Philosophy - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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On Cauchy's rigorization of complex analysis

Date created: 
2017-04-11
Abstract: 

In this paper, I look at Cauchy’s early (1814–1825) rigorization of complex analysis. I argue that his work should not be understood as a step in improving the deductive methods of mathematics but as a clear, innovative and systematic stance about the semantics of mathematical languages. His approach is contrasted with Laplace’s “no- tational inductions,” influenced by Condillac’s ideas about the language of algebra. Cauchy’s opposition is then not to be seen as stemming from a comeback of geometric and synthetic methods, but as a rejection of the key Condillacian doctrines that algebra is about abstract quantities and that its rules provide means of discovering new mathematical truths. He thereby paved the way for the arithmetization of calculus and fruitfully extended his approach to complex analysis like no one before him. I finish by discussing lessons we can draw about how mathematical rigour differs from rigour in other sciences.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nicolas Fillion
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Philosophy
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

A Normative Model For Global Trade Negotiations

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-12-08
Abstract: 

While the world sees increasing transnational activity with its attendant cross-border social and economic dependencies, we continue to cling to an aging Westphalian model of international relations. Free Trade Agreements are negotiated and struck between sovereign states with little regard to further-reaching implications. When we consider a proposed Agreement between the EU and India, and what that could potentially mean for Least Developed Countries dependent on Indian-produced pharmaceuticals, we become acutely aware of the need for a moral framework to guide such transnational interactions. Moving away from a state-centred approach to normative concerns on the global field, I propose that the morally relevant units be functionally delineated based on the spheres of influence of global institutional structures, such as the international trade regime. With this shift in focus, I argue that the existing dependency of impoverished nations on Indian pharmaceuticals places morally significant constraints on the EU-India Trade negotiations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Endre Begby
Jeremy Snyder
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Philosophy
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

A comparison of William James and Nietzsche on consciousness and will

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-06-27
Abstract: 

I compare William James’ and Friedrich Nietzsche’s construals of consciousness and will, two of the core notions in both philosophy and psychology. I delineate the elements significant in their respective accounts of the two notions, and show that there are significant parallels in their views. An appreciation of the affinities in James’ and Nietzsche’s construals of consciousness and will facilitates an appreciation of their remarkably parallel contributions in both philosophy and psychology. It also enhances an appreciation of James as a philosopher with a rich background and expertise in psychology, and an appreciation of Nietzsche as an original, important philosopher-psychologist. Furthermore, the parallels I will have drawn between their views may provide materials with which to appreciate and substantiate the construal of a strand in contemporary psychology that is philosophically informed, and which embraces a radical version of empiricism that is rid of the dogmas found in traditional empiricism.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Holly Andersen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Philosophy
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Some remarks on the Frege-Geach embedding problem

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

Expressivist theories of moral discourse deny that moral judgments express truth-apt propositions or that they correspond to moral facts. Rather, moral judgments are taken to express non-truth-apt and action-guiding attitudes of approval or disapproval. As a result, the classical accounts of validity, consistency and logical consequence cannot be directly applied to moral discourse. These logical limitations are exploited by the Frege-Geach embedding problem, which challenges expressivism to account for the fact that moral sentences can be embedded into truth-functional contexts, and that they can figure as premises in valid arguments. This thesis examines the embedding problem in detail, and analyzes two prominent expressivist responses to it: Simon Blackburn's logic of attitudes, and Allan Gibbard's normative logic. It will be argued that neither response presents a complete solution to the embedding problem. Then some alternative proposals will be investigated.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
F
Department: 
Dept. of Philosophy - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

The logic of metaphysical thinking

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This essay offers an analysis of the logical structure of classical metaphysics, with respect to its ontological, epistemological, and ethical assumptions; a consideration of the resilience of this structure, three means by which its critics have countered that resilience, and two errors of excess to which those means have led; and a brief discussion of the philosophical tradition's turn from metaphysics to science and government, and of the conversational tradition at its origin.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
R
Department: 
Dept. of Philosophy - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

The new trick: modularity, automation, and the plasticity of perception

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

Jerry Fodor’s modularity theory holds that psychological processes behind basic perception have a property called informational encapsulation that preserves a consistency of experience across individuals and over time. Encapsulation keeps basic perception fixed, mechanical, insulated, and leaves it largely unalterable by the variability of higher-level cognition, as in acquired beliefs, knowledge, imagination, memory, and individual learning. However, encapsulation conflicts with mounting evidence that perceptual processes are sensitive to higher-level cognition under specific conditions. In this thesis, I will argue that modularity cannot adequately account for certain findings about perceptual experience. I will then propose an alternative theory of ‘holistic information transfer’, ‘cognitive information taps’, and ‘adaptive automations’ that accommodates the empirical literature behind observed cases of perceptual plasticity and accounts for the apparent implasticity that motivates modularity theory. Instead of encapsulated modules, we can conceive of perceptual systems as experientially reinforced cognitive subsystems amidst an informationally integrated cognition.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
K
Department: 
Dept. of Philosophy - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Property possession and identity: An essay in metaphysics

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

The thesis of this paper is that no real distinction obtains between property possession and identity. To justify this thesis, I argue against two views I call Exteriorism and Interiorism, I argue for an account of property possession and identity according to which they are one and the same relation, and I respond to a wide variety of objections to that account.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Philosophy - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Polyadic modal logics with applications in normative reasoning

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

The study of modal logic often starts with that of unary operators applied to sentences, denoting some notions of necessity or possibility. However, we adopt a more general approach in this dissertation. We begin with object languages that possess multi-ary modal operators, and interpret them in relational semantics, neighbourhood semantics and algebraic semantics. Some topics on this subject have been investigated by logicians for some time, and we present a survey of their results. But there remain areas to be explored, and we examine them in order to gain more knowledge of our territory. More specifically, we propose polyadic modal axioms that correspond to seriality, reflexivity, symmetry, transitivity and euclideanness of multi-ary relations, and prove soundness and completeness of normal systems based on these axioms. We also put forward polyadic classical systems determined by classes of neighbourhood frames of finite types such as superset-closed frames, quasi-filtroids and filtroids. Equivalences between categories of modal algebras and categories of relational frames and neighbourhood frames are demonstrated. Furthermore some of the systems studied in this dissertation are shown to be translationally equivalent. While the first part of our study is purely formal, we take a different route in the second part. The multi-ary modal operators, previously interpreted in classes of mathematical structures, are given meanings in ordinary discourse. We read them as modalities in normative thinking, for instance, as the ``ought'' when we say ``you ought to visit your parents, or at least call them if you cannot visit them''. A series of polyadic modal logics, called systems of deontic residuation, are proposed. They represent real-life situations involving, for example, normative conflicts and contrary-to-duty obligations better than traditional deontic logics based on unary modal operators do.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
R
Department: 
Dept. of Philosophy - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Dissertation (Ph.D.)

Thinking what we want : the varieties and nature of unintended thought

Author: 
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Philosophy) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

The theoretical role of novelty in conversation

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Mainstream contemporary linguistics is founded on Saussure's assumption that linguists must abstract away from all variation in conversation from an assumed linguistic norm, since such variation is a product of language-external influences that interfere with the natural homogenizing effect of language. Saussure and his followers are keen to apply this method to language because it forms the basis of nearly all successful physical science. However, the structure of conversation is such that novel variation can affect the basis of further variation, however locally and however minutely. This makes conversation more akin to the subject matter of biology than that of the physical sciences. For this reason, linguistics might profit from setting aside the method of physical science and adopting instead the method of biology, in which variation and difference are assumed to be of theoretical importance.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
R
Department: 
Dept. of Philosophy - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)