Institute of Philosophy
Russian Academy of Sciences

  Philosophy of Science and Technology, 2018, Vol. 23, No. 2
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Philosophy of Science and Technology, 2018, Vol. 23, No. 2




Helena N. Knyazeva. The elusive reality: arguments of constructivism

The article shows how difficult is to resist the modern arguments of constructivism, defending realism. The onslaught of constructivism comes both from scientific theories and from the social and cultural practice. The most significant arguments in favor of constructivism are based on the Umwelt analysis coming from the theoretical biology, and on enactivism as a popular conception in cognitive science. These two arguments turn out to be in a close conceptual bond. The development of modern information and computer technologies makes the position of classical realism increasingly vulnerable and requires its modification.

Keywords: virtual reality, design, constructivism, creativity, mind-body problem, cyclicity, enactivism, Umwelt

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-5-9

Natalia M. Smirnova. Cognitive implications of phenomenological constructivism

Philosophical preconditions of constructivist attitudes’ absolutization in contemporary theory of knowledge have been outlined in this paper. It has been substantiated, that phenomenological constructivism with the adhered ideas of both special transcendental subject’s experience as phenomenological-transcendental reduction and inseparable noetic-noematic unity of the subject matter with the means of its cognitive presentation in transcendental mind laid the profound philosophical foundation of further amplification of antirealist conceptions of “cognitive escape” from reality. Nevertheless its further development, such as “spatial turn” in phenomenology and its enrichment with analytical philosophy’s achievements reveals the enhancement of constructive-realistic (V.A. Lectorsky) tendencies in contemporary theory of knowledge.

Keywords: realism, antirealism, empirical realism, phenomenological constructivism

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-10-13

Valentin A. Bazhanov. Realism vs constructivism in mathematics and natural sciences

Is it possible to implement the concepts of realism and constructivism in mathematics to the natural sciences? Arguments in favor of a negative answer is provided. The main reason for this impossibility is seen in the fact that these areas of knowledge have significant differences in their relation to subject areas and they use various basic abstractions. The opinion is expressed that in the case of the life sciences, new vistas are opened by the idea of bio-cultural co-constructivism, which allows to reconstruct and represent the system “society-culture-brain” as a whole entity, permeated by reciprocal links.

Keywords: realism and constructivism in mathematics, life sciences, bio-cultural co-constructivism

Acknowledgements: The reported study was funded by RFBR according to the research project  № 16-03-00117а

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-14-17

Vladislav A. Lektorsky. Constructive realism as the contemporary form of epistemological realism

It is shown that it is impossible to go beyond the opposition of realism and constructivism in epistemology. One cannot understand the structure and the development of the scientific theory from the constructivist point of view. The enactivist approach, popular in the current cognitive science, suggests epistemological realism (contrary to some interpretations). The problems of virtual reality and “post-truth” are also discussed in the article. The author substantiates the idea that the position of constructive (active) realism is promising as a research strategy in epistemology, philosophy of science, cognitive science and social studies.

Keywords: realism, constructivism, activity, enactivism, virtual reality

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-18-22


Victoria G. Lysenko. Natural philosophy and epistemology of taste in India: Vaiśeṣika and Buddhism

The article explores the key ideas about taste and its perception in the Vaiśeṣika text Praśastapāda-bhāṣya of Praśastapāda (fl.6th century C.E) and the Buddhist text Abhidharmakoshabhāṣya of Vasubandhu (fl. 4th to 5th century CE). These two texts share atomistic ideas about the nature of the primary elements (earth, water, etc.). However their approaches radically differed in the interpretation of substance and subject of perception. Vaiśeṣika followed the metaphysical notion of substances (dravya) consisting of atoms, endowed with properties and movements, and, a natural-philosophical scheme of “body-organ-object” in the analysis of primary elements. Vaiśeṣika’s concept of taste perception was guided by the doctrine of the ātman (the immutable soul) being the subject of cognition. In the Buddhist natural philosophy, based on the rejection of immutable substances, atoms are considered rather as phenomenal properties. As Buddhists denied the concept of ātman, the subject of taste perception is a taste-consciousness (jihva-vijñāna). The organ of taste is proportioned to its objects by the number of atoms. By this, the very possibility for the gustatory consciousness to perceive tastes is explained. Taste as such, according to Buddhism, is a source of attachment to pleasures that hampers spiritual progress. It corresponds to the level of experience characteristic of the “world of desires” (kāma-dhātu), which the adept is called upon to overcome. Although both schools embed their teachings in the soteriological perspective (achieving liberation from saṃsāra), the Vaiśeṣika approach relies more on metaphysics (third person perspective), while the Abhidharma Buddhism is more focused on the systematic introspection and classification of factors of experience contributing to suffering in order to neutralize and overcome them (first person perspective).

