Philosophical Writings

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Books  

  1. Computer Simulations and the Changing Face of Scientific Experimentation (Edited Volume)

    Abstract · Introduction · Order · Buy ebook
    book cover: Computer Simulations and the Changing Face of Scientific Experimentations (collaborative work with Juan Duran)
    In this volume, scientists, historians, and philosophers join to examine computer simulations in scientific practice. One central aim of the volume is to provide a multiperspective view on the topic. Therefore, the text includes philosophical studies on computer simulations, as well as case studies from simulation practice, and historical studies of the evolution of simulations as a research method.
    Eckhart Arnold and Juan Duran (Ed.): Computer Simulations and the Changing Face of Scientific Experimentation, Cambridge Scholars Publishing Newcastle 2013.
  2. Explaining Altruism. A Simulation-Based Approach and its Limits

    Abstract · Table of Contents · Order · Buy ebook
    book cover: Explaing Altruism Employing computer simulations for the study of the evolution of altruism has been popular since Axelrod's book "The Evolution of Cooperation". But have the myriads of simulation studies that followed in Axelrod's footsteps really increased our knowledge about the evolution of altruism or cooperation? This book examines in detail the working mechanisms of simulation based evolutionary explanations of altruism. It shows that the "theoretical insights" that can be derived from simulation studies are often quite arbitrary and of little use for the empirical research. In the final chapter of the book, therefore, a set of epistemological requirements for computer simulations is proposed and recommendations for the proper research design of simulation studies are made.
    Published: ontos Verlag Heusenstamm 2008.
  3. Religious Consciousness and Political Order - A critique of Eric Voegelin's Philosophy of Consciousness

    Image: Voegelin book Eric Voegelin believed that a morally acceptable and in the long run successful political order (which meant for the emigrant Voegelin primarily an order that is resistant to totalitarianism) can only be built on the foundation of a healthy religiosity of the citizens and the political leaders. The question of what a healthy religiosity is was examined by Voegelin by recurring to intellectual history and to the philosophy of consciousness. In my book I offer a detailed criticism Voegelin's philosophy of consciousness and of his concept of political order.
    Published: GRIN Verlag München 2007.
  4. Hans Kelsen: A New Science of Politics? Hans Kelsen's Reply to Eric Voegelin's "New Science of Politics" (edited book)

    Image: Kelsen, Una nueva ciencia Image: Kelsen, A New Science of Politics Hans Kelsen's thorough critique of Eric Voegelin's "New Science of Politcs" is - in my oppinion - the best commentary on Voegelin that has been written so far.
    English (German commentary): Hans Kelsen: A New Science of Politics? Hans Kelsens Reply to Eric Voegelin's "New Science of Politics", ed. by Eckhart Arnold, ontos Verlag Heusenstamm 2004.
    Spanish: Hans Kelsen: ¿Una nueva ciencia de la política? Réplica a Eric Voegelin, Editado por Eckhart Arnold, Traducio por Isolda Rodríguez Villega y Jaquín Etorena, katz Editores Buenos Aires 2006.

Papers  

Digital Humanities  

  1. Abstract · Full text (German) · PDF
  2. Presentations on Digital Humanities Topics

    Some presentations about different topics from the Digital Humanities from Conference-Talks and Teaching (German language):
    • Domainspefic languages for the Digital Humanities
    • Open Access from a philosophy of science point of view - Some considerations regarding the practical advantages of open access publishing for falsifiable science
    • What are Digital Humanities? - Introductory Lecture for the Munich Digital Humanities Summerschool 2015
    • Research Environments - Architectural choices and upcoming trends converning virtual research enviroments in the Digital Humanities

Philosophy of Science  

  1. How Models Fail. A Critical Look at the History of Computer Simulations of the Evolution of Cooperation.

    Abstract · Full text · PDF
    Simulation models of the Reiterated Prisoner’s Dilemma have been popular for studying the evolution of cooperation since more than 30 years now. However, there have been practically no successful instances of empirical application of any of these models. At the same time this lack of empirical testing and confirmation has almost entirely been ignored by the modelers community. In this paper, I examine some of the typical narratives and standard arguments with which these models are justified by their authors despite the lack of empirical validation. I find that most of the narratives and arguments are not at all compelling. None the less they seem to serve an important function in keeping the simulation business running despite its empirical shortcomings.
    Published: Catrin Misselhorn (Ed.): Collective Agency and Cooperation in Natural and Artificial Systems. Explanation, Implementation and Simulation, Springer 2015, 261-279.
  2. What’s wrong with social simulations?

