John Campbell’s reply to my paper aims at re-establishing the point that there are two strands to our notion of ownership of a thought. There are two ways of cashing out this idea.1 First, one could say that A is the owner of a thought iff both the following two independent conditions obtain:2 (1) X is introspectively aware of a token thought and (2) X is the person who formed that token thought. Secondly, one may hold that there are two (...) different and independent notions of ownership of a thought, call it O1 and O2, corresponding to (1) and (2) respectively. For brevity, I will refer only to the first interpretation. But what I will be saying will apply, mutatis mutandis, to both. On this view, thought insertion would be a case in which someone thinks that (1) is satisfied, while (2) isn't and, therefore, denies that the thought she is introspectively aware of is her own.3 Campbell's explanation of thought insertion is quite clear: the subject has prima facie reasons to think that she is not the person who formed that token thought – maybe because she does not experience that thought as formed by herself – and, therefore, has prima facie reasons to deny that she is its owner, but she is mistaken in identifying the producer of the thought and what she says is false, yet reasonable.4 Notice, however, an important consequence of Campbell's model. If (1) and (2) are independent conditions then the one could obtain without the other. Hence, it must be conceivable that one is introspectively aware of a thought that one has not produced. Indeed, cases of multiple personality, if taken literally, might be taken as examples of this kind of situation: person A and person B inhabit the same body, A can have access to B’s thoughts, yet B remains their producer. So A could actually say something like “I’m thinking (i.e. I am immediately aware) that p, but this is not my thought (it is not the thought I produced), it’s B’s (the thought that B produced)” and what she would be saying would in fact be true. Yet, a simple-minded reaction one may have towards this line of explanation is this.. (shrink)
Moore’s proof of an external world is a piece of reasoning whose premises, in context, are true and warranted and whose conclusion is perfectly acceptable, and yet immediately seems flawed. I argue that neither Wright’s nor Pryor’s readings of the proof can explain this paradox. Rather, one must take the proof as responding to a sceptical challenge to our right to claim to have warrant for our ordinary empirical beliefs, either for any particular empirical belief we might have, or for (...) belief in the existence of an external world itself. I show how Wright’s and Pryor’s positions are of interest when taken in connection with Humean scepticism, but that it is only linking it with Cartesian scepticism which can explain why the proof strikes us as an obvious failure. (shrink)
It is a striking feature of philosophical reflection on the self that it often ends up being revisionary of our commonsensical intuition that it is identical to a living human being with, intrinsically, physical and psychological properties. As is well known, Descartes identified the self with a mental entity, Hume denied the existence of such an entity and Kant reduced it to a transcendental ego—to a mere condition of possibility for experience and thought. In the Tractatus, Wittgenstein followed (...) class='Hi'>Kant—or, at any rate, the Kant made available to him through reading Schopenhauer—then, later, denied the existence of such an entity and proposed the no-reference view about at least some uses of “I”. Finally, Anscombe radicalized Wittgenstein’s views and claimed that no use of “I” is ever referential. It must be acknowledged that, despite the oddity of these views, philosophers have always arrived at their respective positions on the nature of the self through rational reflection: being impressed with some feature allegedly special to the use of “I” (either in speech or in thought) they have felt compelled to account for it by postulating a realm of super-entities (or non-entities) which could explain such seeming peculiarities. Confronted with this tradition of revisionary accounts of the self, at least some contemporary theorists are now approaching the issue with a diagnostic eye, trying to identify the features that have led philosophers to embrace such positions, with the aim of offering a better understanding of them that could “give philosophy peace”. That is to say, that could make them compatible with the commonsensical view that selves are identical to living human beings and that “I”, either in speech or in thought, is a genuinely referential expression. So, for instance, Christopher Peacocke opens his influential and thought provoking “Self-knowledge and illusions of transcendence”1 with the following remarks.. (shrink)
The paper addresses the issue of human diagrammatic reasoning in the context of Euclidean geometry. It develops several philosophical categories which are useful for a description and an analysis of our experience while reasoning with diagrams. In particular, it draws the attention to the role of seeing-as; it analyzes its implications for proofs in Euclidean geometry and ventures the hypothesis that geometrical judgments are analytic and a priori, after all.
