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Philosophy of Language

Edited by Berit Brogaard (University of Missouri, St. Louis)
Assistant editor: Jiangtian Li (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. added 2016-05-24
    Andrew Peet (forthcoming). Referential Intentions and Communicative Luck. Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Brian Loar [1976] observed that communicative success with singular terms requires more than correct referent assignment. For communicative success to be achieved the audience must assign the right referent in the right way. Loar, and others since, took this to motivate Fregean accounts of the semantics of singular terms. Ray Buchanan [2014] has recently responded, maintaining that although Loar is correct to claim that communicative success with singular terms requires more than correct referent assignment, this is compatible with direct reference (...)
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  2. added 2016-05-24
    Megan Henricks Stotts (forthcoming). Walking the Tightrope: Unrecognized Conventions and Arbitrariness. Inquiry:1-21.
    Unrecognized conventions—practices that are conventional even though their participants do not recognize them as such—play central roles in shaping our lives. They range from the indispensable (e.g. unrecognized linguistic conventions) to the insidious (e.g. some of our gender conventions). Unrecognized conventions pose a challenge for accounts of conventions because it is difficult to incorporate the distinctive arbitrariness of conventions—the fact that conventions always have alternatives—without accidentally excluding many unrecognized conventions. I develop an Accessibility Requirement that allows us to account for (...)
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  3. added 2016-05-22
    Alberto G. Urquidez (forthcoming). Jorge L. A. Garcia and the Ordinary Use of 'Racist Belief'. Social Theory and Practice.
    This paper argues that philosophical explanations of the ordinary use of 'racist' and 'racism' should not proceed on the presupposition that there is one privileged use of the target term (e.g., 'racist belief,' 'racist intention,' and so forth). Philosophers should instead 'look and see' how the target term is used across contexts of use. I develop this objection in respect to Jorge L. A. Garcia's highly influential account of racism as racial disregard. His volitional theory is rejected on (...)
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  4. added 2016-05-21
    Friederike Moltmann, A Plural Reference Interpretation of Three-Dimensional Syntactic Trees.
    Various syntacticians have argued that coordinate structures involve a three-dimensional syntactic structure. This paper proposes an interpretation of three-dimensional syntactic structures in terms of plural reference and argues that such structures give further support for plural reference, the view that plural terms refer to several entities at once, rather than referring to a single plural individual.
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  5. added 2016-05-20
    Arnold Groh (2016). Culture, Language and Thought: Field Studies on Colour Concepts. Journal of Cognition and Culture 16:83–106.
    In a series of studies the assumption of a lack of colour concepts in indigenous societies, as proposed by Berlin & Kay (1969) and others, was examined. The research took place in the form of minimally invasive field encounters with indigenous subjects in South East Asia and in India, as well as in West, Central, and South Africa. Subjects were screened for colour blindness with Ishihara- and Pflüger-Trident-Test. Standardised colour tablets had to be designated in the indigenous languages; these terms (...)
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  6. added 2016-05-19
    Joshua Spencer (forthcoming). The Problem of Empty Names and Russellian Plenitude. Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-18.
    ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express different propositions, even though neither ‘Ahab’ nor ‘Holmes’ has a referent. This seems to constitute a theoretical puzzle for the Russellian view of propositions. In this paper, I develop a variant of the Russellian view, Plenitudinous Russellianism. I claim that ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express distinct gappy propositions. I discuss key metaphysical and semantic differences between Plenitudinous Russellianism and Traditional Russellianism and respond to objections that (...)
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  7. added 2016-05-18
    James A. Macleod (forthcoming). Belief States in Criminal Law. Oklahoma Law Review 68.
    Belief-state ascription — determining what someone “knew,” “believed,” was “aware of,” etc. — is central to many areas of law. In criminal law, the distinction between knowledge and recklessness, and the use of broad jury instructions concerning other belief states, presupposes a common and stable understanding of what those belief-state terms mean. But a wealth of empirical work at the intersection of philosophy and psychology — falling under the banner of “Experimental Epistemology” — reveals how laypeople’s understandings of mens rea (...)
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  8. added 2016-05-18
    Jan Woleński, Truth-Makers and Convention T. Philosophical Papers Dedicated to Kevin Mulligan.
