The by now famous exclusion problem for mental causation admits only one possible solution, as far as I can see, namely: that mental and physical properties are linked by a vertical relation. In this paper, starting from what I take to be sensible premises about properties, I will be visiting some general relations between them, in order to see whether, first, it is true that some vertical relationship, other than identity, makes different sorts of causation compatible and second, whether physical (...) and mental properties can be pairs of such relationship. (shrink)
El presente artículo busca establecer paralelos entre las propuestas de Edmund Husserl y de San Agustín en torno a la constitución del tiempo por parte de la conciencia. En ese marco, proponemos que ambos autores basan la constitución del tiempo en estructuras trinitarias de la conciencia. Dichas estructuras, a pesar de sus diferencias, coinciden en constar de tres elementos: uno retencional, uno protencional y uno impresional. Además, coinciden ambas propuestas en que lo fundamental de la estructura trinitaria de la (...) conciencia es la relación entre los términos mencionados. Esto último conlleva un cierto modelo de autoconciencia que no supone una identidad simple de la conciencia consigo misma, sino una identidad compleja y “desplazada” que sirve de fundamento último al tiempo y su constitución. (shrink)
Recorrer las etapas de formación del sujeto moderno occidental y mostrar que no siempre existió tal como lo conocemos es el objeto de este trabajo. Desde los filósofos presocráticos y Sócrates, Platón y San Agustín, la paulatina configuración de un espacio interior favorece la formación de un yo autónomo, vinculado ontológicamente en su inicio. Su posterior emancipación y el advenimiento de una reflexividad radical durante la Modernidad van ligados a la filosofía de Descartes, Locke y Kant.
The problem of absolute generality has attracted much attention in recent philosophy. Agustin Rayo and Gabriel Uzquiano have assembled a distinguished team of contributors to write new essays on the topic. They investigate the question of whether it is possible to attain absolute generality in thought and language and the ramifications of this question in the philosophy of logic and mathematics.
As Vincent Hendricks remarks early on in this book, the formal and mainstream traditions of epistemic theorising have mostly evolved independently of each other. This initial impression is confirmed by a comparison of the main problems and methods practitioners in each tradition are concerned with. Mainstream epistemol- ogy engages in a dialectical game of proposing and challenging definitions of knowledge. Formal epistemologists proceed differently, as they design a wide variety of axiomatic and model-theoretic methods whose consequences they investigate independently of (...) the need of giving counterexample-free definitions of knowledge. Or at least, this is a common way to explain where both disciplines stand in the larger landscape of epistemic theorising, and why interactions between them remain scarce. The main ambition of this book is to show that the distinction between formal and mainstream approaches should not preclude a fruitful interaction, and that it only takes the right outlook on their respective practices to disclose plenty of room for interaction. (shrink)
Vincent Brümmer has recently, by taking his starting-point in the writings of Wittgenstein, defended the idea that the debate about the truth or falsehood of the claim that God exists has no future. I suggest that the arguments Brümmer develops to support this claim fail. This is so because he does not show why any attempt to prove or disprove the truth or falsehood of the belief in the existence of God is circular or how the purported non-provability of the (...) belief that God exists entails that the theism-atheism debate of the truth or falsehood of this belief has no future. In addition, Brümmer does not acknowledge that there are many different religious language-games, that within the theistic language-games the claim that God exists is used in many different ways and that, as a result, it is not true that, within the religious language-game, the belief in the existence of God cannot be doubted, denied, or treated as a hypothesis. (shrink)
St. Vincent de Paul (1581–1660) is well known for his contribution to charitable and social works. Even though he left no detailed examination of his business practices, by examining his life and his commitment to the poor, it is possible to frame a Vincentian theology of business ethics. Such an understanding would include educating students in the social teaching of the Catholic Church, a preferential option for the poor, good organization, sound business theory, economizing, and a foundation in the liberal (...) arts. (shrink)
Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent and Jonathan Simon: Chemistry, the impure science Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9132-y Authors George B. Kauffman, Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034, USA Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238.