In the last few years there has been a resurgence of interest in Moore’s Proof of the existence of an external world, which is now often rendered as follows:1 (I) Here’s a hand (II) If there is a hand here, there is an external world Therefore (III) There is an external world The contemporary debate has been mostly triggered by Crispin Wright’s influential—conservative —“Facts and certainty” and further fostered by Jim Pryor’s recent—liberal—“What’s wrong with Moore’s argument?”.2 This debate is worth (...) surveying with care because—so I shall contend—it will help us see that, in fact, it allows for an important view that, so far, hasn’t been explicitly considered. The critical survey will be the task of the next two sections, while, in the remaining.. (shrink)
In the contemporary expanding literature on transmission failure and its connections with issues such as the Closure principle, the nature of perceptual warrant, Moore’s proof of an external world and the effectiveness of Humean scepticism, it has often been assumed that there is just one kind of it: the one made familiar by the writings of Crispin Wright and Martin Davies. Although it might be thought that one kind of failure is more than enough, Davies has recently challenged this view: (...) apparently, there are more ways in heaven and earth that warrant can fail to transmit across valid inference from one (set of) belief(s) to another, than have been dreamt of in philosophy so far. More specifically, Davies thinks that a second kind of transmission failure has to be countenanced. He connects each kind of failure of transmission of warrant with two different kinds of epistemic project, respectively, and with the exploration of whether the current dispute between conservatives such as Wright, and liberals such as Jim Pryor, on the nature of perceptual warrant, would have a bearing on them. I point out why Davies’s second kind of transmission failure is indeed no such thing. I then move on to canvass another kind of transmission failure, different from the one studied by both Wright and Davies, and dependent on an alternative conception of the structure of empirical warrants, which I dub “moderatism”. I then consider how this alternative notion of transmission failure fares with respect to Moore’s proof, its relationship with Wright’s kind of transmission failure and with the Closure principle. In closing, I defend it from criticisms that can be elicited from Pryor’s recent work. (shrink)
This Introduction to the special issue on “Skepticism and Justification” provides a background to the nine articles collected here and a detailed summary of each, which highlights their interconnections and relevance to the debate at the heart of the issue.
This volume is a collective exploration of major themes in the work of Crispin Wright, one of today's leading philosophers. These newly commissioned papers are divided into four sections, preceded by a substantial Introduction, which places them in the context of the development of Wright's ideas. The distinguished contributors address issues such as the rule-following problem, knowledge of our meanings and minds, truth, realism, anti-realism and relativism, as well as the nature of perceptual justification, the cogency of arguments such as (...) G. E. Moore's celebrated proof of an external world, and skepticism about the material world. Some papers explore the relationship of Wright's ideas with those of Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose influence has always been a prominent aspect of Wright's philosophy. The essays collectively testify to the enormous interest and relevance of Wright's seminal contributions for present-day debates in areas as diverse as the philosophy of language and mind, metaphysics, and epistemology, and significantly advance research in these areas. The volume also contains Wright's substantial responses to his critics, which offer the most up-to-date versions of his ideas and a vigorous defense of his philosophy. (shrink)
In the recent literature on Moore's Proof of an external world, it has emerged that different diagnoses of the argument's failure are prima facie defensible. As a result, there is a sense that the appropriateness of the different verdicts on it may depend on variation in the kinds of context in which the argument is taken to be a move, with different characteristic aims. In this spirit, Martin Davies has recently explored the use of the argument within two different epistemic (...) projects called respectively ?deciding what to believe? and ?settling the question?. Depending on which project is in hand, according to Davies, the diagnoses of its failure?if indeed it fails?will differ. I believe that, by introducing the idea that the effectiveness of a valid argument may be epistemic project-relative, Davies has pointed the way to an important reorientation of the debates about Moore's Proof. But I wish to take issue with much of the detail of his proposals. I argue that Davies's characterization of his two projects is misleading (?1), and his account of their distinction defective (?2). I then canvass some suggestions about how it may be improved upon and about how further relevant kinds of epistemic projects in which Moore's argument may be taken to be a move can be characterized, bringing out how each of these projects impinges differently on the issue of the Proof's failure and of its diagnosis (??3 and 4). In conclusion (?5) I offer an overview of the resulting terrain. (shrink)
