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Philosophies, Volume 6, Issue 1 (March 2021) – 24 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): According to the free energy principle, all living systems can be described as if they had representational states. This can be used to analyse basic intentionality in terms of instrumentally ascribed representations. Under a mechanistic account of computation, this can even ground a realist ascription of representations: basic minds have representational states with mathematical contents; non-basic minds also have representational states with cognitive contents. View this paper
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Article
The Objective Bayesian Probability that an Unknown Positive Real Variable Is Greater Than a Known Is 1/2
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 24; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010024 - 18 Mar 2021
Viewed by 417
Abstract
If there are two dependent positive real variables x1 and x2, and only x1 is known, what is the probability that x2 is larger versus smaller than x1? There is no uniquely correct answer according to “frequentist” and “subjective Bayesian” definitions of probability. Here we derive the answer given the “objective Bayesian” definition developed by Jeffreys, Cox, and Jaynes. We declare the standard distance metric in one dimension, d(A,B)|AB|, and the uniform prior distribution, as axioms. If neither variable is known, P(x2<x1)=P(x2>x1). This appears obvious, since the state spaces x2<x1 and x2>x1 have equal size. However, if x1 is known and x2 unknown, there are infinitely more numbers in the space x2>x1 than x2<x1. Despite this asymmetry, we prove P(x2<x1x1)=P(x2>x1x1), so that x1 is the median of p(x2|x1), and x1 is statistically independent of ratio x2/x1. We present three proofs that apply to all members of a set of distributions. Each member is distinguished by the form of dependence between variables implicit within a statistical model (gamma, Gaussian, etc.), but all exhibit two symmetries in the joint distribution p(x1,x2) that are required in the absence of prior information: exchangeability of variables, and non-informative priors over the marginal distributions p(x1) and p(x2). We relate our conclusion to physical models of prediction and intelligence, where the known ’sample’ could be the present internal energy within a sensor, and the unknown the energy in its external sensory cause or future motor effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Probability in Living Systems)
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Article
The Tractatus Theologico-Politicus and the Dutch: Spinoza’s Intervention in the Political-Religious Controversies of the Dutch Republic
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 23; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010023 - 15 Mar 2021
Viewed by 483
Abstract
This paper outlines the Dutch background of the Tractatus theologico-politicus (TTP) and aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the Theological-Political Treatise. It reads Spinoza’s first main work published anonymously as an intervention in the many political-religious controversies, which began in [...] Read more.
This paper outlines the Dutch background of the Tractatus theologico-politicus (TTP) and aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the Theological-Political Treatise. It reads Spinoza’s first main work published anonymously as an intervention in the many political-religious controversies, which began in 1579 and ravaged the Dutch Republic during the first century of its history. The three main topics of these controversies are also the focus of the TTP: I. the freedom to philosophize; II. the relation between Church and State, and III. the nature of public religion, which is defined by a minimal creed. These topics were familiar to the contemporary Dutch reader. The TTP appears to give a theoretical account of what theological-political practice was in the days of Spinoza. Full article
Article
Understanding the Role of Objectivity in Machine Learning and Research Evaluation
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 22; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010022 - 15 Mar 2021
Viewed by 523
Abstract
This article makes the case for more objectivity in Machine Learning (ML) research. Any research work that claims to hold benefits has to be scrutinized based on many parameters, such as the methodology employed, ethical considerations and its theoretical or technical contribution. We [...] Read more.
This article makes the case for more objectivity in Machine Learning (ML) research. Any research work that claims to hold benefits has to be scrutinized based on many parameters, such as the methodology employed, ethical considerations and its theoretical or technical contribution. We approach this discussion from a Naturalist philosophical outlook. Although every analysis may be subjective, it is important for the research community to keep vetting the research for continuous growth and to produce even better work. We suggest standardizing some of the steps in ML research in an objective way and being aware of various biases threatening objectivity. The ideal of objectivity keeps research rational since objectivity requires beliefs to be based on facts. We discuss some of the current challenges, the role of objectivity in the two elements (product and process) that are up for consideration in ML and make recommendations to support the research community. Full article
Article
A Fuzzy Take on the Logical Issues of Statistical Hypothesis Testing
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 21; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010021 - 15 Mar 2021
Viewed by 454
Abstract
Statistical Hypothesis Testing (SHT) is a class of inference methods whereby one makes use of empirical data to test a hypothesis and often emit a judgment about whether to reject it or not. In this paper, we focus on the logical aspect of [...] Read more.