From the point of view of a saint's life, the article addresses the question of integrating holiness and business dealings. By analyzing the heavy involvement of Vincent de Paul, a seventeenth century French saint, in the world of finance and politics as he ministered to the poor of his day, the study attempts to show that it is both possible and beneficial to join together the world of business with that of a religiously inspired ethic. The spiritually grounded manner (...) in which Vincent de Paul approached his institutional tasks and the ways in which those endeavors gave body to his spirituality present an unitary, non-dualistic instance of how business and morality can interact. (shrink)
In this volume, a distinguished collection of historians and political scientists reflect on France's evolution as a political community from the nineteenth century to the present. France is often seen as a 'Jacobin' polity, committed to the principles of national unity and state centralization, a robust conception of patriotism, the promotion of a uniform and homogenous culture on its society, and the defence of the general interest against sectional concerns. The overall aims of the book are threefold: firstly to map (...) out the key features of this 'Jacobin' model as it emerged in nineteenth century France; secondly to explore the institutional, political, and social realities which lay behind its rhetoric, and often subverted its grand objectives; and thirdly to offer an overview of the transformation of this French Jacobinism, as it has sought to adapt itself to such significant changes as the impact of successive wars, the establishment of republican government, the emergence of the welfare state, the drive towards European integration, and development of regionalism and multiculturalism. -/- Among the principal themes of the book are: the place of war in shaping republican political culture, the role of elites, the administrative structure of the French state, the definition of the principles of good citizenship, and the question of territoriality. French specialists from Britain, Europe, and United States come together to offer an original and timely evaluation of the 'French model' of state building, associational activity, and civic integration. Shedding new light on the specificities of modern French political culture, this collection of essays will appeal to historians and political scientists interested in the transformation of French public institutions and society, as well as comparativists seeking a deeper understanding of the French political system. -/- This volume is a tribute to the scholarship of the late Vincent Wright, former Official Fellow, Nuffield College, Univeristy of Oxford. (shrink)
Abstract: Introspection reveals that one is frequently conscious of some form of inner speech, which may appear either in a condensed or expanded form. It has been claimed that this speech reflects the way in which language is involved in conscious thought, fulfilling a number of cognitive functions. We criticize three theories that address this issue: Bermúdez’s view of language as a generator of second-order thoughts, Prinz’s development of Jackendoff’s intermediate-level theory of consciousness, and Carruthers’s theory of inner speech as (...) a rehearsal of action-schemata. We contend they have problems to account for those cases in which inner speech is fragmentary, and for the difference with those instances in which it appears as more sentence-like. In addition, we present verbal overshadowing as a phenomenon that neither of them can easily explain. Finally, we propose an account in which inner speech is fundamentally silent outer speech and argue that it is more explanatory than the alternatives. (shrink)
According to an increasing number of authors, the best, if not the only, argument in favour of physicalism is the so-called 'overdetermination argument'. This argument, if sound, establishes that all the entities that enter into causal interactions with the physical world are physical. One key premise in the overdetermination argument is the principle of the causal closure of the physical world, said to be supported by contemporary physics. In this paper, I examine various ways in which physics may support the (...) principle, either as a methodological guide or as depending on some other laws and principles of physics. (shrink)
We very often discover ourselves engaged in inner speech. It seems that this kind of silent, private, speech fulfils some role in our cognition, most probably related to conscious thinking. Yet, the study of inner speech has been neglected by philosophy and psychology alike for many years. However, things seem to have changed in the last two decades. Here we review some of the most influential accounts about the phenomenology and the functions of inner speech, as well as the methodological (...) problems that affect its study. (shrink)
Physicalism is the claim that that there is nothing in the world but the physical. Philosophers who defend physicalism have to confront a well-known dilemma, known as Hempel’s dilemma, concerning the definition of ‘the physical’: if ‘the physical’ is whatever current physics says there is, then physicalism is most probably false; but if ‘the physical’ is whatever the true theory of physics would say that there is, we have that physicalism is vacuous and runs the risk of becoming trivial. This (...) article has two parts. The first, negative, part is devoted to developing a criticism of the so-called via negativa response to Hempel’s dilemma. In the second, more substantial, part, I propose to take the first horn of Hempel’s dilemma. However, I argue for a broad construal of ‘current physics’ and characterize ‘the physical’ accordingly. The virtues of the broad characterization of ‘the physical’ are: first, it makes physicalism less likely to be false; and second, it ties our understanding of ‘the physical’ to the reasons we have for believing in physicalism. That is, it fulfills the desideratum of construing our theses according to the reasons we have to believe in them. (shrink)
I propose a way of thinking aboout content, and a related way of thinking about ontological commitment. (This is part of a series of four closely related papers. The other three are ‘On Specifying Truth-Conditions’, ‘An Actualist’s Guide to Quantifying In’ and ‘An Account of Possibility’.).
