75,018 research outputs found

    The art of being human : a project for general philosophy of science

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    Throughout the medieval and modern periods, in various sacred and secular guises, the unification of all forms of knowledge under the rubric of ‚Äėscience‚Äô has been taken as the prerogative of humanity as a species. However, as our sense of species privilege has been called increasingly into question, so too has the very salience of ‚Äėhumanity‚Äô and ‚Äėscience‚Äô as general categories, let alone ones that might bear some essential relationship to each other. After showing how the ascendant Stanford School in the philosophy of science has contributed to this joint demystification of ‚Äėhumanity‚Äô and ‚Äėscience‚Äô, I proceed on a more positive note to a conceptual framework for making sense of science as the art of being human. My understanding of ‚Äėscience‚Äô is indebted to the red thread that runs from Christian theology through the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment to the Humboldtian revival of the university as the site for the synthesis of knowledge as the culmination of self-development. Especially salient to this idea is science‚Äės epistemic capacity to manage modality (i.e. to determine the conditions under which possibilities can be actualised) and its political capacity to organize humanity into projects of universal concern. However, the challenge facing such an ideal in the twentyfirst century is that the predicate ‚Äėhuman‚Äô may be projected in three quite distinct ways, governed by what I call ‚Äėecological‚Äô, ‚Äėbiomedical‚Äô and ‚Äėcybernetic‚Äô interests. Which one of these future humanities would claim today‚Äôs humans as proper ancestors and could these futures co-habit the same world thus become two important questions that general philosophy of science will need to address in the coming years

    Science democratised = expertise decommissioned

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    Science and expertise have been antithetical forms of knowledge in both the ancient and the modern world, but they appear identical in today‚Äôs postmodern world, especially in Science & Technology Studies (STS) literature. The ancient Athenians associated science (epistem√©) with the contemplative life afforded to those who lived from inherited wealth. Expertise (techn√©) was for those lacking property, and hence citizenship. Such people were regularly forced to justify their usefulness to Athenian society. Some foreign merchants, collectively demonised in Plato‚Äôs Dialogues as ‚Äėsophists‚Äô, appeared so insulting to citizen Socrates, because they dared to alienate aspects of this leisured existence (e.g. the capacity for articulate reasoning) and repackage them as techniques that might be purchased on demand from an expert ‚Äď that is, a sophist. In effect, the sophists cleverly tried to universalise their own alien status, taking full advantage of the strong analogy that Athenians saw between the governance of the self and the polis. Unfortunately, Plato, the original spin doctor, immortalised Socrates‚Äô laboured and hyperbolic rearguard response to these sly and partially successful attempts at dislodging hereditary privilege..

    Reiss\u27s The 16 strivings for God: The new psychology of religious experiences (Book Review)

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    A review of Reiss, S. (2015). The 16 strivings for God: The new psychology of religious experiences. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. 174 pp. $25.00. ISBN 978088146557

    Reading as social practice: the Beyond the Book research project

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    Beyond the Book (BTB) is a trans-Atlantic collaborative interdisciplinary research project that analyses mass reading events and the contemporary meanings of reading in the UK, the USA and Canada. This article gives an overview of the origins, aims, scope and methods of the project

    Entrepreneurship: economic and social embedding of the production of futures

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    Entrepreneurship, the practice of creating new economic enterprises through innovation that are sustained by economic performance, is, theoretically, an individualistic account of socio-economic change. If new enterprises and new economies are created by entrepreneurship then to what extent does this activity harbour prescience and to what extent does its creative destruction carry moral responsibility? Although entrepreneurship is socially constructed as an individualistic account of the production of new patterns of organisation, theories of entrepreneurship span a number of ontologies, i.e. individual motives, new firm formation, socially beneficial activity, the production of networks and multi-organisational forms, and even of micro economies. The paper discusses the conception entrepreneurship as a set of socially constructed processes which together produce futures at multiple ontological levels, and seeks to identify relationships between this body of knowledge and anticipating, creating and 'minding' futures

    Saturn Ring Seismology: Evidence for Stable Stratification in the Deep Interior of Saturn

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    Seismology allows for direct observational constraints on the interior structures of stars and planets. Recent observations of Saturn's ring system have revealed the presence of density waves within the rings excited by oscillation modes within Saturn, allowing for precise measurements of a limited set of the planet's mode frequencies. We construct interior structure models of Saturn, compute the corresponding mode frequencies, and compare them with the observed mode frequencies. The fundamental mode frequencies of our models match the observed frequencies (of the largest amplitude waves) to an accuracy of ‚ąľ1%\sim 1 \%, confirming that these waves are indeed excited by Saturn's f-modes. The presence of the lower amplitude waves (finely split in frequency from the f-modes) can only be reproduced in models containing gravity modes that propagate in a stably stratified region of the planet. The stable stratification must exist deep within the planet near the large density gradients between the core and envelope. Our models cannot easily reproduce the observed fine splitting of the m=‚ąí3m=-3 modes, suggesting that additional effects (e.g., significant latitudinal differential rotation) may be important.Comment: 26 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in Icaru

    Heartbeat Stars, Tidally Excited Oscillations, and Resonance Locking

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    Heartbeat stars are eccentric binary stars in short period orbits whose light curves are shaped by tidal distortion, reflection, and Doppler beaming. Some heartbeat stars exhibit tidally excited oscillations and present new opportunities for understanding the physics of tidal dissipation within stars. We present detailed methods to compute the forced amplitudes, frequencies, and phases of tidally excited oscillations in eccentric binary systems. Our methods i) factor out the equilibrium tide for easier comparison with observations, ii) account for rotation using the traditional approximation, iii) incorporate non-adiabatic effects to reliably compute surface luminosity perturbations, iv) allow for spin-orbit misalignment, and v) correctly sum over contributions from many oscillation modes. We also discuss why tidally excited oscillations are more visible in hot stars with surface temperatures T‚ÄČ‚Ā£‚Č≥‚ÄČ‚Ā£6500‚ÄČKT \! \gtrsim \! 6500 \, {\rm K}, and we derive some basic probability theory that can be used to compare models with data in a statistical manner. Application of this theory to heartbeat systems can be used to determine whether observed tidally excited oscillations can be explained by chance resonances with stellar oscillation modes, or whether a resonance locking process is operating.Comment: Published in MNRA
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