Statistical Hypothesis Testing (SHT) is a class of inference methods whereby one makes use of empirical data to test a hypothesis and often emit a judgment about whether to reject it or not. In this paper, we focus on the logical aspect of this strategy, which is largely independent of the adopted school of thought, at least within the various frequentist approaches. We identify SHT as taking the form of an unsound argument from Modus Tollens in classical logic, and, in order to rescue SHT from this difficulty, we propose that it can instead be grounded in t-norm based fuzzy logics. We reformulate the frequentists’ SHT logic by making use of a fuzzy extension of Modus Tollens to develop a model of truth valuation for its premises. Importantly, we show that it is possible to preserve the soundness of Modus Tollens by exploring the various conventions involved with constructing fuzzy negations and fuzzy implications (namely, the S and R conventions). We find that under the S convention, it is possible to conduct the Modus Tollens inference argument using Zadeh’s compositional extension and any possible t-norm. Under the R convention we find that this is not necessarily the case, but that by mixing R-implication with S-negation we can salvage the product t-norm, for example. In conclusion, we have shown that fuzzy logic is a legitimate framework to discuss and address the difficulties plaguing frequentist interpretations of SHT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Logic and Science)
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Article
The Coherence of Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 20; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010020 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 791
Abstract
Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus has been critiqued as contradictory and inconsistent. This is why I believe that the question with regard to Spinoza’s ‘neglected masterpiece’ should be: How to read the Treatise as a coherent philosophical work? I suggest that the reason why the [...] Read more.
Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus has been critiqued as contradictory and inconsistent. This is why I believe that the question with regard to Spinoza’s ‘neglected masterpiece’ should be: How to read the Treatise as a coherent philosophical work? I suggest that the reason why the Treatise seems contradictory is because of the complex juxtaposition of its two main foci: the relationship between theology and philosophy, and that of theology and politics. In this paper, I will argue against the claim of contradiction and pursue to demonstrate a close correlation and mutual interdependence of both relations. While the domains of theology and philosophy may be separate, there is no contradiction between the salvation of the ignorant and the salvation of the wise. Similarly, there is no contradiction between the theological part of the Treatise—which focuses on ‘piety’ and the defense of the freedom of ‘internal religion’—and the political part—which focuses on ‘peace’, and claims that the state should have absolute power over ‘external religion’. Full article
Article
Philosophy and Psychology Engaged: The Sincere, Practical, Timely and Felicitous Proposal of a Highly Suitable Marriage
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 19; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010019 - 01 Mar 2021
Viewed by 626
Abstract
Multiple impending threats signify a pressing need for improved social relations globally. School leavers, curious about people and life, are naturally attracted to philosophy and psychology. An open alliance of the two will enhance their contributions towards a healthier future for humanity. A [...] Read more.
Multiple impending threats signify a pressing need for improved social relations globally. School leavers, curious about people and life, are naturally attracted to philosophy and psychology. An open alliance of the two will enhance their contributions towards a healthier future for humanity. A six-stage scheme of developmental psychology towards ‘individuation’, ‘full personality integration’ and ‘universalism’—including a description of transition processes between stages—defines shared goals for both disciplines. A paradigm change introduces a hierarchically superior, seamlessly encompassing, ‘spiritual’ dimension to the established physical, biological, psychological and social dimensions of human experience and understanding, and shifts dominance from worldly, materialist priorities towards a set of universal values associated with wisdom. Influencing education, science, politics and economics, this development produces worldwide benefits. To further character development towards wisdom and maturity, thus promoting humanity’s psychological and philosophical evolution, undergraduate courses can be modified simply and gradually by introducing students to ‘wisdom practice’ routines aimed at broadening horizons of experience and promoting helpful skills, including those of contemplation, meditation, discernment, empathy, and self-control. Following the Conclusion, an Addendum ends the paper with a closing allegory to convey the wisdom of such a suggestion, pointing towards a timely, practical and potentially profitable new beginning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From the Acquisition of Knowledge to the Promotion of Wisdom)
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Article
Examining the Continuity between Life and Mind: Is There a Continuity between Autopoietic Intentionality and Representationality?