Keywords: taste, rasa, indriya, ātman, perception, consciousness, subject, natural philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, Buddhism, Аbhidharma, Vaiśeṣika, Praśastapāda, Vasubandhu, Abhidharmakośabhāṣya

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-23-35

Nina V. Zhuleva. About the role of N. Umov in the formation of conceptual basis of biophysics

The article deals with the becoming of the concepts of “entropy”, “organization” and/or “self-organization” in the period of the formation of biophysics as a branch of science by the example of the work of R. Clausius, L. Boltzmann and N. Umov. On the base of the scheme of the functioning of ideal objects in the structure of scientific theory proposed by A. Lipkin, the formation of these concepts and the acquisition of mathematical, physical and natural-philosophical conceptions is traced. R. Clausius introduces entropy as a consequence of mathematical transformations of thermodynamic equations, and that conception initially has a mathematical meaning. L. Boltzmann connects entropy with the theory of probability and tries to define its physical meaning through a natural-philosophical meaning, interpreting entropy as a measure of disorder. At this stage, the biophysical problem field is only becoming. Entropy a) exists directly as a concept with a mathematical meaning and b) is comprehended as a concept with a natural-philosophical meaning. N. Umov considers entropy mainly as a characteristic of the general tendency towards disorder, bearing in mind both the physical and biological meanings of this concept. He tries to define the physical meaning of entropy through positively defined concepts. Dealing that, he introduces the concept “orderliness” to describe the behavior of an organized structure. The complexities of physical understanding of “orderliness” and entropy cause their natural-philosophical interpretation. By the way, entropy and “orderliness” characterize the physical system “as a whole”, they are metaphorical, they do not have a strict physical interpretation associated with the measurement of some physical quantity. At this stage of the development of biophysics, these concepts are included in its conceptual basis at the natural-philosophical level, their physical and biological meanings are not formulated.

Keywords: biophysics, thermodynamics, entropy, self-organization, organization, order, disorder

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-36-48


Natalia V. Popkova. The social nature of technique

In the article various approaches to the philosophical analysis of technique are considered: they are compared by the criterion of efficiency for the analysis of social processes of modernity. The urgency of the analyzed problem is caused by the need to make a choice between concepts that explain the causes of crisis processes in a technogenic society and put forward conflicting programs of action. Traditional interpretations saw in technique a means of extracting material goods from the natural environment and forget that it is an essential component of social interactions. The way out of the technogenic problems was seen in the formation and implementation of international coordination programs for technical and environmental activities. With the method of methodological reconstruction of philosophical approaches, it is shown that the traditional understanding of technique as an obedient tool does not explain adequately the autonomy of technique characteristic of modern epoch and its transforming impact on society. An understanding of technical reality as a subsystem of social reality and technique as an aggregate of tools created by people to meet socially recognized needs and used according to social norms is suggested. According to the proposed concept, the forms and methods of creation and development of technical objects existing in a given society are socially determined, technical progress is determined by social mechanisms, and the functioning of the social system can be understood as technology and analyzed with the help of concepts developed for technique analysis. This approach opens new perspectives for understanding the technique: autonomy of technique is understood as its independence from the will of an individual, caused by the alienated state of social reality. The development of technique and the expansion of the technogenic environment generated by it is viewed as a natural process, each stage of which is generated by social needs and is realized with the compulsion of historical necessity. There are social mechanisms that encourage technological progress and increased consumption. Therefore, technological progress, supported by impersonal social mechanisms, can not be directly controlled. Technogenic errors and catastrophes are of the same nature as social conflicts. The technogenic environment, as a result of the functioning of the social machine of production and consumption, generates and supports various forms of technical communication. Therefore, the conscious impact of people on the technical reality is possible through social harmonization and raising of the cultural level. It is necessary to form new needs and new values. Therefore, environmental problems can not be solved without the transformation of social ties and political institutions. Considering technique as a result of social practices and analyzing its dependence on society, it becomes possible to assess contemporary problems caused by the expansion of technique and technical rationality as a special case of general social problems.

