Philosophy

Philosophy

  • Arno Gorgels added an answer:
    How can durable peace be established on earth? Any good ideas?
    Observation: The Highest Level of wisdom (Tora) and the Highest Level of knowledge (Kabbala) haven't ever turned the history of wars into an epoch of durable peace. What is wrong? Should these, maybe, be accompanied by profound modesty and sensitive altruism raised to a level of intrinsic daily praxis without mistake? What is your opinion?
    Arno Gorgels · Principia Naturae

    It is my firm opinion that wars, once, will be understood (even pretty soon) as part of a divine plan to purify the naughty designs placed on earth by heavenly (observant) designers. This understanding will match the necessary wisdom that is needed to cause durable and final peace on earth. This is the result of my research that I started 30 years ago that, back in 1994, appeared to have the purpose of bringing religion and science together as two slightly separate views of creation. Science should accept aktual infinity as an explanatory tool for many phenomena it denies existence of.

  • James F Peters added an answer:
    Are there mathematicians, scientists or philosophers whose work you view as influencing historical outcomes in a minor or in a major significant way?
    Do you think that the interaction between such scholars has led to the success of their work in making an impact?

    Scholars such as Euclid (geometry), Newton (science), Plato (philosophy) have
    been very influential in shaping the way we see the world. For example, Euclid’s
    Elements written in Alexandria around 300 B.C. became a standard work in geometry. It is one of the most widely read, translated and commented on work in European history. It was translated into Arabic around 800 A.D., into Chinese in 17th century and into Sanskit in the 18th century. The first english version of Euclid’s Elements was Sir Henry Billingsley’s translation published in 1570. Euclidean geometry has been enormously influential in shaping our view of the world. For more about this, see
    http://www.hf.uio.no/ikos/english/research/projects/euclid/

    Plato, 428-348 B.C., descendent from kings of Athens and Messenia, student of Socrates, teacher of Aristotle, founded the Academy of Athens, one of the institutions of higher learning in the Western world. He wrote about justice, beauty, equality, political philosophy, theology, cosmology, epistemology and the philosophy of language. For more about this, see
    http://www.biography.com/people/plato-9442588#awesm=~oBHUNDFF6ggpWQ
    A central notion in Plato’s philosophy is the theory of forms. The only true being is founded upon the forms, the eternal, unchangeable, perfect types, of which particular objects of sense are imperfect copies. This theory has been enormously influential in science and mathematics. For more
    about this, see
    http://www.ams.org/notices/201002/rtx100200239p.pdf

    Isaac Newton, 1643-1727, son of a farmer, Professor at Cambridge University, taught optics, introduced a theory of colours of light and theory of gravitation, published his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, 1687, introducing infinitesimal calculus, co-discovered (with Leibniz). During his study of optics, Newton investigated the refraction of light, demonstrating that the multi-coloured speturm produced by prism (see attached image) could be recomposed into white light by a lens and a second prism. He showed that colour is the result of objects interacting with already-coloured light rather than objects generating the colour themselves. He designed the first reflecting telescope, demonstrating his telescope to the Royal Society in 1671.
    James F Peters · University of Manitoba

    @Guido: agreed on both of your observations about Ludwig Wittgenstein.

    Here is an exchange that took place in 1929 between G.E. Moore, Betrand Russell and Wittgenstein concerning the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, available in translation by C.K.Ogden and F.P. Ramsey in 1922.

    http://www.sfu.ca/~jeffpell/Phil467/WittViva.pdf

  • Louis Brassard added an answer:
    Are we ready to understand Leibniz now?
    Three hundred years after the publication of Monadology in 1714, Leibniz's philosophical work remains largely ignored or misunderstood. There are important new developments in commentary from philosophers like Daniel Garber and some of the most serious misinterpretations, like 'psychophysical parallelism' are now being discarded, but there still seems to be very little appreciation of how much Leibniz's work presages modern physics. Leibniz was in many ways first and foremost a theoretical physicist, with his metaphysics being designed to describe that deeper layer of physics that was empirically hard to address and required careful inference. That deeper layer looks extraordinarily like fundamental physics as it is now understood. In this tercentenary year, is it perhaps time that Leibniz's prescience was more widely recognised and a more concerted attempt made to understand what he really meant - which probably bears little or no relation to what people thought he meant for most of the early twentieth century.

    Jonathan,

    I am also leaning more towards Lee because he beleive in the reality of time.  I also think that he still cling to some old artefact of traditional time.  Barbour demolish traditional time, eliminate it and produce a perfect static geometrical world which traditional time, spatialized time, paved the way.  But in my opinion, he push this logic of geometrization of the world began by Galileo and Descartes to its end and so make it more evident the limits of the platonic project.  The opposite solution , instead of completing the geometrical project  goes back to Heraclitus and tries to explain the stable by process.  Lee argues for the reality of changes but cling to time.  If we only cling to change and to explain the invariant by a process of stabilisization, then we have to gave up the existence of a succession of moment of time and to settle for the existence of only the NOW.  Both Barbour and Lee focus on the relational philosophy of Leibniz but I do not see them embracing the monadic philosophy a long way. Lee principle of precedence is a very exciting development towards a general principle of cosmic evolution and stabilisation which he used to create a quantum gravity theory.  Quantum mechanics is here conceived as the maximazation of freedom under the constraint of the principle of precedence.  This is a very Leibnizian idea.  But I totally reject Lee"s multiverse theory which aims to solve the anthropic problem.  I personally see the anthropic problem, not as a real problem but as an artefact of the scientific method to explain everything that is not law-like (unchanging) into fixed initial conditions.  Should we be surprise that this scientific method of fine tuning the initial conditions to explain all the future feature of the evolution of the cosmos leave un-explain why these intial condition end up to be fine tuned for life!!!  It is evident that they will be fine tuned since the scientific process fine tuned them.  What is need is an emergent evolutionary process with based on a few simple principles.  But this is a long story.

