Could there unknowable truths? Truths which, regardless of any extension to ones capacities or resources, remain impossible to know. The answer to this question is central in the evaluation of semantic anti-realism. But even for a metaphysical realist, the matter is far from closed.
1000 fair causally isolated coins will be independently flipped tomorrow morning and you know this fact. I argue that the probability, conditional on your knowledge, that any coin will land tails is almost 1 if that coin in fact lands tails, and almost 0 if it in fact lands heads. I also show that the coin flips are not probabilistically independent, given your knowledge, despite your knowledge of the set up.
Numerous triviality results have been directed at a collection of views that tie the probability of a conditional sentence to the conditional probability of the consequent on its antecedent. -/- In this paper I argue that this identification makes little sense if conditional sentences are context sensitive. The best alternative, I argue, is a version of the thesis which states that if your total evidence is E then the evidential probability of a conditional evaluated in a context where E is (...) salient is the probability of the consequent given the antecedent. The biggest challenge to this thesis comes from the 'static' triviality arguments developed by Stalnaker, Hajek and Hall. It is argued that these arguments rely on invalid principles of conditional logic and that the thesis is consistent with a reasonably strong logic that does not include the principles in question. (shrink)
A number of arguments purport to show that vague properties determine sharp boundaries at higher orders. That is, although we may countenance vagueness concerning the location of boundaries for vague predicates, every predicate can instead be associated with precise knowable cut-off points deriving from precision in their higher order boundaries. -/- I argue that this conclusion is indeed paradoxical, and identify the assumption responsible for the paradox as the Brouwerian principle B for vagueness: that if p then it's completely determinate (...) that either it's vague whether p, or p. Other paradoxes which do not appear to turn on B turn instead on some subtle issues concerning the relation between assertion, belief and higher order vagueness. -/- In this paper a B-free picture of assertion, knowledge and logic is outlined which is completely free of higher order precision. A class of realistic models containing counterexamples to B and a number of weakenings of B are introduced and its logic is shown to support vagueness at every order. A novel framework for thinking about the semantic apparatus in the presence of metalinguistic vagueness is also developed. In this framework the vague metatheoretic vocabulary is part of the object language and can readily be applied to itself. (shrink)
The result of combining classical quantifi cational logic with modal logic proves necessitism -- the claim that necessarily everything is necessarily identical to something. This problem is reflected in the purely quantificational theory by theorems such as Ext = x; it is a theorem, for example, that something is identical to Timothy Williamson. The standard way to avoid these consequences is to weaken the theory of quantifi cation to a certain kind of free logic. However it has often been noted (...) that in order to specify the truth conditions of certain sentences involving constants or variables that don't denote one has to apparently quantify over things that are not identical to anything. In this paper I defend a contingentist, non-Meinongian metaphysics within a positive free logic. I argue that although certain names and free variables do not actually denote anything they might have actually done so, allowing one to interpret the contingentist claims without quantifying over mere possibilia. (shrink)
This paper presents and motivates a counterpart theoretic semantics for quantifi ed modal logic based on a fleshed out account of Lewis's notion of a `possibility.' According to the account a possibility consists of a world and some haecceitistic information about how each possible individual gets represented de re. A semantics for quanti ed modal logic based on evaluating formulae at possibilities is developed. It is shown that this framework naturally accommodates an actuality operator, addressing recent objections to counterpart theory, (...) and is equivalent to the more familiar Kripke semantics for quanti fied modal logic with an actuality operator. (shrink)
In this paper a logic for reasoning disquotationally about truth is presented and shown to have a standard model. This work improves on Hartry Field's recent results establishing consistency and omega-consistency of truth-theories with strong conditional logics. A novel method utilising the Banach fixed point theorem for contracting functions on complete metric spaces is invoked, and the resulting logic is shown to validate a number of principles which existing revision theoretic methods have heretofore failed to provide.