Keywords: technique, society, modernity, philosophy, technical progress, technogenic environment, social practices, technical rationality

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-49-60


Pavel N. Baryshnikov. The metaphorical foundations of computing in the cognitive sciences and the philosophy of mind

The central focus of this article is the methodological prerequisites for origin of a computer metaphor in cognitive sciences and philosophy of mind. We consider the principles of metaphorical transfer of such concepts as “algorithm”, “calculation”, “determinacy”, “discretization”, “functionality”, etc. from the theoretic areas of the computer sciences and machine intelligence in various philosophic directions, investigating mental processes. In this paper, we prove ontological incompatibility of the principles of operation of the computer with the principles of work of a brain and consciousness, analyzing weaknesses of the computer metaphor used in theories of computing functionalism. The main line of arguments is based on several points: “indistinct” ontology of a symbol in abstract and physical computing systems, a problem of the addressed memory, a problem of a mental causation, physiological specifics of a brain as information system. The important place in reasoning is taken by transition from a direct metaphor “brain-computer” to an analytical problem of logical representability of mental processes in the form of computation. In this case mind as an object is represented not in vulgar physicalist sense but as a reference of some universum of reasoning. These positions become stronger in the context of the abstract universal nature of the computation understood as process of transformation of structure of input information to structures of output information, other than the first. Thus, at all methodological restrictions the computer metaphor represents the useful analytical tool, which keeps popularity in cognitive sciences and philosophy of consciousness.

Keywords: Computational Theory of Mind, functionalism, Turing's machine, computer metaphor, theory of identity, mentalism

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-61-72

Igor F. Mikhailov. Qualia, representations and the magic of philosophical rooms

The problem of qualitatively unique and ineffable aspects of the phenomenal experience, known as qualia, forms the basis of the “hard problem of consciousness”, according to popular belief. However, a simple analysis of the role of qualia in the perception and identification of art objects shows that phenomenal images are only one of the building materials of complex cognitions, and their functional role varies from case to case. The paper cites arguments against the anti-physicalist interpretation of qualia, which goes back to the famous “Mary's room” by Frank Jackson. It shows that neither the epistemological view of this case (qualia as representations of something non-physical in the world), nor the ontological view thereof (qualia as essentially non-physical entities) do not seem sufficiently substantiated when this thought experiment is examined in detail. Further, in the course of conceptual analysis and thought experiments, it is shown that strong representationalism in the philosophy of qualia is irrelevant, while weak representationalism is devoid of the necessary explanatory power. In any case, in the phenomenal subjective images, a non-representational 'residue' is present that plays an important causal or functional role in human perceptions. At the same time, moderate representationalism is appropriate and promising in cognitive science, if we consider representations as a necessary element of computing processes, wherever, including in the human cognitive devices. However, it is obvious that, in such a form, this concept does not pretend to be the universal clue for philosophical riddles, and its “import” into philosophy implies the rejection of intentionalist interpretations of representative functions of qualia.

Keywords: qualia, mind, consciousness, representation, representationalism, intentionality, cognitive science, computation

Acknowledgements: The research is carried out at the expense of the Russian Science Foundation grant (Project №16-18-10229)

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-73-88


Sekou A.K. Diane. Autonomous robots learning and social integration on the basis of modern cognitive technologies

