Phil 430/Rel.St. 380. 3 credits

 

Phil 430   Links:   Course OutlinesAssignments and Questionspaper topics,   Summary IIISummary IV , Summary of summaries
sample exam ISample Final

 

Syllabus

Instructor: Dr. Norman Lillegard   Office: Hum. 229    Office Phone - 587 7384

Office Hours:  1-2 MWF and by appointment

e-mail - nlillega@utm.edu

 

Texts: “Text” material will be found on the library’s electronic reserve.  Any additional readings will be indicated in a timely fashion. (**Access code for this course’s materials is 7384. Go to UTM page, to library, to catalogue, to E reserves, scroll my name, or use course # etc.)

 

Content: We are going to think about, discuss, try to come up with, non-ridiculous answers to the following questions, all of which are and will continue to be of CENTRAL SIGNIFICANCE to our culture (i.e. our politics and political freedoms, views on morality, law, family life, religious life, intellectual life generally, the material conditions of our existence)  for a long time. Our current “culture wars” (which are going on right now in this university and this town as well as in California or New York or Washington D.C. and in the media ) are to a very large extent functions of struggles over THESE questions. This is so, in part, because of the tremendous power and prestige of something called “science” in our culture.

 

 1.Just what is science? (is there a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for something’s being “Science”? What makes some inquiry scientific?( Compare Newtonian physics to Goodall’s research with apes). How is it different from religion, ethics.

2.Are the sciences “socially constructed?” (Cf. Kuhn, Feminists, others, on ideological motivations and uses of science.  The Sokal hoax

3.Are the social sciences really sciences? In what sense are human beings fit subjects for scientific study, and in what senses, if any, are they not?  (Are “minds” intrinsically impenetrable by scientific methods? Can mind be accounted for by physiology/neurology? By computational models? Can human thinking and customs be explained by sociobiology? By rational choice theory? What are the main pros and cons in each case?)

4.What are the human values, if any, which might conflict with scientific research and/or its applications, and what would the conflicts be? (Examples: a healthy viable environment; a sense of dignity, freedom and individual worth; the right of innocent persons to not to be harmed; religious beliefs and values) On the other hand, how has science enhanced human values, or how might it do so (use of science in courtrooms? Use of science in eliminating diseases or other “defects” in human life? Etc.)

 

Course Requirements: Attend class and participate, do the readings, do all written assignments, pass the exams. 

Three exams (multiple choice, T/F). Two exams worth 100 pts, Final exam is comprehensive, worth 150 pts. (Sample exams will be available on the instructors web site.)

Quizzes on definitions of terms (ca. 50 pts).  Terms are on the Phil. 430 website, and in the reserve material.

Short essay answers to questions to be given in class are due about  once a week.  They must be turned in when due. They are worth as much as the final, therefore it is essential that they be completed and turned in. (Ca. 150 pts) They must be stapled or in a folder if more than one page. Summaries of the materials necessary to answer the questions will sometimes be available on the instructor’s web site and in reserve material.

            A paper, ca. 1500 words (5 pages) on a topic approved by the instructor. 100 pts.

Attendance 50pts.  Regular attendance and informed participation in class are essential since (a)not everything covered in class is included in the text material (b) you will need to get engaged with issues in order to achieve understanding; class sessions, and the instructor, exist for the purpose of getting you engaged, involved in thinking. It’s not likely to happen otherwise!  

Total points 700. Some outside assignments may earn additional points.  (Normally %90 of total points gets you an 'A', %80 a 'B' and so forth, but significant adjustments for curve are made when necessary)

Those who perform adequately on the first two exams will have the option of writing a longer paper in lieu of the final exam. Topic to be chosen in consultation with instructor. Ca. 10 pages (3000 words).  Philosophy majors are encouraged to exercise this option.

 

A general point about requirements: the emphasis here will not be on how extensive your knowledge is, but on how intensive, well digested it is.  Therefore, we will all work together on just a few primary “cases” or episodes in the history of science itself, and  its cultural impact.  ALL MUST BE FAMILIAR WITH THOSE CASES well enough to DISCUSS THEM IN SOME DETAIL. Any student with more advanced knowledge of any of the physical or social sciences will be encouraged to use what he/she knows in this course.

 

The cases I am tentatively considering will include Newtonian mechanics, Mendelian genetics, phlogiston chemistry, psychological behaviorism, (neo)Darwinian theory, Sociobiological explanations of certain human customs and behavior.  There are many neatly described and interesting cases, including some of those just mentioned, in your text material on E reserve.  So, you do not have to know a lot about ANY of the sciences in order to master the material for this course. (The instructor does not know a lot about ANY of them himself! Though he probably knows a little more than most non-scientists about a few of them?)

 

A word to the wise: Don’t think that the exams are the important thing and the other stuff is just busy work. It will be closer to the other way around.

 

The purpose of this course is to help you develop the capacity to THINK CRITICALLY about the issues indicated in the five questions listed above and in bold below.  Thinking critically usually requires being familiar with, and being able to enter into conversation with, opposing views. It is IMPORTANT that you think carefully about these issues.  This may be the most important course you ever take. These are questions you ought to CARE about. My reasons for thinking that will, I hope, be evident as we proceed.

            The ability to parrot views (whether those of the instructor or anyone else's) is of no use to you or anyone.  You will not be tested on such an ability. You will be tested on critical thought, on your understanding of the issues and arguments.

 


NOTE: "Any student eligible for and requesting academic accommodations due to a disability is requested to provide a letter of accommodation from P.A.C.E. or Student Academic Support Center within the first two weeks of the semester."                                                       

 

Course Overview (There is flexibility here so that YOU can to some extent determine how this course goes, how we spend out time).

Discussion of question # 4, above, will be distributed throughout the course.

Week I, II, III, question #1.(above).

Week III thru V questions #2.     Exam #1 through week V material.  Sept. 26

Week VI through X question #3. Exam II through week X material. Oct. 30

Week XI through XVI question #3 continued. .

                                                                                                                                   

GETTING ORIENTED:  This course exists and has the name it has because many people wonder, “ are there, and must there be,  conflicts between science and human values?”

In order to answer that question intelligently you obviously have to think hard about the our four questions.:

 

 

* * * *This course will be devoted entirely  to enhancing your ability to discuss these four

                                         crucial questions in an intelligent, informed way.* * * *

                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                          

The Kind of In-Class Conduct I Expect of Students. 


1.Treat each other with respect.

2.Treat the instructor with respect.

3.Do not talk unless called on.

 


4. Do not leave the room without permission except in extreme emergency.

5. Be on time.

6. Be eager to learn.




COURSE OUTLINES

 

 

          Week I (Assignment: read selections from E reserve material in the folder “Attitudes and Conflicts”)

 

I. Attitudes towards sciences.  Conflicts between science, religion, ethics.

·        Science as salvation

·        Science as enemy of salvation

·        Science vs. ethics

·        Science vs. religion

·        Science supporting religion

 

 a. Science as salvation

·        Hawkhill*

·        Tokyo Declaration*

 

 

 

b. Science as enemy of salvation

·        Psychology/soul*

 

 

c. Science, Ethics, Religion

·        Cohen*

·        Dawkins

 

d. Science and the Brave New World

·        Genetics and healing

1.     Somatic cell therapy

2.     Germ line therapy

·        Genetics and improvement (Eugenics)

1.     Eugenics in history.

 

 

 

I.                DEFINING SCIENCE: MODELS, HYPOTHESES, METHOD.

 

a.Theoretical models:

·        Distinguish from scale, analog, models.

·        Theoretical models are given by explicit definitions which define a system. . E.g. Newtonian particle systems: Defined explicitly by the laws of motion and G.

b. Theoretical hypothesis are claims to the effect that a given model “fits” some natural system. 

·        Consider the claim that the earth and sun form a Newtonian particle system. That says that the earth and sun instantiate the three laws and G. And, the earth, sun, and planets form such a system, etc.

·        Consider the claim that Halley’s comet and the sun form a Newtonian particle system.

1. Explanation and prediction.

 

 

 

c. Scientific Theories are the conjunction of a set of theoretical hypotheses, or are general theoretical hypothesis.

 

What about “laws” (as in Overton)? The idea is that, for example G, is “universally true.” But it isn’t, nor are most “laws.”  Ergo not laws ?

·        Advantage in thinking of them as elements in a model that can have local applications.

·        Advantages for geology, etc.

·        Models always fit actual systems only APPROXIMATELY.

·        Laws are often thought of as fitting perfectly (the 19th century legacy of physics and chemistry). 

 

d. deterministic models

·        Given initial conditions and model, X must happen.

·        Examples:

 

 

e. probabilistic or stochastic models

·        Given initial conditions and model, X will probably happen (is likely to happen etc.)

·        Examples; Mendelian genetics.

 

II.                JUSTIFYING THEORIES.

 

A.      Standard view. Put the theory to the test. “Predict” something on basis of a “model application.” Cf. Halley.

1.     If ((H (model applied)and initial conditions) then P (P is what is predicted, e.g. that the comet will show up in 75 years, or will “show up” in past records every 75 years. etc. )

a.     H is the claim( the “Hypothesis”) that a model applies to a real system. E.g.

b.     Initial conditions (IC) are various factual claims but can include theoretical claims. If (H and IC), then P.  E.g.

 

B.      What makes a GOOD test? Three things.

1.     Prediction is logically deducible. E.g.

 

 

2.     Prediction (e.g. comet will appear in Dec. etc.) is improbable (relative to what is known or generally believed at the time of the P.) Contrast with some predictions of Jeanne Dixon type.

 

3.     P is verifiable. (or falsifiable. i.e. has some empirical bearing, what shows up counts for or against it).

 

The simple inductive rule. Conduct the test. If you get P, then H is probably true. If not-P, then not-H (for sure, supposedly). That does NOT mean

·        If H then P, (condition 1)

·        P,

·        therefore H!                   What a horrible argument that would be!!

 

Rather, this:

   Justifying argument:

1.     If (Not H and IC and B (background knowledge)), then Not-P (this is condition 2)

2.     P. Remember, P was considered highly improbable relative to IC and B.

The “improbable” indicates inductive ingredient of this argument.

Now P is the same as not-not-P. So,

3.     Not (Not H and IC and B) (modus tollens)

4.      H or not-IC or not-B (deMorgans)

5.      IC and B (i.e. not-not IC etc.)

6.      H (Disjunctive syllogism)

 

Apply this to Halley case:

 

 

Disconfirming argument

1. If H (etc.) then P

2. Not P.

3. Therefore, not H.

 

More fully,

1. If (H and IC and B) then P

2. Not P

3. Therefore, not (H and IC and B)

4. Therefore, not H or not IC or not B.

5. IC and B

6. Not H.

 

Problem: How can you be sure about 5? B might include a great deal of theory, assumptions about equipment, etc. See the

“Quine-Duhem” selection in the Method folder. Quine-Duhem thesis: NO theory (theoretical hypothesis) can be decisively confirmed.(of course). AND none can be decisively refuted either. (!!!) Notice Overton again.

Thus, all scientific theories are “underdetermined” by evidence.

 

       A. AND, since either not H or not IC or not B, we might want to ADJUST B (or IC). Priestly on negative weight. Compare testing the roundness of earth H. Or, the Ptolomaic hypothesis. Etc.  Ptolomey: there was a bit of recalcitrant data, viz. retrograde motion of some planets. A “falsifying data” you might say. But, does Ptolomey (do those in his “tradition”) give up the theory for this reason? NO. Are they then not doing SCIENCE? Cf. Overton on falsifiability. But it IS science, and the falsifying data can be gotten rid of by rigging the original hypothesis, questioning initial conditions and background beliefs (IC and B). Thus, epicycles. “ad hoc rescue.”

epicycle.gif

 

      B. Copernican view; don’t need epicycles to explain apparent retrograde motion. Ergo is SIMPLER theory, starts a new theoretical tradition. Ptolomey was getting bogged down in too many ad hoc assumptions.

retrograde.jpg

1. However, the Copernican model ran into plenty of “falsifying data” also. E.g. apparent brightness of some planets, stellar parallax, etc.

 

2. Consider the case of phlogiston.

Priestly hung on to the theory despite the “falsifying test” with mercury. Was he then not doing science?

 

But, this is crazy, right? Science is eminently rational, and it is clearly cumulative. Latter science is a further refinement and development of earlier.

1.Boyle built on Torricelli

2.Galileo built on Copernicus, Brahe.

3.Newton built on Galileo, etc.

 

Each forward step is forward, i.e. is getting us closer to the truth about what nature is REALLY LIKE. 

Quine/Duhem seem to deliver a blow to this rosy picture. How much of one? Whatever is decided, worse things are waiting in the wings ---BOO! Its KUHN!

 

I                      Kuhn and Social Constructionism

A)       Quine/Duhem may give the impression that there is nothing particularly rational about scientific enquiry.

1)   No “progress”, just a lot of people making adjustments to theories so they fit the “facts.” Or, getting tired of it and trying something new.

2)   Are there any true generalizations about what scientists are doing?

B)        Enter Kuhn: there are. They are historical generalizations. Scientific enquiry proceeds through the use of PARADIGMS. That is the magical word in Kuhn.

1)   The word has many meanings in Kuhn (as many as 27?)  A paradigm is any or all of the following (mixed together):

(a)        Paradigms are like theoretical and/or analog models.

(i)     Molecules (of Gases say) as little billiard balls knocking around. Heuristic (Bernoulli).

(ii)   Kinetic theory of heat. Heat IS kinetic energy (metaphysical)

(iii) The Doppler-Fizeau effect. Sound Waves –light “waves”

(i)      Guiding solutions to new problems.

(b)       A set of “paradigmatic” cases used in initiating students into a subject: e.g. use of balls on ramps, pendulums etc. in physics. These cases are usually best cases, i.e. the model applies particularly well to them.

(i)     They also guide solution to further problems.

(c)        Paradigms define legitimate questions or problems and methods

(i)     They do this by attracting investigators away from competitor theories

(ii)   They leave room for further investigations.

(d)       Paradigm=what members of a scientific community share, which is lots of stuff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(e)        Vocabulary and paradigms. Cf. ‘force’, ‘mass’ etc. quasi-tautologies.

(f)Paradigms lead to specialization, work on details.

 

2)  Paradigms “order the world.” 

(a)        We “take the data” in accord with them.

(i)     See this problem as like that already solved problem.

(ii)   SEEING A as like B. Rather than learning rules for applying e.g. ‘F.’

(iii)  Seeing air as like water. Thus water pressure varies ONLY with depth. Gestalt. Illustrate. Seeing solution to one problem in mechanics as like solution to another (learning different extensions of f=ma.)

 

 

Background: Illustrate

 

 

 

THUS

(b)       Shared examples (exemplars) function cognitively prior to rules, criteria. Cf. Kuhn 80 ff.

(c)        Without a paradigm, fact gathering is random

(i)     What do you go looking for if you are a Newtonian? A Darwinian? Significant facts are, e.g. facts about quantity of matter and forces acting between them.

3)  We have now arrived at NORMAL SCIENCE. Operation within a paradigm.

(a)        Mopping up operation. Procrustean, ignore what does not fit.

(b)       “Assured existence of a solution” (SSR 37).  You know the answer is there and even what it will look like.

(c)        Different levels of paradigms; corpuscularism as a high level paradigm that sets problems and admissible solutions.  Cf. SSR 104 ff.

(i)     Actual regression to earlier paradigm in Newton – i.e. the opposite of “progress.”  Action at a distance as occult (mysterious, unexplained)

(ii)   Attempts to remedy this went nowhere.

4)   Paradigms and “confirmation.” Learning applications is NOT acquiring evidence (SSR 81)

 

II              Anomalies and revolutions: Phlogiston theory.

A)       The theory’s explanatory power.

substances lose mass when they burn because they lose phlogiston

a flame goes out in a container because the air becomes saturated with phlogiston

charcoal leaves hardly any ash when it burns because it is almost pure phlogiston

a mouse dies in an airtight container, or in a container where a candle has been burnt until it goes out, because the air is saturated with phlogiston

some metal ashes turn back to metals when heated with charcoal because the charcoal restores the levels of phlogiston in the ash.

Respiration consists in “burning” (warm creatures respirate, breath is always warm) so too much phlogiston smothers.

 

Paradigms in crisis. Anomalies. =problems that seem particularly bothersome. For whom?

(a)        What one scientist sees as a counter-instance, or crisis, another sees as a puzzle to be solved.  One man’s anomaly is another man’s puzzle to be solved, or maybe just a puzzle to be left lying around forever.  Ptolomaists vs. Copernicans. Failure of Newtonian theory to solve motion of Mercury.

(b)       In phlog.chem. the bother has to do with weight relations. Increase in weight of oxidized metals. Ssr 71

(i)     The mercury example.

I   Social Construction

A)       If science is not governed/motivated by facts, constrained by how the world is, etc. then what DOES determine how it science develops?

1)  Social factors – e.g. power relations.

(a)        Power relations within a speciality

(b)       Broader social relations – e.g. male dominance and male styles of thinking

(i)     Code

(ii)   Merchant 

 

2)  The Soakal hoax.

(a)        Of course many things impact the scientific enterprise.

(b)       Science still “gets things right” and that is shown by successful manipulation of the “world.”

II              Realism/anti-realism

A)       Are electrons (for example) real, or merely convenient fictions.

1)  Operationalism – Hacking

(a)        The “meaning” of theoretical terms is given by the “operations” in terms of which they are understood.

 

 

III     Science, Religion, Law

A)       Daubert

1)  The scientific method.

