, among them. The second stance involves a general philosophy of science in which a thorough theory of the natural sciences is developed. The latter stance strives to account for more than possible commonalities among the sciences but also to provide a broad-spectrum philosophical framework to account for, or to explicate, the nature of science itself and its progress. In this paper, the second stance is taken in which an evolutionary philosophy of science is proposed. To that end, Thomas Kuhn’s evolutionary philosophy of science is initially discussed and critiqued. An evolutionary philosophy of science is then proposed based on a revision of Kuhn’s evolutionary philosophy of science in terms of George Gaylord Simpson’s various tempos and modes for biological evolution. Next, two historical case studies from the biological sciences are reconstructed to illustrate the robustness of the proposed evolutionary philosophy of science for explicating the progress of the natural sciences. A concluding section discusses the proposed evolutionary philosophy of science with respect to providing a broad-spectrum framework or general philosophy of science for understanding the nature and progress of the natural sciences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meta-Philosophy of Science)
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Article
How Can a Taxonomy of Stances Help Clarify Classical Debates on Scientific Change?
Philosophies 2017, 2(4), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies2040024 - 08 Nov 2017
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1825
Abstract
In this paper, we demonstrate how a systematic taxonomy of stances can help elucidate two classic debates of the historical turn—the Lakatos–Feyerabend debate concerning theory rejection and the Feyerabend–Kuhn debate about pluralism during normal science. We contend that Kuhn, Feyerabend, and Lakatos were [...] Read more.
In this paper, we demonstrate how a systematic taxonomy of stances can help elucidate two classic debates of the historical turn—the Lakatos–Feyerabend debate concerning theory rejection and the Feyerabend–Kuhn debate about pluralism during normal science. We contend that Kuhn, Feyerabend, and Lakatos were often talking at cross-purposes due to the lack of an agreed upon taxonomy of stances. Specifically, we provide three distinct stances that scientists take towards theories: acceptance of a theory as the best available description of its domain, use of a theory in practical applications, and pursuit (elaboration) of a theory. We argue that in the Lakatos–Feyerabend debate, Lakatos was concerned with acceptance whereas Feyerabend was mainly concerned with pursuit. Additionally, we show how Feyerabend and Kuhn’s debate on the role of pluralism/monism in normal science involved a crucial conflation of all three stances. Finally, we outline a few general lessons concerning the process of scientific change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meta-Philosophy of Science)
Article
Computational Dynamics of Natural Information Morphology, Discretely Continuous
Philosophies 2017, 2(4), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies2040023 - 12 Oct 2017
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1961
Abstract
This paper presents a theoretical study of the binary oppositions underlying the mechanisms of natural computation understood as dynamical processes on natural information morphologies. Of special interest are the oppositions of discrete vs. continuous, structure vs. process, and differentiation vs. integration. The framework [...] Read more.
This paper presents a theoretical study of the binary oppositions underlying the mechanisms of natural computation understood as dynamical processes on natural information morphologies. Of special interest are the oppositions of discrete vs. continuous, structure vs. process, and differentiation vs. integration. The framework used is that of computing nature, where all natural processes at different levels of organisation are computations over informational structures. The interactions at different levels of granularity/organisation in nature, and the character of the phenomena that unfold through those interactions, are modeled from the perspective of an observing agent. This brings us to the movement from binary oppositions to dynamic networks built upon mutually related binary oppositions, where each node has several properties. Full article
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Article
Philosophy of Information: Revolution in Philosophy. Towards an Informational Metaphilosophy of Science
Philosophies 2017, 2(4), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies2040022 - 02 Oct 2017
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2894
Abstract
In the most general if unconventional terms, science is the study of how man is part of the universe. Philosophy is the study of man’s ideas of the universe and how man differs from the rest of the universe. It has of course [...] Read more.
In the most general if unconventional terms, science is the study of how man is part of the universe. Philosophy is the study of man’s ideas of the universe and how man differs from the rest of the universe. It has of course been recognized that philosophy and science are not totally disjointed. Science is in any case not a monolithic entity but refers to knowledge as the results of reasoning and both invasive and non-invasive experiment. We argue that the philosophy of science, in studying the foundations, methods and implications of science and the link between philosophy and science, must now take into account the impact of the rapidly developing science and philosophy of information. We suggest that the philosophy of information is in fact a metaphilosophy, since informational processes operate in all the sciences and their philosophies. The simplest definition of (a) metaphilosophy is that of a set of statements about (a) philosophy, and any definition of a metaphilosophy thus requires one of philosophy and of the task of philosophy as well. According to Sellars, “the aim of philosophy is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term”. In this paper, we focus on the recursive thought underlying those statements as real processes, occurring both in and between the fundamental and the meta-level. We propose a non-standard logic, Logic in Reality, as the logic of those processes. The metaphilosophy of information is thus a framework for talking about the scientific aspects of philosophy and the philosophical aspects of science. Both Logic in Reality and the metaphilosophy of information provide a basis for understanding the physical and epistemological dynamics of existence, that is, from where the properties of things come that enable both them and the concepts of them to contrast, conflict and ultimately “hang together”. We conclude that the current convergence of science and philosophy under the influence of information science constitutes a revolution in philosophy, that is, in how science and philosophy are done. Many of the issues discussed in the metaphilosophy of information may thus be viewed as part of an emerging informational metaphilosophy of science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meta-Philosophy of Science)
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