The emergence of intelligent autonomous robots as a result of the convergence of scientific and technical knowledge from biology, computer science, cognitive science, physics, materials science and dozens of other sciences, including social and humanitarian knowledge, was a immediate reaction of humanity as a complex self-organizing system to the challenges of the external environment and hence the rising need for continuous development and maintenance of its own viability. The rapid penetration of artificial intelligence technologies in the life of society, causes the need for understanding of scientific methods related to increasing the autonomy and intelligence of robotic systems. The article deals with the problems of the organization of appropriate behavior of robots. The basic requirements to ensure their autonomy are listed. The methodological basis of machine learning is discussed in the problems of processing sensory information and the synthesis of appropriate control procedures. In particular, the problems of constructing models of thinking are described as well as promising neural network technologies, the use of which allows to implement in autonomous robots a number of mental functions previously inherent only to man. Special attention is paid to the epistemological aspects of social integration of autonomous robots, which is important both from the standpoint of improving the efficiency of their training, and from the point of conflict-free coexistence of man and technology. The importance of social integration of autonomous robots in the context of noosphere evolutionary development is emphasized. The evaluation is given for development prospects of intelligent robots and their possible social effect in various spheres of social life.

Keywords: autonomous robots, machine learning, cognitive technologies, social integration of robots, evolution

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-89-102

Naseeb A. Sidddiqui. A new theory of Time connecting differentiated cum undifferentiated universe

Time, the most mysterious and misunderstood truth of the universe has been paralyzed by modern science and philosophy. Time has not found any active role in the sustenance of universe other than to measure the space. Universe is differentiated internally who’s existence shows undifferentiated uniformity as a whole. The democracy in the nature is so evident that existing notion and concept of time and space is unable to explain that bizarre nature. At first, this lack of understanding will be disseminated and established by considering the Newtonian, relativist and quantum world view of the time and space that demonstrate their inability to narrate causal explanation of the natural world. This vacuum will motivate philosophical enquiry on the question rather than depending only on scientific data. Existence has two unavoidable questions to be known about, first, `what it is’ and second `what it is for’. Both ancient and modern progress on the discussion of time only exposed the second part that is `what it is for’. The first question `what it is’ has not been even defined as the question to be pondered on. Keeping these two questions in context, a new theory of time has been proposed which is dynamic and active in every existence of this universe. The theory is able to give a fresh look of the universe while justifying all the paradoxes posed by the vacuum created due to existing notion of Time and its relation to universe. This paper will tackle the second question `what it is for’, while the second part of this research that will follow shall reveal the mystery of ontology of time that is `what it is’.

Keywords: time, God and attributes, philosophy of science, theology, space-time, quantum theory, classical theory, relativity

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-103-121


Juliya S. Morkina. Review of the book by Elena O. Trufanova "The subject and cognition in the world of social constructions" (Moscow: Kanon + ROOI "Rehabilitation", 2018. 320 pp.)

The concept of “the social turn” and an appeal to nonclassical epistemology are relevant for the current scientific and philosophical community. One of the branches of nonclassical epistemology – namely, social constructionism – is carefully analyzed by E.O. Trufanova in her book “The subject and cognition in the world of social constructionsˮ. Social constructionism is distinguished by author both from social constructivism and epistemological constructivism. Particular attention is paid to the concepts of the Self (I) and the knowing subject. Supporters of social constructionism problematize the concept of reality, including scientific reality, proclaiming scientific facts (as well as the subject of knowledge) to be social construction. Carefully analyzing various directions within the framework of the modern social constructionist approach, noting the rationality contained in these studies, the author stands up for the protection of traditional epistemological values.

Keywords: epistemology, cognition, subject of cognition, social constructivism, social constructionism, the Self, narrative

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-122-130


Oleg V. Letov. Actual problems of bioethics (review)

The article is an analytical review of English-language articles on topical bioethical issues. Such ethical categories as informed consent of the patient, the principle of the subject's freedom of choice, the subject of the study participating in the experiment as a subject, the process of internalization, etc. are considered. It is noted, in particular, that traditionally medical services were provided within a system that differed in hierarchical structure and strictly controlled. As a rule, doctors informed the patients at least a little about their diagnosis. Recently, the interaction pole has shifted from a doctor to a patient. In the relationship between the doctor and the patient, new perspectives have emerged: people who need medical care have increasingly turned to the Internet and other means of modern communication.

Keywords: bioethics, informed consent, respect for the patient's freedom, clinical experiments, the life-time of the patient, ethical integrity, ethical principles, ethical infrastructure, the internalization process, moral choice, good and evil, tragedy

DOI: 10.21146/2413-9084-2018-23-2-131-137

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