(a)        Falsification (cf. Overton)

2)  Theory and “fact”

 

3)  Science is lots of things, (lots of different kinds of activities get called “science”). E.g.

 

4)  The problems with Daubert

(a)        Burden on judges.

(b)       Instability of the concepts.

 

5)  The problems with Frye.

 

6)  The role of philosophy.

 

IV      Science and Religion

A)       What is the evolution-creationism controversy? It is many things, such as

1)  Fundamentalism – etc. six days, short earth history, specially created kinds

2)  Opposition to naturalism

B)        Liberal xtianity and this controversy- the “letter” signed by 10,000.

1)  But, Dawkins, Dennet, Lewontin.

 

 

 

C)        The evolutionary argument against naturalism. (EAAN) (Plantinga)

1)  “naturalism” must be understood as a metaphysical position, a materialism that does away with anything non-physical. Call this EN (evolutionary naturalism)

(a)        Does that mean it does away with MIND? No mind, no belief, no truth.

 

2)  Is belief in evolutionary theory as naturalism rational? i.e. would it be reasonable to believe EN?

(a)        It is rational to believe P iff the likelihood that P is true is .5 or greater, on the evidence.

(b)       So, is EN? It would be if there was reason to believe that the evolutionary process would select for true belief. But

(i)     There is no reason to believe that. Why? Here is the crucial step:

3)   What matters for the purposes of getting more copies of ones genes in the next generation is that beliefs and behavior be linked in a certain way.  For example: I believe tigers are cute and to be petted AND I believe I should run like heck from anything that is cute and to be petted.  (And I believe I should act on the second of these. Or, I’m disposed to.)

·     Belief and action are linked in a way      conducive to survival. But the beliefs are false.  No advantage in true beliefs.

A)       Now, consider the belief  that EN. Is it a rational belief? Only if the chances that it is true are .5 or greater, on the evidence.

B)        But the chances don’t look that good, given that true beliefs have no per se survival value.

·     There is no particular reason for believing that nature has evolved creatures that tend to have more true beliefs than false ones.

·     Thus, no reason to believe that ANY of my beliefs are more likely true than false.

·     Thus, no reason to suppose my belief in EN is more likely true than false.

·     Thus, it is not rational to believe EN.

 

Divine Action in the World  (Newtonian = prior to 1900)

·     Supposed problem with “intervention.”

·     No (Newtonian) scientific conclusion to the effect that nature is a closed system. Belief that it is is metaphysical.

·     If not a closed system, intervention does not conflict with (Newtonian) science.

·     God would not create a system and violate it by intervening.

·     If not closed, not violating, and quantum mechanical systems allow for unpredictable events anyway. No conflict between intervention and qm (although “miracles” would be highly improbable. But, “we knew that anyway.”)

 

Augustinian and Duhemian Science

·     Augustinian = science in the service of a broadly religious or metaphysical picture of the world. E.g. “Naturalism” (cf. Sagan), neo Darwinism, various social sciences, determinist views, vitalist views, etc.

·     Duhemian= methodological naturalism. Avoid all metaphysical commitments for sake of joint research.

o Here, TCA would be supported by CGC only if evidence supported that hypothesis better than any other.

o Belief that TCA is supported by CGC is “Augustinian.”

 

VII Philosophy of Social Science

Preliminary stuff: why should we care?(synopsis). Four questions (synopsis)

 

Necc and sufficient conditions

Examples:

Oxygen-fire

 

Seeing-light refraction

 

Remembering-LTP in neurons

 

If A is BOTH necc. and suff for B, that is a long way from A=B.  For A=B, whatever is true of A must be true of B.

 

A note on Mill’s methods – widely used in the attempt to find causal connections.

 

agreement,

 

difference,

 

combined,

 

concomitant variation

 

Cannot establish a causal connection

 

 

 

 

      1. Teleology and science

 

            a. physical sciences dump it.

            e.g. physics. Biology?

 

      2. Social sciences – explanations of human behavior.  Teleology inevitable?

a. examples involving belief

 

 

b. examples involving physical reactions (not “behavior?”)

 

c. in between a and b.???

            d. Skinner

 

MIND

      1. Mind and the social sciences.

 

 

      2. Positions

            a. dualism

 

            b. eliminative materialism

 

            c. identity theory

 

 

 

 

            d. analytical behaviorism

 

 

 

            e.  functionalism

 

            f. other

 

Problems with social science explanations.

      Reliance on folk psychology(PS) puts the social sciences at a disadvantage as compared to physical science explanations. Specifically, PS explanations that employ “L” seem to be mired in intensional language. And they seem unfalsifiable in principle, since one must use L to check what has gone wrong with a failed prediction.

 

      Reliance on “laws” that purportedly do not rely on PS concepts (such as LE) turn out, on close inspection, to rely on those concepts after all. (Analysis of Skinner).  Or, they rely on Darwinian mechanisms that lack the specificity to handle the questions that interest the social sciences.(The variety of social forms).

 

      THEREFORE

Turn away from “scientific” models altogether, make the social sciences “interpretative” activities. Clifford Geertz. (or, expand “science” to include such activities, but then literary criticism would be a “science.”)

 

Interpretation=hermeneutics. Interpretation will produce “understanding” (verstehen).   Interpretation/understanding of individual utterances and actions is intentional and “wholistic.”  It is literary. Cf. Haugeland. Individual psychology as interpretative.  Translation as a test of understanding. As a test of one’s own humanity. (The ability to “get” it).

 

Requires grasping the rules people are following.

·     Rules, considered broadly, constitute language and the forms of life in which language lives.  i.e. the rules that matter are “constitutive.”

·     Constitutive rule = has the form, “action X, in circumstances C, counts as R.” e.g. action X (crossing a certain line with a certain object) in circumstances C (22 on field, time on clock, absence of penalities, etc. etc.) counts as R, i.e. a “touchdown” in football.  This is one of the rules that “constitutes” football. Apart from such rules there is no such activity as American football. 

·     We cannot think of the participants in such activities as being ignorant of these constitutive rules. For engaging in such activities consists precisely in following (as opposed to merely conforming to) such rules. They may not be able to formulate them. They CAN spot deviance, in themselves and others. Will accept correction, etc. THAT is what shows they “know” them. Employ them. Praxis. 

·     Linguistic rules are clearly constitutive. You could not first have a language, e.g. English,  and then add rules such as “drop the pronoun in imperatives.” That does not mean the rules cannot change. Even for purposes of convenience. Cf. spelling of “through.”

 

Where I have correctly interpreted an activity I will have grasped the rules being followed in it, and just for that reason could engage in it myself. Cf. Winch.

 

This bears on the nature of “social” science (The Idea of a Social Science).

·     Rule following is essentially public (Otherwise, what?)People are essentially “open to view” since their activities are essentially public. What about very strange rules (customs, forms of life)? They seem to evade MY “public.”

·     The “scientist” must seek to work his way into those customs. That requires making them his own in an imaginative hermeneutical endeavor. It requires a “merging of horizons” (Gadamer) or, in Wittgenstein’s terms, learning how to apply rules by reflecting on “the common behavior of mankind.”  That is hard to do. It is certainly wholistic. Every action is intelligible only as part of a larger whole, and sometimes the “wholes” are very large, and/or very unfamiliar. Dredging up what has become lost from view in one’s own life.

1.Cf. Frazer on sympathetic magic. Psuedo-causality.

2.Wittgenstein on rituals, stabbing footprint, sticking a doll with a bit of the enemies hair on it, etc. Cf. burning in effigy, for instance, and the Beltane fire festivals. Winch on sticks and locks of hair.

·     Thus, the scientist is like a literary critic (or any reader) trying to make sense of a strange, or opaque, text.  Cf. Eliot. Dredging up what has become lost from view in one’s own culture (and thus from ones own  life?).

 

 

Interpretation of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Question #1. What is your view on the place of science in our lives? Is it more helpful than dangerous, not dangerous at all, etc.  Give EXAMPLES to support your view. (Maximum 250 words)

 

 

Question #2.

          a.Explain and illustrate the following terms: theoretical model; theoretical hypothesis; theory; theoretical tradition; deterministic vs. stochastic systems.

          b. answer question #6 on p. 11 of the “Giere” document in the Method folder.

 

 

Question #3

Many people think that science is the best method for arriving at the truth about anything, and that science consists in a certain empirical method.  That method is often described in roughly the following way:

 

The scientist thinks up a hypothesis which would explain something which is puzzling, such as why water only rises 34' in a vacuum, or why heated metals expand, or why everyone in ward A is sick and everyone in ward B is OK.

The scientist then puts this hypothesis to the test by deducing an independent observable consequence. For example, she advances the hypothesis that the people in ward A have been exposed to a certain germ. If so it will be detected under a microscope (independent observable consequence).

The test is conducted (e.g. we look thru the microscope etc.).

If the test fails (e.g. no germ is seen) we reject the hypothesis and look for a better one.

If the test is correct (the consequence is observed) we infer that our hypothesis is correct.

 

A.Add some detail to this common account, indicating the conditions for a GOOD test.

B. Explain what is right about this account by giving an illustration.

 

Question #4. 

a.     Explain the Quine/Duhem thesis.

b.     How does it seem to threaten the rationality of science?

 

 

Question #5

Study the selection “Construction Kuhn etc.” in the folder “Construction” on e-reserve.  The selection contains about 15 questions interspersed with the text. ALL of them are numbered (10), so you should renumber them.  Answer all of them.

A couple of them require outside information which will be provided in class.

 

Question 6.

Give as full an account as you can of Kuhn’s notion of a “paradigm.” Illustrate it by considering examples from the history of science. Take into account Kuhn’s claims about lack of progress in revolutionary science. Give an example of apparent regression.

 

Question 7.

How do the problems raised by Quine/Duhem and Kuhn impact supreme court rulings (and other court rulings) on the place of science in the court room?  What practical differences do these rulings have (give examples)?

 

Question 8.

Present EAAN. Can you think of criticisms of it? How does it bear on fundamentalist “creationism”? On liberal approaches to this religion/science controversy?

 

Question 9.

Why does the belief in the possibility of divine intervention (miracles e.g.) seem to conflict with “science?” 

        a. does it conflict with every sort of Augustinian (define) science?

        b. does it conflict with every sort of Duhemian (define) science (consider both “Newtonian” and qm)

 

Question 10.

a. State the “four questions” about the social sciences.

b. describe and illustrate Mill’s methods and show what they can, and cannot, prove.

c. explain what particular problem for the social sciences arises from the desire to eliminate teleology (intentionality) from the SoCIAL sciences.

 

Question 11. (Due Mon. 10/29)

Define: folk psychology; mind/body dualism; eliminative materialism; mind-brain identity theory; analytical behaviorism; psychological behaviorism; functionalism, reductionism (three kinds).

 

Question 12 (Due Wed. 10/31)

Explain the problems that arise for ‘L’ as a scientific law. Compare it to the “gas law.” 

 

Question 13. Due Fri. Nov. 2)

Explain the problems that arise for ‘LE’                                                           

 

Question 14. Due Fri. Nov. 16)

Do questions in “Aids to Needy Students”

Do questions in Haugeland.

And, the following

        1. Why, according to Winch/Witt is the following of rules essentially public?

        2. How does the answer to #1 bear on the idea that understanding in the social sciences requires empathetic understanding?

 

Question 15 Due Monday Nov. 19.

Explain the counterexamples to Interpretivism in Argument Outline.

 

                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FINAL, FALL 2004.  Answer all questions. Even ones you don’t know anything about.

Phil/Psych 430                       FINAL EXAM

 

T(a) or F(b)

1.  The following sentence is extensional:’ the book is on the table.’

2.  If science gives us objective knowledge, then that knowledge should be expressible in statements which are true simply because of the way the world is, not because of how we think or talk about it.

3.  Phlogiston chemistry was capable of accounting for a wide range of physical (chemical) phenomena.

4.  If a theoretical hypothesis is put to the test, then if it fails the test (if what is predicted does not occur) then we must immediately reject the hypothesis, given that the initial conditions are known.

5.  Ad hoc rescue takes place when a hypothesis is rejected on the basis of faulty reasoning.

6.  The history of science shows unequivocally that there has been steady progress in knowledge and the capacity for prediction and control, wherever the scientific method has been followed strictly.

7.  Augustinian science is science which is at least in part in the service of, or motivated by, particular metaphysical or religious views or ideological programs.

8.  Probably the most typical arguments in favor of employing the discoveries of science in various practical applications are utilitarian in form.

9.  Utilitarianism can turn into “the ends justify the means” kinds of thinking.

10.  The “Sokal hoax” suggests that social constructionist approaches to science are in tune with the latest developments in the sciences themselves.

11.  Critical social scientists seek to uncover hidden norms or standards operating beneath the surface of ordinary social norms, in order to reveal questionable political and ideological agendas.

12.  The change from phlogiston to oxygen chemistry is a good example of what Kuhn calls ‘development within normal science.’

13.  The social sciences might pose problems for “human values” simply because they involve attempts to understand humans.

14.  If the mind is not reducible, in any sense, to the brain or to something else physical, then it seems doubtful that there could be a science of human beings at all, or at any rate one that had the kind of scientific rigor found in physics.

15.  In Duhemian science, assumptions which come from outside of science are avoided.

 

Multiple Choice (choose the BEST answer).

16.  The attempt to remove all teleological and mentalistic elements from ALL scientific explanations, including explanations of human behavior,  is

            (A) motivated by Platonism

            (B) motivated by recognition of the great successes in those sciences which rejected teleology and/or any kind of mentalism

            (C) seems more likely to fail with respect to explanations of human actions than with respect to anything else

            (D) B and C.

 

17.  Rational choice theory

            (A) assumes agents who are rational

            (B) assumes agents whose actions are reducible to the purely physical

            (C) depends upon ordinary folk psychological notions

            (D) A and C.

18.  According to Winch, following a rule is always

            (A) social

            (B) intentional

            (C) best understood in terms of purely physical descriptions

            (D) A and B.

19.  It is reasonable to expect that genuinely scientific explanations would involve

            (A) causal laws, even if only of a statistical sort

            (B) laws which are at least falsifiable in principle

            (C) no intentional contexts

            (D) all of these

20.  Gestalt phenomena provide an analogy for thinking about

            (A) the way the activity of the mind is involved in our ideas about how the world is

            (B) social constructionism

            (C) social existentialism

            (D) A and B.

 

Example E1.  Such phenomena as exploding boilers, the operation of pressure cookers, etc. can be explained in terms of laws relating heating of a gas to pressure and volume.  The latter laws can be understood in terms of the activity (amount of motion) of gas molecules (kinetic theory of gases).  No further understanding is gained by trying to understand the motions of gas molecules in terms of the Newtonian laws governing their motions. 

21. The facts mentioned in E1 can be cited in an illustration of

            (A) explanatory reductionism

            (B) ontological reductionism

            (C) the limits of reductionism

            (D) all of these

            (E) A and B.

22.  In E1 the reason no further understanding is gained by reducing gas molecules to items in a Newtonian particle system is that

            (A) gas molecules are not ontologically reducible to Newtonian masses

            (B) gas molecules are not explanatorily reducible, even in principle, to Newtonian masses

            (C) it is not practically possible to acquire all the relevant information necessary for making predictions of the behavior of gases on the bases of the behavior of their constituent molecules construed as Newtonian masses

            (D) all of these.

23. The considerations raised in example E1 are relevant to thinking about the social sciences since

            (A) the behavior of individual humans might be theoretically reducible to physical (electrical/chemical) activities in nervous systems, but not practically reducible

            (B) if A is true, then “higher level” laws of human behavior, such as those employed in behaviorist explanations, might continue to be scientifically important

            (C) even though the behavior of groups of humans might be explanatorily and ontologically reducible to the behavior of individuals, it might be the case that the regularities discovered by  holistic social science would continue to be scientifically useful

            (D) All of the above

            (E) A and B.

 

Example E2

A Martian anthropologist is on an expedition to earth and happens upon a football game.  He is trying to understand what these earthlings are doing.  In order to achieve such understanding he must grasp what various actions “mean” to the earthlings who perform them.  For example, what does it mean to them when one of the 22 people on the field runs across a certain line (the “goal line”) while carrying a certain kind of object?.  It is obvious that coming to understand in this case is a matter of understanding a rule, one which has a form like “doing A in circumstances C counts as y (say, counts as a touchdown)”.  Until the Martian comes to grasp that rule he will never understand what the earthlings are doing, under the most significant descriptions of what they are doing.   

24.  E2 mentions the kinds of facts which are stressed by

            (A) those who think the deductive nomological model of explanation should be used in the human sciences

            (B) those who think understanding human behavior requires “intepretation” in order to determine “meaning” (much as I must interpret linguistic     productions in order to understand what is “meant”)

            (C) those who think that the understanding of human actions is for the most part different from the kind of understanding sought in the physical             sciences, and not reducible to that kind.

            (D) all of these

            (E) B and C.

 

Example E3.  Bill signs a check and gets cash.

25.  E3 describes an action which

            (A) could best be understood through an account of the activities within Bill’s nervous, muscular, etc. system

            (B) could not be understood at all in the way suggested in A, since, for one thing,  an enormous number of different physical occurrences could ALL count as the same action (i.e. Bill’s signing that check), which implies that no one of them explains the action as a check signing (though          some of them might explain such things as a particular jerkiness in a particular signature)

            (C) is more like the actions described in E2 than like the events described in E1

            (D) only makes sense to someone who understands a whole network of rules, conventions, institutions and practices which make certain actions possible (i.e. such actions could not even exist without that network), in somewhat the same way that the rules of football make certain actions        possible (e.g. scoring a touchdown)

            (E) B,C,D.

