“When a speaker says something of the form A and B, he may take it for granted that A (or at least that his audience recognizes that he accepts that A) after he has said it. The proposition that A will be added to the background of common assumptions before the speaker asserts that B. Now suppose that B expresses a proposition that would, for some reason, be inappropriate to assert except in a context where A, or something entailed by (...) A, is presupposed. Even if A is not presupposed initially, one may still assert A and B since by the time one gets to saying that B, the context has shifted, and it is by then presupposed that A” (Stalnaker 1974). (shrink)
Roderick Chisholm argued that ‘look’ can be used in three different ways: epistemically, comparatively and non-comparatively. Chisholm’s non-comparative sense of ‘look’ played an important role in Frank Jackson’s argument for the sense-datum theory. The question remains..
the Central Division of the APA in Chicago, April 19-21 2007. The paper proposes an account of conditional donkey sentences, such as ‘if a farmer buys a donkey, he usually vaccinates it’, which accommodates the fact that the adverb of quantification seems to affect the interpretation of pronouns that are not within its syntactic scope. The analysis defended takes donkey pronouns to go proxy for partitive noun phrases with varying quantificational force. The variation in the interpretation of donkey pronouns, it (...) is argued, is determined by the linguistic environment in which the pronouns occur. A longer version of this paper can be found in the works in progress section below. (shrink)
The so-called Meno problem is one of the recent trendy topics in epistemology.1 In a nutshell, the Meno problem is that of explaining why we value knowledge more than true belief. In his recent book The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding Jon Kvanvig argues quite convincingly that no existing account of knowledge can accommodate the intuition that the value of knowledge exceeds the value of true belief.
Perspectivalism is a semantic theory according to which the contents of utterances and mental states (perhaps of a particular kind) have a truth-value only relative to a particular perspective (or standard) determined by the context of the speaker or bearer of the mental state. I have defended this view for epistemic terms, moral terms and predicates of personal taste elsewhere (Brogaard 2008a, 2008b, forthcoming). The main aim of this paper is to defend perspectivalism about color perception and color discourse. The (...) content of color perception and color discourse, I will argue, has a truth-value only relative to a centered world containing an appropriate viewing condition and the perceiver, or a perceiver that is deferred to. (shrink)
I. Descriptions in Predicative Position The predicative analysis and Russell’s theory part company when it comes to the argument structure assigned to sentences like (1). (1) Washington is the greatest French soldier. On a standard Russellian analysis, (1) has the following (a) logical form and (b) truth conditions.
In Philosophy Without Intuitions Herman Cappelen argues that unlike what is commonly thought, contemporary analytic philosophers do not typically rely on intuitions as evidence. If they do indeed rely on intuitions, that should be evident from their written works, either explicitly in the form of ‘intuition’ talk or by means of other indicators. However, Cappelen argues, while philosophers do engage in ‘intuition’ talk, that is not a good indicator that they rely on intuitions, as ‘intuition’ and its cognates have many (...) meanings that are irrelevant to this particular question. He identifies three other indicators and argues by appeal to case studies that these indicators are not present. I argue here that an account of intuitions as intellectual seemings draws attention to intuition features that Cappelen does not consider. These intuition features appear to be regularly present in the works of contemporary analytic philosophers. (shrink)
According to the extended knowledge account of assertion, we should only assert and act on what we know. Call this the ‘Knowledge Norm’. Because moral and prudential rules prohibit morally and prudentially unacceptable actions and assertions, they can, familiarly, override the Knowledge Norm. This, however, raises the question of whether other epistemic norms, too, can override the Knowledge Norm. The present paper offers an affirmative answer to this question and then argues that the Knowledge Norm is derived from a more (...) fundamental norm that demands that we do not hinder intellectual flourishing. As the fundamental epistemic norm can come into conflict with the Knowledge Norm, it is sometimes permissible to assert and act on what we don't know. The paper concludes with a discussion of the consequences of this insight for the extended knowledge account of assertion. (shrink)
