Epistemology & Philosophy of Science
2014, Volume 42, Number 4
The social nature of modern science is observable, measurable phenomenon and is manifested in the ability of science to provide a powerful impact on society. This phenomenon cannot be reduced to the close relationship of science and technology, but one should seek its essence in the changing functions of scientific laboratory. The latter becomes a social space-time machine, in which the ontological and epistemological transitions between the natural and the artificial, the living and the non-living, the external and the internal, theory and fact, discovery and justification, proof and persuasion, fundamental research and its practical application are analyzed and modeled. Modern science appears as holistic natural process that requires new methodological approaches for its analysis. On this way, the shortcomings of the standard model of science should be overcome.
However, this image of science and philosophical quest for a new view of science remains in contrast to the economic dimension of the scientific and technical system, which depreciate fundamental research and absolutizes the role of instrumental product of science. This raises the question of the possibility and need for a new «social philosophy of science», which has to respond to two topical challenges: 1) restructure Russian tradition in the philosophy of science of the 20_21 centuries, combining the ideas of Gustav Shpet, Boris Hessen, Vladimir Vernadsky, Mikhail Bakhtin, Mikhail Petrov, with the achievements of Western philosophy of science within the framework of interdisciplinary synthesis of the philosophy of science and the broadly taken cognitive sciences; 2) justify the strategy for the development of science and technology in the framework of the sixth Economic-technological trend («uklad»), developing a balanced interaction of social-engineering technology and global philosophical vision for long-term planning and forecasting according to the socio-cultural and civilizational prospects.
Keywords: social philosophy of science, science and technology, epistemology, social engineering, development of science.
ROM HARRE. DISPOSITIONS AND AFFORDANCES FROM MATERIAL THINGS TO HUMAN SOCIETIES
Recent revival of interest in the concept of `affordance’ , that is what a procedure applied in particular circumstances and to a particular target produces either as a possibility of action or as a product of action, has led to a wide range of applications of the concept, from psychology of perception to the interpretation of molecular orbitals. It is allied to the concept of `disposition’. It has also been linked to the two mereological fallacies: the fallacy of ascribing an attribute to a part the meaning of which is determined only in its application to the whole, and the fallacy of projecting the products of an analytical procedure back on to that analysandum as constituents. After examining the links between affordances, dispositions and the mereological fallacies I will extend the concept of affordance to the social sphere and in relation to social processes, and examine the cases in which one or other or both of the mereological fallacies are committed in social thinking.
Keywords: Affordance, disposition, mereological fallacies, Umwelt, social processes.
Vladimir Filatov, Alexander Nikiforov, Vladimir Porus. Discussion of Rom Harre’s DISPOSITIONS AND AFFORDANCES FROM MATERIAL THINGS TO HUMAN SOCIETIES
Vladimir Filatov discusses R.Harre’s notion of disposition in a historical-scientific persperctive and raises a worry about a trend towards our understanding of cognition and its products. Alexander Nikiforov argues that R.Harre’s conception is inconsistent with the correspondence theory of truth and thus changes the fundamental sense of the concept of truth which is by now used by the majority of scientists. According to Nikiforov, Harre’s conception also results in an appeal to change the definition of knowledge: knowledge is not information about the world any more, but, rather, about the world as well as our interaction with it. Nikiforov concludes that Harre’s reaslism is close to what can be called “Kant’s reaslism”: we interact with the world but we cannot say much about it. In his comment Vladimir Porus supports Harre’s thesis and argues that contemporary epistemology can only have a social-cultural character.
Keywords: R.Harre, affordances, dispositions, social reality
EPISTEMOLOGY AND COGNITION
Inanna Hamati-Ataya. OUTLINE FOR A REFLEXIVE EPISTEMOLOGY
This paper addresses the notion of a “theory of knowledge” from the perspective of sociological reflexivity. What becomes of the meaning of epistemology once the ontological status of knowledge is taken seriously, and its political dimensions impossible to ignore? If the knower is no longer an impersonal, universal subject, but always a situated and purposeful actor, what kind of epistemology do we need, and what social functions can we expect it to play? Sociological reflexivity embraces the historicity and situatedness of knowledge understood as a cultural product and a social practice. It therefore enables us to cope with the collapse of our absolute and universal epistemic foundations and frames of reference, and to redefine the existential and practical meanings of knowledge for social life. In so doing, it also gives political meaning to epistemology itself, understood as a sociological theory of knowledge, not a normative one. Reflexivity can be envisaged as both a “bending back” and a “bending forward” of knowledge as praxis. As a bending back of knowledge on itself, it entails a rigorous understanding of the social conditions of possibility of our thought and our values, and hence a critical assessment of what our worldviews and notions of truth owe to the social order in which we are inscribed. As a bending forward, it turns this objective understanding into an instrument of existential and social emancipation, by delineating the structural spaces of freedom and agency that allow for a meaningful and responsible scholarly practice.
