We examine some of Connes’ criticisms of Robinson’s infinitesimals starting in 1995. Connes sought to exploit the Solovay model S as ammunition against non-standard analysis, but the model tends to boomerang, undercutting Connes’ own earlier work in functional analysis. Connes described the hyperreals as both a “virtual theory” and a “chimera”, yet acknowledged that his argument relies on the transfer principle. We analyze Connes’ “dart-throwing” thought experiment, but reach an opposite conclusion. In S , all definable sets of reals are (...) Lebesgue measurable, suggesting that Connes views a theory as being “virtual” if it is not definable in a suitable model of ZFC. If so, Connes’ claim that a theory of the hyperreals is “virtual” is refuted by the existence of a definable model of the hyperreal field due to Kanovei and Shelah. Free ultrafilters aren’t definable, yet Connes exploited such ultrafilters both in his own earlier work on the classification of factors in the 1970s and 80s, and in Noncommutative Geometry, raising the question whether the latter may not be vulnerable to Connes’ criticism of virtuality. We analyze the philosophical underpinnings of Connes’ argument based on Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, and detect an apparent circularity in Connes’ logic. We document the reliance on non-constructive foundational material, and specifically on the Dixmier trace −∫ (featured on the front cover of Connes’ magnum opus) and the Hahn–Banach theorem, in Connes’ own framework. We also note an inaccuracy in Machover’s critique of infinitesimal-based pedagogy. (shrink)
We seek to elucidate the philosophical context in which one of the most important conceptual transformations of modern mathematics took place, namely the so-called revolution in rigor in infinitesimal calculus and mathematical analysis. Some of the protagonists of the said revolution were Cauchy, Cantor, Dedekind,and Weierstrass. The dominant current of philosophy in Germany at the time was neo-Kantianism. Among its various currents, the Marburg school (Cohen, Natorp, Cassirer, and others) was the one most interested in matters scientific and mathematical. Our (...) main thesis is that Marburg neo-Kantian philosophy formulated a sophisticated position towards the problems raised by the concepts of limits and infinitesimals. The Marburg school neither clung to the traditional approach of logically and metaphysically dubious infinitesimals, nor whiggishly subscribed to the new orthodoxy of the “great triumvirate” of Cantor, Dedekind, and Weierstrass that declared infinitesimals conceptus nongrati in mathematical discourse. Rather, following Cohen’s lead, the Marburg philosophers sought to clarify Leibniz’s principle of continuity, and to exploit it in making sense of infinitesimals and related concepts. (shrink)
Abstract. In Dynamics of Reason Michael Friedman proposes a kind of synthesis between the neokantianism of Ernst Cassirer, the logical empiricism of Rudolf Carnap, and the historicism of Thomas Kuhn. Cassirer and Carnap are to take care of the Kantian legacy of modern philosophy of science, encapsulated in the concept of a relativized a priori and the globally rational or continuous evolution of scientific knowledge,while Kuhn´s role is to ensure that the historicist character of scientific knowledge is taken seriously. More (...) precisely, Carnapian linguistic frameworks, guarantee that the evolution of science procedes in a rational manner locally,while Cassirer’s concept of an internally defined conceptual convergence of empirical theories provides the means to maintain the global continuity of scientific reason. In this paper it is argued that Friedman’s neokantian account of scientific reason based on the concept of the relativized a priori underestimates the pragmatic aspects of the dynamics of scientific reason. To overcome this short-coming, I propose to reconsider C.I. Lewis’s account of a pragmatic the priori, recently modernized and elaborated by Hasok Chang. This may be<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br&g t;<br><br><br><br><br><br>Keywords: Dynamics of reason, Paradigms, Logical Empiricism,Neokantianism, Pragmatism, Mathematics, Communicative Rationality. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that (elementary) topology may be useful for dealing with problems of epistemology and metaphysics. More precisely, I want to show that the introduction of topological structures may elucidate the role of the spatial structures (in a broad sense) that underly logic and cognition. In some detail I’ll deal with “Cassirer’s problem” that may be characterized as an early forrunner of Goodman’s “grue-bleen” problem. On a larger scale, topology turns out to be useful (...) in elaborating the approach of conceptual spaces that in the last twenty years or so has found quite a few applications in cognitive science, psychology, and linguistics. In particular, topology may help distinguish “natural” from “not-so-natural” concepts. This classical problem that up to now has withstood all efforts to solve (or dissolve) it by purely logical methods. Finally, in order to show that a topological perspective may also offer a fresh look on classical metaphysical problems, it is shown that Leibniz’s famous principle of the identity of indiscernibles is closely related to some well-known topological separation axioms. More precisely, the topological perspective gives rise in a natural way to some novel variations of Leibniz’s principle. (shrink)
Felix Klein and Abraham Fraenkel each formulated a criterion for a theory of infinitesimals to be successful, in terms of the feasibility of implementation of the Mean Value Theorem. We explore the evolution of the idea over the past century, and the role of Abraham Robinson's framework therein.