    This papers discuss the place, if any, of Convention T (the condition of material adequacy of the proper definition of truth formulated by Tarski) in the truth-makers account offered by Kevin Mulligan, Peter Simons and Barry Smith. It is argued that although Tarski’s requirement seems entirely acceptable in the frameworks of truth-makers theories for the first-sight, several doubts arise under a closer inspection. In particular, T-biconditionals have no clear meaning as sentences about truth-makers. Thus, truth-makers theory cannot be considered as (...)
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  9. added 2016-05-17
    G. Aldo Antonelli (forthcoming). Life on the Range. In A. Torza (ed.), Quantifiers, Quantifiers, and Quantifiers. Synthese LIbrary
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  10. added 2016-05-17
    Lajos L. Brons (2016). Putnam and Davidson on Coherence, Truth, and Justification. The Science of Mind 54:51-70.
    Putnam and Davidson both defended coherence theories of justification from the early 1980s onward. There are interesting similarities between these theories, and Putnam’s philosophical development lead to further convergence in the 1990s. The most conspicuous difference between Putnam’s and Davidson’s theories is that they appear to fundamentally disagree on the role and nature of conceptual schemes, but a closer look reveals that they are not as far apart on this issue as usually assumed. The veridicality of perceptual beliefs is a (...)
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  11. added 2016-05-16
    Alberto Voltolini (2016). A Syncretistic Theory of Proper Names. In A. Bianchi, V. Morato & G. Spolaore (eds.), The Importance of Being Ernesto. Reference, Truth and Logical Form. Padova University Press 141-164.
    In this paper, I want to show that, far from being incompatible, a Predicate Theory of proper names and the Direct Reference thesis can be combined in a syncretistic account. There are at least three plausible such accounts – one which compares proper names in their referential use to referentially used proper definite descriptions, another one that compares them in this use to demonstratives, and a third one which, although it is as indexicalist as the second one, conceives proper names (...)
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  12. added 2016-05-16
    Pascal Engel, In What Sense Is Knowledge the Norm of Assertion?
    The knowledge account of assertion is the view that assertion is governed by the norm that the speaker should know what s/he asserts. It is not the purpose of this article to examine all the criticisms nor to try to give a full defence of KAA, but only to defend it against the charge of being normatively incorrect. It has been objected that assertion is governed by other norms than knowledge, or by no norm at all. It seems to me, (...)
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  13. added 2016-05-15
    Jack Reynolds, Leesa Davis & Matthew Sharpe (2016). Philosophy, Violence, Metaphor. Sophia 55 (1):1-4.
  14. added 2016-05-14
    Barry Smith (2008). The Benefits of Realism: A Realist Logic with Applications. In Katherine Munn & Barry Smith (eds.), Applied Ontology: An Introduction. Walter de Gruyter 109-124.
    We propose a formalization of a realist ontology using first order logic with identity and allowing quantification over terms representing both individuals and universals. In addition to identity, the ontology includes also relational predicates such as subtype, instantiation, parthood, location, and inherence. Inspired in part by Davidson’s treatment of events, the ontology includes also various relations linking events to their participants and to the times at which they occur.
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  15. added 2016-05-13
    Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Nominalizations: The Case of Nominalizations of Modal Predicates. In Lisa Matthewson, Cécile Meier, Hotze Rullman & Thomas Ede Zimmermann (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Semantics. Wiley
    Nominalizations of modal predicates have received little, if any, attention in the semantic or philosophical literature. This paper will argue that nominalizations of modal predicates require recognizing a novel ontological category of modal objects and it will outline a new semantics of modals based on modal objects.
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  16. added 2016-05-13
    Michael J. Shaffer (2016). What If Bizet and Verdi Had Been Compatriots? Logos and Episteme 7:55-73.
    Stalnaker argued that conditional excluded middle should be included in the principles that govern counterfactuals on the basis that intuitions support that principle. This is because there are pairs of competing counterfactuals that appear to be equally acceptable. In doing so, he was forced to introduced semantic vagueness into his system of counterfactuals. In this paper it is argued that there is a simpler and purely epistemic explanation of these cases that avoids the need for introducing semantic vagueness into the (...)
