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1.
Hist Philos Life Sci ; 42(3): 37, 2020 Aug 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32779044

RESUMO

Within eighteenth-century debates on animal cognition we can distinguish at least three main theoretical positions: (i) Buffon's mechanism, (ii) Reimarus' theory of instincts, and (iii) the sensationalism of Condillac and Leroy. In this paper, I adopt a philosophical perspective on this debate and argue that in order to fully understand the justification Buffon, Reimarus, Condillac, and Leroy gave for their respective theories, we must pay special attention to the theoretical virtues these naturalists alluded to while justifying their position. These theoretical virtues have received little to no attention in the literature on eighteenth-century animal cognition, but figure prominently in the justification of the mechanist, instinctive, and sensationalist theories of animal behavior. Through my philosophical study of the role of theoretical virtues in eighteenth-century debates on animal cognition, we obtain a deeper understanding of how theoretical virtues were conceptualized in eighteenth-century science and how they influenced the justification of theories of animal cognition.


Assuntos
Cognição , História Natural/história , Filosofia/história , Animais , História do Século XVIII
2.
J Hist Biol ; 53(3): 379-422, 2020 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32548749

RESUMO

Ernst Mayr argued that the emergence of biology as a special science in the early nineteenth century was possible due to the demise of the mathematical model of science and its insistence on demonstrative knowledge. More recently, John Zammito has claimed that the rise of biology as a special science was due to a distinctive experimental, anti-metaphysical, anti-mathematical, and anti-rationalist strand of thought coming from outside of Germany. In this paper we argue that this narrative neglects the important role played by the mathematical and axiomatic model of science in the emergence of biology as a special science. We show that several major actors involved in the emergence of biology as a science in Germany were working with an axiomatic conception of science that goes back at least to Aristotle and was popular in mid-eighteenth-century German academic circles due to its endorsement by Christian Wolff. More specifically, we show that at least two major contributors to the emergence of biology in Germany-Caspar Friedrich Wolff and Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus-sought to provide a conception of the new science of life that satisfies the criteria of a traditional axiomatic ideal of science. Both C.F. Wolff and Treviranus took over strong commitments to the axiomatic model of science from major philosophers of their time, Christian Wolff and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, respectively. The ideal of biology as an axiomatic science with specific biological fundamental concepts and principles thus played a role in the emergence of biology as a special science.

3.
IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph ; 25(10): 2969-2982, 2019 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30106733

RESUMO

We propose a novel type of low distortion radial embedding which focuses on one specific entity and its closest neighbors. Our embedding preserves near-exact distances to the focus entity and aims to minimize distortion between the other entities. We present an interactive exploration tool SolarView which places the focus entity at the center of a "solar system" and embeds its neighbors guided by concentric circles. SolarView provides an implementation of our novel embedding and several state-of-the-art dimensionality reduction and embedding techniques, which we adapted to our setting in various ways. We experimentally evaluated our embedding and compared it to these state-of-the-art techniques. The results show that our embedding competes with these techniques and achieves low distortion in practice. Our method performs particularly well when the visualization, and hence the embedding, adheres to the solar system design principle of our application. Nonetheless-as with all dimensionality reduction techniques-the distortion may be high. We leverage interaction techniques to give clear visual cues that allow users to accurately judge distortion. We illustrate the use of SolarView by exploring the high-dimensional metric space of bibliographic entity similarities.

4.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30297157

RESUMO

Kant's views on animals have received much attention in recent years. According to some, Kant attributed the capacity for objective perceptual awareness to non-human animals, even though he denied that they have concepts. This position is difficult to square with a conceptualist reading of Kant, according to which objective perceptual awareness requires concepts. Others take Kant's views on animals to imply that the mental life of animals is a blooming, buzzing confusion. In this article I provide a historical reconstruction of Kant's views on animals, relating them to eighteenth-century debates on animal cognition. I reconstruct the views of Buffon and Reimarus and show that (i) both Buffon and Reimarus adopted a conceptualist position, according to which concepts structure the cognitive experience of adult humans, and (ii) that both described the mental life of animals as a blooming, buzzing confusion. Kant's position, I argue, is virtually identical to that of Reimarus. Hence Kant's views on animals support a conceptualist reading of Kant. The article further articulates the historical antecedents of the Kantian idea that concepts structure human cognitive experience and provides a novel account of how the ideas of similarity and difference were conceptualized in eighteenth-century debates on animal cognition.


Assuntos
Cognição , Filosofia/história , Animais , História do Século XVIII , História do Século XIX
5.
Stud Hist Philos Sci ; 71: 67-76, 2018 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30342576

RESUMO

In the present paper I investigate the role that analogy plays in eighteenth-century biology and in Kant's philosophy of biology. I will argue that according to Kant, biology, as it was practiced in the eighteenth century, is fundamentally based on analogical reflection. However, precisely because biology is based on analogical reflection, biology cannot be a proper science. I provide two arguments for this interpretation. First, I argue that although analogical reflection is, according to Kant, necessary to comprehend the nature of organisms, it is also necessarily insufficient to fully comprehend the nature of organisms. The upshot of this argument is that for Kant our understanding of organisms is necessarily limited. Second, I argue that Kant did not take biology to be a proper science because biology was based on analogical arguments. I show that Kant stemmed from a philosophical tradition that did not assign analogical arguments an important justificatory role in natural science. Analogy, according to this conception, does not provide us with apodictically certain cognition. Hence, sciences based on analogical arguments cannot constitute proper sciences.

6.
Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci ; 44(4 Pt B): 724-34, 2013 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23932232

RESUMO

Kant's teleology as presented in the Critique of Judgment is commonly interpreted in relation to the late eighteenth-century biological research of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. In the present paper, I show that this interpretative perspective is incomplete. Understanding Kant's views on teleology and biology requires a consideration of the teleological and biological views of Christian Wolff and his rationalist successors. By reconstructing the Wolffian roots of Kant's teleology, I identify several little known sources of Kant's views on biology. I argue that one of Kant's main contributions to eighteenth-century debates on biology consisted in demarcating biology from metaphysics. Kant rejected Wolffian views on the hierarchy of sciences, according to which propositions specifying the functions of organisms are derived from theological truths. In addition, Kant argued that organic self-organization necessitates a teleological description in order to show that self-organization does not support materialism. By demarcating biology and metaphysics, Kant made a small yet important contribution to establishing biology as a science.


Assuntos
Biologia/história , Vida , Filosofia/história , Pessoas Famosas , Alemanha , História do Século XVIII
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