    Regards

  • Donald Stikeleather added an answer:
    What reasoning can justify implementing contemplative techniques in workplaces to bring benefits yet maintaining integrity of their origins?

    Debate has arisen as to the purposes of utilising contemplative techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, within organisations as part of efforts towards enhancing workplace wellness, as justification is made in terms of productivity and financial measures. Yet, are workplace applications upholding the underlying philosophy of the techniques? In cases where the answer is yes, how can this be explained, of how the implementation is aligned in a way that maintains the purity of the practices, and in the cases where the answer is no, how could the approach be modified towards bringing benefits not just the bottom line but also from a more holistic perspective?

    Donald Stikeleather · Indiana University Health

    McMindfulness is an appropriation of a religious practice. It's like telling a Christian, "Oh God will take care of this," dismissing the experience and valuing a temporary placidity.

  • Jayaraman V added an answer:
    Can anyone refer me to work about Ayn Rand and feminism?

    I am looking for scholarship exploring Rand's attitude towards feminism as expressed in her publications, novels and philosophy. I would also like to be referred to any feminist or anti-feminist work about Rand. 

    Jayaraman V · Indian Space Research Organisation ( ISRO ) Headquarters

    Thanks, Anita. That blog contains lot of junk too. Hope you will take the grains leaving out the chaff!

  • Joe Graymer added an answer:
    The death penalty and human dignity - what are your thoughts?
    John Stuart Mill stated regarding the death penalty that, "I defend this penalty, when confined to atrocious cases, on the very ground on which it is commonly attacked—on that of humanity to the criminal; as beyond comparison the least cruel mode in which it is possible adequately to deter from the crime." It is well known that both Kant and Hegel thought that execution is required to preserve the convicted murderer’s dignity as a rational moral agent. Was it merely the state of the prisons of their day which led these men to make such statements or is there some notion of what it means to be a fully functioning human being which they felt was degraded by being imprisoned for life?
    Joe Graymer · NYAS

    We all receive a death penalty once conceived; if death comes from a disease or an accident, or is inflinged by other people, as a murder, as an execution, as a consequence of a conflict, is not the important or the main issue. There's no 'Death with dignity', all deaths are humiliating and imposed. Thanks

  • Vikram Zaveri added an answer:
    How to understand the concept of "sex" in religious philosophy?
    Buddhism and Jainism both preached celibacy as the highest virtue a man can attain and should pursue. Why?
    But the same religions talks about adultery, extra marital affairs and love affairs. Even some of the non-canonical religious texts provide detailed and erotic descriptions... how to understand such things in religious philosophical discourse.?
    Vikram Zaveri · Independent Researcher

    Sex and Celibacy both are creations of God. Sex is necessary to populate the earth and Celibacy is necessary for one's own salvation. This could be understood only in the context of rebirth. Those who have the desire to enjoy the world they take up the life of the householder. After several births when they develop the spirit of intense renunciation they naturally feel inclined to practice celibacy. In celibacy, all outgoing energies gets stored within the human and it gets utilized towards evolution of spinal chord, the mind and the intellect. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to say that one who practices unbroken continance for 12 years develops a special nerve. With this he is able to grasp and retain deep spiritual truths. Swami Vivekananda used to say that practice of continence results in excellent memory and concentration of mind. Pre-monastic name of Swami Vivekananda was Narendra. He met his Guru Sri Ramakrishna when he was nineteen. One day Narendra asked following question to his Guru.

    NARENDRA: Sir, have you seen God?
    SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Yes, I have seen God... I have seen Him more tangibly than I see you. I have talked to Him more intimately than I am talking to you... But, my child, who wants to see God?... People shed jugs of tears for money, wife, and children, but who does that for God? If they weep for God for just one day, they would certainly see Him.

    I recommend following books about the detailed account of a person who saw and experienced (communed with) God.

    "Sri Ramakrisha The Great Master" by Swami Saradananda, (tr.) Swami Jagadananda.
    "The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna." by Mahendranath Gupta, (tr.) Swami Nikhilananda.

    Above books available across the world at Vedanta Society bookstores.
    http://www.vedanta.org/wiv/links/centers.html

  • Is ethics a science?
    Although all science are concerned with their own particular spheres, it can be an interesting philosophical question if ethics can be considered as a science or not?
    Abdulvahed Khaledi Darvishan · Tarbiat Modares University

    Dear All

    Thank you for your contributions.