Charles Travis has been forcefully arguing that meaning does not determine truth-conditions for more than two decades now. To this end, he has devised ingenious examples whereby different utterances of the same prima facie non-ambiguous and non-indexical expression type have different truth-conditions depending on the occasion on which they are delivered. However, Travis does not argue that meaning varies with circumstances; only that truth-conditions do. He assumes that meaning is a stable feature of both words and sentences. After surveying some (...) of the explanations that semanticists and pragmaticians have produced in order to account for Travis cases, I propose a view which differs substantially from all of them. I argue that the variability in the truth-conditions that an utterance type can have is due to meaning facts alone. To support my argument, I suggest that we think about the meanings of words (in particular, the meanings of nouns) as rich conceptual structures; so rich that the way in which a property concept applies to an object concept is not determined. (shrink)
In Origins of Objectivity, Burge presents three arguments against what he calls ‘deflationism’: the project of explaining the representational function in terms of the notion of biological function. I evaluate these arguments and argue that they are not convincing.
In this article I reply to comments made by Agustin Vicente and Giridhari Lal Pandit on Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom (McHenry 2009 ). I criticize analytic philosophy, go on to expound the argument for the need for a revolution in academic inquiry so that the basic aim becomes wisdom and not just knowledge, defend aim-oriented empiricism, outline my solution to the human world/physical universe problem, and defend the thesis that free will is compatible with physicalism.
This article deals with the relationship between language and thought, focusing on the question of whether language can be a vehicle of thought, as, for example, Peter Carruthers has claimed. We develop and examine a powerful argument—the "argument from explicitness"—against this cognitive role of language. The premises of the argument are just two: (1) the vehicle of thought has to be explicit, and (2) natural languages are not explicit. We explain what these simple premises mean and why we should believe (...) they are true. Finally, we argue that even though the argument from explicitness shows that natural language cannot be a vehicle of thought, there is a cognitive function for language. (shrink)
Years ago, when I was young and reckless, I believed that there was such a thing as an allinclusive domain.1 Now I have come to see the error of my ways. The source of my mistake was a view that might be labeled ‘Tractarianism’. Tractarians believe that language is subject to a metaphysical constraint. In order for an atomic sentence to be true, there needs to be a certain kind of correspondence between the semantic structure of the sentence and the (...) ‘metaphysical structure of reality’. More specifically, Tractarianism is the conjunction of the following three claims. (shrink)
The seminar is intended as an introduction to vagueness. We'll survey some prominent accounts of vagueness, so that people get a sense of what `accounting for vagueness' is all about, and why it's hard.