There are two competing views of knowledge-how: Intellectualism and anti-intellectualism. According to the reductionist varieties of intellectualism defended by Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson (2001) and Berit Brogaard (2007, 2008, 2009), knowledge-how simply reduces to knowledge-that. To a first approximation, s knows how to A iff there is a w such that s knows that w is a way to A. For example, John knows how to ride a bicycle if and only if there is a way w such that (...) John knows that w is a way to ride a bicycle. John Bengson and Marc Moffett (2007) defend an anti-reductionist version of intellectualism which takes knowledge-how to require, in addition, that s understand the concepts involved in her belief. According to the anti-intellectualist accounts originally defended by Gilbert Ryle (1946) and many others after him, knowledge-how requires the possession of a practical ability and so knowing that w (for some w) is a way to A does not suffice for knowing-how. For example, John knows how to ride a bicycle only if John has the ability to ride it; if John merely knows that w (for some w) is a way to ride a bicycle, John does not know how to ride a bicycle. Here I will argue for a conciliatory position that is compatible with the reductionist variety of intellectualism: knowledge-how is reducible to knowledge-that. But, I argue, there are knowledge states which are not justification-entailing and knowledge states which are not belief-entailing. Both kinds of knowledge state require the possession of practical abilities. I conclude by arguing that the view defended naturally leads to a disjunctive conception of abilities as either essentially involving mental states or as not essentially involving mental states. Only the former kind of ability is a kind of knowledge-state, viz. a knowledge-how state. (shrink)
Perceptual reports are utterances of sentences that contain a perceptual verb, such as ‘look’, ‘sound’, ‘feel’, ‘see’, and ‘perceive’. It is natural to suppose that at least in many cases, these types of reports reflect aspects of the phenomenal character and representational content of a subject’s perceptual experiences. For example, an utterance of ‘my chair looks red but it’s really white’ appears to reflect phenomenal properties of the speaker’s experience of a chair. Whether perceptual reports actually reflect these things is (...) a substantial question and one with which this entry will be partially concerned. This article begins with a linguistic analysis of perceptual verbs and then considers some potential implications of this analysis for the philosophy of perception, given the assumption that perceptual reports sometimes express truths. (shrink)
According to phenomenal conservatism, if it seems to S that P, then, in the absence of defeaters, S thereby has some degree of justification for believing P. Phenomenal conservatism has received its fair share of criticism. Among other things, it has been argued that too many beliefs for which the agent has no justification come out as having some degree of justification, given phenomenal conservatism. I believe many of these criticisms are justified. Here I want to propose and defend a (...) close cousin of phenomenal conservatism, a position I will call ‘sensible dogmatism’. Sensible dogmatism is the view that a specific subset of seemings, which I call non-epistemic seemings, can confer justification on belief when they are grounded in the content of memory, introspection or perception. I argue that this position avoids the most devastating problems for phenomenal conservatism while inheriting its virtues. (shrink)
The paper argues that the English verb ‘to see’ can denote three different kinds of conscious states of seeing, involving visual experiences, visual seeming states and introspective seeming states, respectively. The case for the claim that there are three kinds of seeing comes from synesthesia and visual imagery. Synesthesia is a relatively rare neurological condition in which stimulation in one sensory or cognitive stream involuntarily leads to associated experiences in a second unstimulated stream. Visual synesthesia is often considered a case (...) of illusory visual experience. This, however, turns out to be a questionable characterization, as there is evidence suggesting that the brain must cognitively process the stimulus in order for the associated synesthetic experience to arise. Furthermore, some very vivid, visual forms of synesthesia do not involve additional processing in the visual cortex. Visual synesthetic experience is likely to be a non-veridical state of seeming rather than an illusory visual experience. Visual seeming states are cognitive states distinct from visual experiences in terms of their representational richness and their neural correlates. Visual seeming states that are non-deviantly causally related to the states of affair they represent constitute a type of non-experiental seeing. Introspective seeming states that are non-deviantly causally related to underlying visual images constitute a second type of non-experiental seeing. The English verb ‘to see’ can denote all three types of seeing, which is to say that ‘to see’ is polysemous. (shrink)