In recent years there has been a revitalised interest in non-classical solutions to the semantic paradoxes. In this paper I show that a number of logics are susceptible to a strengthened version of Curry's paradox. This can be adapted to provide a proof theoretic analysis of the omega-inconsistency in Lukasiewicz's continuum valued logic, allowing us to better evaluate which logics are suitable for a naïve truth theory. On this basis I identify two natural subsystems of Lukasiewicz logic which individually, but (...) not jointly, lack the problematic feature. (shrink)
A number of authors have objected to the application of non-classical logic to problems in philosophy on the basis that these non-classical logics are usually characterised by a classical metatheory. In many cases the problem amounts to more than just a discrepancy; the very phenomena responsible for non-classicality occur in the field of semantics as much as they do elsewhere. The phenomena of higher order vagueness and the revenge liar are just two such examples. The aim of this paper is (...) to show that a large class of non-classical logics are strong enough to formulate their own model theory in a corresponding non-classical set theory. Specifically I show that adequate definitions of validity can be given for the propositional calculus in such a way that the metatheory proves, in the specified logic, that every theorem of the propositional fragment of that logic is validated. It is shown that in some cases it may fail to be a classical matter whether a given sentence is valid or not. One surprising conclusion for non-classical accounts of vagueness is drawn: there can be no axiomatic, and therefore precise, system which is determinately sound and complete. (shrink)
This paper aims to show how recent cinematic representations reveal a far more pessimistic and essentialised vision of Human/Cyborg hybridity in comparison with the more enunciative and optimistic ones seen at the end of the twentieth century. Donna Haraway’s still influential 1985 essay “A Cyborg Manifesto” saw the combination of the organic and the technological as offering new and exciting ways beyond the normalised culturally constructed categories of gender and identity formation. However, more recently critics see her later writings as (...) embodying a Faustian deal between the individual and hegemony, where technology does not enhance but merely returns the subject to a level of normalisation. As such cybernetics is only configured as a form of prosthetic rehabilitation, to ‘re’-able the ‘dis’-abled, that ultimately re-establishes earlier essentialised subject positions through that same evolutionary process. The Six Million Dollar Man, which ran from 1974 to 1978, exampled a symbiosis between the organic and the technological where the broken human body is not just re-made via mechanical prosthesis but through a process of Cyborg hybridity which actually makes it better, faster, stronger than before. In contrast, contemporary films such as Avatar (Cameron 2009), Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen (Bay 2009) and Iron Man II (Faveraeu 2010) portray an inherent anxiety toward the cyborg body disavowing of any human/cyborg interaction beyond re-establishing their own discrete and separate subject positions. Although human/cyborg symbiosis constructs the possibility for potentialised bodies beyond those previously imagined, contemporary, popular, film represents them as separated and essentialised. This article looks at what cultural anxieties might produce such an about turn in such representations how this positions human identity in a time of increasing technology and, as a result, asks “whatever happened to The Six Million Dollar Man?”. (shrink)
This paper is a systematic exploration of non-wellfounded mereology. Motivations and applications suggested in the literature are considered. Some are exotic like Borges’ Aleph, and the Trinity; other examples are less so, like time traveling bricks, and even Geach’s Tibbles the Cat. The authors point out that the transitivity of non-wellfounded parthood is inconsistent with extensionality. A non-wellfounded mereology is developed with careful consideration paid to rival notions of supplementation and fusion. Two equivalent axiomatizations are given, and are compared to (...) classical mereology. We provide a class of models with respect to which the non-wellfounded mereology is sound and complete. (shrink)
I consider two puzzles in which an agent undergoes a sequence of decision problems. In both cases it is possible to respond rationally to any given problem yet it is impossible to respond rationally to every problem in the sequence, even though the choices are independent. In particular, although it might be a requirement of rationality that one must respond in a certain way at each point in the sequence, it seems it cannot be a requirement to respond as such (...) at every point for that would be to require the impossible. (shrink)
Recent discussion in democratic theory has seen a revival of interest in pragmatism. Drawing on the work of C. S. Peirce, Cheryl Misak and Robert Talisse have argued that a form of deliberative democracy is justified as the means for citizens to assure themselves of the truth of their beliefs. In this article, I suggest that the Peircean account of deliberative democracy is conceived too narrowly. It takes its force from seeing citizens as intellectual inquirers, something that I argue is (...) both problematic in itself and relies on a controversial understanding of truth and inquiry. The article goes on to propose reasons for favouring a Deweyan rather than a Peircean account of democracy, one in which deliberation is seen not simply as a matter of arriving at the truth, but as part of a broader view of human flourishing. (shrink)