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 18; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010018 - 21 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1534
Abstract
A weak version of the life-mind continuity thesis entails that every living system also has a basic mind (with a non-representational form of intentionality). The strong version entails that the same concepts that are sufficient to explain basic minds (with non-representational states) are [...] Read more.
A weak version of the life-mind continuity thesis entails that every living system also has a basic mind (with a non-representational form of intentionality). The strong version entails that the same concepts that are sufficient to explain basic minds (with non-representational states) are also central to understanding non-basic minds (with representational states). We argue that recent work on the free energy principle supports the following claims with respect to the life-mind continuity thesis: (i) there is a strong continuity between life and mind; (ii) all living systems can be described as if they had representational states; (iii) the ’as-if representationality’ entailed by the free energy principle is central to understanding both basic forms of intentionality and intentionality in non-basic minds. In addition to this, we argue that the free energy principle also renders realism about computation and representation compatible with a strong life-mind continuity thesis (although the free energy principle does not entail computational and representational realism). In particular, we show how representationality proper can be grounded in ’as-if representationality’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Probability in Living Systems)
Article
Sport and Enhancement in the Age of Human Rights: Genetic Testing as a Case Study
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 17; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010017 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 530
Abstract
The paper focuses on the ethical–legal implications of a specific area of scientific and technological progress for the recognition of sport as a human right, which is the field of genetic advances with regard to application of genetic testing for non-medical purposes, and [...] Read more.
The paper focuses on the ethical–legal implications of a specific area of scientific and technological progress for the recognition of sport as a human right, which is the field of genetic advances with regard to application of genetic testing for non-medical purposes, and in particular for talent identification (genetic talent identification). As with most biomedical innovations, this use of genetic tests has both constructive and more ethical–legal problematic implications. The attempt made by this paper is to highlight controversial implications of genetic talent identification tests for the recognition of sport as human right. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Biotechnology: A New Paradigm in Sport?)
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Article
Learning to Say No, the Ethics of Artist-Curator Relationships
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 16; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010016 - 17 Feb 2021
Viewed by 962
Abstract
The article suggests that the perceived ethics of curatorial practice are not often in balance with operative ethics, and analyses the problem by focusing on the curator-artist relationship. Contemporary art curators constantly find themselves in a situation where they have to choose between [...] Read more.
The article suggests that the perceived ethics of curatorial practice are not often in balance with operative ethics, and analyses the problem by focusing on the curator-artist relationship. Contemporary art curators constantly find themselves in a situation where they have to choose between the needs of the few and the many. Counter-hegemony theory is used to examine the curator’s duty toward the many, while the reading of Jacque Derrida’s concept of responsibility toward an individual and Alain Badiou’s ‘singularity of situations’ suggest that the few are to be considered first. In this article, I suggests that curators could learn to say no in order to be able to balance these different demands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Curating Ethics)
Article
A Pro-Choice Response to New York’s Reproductive Health Act
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 15; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010015 - 16 Feb 2021
Viewed by 893
Abstract
On 22 January 2019, New York state passed the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), which specifies three circumstances under which a healthcare provider may perform an abortion in New York: (1) the patient is within twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, (2) the fetus is non-viable, [...] Read more.