    Regards

  • If it's confirmed that there has been something before the "Big Bang", what do you think about that "something"?
    Is anybody able to Imagine "Nothing" before the big bang? Does it mean no time and no space. Well, I cannot imagine there were nothing before the big bang. I think it might be something. But what about "something"? For me, this is the main question?
    Abdulvahed Khaledi Darvishan · Tarbiat Modares University

    Dear All

    Thank you for your contributions.

    Regards

  • H.G. Callaway added an answer:
    Has science lost its liberating power?
    After the European Middle Ages, science was one of the liberating forces. But now, more than ever, science is part of the social world and institutionalized in nearly all countries. Some philosophers like Adorno and Feyerabend developed very critical perspectives on that topic.
    There are some associated problems: e.g. scientific superiority of nations, science as a measure of suppression or science and power, liberty and technological development, social science and social technology, medical progress and personal freedom.
    But on the other hand there is an international exchange of ideas in science that seems free and often liberal.
    What do you think about the liberating power of science? What do you think is the current state in this discussion?
    H.G. Callaway · Temple University

    Dear Salustri,

    What has happened to your reply--to which I replied, in turn, above? It seems to have disappeared from sight? My sight? I believe that these discrepancies dis-courage genuine exchanges and debate--replacing them with ....? A priori answers known only to the monitors at RG? Particularities of European politics? Its all a bit of a mystery. 

    That the correct answers are already known to the "great and the good" is the very essence of the a priori, rationalist attitude. 

    H.G. Callaway 

  • Ian Eagleson added an answer:
    Are things and events such as color vision and intentionality part of what Kant calls the noumena?
    There are two pillars of consciousness, that of intentionality, which includes thoughts, ideas, desires, motives and goals. The other side of consciousness is that of phenomena, which includes sensations, perceptions and feelings. These are troublesome for philosophy of mind philosophers because things such as color vision, the redness of red is not physical but is mental; the experience of a red rose is different from the physics of it all, this is related to the "Mary Problem" and what Goethe was pointing out, which is that Newtonian vision theory gives us everything about the theory of light but what we actually see and also perceive as beauty. Another example would be pain. One can pinch another and watch the physics and the biology of it all, but never will that observer 'feel' that other person's pain. The C Fibers can be watched and the damaged tissue, and the signals to the brain but one can't feel the pain of another. Also, ideas and other intentionalities aren't like tables and chairs that you can poke, prod and measure. They seem mental. like perceptions of color and feelings. Furthermore, reasons seem different than physical causes in that if you take a brain, blow it up to the size of a building and walk in what one would see is fat, protein and water, which translates into mostly dendrites, axons and synapses. No where do we "see" and idea. I don't want to debate my metaphysics or my epistemology though please.

    However, what I want to know is if these two categories, that of intentionality and phenomena, as described above, fit into what Kant would call the noumenal realm.

    Thank you ever so much for any help you may give.
    Ian Eagleson · Delaware County Community College

    Dear Jonathan,

    The thing about the proximal/distal distinction, certainly from the Kantian view, and I think from the view of the Meditations, is that it is only meaningful to talk about it with regard to what can be experienced. But when Descartes says that sensations "are produced without my cooperation and often even against my will.... [s]o the only alternative is that [their source] is another substance distinct from me," (Med. 6) he is only doing ontology. Everything we can say or know about the world, including causal relations, is built from the sensory content. The finite intellect has no access to that which is "outside of it" as it is "in itself." All causation is phenomenal. Nonetheless, sensations, since they are not produced by me, must have another source, i.e other than me. This source appears to me in certain ways, having certain causal relations, etc. This is why he proceeds with a form of pragmatism and a coherence theory of knowledge. Distal causal relations are understood as part of what can be accessed through sensation and experience (even if, through reasoning, we propose some features of that realm which we could not experience, but serve as theoretical explanation for how appearance must be put together given how things appear--they are still proposed as objects and relations within the realm of appearance).

  • Should the possibility that we live in an immaterial reality be seriously considered by science?

    It seems to me that the possibility is being dismissed as unscientific or philosophic. I sustain that there are probability-based indications, such as the Simulation Argument by Nick Bostrom (link below) in addition to many indications of observable evidence in QM and Special Relativity (SR), Cosmology, etc., to mention a few, that point to the possibility in question. Indications such as:

    • Non-locality. This is an indication of abstraction layers (hidden variables, according to Bohm).
    • Discreteness. Computational conditions such as integer or fixed-point arithmetic. Construction by signal processing techniques.
    • Quantum numbers. Indication of some form of integer indexing structures such as computational loops.
    • Boundary limits. The constancy of the speed of light, an indication of bandlimited transformations. Absolute zero as a boundary condition.
    • Scale constants. Numerical values that define the subnuclear, nuclear, atomic, molecular and stellar scopes, which are indicative of computational classes. These I believe to be the only true fundamental constants, besides the “orthogonality” ratio τ=2π (the circumference of a circle to its radius ratio). The speed of light (the space to time ratio) is closely related to these constants.
    • Infinite structural malleability, such as length contraction in SR.
    • Orthogonality. As in SR and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Orthogonality is indicative of the utilization of orthogonal functions, as in some form of signal processing construction (Nyquist-Shannon Sampling Theorem).

