Newton: absolute conception of space - space has an ‘absolutist' existence over and above the spatial relations between objects. Space existed before material did.

  • absolute motion - the motion of an object with respect to absolute space itself.

Leibniz: relationist conception of space - space consists simply of the totality of spatial relations between material objects (e.g. above, below, to the left of... etc.). Space didn't exist before the existence of material.

  • concept of absolute space is incoherent. Absolute motion shouldn't be explained as motion with respect to absolute space.
  • principle of the identity of indiscernibles (PII) - if two objects are indiscernible (niet te onderscheiden), they they are identical, i.e. they are really one and the same object. Concept of absolute space conflicts with this principle.

Cladists - biological classifications should try to reflect the evolutionary relationships between species, so knowledge of evolutionary history is indispensable for doing good taxonomy.

Pheneticists - classification can and should be totally independent of evolutionary considerations.

Evolutionary taxonomists - combine elements of both views.

Biological classification is hierarchical.

Problems of biological classification: how to sort animals into species (species problem), and how to arrange a group of species into higher taxa (= taxonomic group of any rank, e.g. species, family etc.), which presumes a solution to the first problem.

Should taxonomic groupings be based on similarity? (pheneticists)

Should taxonomic groupings be based on phylogenetic relations? (evolutionary relationships between species)

Should taxonomic groupings be based on monophyletic relations? (group that contains an ancestral (voorouderlijk) species and all of its descendants (nakomelingen), but no-one else - cladistic idea.

Modularity of mind hypothesis: the human mind contains a number of specialized subsystems or modules, each of which is designed for performing a very limited range of tasks and cannot do anything else.

Jerry Fodor: - author of The Modularity of Mind.

  • he argued that mental modules have a number of distinguishing features, of which the following three are the most important: they are domain specific, their operation is mandatory, and they are informationally encapsulated. Non-modular cognitive systems possess none of these features. The human mind is partly, though not wholly, modular - we solve some cognitive tasks using specialized modules, others using our ‘general intelligence'.

Information encapsulation - a store of information which is inaccessible to the cognitive mechanisms you employ (e.g. toxic snake that becomes non-toxic, still fear).

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