    Abstract · Full Text · PDF
    This paper tries to answer the question why the epistemic value of so many social simulations is questionable. I consider the epistemic value of a social simulation as questionable if it contributes neither directly nor indirectly to the understanding of empirical reality. To examine this question, two classical social simulations are analyzed with respect to their possible epistemic justification: Schelling’s neighborhood segregation model (Schelling, 1971) and Axelrod’s reiterated Prisoner’s Dilemma simulations of the evolution of cooperation (Axelrod, 1984). It is argued that Schelling’s simulation is potentially useful, because it can be related to empirical reality, while Axelrod’s simulations and those of his followers cannot wherefore their scientific value remains doubtful. I relate this this finding to the background beliefs of modelers about the superiority of the modeling method as expressed in Joshua Epsteins’s keynote address “Why model?” (Epstein, 2008).
    Published: The Monist 3/2014, 361-379.
  3. Experiments and Simulations: Do They Fuse?

    Abstract · Full text (PDF)
    In this paper I refute philosophical arguments by Winsberg, Parker and Morrison according to which the distinction between simulations and experiments is unclear. Rather, I show that there a clear distinction can be made between computer simulations, analog simulations (this category being the main cause of confusion) and experiments. However, hybrids that rely on the digital postprocessing of some empirical input still raise problems. I defend the notion that hybrids are experiments (or empirical measurements) if the output data describes causes of the source data which on interaction with the machinery become input data. Because in this case, it is the well known pattern of measuring the cause (output) by its effects (input).
    Published: Eckhart Arnold and Juan Duran (Ed.): Computer Simulations and the Changing Face of Scientific Experimentation, Cambridge Scholars Publishing Newcastle 2013, 46-75.
  4. Simulation Models of the Evolution of Cooperation as Proofs of Logical Possibilities. How Useful Are They?

    Abstract · Full Text (PDF)
    This paper discusses critically what simulation models of the evolution of cooperation can possibly prove by examining Axelrod’s “Evolution of Cooperation” (1984) and the modeling tradition it has inspired. Hardly any of the many simulation models in this tradition have been applicable empirically. Axelrod’s role model suggested a research design that seemingly allowed to draw general conclusions from simulation models even if the mechanisms that drive the simulation could not be identified empirically. But this research design was fundamentally flawed. At best such simulations can claim to prove logical possibilities, i.e. they prove that certain phenomena are possible as the consequence of the modeling assumptions built into the simulation, but not that they are possible or can be expected to occur in reality. I suggest several requirements under which proofs of logical possibilities can nevertheless be considered useful. Sadly, most Axelrod-style simulations do not meet these requirements. It would be better not to use this kind of simulations at all.
    Published: Ethics & Politics XV/2013, 101-138.
  5. When can a Computer Simulation act as Substitute for an Experiment?

    Abstract · Full text · PDF
    (together with Johannes Kästner)
    In this paper we investigate with a case study from chemistry under what conditions a simulation can serve as a surrogate for an experiment. The case-study concerns a simulation of H2-formation in outer space. We find that in this case the simulation can act as a surrogate for an experiment, because there exists comprehensive theoretical background knowledge in form of quantum mechanics about the range of phenomena to which the investigated process belongs and because any particular modelling assumptions as can be justified. If these requirements are met then direct empirical validation may even be dispensable. We conjecture that this is not the case in the absence of comprehensive theoretical background knowledge.
    Preprint, Stuttgart 2012.
  6. Tools for Evaluating the Consequences of Prior Knowledge, but no Experiments. On the Role of Computer Simulations in Science