This paper examines the issue that has taken center stage in the writings of John Gray, the bankruptcy of the Enlightenment project and its implications for liberal political theory. The paper outlines Gray’s critique, showing that elements of his argument against what he calls “the liberal project” apply equally to his own value-pluralist position. It suggests that Gray equivocates between rejecting the Enlightenment liberal project and offering a value-pluralist version of that project because of a fear of moral relativism, a (...) fear that, it is argued, is misplaced. (shrink)
In this thesis I investigate the behaviour of uncertainty about vague matters. It is a fairly common view that vagueness involves uncertainty of some sort. However there are many fundamental questions about this kind of uncertainty that are left open. Could you be genuinely uncertain about p when there is no matter of fact whether p? Could you remain uncertain in a vague proposition even if you knew exactly which possible world obtained? Should your degrees of belief be probabilistically coherent? (...) Should your beliefs in the vague be fixed by your beliefs in the precise? Could one in principle tell what credences a person has in the vague? (shrink)
This authoritative edition was originally published in the acclaimed Oxford Authors series under the general editorship of Frank Kermode. It brings together an extensive collection of Bacon's writing - the major prose in full, together with sixteen other pieces not otherwise available - to give the essence of his work and thinking. -/- Although he had a distinguished career as a lawyer and statesman, Francis Bacon's lifelong goal was to improve and extend human knowledge. In The Advancement of Learning (1605) (...) he made a brilliant critique of the deficiencies of previous systems of thought and proposed improvements to knowledge in every area of human life. He conceived the Essays (1597, much enlarged in 1625) as a study of the formative influences on human behaviour, psychological and social. In The New Atlantis (1626) he outlined his plan for a scientific research institute in the form of a Utopian fable. In addition to these major English works this edition includes 'Of Tribute', an important early work here printed complete for the first time, and a revealing selection of his legal and political writings, together with his poetry. -/- A special feature of the edition is its extensive annotation which identifies Bacon's sources and allusions, and glosses his vocabulary. (shrink)
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was a genuine midwife of modernity. He was one of the first thinkers to visualise a future which would be guided by a cooperative science-based vision of bettering human welfare. In this the first critical edition of his greatest philosophical work since the nineteenth-century, we find facing-page Latin translations and a thorough and detailed Introduction to the text.
When the New Organon appeared in 1620, part of a six-part programme of scientific inquiry entitled 'The Great Renewal of Learning', Francis Bacon was at the high point of his political career, and his ambitious work was groundbreaking in its attempt to give formal philosophical shape to a new and rapidly emerging experimentally-based science. Bacon combines theoretical scientific epistemology with examples from applied science, examining phenomena as various as magnetism, gravity, and the ebb and flow of the tides, and anticipating (...) later experimental work by Robert Boyle and others. His work challenges the entire edifice of the philosophy and learning of his time, and has left its mark on all subsequent philosophical discussions of scientific method. This volume presents a new translation of the text into modern English by Michael Silverthorne, and an introduction by Lisa Jardine that sets the work in the context of Bacon's scientific and philosophical activities. (shrink)
For pragmatists, the inability to stand outside of the contingencies of human practice does not impede social criticism. However, several pragmatists have argued that Richard Rorty’s position unnecessarily and undesirably circumscribes the scope of social criticism, allowing for nothing more than an appeal to current practices, with no way to challenge or revise them. This article argues against this understanding, showing that on Rorty’s account, social criticism is an interpretive activity in which critics draw on elements within current practices, focusing (...) attention on the ways in which a society’s practices fail to live up to its self-image. In so doing, Rorty’s position is shown to allow for everything that his fellow pragmatists think important, but take him to be denying. (shrink)