Keywords: theory of knowledge, sociological reflexivity, epistemology
LANGUAGE AND MIND
Maria Sekatskaya. BRAIN TRANSPLANTATION AND PERSONAL IDENTITY. AN ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATION OF ONE THOUGHT EXPERIMENT
There are two possible contexts of discussions about personal identity: philosophical and psychological. When psychologists speak about personality, as in the cases of amnesia or dissociative identity disorder, they take personality to be a property of human beings. Personality can change, but people whose personality it is will stay the same until they die. What a philosopher thinks about the criteria of personal identity depends on what she thinks about the ontological status of consciousness. Personal identity debates in philosophy emerged immediately after Descartes raised the ontological status of consciousness, declaring that it is a substance on a par with matter and it must, presumably, have its own criteria of identity. These debates have been continuing ever since, with materialists, dualists, functionalists and eliminativists having their different opinions concerning personal identity. Derek Parfit claims that the issue should be abandoned, because the category 'person' doesn't refer to anything ontologically real. His claim depends crucially on his famous thought experiment concerning brain division and subsequent transplantation of two brain hemispheres in two different bodies. Parfit argues that this thought experiment shows that a person can survive even in the case when we can not say whether this person is identical with any past or future person. Identity is indefinite and not important, it is survival that matters. However, I present a different interpretation of this thought experiment and argue that the experiment can not be considered as a proof that criteria of diachronic identity of persons differ from the criteria of diachronic identity of other objects. It is important for Parfit that in his thought experiment two resulting people be psychologically indistinguishable. It is also important for him that the experiment should be based on empirically possible scenario. I argue that from what we know thanks to contemporary neuroscience it is empirically impossible that two resulting people be psychologically identical. I also argue that the experiment can not be saved by rendering it purely conceptual. If the experiment is only conceptually possible it doesn't show what it is intended to show. We can imagine that there was a situation when a human being had two identical brain hemispheres, each perfectly functional after the operation, so that two resulting people are psychologically indistinguishable. However, this situation can be reinterpreted: maybe this operation is a way to realize that there has never been one human being with identical hemispheres, but Siamese twins sharing all the parts of their body except brain hemispheres. In this case the operation will not show that personal identity is indistinguishable, it will just show that it is possible to separate Siamese twins by giving them different bodies. Since both hypotheses are conceptually coherent there is no way to prefer one of them. Therefore I claim that Parfit's conclusion concerning non applicability of personal identity to this situation doesn't follow.
Keywords: personal identity, Derek Parfit, consciousness, ontology of personhood, criteria of identity of material objects
Nadezhda Kasavina. SCIENCE IN THE CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN SOCIETY. AN ANALYTIC REVIEW
An overview of publications and discussions of the journal “Sociology of science and technologies” undertaken in the article shows how the scientific community considers the role and position of science in the contemporary society as well as its problems, specific features and the prospects for its development in Russia. Along with the acknowledgement of the sphere of science as important factor and as the priority of the development for the contemporary society, the state of science and formation at Russian society is evaluated as crisis. An public appeal to innovative development in Russia is regarded by many authors as a purely formal stance. With the existing portion of science in Russian GDP (Gross Domestic Product) the passage of the country to the innovation way is viewed as possible. As the indices of the crisis of science, the number of the organizations, which carry out scientific research and its applications, ceases dramatically as well as their staff. The number of domestically created advanced production technologies in Russia increases poorly, the significant exceeding of the export of technologies over the export takes place, while leading world countries obtain essential profit from the export of technologies. A quantity of the developed and mastered competitive technologies is low and continues to cease, that contradicts world-wide economic tendencies. As the basic reasons for this degradation, one notes the following reasons: the insufficiency of financing, the loss of a large quantity of qualified technical cadres and the absence of necessary interaction of science and production. The progress in the technological effectiveness of science and its influence on modernization of Russian economy requires a new scientific and technical policy in the context of formation and realization of general strategy of the social and economic development of the country.