    Abstract · Full Text · PDF
    By many philosophers computer simulations are considered as either closely related to experiments or as 'third way' somewhere between theory and experiment. In this article I defend the view that computer simulations are not experiments but that they are tools for evaluating the consequences of theories and prior assumptions. In order to do so the (alleged) similarities and differences between simulations and experiments are examined. It is found that three fundamental differences between simulations and experiments remain: 1) Only experiments can generate new empirical data. 2) Only Experiments can operate directly on the target system. 3) Experiments alone can be employed for testing fundamental hypotheses. As a consequence, experiments enjoy a distinct epistemic role in science that cannot completely be superseded by computer simulations.
    Preprint, Stuttgart 2011.
  7. Can the Best-Alternative-Justification solve Hume's Problem? (On the Limits of a Promising Approach)

    Abstract · Full text · PDF
    This is a commentary to an article by Gerhard Schurz published in the Philosophy of Science (2008, p. 278-305) where he proposes meta-inductivistic prediction strategies as a new approach to Hume's Problem. My commentary critically examines the merits of the approach proposed by Schurz. It is shown that for various reasons and despite some interesting and non trivial results of Schurz' article, the meta-inductivist approach cannot claim to offer a solution for Hume's problem yet. Moreover, it can be proven that the meta-inductivist approach does not work any more if the meta-inductivists have to face an infinite number of alternative predictors. With this limitation it remains doubtful whether the the meta-inductivist approach can ever be developed to a point where it actually solves Hume's Problem.
    Published: Philosophy of Science 4/2010, 584-593.
  8. Tools or Toys? On Specific Challenges for Modeling and the Epistemology of Models and Computer Simulations in the Social Sciences

    Abstract · Presentation · Full Text · PDF
    The use of computer simulations in the social sciences as compared to the natural sciences faces specific challenges such as: lack of well confirmed background theories, pluralism of paradigms and styles, impossibility of precise measurement. These challenges are discussed and their epistemological consequences are pointed out. The most important of these are that greater emphasis must be placed on empirical validation than on theoretical validation and that the relevance of purely theoretical simulations remains strongly limited.
    presented at the Models and Simulations 4 Conference in Toronto, May 2010.
  9. Novelty in Evolutionary Algorithms

    This article gives a brief introduction to the working mechanisms of evolutionary algorithms and discusses, in how far they can be assumed to be able to generate genuine novelty. Boundaries of evolutionary algorithms as they are drawn by the "No Free Lunch Theorem" are also touched and a few tentative conclusions regarding philosophical application areas like the problem of induction are drawn.
    Published: Birger P. Priddat and Peter Seele (Ed.): Das Neue in Ökonomie und Management. Grundlagen, Methoden, Beispiele, Gabler Verlag Wiesbaden 2008, 49-66.
  10. The Dark Side of the Force. When Computer Simulations lead us astry and "model think" narrows our imagination

    Abstract · Presentation · PDF · Full Text · PDF
    This paper is intended as a critical examination of the question of when the use of computer simulations is beneficial to scientific explanations. This objective is pursued in two steps: First, I try to establish clear criteria that simulations must meet in order to be explanatory. Basically, a simulation has explanatory power only if it includes all (known) causally relevant factors of a given empirical configuration and if the simulation delivers stable results within the measurement inaccuracies of the input parameters. In the second step, I examine a few examples of Axelrod-style simulations as they have been used to understand the evolution of cooperation (Axelrod, Schüßler) and the evolution of the social contract (Skyrms). These simulations do not meet the criteria for explanatory validity and it can be shown, as I believe, that they lead us astray from the scientific problems they have been addressed to solve and at the same time bar our imagination against more conventional but still better approaches.
    presented at the Models and Simulations 1 Conference in Paris 2006.
  11. Can Evolutionary Game Theory Explain Cooperation? (A Study on the Weaknesses of a Formal Approach)