Despite the recent surge in research on, and interest in, synesthesia, the mechanism underlying this condition is still unknown. Feedforward mechanisms involving overlapping receptive fields of sensory neurons as well as feedback mechanisms involving a lack of signal disinhibition have been proposed. Here I show that a broad range of studies of developmental synesthesia indicate that the mechanism underlying the phenomenon may involve reinstatement of brain activity in different sensory or cognitive streams in a way that is similar to what (...) happens during memory retrieval of semantically associated items. In the paper’s final sections I look at the relevance of synesthesia research, given the memory model, to our understanding of multisensory perception and common mapping patterns. (shrink)
The article provides the state of the art on the debate about whether the logical form of ‘look’ statements commits us to any particular theory of perceptual experience. The debate began with Frank Jackson’s (1977) argument that ‘look’ statements commit us to a sense-datum theory of perception. Thinkers from different camps have since then offered various rejoinders to Jackson’s argument. Others have provided novel arguments from considerations of the semantics of ‘look’ to particular theories of perception. The article closes with (...) an argument of this sort for a representational theory of perceptual experience. (shrink)
The most central metaphysical question about phenomenal consciousness is that of what constitutes phenomenal consciousness, whereas the most central epistemic question about consciousness is that of whether science can eventually provide an explanation of phenomenal consciousness. Many philosophers have argued that science doesn't have the means to answer the question of what consciousness is (the explanatory gap) but that consciousness nonetheless is fully determined by the physical facts underlying it (no metaphysical gap). Others have argued that the explanatory gap in (...) the sciences entails a metaphysical gap. The explanatory gap exists, they say, because there are two fundamental properties in the world that do not reduce to one another: Phenomenal and physical. This position is also known as 'property dualism'. A famous argument, formulated and defended at great length by David Chalmers, uses conceptual tools to argue for a metaphysical gap. When we just look at what the notion of phenomenal consciousness implies, we will find that it doesn't rule out that there could be entities functionally and physically identical to us but without phenomenal consciousness. A couple of further argumentative steps can get us from here to the conclusion that laying down the physical facts of our world does not necessitate phenomenal consciousness. I argue that this argument is compelling but that accepting the conclusion doesn't have the implication that science cannot discover what consciousness is. I begin by outlining and assessing a number of different positions philosophers and scientists have recently defended regarding the link between neurological systems and consciousness, I then argue that even if property dualism is true, that doesn't necessarily prevent the sciences from discovering what constitutes consciousness. That is, there may be no explanatory gap even if there is a metaphysical gap. (shrink)
In her response to my "Seeing as a Non-Experiental Mental State: The Case from Synesthesia and Visual Imagery" Ophelia Deroy presents an argument for an interesting new account of synesthesia. On this account, synesthesia can be thought of as "a perceptual state (e.g. of a letter)" that is "changed or enriched by the incorporation of a conscious mental image (e.g. a color)." I reply that while this is a plausible account of some types of synesthesia, some forms cannot be accounted (...) for this way. (shrink)
William Kingdon Clifford proposed a vigorous ethics of belief, according to which you are morally prohibited from believing something on insufficient evidence. Though Clifford offers numerous considerations in favor of his ethical theory, the conclusion he wants to draw turns out not to follow from any reasonable assumptions. In fact, I will argue, regardless of how you propose to understand the notion of evidence, it is implausible that we could have a moral obligation to refrain from believing something whenever we (...) lack sufficient evidence. I will argue, however, that there are wide-scope conditional requirements on beliefs but the beliefs in question need not be beliefs for which we have sufficient evidence. I then argue that we are epistemically, but not morally, required to form epistemically valuable beliefs. However, these beliefs, too, need not be beliefs for which we have sufficient evidence. (shrink)