In this paper I discuss a famous argument for physicalism – which some authors indeed regard as the only argument for it – the overdetermination argument. In fact it is an argument that does not establish that all the entities in the world are physical, but that all those events that enter into causal transactions with the physical world are physical. As mental events seem to cause changes in the physical world, the mind is one of those things that fall (...) within the scope of the argument. Here I analyze one response to the overdetermination argument that has acquired some popularity lately, and which consists in saying that what mental events cause are not physical effects. I try to show that recent attempts to develop this response are not successful, but that there may be a coherent way of doing so. I also try to show that there seems to be a philosophical niche in which this way might fit. (shrink)
This essay is a study of ontological commitment, focused on the special case of arithmetical discourse. It tries to get clear about what would be involved in a defense of the claim that arithmetical assertions are ontologically innocent and about why ontological innocence matters. The essay proceeds by questioning traditional assumptions about the connection between the objects that are used to specify the truth-conditions of a sentence, on the one hand, and the objects whose existence is required in order for (...) the truth-conditions thereby specified to be satisfied, on the other. This allows one to set forth an assignment of truth-conditions to arithmetical sentences whereby nothing is required of the world in order for the truth-conditions of a truth of pure arithmetic to be satisfied. The essay then argues that such an assignment can be used to account for the a priori knowability of certain arithmetical truths. (shrink)
According to the thesis of semantic underdetermination, most sentences of a natural language lack a definite semantic interpretation. This thesis supports an argument against the use of natural language as an instrument of thought, based on the premise that cognition requires a semantically precise and compositional instrument. In this paper we examine several ways to construe this argument, as well as possible ways out for the cognitive view of natural language in the introspectivist version defended by Carruthers. Finally, we sketch (...) a view of the role of language in thought as a specialized tool, showing how it avoids the consequences of semantic underdetermination. (shrink)
There is little doubt that a second-order axiomatization of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory plus the axiom of choice (ZFC) is desirable. One advantage of such an axiomatization is that it permits us to express the principles underlying the first-order schemata of separation and replacement. Another is its almost-categoricity: M is a model of second-order ZFC if and only if it is isomorphic to a model of the form Vκ, ∈ ∩ (Vκ × Vκ) , for κ a strongly inaccessible ordinal.
I will argue for localism about credal assignments: the view that credal assignments are well-defined only relative to suitably constrained sets of possibilities. I will motivate the position by suggesting that it is the best way of addressing a puzzle devised by Roger White.
The paper argues for a decompositionalist account of lexical concepts. In particular, it presents and argues for a cluster decompositionalism, a view that claims that the complexes a token of a word corresponds to on a given occasion are typically built out of a determinate set of basic concepts, most of which are present on most other occasions of use of the word. The first part of the paper discusses some explanatory virtues of decompositionalism in general. The second singles out (...) cluster decompositionalism as the best explanation of the variability of meaning. The third part is devoted to responding to some problems. (shrink)
The by now famous exclusion problem for mental causation admits only one possible solution, as far as I can see, namely: that mental and physical properties are linked by a vertical relation. In this paper, starting from what I take to be sensible premises about properties, I will be visiting some general relations between them, in order to see whether, first, it is true that some vertical relation, other than identity, makes different sorts of causation compatible and second, whether physical (...) and mental properties can be pairs of such relation. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Bird (in: Groff (ed.) Revitalizing causality: Realism about causality in philosophy and social science, 2007 ) has argued that some higher-order properties—which he calls “evolved emergent properties”—can be considered causally efficacious in spite of exclusion arguments. I have previously argued in favour of a similar position. The basic argument is that selection processes do not take physical categorical properties into account. Rather, selection mechanisms are only tuned to what such properties can do, i.e., to their causal (...) powers. This picture seems ultimately untenable in the light of further exclusion problems; but at the same time, it meets our explanatory demands. My purpose is therefore to show that there is a real antinomy with regard to evolved emergent properties. I develop a physicalist exclusion argument and then I go on to consider an argument that seems to establish that evolved emergent properties are causally efficacious, and propose a compatibilist solution. Finally, I very briefly consider what the proposed model may imply for the issue of mental causation. (shrink)
I argue for an account of vagueness according to which the root of vagueness lies not in the type of semantic-value that is best associated with an expression, but in the type of linguistic practice that renders the expression meaningful. I suggest, in particular, that conventions about how to use sentences involving attributions of vague predicates to borderline cases prevail to a lesser degree than conventions about how to use sentences involving attributions of vague predicates to clear cases.