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  17. added 2016-05-12
    Savas L. Tsohatzidis (2015). Truth Ascriptions, Falsity Ascriptions, and the Paratactic Analysis of Indirect Discourse. Logique Et Analyse (232):527-534.
    This paper argues that the obvious validity of certain inferences involving indirect speech reports as premises and truth or falsity ascriptions as conclusions is incompatible with Davidson's so-called "paratactic" analysis of the logical form of indirect discourse. Besides disqualifying that analysis, this problem is also claimed to indicate that the analysis is doubly in tension with Davidson's metasemantic views. Specifically, it can be reconciled neither with one of Davidson's key assumptions regarding the adequacy of the kind of (...)
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  18. added 2016-05-11
    Frank Cabrera (forthcoming). Cladistic Parsimony, Historical Linguistics, and Cultural Phylogenetics. Mind and Language.
    Here, I consider the recent application of phylogenetic methods in historical linguistics. After a preliminary survey of one such method, i.e. cladistic parsimony, I respond to two common criticisms of cultural phylogenies: (1) that cultural artifacts cannot be modeled as tree-like because of borrowing across lineages, and (2) that the mechanism of cultural change differs radically from that of biological evolution. I argue that while perhaps (1) remains true for certain cultural artifacts, the nature of language may be such as (...)
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  19. added 2016-05-10
    Lascelles James, Make Me a Sanctuary.
    A philosophy of language that incorporates the manifestation of divinity shed liberally upon the psyche of humanity without violence or chaos as in that which is common to the powers and sovereignties of human beings is critical to the understanding of Holy Writ. The discourse presented here is primarily intended to foster a better general understanding of the divine directive given to Moses by Yahweh to build the wilderness sanctuary in order to objectify his majestic presence among them and draw (...)
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  20. added 2016-05-10
    Alex Silk (forthcoming). Having It Both Ways: Hybrid Theories and Modern Metaethics1. Analysis:anw031.
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  21. added 2016-05-07
    Jerzy Pelc (ed.) (1979). Semiotics in Poland 1984–1969. Springer.
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  22. added 2016-05-05
    J. L. Dowell (forthcoming). Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language. Mind:fzv148.
  23. added 2016-05-04
    Srećko Kovač & Kordula Świętorzecka (2015). Gödel's "Slingshot" Argument and His Onto-Theological System. In Kordula Świętorzecka (ed.), Gödel's Ontological Argument: History, Modifications, and Controversies. Semper 123-162.
  24. added 2016-05-03
    Emar Maier, The Pragmatics of Attraction: Explaining Unquotation in Direct and Free Indirect Discourse.
    The quotational theory of free indirect discourse postulates that pronouns and tenses are systematically unquoted. But where does this unquotation come from? Based on cases of apparent unquotation in direct discourse constructions (including data from Kwaza speakers, Catalan signers, and Dutch children), I suggest a general pragmatic answer: unquotation is essentially a way to resolve a conflict that arises between two opposing constraints. On the one hand, the reporter wants to use indexicals that refer directly to the most salient speech (...)
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  25. added 2016-05-02
    Sanford C. Goldberg (forthcoming). Can Asserting That P Improve the Speaker's Epistemic Position ? Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
    ABSTRACTIn this paper I argue that there are cases in which a speaker S's observation of the fact that her assertion that p is accepted by another person enhances the strength of S's own epistemic position with respect to p, as compared to S's strength of epistemic position with respect to p prior to having made the assertion. I conclude by noting that the sorts of consideration that underwrite this possibility may go some distance towards explaining several aspects of our (...)
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  26. added 2016-05-02
    Joshua D. K. Brown & James W. Garson (forthcoming). A New Semantics for Vagueness. Erkenntnis:1-21.
    Intuitively, vagueness involves some sort of indeterminacy: if Plato is a borderline case of baldness, then there is no fact of the matter about whether or not he’s bald—he’s neither bald nor not bald. The leading formal treatments of such indeterminacy—three valued logic, supervaluationism, etc.—either fail to validate the classical theorems, or require that various classically valid inference rules be restricted. Here we show how a fully classical, yet indeterminist account of vagueness can be given within natural semantics, an alternative (...)