    Abstract · Presentation (German) · PDF · Full Text (German) · PDF
    This is a working paper on the use of computer models in evolutionary game theory. Computer models have in the last 20 or 30 years been widely used to study such phenomena as cooperation and reciprocal altruism. However, the scientic value of these models remains often rather doubtful. In the paper I try to demonstrate (by examining several examples) that these models are in many cases indeed empirically imprecise and theoretically shallow. Furthermore, I try to answer the question why these models often fail and, finally, what requirements a model must meet if it is to be of any explanatory relevance.
    Düseldorf 2005.
  12. On the Use of Evolutionary Computer Models in the Historical and Social Sciences

    Abstract · Full Text · PDF
    This paper presents some musings about the possibility of using evolutionary models in the social sciences. It mainly focuses on Robert Axelrod's "Evolution of Cooperation", but also presents examples of topics in social sciences which could benefit from an evolutionary approach.
    Erfurt 2002.

Political Philosophy  

  1. Sustainability and interdisciplinary discourse in the case of Climate Change

    According to recent criticism by cultural scientists, current climate science and politics suffer from the misguided concept that insights of the natural sciences should be transformed immediately into political action. As this expectation must necessarily be frustrated, there is – according to this criticism – the danger that a general skepticism of democratic politics arises. In this paper I examine the questions of whether this fear is justified and whether a stronger interdisciplinary integration of cultural sciences into climate science and politics could mitigate the danger. While the answer to the first question turns out to be mostly negative, there are still other good reasons for a stronger involvement of cultural sciences in climate science and politics.
    Published: Elke Schwinger and Carmen Schier (Ed.): Interdisziplinarität und Transdisziplinarität als Herausforderung akademischer Bildung. Innovative Konzepte für die Lehre an Hochschulen und Universitäten, transcript Verlag Bielefeld 2014, 153-166.
  2. Does political order require a spiritual foundation? Kelsens critique of Voegelin's authoritarian political theology

    This paper examines the critique of Voegelin in Kelsens "Secular Religion". While Kelsen sets out with the false premise that secular world view can in principle have no religious character, his critique of Voegelin remains largely unimpaired by this mistake. With convincing arguments Kelsen criticises (1) Voegelins interpretation of modernity as an age of gnosticism, (2) Voegelins reinterpretation of enlightened and secular philosopher as gnostics in disguise and (3) Voegelins rejection of modern politics and, to a lesser degree, modern science.
    Published: Clemens Jabloner and Thomas Olechowski and Klaus Zeleny (Ed.): Secular Religion. Rezeption und Kritik von Hans Kelsens Auseinandersetzung mit Religion und Wissenschaft, Manzsche Verlags- und Universitätsbuchhandlung Wien 2013, 19-42.
  3. The Smooth Transition from Authoritarianism to Political Theology: The Case of Eric Voegelin

    Abstract · Presentation (German) · PDF · Fulltext · PDF
    This paper traces back Eric Voegelin's political biography to his formative years. Contrary to the myth that Voegelin was an anti-fascist of the first hour, Voegelin was in fact deeply influenced by the anti-democratic thinking of the 20ies and 30ies in the last century. He took sides with the authoritarian regime of Austria against liberalism and began to perceive the Nazis as a serious danger only as late as 1937. What is more, even in the emmigration he retained most of his deeply authoritarian political convictions. It seems that his political theology was for him the means to keep his authoritarian convictions while at the same time supporting the liberal political order of the United States of America. Thus the same conclusion about political theology in general which is easily drawn in Carl Schmitt's case is also fostered by the case of Eric Voegelin, namely, that political theology and liberal democracy do not mix.
    Stuttgart 2012.
  4. Eric Voegelin (as a disciple of Hans Kelsen)

    In the early 1920ies Eric Voegelin studied with Hans Kelsen. While he never fully endorsed his teacher's theory Voegelin wrote quite a few interesting and generally benevolent articles about the "Pure Theory of Law" in the twenties and early thirties. However, with the growing fascist tendencies in Europe Voegelin also drifted to the political right which brought him into sharp opposition to the liberal political philosophy of his former teacher. This article traces Voegelin's changing intellectual relation to Hans Kelsen and examines Voegelin's criticism of the "Pure Theory of Law".
    Published: Robert Walter and Clemens Jabloner and Klaus Zeleny (Ed.): Der Kreis um Hans Kelsen. Die Anfangsjahre der Reinen Rechtslehre, Manzsche Verlags- und Universitätsbuchhandlung Wien 2007, 513-552.
  5. Unended Quest: The Political Philosophy of Kant's Perpetual Peace