I will focus on the topic announced in the subtitle of Professor Descombes’ profound and provocative work: The Mind’s Provisions: A Critique of Cognitivism. In the end, I will agree with practically everything in his incisive ‘critique’ except its conclusion: that cognitivism is incoherent. What he shows instead, I think, is that cognitivism, as an account of human thought and understanding, is deeply false. The difference matters because incoherence is harder to prove and, prima facie, less plausible. But, if the (...) same argument, slightly recast, shows falsehood with even more conviction, then the essential point is saved after all. So, following a quick characterization of cognitivism, I will attempt to distill what I take to be the main grounds and themes of Descombes’ critique, explain why I don’t think they expose an incoherence, and then show how they might be recast in a way that is devastating all the same. (shrink)
Sommario. Prima che di definire un modello della coscienza e comprendere che cosa sia un fenomeno soggettivo, è necessario sviluppare una teoria della prospettiva in prima persona. Questa teoria deve essere concettualmente con- vincente, empiricamente plausibile e, soprattutto, aperta a nuovi sviluppi. Il quadro di riferimento concettuale deve essere coerente con il progresso scienti- fico. Le sue ipotesi fondamentali devono essere adattabili in modo da permette- re a nuovi risultati sperimentali di essere inseriti nel modello teorico. Questo ar- ticolo (...) tenta di definire le linee generali di una teoria in grado di offrire un’analisi rappresentazionale della prospettiva in prima persona. Tre proprietà fenomeniche sono centrali a quest’analisi: “egoicità” (la proprietà fenomenica; il senso di possesso di una sensazione), “selfhood” (l’esperienza cosciente di essere qualcuno) e la prospetticità (una caratteristica strutturale: il fatto che lo spazio fenomenico appaia organizzato attorno a un centro, una prospettiva su- per-modale). Questo articolo analizza queste proprietà da un punto di vista sia rappresentazionale che funzionale. Introdurrò nuovi vincoli concettuali per le rappresentazioni fenomeniche e due entità teoriche necessarie per capire che cosa sia la prospettiva in prima persona: “il modello fenomenico del sé” (PSM: phenomenal self model) e il “modello fenomenico della relazione intenzionale” (PMIR: phenomenal model of intentional relation). Un modello fenomenico del sé è una struttura rappresentazionale plurimodale, il cui contenuto costituisce il contenuto dell’esperienza del sé cosciente. Ha due caratteristiche importanti. Primo, è l’unica struttura rappresentazionale ancorata nel cervello da un colle- gamento funzionale permanente. Secondo, parti consistenti del PSM sono fe- nomenicamente trasparenti: non posso essere identificate come rappresentazioni all’interno del sistema. Sono intrappolate in quello che è stato definito un “in- genuo realismo auto-ingannevole”.. (shrink)
The problem this paper deals with is the problem of how dispositional properties can have causal relevance. In particular, the paper is focused on the question of how dispositions can have causal relevance given that the categorial bases that realise them seem to be sufficient to bring about the effects that dispositions explain. I show first that this problem of exclusion has no general solution. Then, I discuss some particular cases in which dispositions are causally relevant, despite of this exclusion (...) problem. My claim is that dispositions have causal relevance in selection or recruitment processes, when they are converted into teleological functions. (shrink)
This work will focus on some aspects of descriptive names. The New Theory of Reference, in line with Kripke, takes descriptive names to be proper names. I will argue in this paper that descriptive names and certain theory in reference to them, even when it disagrees with the New Theory of Reference, can shed light on our understanding of (some) non-existence statements. I define the concept of descriptive name for hypothesised object (DNHO). My thesis being that DNHOs are, as I (...) will specify, descriptions: a proposition expressed by the utterance ‘n is F’, where ‘n’ is a DNHO, is not singular at all; it is a descriptive proposition. To sum up, concerning proper names, the truth lies closer to the New Theory of Reference, but descriptivism is not altogether false. As for DNHOs descriptivism is, in some cases, the right fit. (shrink)
I develop an account of the sorts of considerations that should go into determining where the limits of possibility lie. (This is part of a series of four closely related papers. The other three are ‘On Specifying Truth-Conditions’, ‘Ontological Commitment’ and ‘An Actualist’s Guide to Quantifying-In’.).
I offer solutions to a puzzle about intentional identity and a related puzzle about empty names. (This is part of a trilogy of papers on content; the other two are’Ontological Commitment’ and ‘On Specifying Content’.).
The aim of this essay is to show that the subject-matter of ontology is richer than one might have thought. Our route will be indirect. We will argue that there are circumstances under which standard ﬁrst-order regimentation is unacceptable, and that more appropriate varieties of regimentation lead to unexpected kinds of ontological commitment.