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  27. added 2016-05-02
    Bolesław Czarnecki, Knowledge-How (Reference Entry). Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
    The entry is intended as an advanced introduction to the topic of knowledge-how. It starts with a list of overviews, monographs and collections, followed by selected 20th century discussions. The last two sections contain sources pertaining to Ryle's own work on the topic as well as work by other influential thinkers, and themes that are sometimes associated with knowledge-how. The remaining seven sections survey the contemporary literature on knowledge-how from three perspectives: (i) generic desiderata for accounts of knowledge-how, (ii) specific (...)
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  28. added 2016-05-02
    John Turri (2016). The Point of Assertion is to Transmit Knowledge. Analysis 76 (2):130-136.
    Recent work in philosophy and cognitive science shows that knowledge is the norm of our social practice of assertion, in the sense that an assertion should express knowledge. But why should an assertion express knowledge? I hypothesize that an assertion should express knowledge because the point of assertion is to transmit knowledge. I present evidence supporting this hypothesis.
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  29. added 2016-04-29
    Fabrizio Cariani (forthcoming). Deontic Modals and Probability: One Theory to Rule Them All? In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press
    This paper motivates and develops a novel semantic framework for deontic modals. The framework is designed to shed light on two things: the relationship between deontic modals and substantive theories of practical rationality and the interaction of deontic modals with conditionals, epistemic modals and probability operators. I argue that, in order to model inferential connections between deontic modals and probability operators, we need more structure than is provided by classical intensional theories. In particular, we need probabilistic structure that interacts directly (...)
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  30. added 2016-04-29
    Fabrizio Cariani (forthcoming). Choice Points for a Modal Theory of Disjunction. Topoi:1-11.
    This paper investigates the prospects for a semantic theory that treats disjunction as a modal operator. Potential motivation for such a theory comes from the way in which modals embed within disjunctions. After reviewing some of the relevant data, I go on to distinguish a variety of modal theories of disjunction. I analyze these theories by considering pairs of conflicting desiderata, highlighting some of the tradeoffs they must face.
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  31. added 2016-04-29
    Mike Sutton, Ten Main Points in Wittgenstein - A Teaching Paper.
    Language is what separates us from other animals, and is why we are able to solve complex logical problems, and, as far as we can tell, experience consciousness. Wittgenstein is the philosopher of language par excellence. He asks: what is the role of language in philosophy, and in the wider sphere of thinking in everyday life? This teaching paper gives a summary of his ideas.
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  32. added 2016-04-28
    Marie Guillot (forthcoming). Thinking of Oneself as the Thinker: The Concept of Self and the Phenomenology of Intellection. Philosophical Explorations.
    The indexical word “I” has traditionally been assumed to be an overt analogue to the concept of self, and the best model for understanding it. This approach, I argue, overlooks the essential role of cognitive phenomenology in the mastery of the concept of self. I suggest that a better model is to be found in a different kind of representation: phenomenal concepts or more generally phenomenally grounded concepts. I start with what I take to be the defining feature of the (...)
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  33. added 2016-04-27
    Corine Besson (2016). Trenton Merricks Propositions. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2016.
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  34. added 2016-04-27
    Machiel Keestra (2014). Conflict & Compassie: een hedendaagse blik op Wagner en een wagneriaanse blik op onszelf. In Rutger Helmers & Philip Westbroek (eds.), Conflict en compassie. 200 jaar Richard Wagner. Nationale Opera & Ballet 157-166.
    (text in Dutch) Mediated by the so-called Dream-organ ('Traumorgan') which opera composer Richard Wagner mentions in his writings, the author engages in a fictitious dialogue with Wagner. Their dialogue focuses on a few topics related to the conference theme 'Conflict and compassion' that were of concern to Wagner in his days and which have undergone some serious changes since his death. The author discusses with Wagner the 'death of tragedy', sexuality and desire after the sexual revolution, the attractivity of musical (...)
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  35. added 2016-04-27
    Christian Helmut Wenzel (2014). Perry Link: An Anatomy of Chinese; Rhythm, Metaphor. Harvard University Press 2013. [REVIEW] Etudes Chinoises 33 (1):174-181.