    The above is obviously not an exhaustive list; consider it food for thought, but an intimate relationship between information theory and the structure of our reality is becoming very obvious and a few physicists (as early as Heisenberg) have made statements or hinted to that effect. However, those statements are very general and don’t give us any guidance as to where or if we should search for that relationship. I have my conjectures on the subject, which have lead me to the postulation of an immaterial ontology. You are welcome to download my papers from my profile page at RG, but I certainly would love to read your answers to the question, in favor or against. Please do not omit any references to related research, including your own.
    Pre-thanks for your kind answers, Bernardo.

    Bernardo Sotomayor Valdivia · The Consensual Beliefs Foundation

    @Scott:
    Thanks for up-voting my question, it’s appreciated, though I’m not clear about your statement on metaphysics; can you elaborate on it please?
    Thanks.

  • Scott Russell added an answer:
    Why is it ethical to use animals in research?
    Although it is of great benefit to use animals in research, but how is it ethical? A disease is induced, animals are suffering and terminated at the end of experiment. Are ethics determined based on interest or power?
    Scott Russell · University of Michigan-Flint

    I'm an animal and it is more ethical for them to experiment on me than on you. What a tragedy it would be if they experimented on people like the CIA has done or as the US Public Health Service did at Tuskeegee. Just be thankful that us animals enjoy the free food, shelter and cool names you guys give us.

  • Wayne Macpherson added an answer:
    In the current era, is kaizen still a relevant approach to organizational life?

    While kaizen has been a pervasive phenomenon that guides the organization’s approach to daily tasks and existence over the longer-term, the oft-reported lackluster performance of the Japanese economy has inevitably resulted in questioning the real effectiveness of kaizen as the underpinning, custodial philosophy of Japanese industry.

    Wayne Macpherson · Fukuoka Women's University

    Thank you for all your opinions and insight. It is very motivating to hear such positive feedback especially when others are questioning kaizen.

    Most noteworthy, and something that divides the kaizen camp is that some see kaizen primarily as an underpinning philosophy, and a 'way' to organisational life, with explicit outcomes; and those that view kaizen as tools and methodologies for quick profit.

  • Nelson Orringer added an answer:
    Should cartoons be taken seriously?
    A cartoon is a drawing that portrays situations in an exaggerated style for
    humorous or satirical effect.

    See, for example, the sample cartoon from an 1869 issue of Punch magazine. Many cartoons have the universality of music. We do not have to read music to appreciate a sonata or symphony. Only listening is required. Similarly, one does not need to read the captions for most cartoons to see the humor or satire in a cartoon drawing by itself.

    Every country has its own cartoons and cartoonists. Here are some examples:

    Ziraldo Alves Pinto; Brazilian cartoonist
    Steve Bell (cartoonist) The Guardian (UK)
    Sergio Aragonés, known for his contributions to Mad
    Richard Decker, The New Yorker
    Yuliy Abramovich Ganf, Russia, Krokodil magazine
    Geoff "Jeff" Hook, Australian, Herald Sun
    John Leech, 19th-century Punch cartoonist
    Mario Miranda, The Economic Times, India
    Mana Neyestani, Iranian cartoonist
    Shigeru Mizuki, manga cartoonist
    René Pellos, French cartoonist
    Peter Klusen, German writer and cartoonist

    Cartoons appeal to young and old alike. So the question for this thread is Do cartoons have a message that we should take seriously? Do cartoons convey an underlying philosophy or message along with the humor of a cartoon?
    Nelson Orringer · University of Connecticut

    Actually, Jim, Franco was merely in the process of acquiring absolute power in 1937 when Picasso drew his cartoon. Franco had bombed Guernica and the Republican forces were on the run. This was not good for Picasso personally, since the Republic had named him Director of the Prado Museum, Given Picasso´s reputation, after the Franco victory in 1939, the absolute dictator never removed him from his directorship, although Picasso did nothing, as he was living in exile.

  • Joris Verrips added an answer:
    What is the difference between cognition and perception?
    Cognition and perception: which one precedes the other?
    Joris Verrips · www.depratendecomputer.nl

    I welcome the efforts by Wilfried Musterle, Mehdi Hedayatpoor and Tarak Paul to sort out the semantics of our discussion. Of course, saying perception is not the same thing as saying cognition, just like thinking and being lucky are not the same thing. But... what those words refer to can be intertwined. As when Pasteur remarked that 'luck only helps the prepared mind'. Likewise, one may wonder 'is it a cat or is it a lion that approaches me in yonder bushes'. Perhaps one can not say that to think means that we perceive thoughts, but to me consciousness and perception are related. And when we discuss these subtle matters, it is always ... our perception of them! 

    By the way, these words, who clearly originated in my thoughts, are now perceived by you, because the owner of their intellectual property, researchgate.net, allows it. So those are no longer my words that you, the reader, may perceive!

  • Francesca Cansani added an answer:
    Is there a community out there that combines philosophy and psychology?
    Can anyone help me find out if there is a community out there that in interested in what may be thought of as a blending of Philosophy and psychology? I need to stress that I am not talking about the philosophy 'of' psychology. I am interested in a blending of the 2 disciplines. I would also be interested to know about possible publications in this area.
  • Aashish Basnet added an answer:
    What is perceptual mereology?
    Is anyone aware of literature that considers what could perhaps be thought of as perceptual mereology? What I mean by this is a parts-whole account of how we perceive and understand our worlds, how we bring the parts we apprehend together to form the whole worlds as meaningful experiences? This question arose out of another question I posted and I wanted to share this with a wider audience.
    Aashish Basnet · Perfection Help Association Nepal

    For me recently studying Sandra Cisnero's "The House On the Mango Street" in vignette form provided the literature that considers what could perhaps be thought of as perceptual mereology...