Nach gängiger Auffassung nahm das Thema „Werte” in Carnaps Philosophie nur einen geringen Stellenwert ein. In dieser Arbeit soll gezeigt werden, daß diese Einschätzung der Korrektur bedarf: So wird der im „Aufbau“ vorgetragene Entwurf eines Konstitutionssystems mit Werten als der höchsten Schicht des Konstitutionssystems abgeschlossen. Auch die Quasianalyse als allgemeine Konstitutionsmethode steht in enger Beziehung zur Unterscheidung zwischen „Sein“ und „Gelten“, die für den werttheoretisch orientierten Neukantianismus der südwest-deutschen Schule charakteristisch war. Allgemein erlaubt die Wertthematik einen Blick auf Unterströmungen des (...) carnapschen Denkens, die in den offiziellen logisch-empiristischen Darstellungen seines Denkens meist vernachlässigt werden. Die Wertthematik, so die These dieser Arbeit, eröffnet überdies eine neue Perspektive auf die spezifisch Jenaer Konstellation von Neukantianismus und Lebensphilosophie, die Carnaps Philosophie wesentlich geprägt hat. (shrink)
In this paper it is shown that Heyting and Co-Heyting mereological systems provide a convenient conceptual framework for spatial reasoning, in which spatial concepts such as connectedness, interior parts, (exterior) contact, and boundary can be defined in a natural and intuitively appealing way. This fact refutes the wide-spread contention that mereology cannot deal with the more advanced aspects of spatial reasoning and therefore has to be enhanced by further non-mereological concepts to overcome its congenital limitations. The allegedly unmereological concept of (...) boundary is treated in detail and shown to be essentially affected by mereological considerations. More precisely, the concept of boundary turns out to be realizable in a variety of different mereologically grounded versions. In particular, every part K of a Heyting algebra H gives rise to a well-behaved K-relative boundary operator. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that a comprehensive account of the role of representations in science should reconsider some neglected theses of the classical philosophy of science proposed in the first decades of the 20th century. More precisely, it is argued that the accounts of Helmholtz and Hertz may be taken as prototypes of representational accounts in which structure preservation plays an essential role. Following Reichenbach, structure-preserving representations provide a useful device for formulating an up-to-date version of (...) a (relativized) Kantian a priori. An essential feature of modern scientific representations is their mathematical character. That is, representations can be conceived as (partially) structure-preserving maps or functions. This observation suggests an interesting but neglected perspective on the history and philosophy of this concept, namely, that structure-preserving representations are closely related to a priori elements of scientific knowledge. Reichenbach’s early theory of a relativized constitutive but non-apodictic a priori component of scientific knowledge provides a further elaboration of Kantian aspects of scientific representation. To cope with the dynamic aspects of the evolution of scientific knowledge, Cassirer proposed a re-interpretation of the concept of representation that conceived of a particular representation as only one phase in a continuous process determined by pragmatic considerations. Pragmatic aspects of representations are further elaborated in the classical account of C.I. Lewis and the more modern of Hasok Chang. (shrink)
Since antiquity well into the beginnings of the 20th century geometry was a central topic for philosophy. Since then, however, most philosophers of science, if they took notice of topology at all, considered it as an abstruse subdiscipline of mathematics lacking philosophical interest. Here it is argued that this neglect of topology by philosophy may be conceived of as the sign of a conceptual sea-change in philosophy of science that expelled geometry, and, more generally, mathematics, from the central position it (...) used to have in philosophy of science and placed logic at center stage in the 20th century philosophy of science. Only in recent decades logic has begun to loose its monopoly and geometry and topology received a new chance to find a place in philosophy of science. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to discuss the “Austro-American” logical empiricism proposed by physicist and philosopher Philipp Frank, particularly his interpretation of Carnap’s Aufbau, which he considered the charter of logical empiricism as a scientific world conception. According to Frank, the Aufbau was to be read as an integration of the ideas of Mach and Poincaré, leading eventually to a pragmatism quite similar to that of the American pragmatist William James. Relying on this peculiar interpretation, Frank intended to bring (...) about a rapprochement between the logical empiricism of the Vienna Circle in exile and American pragmatism. In the course of this project, in the last years of his career, Frank outlined a comprehensive, socially engaged philosophy of science that could serve as a “link between science and philosophy”. (shrink)
Abstract: One of the institutional highlights of the encounter between Austrian “wissen¬schaftliche Philosophie” and French “philosophie scientifique” in the first half of the 20th century was the “First International Congress for Unity of Science” that took place 1935 in Paris. In my contribution I deal with an episode of the philosophical mega-event whose protagonist was the American philosopher and semiotician Charles William Morris. At the Paris congress he presented his programme of a comprehensive, practice-oriented scientific philosophy and, in a more (...) elaborated version he published it two years later in Logical Positivism, Pragmatism and Scientific Empiricism (Morris 1937). Morris aimed at a synthesis of formalism, pragmatism, and traditional empiricism that combined the virtues of these accounts while avoided their shortocmings. The core of approach was a comprehensive theory of the concept of meaning. Through an analysis of the concept of meaning he sought to sort out the existing differences and the options for a possible future rapprochment between logical empiricism and pragmatism. Against the overly narrow logical empiricist understanding of philosophy as the syntax of the language of science Morris argued for a “scientific pragmatism” that comprised four levels: (1) Philosophy as Logic of Science, (2) Philosophy as Clarification of Meaning (Peirce), (3) Philosophy as Empirical Axiology (Dewey), and (4) Philosophy as Empirical Cosmology (Whitehead). (shrink)
Ernst Cassirer, 2011, Symbolische Prägnanz, Ausdrucksphänomen und „Wiener Kreis“, Nachgelassene Manuskripte und Texte, vol. 4, ed. Christian Möckel, 478pp., Hamburg, Felix Meiner Verlag.
In this paper I want to show that topology has a bearing on the theory of tropes. More precisely, I propose a topological ontology of tropes. This is to be understood as follows: trope ontology is a „one-category”-ontology countenancing only one kind of basic entities, to wit, tropes. 1 Hence, individuals, properties, relations, etc. are to be constructed from tropes.
A possible world is a junky world if and only if each thing in it is a proper part. The possibility of junky worlds contradicts the principle of general fusion. Bohn (2009) argues for the possibility of junky worlds, Watson (2010) suggests that Bohn‘s arguments are flawed. This paper shows that the arguments of both authors leave much to be desired. First, relying on the classical results of Cantor, Zermelo, Fraenkel, and von Neumann, this paper proves the possibility of junky (...) worlds for certain weak set theories. Second, the paradox of Burali-Forti shows that according to the Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory ZF, junky worlds are possible. Finally, it is shown that set theories are not the only sources for designing plausible models of junky worlds: Topology (and possibly other "algebraic" mathematical theories) may be used to construct models of junky worlds. In sum, junkyness is a relatively widespread feature among possible worlds. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to elucidate the mereological structure of complex states of affairs without relying on the problematic notion of structural universals. For this task tools from graph theory, lattice theory, and the theory of relational systems are employed. Our starting point is the mereology of similarity structures. Since similarity structures are structured sets, their mereology can be considered as a generalization of the mereology of sets..