The phenomenon of synesthesia has undergone an invigoration of research interest and empirical progress over the past decade. Studies investigating the cognitive mechanisms underlying synesthesia have yielded insight into neural processes behind such cognitive operations as attention, memory, spatial phenomenology and inter-modal processes. However, the structural and functional mechanisms underlying synesthesia still remain contentious and hypothetical. The first section of the present paper reviews recent research on grapheme-color synesthesia, one of the most common forms of synesthesia, and addresses the ongoing (...) debate concerning the role of selective attention in eliciting synesthetic experience. Drawing on conclusions of the first half, the paper’s second half examines the various models proposed to explain the cognitive mechanisms behind grapheme-color synesthesia, and discusses the explanatory virtues of a new model suggesting that grapheme-color synesthesia is grounded in memory. The last section offers an examination of some of the broader philosophical implications of synesthesia. (shrink)
Newell and Shanks (2012) argue that an explanation for blindsight need not appeal to unconscious brain processes, citing research indicating that the condition merely reflects degraded visual experience. We reply that other evidence suggests that blindsighters’ predictive behavior under forced choice reflects cognitive access to low-level visual information that does not correlate with visual consciousness. Thus, while we grant that visual consciousness may be required for full visual experience, we argue that it may not be needed for decision making and (...) judgment. (shrink)
Kit Fine (1994. “Essence and Modality”, Philosophical Perspectives 8: 1-16) argues that the standard modal account of essence as de re modality is ‘fundamentally misguided’ (p. 3). We agree with his critique and suggest an alternative counterfactual analysis of essence. As a corollary, our counterfactual account lends support to non-vacuism the thesis that counterpossibles (i.e., counterfactual conditionals with impossible antecedents) are not always vacuously true.
I. Non-Trivial Counterpossibles On Lewis’ account, a subjunctive of the form ‘if it were the case that p, it would be the case that q’ (represented as ‘p → q’) is to be given the following rough meta-linguistic truth-conditions1.
We studied the patient JP who has exceptional abilities to draw complex geometrical images by hand and a form of acquired synesthesia for mathematical formulas and objects, which he perceives as geometrical ﬁgures. JP sees all smooth curvatures as discrete lines, similarly regardless of scale. We carried out two preliminary investigations to establish the perceptual nature of synesthetic experience and to investigate the neural basis of this phenomenon. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, image-inducing formulas produced larger fMRI (...) responses than non-image inducing formulas in the left temporal, parietal and frontal lobes. Thus our main ﬁnding is that the activation associated with his experience of complex geometrical images emerging from mathematical formulas is restricted to the left hemisphere. (shrink)
Lewis/Stalnaker semantics has it that all counterpossibles (i.e., counterfactual conditionals with impossible antecedents) are vacuously true. Non-vacuism, by contrast, says the truth-values of counterpossibles are affected by the truth-values of the consequents. Some counterpossibles are true, some false. Williamson objects to non-vacuism. He asks us to consider someone who answered ‘11’ to ‘What is 5 + 7?’ but who mistakenly believes that he answered ‘13’. For the non-vacuist, (1) is false, (2) true: (1) If 5 + 7 were 13, x (...) would have got that sum right (2) If 5 + 7 were 13, x would have got that sum wrong Williamson is not persuaded by the initial intuitiveness of such examples: ... they tend to fall apart when thought through. For example, if 5 + 7 were 13 then 5 + 6 would be 12, and so (by another eleven steps) 0 would be 1, so if the number of right answers I gave were 0, the number of right answers I gave would be 1. (2006) That’s the whole argument—much of it implicit. Alan Baker’s critique (2007) of Brogaard and Salerno (2007) prompts us to say something less abbreviated about a less abbreviated form of Wiliamson’s argument. Then we further develop our (2007) counterfactual analysis of essense. (shrink)
I respond to three arguments aimed at establishing that natural kind properties occur in the experiential content of visual experience: the argument from phenomenal difference, the argument from mandatory seeing, and the argument from associative agnosia. I conclude with a simple argument against the view that natural kind properties occur in the experiential content of visual experience.