  • Larry Carlson added an answer:
    Does certainty or absolute truth exist?
    Our means of perceiving reality through our senses make us vulnerable to distortions and biases. But with scientific methodologies, can we claim that perception of objective reality is indeed possible? OR objective reality only in the context of known knowledge of the time/period?
    thoughts!
    Larry Carlson · United Tribes Technical College

    Barry...Straw man fallacy-I didn't claim that the forest did not exist when no one was there. If you reread my posts carefully, you will see that I did not deny the existence of the metaphorical forest.  I merely pointed out that such things as sounds (as we hear them), colors (as we perceive them), and sizes, as we measure them, have no objective correlative in nature. 

    For example, there is no objective color pink, which suggests that what we refer to as colors is a totally subjective thing. (No two people see exactly the same color anyway). And Einstein showed us, contrary to common sense, that our conceptions of time, space, and speed are similarly subjective. Likewise, Bohr and Heisenberg suggested, again, counter intuitively, that qualities such as position, spin, etc. are largely products of our own imaging and imagination.

    It is true that commentators (with whom I agree) have noted that Bohr may have gone too far in suggesting that an electron has no position at all or does not even exist until we measure/observe it, but this is all still very much a debated topic, with no clear resolution in sight.

    What is clear is that there is much about the nature of reality that defies common sense.  Many people, for example, might have wondered what forest mushrooms Einstein was eating (and where they could get some) when he came up with many of his counter-intuitive theories about the nature of time and space.

    Some, lets, say, multi-dimensional vibrations composed of "God knows what" make up that thing I label a car, so that I fall asleep each night secure in the "knowledge"  that I can drive to work in the morning when I regain consciousness. However, it is absurd to ask what the car looks or sounds like when I am sleeping. That said, I did not state that nothing existed when I was asleep, or after I die, or after every living thing dies.

    There is No Exit: We cannot escape our own subjectivity and therefore it is pointless to presume that any natural or alleged supernatural being can describe or experience things as they really are outside of consciousness, and therefore pointless to speak of absolute truth with respect to some external, objective reality.

    Kan'ts epistemological revolution, in a nutshell, was that sensations and perceptions are ineluctably subjective...this is a concept that defies common sense.  In keeping with this approach, I would note that our (most people's) first instinct, for example, is to think that we absolutely see the same exact colors as our kids sitting next to us on the hillside on July 4th as we ooh and aah over the colorful fireworks...but this is an illusion.  (Cf. Piaget's stages of learning, wherein, for example, a child thinks that others see a landscape from the same angle that he/she does, as if there was only one absolute perspective). 

    Likewise, of course, many "sensible" people thought (on the basis of their common sense) that Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud (whose theories also contradicted prevalent social beliefs) must be on drugs.

    P.S.   Ummmm, ok, I guess Freud was high on opium and cocaine from time to time, though we can hardly dismiss his revolutionary ideas because of that.

  • James F Peters added an answer:
    Does the proximity (nearness) of symmetric structures in tilings, drawing the eye to points at infinity, have counterparts in nature?
    The art of tiling originated very early in the history of civilization. The basic idea with tiling is to tessellate a surface, covering a surface with small shapes (tiny triangles, squares, hexagons, octagons, and so on) to create patterns with various symmetries, resulting in a pleasing picture. A plane tiling is a countable family of closed sets that cover the plane without gaps or overlaps (B. Grunbaum, G.C. Shephard, Tilings and Patterns, W.H. Freeman and Co., N.Y., 1957, p. 16). Here are some sample tilings made by artisans and made by nature.

    The first set of Tilings is from the Alhambra at Granada in Spain. For more about this, see
    http://home.earthlink.net/~mayathelma/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/alhambra.tlc.2004.pdf
    The second example of a tiling is from M.C. Escher, who visited the Alhambra, marveling at the wealth of decoration in majolica tiles,
    sketching a section that especially attracted him “for its great complexity and geometric artistry”. This first encounter with the tilings in the Alhambra likely increased his interest in making his own tilings (D. Schattschneider, The mathematical side of M.C. Escher, Notices of the Amer. Math. Soc. 57(6), 2010, 707-718).
    For more about this, see
    http://www.ams.org/notices/201006/rtx100600706p.pdf
    For example, in May, 1964, Escher completed is tiling called Square Limit. It contains three rings surrounding the center square, forming a grid of self-similar triangles.
    There are many examples of natural tilings (but on a 3D surface instead of the plane). The third example of a tiling comes from nature: images of giraffe parent and offspring (contributed by Hanno Krieger in another thread). In this case, the tesselation of the surface of a giraffe is carried out with many similar shapes (unlike Escher's tilings). Natural tesslations typically provide camouflage for an animal or bird or fish.
    James F Peters · University of Manitoba

    @Cj Nev: Changing (curved) space surrounding formations I believe accounts for differences or asymmetries in otherwise symmetrical (mathematically-conforming) patterns throughout all of nature.