Quine’s classical classic interpretation succinctly characterized characterizes Carnap’s Aufbau as an attempt “to account for the external world as a logical construct of sense-data....” Consequently, “Russell” was characterized as the most important influence on the Aufbau. Those times have passed. Formulating a comprehensive and balanced interpretation of the Aufbau has turned out to be a difficult task and one that must take into account several disjointed sources. My thesis is that the core of the Aufbau rested on a problem that (...) had haunted German philosophy since the end of the 19th century. In terms fashionable at the time, this problem may be expressed as the polarity between Leben and Geist that characterized German philosophy during the years of the Weimar Republic. At that time, many philosophers, including Cassirer, Rickert and Vaihinger, were engaged in overcoming this polarity. As I will show, Carnap’s Aufbau joined the ranks of these projects. This suggests that Lebensphilosophie and Rickert’s System der Philosophie exerted a strong influence on Carnap’s projects, an influence that is particularly conspicuous in his unpublished manuscript Vom Chaos zur Wirklichkeit. Carnap himself asserted that this manuscript could be considered “the germ of the constitution theory” of the Aufbau. Reading Chaos also reveals another strong but neglected influence on the Aufbau, namely a specific version of neutral monism put forward by the philosopher and psychologist Theodor Ziehen before World War I. Ziehen’s work contributed much to the invention of the constitutional method of quasi-analysis. -/-. (shrink)
Carnap and Twentieth-Century Thought: Explication as En lighten ment is the first book in the English language that seeks to place Carnap's philosophy in a broad cultural, political and intellectual context. According to the author, Carnap synthesized many different cur rents of thought and thereby arrived at a novel philosophical perspective that remains strik ing ly relevant today. Whether the reader agrees with Carus's bold theses on Carnap's place in the landscape of twentieth-century philosophy, and his even bolder claims concerning (...) the role that philosophy in Carnap's style should play in the thought of our century, does not matter so much as the excellent opportunity Carus's book offers to thoroughly rethink one's ideas about Carnap's philosophy. One reason why Carnap and Twentieth-Century Thought might change one's ideas is that Carus has unearthed much hitherto unknown material from the archives that sheds new light on Carnap's early life and thought. Indeed, the many archival findings presented in CTT for the first time suffice to make the book re warding reading for philosophers and historians of philosophy alike. CTT exhibits a high standard of historical scholarship, and the book itself is a beautiful example of high-quality academic publishing. Up to now, Carnap has remained a controversial figure on the philo sophical scene. On the one hand, he has a solid reputation as a leading figure of logical positivism . According to conventional wisdom, this was a school of thought characterized by its formal and technical philosophy, as well as being rather dismissive of other ways of doing philosophy, dogmatically sticking to its own theses. As a typical example of this arrogant logical empiricist attitude, one usually refers to Carnap's notorious Overcoming Metaphysics by Logical Analysis of Language , written when the Vienna Circle's Logical Empiricism had entered its most radical phase. Self-proclaimed postpositivist philosophers of science dismissed logical positivism, in particular Carnap's, as the dogmatic and orthodox “received view.” The tendency to portray logical empiricism as an obsolete doctrine centering around certain “dogmas” started with Quine's Two Dogmas of Empiricism and reached its somewhat ridiculous culmination in the early 1980s when allegedly “six or seven dogmas” were discovered . Thereby an allegedly un brid geable gap between classical “dogmatic” logical em pi ricism and its modern “enlightened” suc ces sors was construed. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is make a contribution to the ongoing search for an adequate concept of the a priori element in scientific knowledge. The point of departure is C.I. Lewis’s account of a pragmatic a priori put forward in his "Mind and the World Order" (1929). Recently, Hasok Chang in "Contingent Transcendental Arguments for Metaphysical Principles" (2008) reconsidered Lewis’s pragmatic a priori and proposed to conceive it as the basic ingredient of the dynamics of an embodied scientific reason. (...) The present paper intends to further elaborate Chang’s account by relating it with some conceptual tools from cognitive semantics and certain ideas that first emerged in the context of the category-theoretical foundations of mathematics. (shrink)
In the philosophy of the analytical tradition, set theory and formal logic are familiar formal tools. I think there is no deep reason why the philosopher’s tool kit should be restricted to just these theories. It might well be the case—to generalize a dictum of Suppes concerning philosophy of science—that the appropriate formal device for doing philosophy is mathematics in general; it may be set theory, algebra, topology, or any other realm of mathematics. In this paper I want to employ (...) elementary topological considerations to shed new light on the intricate problem of the relation of qualities and similarity. Thereby I want to make plausible the general thesis that topology might be a useful device for matters epistemological. (shrink)