  36. added 2016-04-26
    Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Partial Content and Expressions of Part and Whole. Discussion of Stephen Yablo: Aboutness. Philosophical Studies.
    In 'Aboutness' (MIT Press 2014), Yablo argues for the notion of partial content and partial truth. This paper provides a range of linguistic support for those notions and argues that they or their extensions are involved in a much greater range of entities than acknowledged by Yablo.
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  37. added 2016-04-26
    Elizabeth Irvine (2016). Method and Evidence: Gesture and Iconicity in the Evolution of Language. Mind and Language 31 (2):221-247.
    The aim of this article is to mount a challenge to gesture-first hypotheses about the evolution of language by identifying constraints on the emergence of symbol use. Current debates focus on a range of pre-conditions for the emergence of language, including co-operation and related mentalising capacities, imitation and tool use, episodic memory, and vocal physiology, but little specifically on the ability to learn and understand symbols. It is argued here that such a focus raises new questions about the plausibility of (...)
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  38. added 2016-04-26
    Christoph Baumberger (2014). Gebaute Zeichen. Zu den Bedeutungsweisen von Bauwerken. In Jörg H. Gleiter (ed.), Symptom Design. Vom Zeigen und Sich-Zeigen der Dinge. Transkript 93-113.
    Architekturkritiker und -historiker verwenden eine Vielzahl von Ausdrücken, um anzugeben, was Bauwerke bedeuten. Es ist beispielsweise die Rede davon, dass sie etwas ausdrücken, repräsentieren, zitieren, manifestieren, darstellen oder aussagen; man kann von Gebäuden lesen, die mehrdeutig sind, als Metaphern fungieren oder auf etwas anspielen. In diesem Aufsatz frage ich, wie Bauwerke bedeuten können, um die Grundzüge einer Theorie der Bedeutungsweisen von Bauwerken und ihren Teilen vorzustellen, die als Rahmen für Einzelanalysen und historische Untersuchungen verwendet werden kann. Anstatt die meist unklaren (...)
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  39. added 2016-04-24
    Michael Joseph Winkler (2010). Poetry of Zebras (Adapted From "Likeness & Language"). RAMPIKE Magazine 19 (#1):4-7.
  40. added 2016-04-22
    Neri Marsili (forthcoming). Lying and Certainty. In Jörg Meibauer (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lying. Oxford University Press
  41. added 2016-04-22
    Louise McNally & Henriëtte Swart (2015). Reference to and Via Properties: The View From Dutch. Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (4):315-362.
    Many languages offer a surprisingly complex range of options for referring to entities using expressions whose main descriptive content is contributed by an adjective, such as Dutch de blinde ‘the blind,’ het besprokene, ‘the discussed,’ or het ongewone van het niet roken ‘the strange about not smoking.’ In this paper, we present a case study of the syntax and compositional semantics of three such constructions in Dutch, one of which we argue has not previously been identified in the literature. The (...)
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  42. added 2016-04-21
    Isidora Stojanovic (forthcoming). Relativism. In David Plunkett & Tristram McPherson (eds.), The Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge
    Although relativism may be said to be one of the oldest doctrines in philosophy, dating back to the teachings of Protagoras in the 5th century B.C., when it comes to contemporary philosophy, there is no consensus on what makes a view qualify as "relativist". The problem is particularly accute in metaethics, since most of the views that up to a decade ago were described as “relativist” would be more accurately described as "contextualist" or even “expressivist” in light of the distinctions (...)
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  43. added 2016-04-21
    Alan Schwerin (1999). Some Remarks on Russell's Account of Vagueness. Contemporary Philosophy 3: 52 - 57.
    According to Russell, the notation in Principia Mathematica has been designed to avoid the vagueness endemic to our natural language. But what does Russell think vagueness is? My argument is an attempt to show that his views on vagueness evolved and that the final conception he adopts is not coherent. Three phases of his conception of vagueness are identified, the most significant being the view that he articulates on vagueness in his 1923 address to the Jowett Society. My central thesis (...)
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  44. added 2016-04-20
    Maciej Sendłak (2016). Between the Actual and the Trivial World. Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 23 (2):162-176.