 

 

26.  The kind of actions mentioned in E2 and E3 can be understood

            (A) only by grasping rules etc. but the kind of understanding in question is, arguably, usually trivial, banal

            (B) only in the way interpretativists claim, but, arguably, do not provide subject matter for any very interesting inquiry

            (C) are, arguably, only really understood when we grasp deeper and often concealed rules and conventions which explain peoples interests in       sports, or their financial institutions, etc.

            (D) need, arguably, to be supplemented by a “Critical” approach

            (E)  all of the above.

27.  It might be argued that a significant understanding of the actions described in E2 and E3

            (A) consists in finding psychological or economic causes of those actions, and is thus “causal” and thus “scientific” after all

            (B) requires the kind of understanding which we find in Freud, or Marx, assuming they knew what they were doing

            (C) requires the kind of understanding found in Groucho Marx

            (D) none of these

            (E) A and B.

 

Example E4.  The people and livestock in an Asian village are being preyed upon by tigers.  Hong figures he should not risk injury or death to himself by keeping watch since keeping watch would only be helpful if Ming and Mao and Chang also keep watch, but if they keep watch that will be enough, and he hopes that with a little persuasion they will see the advantage of doing so.  In which case why should he bother?  Unfortunately Ming, Mao and Chang each separately figure the situation the same way.  So no one keeps watch and the tigers keep having a good time and are getting more numerous.

28.  E4 is an illustration of

            (A) the prisoner’s dilemma

            (B) a puzzle about how public goods are possible where people act in a rationally self-interested way

            (C) a problem that exists only in Asia

            (D) a problem for Smithian invisible hand explanations

            (E) A,B, D.

29.  In E4

            (A) Hong wants to be a free rider

            (B) Ming, Mao and Chang also want to be free riders

            (C) the tigers want an easy meal

            (D) all of these.

30.  If Hong, Ming, etc. would cooperate that would

            (A) falsify all Smithian invisible hand explanations

            (B) show that Smithian invisible hand explanations cannot explain ALL social phenomena

            (C) not be all that unusual a thing, relative to how most social groups operate

            (D) B and C.

           

 

Example E5.  The customs, traditions, practices,  institutions, socially sanctioned ways of acting and feeling, which form or constitute human life, are simply the result of a very long and complex evolutionary process in which natural selection operates to select out ways of living which promote survival.  Thus sexual jealousy is a socially sanctioned way of feeling which figures in the motivational structure of socially sanctioned ways of acting because those beings that exhibit this trait do better in the “gene derby” than do those that lack it.  Obviously such behavior promotes the perpetuation of the jealous person’s genes.  That is so even when the jealous person doesn’t “know” it or think it in any way.  So the bottom line explanations of human life can get along without reference to thoughts, plans, reasoning, hopes, etc. Rather they cite only “natural” factors and processes.

31.E5

            (A) is an example of sociobiological thinking

            (B) includes claims that could not be tested

            (C) is appealing to wives

            (D) all of these

            (E) A and B.

32.  E5 advances claims which appeal to many people because

            (A) they show how to do social science without L

            (B) they suggest how to explain social forms without relying upon irreducible holist notions (Darwinian invisible hands)

            (C) they suggest a way to make the social sciences into real sciences

            (D) all of these

            (E) A and C.

33.  E5 proposes ways of thinking about people and societies

            (A) which are ways of thinking, and which do not obviously promote survival

            (B) which if correct, suggest that either beliefs are nothing or play no irreducible role in human life, or, suggest that beliefs generally are no more      likely to be true than not (since it is not their truth which would impart survival value), in which case why accept THESE beliefs (the ones expressed in E5)? 

            (C) may be incoherent

            (D) all of these.

34.  The explanatory models suggested by E5 could perhaps be used to account for

            (A) the differences between Spanish and Italian culture

            (B) the differences between Islam and Christianity

            (C) the incest taboo

            (D) none of these

 

Example E6.  Decisions about which results of such scientific research as the genome project should be used to generate applications (e.g. germ line gene therapy) can only be made fairly and morally by calculating the consequences for those who are likely to be affected by those applications.  The kind of calculating required consists in determining the various benefits and harms likely to result from those applications,  and then deciding so as to maximize benefit/minimize harm.  And the only fair and moral way to determine what is beneficial or harmful is by summing up the preferences of all of those affected.   Use of other criteria (say, religious or traditional moral criteria) for determining what constitutes benefit or harm would involve unfair imposition of the views of some upon all, or some other kind of cultural imperialism or paternalism.  So in our modern pluralistic societies we must make decisions about the applications of scientific research in this way.  Any other way would be unethical.

 

35.  E6

            (A)is an expression of utilitarian thinking

            (B) puts everyone on an equal footing when making policy decisions

            (C) is obviously practical

            (D) A and B.

36.  E6's suggestions could be criticized on the following grounds:

            (A) people’s preferences keep changing

            (B) the preferences of sadists and saints initially get equal consideration

            (C) the preferences of Catholics might carry more weight then those of protestants in a catholic country just because there are more of the former,             and that seems like a bad reason for them to have more weight

            (D) all of the above.

37.  E6 will only be workable if we can in fact sum up people’s preferences with respect to various outcomes, but

            (A) peoples preferences with respect to a given outcome may vary depending upon how the outcome is described

            (B) there is nothing in E6 to tell us which description to pick

            (C) there is no way to determine what anyone prefers

            (D) A and B together.

38.  E6's suggestions only look workable because in actual decisions we

            (A) completely ignore people’s preferences

            (B) weight preferences by filtering them through independent (of E6) moral conceptions or commitments

            (C) follow mob rule

            (D) all of these.

39.  In some cases it is not clear how to use the suggestions made in E6 since

            (A) in some cases people would not understand it

            (B) in some cases the people to be affected do not yet exist, and therefore we cannot determine their preferences

            (C) some people are not good at preferring

            (D) none of these.

 

Example E7 European feudalism involved peasants giving some of their labor on behalf of their lords (Barons etc.) in return for protection etc.  That is one form of “surplus extraction,” but why that form?  Fixed wages or fixed rents, and other forms of surplus extraction are also possible.  The answer is that under fixed wages, say, the lord would lose out in a bad crop year (he would have to pay the same wage as in a good year but would not get much for it), and under fixed rents the peasant loses out in a bad crop year (he pays the same rent even though the land is not producing much).  The labor payment method thus distributes the risks besetting agriculture more evenly between lord and peasant.  Of course this method works because there is no market economy.  If the peasant could sell surplus in a market and pay part of that to the lord in rent, he could get ahead in good years and make it through bad by buying imports in the market, and if the lord could sell surplus crops on the market in a good year while laying out only the usual wage, he could get ahead in a good year and buy his way in the market through a bad year.  But there was no market economy in the earlier feudal period.  In fact, as towns grew and markets became available rent and monetary payments generally became more common.

 

40. E7 is an explanation of a social phenomena (specifically a form of economic exchange) which

            (A) avoids the use of L

            (B) depends upon L

            (C) is sociobiological

            (D) none of these.

             

41.  E7 is a convincing explanation of feudal surplus extraction because

            (A) it adheres to the covering law model of explanation

            (B) it appeals to our sense of what we would do in that situation

            (C) it gets at underlying causes of which the agents whose actions are being explained are unaware

            (D) it assumes people will act in a more or less self-interested manner in the economic domain, and that seems.  intuitively, to be reasonable    assumption

            (E) B and D.

           

 

Generalizations:

            G1. The development of the most predictively powerful sciences since the 17th century has been possible only through the rejection of                     or                     thinking.  Therefore it seems to some that a genuine science of                        must also somehow eliminate                         references.

 

42.       (A)Superstition/deistic/nature/theistic

            (B) teleological/mentalistic/human beings/mentalistic

            (C) corpuscularism/ causes- as-spatially-contiguous/ conscious beings/causal

            (D) none of these.

 

            G2. Behaviorism seeks an account of learning and other supposedly                     feats solely in terms of                              . In order for such an account to work, there must be a real, not merely apparent, elimination of all                       references.  Any description of behavior which contained covert references to                            would not meet such a condition.

 

43.       (A) intellectual/brain processes/non-neuronal/intellect

            (B) remarkable/conditioning/ homunculi-like/homunculi

            (C) mentalistic/reinforcement schedules/mentalistic/goals

            (D) conscious/reward and punishment/extensional/intentionality

 

            G3. One argument for the irreducibility of the mental to the physical (brain states, physicalistic descriptions of behavior, machine programs) depends upon the notion of _________. This notion can in turn be understood in terms of                          , i.e. that feature of statements which makes the                uncertain under                       of co-referential terms.

 

44.       (A)intentionality/intensionality/preservation of truth/substitution

            (B) extensionality/salva veritate/truth/switching

            (C)gestalt phenomena/uncertainty/statement/bathing

            (D) all of these.

 

            G4 Much of what we think of as                        consists simply in random sampling of populations, or                        reasoning in which                        are controlled.  Presumably the social sciences can do these things while ignoring issues of mentality.  Therefore the social sciences could count as scientific even though they do not provide us with an account of the                 or mechanisms which underwrite the causal connections they discover.

 

45.       (A) statistics/ numerical/all factors/truths 

            (B) science/causal/variables/laws

            (C) science/scientific/experiments/ ontological facts

            (D) A and C.

 

T or F

46. To say that two paradigms are “incommensurable” is to say that they can not be properly compared to one another, so that it is hard to say whether one is “better” than the other.

47. Folk psychology is psychology developed through experiments under controlled circumstances.

48. Sociobiology tries to explain social phenomena through a certain kind of application of the theory of natural selection.

49. Social constructionists hold that gender roles are the result of biological (anatomical, hormonal) differences between men and women.

50. According to Soakal, social constructionists like Harding conflate questions about the truth of scientific theories with questions about the origins of those theories in certain social contexts.

_________________

Consider the following argument:

 

            1. Combustion occurs when phlogiston is released from a substance.(H)

            2. Something which loses part of its substance should weigh less.

            3. This combustible substance, mercury, will lose weight when burned.

 

51. Since H cannot be decisively refuted, this argument is not scientific.

52. If the weight loss does not take place, then either H is false, or phlogiston has negative mass, or the combustion did not actually take place, or something else is wrong.

53. The H in question could explain why fires go out when covered over. So there are various independent tests for the truth of H.

54. If #13 is true, then H meets one of the requirements for being scientific.

55. According to Kuhn,

            (A) H was abandoned partly as the result of a new preoccupation with weight relations,

            (B) H was abandoned partly as the result of a new set of examples used in teaching chemistry to novices etc.

            (C) H was forced out by disconfirming experiments

            (D) the abandonment of H amounts to a “paradigm shift” in chemistry

            (E) all of these but C.

 

Example E8

In France somewhere around 1850-1870 there was a sharp increase in the suicide rate.  The statistics indicated that the usual individualistic reasons cited for suicide remained constant (for example there was no increase in suicide correlated to increase in number of  job losses).  The proportions of each individualistic cause remained the same.  Therefore the increase could only be explained by those individualistic causes on the implausible assumption that each of increased in frequency at exactly the same rate as all the others ).  Durkheim concluded that the increase must be accounted for by some non-individualistic fact, a social fact.

He argued that such things as civil and religious institutions cause other social phenomena.  The individuals who live within these institutions do not themselves understand how these institutions functioned to affect their own life and behavior.  Roman Catholics, for instance, do not generally realize that the church has an integrating power which functions to reduce the tendency to suicide.  That integrating power is not a “reason for not committing suicide” in the mind of any person.  It is a social fact which causes other social facts (suicide rates).

 

56.  Durkheim’s view illustrates

            (A) what is meant by “functionalism” in sociology

            (B) the way in which social institutions function to effect broad social changes

            (C) the way individual beliefs function in social change

            (D) all of these

            (E) A and B.

57. The appeal of his view is partly in

            (A) the way it bypasses individual psychology

            (B)the way it bypasses [L]

            (C) the way it bypasses one of the features that is troublesome for the scientific status of pyschology

            (D) all of these

            (E) none of these.

58. It is clear that according to Durkheim

            (A) social facts cannot be reduced to individual facts

            (B) sociology is an autonomous science

            (C) sociology is methodologically individualist

            (D) A and B.

59. Durkheim would agree

            (A) with Adam Smith’s approach to the study of society

            (B) at least one feature of critical theory

            (C) the idea that the ways in which institutions and rules function is often hidden from the view of most people

            (D) B and C

            (E) none of these.

60. Durkheim has not shown that

            (A) even though social causes do not operate directly to affect the beliefs and desires of individuals, they do not operate through individuals in      some complex way.

            (B) sociology cannot after all be reduced to psychology

            (C) psychological states are mere by-products of social causes, themselves caused by the same factors that cause, independently, such things as suicide

            (D) all of these.

            (E) A and C.

61. Durkheim’s functionalism

            (A) might encourage social conservatism

            (B) seems to require a group mind whose purposes are served by the social function

            (C) does not seem to escape the problems of intentionality after all

            (D) all of these.

62. It might be possible to link Durkheim’s views to social constructivism by showing that

            (A) features of a society not recognized by its members, such as the sexism of gender roles, might produce social facts

            (B) the unacknowledged “meaning” of social institutions might have causal force

            (C) social institutions are rooted in biology

            (D) A and B.

63.Durkheim’s theory is compatible with

            (A)Smithian or Darwinian “invisible hand” strategies.

            (B) Edwardian strategies

            (C) the executioner’s dilemma

            (D)none of these.

64. Holism is strongly connected to or reinforced by

            (A) the desire for an autonomous social science.

            (B) the use of statistical data 

            (C) the idea that understanding how an apparently random collection of individual actions interact can be enabled by understanding the function          which they perform when brought together

            (D) all of these.

_________________________________________________________________________________

 

Class outlines

 

 

 

Week I.  Science, Philosophy and other subjects.

            1. Need a definition, or theory, of science. The “demarcation problem.” Also a problem within the “sciences”.  Physical vs. social “sciences.”

                        a. Think of all the different sorts of activities that get labeled “science.” (e.g. Einstein, Marx, Goodall)

                        b. use of quantitative data, contrived experimental situations, confrontation of theory with fact, interest in universal generalizations (laws).

1. but cf. Astronomy, biology etc.

2. the theory / observation contrast.

            2. General considerations.

a. Epistemology – how do you know (in science)?

                        b. Metaphysics _ what is really real (in science)?

                        c. Other ways to know? Other “realities”?

                        d.  non scientific factors involved in the “construction” of science”?

            3. Where, and how, does science conflict with, or enhance, human values?

                        a. “Objectifying” and thus “dehumanizing”?

                        b. Specific conflicts.

                        c. technological enhancement of human life.

*1. A fairly standard view.  There is a method (of discovery?). There is a method of justification (for hypotheses).

 

            a. Theoretical hypotheses (contingent claim that a certain “theoretical model” applies to a real system).

 

b. (how are models, and Hs, arrived at?)

 

            c. Testable,

 

d. Theories – generalized Hs.

           

            1. Traditions

 

            2. Laws (problems with universality)

 

            3. Advantages of “model” talk.

 

            4. Examples: Newtonianism, Mendel

1. Notice that models are idealizations (cf. Newton’s 1st law of motion, or the Newtonian model of a pendulum).

 

2.  Justification of theoretical Hs

 

Three conditions of a good test.

           

            1. If (H and IC and B) then (deduce) P

            2. If not (H and IC and B) then not P

            3. Truth (falsity) of P can verified.

 

The simple inductive rule. 

                        Given a good test,

            If the P is successful, the H is justified.

               REALLY!? (because of condition 2?)

            If the P fails, the H is refuted. REALLY!?

                        Well, probably refuted.

 

a.  Insert the H into a deductive argument (something like the DN model of explanation) in which a prediction is the explanandum.

            Example:

            i. The comet and the sun form a Newtonian particle system (includes spelling out the theory, which includes “laws”) (H)

            ii. IC ( a long list!)

            iii. comet will return every 75 years (P) (follows deductively).

 

b. a simpler example:

            i. the earth is surrounded by an ocean of air (entails, pressure at bottom is greater, up farther is less  etc.) (H)

            ii. at “sea level” we are at the bottom of the ocean (def)

            iii. therefore, pressure at sea level will be higher than pressure on top of Rocky Top. (i and ii)

iv. therefore mercury will not rise as high on the top of Rocky Top, (P) (follows deductively, right?)

c. i and ii “explain P.” They enable “prediction” of P.  P is a “test” of H.

           

Refuting argument:

            i. H

            ii IC and B

            iii not P

therefore, not (H and IC and B)

therefore either not H or not IC or not B

therefore either not H or not (IC and B)

IC and B

Therefore not H.

 

Justifying argument:

            i. if (not H and IC and B) then probably not P

            ii. P (i.e. not not P)

            iii. not (not H and IC and B )

so,  H or not IC or not B.

            iv. IC and B

            v. H

 

3. Phlogiston theory:  Justify it.  If you could, it would go like this.

            i. If ( not Phlog. and IC and B) then not less weight and more air in mercury combustion set-up.

            ii. There is less weight and more air!

            So iii. Not ( not phlog. and IC and B) = not not phlog, or not IC or not B

            iv. IC and B

            v.  phlog.

            However, ii is FALSE, so justification fails.

 

Not only that, refutation is possible

            i. Phlog. H

            ii. IC and B

            iii Should be more weight, less air.

iv.not more weight, less air.

            v. therefore, not (H and IC and B) etc.

            vi. therefore, not H or not (IC and B)

            vii. IC and B

            vii. not H.

