- Feb 2020
Federalist no. 1
Federalist No. 1 is an essay by Alexander Hamilton, which became the first of a collection of essays named The Federalist Papers. It was published on October 27, 1787, under the pseudonym Publius. This paper provides the outline for the rest and argues for the inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation.
John Charles Harsanyi (Hungarian: Harsányi János Károly; May 29, 1920 – August 9, 2000) was a Hungarian-American Nobel Prize laureate economist.
He is best known for his contributions to the study of game theory and its application to economics, specifically for his developing the highly innovative analysis of games of incomplete information, so-called Bayesian games. He also made important contributions to the use of game theory and economic reasoning in political and moral philosophy (specifically utilitarian ethics) as well as contributing to the study of equilibrium selection. For his work, he was a co-recipient along with John Nash and Reinhard Selten of the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. According to György Marx, he was one of The Martians.
Gregory S. Kavka, Philosophy: Irvine
1947-1994 Professor Gregory Kavka died on February 16, 1994, at the age of 46. After cancer was first detected in January of 1984, Greg underwent intensive radiation and three major operations over the next three years. The cancer recurred after a remission of seven years.
Despite the debilitating and disfiguring nature of his operations and treatments, Greg fought his way back to a full and productive schedule of writing and teaching and to a new and rich period of his personal life. He published one book and thirteen articles between 1987 and the end of his life. He was also well along on another book, provisionally entitled, Governing Angels. In his own view, however, perhaps the most important achievement of this period was the birth of his beloved daughter, Amber, in 1989.
Greg grew up in Chicago. After earning a B.A. in philosophy from Princeton University, Greg entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan, where he met his wife, Virginia Warren. After completing a dissertation under the supervision of Richard Brandt, he took a job at UCLA in 1973. He joined the philosophy department at Irvine as an associate professor in 1979.
Greg produced an influential body of work that established him as one of the leading political philosophers of his generation. He wrote more than fifty philosophical articles and reviews, some of which were widely reprinted. He published two important books, Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory and Moral Paradoxes of Nuclear Deterrence. His work on Hobbes and on rationality is internationally admired. The brilliant work on nuclear deterrence instituted a new field of practical philosophy. He was also a recipient of prestigious awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities (may it survive the Republican Contract with America!) and the Ford Foundation.
A Theory of Justice
A Theory of Justice is a 1971 work of political philosophy and ethics by the philosopher John Rawls, in which the author addresses the problem of distributive justice (the socially just distribution of goods in a society). The theory uses an updated form of Kantian philosophy and a variant form of conventional social contract theory. Rawls's theory of justice is fully a political theory of justice as opposed to other forms of justice discussed in other disciplines and contexts.
The resultant theory was challenged and refined several times in the decades following its original publication in 1971. A significant reappraisal was published in the 1985 essay "Justice as Fairness", and a subsequent book under the same title, within which Rawls further developed his two central principles for his discussion of justice. Together, they dictate that society should be structured so that the greatest possible amount of liberty is given to its members, limited only by the notion that the liberty of any one member shall not infringe upon that of any other member. Secondly, inequalities – either social or economic – are only to be allowed if the worst off will be better off than they might be under an equal distribution. Finally, if there is such a beneficial inequality, this inequality should not make it harder for those without resources to occupy positions of power – for instance, public office.
First published in 1971, A Theory of Justice was revised in 1975, while translated editions were being released in the 1990s it was further revised in 1999. In 2001, Rawls published a follow-up study titled Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.
Reductionism is any of several related philosophical ideas regarding the associations between phenomena which can be described in terms of other simpler or more fundamental phenomena.
The Oxford Companion to Philosophy suggests that reductionism is "one of the most used and abused terms in the philosophical lexicon" and suggests a three part division:
Ontological reductionism: a belief that the whole of reality consists of a minimal number of parts. Methodological reductionism: the scientific attempt to provide explanation in terms of ever smaller entities. Theory reductionism: the suggestion that a newer theory does not replace or absorb an older one, but reduces it to more basic terms. Theory reduction itself is divisible into three parts: translation, derivation and explanation. Reductionism can be applied to any phenomenon, including objects, explanations, theories, and meanings.
For the sciences, application of methodological reductionism attempts explanation of entire systems in terms of their individual, constituent parts and their interactions. For example, the temperature of a gas is reduced to nothing beyond the average kinetic energy of its molecules in motion. Thomas Nagel speaks of 'psychophysical reductionism' (the attempted reduction of psychological phenomena to physics and chemistry), as do others and 'physico-chemical reductionism' (the attempted reduction of biology to physics and chemistry), again as do others. In a very simplified and sometimes contested form, such reductionism is said to imply that a system is nothing but the sum of its parts. However, a more nuanced opinion is that a system is composed entirely of its parts, but the system will have features that none of the parts have (which, in essence is the basis of emergentism). "The point of mechanistic explanations is usually showing how the higher level features arise from the parts."
Other definitions are used by other authors. For example, what John Polkinghorne terms 'conceptual' or 'epistemological' reductionism is the definition provided by Simon Blackburn and by Jaegwon Kim: that form of reductionism concerning a program of replacing the facts or entities entering statements claimed to be true in one type of discourse with other facts or entities from another type, thereby providing a relationship between them. Such an association is provided where the same idea can be expressed by "levels" of explanation, with higher levels reducible if need be to lower levels. This use of levels of understanding in part expresses our human limitations in remembering detail. However, "most philosophers would insist that our role in conceptualizing reality [our need for a hierarchy of "levels" of understanding] does not change the fact that different levels of organization in reality do have different 'properties'."
Reductionism should be distinguished from eliminationism: reductionists do not deny the existence of phenomena, but explain them in terms of another reality; eliminationists deny the existence of the phenomena themselves. For example, eliminationists deny the existence of life by their explanation in terms of physical and chemical processes.
Reductionism does not preclude the existence of what might be termed emergent phenomena, but it does imply the ability to understand those phenomena completely in terms of the processes from which they are composed. This reductionist understanding is very different from emergentism, which intends that what emerges in "emergence" is more than the sum of the processes from which it emerges. Some physicists, however, claim that reductionism and emergentism are complementary: both are needed to explain natural processes .