On 22 January 2019, New York state passed the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), which specifies three circumstances under which a healthcare provider may perform an abortion in New York: (1) the patient is within twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, (2) the fetus is non-viable, or (3) the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health. The first one, that of abortion being accessible within the first twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, is not unique to New York, as many other states allow medical professionals to provide abortions during this time. The latter two have caused significant controversy because they detail certain circumstances in which abortions would be accessible after twenty-four weeks. This paper will focus on these latter two circumstances. I will first argue that any debate or discussion about (2) must go beyond the conventional debate about the ethics of abortion and incorporate, more appropriately, a discussion on euthanasia and the ethics of end-of-life care for nascent human life. In particular, it requires us to consider the morality of non-voluntary active euthanasia for non-viable fetuses, rather than just a discussion of the ethics of late term abortions. When it comes to (3), I will argue that assessing its moral permissibility actually raises some legitimate moral concerns, even from a reproductive rights perspective. On certain readings, it seems as if condition (3) would allow for the termination of a healthy fetus for reasons not related to the mother’s physical health or life. If this is the case, I argue, the right to an abortion would be construed as a right to fetal termination, rather than just fetal evacuation. However, I will argue that there are good reasons that pro-choice advocates should interpret the right to an abortion as a right to fetal evacuation instead of termination, and if this is the case, a woman should not be able to demand the death of a healthy fetus if ending the pregnancy safely via fetal evacuation would suffice. Full article
Article
A “Strong” Approach to Sustainability Literacy: Embodied Ecology and Media
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 14; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010014 - 15 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 886
Abstract
This article outlines a “strong” theoretical approach to sustainability literacy, building on an earlier definition of strong and weak environmental literacy (Stables and Bishop 2001). The argument builds upon a specific semiotic approach to educational philosophy (sometimes called edusemiotics), to which these authors [...] Read more.
This article outlines a “strong” theoretical approach to sustainability literacy, building on an earlier definition of strong and weak environmental literacy (Stables and Bishop 2001). The argument builds upon a specific semiotic approach to educational philosophy (sometimes called edusemiotics), to which these authors have been contributing. Here, we highlight how a view of learning that centers on embodied and multimodal communication invites bridging biosemiotics with critical media literacy, in pursuit of a strong, integrated sustainability literacy. The need for such a construal of literacy can be observed in recent scholarship on embodied cognition, education, media and bio/eco-semiotics. By (1) construing the environment as semiosic (Umwelt), and (2) replacing the notion of text with model, we develop a theory of literacy that understands learning as embodied/environmental in/across any mediality. As such, digital and multimedia learning are deemed to rest on environmental and embodied affordances. The notions of semiotic resources and affordances are also defined from these perspectives. We propose that a biosemiotics-informed approach to literacy, connecting both eco- and critical-media literacy, accompanies a much broader scope of meaning-making than has been the case in literacy studies so far. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives in the Philosophy of Education)
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Article
Social Practices and Embubblement
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 13; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010013 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 589
Abstract
The present contribution describes the nature of social practices based on habitual behavior. The first part concerns the notion of “habit” from a perspective that crosses philosophy and science. Habits structure our daily life and possess a social nature, as shown by informally [...] Read more.
The present contribution describes the nature of social practices based on habitual behavior. The first part concerns the notion of “habit” from a perspective that crosses philosophy and science. Habits structure our daily life and possess a social nature, as shown by informally shared habits and institutionalized rituals. After a brief reference to the philosophical debate, we point out the fundamental dimensions of habitual behavior, i.e., routine and goal-directed behavior. They also characterize shared social habits like rituals because we need to: (a) simply follow social institutional practices and (b) actively cooperate to reach a certain goal. Our descriptive strategy aims at promoting the aspect of “control” in habitual behavior, namely, the possibility of accepting or refusing to do something. This control does not work in many pathological cases and cases of auto-illusion. The second part of the article will illustrate the interesting but disregarded case of the epistemic and moral embubblement, explaining it as an individual cognitive process and as a specific social practice that once followed or institutionalized becomes a shared practice routinely performed. The main features of an epistemic bubble concern the widespread situation in which the cognitive agents always resolve the tension between their thinking that they know P and their knowing P in favor of knowing that P”. The related case of the moral bubble indicates the situation in which agents are potentially or actually violent and unaware of it. This cognitive process expresses how difficulties in recognizing one’s own violence leads to disregarding the possible or actual inflicted harm: in this case, a process of what can be called “autoimmunity” is at play. We will contend that the concept of moral bubble can provide an integrated and unified perspective able to interpret in a novel way many social practices in which morality and violence are intertwined. Full article
Article
Traditional Logic and Computational Thinking
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 12; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010012 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 698
Abstract
In this contribution, we try to show that traditional Aristotelian logic can be useful (in a non-trivial way) for computational thinking. To achieve this objective, we argue in favor of two statements: (i) that traditional logic is not classical and (ii) that logic [...] Read more.