 

To escape this refutation, modify something in the IC or B.  “ad hoc rescue.’

Compare the “ad hoc rescue” in the case of Phlog. H to the rescue in the case of Uranus not fitting the Newtonian model.

 

            In Phlog. case notion of, e.g.  “negative mass” leads to no fruitful Hs.

            In Uranus case, hypothesis of another planet leads to actual discovery of that planet. (Neptune, 1846)

 

4. Was the “test” for Mendel’s H good? 

            The Backcross experiment.  Breed a hybrid and a true breeding short.  What will you get? Given the law of segregation and the law of dominance, you should get this:

 

            H/h                                          h/h

 

H/h      H/h               h/h              h/h

 

i.e. should get about half tall and half short.  And behold, it was so.  Nobody would have guessed it!

 

Week III

1. Correlations, statistical hypotheses, and causal hypotheses.

 

            a. Much of “science” consists in looking for causal connections, without necessarily employing any theoretical models.

            Example:

                        i. H: smoking “causes” lung cancer.  This amounts to a claim about populations.

                        ii. i must be distinguished from the claim that there is a correlation between smoking and lung cancer. To say that is to say that in a population there is a higher incidence of lung cancer among smokers than among non-smokers.   Correlations obviously do not equal causes. (Suppose being a male were positively correlated with smoking.)  Correlation is symmetrical.

If A is correlated with B, then vice versa.  Not so with causes.

                        iii. To say H is to say that in two populations, one consisting of all smokers, the other of all non-smokers, the incidence of lung cancer in the first would be significantly higher than in the other. i.e. this sort of conditional is supposed to hold:  “If all people in a population would smoke many would get cancer.”

            Causal relations “support counterfactual conditionals.” See handout.

            Causal claims are claims that some factor is a deterministic (or stochastic) causal factor in producing some effect (in individuals or populations).

 

2. Violations or ignoring of methodological constraints and the “progress” of science.

            a. Newton on optics

           

b. Galileo on heliocentrism.

            i. planetary brightness and size.

            ii  stellar parallax.

 

3. Kuhn.

            a. Science operates within “paradigms” with occasional revolutionary shifts in paradigms.

 

            b. Meanings of “paradigms.”

 

       i. centered around a generally acknowledged achievement that generates model probs and solutions.

            ii. creates a tradition of experiment, a view of what counts as fundamental principles, use of kinds of equipment, ideas on what counts as a significant problem and what counts as a solution.

            iii. generates a standard set of repeatable illustrations which are taken up into textbooks, and other artifacts of professional training.

            iv. creates a community, bound by common views, publication media, master teachers, etc.

            v. enshrines a world view or metaphysics. A “world gestalt.”

            vi. cannot be characterized by precise rules or explicit definitions (as can a scientific theory)

            vii. therefore is not a theory, though it contains theories.

 

Illustrations: shift to Oxygen chemistry.  (=shift to quantitative rather than qualitative concerns. Cf. ii)

           

c. Pre paradigm stage. Denial of i-v. 

 

d. Normal science. Details details details.

            i. the need for normal science to enable funding of research, equipment etc. Building of careers.

 

e. anomalies – no paradigm fits the world perfectly. No paradigm can rule out a new way of seeing.

 

 

Ques. 2  Illustrate in detail how phlogiston theory was refuted.

            Explain why Mendel’s first test was not good, and why the back cross test is. (state what both tests were).

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ques. 3. 

a. Mention two examples of progress in science which seemed to depend upon ignoring or otherwise violating the requirements of “good tests” and other methodological matters.

b. Explain what Kuhn means by a paradigm, and connect that idea to your answer to a.

c. Discuss the claim that science is a “normative” concept, where the norms in question are social (political, cultural). Connect to a and b.

 

 

Suggestions (merely) for Paper topics:

1. A description of a scientific revolution (pick one that interests you), using a Kuhn-like account.

 

2. A discussion of explanation in psychology (anthropology, sociology, economics, history, etc.).  Use examples of course.

 

3. A discussion of “interpretativism” in the social sciences (e.g. interpretativism vs. causal explanations).

 

4. A discussion of ethical issues in the applications of science (cloning, other kinds of bio-engineering, experiments on humans, nuclear technology, allocation of resources, etc. etc.) (some knowledge of ethical theory might help but is not essential).

 

5. A discussion of conflicts (pick your favorites) between religion and science.

 

6. A discussion of sociobiology (its promises, or limits, or worthlessness, or whatever).

 

7. A discussion of reductionism (could be part of a discussion of holism,  intentionality, and much else).

 

8. A discussion of the uses of science in the courts. (Junk science, or?)

 

*A good source to get you started: The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (in the Library, on disk.) Read relevant articles. And excellent place to get bibliography.

*Another source: the IEP.

 

Also: how to write a philosophy paper. See link on my web page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ques. 2  Illustrate in detail how phlogiston theory was refuted.

            Explain why Mendel’s first test was not good, and why the back cross test is. (state what both tests were).

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ques. 3. 

a. Mention two examples of progress in science which seemed to depend upon ignoring or otherwise violating the requirements of “good tests” and other methodological matters.

b. Explain what Kuhn means by a paradigm, and connect that idea to your answer to a.

c. Discuss the claim that science is a “normative” concept, where the norms in question are social (political, cultural). Connect to a and b.

 

 

 

A Little Primer on the Philosophy of Mind

 

I. The Mind-Body Problem

            A. Mind/body dualism

                        1. It is natural to think of bodies as located in space, colored, having some mass or weight, and so forth.  It is not natural to think of minds in that way (what color is your mind?)   Also,  thoughts, which are mental or “in the mind” if anything is, are about something (e.g. a thought may be about Bill) but what would it mean to say a physical object was about anything whatsoever?  We can of course use an object to stand for or be about something, but it is our using it so that makes it so.  By themselves, physical objects could not be about anything.(Intentionality)

                        2.  Sensations (feelings of cold, sweetness, experiences of color, pain ) also seem to be mental, not physical.  You may have to have a physical body to experience them, but the experience itself is surely not physical.  The ability to experience pain in an amputated limb (or “where” the limb was) suggests that the pain is not located in space.  Where in space would it be?  Open up a brain and see if you can spot the experience of pain anywhere.  All you will see is grey matter, and perhaps you can infer other things (the occurrence of electrical-chemical events, say).  But the experience itself remains illusive.

            So, minds, or the thoughts and sensations that make them up, could not be physical.  So they must be non-physical.  That suggests, though it does not entail, that there must be at least two kinds of entities in the universe, minds, and bodies.  That is the view known as mind/body dualism.

            B. Materialism (eliminativist)

                        1.  Though it does not come so naturally, it is possible to think of thoughts, pains etc. as a sort of myth, which can be eliminated from our account of the world.  Such a view is called eliminativism or eliminative materialism.  People used to think that ocean storms were caused by Gods and someone might think of the Gods as immaterial beings, but in fact (the materialist claims) there are no such beings, and ocean storms are simply physical occurences explainable in purely physical terms.  Likewise human behavior and life generally is purely physical, and the belief that there are thoughts and sensations involved is a kind of myth. 

            C. Materialism (non-eliminativist)

                        1.  In between position A and B is a view that holds that only bodies are real, or at any rate that there are not two metaphysically distinct kinds of things, mind and body,  but that there nevertheless are genuinely such things as thoughts and sensations.     

                                    a. Reductionism.  Some people hold that thoughts etc. can be reduced to physical occurrences, (e.g. brain states).  To reduce A to B is to show that A can be entirely explained in terms of B, or is ontologically reducible to B, or semantically reducible to B. It doesn’t follow that we could, or should, eliminate “A talk.”

                                    b. Anti-reductionism.  Some people hold that even though only bodies are real, thoughts etc. cannot be reduced to physical occurrences.

 

            Position A is rather out of fashion (which is not the same as saying it is false!).  It is the position that there are minds (one kind of thing) and bodies (another kind of thing).  There are obvious problems with it. Bodies can be counted.  How do you count minds?  How do you distinguish one mind from another, without making any reference to bodies?  How do these things interact with one another?  And so forth.

 

            Postion B is an extreme position.  We will discuss it after discussing position C.

            Position C comes in many varieties.

                        1.  Analytical behaviorism.  The statement ‘Al is thinking about Bill’ can be

 analyzed into conditional statements about Al’s behaviour.  In fact the meaning of ‘thinking’ is given in that analysis, so mental life is reduced to behavior.  E.g. If Al is thinking about his best buddy Bill, then if Al sees Bill in the distance he will shout ‘hey Bill’, or, run towards Bill, or, if asked what he is thinking about he might utter ‘Bill’ or ‘my best buddy’ etc. etc. for any of a large range of behaviours that would give the “cash value” of ‘thinking about Bill.’  So, minds are not non-physical entities which explain behavior, they are just the behaviour, or dispositions to behaviour, itself.  Notice, however, that the conditionals often contain mentalistic terms (like ‘see’ in the above).  So they do not eliminate mentalistic talk or show that we can get along without reference to thoughts, etc. In fact such talk is inevitable.  For people’s behaviour is explained in terms of their desires etc., so if Al believes his old buddy Bill is next door, then his behaviour of going next door is probably going to be explained in terms of his desire to see Bill, and desire is a mental state.  There is a problem here; if the cash value of mental terms is behaviour, then what should we say about one thought causing another thought?  Suppose thinking of Bill causes Al to think of Bill’s wife.  There is no room for a behaviorist account there.

                        2.  Central State Materialism.  These materialists identify sensations and perhaps thoughts with brain states.  That is, a type of mental state (say, a pain) is identical with a type of physical state (e.g. firing of C fibers) (thus this is called type-type identity theory).  (If someone claimed that every single mental event, say, my pain at this moment which is a token (instance) of the type “pain”, was identical with some brain state or another, that would be token-token identity). They do NOT say that what pain means is ‘C fiber firing’ but pain is reducible ontologically to brain states. 

            Problem: this suggests that beings without C fibers (say) could not experience pain.  Suppose we met some aliens who screamed and grimaced when burned, but who lacked C fibers.  What would we think?  Similar points apply to having beliefs, thoughts, intentions, plans and so forth. 

            Problem: suppose as the analytical behaviorist says, having a belief is having a package of behavioral dispositions.  It seems unlikely that there should be some exactly corresponding package of brain states.  So the identity theorists view is too strong, requires too much.

                        3.  Functionalism: Mental states are defined by causal role.  ‘Role’ is the crucial term.  The role of a thing is the same as its FUNCTION. Think of the many different things that could play the ROLE of or function as a door stop.  There are hundreds and they might have nothing physical in common.  So, the functionalist says, a given mental state (e.g. a pain or seeing Bill) plays a causal role (it is caused by certain things, e.g. a burn, Bill-like sense impressions) and causes things (screams, calling ‘hey Bill’).  But there need not be any single physical thing that plays this role (e.g.C fibers firing).  Many physical states could play these roles (thus there would be no problems with physically different aliens, or even computers, feeling pains, seeing things, having thoughts, etc).  Notice that a mental state (.e.g. feeling a pain) could cause another mental state (remembering the last time I had this pain).  So functionalism is not behaviorist.  Why not?  However, functionalism does not require that there be anything non-physical to explain pains and thoughts etc. It could be reductionist.

            Problem: it seems unlikely that having a pain could be reduced to a functional role.  Would we say a computer was in pain if when burned it screamed?  This is oversimplifying the theory to be sure, but it makes the point.

 

TCA and GES

Consider the claim that TCA is proved (strongly confirmed) by the existence of the common genetic code (CGC).

TCA predicts and explains CGC.  Indeed it does.  But in order for CGC to highly confirm TCA, CGC would have to be very unlikely given the falsity of TCA (this is the second condition for a good test, remember?).  But there is an alternative explanation of CGC available.  Suppose God created everything, and created various things separately,  using a CGC.  This assumption is certainly compatible with most beliefs about God, that is, with what people “know” about God. It is consistent with common widely held beliefs about God, and is thus what a typical theist might expect.   So it is NOT the case that CGC is very likely false given the falsity of TCA, unless the “God Hypothesis” has been ruled out.   Why have some biologists insisted otherwise? It seems that they have ruled out explanations invoking God a priori. They may do that because they are metaphysical naturalists.  And that means that they are practicing Augustinian science.  (It is important to keep in mind that many of the major figures in the history of science were theists. Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, even, in a way, Einstein. Some of these people brought their religious beliefs into connection with their scientific theorizing. So it surely is not necessary to be a metaphysical naturalist in order to do science of a very high order.)

 

 Perhaps scientists rule out the possibility of a divine “designer” for the following reason: evolution is thought to proceed from the common ancestor by natural selection.  Natural selection proceeds largely by random dice throws in the gene pool operated upon by environmental factors.  What does “random” mean here? It can mean two things; (1) not produced by the needs of the organism (2)not produced by a designer.  But notice that all the evidence is compatible with (1) being true and (2) being false.  Why have some biologists not noticed this?  Because they WANT to rule out design, since it doesn’t fit with their vision of the world, perhaps?  I.e. because they are practicing Augustinian science?

 

Many biologists will no doubt reject these interpretations.  They will claim to be methodological naturalists, not metaphysical naturalists (or metaphysical anything else).  They will say that (1)references to God are ruled out because you cannot do science while depending upon controversial and not universally shared beliefs, such as the belief in God.  They will argue that progress in science demands cooperation, and that is only possible where controversial and not widely shared beliefs are left out.  They may also argue that (2)bringing belief in God, or an elan vital, or even determinism, into scientific study would involve scientists in theology or metaphysics, and that is not their department.  That is, many scientists want to do Duhemian science.  But would a Duhemian deny that evolution could be produced by a designer (as for example Richard Dawkins or Steven Gould do), or would she simply say nothing one way or the other about design, and confine herself to the noncontroversial interpretation of ‘random’ in accord with (1)?

 

Duhemian science is valuable for the reasons stated.  But it does not follow that non-Duhemian science is not SCIENCE, or that the actual practice of scientists is always or invariably Duhemian.   As the cases of Simon, Piaget, and TCA indicate, science is not always Duhemian.  Since Simon and Piaget are both working in the social sciences, that may suggest that the social sciences are particularly inclined towards Augustinian science.

 

 

 

 

 


1.It is reasonable to expect research scientists to always
foresee the practical applications of their work.

2. Some proposed applications of biotechnology evoke
the "yuck factor" in many people.

3.  The yuck factor is morally negligible.

4.  Cloning of humans would result in persons who
would be indistinguishable from each other.

5.  Cloning could be used in the service of eugenics.

6.  Utilitarianism has a problem with at least two of the following;
 (A) it requires calculation of consequences
 (B) it cannot specify under what descriptions consequences
should be considered when summing up their utilities
 (C) the utilities people set on a single consequence may vary
with how it is described
 (D) the utilities people set on a single consequence never
vary with how it is described.
  The two are ______and______

7.  People have reason to be concerned about conflicts
between science and human values in the light of the fact that
 (A) history contains many examples of inhumane uses of science
 (B) the long term effects of scientific technology are not
always known
 (C) scientists are not always motivated simply by curiosity
 (D) scientists are not always motivated by humane
considerations.
 (E) all of the above.
 



 
 Assignment:  (a)Explain 'L'.
                    (b) Give an example.
                    (c) Use L in an explanation.
                    (d)Give a parallel explanation in a physical science.
                    (e)How are the two alike?
                    (f)How are they different?
                            (In particular,(1) note the difficulty of determining the ICs of the Soc. Sc. explanation. Above all, (2)note the need to use L in determining the ICs.  (3)What deadly consequence follows? (4) What condition for a good test might be violated when testing a hypothesis using L?


 



                                                             Summaries

Summaries I

Introduction

            Are the social sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, history ) really sciences at all?  One reason for doubting that they are is quite plain; in the physical sciences there is clearly progress, refinement, increased explanatory power.  That is so even on the view, supposedly found in Kuhn, that there is no progress across scientific “revolutions.” For there is still “normal science” and it would be bizarre to deny that there has been a great deal of impressive progress in astronomy, particle physics, genetic research. Consider only the last one; developments in genetic theory have enabled new therapies and reproductive technologies that could hardly have been dreamed of only 50 years ago.

 On the other hand, there does not seem to be comparable progress in the social sciences.  Some major works, such as those by Adam Smith or B. F. Skinner,  seem to indicate a real step forward, but they have not led to the kind of refinement and expansion of explanatory power that marks the physical sciences. A great deal of data has accumulated, but fundamental disputes about what to do with the data continue unabated. 

Despite this fact, the scientific status of the social sciences is still a matter of deep controversy.  It is true that we know more about various social facts as the result of the work of social scientists. But what is the nature of that work? Is it anything like what the physical scientists go? Ongoing disputes about the nature of science in general keep the discussion alive. Some feminists even argue that the social sciences are more genuinely scientific than are such “hard” sciences as physics or chemistry.

What follows is based on the assumption that there is something particularly problematic about the scientific status of the social sciences.  We will attempt to uncover some reasons why that assumption is so common and natural. Perhaps the most fundamental reason is simply this; the subject of investigation in the social sciences is human beings.  Now humans seem to be able to guide their own behavior in accord with reasons (e.g. intended purposes) in a way that the rest of nature cannot.  A rock or a plant cannot “act” on reasons (the downward motion of an unsupported rock near the earth’s surface is not accounted for in terms of reasons the rock might have had for moving downward rather than, say, to the left).  The capacity to guide action by reasons appears to be connected in fundamental ways to the nature of the (human) mind. The following discussions are devoted to examining the implications or purported implications of these obvious facts.