I start out by reviewing the semantics of ?seem?. As ?seem? is a subject-raising verb, ?it seems? can be treated as a sentential operator. I look at the semantic and logical properties of ?it seems?. I argue that ?it seems? is a hyperintensional and contextually flexible operator. The operator distributes over conjunction but not over disjunction, conditionals or semantic entailments. I further argue that ?it seems? does not commute with negation and does not agglomerate with conjunction. I then show that (...) the mental states expressed by perceptual uses of ?seem? have non-conceptual, yet perspectival contents. In the final part of the paper I argue that while the content of the mental states expressed by perceptual uses of ?seem? are non-conceptual, having a mental state of this type requires possessing conceptual abilities corresponding to what the mental state represents. (shrink)
Tensism holds that the present moment has a special status that sets it apart from the past and the future, independently of perceivers. One of the main objections to this view has been Einstein’s argument from special relativity, which aims at showing that absolute simultaneity is a myth. We argue that the moving observer in a causal variant of Einstein’s original thought experiment is subject to a temporal illusion. Owing to the analogy of the cases, this casts doubt on the (...) conjectures that there is no privileged frame of reference and that special relativity poses a problem for tensism. (shrink)
Since the publication of David Lewis’ Counterfactuals, the standard line on subjunctive conditionals with impossible antecedents (or counterpossibles) has been that they are vacuously true. That is, a conditional of the form ‘If p were the case, q would be the case’ is trivially true whenever the antecedent, p, is impossible. The primary justification is that Lewis’ semantics best approximates the English subjunctive conditional, and that a vacuous treatment of counterpossibles is a consequence of that very elegant theory. Another justification (...) derives from the classical lore than if an impossibility were true, then anything goes. In this paper we defend non-vacuism, the view that counterpossibles are sometimes non-vacuously true and sometimes non-vacuously false. We do so while retaining a Lewisian semantics, which is to say, the approach we favor does not require us to abandon classical logic or a similarity semantics. It does however require us to countenance impossible worlds. An impossible worlds treatment of counterpossibles is suggested (but not defended) by Lewis (Counterfactuals. Blackwell, Oxford, 1973), and developed by Nolan (Notre Dame J Formal Logic 38:325–527, 1997), Kment (Mind 115:261–310, 2006a: Philos Perspect 20:237–302, 2006b), and Vander Laan (In: Jackson F, Priest G (eds) Lewisian themes. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004). We follow this tradition, and develop an account of comparative similarity for impossible worlds. (shrink)
Are conscious states conscious in virtue of representing themselves? Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-8 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9762-x Authors Berit Brogaard, Department of Philosophy, University of Missouri, St. Louis, 599 Lucas Hall, One University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121-4400, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Context figures in the interpretation of utterances in many different ways. In the tradition of possible-worlds semantics, the seminal account of context-sensitive expressions such as indexicals and demonstratives is that of Kaplan's two-dimensional semantics (the content- character distinction), further pursued in various directions by Stalnaker, Chalmers, and others. This chapter introduces and assesses the notion of context-sensitivity presented in this group of approaches, with a special focus on how it relates to the notion of cognitive significance and whether it includes (...) an intuitively plausible range of expressions within its scope. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the prospects of using two-dimensional semantics to account for context-sensitive expressions in dynamic discourse. (shrink)
Though moral relativism has had its supporters over the years, it is not a dominant position in philosophy. I will argue here, though, that the view is an attractive position. It evades some hardcore challenges that face absolutism, and it is reconcilable with an appealing emotivist approach to moral attitudes. In previous work, I have offered considerations in favor of a version of moral relativism that I call “perspectivalism.” These considerations are primarily grounded in linguistic data. Here I offer a (...) self-standing argument for perspectivalism. I begin with an argument against moral absolutism. I then argue that moral terms, such as ‘wrong’ and ‘right’, require for their application that the moral judge instantiate particular affective states, and I use this claim to provide further defense of moral relativism. (shrink)