In this contribution, we try to show that traditional Aristotelian logic can be useful (in a non-trivial way) for computational thinking. To achieve this objective, we argue in favor of two statements: (i) that traditional logic is not classical and (ii) that logic programming emanating from traditional logic is not classical logic programming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy and Education of Mathematics and Computing)
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Article
Living Systems Escape Solipsism by Inverse Causality to Manage the Probability Distribution of Events
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 11; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010011 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 596
Abstract
The external worlds do not objectively exist for living systems because these worlds are unknown from within systems. How can they escape solipsism to survive and reproduce as open systems? Living systems must construct their hypothetical models of external entities in the form [...] Read more.
The external worlds do not objectively exist for living systems because these worlds are unknown from within systems. How can they escape solipsism to survive and reproduce as open systems? Living systems must construct their hypothetical models of external entities in the form of their internal structures to determine how to change states (i.e., sense and act) appropriately to achieve a favorable probability distribution of the events they experience. The model construction involves the generation of symbols referring to external entities. This paper attempts to provide a new view that living systems are an inverse-causality operator. Inverse causality (IC) is an algorithmic process that generates symbols referring to external reality states based on a given data sequence. For applying this logical model involving if–then entailments to living systems involving material interactions, the cognizers-system model was employed to represent the IC process; here, living systems were modeled as a subject of cognition and action. A focal subject system is described as a cognizer composed of sub-cognizers, such as a sensor, a signal transducer, and an effector. Analysis using this model proposes that living systems invented the “measurers” for conducting IC operations through their evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Probability in Living Systems)
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Article
And That’s Not All: (Sur)Faces of Justice in Philosophy of Education
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 10; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010010 - 07 Feb 2021
Viewed by 524
Abstract
Adjectives such as “environmental”, “social”, “cosmopolitan”, “relational”, “distributive”, etc. reflect how scholars discern the many faces of justice and put several claims to, and claimants of, justice in perspective. They have also helped related research to focus on some surfaces of justice, that [...] Read more.
Adjectives such as “environmental”, “social”, “cosmopolitan”, “relational”, “distributive”, etc. reflect how scholars discern the many faces of justice and put several claims to, and claimants of, justice in perspective. They have also helped related research to focus on some surfaces of justice, that is, on spaces that invite justice, localities and formations, such as the state, social policies, social institutions, etc. within which ethical-political challenges unravel. Diverse philosophical perspectives enable context-specific explorations of (sur)faces of justice. However, I argue, there is more to the concept of justice than what perspectives (considered alone or in their sum total) allow us to view. To theorize how this surplus may be more discernible through stereoscopic rather than perspectival optics I first describe how educational-philosophical perspectives, old and new, discuss just education or education for justice; and then I critique the very notion of perspective on which scholarly work relies. Despite their merits, perspectival framings of justice fail to address the interconnectivity of various (sur)faces of justice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives in the Philosophy of Education)
Editorial
Introduction to Special Issue “Human Enhancement Technologies and Our Merger with Machines”
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 9; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010009 - 29 Jan 2021
Viewed by 605
Abstract
We are pleased to introduce the authors and papers which form the Special Issue “Human Enhancement Technologies and Our Merger with Machines” [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Enhancement Technologies and Our Merger with Machines)
Editorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Philosophies in 2020
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 8; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010008 - 26 Jan 2021
Viewed by 602
Abstract
The editorial team greatly appreciates the reviewers who have dedicated their considerable time and expertise to the journal’s rigorous editorial process over the past 12 months, regardless of whether the papers are finally published or not [...] Full article
Article
Agency, Responsibility, Selves, and the Mechanical Mind
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 7; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010007 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 827
Abstract
Moral issues arise not only when neural technology directly influences and affects people’s lives, but also when the impact of its interventions indirectly conceptualizes the mind in new, and unexpected ways. It is the case that theories of consciousness, theories of subjectivity, and [...] Read more.