 

The Domain of the Social Sciences

            We normally include in the social sciences psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and perhaps history. The social sciences investigate the actions of individuals (why Jones smokes), groups (why a certain tribe migrated), social and institutional structures and mores (political forms, taboos like the incest taboo).  The actions of individuals would appear to be basic, although some social scientists argue that the basic unit of analysis is groups.

 

Individual Human Actions and Folk Psychology

            Suppose we begin with explanations of individual human actions.  Unlike explanations of some natural phenomena, which may mystify us (lightning, a drop of acid making a hole in a thick piece of metal), explanations of human actions come quite naturally.  We understand peoples’ actions in the light of their desires and beliefs.  Suppose we wonder why Mary attends class so consistently.  A plausible explanation is that she desires an ‘A’ and thinks regular attendance an important or indispensable part of achieving that goal.  That is the sort of explanation we might expect from Mary herself. Such explanations come so naturally that the principles they employ have been dubbed “folk psychology”, the implication being that they are part of a common theory about behavior which even the least educated can and do employ in explaining actions. (Some will doubt whether folk psychology is a “theory” at all; a discussion of that takes us too far, at this point, into a consideration of what features anything must have to count as a theory).

 

Social Science, Physical Science,  and Folk Psychology

            Can social scientists use folk psychology?  Assuming a pretty minimal notion of what constitutes “science” it would seem they can only if folk psychology supplies us with causal laws or principles.  For the main and most characteristic thing the sciences do is to supply us with causal laws such as figure in causal explanations.  Remember that the difference between mere correlations and causes is that causes are not regarded as possibly accidental, and they are not accidental because causal claims are underwritten or rationalized by reference to deterministic or stochastic laws. The mere noting of correlations has no scientific interest unless it can be developed into a claim about causal connections. If we think about a paradigm case of explanation in a physical science we can see how citation of laws functions crucially.

Consider the following  explanation of the top of a container heated in a microwave blowing off. (‘E’ stands for ‘explanation’ ‘P’ denotes an element in a ‘physics explanation’)

            EI

            P1.  Container C contained gases.

            P2.  All gases expand when heated.

P3.  Whenever a gas in a closed container expands, the pressure on all sides of the container increases.

P4.  The top (ignore the sides) of this container could only stay in place at pressures less than 1 psi.

            P5.  The contained gas when heated to more than 200 degree F. exerts more than 1 psi.

                 pressure on that container’s top.

            P6.  The oven heated the gases to more than 200 degrees F.

            P7.  The top blows off.

  EI is a sketch of an explanation.  3 and 4 are vernacular versions of physical laws (they are “nomological” statements, from Grk ‘nomos’ which means ‘law’).  1, 2, and 5 mention initial conditions (IC).  7 follows deductively from 1-6.  The laws cited “cover” the relations between the gas, container, etc. So this form of explanation is called “deductive nomological” or “covering law.”  Physicists are in the business of discovering precise versions of such laws as those mentioned in 3 and 4.  7 is explained by 1-6.  But moreover, if we knew 1-6 to be true, we could have predicted 7 (I will speak of predicting or explaining 7 itself, rather than what 7 states).

            This account of a typical explanation in physics will be our guide in what follows. It relies in part upon a positivist model of explanation which has been discredited in certain respects, but not in such a way as to affect the main points to be made here.

 

            Now consider a similar explanation of a human action (‘S’ denotes an element in a  ‘social science’ explanation)

            EII

S1.  Bill desires a hot fudge sundae.

            S2.  Bill believes the best way to get a hot fudge sundae is to go to the DQ.

S3.  Whenever anyone, x, desires F, and believes the best way to get F is to do A, x does A, ceteris paribus.

            S4.  Bill goes to the DQ.

At first EII looks a lot like EI.  We could think of 1 and 2 as initial conditions.  3 could be construed as a causal law belonging to folk psychology.  Let us call it ‘L.’  1-3 deductively imply 4.  They explain 4 and if we knew them we could predict 4.  There is one difference however.  3 contains a ceteris paribus clause.  That means “other things being equal.”  For example, we could only predict 4 from 1-3 on the assumption that Bill does not desire some sushi even more than a hot fudge (in which case he would not likely go to the DQ), or on the assumption that Bill knows how to do A (go to the DQ) and so forth for many other possible qualifications.  The failure of these assumptions would amount to other things NOT being equal.  This ceteris paribus clause makes our explanation look too vague.

            But greater problems loom. A closer look suggests that EII is fundamentally unlike EI.    First of all, suppose S4 or P7 fail (are false).  Then either the IC are false or the causal law or laws are (why?).  But which,  the laws or the IC?   In EI if P 7 failed we would have ways of checking on the truth of the IC to see if they are false rather than P2 or P3. 

For example, suppose we want to check on the truth of P6.  We need to know whether or not the oven is malfunctioning. Perhaps it is not heating as much as its own temperature indicator shows.   In order to find out whether it is working, we could try heating other items in the oven, comparing their temperature with a thermometer before and after “cooking” and so forth.  Notice that such checking procedures in no way involve USING the law mentioned in P3 and P4.

On the other hand, in EII we have a problem.  How can we know that, say, S1 is true without USING L? If we ask Bill what his desires are, and he tells us he desires a hot fudge (utters those words), and we take that to prove that S1 is true,  then we must be assuming that Bill desires us to know what he desires and believes saying ‘I desire a hot fudge’ (or ‘yes’ when we ask him if he so desires) would be the best way to get us to know that.  What other reason could we have for taking those words as informative? (What reason could we have for even taking ‘yes’ as a word, rather than a peculiar sneeze?)  That is, we have just USED L to determine the truth of S1.  We have checked on the truth of S1 by assuming that whenever someone (Bill) desires F (desires that we know what he desires), and believes doing A (uttering ‘yes” in response to our question) is the best way to get F, he does A ceteris paribus.

Well, why is that a problem?  Because we beg the question respecting L’s truth.  We are, after all, trying to determine whether it is L that is true or false, or whether S1 or some other statement of initial conditions (IC) is true or false. We cannot show that the IC is false rather than L when the only way we have of checking the IC is by using L.  And there is no way, apparently, of checking on the truth of the IC in EII other than by using L.  For example, if we observe Bill’s behavior, and see that he walks towards the DQ, how would that verify S1, unless we assume that Bill believes that he is walking towards the DQ, or that he is walking towards it because he desires a hot fudge (i.e. we assume the truth of the thing we are trying to prove), and so on for many other assumptions.

             Any evidence that we might present for the truth of S1 will only BE evidence given the truth of L (if you doubt this, try producing a counterexample). 

            These sorts of difficulties have suggested to some social scientists and others that L is not a causal principle at all.  If it is not then the explanations in which it functions (like EII) are not causal explanations, and if not that, then perhaps not scientific at all.  One is particularly likely to think this if one thinks that no principle could count as a law in science if it could not be falsified (Popper), for it seems L cannot be falsified.  But even apart from such stringent (Popperian) demands on what counts as science, problems remain.

            It appears that the way L functions is very different from the way P2 and P3 function.  The latter underwrite causal connections. Causal connections are contingent.  If pollen causes sneezing, it is not because ‘pollen’ means ‘stuff that causes sneezing’ but because the pollen, which can be identified independently of anyone’s sneezing, has been discovered through experiments to be connected to sneezing.   But at first sight it looks like the connection between reasons and actions is logical, not contingent.  An example of a logical connection would be the connection between Bill’s being a bachelor and Bill’s being single.  That is not a connection that is discovered but one that is determined by the meaning of ‘bachelor’ etc. Now is the connection between Bill’s desires and beliefs and his action as in EII contingent or logical?  Can we specify what Bill’s desires and beliefs are independently of his actions, or vice versa?  Perhaps not.  Perhaps what it means to say Bill acted (as opposed to saying he just twitched, blinked, or knee-jerked) is that he had certain beliefs and desires which are logically connected to the action more or less like being a bachelor is connected to being single.  We do not discover that wanting hot fudge etc. is connected to eating hot fudge.  If Bill has that desire etc. then if he did NOT get the fudge we would infer he did not have that desire after all (ceteris paribus, of course) just as, if we discovered Bill was married, we would infer he was not a bachelor after all.  What justifies the inferences is the meaning of the terms used. 

The argument (call it ‘log con’) goes like this;

1. Causal connections are contingent connections.

2. The connection between desires and beliefs on the one hand, and the actions they “cause” on the other, is not contingent.

3. Therefore those connections are not really causal.

4. Therefore folk psychological explanations are not causal, and thus, not scientific.

This is the “logical connection” (log con) argument.

            Now that argument may go too far. It might be used to deny that some obviously causal explanations are in fact causal.  For it is possible to describe a single event, such as the blowing off of the cap (see EI) in more than one way. We could describe it as “the event caused by expanding gases!”(call that description ‘CEG’) Then we could make the following contingent statement into a statement that is logically true;

            (a) the event of the blowing off of the cap was the event caused by expanding gases. 

            Just replace ‘the event of the blowing off of the cap’ with ‘CEG’ and you will see.

(You will get ‘the event caused by expanding gases was the event caused by expanding gases.”   It is always easy to find two or more descriptions of one and the same event or thing (just as ‘bachelor’ and ‘single male adult’ are two different descriptions of one and the same thing, e.g. Bill, given that he is a bachelor).   But that is no reason for denying a causal connection between expanding gases and the cap blowing off.  Whether a statement describing an event is logically true or contingent depends on how the event is described.  For example, ‘the event of the blowing off of the cap was caused by the event of expanding gases’ is a contingent statement. So log con seems like too strong an argument to use in an attempt to distinguish explanations in the physical from explanations in the social sciences.

            Nonetheless, “Bill ate a hot fudge because he wanted one’ looks very near to being logically, trivially, true.  Descriptions of actions, beliefs and desires seem linked, as though we could not give a description of one (an action, say) without bringing in another (a desire, say).  It is as though we could only describe the cause of a spot on my nose as ‘the cause of the spot on my nose.’   It will of course be true that whatever caused the spot on my nose was the cause of the spot on my nose!  But that isn’t too informative!  It does not follow of course that there is no independently specifiable cause of the spot.  (Supposing it does is the shortcoming of the logical connection argument).

 

Intentionality and causal explanations

            There is a further problem with supposing EII is a causal explanation and that S3 states a causal principle.  This may be the biggest problem of all.  For S3 is couched in intentional language.  Beliefs and desires are intentional, that is, they are about something, or have content.  A dark horizon is not ‘about’ bad weather, though some person might take it to indicate bad weather is on the way.  But the belief that bad weather is on the way is definitely about something, namely, about bad weather, or more specifically, it has the content expressed in the following proposition: bad weather is on the way.  Now mere physical things or events are never about anything, they never have content, in that sense.  If the sciences are only capable of dealing with what is physical, then the intentionality of desires etc. would seem to be enough to rule out a science of the human.  The philosopher/psychologist Franz Brentano took intentionality to be the definitive mark of the mental, and argued that it could never be eliminated from accounts of human actions.  The conclusion?  You supply it.

            One way to determine whether a term is intentional depends upon a linguistic fact, which we might expect since the content of beliefs, desires etc. is propositions, which are expressed in languages.  Propositions are about something, and the words as used are about something or refer to something (they are derivatively intentional). Consider the following:

            1.  Bill believes Tully was clever.  

            Suppose, unknown to Bill, Tully the roman orator was also called Cicero (in fact, he was).  Then does it follow that

            1'. Bill believes Cicero was clever? 

            No.  He might think Cicero stupid.  Or he may never have heard of Cicero.  What we see from this example is that if we replace ‘Tully’ with a co-referential term (a term referring to the same thing) such as ‘Cicero,’ that 1 can be turned from true to false.  1 contains what is called ‘an intentional context’ and in such contexts one cannot safely substitute co-referential terms without risking loss of (change of)  truth (cannot substitute such terms salva veritate, (while ‘saving truth’)).

A famous argument in the history of philosophy is fallacious because it fails to note this fact.  Descartes argued

            D1.  I can believe I am not a (my) body.

            D2.  I cannot believe I am not I.

            Therefore, I am not my body.

            (This argument depends upon the further principle that if two things are identical, whatever is true of the one must be true of the other.)

That is like arguing

            TC1.  I can believe Tully is not Cicero

            TC2.  I cannot believe Tully is not Tully

            Therefore, Tully is not Cicero.

  Some argument!  What is even worse, Descartes’ argument contains the terms ‘can’(is possible) and ‘cannot’(is not possible) and contexts governed by these terms are also such that we cannot safely substitute co-referential terms salva veritate.  (See if you can invent an example).

            Philosophers have coined a term for language such that in it co-referential terms cannot be safely substituted.  It is called intensional language.  The language of folk psychology, and certainly L,  is intensional through and through.

            Many philosophers and scientists hold that the language of science is and must be extensional (such that co-referential terms can be substituted salva veritate).  Scientific truths cannot depend upon how we refer to the entities postulated in scientific theories.  If they are right, then folk psychology cannot provide us with principles for scientific explanations of human actions, unless it is somehow possible to reduce intentional notions to non-intentional ones.  There are powerful arguments against the claim that that is possible.  These facts have an interesting consequence.  People often speak about the brain as knowing, believing etc. The brain is a physical thing.  Suppose that when I believe Mary is here, my brain is in state A. That state is physical.  Thus it is not about anything.  Thus it is not about Mary.  A dim awareness of this fact often leads people to speak of the brain as though it housed a little person, who takes the various states of the brain and interprets them (in somewhat the way someone might look at the lowering sky and interpret it as indicating an approaching storm).  But of course the “little person inside” (sometimes called a homunculus ) must in turn have a brain, which in turn needs another little person to interpret ITS states, and so forth.  Given the obvious stupidity of this strategy, it is amazing how much it turns up in popular accounts of thought, belief, etc. including many found on PBS programs.

             It looks then as though social scientists may be facing the following dilemma: either give up the claim that the social sciences are sciences, OR give up folk psychology.  Some take the first route (interpretativists or “interpretationalists”), others the second (e.g behaviorists in psychology).

             

           

           

Appendix I: Another difficulty with folk psychology.

Suppose we want a scientific account of gold,  We define gold as a metal that is shiny and yellow. We find that some samples dissolve in aqua regia. Just as we are about to include that fact in the account of gold, we discover some “gold” that does not so dissolve (say, some “fools gold”).  So we expand our account of gold to include this new stuff, this exception. But, we are getting nowhere. There is too much shiny yellow stuff around to come under a single theory. Our definition of gold was defective, it did not “carve nature at the joints.”  Gold thus defined does not denote a “natural kind.”  But science seeks for natural kinds.

            Folk psychological concepts seem to be in the same boat as ‘shiny and yellow.’ “Desire” and “belief” get applied in such a way that any attribution of a desire or a belief is open to endless modification (cf. the ceteris paribus clause).  Nothing seems to be informatively demarcated with these concepts, just as ‘shiny and yellow’ does not informatively demarcate any group of metals.

 

Appendix II: Reasons and Causes.

Sometimes human behavior has a causal explanation. Bill may think he went on the bus to visit Mary because he desired to visit her and believed taking the bus the best way to do so, when in fact he was operating under the influence of hypnosis. The hypnosis caused the behavior, the desire and belief did not.  But sometimes Bill takes the bus to visit Mary just because he desires to. The desire and his belief about the bus make his actions intelligible, but do they cause it the way hypnosis does? It seems not. The hypnosis does not justify, or make reasonable, the action. The desire and belief does. Even when the desires and beliefs which rationalize actions are hidden from the view of the agent, they still function differently from physical causes. The psychiatrist who claims that Bill’s real reason for marrying Jane is an unconscious attachment  to his own mother, not the traits of Jane Bill cites, still explains Bill’s actions in a way that makes them rational given the (hidden) desires he has. All of this does not amount to the claim that Bill’s desires do not cause his actions at all. It simply amounts to the claim that they do not cause his actions in the way physical causes (the heating of a gas) cause things (the expansion of the gas).

 

Appendix III: Notice that if we use behavior as a guide to belief, we must hold desires constant. For example, if we observe a bit of behavior consisting of Bill’s walking towards the DQ, we can take that as evidence that he believes that walking to the DQ is the best way to get a hot fudge, only if we assume that he desires a hot fudge. Suppose we change the desire; his desire is to knock off a food establishment. Given that change in desire attribution, his behavior is no longer evidence for the claim that he believes walking to the DQ is the best way to get a hot fudge. Right? So behavior only provides evidence for belief where we assume certain desires to be in place. And vice versa. Suppose we observe Bill walking to the DQ and take that behavior as evidence that he desires a hot fudge. That will only work if we hold belief constant, that is, the behavior is evidence for the desire only given the belief that walking to the DQ is the best way to get a hot fudge.  If he believes that walking to the DQ is the worst way to get a hot fudge, or no way at all (say because he believes they are out of fudge), then the behavior is no evidence for that desire.

            Notice how this point relates to the point exploited by Plantinga in his EAAN. Why, he asks, should we suppose that naturalist evolution would produce beings that tend to have rational beliefs? Well, suppose some cave man desires to pet saber tooth tigers. We would think he would not last long enough to pass on his genes. But suppose that desire is coupled with the belief that the best way to pet a saber tooth is to run like hell whenever one is spotted. That is of course an irrational belief, but when coupled with the right sort of desire it produces behavior that has survival value. When we see the cave man running from the tiger, we cannot assume that he believes the tiger is dangerous, unless we also assume that he is acting on the desire to avoid danger. But suppose he is acting on the desire to pet tigers?   Behavior provides evidence for beliefs only when desires are held constant, and only provides evidence for desires when beliefs are held constant. Belief, desire and behavior are a package deal. You can only make a reasonable judgment about one of them given the other two. That is one reason why folk psychology is imprecise and does not always lead to good predictions. Beliefs and desires can come in all sorts of complicated mixes. (Suppose Bill does desire a hot fudge, does believe the best way to get it is to go towards the DQ, and is in fact going towards the DQ. But perhaps he believes he is headed towards Mary’s house, and believes Mary is going to give him a ride to the DQ.  In that case his behavior is not evidence for his belief that he is going to the DQ, since he doesn’t believe that he is.)