The global relation between logical empiricism and American pragmatism is one of the more difficult problems in history of philosophy. In this paper I’d like to take a local perspective and concentrate on the details that concern the vicissitudes of a philosopher who played an important role in the encounter of logical empiricism and American pragmatism, namely, Ernest Nagel. In this paper, I want to explore some aspects of Nagel’s changing attitude towards the then „new“ logical-empiricist philosophy. In the beginning (...) Nagel welcomed logical empiricism whole-heartedly. This early enthusiasm did not last. At the end of his philosophical career Nagel’s early positive attitude towards logical empiricism shown in the 1930s had been replaced by a much more reserved one. Nagel’s growing dissatisfaction with the Carnapian version of logical empiricist philosophy was clearly expressed in Nagel’s criticism of Carnap’s inductive logic and more generally in his last book Teleology Revisited and Other Essays on History and Philosophy of Science. There he critized harshly Carnap’s philosophy of science in general as ahistoric and non-pragmatist. One of the distinctive features of Nagel’s philosophy of science is the emphasis that he put on the role of history of science for philosophy of science. A compelling evidence for this attitude are his works on the history and philosophy of geometry and algebra One may say that Carnap and Nagel represented opposed possibilities of how the profession of a philosopher of science could be understood: Carnap as a „conceptual engineer“ was engaged in the task of inventing the conceptual tools for a better theoretical understanding of science, while Nagel was to be considered more as a „public intellectual“ engaged in the project of realizing a more rational and enlightened society. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that global scientific promises aka “scientific world-conceptions” have an interesting history that should be taken into account also for contemporary debates. I argue that the prototypes of many contemporary philosophical positions concerning the role of science in society can already be found in the philosophy of science of the 1920s and 1930s. First to be mentioned in this respect is the Scientific World-Conception of the Vienna Circle (The Manifesto) that promised to contribute (...) to the realization of an enlightened, rational and science-oriented society and culture. The Manifesto was not the only „scientific world-conception“ that philosophers and scientists put forward in the 1920s. Also the scientific world-conception of the philosopher and physicist Moritz Schlick, and the Weltanschauung of Sigmund Freud deserve to be mentioned. Still other examples of are Carnap’s Scientific Humanism and the project of The International Encyclopedia of Unified Science which was related to American pragmatism as well, as is shown by Charles W. Morris and others. Forgotten for a long time, since the beginning of the 21rst century, at least some of the Viennese projects are reconsidered in a new wave of „socially engaged philosophy of science”. (shrink)
A basic thesis of Neokantian epistemology and philosophy of science contends that the knowing subject and the object to be known are only abstractions. What really exists, is the relation between both. For the elucidation of this “knowledge relation ("Erkenntnisrelation") the Neokantians of the Marburg school used a variety of mathematical metaphors. In this con-tribution I reconsider some of these metaphors proposed by Paul Natorp, who was one of the leading members of the Marburg school. It is shown that Natorp's (...) metaphors are not unrelated to those used in some currents of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
Bis heute wird Russells Philosophie nicht selten der Vorwurf gemacht, es fehle ihr an Kohärenz und Zusammenhang. Russell wird als ein Autor charakterisiert, der alle paar Jahre eine neue alternative Philosophie vorgeschlagen habe. In der vorliegenden Arbeit soll dagegen argumentiert werden, daß diese These auf einer zu oberflächlichen Ein–schätzung von Russells Denken beruht. Seine Philosophie verfügte sehr wohl über eine Einheit, die durch ihre charakteristische einheitsstiftende Methode vermittelt wurde. Dies war die Methode der logischen Analyse, die sich als Invariante in (...) allen Phasen seines Denkens durchhielt. Die logische Analyse erlaubte es, die in gegebenen Sach–verhalten enthaltenen Möglichkeiten zu explizieren. Philosophie wurde damit für Russell zu einer “Möglichkeitswissenschaft”. (shrink)