I have two main objectives. The first is to get a better understanding of what is at issue between friends and foes of higher-order quantification, and of what it would mean to extend a Boolos-style treatment of second-order quantification to third- and higherorder quantification. The second objective is to argue that in the presence of absolutely general quantification, proper semantic theorizing is essentially unstable: it is impossible to provide a suitably general semantics for a given language in a language of (...) the same logical type. I claim that this leads to a trilemma: one must choose between giving up absolutely general quantification, settling for the view that adequate semantic theorizing about certain languages is essentially beyond our reach, and countenancing an open-ended hierarchy of languages of ever ascending logical type. I conclude by suggesting that the hierarchy may be the least unattractive of the options on the table. (shrink)
Here is an account of logical consequence inspired by Bolzano and Tarski. Logical validity is a property of arguments. An argument is a pair of a set of interpreted sentences (the premises) and an interpreted sentence (the conclusion). Whether an argument is logically valid depends only on its logical form. The logical form of an argument is fixed by the syntax of its constituent sentences, the meanings of their logical constituents and the syntactic differences between their non-logical constituents, treated as (...) variables. A constituent of a sentence is logical just if it is formal in meaning, in the sense roughly that its application is invariant under permutations of individuals.1 Thus ‘=’ is a logical constant because no permutation maps two individuals to one or one to two; ‘∈’ is not a logical constant because some permutations interchange the null set and its singleton. Truth functions, the usual quantifiers and bound variables also count as logical constants. An argument is logically valid if and only if the conclusion is true under every assignment of semantic values to variables (including all non-logical expressions) under which all its premises are true. A sentence is logically true if and only if the argument with no premises of which it is the conclusion is logically valid, that is, if and only if the sentence is true under every assignment of semantic values to variables. An interpretation assigns values to all variables. (shrink)
Whether or not we achieve absolute generality in philosophical inquiry, most philosophers would agree that ordinary inquiry is rarely, if ever, absolutely general. Even if the quantiﬁers involved in an ordinary assertion are not explicitly restricted, we generally take the assertion’s domain of discourse to be implicitly restricted by context.1 Suppose someone asserts (2) while waiting for a plane to take oﬀ.
This paper is a reaction to the book “Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom”, whose central concern is the philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell. I distinguish and discuss three concerns in Maxwell’s philosophy. The first is his critique of standard empiricism (SE) in the philosophy of science, the second his defense of aim-oriented rationality (AOR), and the third his philosophy of mind. I point at some problematic aspects of Maxwell’s rebuttal of SE and of his philosophy of mind and argue in (...) favor of AOR. (shrink)
Students in this class are expected to complete work on their own. Both problem sets and exams should consist entirely of the student's own work; they must not be copied from other students or any other source. Failure to comply constitutes plagiarism and is a serious violation of class and University policy. Cases of academic dishonesty will be pursued to the fullest extent possible.
The goal of this paper is to develop a theory of content for vague language. My proposal is based on the following three theses: (1) language-mastery is not rulebased— it involves a certain kind of decision-making; (2) a theory of content is to be thought of instrumentally—it is a tool for making sense of our linguistic practice; and (3) linguistic contents are only locally defined—they are only defined relative to suitably constrained sets of possibilities. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
Many pragmaticians have distinguished three levels of meaning involved in the comprehension of utterances, and there is an ongoing debate about how to characterize the intermediate level. Recanati has called it the level of ‘what is said’ and has opposed the idea that it can be determined semantically — a position that he labels ‘pragmatic minimalism’. To this end he has offered two chief arguments: semantic underdeterminacy and the Availability Principle. This paper exposes a tension between both arguments, relating this (...) discussion with Carruthers’s cognitive view of language, according to which some thoughts are, literally, sentences of our natural language. First we explain how this view entails minimalism, and we construct an argument based on semantic underdeterminacy that shows that natural language sentences do not have the compositional properties required to constitute thoughts. Then we analyze the example of a subject’s overhearing a sentence without an interpretive context, arguing that in the light of the Availability Principle the corresponding thought can be regarded as a natural language sentence. Thus, semantic underdeterminacy and availability pull in different directions, and we claim that there is no characterization of the latter that can relieve this tension. We contend that Recanati’s availability shares with Carruthers’s introspectivism an overreliance on intuitions about what appears consciously in one’s mind. We conclude, therefore, that the Availability Principle ought to be abandoned. (shrink)