    Your point is well-taken, since the slight distortions (stretching and shrinking actions) appear to be induced in natural patterns on a large scale by the curvature of space.

  • Stefano Veneroni added an answer:
    Universe's systematic description, epistemological dualism between Relativity/Quantum Mechanics and 'a priori' knowledge.

    How can Quantum Mechanics explain the connection between matter, antimatter and gravitation, while being respectful of the (phoronomic) rules of general relativity? How can the connection between 'continuum' and 'discrete' be explained according to the epistemological model of a 'classical' theory?

    Stefano Veneroni · Université Paris-Sorbonne - Paris IV

    « Εἰ δὲ μὴ ἔστι πάντα πρός τι, ἀλλ' ἔνιά ἐστι καὶ αὐτὰ καθ' αὑτά, οὐκ ἂν εἴη πᾶν τὸ φαινόμενον ἀληθές· τὸ γὰρ φαινόμενον τινί ἐστι φαινόμενον· ὥστε ὁ λέγων ἅπαντα τὰ [20] φαινόμενα εἶναι ἀληθῆ ἅπαντα ποιεῖ τὰ ὄντα πρός τι.. Διὸ καὶ φυλακτέον τοῖς τὴν βίαν ἐν τῷ λόγῳ ζητοῦσιν, ἅμα δὲ καὶ ὑπέχειν λόγον ἀξιοῦσιν, ὅτι οὐ τὸ φαινόμενον ἔστιν ἀλλὰ τὸ φαινόμενον ᾧ φαίνεται καὶ ὅτε φαίνεται καὶ ᾗ καὶ ὥς. » (Aristotele, Métaphysique, Γ, 6, 1011 a, 16-24).

  • David T. Risser added an answer:
    What is the philosophical foundation of sustainable development? What is the importance of art in this?
    In need for the understanding of art and philosophy
    David T. Risser · Millersville University

    Regarding the philosophy of art, I highly recommend the work in aesthetics done by the late Monroe Beardsley and the journal, Aesthetics and Art Criticism.

  • Christopher James Davia added an answer:
    Is the concept of ‘life’ only metaphysical?
    There is an amazingly high number of definitions of ‘life’, leading to reflect that “scepticism is multiplied by the above number, leaving almost no chance for new formulations which, however, continue to appear” (1). Actually the concept of life is “too vague and general, and loaded with a number of historical, traditional, religious values” (2). Although life is “a useful word in practice”, it is “not a scientific concept” (3). The concept of life is related to an indefinable state. Any definition of life is subjective and arbitrary as is the boundary between living and non-living systems or pinpointing the moment when non living systems would have become living. For instance, saying that virus or prions or vesicles with the capacity of evolving are living systems (or not) adds nothing more than the definition of life one would propose. Finally the statement that any such boundary or moment exists is not falsifiable: no experiment can be considered to prove that it can be wrong (4). Therefore, as the distinction between living and non living systems is a matter of belief and not science, it is not only hopeless but useless to try to define this indefinable state related to a metaphysical question (5).
    References:
    1. E. N. Trifonov. J Biomol Struct Dyn 29, 259-266 (2011).
    2. P. L Luisi. The Emergence of Life: from Chemical Origins to Synthetic Biology. Cambridge University Press: New York, NY, USA (2006).
    3. J. Gayon. Orig Life Evol Biosph 40, 231-244 (2010).
    4. M. Tessera. J Biomol Struct Dyn 29, 635-636 (2012).
    5. M. Tessera. Int J Mol Sci 12, 3445-3458 (2011.

    Dear Dr Tessera,

    I am very pleased that you have read my work.

    As is argued in the paper that life maintains its organisation as a consequence of the way in which it mediates transitions to more favourable thermodynamic states.

    The principle agent of catalysis is a special type of wave - a soliton.

    These waves are found at every scale in biology and are implicated in processes as diverse as muscle function and cognitive processes.

    The key to understanding these waves is the fact that they are also information carriers - their robustness results as a direct consequence of the fact that they embody information relating to their boundary conditions as part of their dynamic structure.

    There is evidence to suggest that both biological functioning and biological development are controlled by these waves - thus - bioenergetics = bioinformatics.

    The strength of the theory lies in the fact that it represents a significant simplification of the the biological process and its evolution. It provides a model of cognition and also explains the extraordinary robustness of living processes without recourse to additional principles.

    You might find these papers useful.

  • Rognvaldur Ingthorsson added an answer:
    How is action at temporal distance possible?

    This is partly a philosophical question as well as empirical. Action at a distance in space is one thing. Action at a distance in time is less well discussed in science and philosophy.

    Rognvaldur Ingthorsson · Lund University

    Sean, about co-incidence. That is a good question, about which I am not decided. It might be the case that our idea that things cannot coincide in space and time is just a result of the contingent fact that macroscopic objects typically interact in such a was as to repel one another. That would make the idea that two things cannot occupy the same space an empirical inference and not a logical truth. Indeed, the idea used to be connected to the idea that objects necessarily were solid or "impenetrable". However, it may not be impossible that microscopic entities coincided on the most fundamental level. For instance, one might think of superposition of waves as two entities occupying the same spatiotemporal location. But then again, we would have to assume that we now are regarding waves at the highest resolution so that they do not merely appear to coincide, but actually do. At the moment I don't see whether it is important to take a stand one way or another, at least not for the issue of causality. For instance, if co-incidence is possible, that would not change anything about the principle of locality or action at a distance. But I guess, only entities that merely attract and do not repel each other could coincide in that way.