Moral issues arise not only when neural technology directly influences and affects people’s lives, but also when the impact of its interventions indirectly conceptualizes the mind in new, and unexpected ways. It is the case that theories of consciousness, theories of subjectivity, and third person perspective on the brain provide rival perspectives addressing the mind. Through a review of these three main approaches to the mind, and particularly as applied to an “extended mind”, the paper identifies a major area of transformation in philosophy of action, which is understood in terms of additional epistemic devices—including a legal perspective of regulating the human–machine interaction and a personality theory of the symbiotic connection between human and machine. I argue this is a new area of concern within philosophy, which will be characterized in terms of self-objectification, which becomes “alienation” following Ernst Kapp’s philosophy of technology. The paper argues that intervening in the brain can affect how we conceptualize the mind and modify its predicaments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Enhancement Technologies and Our Merger with Machines)
Article
Transdisciplinary AI Observatory—Retrospective Analyses and Future-Oriented Contradistinctions
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 6; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010006 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 916
Abstract
In the last years, artificial intelligence (AI) safety gained international recognition in the light of heterogeneous safety-critical and ethical issues that risk overshadowing the broad beneficial impacts of AI. In this context, the implementation of AI observatory endeavors represents one key research direction. [...] Read more.
In the last years, artificial intelligence (AI) safety gained international recognition in the light of heterogeneous safety-critical and ethical issues that risk overshadowing the broad beneficial impacts of AI. In this context, the implementation of AI observatory endeavors represents one key research direction. This paper motivates the need for an inherently transdisciplinary AI observatory approach integrating diverse retrospective and counterfactual views. We delineate aims and limitations while providing hands-on-advice utilizing concrete practical examples. Distinguishing between unintentionally and intentionally triggered AI risks with diverse socio-psycho-technological impacts, we exemplify a retrospective descriptive analysis followed by a retrospective counterfactual risk analysis. Building on these AI observatory tools, we present near-term transdisciplinary guidelines for AI safety. As further contribution, we discuss differentiated and tailored long-term directions through the lens of two disparate modern AI safety paradigms. For simplicity, we refer to these two different paradigms with the terms artificial stupidity (AS) and eternal creativity (EC) respectively. While both AS and EC acknowledge the need for a hybrid cognitive-affective approach to AI safety and overlap with regard to many short-term considerations, they differ fundamentally in the nature of multiple envisaged long-term solution patterns. By compiling relevant underlying contradistinctions, we aim to provide future-oriented incentives for constructive dialectics in practical and theoretical AI safety research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Perils of Artificial Intelligence)
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Article
Human Enhancements and Voting: Towards a Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities of Beings
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 5; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010005 - 14 Jan 2021
Viewed by 693
Abstract
The phenomenon and ethics of “voting” will be explored in the context of human enhancements. “Voting” will be examined for enhanced humans with moderate and extreme enhancements. Existing patterns of discrimination in voting around the globe could continue substantially “as is” for those [...] Read more.
The phenomenon and ethics of “voting” will be explored in the context of human enhancements. “Voting” will be examined for enhanced humans with moderate and extreme enhancements. Existing patterns of discrimination in voting around the globe could continue substantially “as is” for those with moderate enhancements. For extreme enhancements, voting rights could be challenged if the very humanity of the enhanced was in doubt. Humans who were not enhanced could also be disenfranchised if certain enhancements become prevalent. Voting will be examined using a theory of engagement articulated by Professor Sophie Loidolt that emphasizes the importance of legitimization and justification by “facing the appeal of the other” to determine what is “right” from a phenomenological first-person perspective. Seeking inspiration from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948, voting rights and responsibilities will be re-framed from a foundational working hypothesis that all enhanced and non-enhanced humans should have a right to vote directly. Representative voting will be considered as an admittedly imperfect alternative or additional option. The framework in which voting occurs, as well as the processes, temporal cadence, and role of voting, requires the participation from as diverse a group of humans as possible. Voting rights delivered by fiat to enhanced or non-enhanced humans who were excluded from participation in the design and ratification of the governance structure is not legitimate. Applying and extending Loidolt’s framework, we must recognize the urgency that demands the impossible, with openness to that universality in progress (or universality to come) that keeps being constituted from the outside. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Enhancement Technologies and Our Merger with Machines)
Article
Sisyphus and Climate Change: Educating in the Context of Tragedies of the Commons
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 4; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010004 - 12 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 678
Abstract
The tragedy of the commons is a primary contributing factor in ensuring that humanity makes no serious inroads in averting climate change. As a recent Canadian politician pointed out, we could shut down the Canadian economy tomorrow, and it would make no measurable [...] Read more.