Keywords: science, innovation, technology, contemporary Russian society, the crisis of science, the reduction of scientific organizations and personnel
Ekaterina Vostrikova. SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE IN CONTEXT
This paper is a review of articles published in the journal “Science, technology and human values” for 2010-2014. This journal publishes the results of interdisciplinary research on the development of science and technology and the influence of social, cultural and political factors on this development. The author discusses four major aspects of the relationship between science and the context in STS: the role of non-scientific values in science, the influence of funding on the process and the results of scientific research, new trends in contemporary science and criticism of STS.
Keywords: STS, science and technology, values in science, context, interdisciplinarity
Petr Kusliy. BIOTECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY: AN OVERVIEW OF PUBLICATIONS IN CONTEMPORARY STUDIES IN STS
The article presents an overview of publications devoted to biotechnology and society which appeared in the journal “Science, Technology and Human Values” during the last three years.
CASE STUDIES - SCIENCE STUDIES
Gregoriy Antipov. HISTORY, MEMORY, AND HISTORY AS A SCIENCE
The epistemological mechanisms of historical study and history as a science form the subject of long discussions and disputes. The evolution of historical knowledge is often derived from the cultures of primeval societies, from myth, not emphasizing its differences with other forms, in particular, from scientific historiography. There is an opinion that it is a mistake to think that history is fundamentally different from other sciences. The history does not develop its theory up to the level of physics or genetics. On the other hand, it is argued that the history is akin to art. That it is the synthesis of theoretical and artistic-creative thinking. Therefore, the history cannot be measured according to the standards which we apply to other sciences. According to one more position the history is a science, however it manifests some features, which indicate its peculiarity. History differs from biology or physics because it is oriented towards unique, unrepeatable events. Natural sciences are, on the opposite, oriented towards repeated events. The main idea of the analysis in the article is defined by the introduced concept of memorial practice. The historical memory is derived from it. Historiography emerges in the form of memorial practice, techne, as this phenomenon was recognized in antiquity. Proper scientific form of historical knowledge starts to be originated only by XIX century under the influence of the established by that time scientific methodology. The analysis presented in the article distinguishes between competences of memorial practice, which are oriented towards historical memory, and historical knowledge, which is, in fact, history as a science. The confusions are to which the lack of the understanding of the given circumstances is leading.
Keywords: memorial practice, history, historical memory, narrative, laws, trends
Andrei Plahov. BOUNDARIES OF DISCIPLINARY SCIENCE DESCRIPTION: A RHIZOMATIC APPROACH
In the article problems of boundaries of disciplinary approach in organization, accumulation and generation of scientific knowledge are comprehended. Today, limitations of disciplinary science view justified under of transdisciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches in science. Main features of each from this approaches are shortly described in the article. Also series of problems that may arise during departure from paradigm and appropriate standards of scientific discourse are indicated. In addition transdisciplinary approach directives connection with main ideas of Paul Feyerabend's philosophical conception is revealed. Opportunity of Deleuze/Guattari's «rhizome» concept application for description of scientific knowledge and definition of its interaction with trivial knowledge is analysed in closing part of article. At the same time mentioned concept is described in detail. In particular, its fundamental opposition of tree-type structure is made out; plateau - the one of main rhizome element - is defined; features of lines that constitute the rhizome and pseudo-points on this lines are clarified. As a whole, rhizome is a very flexible, changeable and opened trans-structure. Thanks to the stated properties rhizome may completely used for description any types of cognition. As applied to only science rhizome of cognition fits both representation of scientific knowledge within the framework of its disciplinary division and description of multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary researches.
Keywords: transdisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, rhizome, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, poststructuralism, philosophy of science
Denis Solodukhin.THE ROLE OF INTUITION IN V.I. VERNADSKY'S LIFE AND DOCTRINE
The article deals with the problem of correlation the noosphere’s formation and human being evolution in V.I. Vernadsky’s approach. In this concept origin of Noosphere is determined not only by technics, human ecological duties, democracy etc. but new evolutional leap of Homo sapiens as well. Man’s evolution means human intuitive creativity development and morality. The intuitive abilities of person seems be continued within noosphere itself. There is correlation of epistemological aspects with evolutional one at Vernadsky’s doctrine (“onto-epistemology” by N.O. Lossky, S.L. Frank and A. Bergson). The Russian cosmist supposed scientific knowledge be influenced by “artistic experience”, common sense, intuition etc. He admitted fundamental meaning the logical and rational points of knowledge (and being?) but expanded understanding the rationality as well, including in it a number of intuitive and irrational points. Living reality is wider all points to be conceptualized. That’s why saying on correlation and inter-transition of the Rational and the Irrational (Irrational means here all variety of non-logic cognitive forms) is relevant. Such interpretation based on the personalistic approach, i.e. considering Vernadsky’s person and his internal experience. The intuitive feeling of the Alive was very important for Russian scientist and thinker. That’s why he consider physical picture of the world itself just as one of ways to explain reality to be insufficient without its connection the point of the live. A lot of Vernadsky’s thoughts might be assessed as post-unclassical methodology’s forerunners – especially in idea of self-organization, synergetic paradigm with its idea of coevolution of organisms end ecosystems farther turned to sociocultural evolution.