    You are also right that the account is meant to discriminate between mere regularity and causal regularity. Anyway, the regularity theory always was a plan B; it only has appeal if you ascribe to some kind of scepticism (say, like Hume) that forbids you to speculate about the nature of reality beyond perception (or observation). It is not as if regularity theory explains things better in any way at all, it really says something like: "since we cannot speculate about nature beyond observation, regularity is the best we can get". 

  • James F Peters added an answer:
    From your point of view, what are examples of geometric patterns in digital images?

    Repeated polygonal shapes or repeated colours are sources of visual patterns.   Another important source of patterns are the  presence of convex sets and convex hulls in digital images, especially in naturally camouflaged or in artificially camouflaged objects .   A set A is convex provided the line segment connecting any points A is contained in A.   A convex hull is the smallest convex set containing a set of points (see the attached image).   Also,  see the many convex sets in the natural camouflage of the dragon in the attached image and in

    http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=14&ved=0CCQQFjADOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdl.mycommerce.com%2Fwgt%2F9f3a1646c2829ec59a8eb14e75c5ff39%2F1b8198605693ddfd3bcf98d46a2be20f%2Frn_v43325%2F0521199115_0521152577_Animal.pdf&ei=1qLdU6blI8KzyAS02ICYDg&usg=AFQjCNF92EF4zkYvByBaskyvTu8m46m6Lg&bvm=bv.72197243,d.aWw

     Convex sets have many applications in the study of digital images.   For example, convex sets are used in solving image recovery problems:

    https://www.ljll.math.upmc.fr/~plc/ip2.pdf

    and in image restoration:

    https://www.google.ca/search?as_q=math+digital+images&as_epq=convex+sets&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&lr=&cr=&as_qdr=all&as_sitesearch=&as_occt=any&safe=images&tbs=&as_filetype=&as_rights=&gws_rd=ssl

    Convexity recognition is useful in object shape analysis in digital images:

    http://www.ee.oulu.fi/mvg/files/pdf/pdf_513.pdf?origin=publication_detail

    Another important application of convexity is rooftop and building detection in aerial images:

    http://www3.stat.sinica.edu.tw/statistica/oldpdf/A19n45.pdf

    James F Peters · University of Manitoba

    @Hasan Hadi Khaleel: it is highly required to downscale images for better processing and detecting.

    Downscaling digital images can be accomplished in a number of ways.    One of those ways is to detect and analyse the presence of convex shapes such as parallelograms in digital images.   This process is described on page 1454 in

    X. Huoo, X. Ni, Detectability of convex-shaped objects in digital images, its fundamental limit and multi scale analysis, Statistica Sinica 19, 2009, 1439-1462:

    http://www3.stat.sinica.edu.tw/statistica/oldpdf/A19n45.pdf

  • Juan Pascual-Leone added an answer:
    Does anyone know when mereology was taken out of the more mathematical and calculus based philosophical work of authors such as Lesniewski?

    Is anyone aware of the term mereology being used in a more general philosophical or psychological sense to mean parts and wholes?

    Juan Pascual-Leone · York University

    Dear Paul:
    My apologies for the delay in replying.
    Tthe distinction by Piaget between two distinct ways of knowing -- repertoires of schemes/structures, i.e., the Logical (or Logico-Mathematical) domain versus the Infralogical (or spatio-temporal, or object construction, or coordination of actions, or empirical/experiential or sub-logical) domain is central to his work,. However,  the infralogical  is not easy to identify in his writing, particularly in English, due to the variable terminology –  although important to his theorizing. He uses the infralogical domain as a counterpoint to the logical one, recognizing the former as the original experiential source and testing ground for the truth value of the latter. With some reinterpretations and adaptations, he explicates the infralogical using a variant of his logical models for elementary logic (logic of classes – here redefined as infra-classes – and the logic of relations. The  part-whole relations he examines developmentally in his analysis of the child’s construction of objects and space . To my knowledge he did not address the issue of how his infralogical theorizing related to Lesniewski’s Mereologic although  he was aware of Lesniewski’s work.
    I have selected English  books of Piaget that refer to the infralogical domain in various alternative terms.  Perhaps the first source that a philosopher might wish to consult  is (1) E.W.Beth & J. Piaget, “Mathematical Epistemology and Psychology”, now own by Springer Publishers [original, Dordrecht, Holland : D. Reidel Pub. Co., 1966.]. Under various names, infralogical structures are analyzed in this book in Chapters IX, X, section 58 of Chapter XI, and section 62 of Chapter XII. I am using the French original version, but I imagine ordering of chapters and sections has been preserved.
    Two other relevant theoretical sources of Piaget’s work in English are: (2) J. Piaget "The Equilibration of Cognitive Structures", Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Part 2 and Part 3 of this book are particularly relevant. (3) His “famous” article about Piaget’s theory [J. Piaget, Piaget’s Theory. In P.H. Mussen, Ed., “Handbook of Child Psychology”, Volume I, J. Wiley & sons, 1946/1983]
    A more concrete discussion of his unique infralogical logic appears in older books. For instance, (4) his book on Space (Piaget & Inhelder’s “The Child’s Conception of Space”, Norton & Company, 1967), Chapter XV gives you his overview.
    His two very original psychology books on the development of Logic are: (5) Piaget & Inhelder, book on the emergence of elementary logical structures [the English translation  is, I believe, by Inhelder & Piaget, “The Early Growth of Logic in the Child”, Routledge, 1999], and (6) Inhelder & Piaget, 1958, “The Growth of Logical Thinking,” Basic Books, Inc. In the latter book Chapter 17 might be where to start.
    Finally another scholarly and useful theoretical source (7) written by a psychologist, which looks at Piaget’s later work from an epistemological perspective (the, albeit excellent, has been ignored because of a misguided early book review ! ), This is : Rita Vuyk’s “Piaget’s Genetic Epistemology 1965-1980”. Published by Academic Press in two volumes, in 1981.