    Abstract · Presentation (German) · PDF · Full Text (German) · PDF
    In this lecture Kant's "perpetual peace" is being interpreted as a realistic utopia. Kant's "perpetual peace" remains an utopia even today in the sense that the described perpetual world peace is still a long way to go from today's state of world politics. But Kant also tried to show that the utopian scenario is possible under realistic assumptions. Therefore this essay examines the question, if Kant's basic assumptions - such as for example the assumption that democracies are generally non aggressive - are still valid in the light of the political experiences of the two centuries that have elapsed since the publication of the "perpetual peace" and how the realisation of Kant's utopia can best be promoted in today's situation.
    Published: Nebil Reyhani (Ed.): Immanuel Kant. Essays Presented at the Muğla University International Kant Symposium, Vadi Yayınları 2006, 496-512.
  6. Critique of Enlightment as Metaphysical Denouncement. On Horkheimer's and Adorno's Concept of Enlightment

    In their "Dialectics of Enlightment" (1947) Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer try to find out, "why mankind instead of entering into to a truly humane state, drowns in a new type of barbarism." In their opinion this is a consequence of the process of enlightment, because "enlightment is totalitarian" (unless it is understood in a dialectic manner) and "turns back into mythology". In this essay it will be demonstrated that the modern barbarism, i.e. totalitarianism, is by no means a consequence of an undialectical process of enlightment and that Adorno and Horkheimer are not able to advance a single convincing argument for their case in this book. Therefore it cannot be taken seriously as a kind of social criticism (as it is often understood). At best it serves as the mere expression of strong metaphysical pessimism.
    Essay: Düsseldorf 2005; Presentation: Stuttgart 2010.
  7. Hans Kelsen's Reply to Eric Voegelin's "New Science of Politics" - A Contribution to the Discussion about Political Theology

    Abstract · Full Text · PDF
    Only shortly after the publication of Eric Voegelin's "New Science of Politics" Hans Kelsen wrote a comprehensive reply to this book. Since he had left his reply unpublished, it was printed only fifty years later. In this lecture I analyse the argument of Voegelin's "New Science" in the light of Hans Kelsen critique. I try to answer the question what consequences must be drawn from Hans Kelsen's severe criticism for the judgement of a Political Theology of the Voegelinian brand.
    Düsseldorf 2004.
  8. Main Proponents of the Idea of Federalism in Modern Times

    Abstract · Full Text · PDF
    In this short essay I discuss a few (arbitrarily selected) proponents of the idea of federalism. Among those discussed are Althusius, Immanuel Kant and the rather awkward Constantin Frantz.
    Bonn 1997.

Ethics  

  1. Science without truth and knowledge. The problem of epistemic responsibility as examplified with the case of empirically intractable computer simulations

    Epistemic Responsibility means that scientists are responsible for their research being suitable to contribute to our understanding of the world, or at least some part of the world. As will be shown with the example of computer simulations in social sciences, this is unfortunately far from being understood as a matter of course. Rather, there exist whole research traditions in which the bulk of the contributions is quite free from any tangible purpose of enhancing our knowledge about anything. This essay is concerned with the causes of this phenomenon and pleads for taking epistemic responsibility as a scientific virtue serious. Science should be organized in such a way that it is possible and likely that scientists will assume epistemic responsibility for their research tasks.
    Published: Rafaela Hillerbrand and Florian Steger (Ed.): Praxisfelder angewandter Ethik. Ethische Orientierung in Medizin, Politik, Technik und Wirtschaft, mentis Verlag Münster 2013, 309-331.
  2. Moral Judgments of Foreign Cultures and Bygone Epochs. A Two-Tier Approach