This paper intends to further the understanding of the formal properties of (higher-order) vagueness by connecting theories of (higher-order) vagueness with more recent work in topology. First, we provide a “translation” of Bobzien's account of columnar higher-order vagueness into the logic of topological spaces. Since columnar vagueness is an essential ingredient of her solution to the Sorites paradox, a central problem of any theory of vagueness comes into contact with the modern mathematical theory of topology. Second, Rumfitt’s recent topological reconstruction (...) of Sainsbury’s theory of prototypically defined concepts is shown to lead to the same class of spaces that characterize Bobzien’s account of columnar vagueness, namely, weakly scattered spaces. Rumfitt calls these spaces polar spaces. They turn out to be closely related to Gärdenfors’ conceptual spaces, which have come to play an ever more important role in cognitive science and related disciplines. Finally, Williamson’s “logic of clarity” is explicated in terms of a generalized topology (“locology”) that can be considered an alternative to standard topology. Arguably, locology has some conceptual advantages over topology with respect to the conceptualization of a boundary and a borderline. Moreover, in Williamson’s logic of clarity, vague concepts with respect to a notion of a locologically inspired notion of a “slim boundary” are (stably) columnar. Thus, Williamson’s logic of clarity also exhibits a certain affinity for columnar vagueness. In sum, a topological perspective is useful for a conceptual elucidation and unification of central aspects of a variety of contemporary accounts of vagueness. (shrink)
In this paper some classical representational ideas of Hertz and Duhem are used to show how the dichotomy between representation and intervention can be overcome. More precisely, scientific theories are reconstructed as complex networks of intervening representations (or representational interventions). The formal apparatus developed is applied to elucidate various theoretical and practical aspects of the in vivo/in vitro problem of biochemistry. Moreover, adjoint situations (Galois connections) are used to explain the relation berween empirical facts and theoretical laws in a new (...) way. (shrink)
To explore the extent of embeddability of Leibnizian infinitesimal calculus in first-order logic (FOL) and modern frameworks, we propose to set aside ontological issues and focus on pro- cedural questions. This would enable an account of Leibnizian procedures in a framework limited to FOL with a small number of additional ingredients such as the relation of infinite proximity. If, as we argue here, first order logic is indeed suitable for developing modern proxies for the inferential moves found in Leibnizian infinitesimal (...) calculus, then modern infinitesimal frameworks are more appropriate to interpreting Leibnizian infinitesimal calculus than modern Weierstrassian ones. (shrink)
In this paper a solution of Whitehead’s problem is presented: Starting with a purely mereological system of regions a topological space is constructed such that the class of regions is isomorphic to the Boolean lattice of regular open sets of that space. This construction may be considered as a generalized completion in analogy to the well-known Dedekind completion of the rational numbers yielding the real numbers . The argument of the paper relies on the theories of continuous lattices and “pointless” (...) topology.
In A Parting of the Ways Michael Friedman proposed to conceive the contemporary divide between analytic philosophy (AP) and continental philosophy (CP) as the outcome of the bifurcation between the Neokantians of Heidelbarg and Marburg. According to Friedman, Carnap can be characterized as the executor of the Marburg school, while Heidegger is to be considered as the heir of the Southwest Neokantianism. In this paper it is argued that Carnap was much closer to the Southwest Neokantianism than usually recognized. To (...) some extent, Carnap’s project in the Aufbau may be described as an attempt to modernize the Neokantian approach of the Southwest school with the help of modern relational logic. This entails that Carnap cannot be lined so easily with the Marburg school as Friedman assumes. (shrink)
Abstract. Let REL(O*E) be the relation algebra of binary relations defined on the Boolean algebra O*E of regular open regions of the Euclidean plane E. The aim of this paper is to prove that the canonical contact relation C of O*E generates a subalgebra REL(O*E, C) of REL(O*E) that has infinitely many elements. More precisely, REL(O*,C) contains an infinite family {SPPn, n ≥ 1} of relations generated by the relation SPP (Separable Proper Part). This relation can be used to define (...) point-free concept of connectedness that for the regular open regions of E coincides with the standard topological notion of connectedness, i.e., a region of the plane E is connected in the sense of topology if and only if it has no separable proper part. Moreover, it is shown that the contact relation algebra REL(O*E, C) and the relation algebra REL(O*E, NTPP) generated by the non-tangential proper parthood relation NTPP, coincide. This entails that the allegedly purely topological notion of connectedness can be defined in mereological terms. (shrink)
The vicissitudes of mathematical reason in the 20th century Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-6 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9556-y Authors Thomas Mormann, Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, University of the Basque Country UPV/EPU, Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain, Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
The aim of this paper is to elucidate the relationship between Aristotelian conceptual oppositions, commutative diagrams of relational structures, and Galois connections.This is done by investigating in detail some examples of Aristotelian conceptual oppositions arising from topological spaces and similarity structures. The main technical device for this endeavor is the notion of Galois connections of order structures.