  • Matthieu Vergne added an answer:
    Are differentials (or comparisons) a suitable basis for value systems?

    Establishing a sounding valuation system is a hard problem. Many researchers who had to use a Likert scale or establish a fitness function had probably thought that the concrete numbers they were using were just arbitrary choices, yet they could have a significant influence when we use them in number calculation. Why should it be 1 here and 5 there? Why this scale? In the technique X, there is a normalization process, so the scale does not matter... so why should I be forced to chose one?

    I personally work with rankings of people and, while it is obvious that, given a characteristics, one person is above/under/equivalent to another, without giving a concrete value (e.g. we can obviously see that someone is taller than another even without measuring it precisely), yet rankings are prone to be replaced by valued vectors (e.g. indexe, values between 0 and 1, or 1 and X, or others) just to be able to "compute" them as numeric vectors. But such choices are arbitrary, still we just use them (we have learned it that way)... and if it works then fine, no need to think further.

    In the case of an artificial intelligence needing to learn "everything from scratch" (understand: minimizing the bias introduced by its designer by learning it from the environment), could it be relevant to consider that, internally, the value system is built on a set of comparisons? For instance, I like sugar (value: sugar is good) because I prefer cakes to pizza, strawberries to yoghurt, ... (comparisons) and not the opposite (I prefer X to Y because I like sugar). We identify by abstraction that, because we prefer things which are classified as sweet, then we like sugar.

    My initial intuition is that, at the living being level (human or any other animal, maybe vegetal I don't know), when an individual borns, it also has to learn its own physiological condition: I am receiving many signals from the external world (e.g. touch, smell, vision) as well as producing many signals by myself (e.g. muscle contraction), but I don't have a clue of the meaning behind each of them. No one is a 100% clone of one another, so it is hard to assume that we internally have the exactly same system working on, so having "objective values" seems to me hard to believe. However, I can feel the difference on the signal (stronger/lower or increasing/decreasing), and by a feedback loop (I increase this produced signal and this received signal decreases) I can learn the effect.

    Even the signals is completely different between two individuals (supposing the body is adapted for that), for instance reversing the sign of the current or shifting the signal or changing its scale (e.g. instead of a signal between 0.5 and 3mV -imaginary values- we have 10-23mV), because the learning is based on the evolution of the signal rather than its absolute value, one can still learn exactly the same thing, yet he feels it completely differently. For instance, one could see the world in negative colors, but because he has learned that this "white" color (that another see black) is called "black", when he sees something "white" he still calls it "black", which is correct.

    The implication would be to not need to choose any arbitrary values, just having "values" there, whatever they are, and making sense of them relatively to others. As well as the meaning of a word (which is basically an arbitrary symbol) is given by its relations with other words (or internal feelings), rather than any intrinsic meaning.

    I did not find any work discussing such approach, so I don't know if there is already papers in artificial intelligence evaluating such kind of systems. I don't even know if there is phylosophical works on it.

    Matthieu Vergne · Fondazione Bruno Kessler

    If I have to mention a problem to solve, I would say the arbitrariness of such scale, which gives me a bad taste when I read such a thing in a scientific paper. Being more formal, the fact that replacing a qualitative scale (e.g. A/B/C) by a quantitative one (e.g. 1/2/3) AND using these numbers in calculation (otherwise it is just a symbol replacement, no problem with that) implies the assumption that a qualitative scale becomes naturally quantitative in some way. This is hurting my "scientific" perspective, thus I would like to know which way could be used to solve that.

  • Asmat Ali added an answer:
    Non-payment culture – will it shrink the economy?
    Jaron Lanier, in his new book “Who owns the future?” (2013) proposes the thesis, that the non-payment culture of free information and reduced transaction costs provided by the internet will shrink our economy. What is your opinion?
    Asmat Ali · PMAS - Arid Agriculture University

    I concur with all the above contributors. It does depend on the semantic of "economy". If it is only think in the terms of money then definitely YES, Non-payment culture – will  shrink the money oriented economy.

    On the other hand, if economy is seen in the context of knowledge only, then Non-payment culture – will never shrink the economy, I think so.

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