 

 

 Why Why Why????

 

Requirements on  genuine scientific explanations and the causal laws that figure crucially in them..

            1.  They would have to be expressible in extensional language (see Sum. #1)

            2.  They would have to eliminate all explicit or covert references to purposes, goals, etc.

(after all, it was the penchant for “teleological explanation” which precluded the development of science in the modern sense prior to the 17th century, and teleology is closely tied to mind, the ability to represent the world, goals, etc,)

3.  The elements that enter into those laws, and into the initial conditions and the predicted observable consequences, should be specifiable independently of one another     .

           

Why why why?

            Why do scientific explanations have to be expressible in extensional language?

 

In an extensional language, what makes the statements made in those languages true or false is how things are in the world.  Right?  Take the statement ‘The breeding of Hybrids with true breeding shorts will produce about 2 short out of 4.’  This prediction from Mendelian theory turns out true.  What makes it true is the way the world is.  That is how things are, because of the genetic make up of pea plants and the facts of dominance etc. Notice that this same fact could be expressed in very different terms without changing the truth of what is asserted.  Suppose we used the term ‘mating’ instead of ‘breeding.’  As long as ‘mating’ is used to refer to the same thing (process, arrangement) as ‘breeding’ refers to, the truth of the statement, after substituting ‘mating’ for ‘breeding’ will of course remain unchanged.  What matters is the facts, how things are, NOT how we talk about those facts.  We expect genuine science to tell us how the world is. We do not care what language it uses, so long as it gets the facts right, so long as its theories and claims are constrained by a world which is independent of thought, language, or any system of representing it.

            In an intensional language things are quite otherwise.  There, it is not the facts that determine whether a given statement is true.  Take the statement ‘Scott is the author of Ivanhoe.’

Suppose Ivanhoe is the only novel in English with exactly 90, 247 words.  Then that expression (‘the only novel in English with exactly 90,247 words’) refers to exactly the same thing as ‘Ivanhoe.’  So it follows that if ‘Scott is the author of Ivanhoe’ is true, then so is ‘Scott is the author of the only novel in English with exacty 90,247 words.’  It is the facts about the world (in this case the fact about how many words there are in Scott’s novel called “Ivanhoe” ) which make either of these statements true.  BUT, suppose it is true that ‘George believes that Scott is the author of Ivanhoe.’  Does it follow that it is true that ‘George believes that Scott is the author of the only novel in English with exactly 90247 words.’?  Obviously NOT!.  George may have no idea how many words are in Ivanhoe, even though he has read it 10 times.  So what makes either of these statements true (or false) cannot be simply how the world, as a physical thing,  is.  Something else has interfered with truth here, in this case, something impenetrably obscure in itself, namely, belief.

            A good scientific language needs to be clear and unambiguous.  The statements in such a language need to be such that their truth or falsity depends only upon how things are in the world, not how we happen to be thinking about, talking about, or otherwise representing to ourselves, that world.  To suppose otherwise is to open the door to rampant subjectivism in science (which of course is what some people would like to do!)

 

            Now consider condition #2.  Why why why? The notion of a “goal” cannot be separated from the notion of something that has that goal as a goal, something that thinks, imagines, or believes something about that goal as (qua) goal.  Take a goal line, to illustrate the point.  A line on a field is just a mark.  Only when there are minds to think it as a goal line does the line actually become a goal line.  Its mere physical characteristics and location tell us NOTHING about it as a goal.  What tells us that is its functioning in a game, within which people have plans, intentions, etc. Likewise for the action of achieving the goal (aim) of the game, i.e. scoring a touchdown.  That action is just physical movements which mean nothing, just as the line itself means nothing, apart from people thinking and believing and desiring things.  So how things are physically hardly matters at all in thinking about what makes a goal line, or a touchdown.  But how things are physically is just about all that DOES matter in a science which seeks genuine causal laws. 

            The inability to think of nature as simply matter, as physical, and the tendency to import into nature irrelevant “purposes and goals” such as only minds of some sort can have, was precisely what precluded the development of genuine science in the ancient world (or so the story goes).  The ancients saw mind, or something mind-like, operating everywhere.  Moderns would like to see it operating nowhere.  So you can see that intentionality (i.e. believing, thinking etc.) needs to be excluded from science as we understand it in the modern era.  It should be pretty obvious by now how #1 and #2 overlap.

            Now consider condition #3.  Why why why? Take explanation I (EI, in summary I).  It contains the statement ‘the container contained gases’ (P1). Is there any way of indicating what we are talking about here, namely, gases, which does not involve remarking that gases are something which expand when heated?  That is, can we specify what we are talking about in statement P1 independently of the statement that all gases expand when heated (P2)?  Of course.  There are all sorts of tests for whether something is a gas.   If there were not, if the only test for whether something was a gas was that it expanded when heated, then “All gases expand when heated” would be like “ all bachelors are unmarried.”  That is, it would be an empty and uninformative tautology,  it would be true by definition.  Anything that expanded when heated would be a gas, and vice versa (and wouldn’t that be weird?  A metal that expanded when heated would then be, you guessed it, a gas!  Practically everything would be a gas! The gas law is of course much more precisely formulated than is P2).  What made it true would not be how things are, what the world is like, but merely how we had decided to use words.  A fancier way to put that would be to say that P2's truth would be due to a feature of our mode of representation (in this case language) rather than to a feature of what is represented. But the gas law is NOT a mere definition and what makes it true is how the world is.  And now you can perhaps see how #3 overlaps with #1 and #2. ALSO, if we cannot specify laws and initial conditions independently of one another, then our laws or theories (theoretical models) may be unfalsifiable in principle. For example, if we have to use L to determined whether our ICs are true, we will not be able in principle to show that L is false. We will have to assume its truth in order to get started with the project of determining what went wrong when a prediction failed. (Explain) But laws or theories which are immune to falsification fail to meet the most rudimentary condition for being scientific.

          If you have followed this so far, then you are in a position to see some problems with the

idea that L is a causal law.  And if LE has the same problems as L, if its problems are a mirror image of the problems L has (as is argued in your text and Summary II), then the scientific status of behaviorism begins to look very doubtful.  We will either have to abandon the claim that it is science, or expand our account of what science is, or simply settle for a pragmatic approach, in which we keep something around for its practical value, even though it solves no theoretical problem, gives us no real insight into the world.  Maybe the behaviorist can give good advice on how to advertise cereal.  It does not follow that he has done anything more than simply refine folk psychology a bit.

 

 

  



 
  Summaries #2

I. Looking for a Science of humans.
Can there be a science of people in the same sense that there is a science of planetary motions or even of the weather?  To suggest that there CAN be is troubling to some people, since it seems to imply that people are not much different from chunks of rock or low pressure areas.  So there is some more or less emotional resistance to the idea.  Science in that sense seems incompatible with "human values."
      On the other hand,
science has proved to be a powerful tool which has enhanced human life in many ways.  Might not a science of human beings be put to many beneficial uses?
      However
whether a science of humans would be a good thing or not, in any case it is not obvious that there could be such a thing.   WHY?  Largely because of MIND, which poses problems for the methods of science which are not found anywhere else.  Humans have minds, chunks of rock and low pressure areas do not.  So what?  Well, given that science consists of explanations, explanations in which causal laws play a fundamental role, a science of humans would have to find causal laws governing human behavior.  But, the search for such laws has been largely unsuccessful.  Because, first of all, it looks like the principles of folk psychology, the principles we all naturally and intuitively use in explaining human behavior, are not causal laws.  (See Summaries #1).  Those principles seem to be irreducibly teleological and mentalistic.   So it is understandable that those who want to pursue a "science of human beings" would suggest giving up those principles completely, and looking for new, genuinely causal principles.  Such principles would have to meet such conditions as these:
 1.  They would have to be expressible in extensional language (see Sum. #1)
 2.  They would have to eliminate all explicit or covert references to purposes, goals, etc.
 (after all, it was the penchant for "teleological explanation" which precluded the development of science in the modern sense prior to the 17th century, and teleology is closely tied to mind, the ability to represent the world, goals, etc,)
 3.  The elements that enter into those laws, and into the initial conditions and the predicted observable consequences, should be specifiable independently of one another .

An Example: Skinnerian behaviorism and  Operant Conditioning. 
Here is a sample of an attempt to meet those conditions.
 1. Emitted behavior which is reinforced positively will be repeated with greater frequency (etc.), or if reinforced negatively will die out.[LE]
 2. This rat's emitted maze-traversing-to-location-A behavior has been positively reinforced.
 3.  This rat's emitted Maze-traversing-to-non-A-locations has been negatively reinforced.
Therefore, There will be an increase in this rat's maze traversing to A, and a decrease in its maze traversing to non A.

LE is the basic principle of Skinnerian behaviorism. It is employed, as in this example, to explain learning, among other things. The rat learned to go to A. He learned how to get there, and he learned to get there, that is, he learned where to go to get a reinforcer (say, a tasty food pellet). He has learned to successfully “seek out A.”  What account of this learning is possible that does not involve the rat having any thoughts, beliefs, desires,  intentions, purposes? We of course need such an account if we want to avoid folk psychology, which always requires mention of such “mentalistic” entities.  The “cash value,” so to speak, of “seek A” (which is clearly intentional) is supposed to be given in this behavioristic explanation which is, supposedly, non-intentional. We can think of the intentional description (seek A) as being “reduced to” something non-intentional, or we could think of it as being eliminated in favor of the non-intentional, behaviorist description.

This looks like a typical causal explanation of the deductive nomological type. #1 is a statement of a causal law. #2 and #3 state initial conditions.  The predicted consequence (the increase in traversing to A etc.)  is explained and predicted by 1 - 3.  Presumably this type of explanation could be extended to other creatures, including humans, which exhibit what appear to be goal oriented (teleological) behavior.


 Moreover, 1 - 3 appear to be couched in extensional language (Condition #1).  There is certainly no explicit mention of goals etc. (Condition #2).  And it seems that we ought to be able to specify what the behavior is, what constitutes a reinforcement (positive or negative), and what the environmental constants (stimuli) are (the structure and appearance of the maze) independently of one another (condition #3).
    BUT
   A closer looks suggests otherwise.
Take condition #2 first.  Exactly what is the behavior which is mentioned in 1 - 3?  How can it be identified?  Certainly not by such things as the purely physical motions of the rat, which will no doubt vary a great deal from case to case.  It rather looks as though the relevant identification takes place through reference to the end result, getting to A, that is.  And that of course is a bit of teleology.  Any behavior which gets to the goal (telos) will be the behavior in question (end result = goal).  In fact it looks as though the expression “maze-traversing-to-A behavior' is just a way of saying “seeking A behavior' or “going after A behavior” and these are teleological and are certainly not extensional. Thus #1 is violated also. 

You can see that they are not extensional in the following way; ‘A' is simply the "reward" location, and the rat will "seek" it even when the reward is not there, so it is not the reward itself being there, but the rat's ability to represent to itself that the reward is there, which explains its behavior.  Obviously if the reward is not there then it (the reward) cannot explain anything.   What explains is the representing capacities of the mind.  "The rat is seeking A" will be true where ‘A' is described as ‘the reward site" but false where ‘A' is described as ‘the reward site without the reward' even though, in the case where the reward has been removed, those expressions are co-referential.  There are further problems with providing independent specifications of the behaviour, the reinforcers, etc. (See text).
 Behaviorism in psychology and the social sciences is but one attempt to develop a science of human beings in the sense of ‘science' appropriate to physics etc. Many have come to view it as a failure ( for the kinds of reasons just mentioned and other reasons as well).  But so far there do not seem to be any very promising replacements (though developments in cognitive science might be the next wave).   Consequently many have come to think that there can be no science of human beings in that sense of ‘science.'  So perhaps what we need to do is return to folk psychology and attempt to refine and develop it in various ways.
 
II. Folk psychology, Interpretation, and Meaning.

One of the reasons [L] is such a failure as a causal generalization, particularly when applied to people, is that there are so many exceptions (the "ceteris paribus" or "other things being equal" clause is hopelessly complex).  Suppose I desire a hot fudge, believe going to the DQ will enable me to get a hot fudge, but do NOT go to the DQ.  Then we infer that other things were not equal, that there were other over riding desires, or other competing beliefs, etc.  Perhaps  I desire to stay skinny, even to the point of starving myself, even though I also desire hot fudge.  But we are not likely to think we understand such behavior if all we know is that the subject has that desire to be skinny.  We want to know why they have such a desire, and it seems that in order to understand that we have to know what being skinny MEANS to them.  What we are after is an interpretation of their behavior, in which the meaning of that behavior becomes evident.  Thus it often seems that understanding someone's behavior is more like reading a book then it is like finding a causal principle.  (We talk, revealingly, about people being ‘an open book' when it is easy to interpret their behavior).

Interpretation and following rules
 One way to get at the notion of "interpretation" in this context is to think about how we can grasp someone's behavior when we know what rules they are following.  Suppose I want an explanation of your moving your pawn one space forward in a chess game.  Part of the explanation will consist in citing the rule which you follow in so moving.  There is a sense in which I will never understand what you are doing until I at least know that much.  Suppose a Martian anthropologist came to earth and dropped in on a  football game.  How could he come to understand and be able to explain what is going on?  He could try to give a purely "physical' description of what is going on.  He might observe physical bodies lining up, then, linear interpenetration, followed by a high shrill sound, followed by grouping, followed by linear interfacing, and so forth. But the ability to give such a physical description is completely compatible with a complete  failure to understand anything about what is going on, under those descriptions most relevant to what is going on.  In order to acquire understanding the Martian must learn the rules of football and the intentions and purposes which are formed in terms of those rules.  And no amount of physical description will ever provide him with that knowledge.
    Now finding out what rules someone is following is hardly a matter of discovering causal principles, as we might suspect given the irrelevance of purely physical description (though that fact is not a conclusive reason for denying rules the status of causal principles)  Rules don't explain behavior the way physical causes do.  That is particularly obvious when you consider that rules can be broken without their ceasing to be rules.  Moreover, the very idea of "following" is heavily intentional.
 But what has this got to do with the behavior of the anorexic, or with a great deal of other human behavior?  Maybe quite a bit.  If we loosen up the notion of ‘rule' enough it is not implausible to say that the anorexic is following certain rules.  Perhaps most of human action (as opposed to mere behavior or reaction) is, or heavily involves, rule following.  Certainly all behavior which involves language is very rule governed, and the bigger and more important part of human action does involve language.  Perhaps, in order to understand the behavior of people, what we need is a grasp of the rules they are following.
 Consider the anthropologist trying to figure out the behavior of some Australian aborigines.  At first their actions don't make much sense.  They seem to do pointless things (stabbing footprints, chanting by the cornfield, you name it).  Then as he begins to learn the language and becomes familiar with customs and practices, things begin to "make sense."  It is a lot like the way a book in a foreign language is at first just marks on paper, but begins to make sense as we catch on to the language.  In such cases what we are catching on to is the rules, broadly understood.  Interpretation consists in learning rules, conventions, agreed upon ways of doing things, often to the point where we could ourselves engage in the practices in question (speak the language, play the game, perform the ritual, etc.). It is not, be it noted, a criterion for such learning that a person actually be able to state the rules (none of us could state the rules for English, but it does not follow that there are none, nor that we do not generally follow them).
 Another name for the science of interpretation, in the sense just suggested, is "hermeneutics."  The word originally refers to the interpretation of written texts.  "Reading" someone's behavior may be a lot more like "reading" a book then we at first realize.  That, at least, is the dominant view among those who endorse "interpretativism" in the social sciences.
 Clearly, on this view, the crucial thing is to try to get a firm grasp on the idea of following a rule.  It turns out not to be an easy thing to do.  The handouts from Wittgenstein (whose thinking on this topic has been uniquely powerful and influential) and Winch address this matter.



Summary III
Summaries #3.  (The following is directed particularly to pp. 100-103 of your text, as well as to recent handouts)

Meaning, Language, Rules, Social Construction.