In a recent response paper to Brogaard (2011a), Morten Overgaard and Thor Grünbaum argue that my case for the claim that blindsight subjects are not visually conscious of the stimuli they correctly identify rests on a mistaken necessary criterion for determining whether a conscious experience is visual or non-visual. Here I elaborate on the earlier argu- ment while conceding that the question of whether blindsight subjects are visually con- scious of the visual stimuli they correctly identify largely is an empirical (...) question. I conclude by sketching a method for testing whether blindsight subjects have visual con- sciousness of stimuli presented to them in their blind ﬁeld. (shrink)
Discourse containing the verb ‘feel’, almost without exception, purports to describe inner experience. Though this much is evident, the question remains what exactly is conveyed when we talk about what and how we feel? Does discourse containing the word ‘feel’ actually succeed in describing the content and phenomenology of inner experience? If so, how does it reflect the phenomenology and content of the experience it describes? Here I offer a linguistic analysis of ‘feels’ reports and argue that a subset of (...) ‘feels’ reports, when accurate, reflect the representational content of emotions, tactile experiences and bodily sensations. Because ‘feels’ reports may reflect the representational content of bodily experience, these types of report may be able to give us some insight into the structure of bodily experience. I argue that our descriptions of bodily experience, on the assumption that they are sometimes accurate, indicate that emotions and tactile experiences are experiences of bodily reactions to objects, whereas bodily sensations are partial descriptions of emotions and tactile experiences or other events of the body. At the end I address the concern that an adequate account of inner experience cannot be given in terms of an analysis of ordinary language. (shrink)
Blindsight and vision for action seem to be exemplars of unconscious visual processes. However, researchers have recently argued that blindsight is not really a kind of uncon- scious vision but is rather severely degraded conscious vision. Morten Overgaard and col- leagues have recently developed new methods for measuring the visibility of visual stimuli. Studies using these methods show that reported clarity of visual stimuli correlates with accuracy in both normal individuals and blindsight patients. Vision for action has also come under (...) scrutiny. Recent ﬁndings seem to show that information processed by the dor- sal stream for online action contributes to visual awareness. Some interpret these results as showing that some dorsal stream processes are conscious visual processes (e.g., Gallese, 2007; Jacob & Jeannerod, 2003). The aim of this paper is to provide new support for the more traditional view that blindsight and vision for action are genuinely unconscious per- ceptual processes. I argue that individuals with blindsight do not have access to the kind of purely qualitative color and size information which normal individuals do. So, even though people with blindsight have a kind of cognitive consciousness, visual information process- ing in blindsight patients is not associated with a distinctly visual phenomenology. I argue further that while dorsal stream processing seems to contribute to visual awareness, only information processed by the early dorsal stream (V1, V2, and V3) is broadcast to working memory. Information processed by later parts of the dorsal stream (the parietal lobe) never reaches working memory and hence does not correlate with phenomenal awareness. I con- clude that both blindsight and vision for action are genuinely unconscious visual processes. (shrink)
Blindsight, the ability to blindly discriminate wavelength and other aspects of stimuli in a blind field, sometimes occurs in people with lesions to striate (V1) cortex. There is currently no consensus on whether qualitative color information of the sort that is normally computed by double opponent cells in striate cortex is indeed computed in blindsight but doesn?t reach awareness, perhaps owing to abnormal neuron responsiveness in striate or extra-striate cortical areas, or is not computed at all. The existence of primesight, (...) the experience of colored afterimages in blindsight, has been taken to suggest that qualitative color information is computed either in pre-striate or striate cortical areas but is not broadcast to working memory. I argue here that a recent study in which color phosphenes were induced in a blindsighter using bilateral transcranial magnetic stimulation indicates that computations necessary for conscious color vision are lost in blindsight. Owing to this loss, the neural responsiveness in extrastriate cortical areas is abnormal and hence is unable to give rise to color awareness. Blindsight is thus degraded vision in which the computations necessary for conscious color vision have been lost. (shrink)