Richard Rorty’s notion of ironism has been widely criticized for entailing frivolity and light-mindedness, for being inimical to moral commitment and, perhaps most importantly, for its putative incompatibility with his vision of liberalism. This paper suggests that these criticisms are misplaced, stemming from a misunderstanding of ironism that Rorty’s presentation has itself in part encouraged. The paper goes on to argue that ironism is not only consistent with the liberal society which Rorty favours, but that it can serve such a (...) society by helping to illustrate the ways in which those societies contain unrecognized injustices. (shrink)
Current theories of reasoning such as mental models or mental logic assume a universal cognitive mechanism that underlies human reasoning performance. However, there is evidence that this is not the case, for example, the work of Ford (1995), who found that some people adopted predominantly spatial and some verbal strategies in a syllogistic reasoning task. Using written and think-aloud protocols, the present study confirmed the existence of these individual differences. However, in sharp contrast to Ford, the present study found few (...) differences in reasoning performance between the two groups, in terms of accuracy or type of conclusion generated. Hence, reasoners present an outward appearance of ubiquity, despite underlying differences in reasoning processes. These findings have implications for theoretical accounts of reasoning, and for attempts to model reasoning data. Any comprehensive account needs to account for strategic differences and how these may develop in logically untrained individuals. (shrink)
At first sight it would seem difficult to find two philosophers as different as Brian Barry and Richard Rorty. It is widely held that the former is one of the most forceful proponents of liberal universalism, whereas the latter is typically viewed as the quintessential relativist. In this essay, different usages of the term univeralism are considered, and it is argued that Rorty's position is much closer to that of Barry than is generally supposed. Indeed, the article concludes by suggesting (...) that it is Rorty who offers the less question-begging philosophical account of political liberalism. (shrink)
Lorazepam has been repeatedly shown to induce memory impairments. The effects of this benzodiazepine on the processes involved in the strategic regulation of memory accuracy have not as yet been explored. An experimental procedure that delineates the role of monitoring and control processes was used. Fifteen lorazepam and 15 placebo subjects were examined using a semantic memory task that combined both a forced- and a free-report option and a no-incentive and an incentive condition. Memory accuracy was lower in the lorazepam (...) than in the placebo group. Lorazepam impaired control sensitivity (the extent to which volunteering of answers is affected by the confidence judgments). While the absolute aspect of monitoring was impaired (calibration scores), both the discriminative aspect (the ability to distinguish between correct and incorrect answers) and the response criterion setting (the confidence threshold set for volunteering a report) were spared. The pharmacological dissociation between monitoring effectiveness and control sensitivity indicates that these two components involve distinct processes. (shrink)
Recent studies have shown that schizophrenia may be a disease affecting the states of consciousness. The present study is aimed at investigating metamemory, i.e., the knowledge about one's own memory capabilities, in patients with schizophrenia. The accuracy of the Confidence level (CL) in the correctness of the answers provided during a recall phase, and the predictability of the Feeling of Knowing (FOK) when recall fails were measured using a task consisting of general information questions and assessing semantic memory. Nineteen outpatients (...) were paired with 19 control subjects with respect to age, sex, and education. Results showed that patients with schizophrenia exhibited an impaired semantic memory. CL ratings as well as CL and FOK accuracy were not significantly different in the schizophrenic and the control groups. However, FOK ratings were significantly reduced for the patient group, and discordant FOK judgments were also observed more frequently. Such results suggest that FOK judgments are impaired in patients with schizophrenia, which confirms that schizophrenia is an illness characterized by an impaired conscious awareness of one's own knowledge. (shrink)
This volume belongs to the first new critical edition of the works of Francis Bacon (1561-1626) to have been produced since the nineteenth century. The edition presents the works in broadly chronological order and according to the best principles of modern textual scholarship. The seven works in the present volume belong to the final completed stages (Parts III-V) of Bacon's hugely ambitious six-part sequence of philosophical works, collectively entitled Instauratio magna (1620-6). All are presented in the original Latin with new (...) facing-page translations. Three of the seven texts (substantial works in two cases, and all sharing a startlingly improbable textual history) are published and translated here for the first time: these are an early version of the Historia densi, the 'lost' Abecedarium, and the Historia de animato & inanimato. Another--the Prodromi sive anticipationes philosphiae secundae--has likewise never been translated before. Together with their commentaries and the introduction they open the way to important new understandings of Bacon's mature philosophical thought. (shrink)