Abstract. The aim of this paper is to present a topological method for constructing discretizations (tessellations) of conceptual spaces. The method works for a class of topological spaces that the Russian mathematician Pavel Alexandroff defined more than 80 years ago. Alexandroff spaces, as they are called today, have many interesting properties that distinguish them from other topological spaces. In particular, they exhibit a 1-1 correspondence between their specialization orders and their topological structures. Recently, a special type of Alexandroff spaces was (...) used by Ian Rumfitt to elucidate the logic of vague concepts in a new way. According to his approach, conceptual spaces such as the color spectrum give rise to classical systems of concepts that have the structure of atomic Boolean algebras. More precisely, concepts are represented as regular open regions of an underlying conceptual space endowed with a topological structure. Something is subsumed under a concept iff it is represented by an element of the conceptual space that is maximally close to the prototypical element p that defines that concept. This topological representation of concepts comes along with a representation of the familiar logical connectives of Aristotelian syllogistics in terms of natural settheoretical operations that characterize regular open interpretations of classical Boolean propositional logic. In the last 20 years, conceptual spaces have become a popular tool of dealing with a variety of problems in the fields of cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics and philosophy, mainly due to the work of Peter Gärdenfors and his collaborators. By using prototypes and metrics of similarity spaces, one obtains geometrical discretizations of conceptual spaces by so-called Voronoi tessellations. These tessellations are extensionally equivalent to topological tessellations that can be constructed for Alexandroff spaces. Thereby, Rumfitt’s and Gärdenfors’s constructions turn out to be special cases of an approach that works for a more general class of spaces, namely, for weakly scattered Alexandroff spaces. This class of spaces provides a convenient framework for conceptual spaces as used in epistemology and related disciplines in general. Alexandroff spaces are useful for elucidating problems related to the logic of vague concepts, in particular they offer a solution of the Sorites paradox (Rumfitt). Further, they provide a semantics for the logic of clearness (Bobzien) that overcomes certain problems of the concept of higher2 order vagueness. Moreover, these spaces help find a natural place for classical syllogistics in the framework of conceptual spaces. The crucial role of order theory for Alexandroff spaces can be used to refine the all-or-nothing distinction between prototypical and nonprototypical stimuli in favor of a more fine-grained gradual distinction between more-orless prototypical elements of conceptual spaces. The greater conceptual flexibility of the topological approach helps avoid some inherent inadequacies of the geometrical approach, for instance, the so-called “thickness problem” (Douven et al.) and problems of selecting a unique metric for similarity spaces. Finally, it is shown that only the Alexandroff account can deal with an issue that is gaining more and more importance for the theory of conceptual spaces, namely, the role that digital conceptual spaces play in the area of artificial intelligence, computer science and related disciplines. Keywords: Conceptual Spaces, Polar Spaces, Alexandroff Spaces, Prototypes, Topological Tessellations, Voronoi Tessellations, Digital Topology. (shrink)
In Anglo-Saxon philosophy of science there is strong conviction that idealist philosophy of science on the the one hand and serious science and philosophy of science on the other do not go well together. In this paper I argue that this sweeping dismissal of the idealist tradition may have been too hasty. They may be some valuable insights for which it is striving. A promising case in question is provided by Ernst Cassirer’s Neo-Kantian „Critical Idealism“ that he put forward in (...) the first decades of the past century, or so I’d like to argue. (shrink)
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