The tragedy of the commons is a primary contributing factor in ensuring that humanity makes no serious inroads in averting climate change. As a recent Canadian politician pointed out, we could shut down the Canadian economy tomorrow, and it would make no measurable difference in global greenhouse gas emissions. When coordinated effort is required, it would seem that doing the “right thing” alone is irrational: it will harm oneself with no positive consequences as a result. Such is the tragedy. And that is the challenge that we take up here. Though Garrett Hardin suggests that the solution is a governmental process that rules over all contenders, since a world government seems unlikely before the planet hits the tippy point, we suggest an educational initiative instead: one that holds a mirror up to the behaviour of individuals, rather than to the behaviour of individuals in groups. Such an educational initiative would be focused on priming individuals to keep constant track of what they do as individuals as opposed to focusing on the behaviour of humanity in general. Such an educational initiative would focus on tackling the “problem solvers” rather than just “the problem”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From the Acquisition of Knowledge to the Promotion of Wisdom)
Article
Is Organization of Living Systems Explained by Probability?
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 3; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010003 - 12 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 719
Abstract
Traditionally, life has been thought improbable without assuming a special principle, such as vital power. Here, I try to understand organization of living systems in terms of a more rational and materialistic notion. I have introduced the notion of inhomogeneity, which is a [...] Read more.
Traditionally, life has been thought improbable without assuming a special principle, such as vital power. Here, I try to understand organization of living systems in terms of a more rational and materialistic notion. I have introduced the notion of inhomogeneity, which is a novel interpretation of “negentropy”, and equivalent to “bound information”, according to the probabilistic interpretation of entropy. Free energy of metabolites is a labile inhomogeneity, whereas genetic information is a more stable inhomogeneity. Dynamic emergence can result from the conflict between two inhomogeneities, one labile and another stable, just like dialectic synthesis results from the conflict between thesis and antithesis. Life is a special type of dynamic emergence, which is coupled with reproduction mediated by genetic information. Biological membrane formation is taken as an example to formulate self-organization of biological systems through dynamic emergence. This system is ultimately driven by the Sun/Earth temperature difference, and is consistent with an increase in probability in the world. If we consider all entropy production related to life, such as degradation of materials and death of organisms, and ultimately the cooling of the Sun, probability always increases with the progress of living systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Probability in Living Systems)
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Article
Network Analysis of the Interaction between Different Religious and Philosophical Movements in Early Judaism
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 2; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010002 - 08 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 676
Abstract
This paper presents an attempt to systematically describe and interpret the evolution of different religious and political movements in Judaea during the period of the Second Temple using the methods of the theory of social networks. We extensively analyzed the relationship between the [...] Read more.
This paper presents an attempt to systematically describe and interpret the evolution of different religious and political movements in Judaea during the period of the Second Temple using the methods of the theory of social networks. We extensively analyzed the relationship between the main Jewish sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes (Qumranites), and later also Zealots. It is shown that the evolution of the relations between these sects agreed with the theory of social balance and their relations evolved toward more socially balanced structures. Full article
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Article
The Concept of “Tradition” in Edmund Husserl
Philosophies 2021, 6(1), 1; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/philosophies6010001 - 23 Dec 2020
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Abstract
That of tradition is a so-called limit problem of Husserlian phenomenology. The text is based on an investigation of the existential and historical character of the formal ego, which implies its temporal and historical stratification and personal constitution. The ego is essentially situated [...] Read more.
That of tradition is a so-called limit problem of Husserlian phenomenology. The text is based on an investigation of the existential and historical character of the formal ego, which implies its temporal and historical stratification and personal constitution. The ego is essentially situated in a spiritual context historically determined by a transmission of ideas and values that have a communitarian character. The fundamental point of this study is to affirm that, in Husserlian thought, tradition, being a transcendental prerequisite of the existential dimension of the formal ego, is consequently a constitutive moment of the human being. The study also brings to light the important concept of “Vergemeinschaftung” and provides an interpretation of the theme of the crisis of European mankind, which seems to correspond to an oblivion of its tradition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Testimony and Autonomy in Social Epistemology)
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