David Milner and Melvyn Goodale’s dissociation hypothesis is commonly taken to state that there are two functionally specialized cortical streams of visual processing originating in striate (V1) cortex: a dorsal, action-related “unconscious” stream and a ventral, perception-related “conscious” stream. As Milner and Goodale acknowledge, findings from blindsight studies suggest a more sophisticated picture that replaces the distinction between unconscious vision for action and conscious vision for perception with a tripartite division between unconscious vision for action, conscious vision for perception, and (...) unconscious vision for perception. The combination excluded by the tripartite division is the possibility of conscious vision for action. But are there good grounds for concluding that there is no conscious vision for action? There is now overwhelming evidence that illusions and perceived size can have a significant effect on action (Bruno & Franz, 2009; Dassonville & Bala, 2004; Franz & Gegenfurtner, 2008; McIntosh & Lashley, 2008). There is also suggestive evidence that any sophisticated visual behavior requires collaboration between the two visual streams at every stage of the process (Schenk & McIntosh, 2010). I nonetheless want to make a case for the tripartite division between unconscious vision for action, conscious vision for perception, and unconscious vision for perception. My aim here is not to refute the evidence showing that conscious vision can affect action but rather to argue (a) that we cannot gain cognitive access to action-guiding dorsal stream representations, and (b) that these representations do not correlate with phenomenal consciousness. This vindicates the semi-conservative view that the dissociation hypothesis is best understood as a tripartite division. (shrink)
I argue that McDowell-style disjunctivism, as the position is often cashed out, goes wrong because it takes the good epistemic standing of veridical perception to be grounded in “manifest” facts which do not necessarily satisfy any epistemic constraints. A better form of disjunctivism explains the difference between good and bad cases in terms of epistemic constraints that the states satisfy. This view allows us to preserve McDowell’s thesis that good cases make facts manifest, as long as manifest facts must satisfy (...) epistemic constraints. (shrink)
The nature of the colors—what they are like, whether they are instantiated by objects or are projected by our minds, whether their nature is revealed to us in color perception, and whether there could be alien colors (e.g. reddish-green)—has been one of the central topics in philosophy for centuries. This entry focuses on the contemporary philosophical debate about the nature of the colors.
0. Relativistic Content In standard semantics, propositional content, whether it be the content of utterances or mental states, has a truth-value relative only to a possible world. For example, the content of my utterance of ‘Jim is sitting now’ is true just in case Jim is sitting at the time of utterance in the actual world, and the content of my belief that Alice will give a talk tomorrow is true just in case Alice will give a talk on the (...) day following the occurrence of my belief state in the actual world. Let us call propositional content which has a truth-value relative only to a possible world ‘non-relativistic content’. Non-relativistic content can be treated as either structured or unstructured. On the unstructured-content view, non-relativistic content is a set of possible worlds and bears the truth-value true just in case the actual world is a member of that set. For example, the content of my utterance of ‘Jim is working now’ at time t is the set of worlds in which Jim is working at t, and this content is true just in case the actual world is among those worlds. On the structured-content view, non-relativistic content is a set or conglomeration of properties and/or objects, where properties are features which objects possess regardless of who considers or observes them and regardless of when they are being considered or observed. Such properties are said to be (or represent) functions from possible worlds to extensions. Relative to a possible world they determine a set of objects instantiating the property. For example, relative to the actual world the property of being human determines the set of actual humans. Not all content is non-relativistic. Let us say that propositional content is relativistic just in case it possesses a truth-value only relative to a centered world. A centered world is a possible world in which an individual and a time are marked, where the marked individual.. (shrink)
Descriptions are phrases of the form ‘an F’, ‘the F’, ‘Fs’ and ‘the Fs’. They can be indefinite (e.g., ‘an F’ and ‘Fs’), definite (e.g. ‘the F’ and ‘the Fs’), singular (e.g., ‘an F’, ‘the F’) and plural (e.g., ‘the Fs’, ‘Fs’). In English plural indefinite descriptions lack an article and are for that reason also known as ‘bare plurals’.