It seems natural to many people to suppose that when I know that P (P could be just about any proposition, say, ‘the earth is round') what happens is that I somehow accurately "represent" something (the shape of the world, say) which exists objectively, some "fact of the matter" which is what it is apart from human (or divine) thought and activity.  Your text speaks repeatedly of propositions or thoughts as "representing" how things are.   Some might think of the mind (or language) as "mirroring" an independent reality, and the tasks of acquiring knowledge as a matter of cleaning up and making straight that mirror (cf. a now famous book by Richard Rorty titled Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature).  These ways of thinking about the mind (language etc.) are associated with empiricism and realism.  This position is attractive because it suggests that our thoughts can be kept in check by an external reality, with the result that those who discipline their thinking, perhaps in a "scientific" way, can arrive at real truths, shorn of all superstition and prejudice.
 But the nature of this "representing" or"mirroring" relation is hard to describe.   So hard, that some people have given up the whole idea and concluded that in knowledge we produce or construct the world, rather than mirror or reflect it.  Those who lean in this direction are idealistsor at least inclined towards some variety of idealism.  Empiricists and realists in the sciences think that the sciences give us more or less faithful representations or reflections of "THE WAY THINGS ARE."   Contemporary idealists or anti-realists are more inclined to doubt the whole idea of "the(one) way things are."  As one thinker of the latter type put it, there is no such thing as "the way the world is."  The world is lots of ways, It is lots of ways because people have lots of ways of constructing it.
 The realist position seems more like common sense.  But it needs to explain HOW the mind represents the world or mirrors it.  Since we think about the world and formulate propositions about it in a language, it looks as though there must be some very close relation, perhaps even an identity, between the way the mind represents reality and the way language does.  Winch's essay is devoted to a discussion of  precisely this matter.  He relies heavily on Wittgenstein, and the "Aids to Needy Students" consists in a summary of some of these Wittgensteinian ideas.
 So, how does language represent the world?  How, for example, can the word ‘world' refer to, represent, reflect or be about, the world, and how can ‘round' reflect a shape, etc. ? There is a great temptation to suppose that it does so by connecting up somehow to something which is intrinsically representative.  The word ‘world' itself is obviously not intrinsically representative.  If it were then very different words, e.g. ‘Welt', ‘mundus' ‘kosmos' etc. would apparently not be able to do what ‘world' does, but of course they do exactly what ‘world' does.
One attempt to connect language to an intrinsically representative medium is mentioned in the "Aids. ."  WHAT IS IT, and WHY WON'T it WORK?
 For various reasons it looks as though we can only make sense in and through a language by virtue of a basic ability to follow a rule.  We have rules for the use of ‘world' and that means that there are correct and incorrect ways of using it.  And it cannot be (according to Wittgenstein) that what makes a use correct or incorrect is something in my own (private) mind.  Correctness requires a public practice, with public criteria in terms of which uses can be corrected or judged as already correct.   So it begins to look as though what counts in the use of language, and thus in the acquisition of knowledge, is a social system, a set of public agreements in terms of which my "practice" with words can be judged.
 But this conclusion is troubling.  For now it looks as though the only external check on our thinking is the community's ways of thought,  which are inscribed in the community's language and customs, its whole way of living, or "form of life."  Yet surely an entire community could be wrong about any number of things.  Primitive tribes, for instance, appear to have many mistaken beliefs about nature, cosmology, etc. If we deny this, then it begins to look as though "knowledge" will be something "constructed" in a variety of ways, and how will we be able to choose between those ways, or say that one is better than another (cf.  Kuhn on the incommensurability of paradigms, which has important features in common with the Wittgensteinian idea of "forms of life.")
 An analogy may make these points clearer.  Consider the belief that P, where P is " a face with high cheekbones, a slender straight nose, and clear complexion, (etc.)  is beautiful."  We might think that this belief simply reflects an independent fact, so that anyone, no matter in what culture (tribe) they were raised, no matter what rules they learned for the use of  ‘beautiful' etc., would be able to see that this statement is true.   But it is quite clear that such judgments are not simply a reflection of how things are.  The concept of beauty is a social construction, we learn to view certain features as beautiful, and ideas about what those features are vary quite a bit from culture to culture and from one historical epoch to another.  This is not the same as the cliche that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
 If these anti-realist considerations are at all on track, then our puzzles about the relation between the physical and social sciences take on a new look.  If even the physical sciences are social constructions, then there should be no need to show that the social sciences measure up, in terms of predictive capacity etc. to the physical sciences.  If the latter represent just one way of "constructing knowledge" with no special privileges or status attached to it, then social scientists should not feel that their failure to find causal laws and sharp predictions somehow counts against the claim that their disciplines are "science."
 But surely whether the world is round or not is something that can be settled once and for all by observation, in a way that judgments about beauty admittedly cannot?  Surely "how things are" puts some limits, some check, on what we can reasonably think?
 Perhaps what we need is a kind of modified "realism" which recognizes that there is always some element of construction in knowledge, but maintains the common sense view that the world external to or prior to our thought places limits on what can count as knowledge, particularly at the "macro" level.  Such a view could be quite consistent with the view that when it comes to knowledge of humans and human affairs, the external checks on what we can think or on what constitutes knowledge are of quite a different sort from those pertaining to the physical sciences.



Summary IV
Phil./Psych.  430    Summaries IV    Holism vs. Individualism and the Autonomy of the Social Sciences.
     HOLISM
We have seen that there are difficulties in using such principles as [L] or [LE] to explain human behaviour.  Neither seem to meet the requirements of scientific explanations.  Perhaps no "science" of humans is possible.  Once again, humans seem different, apart from nature in certain ways, and thus not explainable in purely "natural" terms such as figure centrally in the "natural" sciences (physics etc.).   BUT, before we give up, perhaps we need to consider the possibility that our problems are the results of focusing on INDIVIDUAL human beings.  Perhaps a social science will still be possible provided that we focus not on individuals but on groups, i.e. whole societies, tribes, cultures.  Perhaps at that level we will be able to discover causal laws governing human behaviour.  The idea is that the behaviour of groups is perhaps not reducible to the behavior of the individuals in it.  This thought is encouraged by the collection of statistical data, which often suggest causal connections at the level of groups which we would not notice without the statistical data.
 DURKHEIM fastened on this idea.  He thought there were social facts, facts which cannot be explained in terms of, or "reduced to" facts about the individuals who make up those groups.  The idea is "holist" (i.e. "Whole - ist").  Durkheim thought the dramatic rise in suicides in France between the 1850's and the 1870's (recorded in the statistics of the French government) must be such a "social fact", since the usual "individualist" explanations of suicide (in terms of such things as individuals' loss of job or loved one, depressing circumstances of other sorts etc.)  remained constant through the period, even though the suicide rate changed.  On the principle that a different effect (rate in 1870 as compared to 1850) requires a different cause, Durkheim reasoned that those "individual" factors must not be what explains the change.  I.e. he constructed the following argument:
 1.  The suicide rate changed dramatically between 1850 and 1870.
 2.  The individual factors recorded as "causes" of suicide did NOT change
 3.  Therefore, Those individual factors do not explain the change in the RATE
 4.  Something ‘non-individual' must explain the change.  It would be a "social cause" operating on social "wholes" rather than on individuals.

So now we need to show that the social wholes are explainable in terms of extensional laws.  Thus social science (including anthropology, social psychology, history) could be "scientific."  We must simply avoid explanation at the individual level, since explanations of individual actions might still get mired in the kinds of problems afflicting [L] and [LE].

In fact, Durkheim tried to find FUNCTIONALIST explanations of social facts.  For example, he thought that certain institutions (marriage, closely binding religious institutions) FUNCTION to increase social cohesion.  The lower incidence of suicide in certain groups (.e.g. married Catholics) could be explained in terms of the way such institutions functioned.
   BUT
 there are many problems here.
1.First, functionalist explanations are problematic for reasons already discussed ("function" involves the notion of purpose, and thus, of a "purposer" i.e. MINDS get back into the discussion.  In fact, Durkheim even postulated the existence of a "group mind" or soul.)  But minds and their purposes are what we are trying to get rid of in order to make way for "science."
2.  It is not obvious how social institutions (marriage e.g.)  could "function" at all without passing through individual psychology.  The effect of marriage practices upon a society works through individuals and their attitudes towards the institution, or so it certainly seems.  So it would seem that the "whole" is after all reducible to its parts.

   INDIVIDUALISM
Such problems with "holism" inspired renewed attempts to find explanations of human behavior, particularly at the group level, which did not require anything more than individuals and their individual motivations.  Could such individualist theories explain the kinds of social facts Durkheim and others pointed out?  Perhaps.
 ADAM SMITH showed one way.  Smith tried to show that the beneficial effects of market economies were not the result of individuals intending to produce those effects.  In fact each individual in the market looks out only for #1.  What then produces the beneficial effect for others?  Not some mysterious "group mind" achieving its own purposes.  Rather the market operates in such a way that the combination of many selfish acts produces benefit for all.  The mechanisms of the market (the laws of supply and demand) operate as an INVISIBLE HAND, i.e. something which works without being noticed by individual agents. But the operation of that invisible hand can still be explained entirely in terms of the way in which individual self-seeking and the constraints of supply and demand interact (such interactions are in fact the subject matter of economics).  Perhaps similar invisible hand explanations might be available for non-economic social facts?
   BUT
 here too there are many problems.  The main one, the biggy, is of course
   Guess what?
Right.  Smith's explanations mention individual desires, fears, beliefs.  But any explanation in those terms is a piece of folk psychology.  And we know what problems that forbodes for anything claiming to be science.
 But there is another problem, almost as big.  Smithian explanation (roughly, rational choice theory) can be shown to fail as an explanation of "public goods."  Such goods are goods that cannot be enjoyed privately (e.g. clean air and water, good lighting, etc.).  There is an argument that goes like this:
 1.  A famous puzzle shows that individual rational agents acting out of self interest cannot produce such public goods.
 2.  There are such public goods.
 3.  Therefore not everything about a society can be explained in terms of the actions of rational self interested agents.
 4.  Therefore, rational choice theory, with its invisible hand idea,  cannot explain many important characteristics of societies.

The famous puzzle is, of course, the PRISONERS DILLEMMA.  (Again, what does it show?)

Consider two people, A and B, both of whom would like the benefit of an additional street light in their neighborhood.  Suppose the city requires homeowners to pay all or most of the bill. Both A and B would of course like to avoid the expense but get the benefit (would like to be "free riders").  Suppose A argues that he can't afford it, hoping that B will pick up the whole bill.  But B will try the same strategy.  They will end up saving their money but getting NO additional street lighting.  They can't operate as rational (self- interested) agents and still get what they want, i.e. better lighting at minimal expense.  If A agrees to pay just part of the bill, B will try to fake it in hopes that he can get A to pay the whole bill, or more than half at any rate.  B will do the same.  So they cannot reach the best result (I.E. even sharing of cost and full benefit for both) unless they cease functioning as "Smithian" rational agents.  However, people manage these sorts of cooperative endeavours all the time.  So Smith must have been wrong, or at best only partly right.

There is, however, another kind of invisible hand.  And this one doesn't require folk psychology.  So it looks very promising.  We are speaking of course of
   DARWIN'S INVISIBLE HAND
The theory of natural selection (NS)is of course a theory that operates at the individual level.  Only individual organisms can undergo the genetic mutations which are a necessary condition f or natural selection.  Societies don't have genes.  Only the individuals that make them up have genes.  So how could NS be invoked in explaining social facts, group behavior?  Moreover, the problem of public goods would seem to arise here too, since the "survival of the fittest" is analogous to Smithian self interest.  How could NS produce cooperative behavior in which individuals sacrifice something for the greater good?  How could it explain any kind of altruism?  The Answer?
  Kin Selection
 Consider a bird that calls out upon the approach of a predator, thereby warning others in the flock so that they escape.  Why wouldn't this "calling-out" behavior get eliminated eventually through natural selection, since the bird that calls out is going to have a short life indeed and thus won't have much chance to pass on his genes?  Well, look at it like this.  Suppose the calling-out bird has a bunch of full siblings in the flock.  They have half his genes.  He doesn't know this of course, since birds don't know anything about genes (neither do most people).  Suppose that by calling out he saves three of his sibs.  Suppose another bird doesnt call out and saves himself but his sibs all get eaten by the predator, who takes them by surprise.  Which does better in the "gene derby"?  The first.  His actions results in 1.5 birds worth of his genes being saved, whereas the second only saves 1 birds worth of his genes.  Of course the "altruistic" bird does not intend this result (just like the Smithian agent does not intend the good result of his behavior).  Nor does he intend any result at all. We do not need anything like [L] to explain his individual behavior.   He is just a bird, reacting to stimuli, like any robot or behavioristic entity.  Nonetheless his "altruistic" behavior will be "selected".
 Could it be that way with people too?  Maybe.  If so we might be able to explain various social facts including such things as public goods in terms of kin selection.   And notice that we could get along entirely without reliance on [L] in these explanations.  So the Darwinian invisible hand is one up on the Smithian in that crucial respect.
 The Darwinian invisible hand looks promising in explaining such things as incest taboos, cross cousin marriage customs and even the specific proportions of patrilateral cross cousin marriage, the ideas of "special obligations" (e.g. obligations to parents, children, etc.)  and the like.  (You should try to formulate how, roughly, it would work for these customs.)  But what would explain altruistic behavior of the Mother Teresa sort or even many less dramatic sorts (a stranger helping an old lady across the street)?
What explains social cooperation at a level where gene maintenance could not be a factor (e.g. fighting in a war for a large nation like the USA)? It turns out that in theory certain kinds of cooperative behavior might be selected even under broader social conditions.  Tit for tat strategies do well in computer simulations of players playing under many kinds of circumstances.  In a tit for tat I opt for the best choice in the prisoner's dillemma (the one in which, if you do the same, we both do as well as possible).  If you however leave me in the lurch I retaliate the next time around.  I then return to being nice.  This more or less altruistic behavior actually gets selected over the long run even where there is no close genetic relations, given certain initial assumptions (in particular, there must be more than one tit for tater.)
  BUT
 there are all sorts of problems here too.  Some of them are problems for NS in general, namely, its tendency to degenerate into triviality, even when invoked in the purely biological realm.  Even when we do not know what environmental factors would have selected a certain trait (say, the plates on Stegosaurus), we assume it was selected since it has survived.  It begins to look as though those traits have survival value which survive, and we know that because, hey, they have survived!  Some explanation!  What is needed is an account of what makes a trait good for survival which is independent of NS.  Sometimes at least, in biology, we can find such independent explanations (there is one for the whiteness of a polar bear, for instance).  But do we EVER have them in sociobiology?  Not so far.  That is what gives it such a speculative quality.  Maybe it is worse than that (speculation isn't always bad).  Maybe what it gives us is just a set of "just so" stories, made up after the fact.  There are further reasons for thinking so.
 Consider the enormous variety of human customs and mores.  Is it plausible to think that all or most of this variety is the result of NS?  Surely the differences between, say, Greeks and Italians could not be explained in terms of selection.  And surely there are many different social forms with equivalent survival value.  So what explains the presence of these particular customs and facts?  Here NS seems much too general.  It seems to have about the same relation to the things we want explained in human life as does Newtonian mechanics.  To be sure, people are bodies in motion.  However knowing the Newtonian laws doesn't tell me what I want to know about why Tony shot his Delia (twas on a Friday night).  NS doesnt seem to do much better, except that it stimulates plausible sounding imaginative constructions.
 One of the reasons why it doesn't seem to do much better is as follows: suppose that NS is invoked to explain sexual jealousy (cf.  the PBS series The Human Quest).  My sexually jealous behavior should improve the chances for my genes, since I will keep my wife/partner away from other men, thus ensuring that her children have MY genes.   But this explanation will only work on the assumption that people naturally tend towards infidelity.  That might seem a safe assumption but it is not.  It begs the question in favor of the view that people naturally tend towards anything whatsoever (that is part of what is in dispute here) Certainly many social forms manage to prevent it for the most part.  How can we simply assume that such social forms were not present in, say, Pleistocene hunter/gatherer societies?


 



   Summary of Summaries (be able to explain the terms in Bold)

 The Rise of the Exact Sciences of Nature and Conflicts with "Human Values."

 The sciences which arose in the 16th and 17th centuries, i.e. the new physics, astronomy, chemistry, seemed almost immediately to conflict with certain "human values." Humans could no longer think of themselves as at the "center" of the universe (Copernicus), scientific claims seemed to conflict with some religious beliefs, and the world view that developed out of the new physics seemed to reduce everything in the universe to cold mechanical forcesTeleology ( the study of goals, purposes, ends) was driven out as the new science separated from the old.  The result was an essentially meaningless universe, without any religious, ethical or metaphysical bearings.
 The conflict between science and some human values, in particular religious values, increased as science gained in power and prestige.  The ability of the new physicists to explain, predict (cf.  Halley) and control nature seemed to many to be overwhelming proof that science had the truth and that older ways of thinking colored by religion and teleology were obsolete.  The new methods stressed the construction and scientific testing of theoretical models and theoretical hypotheses.
 The mechanistic picture of the universe associated with Newton gave way to some degree in the 20th century to less deterministic views, but new problems arose as scientists produced horrendous inventions (especially nuclear bombs ), made possible certain unethical and destructive experiments on the earth and on people, and in some cases openly attacked traditional ways of life and modes of thought.
 The authority and prestige of science made its progress particularly threatening to certain human values, but that authority and prestige were themselves threatened by the development of studies in the history of science which suggested that the ideal of objectivity and impartial attention to evidence which supposedly enabled the growth of scientific knowledge might in fact be largely an illusion.  On Kuhn's view, for instance, science does not progress over the long run, although there is progress within paradigms.  (i.e. within normal science). Now in the last decade of the 20th century even the most exact sciences (physics ) have been put in question by constructivists, feminists and other thinkers with historical and sociological perspectives.  Kuhn has been a major influence on these trends, even though he disassociates himself from the more extreme denials of scientific objectivity.
 The recognition that science is not purely objective even in its most austere forms (physics) can be joined to an argument to the effect that when science conflicts with religious or other values it is often actually motivated by non-scientific commitments, or in Plantinga's terms, is a form of "Augustinian science."  Important parts of biology might be Augustinian, as for example when it is claimed that a common genetic code must strongly confirm the theory of common ancestry.  Most of physics on the other hand appears to be Duhemian.  It may be methodologically naturalistic, but it is not metaphysically naturalistic.The social sciences, on the other hand, seem to be, more often than not, Augustinian.
 