The paper reviews the grounds for relativist interpretations of Wittgenstein's later thought, especially in On Certainty . It distinguishes between factual and virtual forms of epistemic relativism and argues that, on closer inspection, Wittgenstein's notes don't support any form of relativism – let it be factual or virtual. In passing, it considers also so-called "naturalist" readings of On Certainty , which may lend support to a relativist interpretation of Wittgenstein's ideas, finds them wanting, and recommends to interpret his positive proposal (...) in On Certainty as a form of "internal rationalism.". (shrink)
The paper offers a critical review of Roberto Farnetiâs paper a minor philosophy. The state of the art of philosophical scholarship in Italy , recently published in Philosophia. It is argued that overall the status and interest of philosophy as practiced nowadays in Italy is less disappointing than Farneti makes out. It is also maintained that submitting papers to peer-refereed international journals can help cure the moral and sociological disease that besets the Italian academia, but that, as such, it is (...) less likely to improve the scientific quality of contributions in philosophy than Farneti claims. In passing, a few recommendations both to the philosophical community at large and to the Italian Government are put forward. (shrink)
In this paper I provide an outline of a new kind of constitutive account of self-knowledge. It is argued that in order for the model properly to explain transparency, a further category of propositional attitudes—called “commitments”—has to be countenanced. It is also maintained that constitutive theories can’t remain neutral on the issue of the possession of psychological concepts, and a proposal about the possession of the concept of belief is sketched. Finally, it is claimed that in order for a constitutive (...) account properly to explain authority, it has to take a rather dramatic constructivist turn, which makes it suitable as an explanation of self-knowledge only for a limited class of mental states. (shrink)
Moore's proof of an external world is a piece of reasoning whose premises, in context, are true and warranted and whose conclusion is perfectly acceptable, and yet immediately seems flawed. I argue that neither Wright's nor Pryor's readings of the proof can explain this paradox. Rather, one must take the proof as responding to a sceptical challenge to our right to claim to have warrant for our ordinary empirical beliefs, either for any particular empirical belief we might have, or for (...) belief in the existence of an external world itself. I show how Wright's and Pryor's positions are of interest when taken in connection with Humean scepticism, but that it is only linking it with Cartesian scepticism which can explain why the proof strikes us as an obvious failure. (shrink)
John Campbell (1999) has recently maintained that the phenomenon of thought insertion as it is manifested in schizophrenic patients should be described as a case in which the subject is introspectively aware of a certain thought and yet she is wrong in identifying whose thought it is. Hence, according to Campbell, the phenomenon of thought insertion might be taken as a counterexample to the view that introspection-based mental selfascriptions are logically immune to error through misidentification (IEM, hereafter). Thus, if Campbell (...) is right, it would not be true that when the subject makes a mental self-ascription on the basis of introspective awareness of a given mental state, there is no possible world in which she could be wrong as to whether it is really she who has that mental state. Notice the interesting interdisciplinary implications of Campbell’s project: on the one hand, a fairly precise notion elaborated in philosophy such as IEM (and the related notion of error through misidentification, EM hereafter) is used to describe a characteristic symptom of schizophrenia.1 On the other hand, such a phenomenon, described in the way proposed, is taken to be a possible counterexample to a sort of “philosophical dogma” such as IEM of introspection-based non-inferential mental self-ascriptions. In the first section of the paper I will point out the characteristic features of EM and explain logical immunity to error through misidentification of introspection-based mental self-ascriptions; in the second section I will consider the case of thought insertion in more detail and show why, after all, it is not a counterexample to the view that introspectionbased mental self-ascriptions are logically IEM. Finally, I will offer a re-description of the phenomenon of thought insertion. (shrink)