    Abstract · Full Text · PDF · Presentation · PDF
    In this paper the ethical problem is discussed how moral judgments of foreign cultures and bygone epochs can be justified. After ruling out the extremes of moral absolutism (judging without any reservations by the standards of one's own culture and epoch) and moral relativism (judging only by the respective standards of the time and culture in question) the following solution to the dilemma is sought: A distinction has to be made between judging the norms and institutions in power at a certain place and time and judging people acting within the social institutions of their time and culture. While the former may be judged rigorously, only taking into account the objective possibilities for having other institutions at a certain development stage, the latter should be judged against the background of the common sense morals of the respective time and culture.
    Published: Christian Kanzian and Edmund Runggaldier (Ed.): Cultures. Conflict - Analysis - Dialogue. Proceedings of the 29. International Wittgenstein Symposium, Kirchberg am Wechsel, Austria 2006, ontos Verlag 2006, 343-352.
  3. The Critique of Humanism in Arnold Gehlen's Late Work: "Morals and Hypermorals"

    Abstract · Full Text (German) · PDF
    Arnold Gehlen is mostly known as an important exponent of philosophical anthropology in the 20th century. It is also a well known fact that Arnold Gehlen was an adherent to National Socialism during the Third Reich. He kept a decisively authoritarian attitude even in his later days. This attitude shines through in his reaction to the social developments in the German Federal Republic of the sixties in the latest of his major works "Morals and Hypermorals". Against a political ethics supposedly mollycoddled by an overstreched family moral Gehlen puts up the "state virtues" of honor, patriotism and a kind of recklessness in foreign policy well beyond that which is commonly called "Realpolitik". In my essay I try to analyse the philosophical argument of Gehlen's book and to show its logical inconclusiveness. Against Gehlen's "pluralistic ethics" I put a "hierarchical ethic" that distinguishes between primary and secondary virtues and subordinates the latter to the former.
    Bonn 1998.

Teaching Materials  

  1. Introduction to Python

    First steps in Python-programming for absolute beginners. The occasion for writing this introduction was a spring school course on brain simulations together with Ralf Häfner and Philipp Behrend in March 2016.
  2. Marking and Embedding license information

    Abstract · Full text (German)
    Supplementary Materials for the accompanying workshop "Marking and embedding of license information in electronic documents" as part of the Conference "Open Licenses in the Digital Humanities" in the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, April 2015. The materials describe the different types of Creative Commons Licenses and explain how to embed them in html, pdf and other file formats that support xmp-metadata.
  3. Lecture series: Foundations of Decision Theory I

    Abstract · Script (German) · PDF · Outdated Version
    This is a series of lectures on formal decision theory held at the University of Bayreuth during the summer terms 2008 and 2009. It largely follows the book from Michael D. Resnik: Choices. An Introduction to Decision Theory, 5th ed. Minneapolis London 2000 and covers the topics:
    • Decisions under ignorance and risk
    • Probability calculus (Kolmogoroff Axioms, Bayes' Theorem)
    • Philosophical interpretations of probability (R. v. Mises, Ramsey-De Finetti)
    • Neuman-Morgenstern Utility Theory
    • Introductory Game Theory
    • Social Choice Theory (Sen's Paradox of Liberalism, Arrow's Theorem)
    Lecture script, Bayreuth 2009.
  4. Recapitulation: The concept of duty in the philosophical tradtion

    Abstract · Short Essay (German)
    This short-essay is supplementary material to Rudolf Schüßler's ethics-lecture. It provides an extended summary of several articles from the "Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie" (Ritter/Gründer 1989) concerning the topic of duty.
    Short-essay, Bayreuth 2008.

Reviews and Commentaries  

  1. Review of Martin Ingenfeld's “Fortschritt und Verfall”  · Full text (PDF, German)
  2. Scientific Reputation and Open Access  · Full text (PDF, German)
  3. The problem of digital Amnesia and its solution  · Full text (PDF, German)
  4. The pitfalls of a purely intentionalistic philosophy of history.  · Full text (German) · PDF
  5. Potential and Limitations of an Evolutionary Ethics  · Full text (PDF, German)
  6. More than just Analogies? On the relation of cultural and biological evolution  · Full Text (German) · PDF
Raffael, The School of Athens
Raffael, The School of Athens - Source: wikipedia