Sciences of Human Beings: a New and Higher Level of Conflict with "Human Values."

 In the last 150 years or so attempts to develop scientific studies of human nature have produced new and even more troubling conflicts with many deeply held human values.  Some psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, economists and historians have attempted to produce "scientific" accounts of human behaviour in which humans are sometimes pictured as little more than clusters of atoms obeying meaningless mechanical laws or at any rate as subject to forces over which they have no control.  But these sciences have not succeeded in commanding the same degree of respect as the physical sciences.  There has been continuous debate as to whether these sciences are really science at all, and many have held that they are merely pseudo-disciplines.  Others have attempted to understand these "human sciences" as disciplines quite distinct from the exact sciences, as geistes wissenschaften rather than natur wissenschaften.  These debates have been fueled by the inability of the social sciences to discover any interesting laws of behavior or produce any non-controversial explanations of behavior which improve on common sense.  That inability seems to many to be a function of the irreducibility of the mental to the physical, the intentional to the non-intentional, the intensional to the extensional.  Not that there have been no sustained attempts at such reductions.  Skinnerian behaviorism attempted to use [LE]to explain behavior without making any mention of beliefs and desires, purposes, intentions etc.  That attempt has been criticized so forcefully that it has few adherents left.  It is doubtful whether the Skinnerians produced any examples of interesting laws or succeeded in producing interesting predictions beyond what could be produced by any competent folk psychologist.  Folk psychology, using such natural intuitive principles as [L], seems to provide satisfactory explanations of much human behavior, and to enable a certain amount of prediction.  But it does not seem to be subject to the kind of refinement and improvement in explanatory and predictive power and scope of laws which we find in the physical sciences.
 Some in the social sciences nonetheless stick to folk psychology or to modes of explanation which depend heavily upon it.  In particular interpretativism in the social sciences relies heavily upon [L] and similar principles.  Interpretation is an activity which applies to meaning.  Behavior in the sense of action as opposed to mere reaction (winks as opposed to blinks) seems to have meaning or sense (cf.  " what he did just didn't make sense") and understanding action is, arguably,  more like understanding verbal utterances or written texts than it is like the understanding of nature in terms of laws (as per the ideal presented in the deductive nomological theory of scientific explanation ).  Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation, interpretation both of texts and of human actions.    It exploits the fact that most human mental phenomena seem to be closely connected to language, to the ability to represent the world with propositions, which is the very thing which distinguishes the intentional.
     Others in the social sciences have thought that scientific progress might be possible by focusing on the behavior of groups or social "wholes" (thus, "holism") rather than individuals.  The French sociologist Durkheim argued that there are social facts (for example a sudden rise in suicide rates in 19th century France) facts which are often uncovered by statistical analysis, and which can only be explained by other social facts, and that connections between these facts could be explained without any reference to the beliefs, desires and purposes of individuals.  However Durkheim favored functional explanations of social facts, but the very notion of function is itself intentional, and seems to require a mind (perhaps a "group mind") which has purposes or plans.  But what is needed for science, it seems, is elimination of all such mentalistic and teleological thinking, at least if physics is any example of what science is or should be.
     It is also possible to give explanations of social facts in terms of the behavior of individuals through invisible hand explanations. Methodological individualists naturally prefer such strategies.  Adam Smith devised this notion to explain how certain "group effects" (e.g. high social prosperity) could result from the actions of individuals who did not think of or intend those effects.  But Smithian economics still explains what happens in the market place in terms of the desires and beliefs of people, and thus does not seem to move beyond folk psychology.  Moreover it is difficult to see how Smithian approaches, or rational choice theory in general, could explain the existence of public goods.  For the prisoner's dilemma shows that such goods should not arise if the assumptions of rational choice theory are true.
     A different kind of explanation of social facts of a certain kind DOES move beyond folk psychology, namely what might be called Darwinian invisible hand explanations Sociobiologists (SB)for example, argue that altruistic social practices, or the existence of public goods can be explained in terms of the operation of natural selection (NS) in the social domain.  For while in biology selection generally is thought of as operating on individuals, it can operate on groups via kin selection.  And even in groups of non-related individuals it is possible, given certain assumptions, that somewhat altruistic or trusting strategies such as tit for tat might be selected over more selfish strategies. It is thus at least conceivable that there might be sociobiological explanations of such facts as cross cousin marriage practices and the incest taboo.
 There are however many problems with sociobiology.  NS itself, even in the purely biological realm, has seemed to some to be threatened with triviality and non-falsifiability.  But in biology it is at least sometimes possible to give independent accounts of what traits contribute to survival ( independent of NS, that is).  That appears not to be the case with typical SB explanations.  Moreover SB explanations are not subject to experimental test for obvious reasons.
 The scientific study of human beings often seems to be a threat to ideals of human freedom and dignity.  The threat becomes very real when scientists contemplate experimentation on humans, including experiments which require deception, invasion of privacy, infliction of various sorts of harms or withholding of benefits.  That is to say, ethical values, which are primary among "human values" often stand in the way of work in the social sciences.  It is in the light of such facts in particular that one needs to understand W.H. Auden's injunction: "Thou shalt not sit with statisticians nor commit a social science."


 



 
Sample Exam I

True(a) or False (b)

1. A theoretical hypothesis attempts to apply a theoretical model to an actual state of affairs.
2.  Kuhn argued that scientific revolutions (e.g. the change from Ptolemaic to Copernican astronomy) clearly illustrate scientific progress.
3. A good test of a hypothesis is one which shows that the truth of that hypothesis cannot be doubted.
4. Genuinely scientific explanations, according to some, are explanations which make reference to natural laws.
5. No hypothesis can be tested in isolation from other beliefs and hypotheses.
6.  Duhemian science is science which requires methodological naturalism.
7. One of the characteristics of a scientific paradigm is that it is partly defined by exemplary cases through which students are introduced to the paradigm.
8. On the standard view, science consists of explanations which include statements of laws in the part that does the explaining.
9. If we use a hypothesis to make a prediction (as for example Haley did, using the theoretical hypothesis that the comet and sun formed a Newtonian particle system), then if the prediction turns out false, we MUST reject the hypothesis.
10. Folk psychology is the kind of psychology taught by old folk.
11. One of the important disputed questions in the social sciences which may involve philosophical issues is the question whether individuals should be the focus of investigation, or only groups.
12. Naturalists in the social sciences may respond to the lack of progress in those sciences by looking for new  principles governing human behavior, rather than seeking to refine [L].
13. Interpretationalists in the social sciences think that the main business of those sciences is to try to understand the meanings of behavior.
14.  The statement ‘Lillegard believes that Scott is the author of Ivanhoe' is not extensional.
15.  In order for a hypothesis to be genuinely scientific it must be possible to specify what would show it to be false.

Multiple Choice: Choose the BEST answer.

16.  A metaphysical naturalist is someone who
 (A)holds that "nature" is all there is
 (B) holds that violations of the laws of nature are impossible, so that everything that happens or ever has happened is the result of the operation of those laws.
 (C) denies that there are any "supernatural" entities or forces or agents
 (D) all of these.
17.  A  model in science could be
 (A) an analogy, such as Rutherford's model of the atom, in which it is conceived of on analogy with the solar system
 (B) an ideal system defined by explicit definitions
 (C) a style show participant
 (D) a and b.
18.  According to Kuhn, two scientific theories would be incommensurable with one another if
 (A) they embodied different conceptions of the problems science tries to solve
 (B)   "          "               "              "            of what constituted a proof or demonstration
 (C) they see or take phenomena in a different way
 (D) all of these
19. [L] is the principle that
 (A) whenever you do something you should have a reason
 (B) whenever anyone believes something they are right
 (C) whenever anyone desires to believe something and acts on that desire they get what they want
 (D) none of these.
20.  The difference between a blink and a wink might be the difference between
 (A) a reflex and an action
 (B) something that has a cause and something that has a reason
 (C) something that has no meaning and something that does
 (D) all of these.

Consider the following argument(Argument A) and answer the questions which follow it:
 1.  All gases expand when heated (by some precise amount, proportional to the precise amount of heating)
 2.  This is a gas
 3.  This is heated (by some precise amount)
 4.  This expands (by some precise amount)

21.  This entire argument illustrates
 (A) the deductive nomological theory of scientific explanation
 (B) the idea that science consists of explanations in which laws are cited, and which not only explain but predict
 (C) the idea that science is completely deductive
 (D) A and B.
22. Statement 1 is
 (A) the (crude) statement of a law of nature
 (B) one of the initial conditions mentioned in this explanation
 (C) a subsidiary hypothesis
 (D) all of these
23.  Statements 2 and 3
 (A)mention initial conditions in this explanation
 (B)may themselves require, for their truth,  the truth of some subsidiary hypotheses (.e.g. about the expansion of mercury)
 (C)must be false if 1 is true
 (D) A and B.
24.  If 4 turns out to be false
 (A) any of 1 - 3 might be false
 (B) if we are sure 2 and 3 are true we normally should reject 1
 (C) the hypothesis is falsified given that 2 and 3 are true
 (D)all of these
25.  In a good test of the hypothesis set forth in 1
 (A) the likelihood that 4 is true, given that 1 is false, should be low
 (B) the likelihood that 2 and 3 are true should be high
 (C) the likelihood that Clinton is president should be low
 (D) A and B.

Consider the following argument(Argument B) and answer the questions which follow:
 1.  Whenever anyone desires D, and believes doing A will get them D, other things being equal they do A.
 2.  Bill desires D
 3.  Bill believes doing A will get him D
 4.  Bill does A

26.  This argument clearly contains at least one statement which is
 (A) non-controversially a law of nature
 (B) couched in extensional language
 (C) contains intensional contexts
 (D) B and C.
27.  2 and 3
 (A)give Bill's reasons for doing A
 (B) are "mentalistic"
 (C) may be difficult to assimilate to the language of science
 (D) all of these
28.  If 2 is true then
 (A) it is true under any description of D
 (B) it might turn out false under a different description of D
 (C) it could not be true
 (D) none of these
29.  In order to determine that 3 is true I would probably have to
 (A) rely on my intuitions about peoples desires and beliefs when examining the evidence (for example, verbal reports from Bill)
 (B) rely on [L]
 (C) rely on the truth of 1
 (D) all of these
30.  Some of the differences between Argument A and Argument B (for example those which emerge in connection with questions 26 - 29) might suggest that
 (A) the social sciences are not naturalistic
 (B) unlike the natural sciences (physics, chemistry) the social sciences are concerned with meanings, standards, reasons
 (C) the social sciences require interpretative ability, rather than the testing of empirical hypotheses in the manner of the physical sciences
 (D) all of these.

Consider the following argument and answer the questions which follow:
 1.  All living things have descended from a common ancestor
 2.  Things descended from a common ancestor could be expected to exhibit some fundamental similarity
 3.  A common genetic code would be such a fundamental similarity
 4.  Probably all living things exhibit a common genetic code. (Prediction)

30.  In this argument
 (A) 1 is a theoretical hypothesis
 (B) if 4 is true that strongly suggests that 1 is true, given 2 and 3
 (C) everything that is said is false
 (D) A and B.
31.  A good test of 1 would be some observable phenomenon which
 (A) we would be very likely not to observe if 1 was false
 (B) is very easily observed
 (C) can be observed without any special equipment
 (D) none of these.
32.  Checking for a common genetic code constitutes a good test of 1 even if
 (A) there is not a common genetic code
 (B) there is reason to believe a God created everything using a common genetic code
 (C) you do not check absolutely every living thing
 (D) A and C.
33.  If a biologist who advances this argument should rule out (B) in #32 on the grounds that there is no God who created everything, that biologist is practicing
 (A) Duhemian science
 (B) Augustinian science
 (C) stupid science       (D) no science at all.

 key



 
SAMPLE FINAL
Phil.  430

T or F
1.  The Bohr model of the atom is an analog model.
2.  Constructivists argue that the content of science is determined by various social or ideological agendas rather than by mind-independent facts.
3.  Bio-engineering, especially of humans, will probably put some scientific agendas into conflict with human values of various kinds.
4.  Intentionality is sometimes thought to be the distinguishing feature of the physical.
5.  A rock, per se, is not "about" anything whatsoever.
6.  The social sciences are not sciences in the way physics is, according to interpretationists in the social sciences.
7.  Thoughts are "about" something, or have content.
8.  Duhemian science is methodologically naturalistic or neutral with respect to metaphysical issues.
9.  Kuhn argued that successive paradigms are incommensurable.
10.  Most people explain human behavior using something like "folk psychology."

Multiple Choice
11.  "Invisible hand" explanations are used to
 (A) explain social facts in terms of individual actions or traits
 (B) explain how some magic tricks are done
 (C) useful to methodological holists
 (D) all of the above.
12.  The following sentences contain intentional contexts:
 (A) the door is open
 (B) Scott wrote Ivanhoe
 (C) Bill knows Scott wrote Ivanhoe
 (D) A and B.
13.  The theory of common ancestry is
 (A) supported by all the empirical evidence
 (B) compatible with the belief in a divine creator
 (C) proof that all people are ancestors
 (D) none of these.
14.  An explanation of why objects unsupported and near the earth go towards the earth in terms of some purpose served would be
 (A)teleological
 (B) non mechanistic
 (C) stupid
 (D) A and B.
15.  Halley's successful prediction of a comets return
 (A) illustrates the great predictive power of modern (i.e. post 16th cent.)  physics,
 (B) illustrates the use of a Newtonian theoretical model
 (C) required observation of the comets motion and path
 (D) all of the above.

E. I
 1.  All objects etc (statement of gravitational, etc. laws of Newton)
 2.  X is an object with M mass, moving at V velocity etc. at a distance d from Y etc.
 3.  X will orbit Y in an ellipse, E,  that sweeps out equal areas in equal times.

16.  EI is an example of
 (A) a covering law explanation of 3
 (B) the application of a theoretical model to a particular case
 (C) an attempt to rape the universe
 (D) A and B.
17.  In EI
 (A) 1 is the statement of laws
 (B) 3 is predicted by 1 and 2
 (C) 3 follows deductively from 1 and 2
 (D) A and B
 (E) A, B, C.
18.  In E1 we see
 (A) a clear case of where an earlier theory is taken up into a later one, so that old data PLUS new are explained
 (B) a clear case of scientific progress
 (C) a clear counterexample to Kuhnian claims about progress only within paradigms
 (D) all of these
 (E) A and B.

E2. Balinese men spend a great deal of time involved in cockfights. . .why is this such a prominent part of Balinese village life? . . .Geertz offers a detailed interpretation of the significance of cockfighting in Bali that aims to locate the activity within the larger compass of Balinese culture. . . .Particularly important, in Geertz's account, is the Balinese distaste for animal-like behavior in human beings; animals represent the "Powers of Darkness". . .Geertz construes the fascination with cockfighting as a surrogate for the struggle between good and evil : "In the cockfight, man and beast, good and evil, ego and id, the creative power of aroused masculinity and the destructive power of loosened animality fuse in a bloody drama of hatred, cruelty, violence, and death. . .to treat the cockfight as a text is to bring out a feature of it. . .that treating it as a rite or a pastime. . .would tend to obscure: its use of emotion for cognitive ends. . .the culture of a people is an ensemble of texts. . .which the anthropologist strains to read over the shoulders of those to whom they properly belong."

19.  E2 is  clearly an example of
 (A) the deductive nomological model of explanation
 (B) the hermeneutical approach in the social sciences
 (C) an approach to the understanding of social phenomena which looks for causal  regularities
 (D) an explanation couched in extensional language
 (E) all of the above
20.  E2
 (A) is an attempt to give a reductionist explanation of a social phenomenon
 (B) is compatible with Winch's approach to social explanation
 (C) exhibits interpretative skills not unlike those of a good literary critic
 (D) all of these
 (E) B and C.
21.  E 2 could be refuted by providing
 (A) a case in which the laws it employs are used to make a prediction which turns out false
 (B) an alternative interpretation which clarifies more of the context
 (C) a case in which it is shown that generally animals are not thought of by the Balinese
  in the way Geertz claims
 (D) none of these.

E3
 1.  Lillegard hopes his 430 class will do well (understand some things worth understanding, know how to argue about various controversial matters)
 2.  Lillegard believes they will do well if he torments them with philosophical details and follows the principle "if you are not confused, you do not know what is going on"
 3.  Whenever Lillegard hopes for H, and believes doing T will bring about H, he does T,  ceteris paribus
 4.  Lillegard does T (torments etc.)

22.  In E3 the ceteris paribus clause would include mention of such things as
 (A) the absence of compelling administrative threats against anyone caught doing T
 (B) the absence of administrators
 (C) the absence of less activating hopes than H
 (D) none of these.
23.  E3
 (A)is  probably not capable of being refined in the way typical explanations in the physical sciences are
 (B)is difficult to refute because of the vagueness and indefiniteness of the ceteris paribus clause
 (C) contains a "law" which is not falsifiable at all
 (D) all of these.
 key
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Key sample exam I
1. t
2.f
3.f.
4.t
5.t
6.t
7.t
8.t
9.f
10.f
11.t
12.t
13.t
14.t
15.t
16.d
17.d
18.d
19.d
20.d
21.d
22.a
23.d
24.d
25.d
26.d
27.d
28.b
29.d
30.d
31.a
32.d
33.b

Sample Final Key
1. t
2. t
3. t
4. f
5. t
6. t
7. t
8. t
9. t
10.t
11. a
12. c
13. b
14. d
15. d
16. d
17. e
18. d or e (controversial)
19. b
20. e
21. c
22.a
23.d