Keywords: the dialog of cognitive practices, evolution, human being, noosphere, personalistic approach, internal experience
Vadim Osipov. EMPIRICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE DISCUSSION OF EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION
There are non-existential hypotheses in theoretical system defended by parapsychologists and by skeptics. Skeptics argue that there is no extrasensory perception. Parapsychologists maintain that the experimental procedures eliminate the sensory channels of information transmission (i.e., there are no sensory channels). These non-existential hypotheses are impossible to substantiate other than by means of inductive inference, which doesn’t have the force of logical necessity. Therefore, both the proof of extrasensory perception existence and extrasensory perception non-existence are not final.
In order to prove extrasensory perception existence parapsychologists need at least one experiment with a positive result. To get the parity, skeptics have to prove the existence of sensory channels in all the experiments, where unexplained statistical anomalies had been discovered.
While processing the empirical data to which parapsychologists and skeptics appeal, we find out that the parapsychologists get statistically significant empirical data that confirm the extrasensory perception existence. Whereas the skeptics are enable to provide the empirical evidence of sensory channels existence.
Keywords: Extrasensory perception, existential hypothesis, non-existential hypothesis, singular statements, basic statements, falsification, verification, synthetic inductive inference, empirical evidence, reproducibility, Karl Popper, Ingo Swann, Pavel Stepanek
Vitaliy Pronskikh. TOPICAL ISSUES IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTATION
The review of the Conference “Philosophy of Scientific Experimentation” held on April 11-12, 2014 in the Center of Philosophy of Science, Pittsburg University (Pennsylvania, USA).
Anastasia Migla. SUMMER SCHOOLS IN LOGIC AND PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE IN 2014
The review of the summer schools organized by European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information and New York – Saint-Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture in summer, 2014.
Vladimir Seliverstov. ERNST MALLY: FROM MEINONG TO ZALTA
This article considers the problem of analysis of Ernst Mally’s theory. The problem mainly lies in the fact that this theory is usually considered in connection with other theories. For example, it can be considered as the development of Alexius Meinong’s theory of objects. Meinong was Mally’s teacher and his ideas have formed the basis of the contemporary study of nonexistent objects, the basis of the theories of Terens Parsons, Richard Routley etc. But he was often criticized for the fact that he claimed as they said that from his point of view all things exist in one form or another, that the golden mountain or round square exist just like the real mountains, but in some weak or low-grade way. Mally understood problems of Meinong’s theory and tried to suggest possible solutions to these problems. So that in fact we can say that he has created an alternative theory of objects.
Mally’s theory in turn has also influenced the development of Edward Zalta’s theory of abstract objects. In this regard, we can also consider Mally’s theory as a first version of Zalta’s theory. But at the same we want to understand the relations between the theories of Meinong and Mally, Mally and Zalta. Was Mally really so close to introduce a distinction of two types of predication - exemplification and encoding (which was introduced later Zalta), or not? To answer this question, we should consider the Mally’s theory itself.
Keywords: theory of objects, Mally, Meinong, Zalta, predication
Ernst Mally. OBJECT-THEORETIC FOUNDATIONS FOR LOGICS AND LOGISTICS
Translated by Vladimir Seliverstov: E.Mally. Gegenstandtheoretische Grundlagen der Logik und Logistik. Leipzig: Verlag von Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1912.
Tatiana Sokolova. C.I.LEWIS’S PRAGMATIC A PRIORI
The introduction to the translation of extract from Lewis C.I. Conception of the A Priori// The Journal of Philosophy. 1923. Vol.20, No.7, Mar.29. P.169-177.
Petr Kusliy. On “Logic for Philosophers”
The review of the book: Tomova N., Shalack V. Vvedenie v logiku dlya filosofov (Introduction to logic for philosophers). Moscow, 2014.
Maxim Demin. TEACHING ARGUMENTS: MODERN WAYS TO TRAIN LOGIC AND REASONING
The review of the book: Sinnott Armstrong and W., Fogelin R. «Understanding arguments: an introduction to informal logic». 9th ed. Wadsworth : Cengane Learning, 2014