    The subject of this paper is the notion of similarity between the actual and impossible worlds. Many believe that this notion is governed by two rules. Ac-cording to the first rule, every non-trivial world is more similar to the actual world than the trivial world is. The second rule states that every possible world is more similar to the actual world than any impossible world is. The aim of this paper is to challenge both of these rules. (...)
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  45. added 2016-04-20
    Luca Forgione (2012). Self-Consciousness and Indexicality. The Ubiquity of the Self. Paradigmi. Rivista di Critica Filosofica 2.
    Henrich (1966) has contributed to the revival of philosophical debates on subjectivity and its irreducibility, starting from Fichte’s notion of "insight", and focusing his attention on the reflective model of self-consciousness. Subsequent studies have followed the same line from different perspectives, emphasizing the basic role of pre-reflective self-consciousness as the condition of possibility of conscious experience. The so-called ubiquity thesis has been developed through analysis of indexical thinking.
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  46. added 2016-04-19
    Joseph Salerno (forthcoming). Epistemic Modals and Modus Tollens. Philosophical Studies:1-18.
    Epistemic modals in consequent place of indicative conditionals give rise to apparent counterexamples to Modus Tollens. Familiar assumptions behind familiar truth conditional theories of embedded modality facilitate a prima facie explanation—viz., that the target cases harbor epistemic modal equivocations. However, this sort of explanation goes too far. It fosters other predictions of equivocation in places where in fact there are none. It is argued that the solution is to drop the credo that modal claims are inherently relational in favor of (...)
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  47. added 2016-04-19
    Christian Nimtz (forthcoming). Paradigm Terms: The Necessity of Kind Term Identifications Generalized. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
    Standard Kripke-Putnam semantics is widely taken to entail that theoretical identifications like ‘Brontosauruses are Apatosauruses’ or ‘Gold is 79Au’ are necessary, if true. I offer a new diagnosis as to why this modal consequence ensues. Central to my diagnosis is the concept of a paradigm term. I argue that modal and epistemic peculiarities that are commonly considered as distinctive of natural kind expressions are in fact traits that are shared by paradigm terms in general. Philosophical semantics should broaden its focus (...)
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  48. added 2016-04-19
    Barbara Vetter (forthcoming). Counterpossibles for Dispositionalists. Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    Dispositionalists try to provide an account of modality—possibility, necessity, and the counterfactual conditional—in terms of dispositions. But there may be a tension between dispositionalist accounts of possibility on the one hand, and of counterfactuals on the other. Dispositionalists about possibility must hold that there are no impossible dispositions, i.e., dispositions with metaphysically impossible stimulus and/or manifestation conditions; dispositionalist accounts of counterfactuals, if they allow for non-vacuous counterpossibles, require that there are such impossible dispositions. I argue, first, that there are in (...)
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  49. added 2016-04-19
    Luca Forgione (2012). Comunicazione, Mente E Scienza Cognitiva: Quadro di Problemi. In Stefano Gensini & Luca Forgione (eds.), Filosofie della comunicazione Tra semiotica, linguistica e scienze sociali. Carocci
    Recentemente Cellucci (2008) ha argomentato che la riflessione filosofica, per essere feconda, deve essere tra le altre cose un’indagine sul mondo che mira in primo luogo alla conoscenza. In questa indagine la filosofia è contigua alla scienza, entrambe non devono avere alcuna restrizione nei loro campi di applicazione, entrambe utilizzano sostanzialmente gli stessi metodi. Inoltre, e in ciò si misurerebbe il maggior valore della filosofia, questa batte vie ancora inesplorate dando origine, eventualmente, a nuove scienze.La scienza cognitiva, lo sfondo teorico (...)
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  50. added 2016-04-18
    Shawn Standefer (2016). Contraction and Revision. Australasian Journal of Logic 13 (3):58-77.
    An important question for proponents of non-contractive approaches to paradox is why contraction fails. Zardini offers an answer, namely that paradoxical sentences exhibit a kind of instability. I elaborate this idea using revision theory, and I argue that while instability does motivate failures of contraction, it equally motivates failure of many principles that non-contractive theorists want to maintain.
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