“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)
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 nonconceptual, 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 nonconceptual, having a mental state of this type requires possessing conceptual abilities corresponding to what the mental state represents. (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)
I argue that strong representationalism, the view that for a perceptual experience to have a certain phenomenal character just is for it to have a certain representational content (perhaps represented in the right sort of way), encounters two problems: the dual looks problem and the duplication problem. The dual looks problem is this: strong representationalism predicts that how things phenomenally look to the subject reflects the content of the experience. But some objects phenomenally look to both have and not have (...) certain properties, for example, my bracelet may phenomenally look to be circular-shaped and oval-shaped (and hence non-circular-shaped). So, if strong representationalism is true, then the content of my experience ought to represent my bracelet as being both circular-shaped and non-circular-shaped. Yet, intuitively, the content of my experience does not represent my bracelet as being both circular-shaped and non-circular-shaped. The duplication problem is this. On a standard conception of content, spatio-temporally distinct experiences and experiences had by distinct subjects may differ in content despite the fact that they are phenomenally indistinguishable. But this undermines the thesis that phenomenal character determines content. I argue that the two problems can be solved by applying a version of an idea from David Chalmers, which is to recognize the existence of genuinely centered properties in the content of perceptual experience. (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.
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)
An Essay in the Metaphysics of Propositions Berit Brogaard. TRANSIENT TRUTHS An Essay in. the Metaphysics ofProposizions BERIT BROGAARD Transient Truths This page intentionally left blank Transient Truths An. Cover.
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’.
Naive realism is one of the oldest theories of perception. To a first approximation, naive realism is the view that perception is a direct relation between a subject and an object. Many historical philosophers (from Locke to Russell) argued that naive realism must be rejected on the grounds that hallucinations are perceptual experiences without an object. Contemporary philosophers have resurrected the theory by insisting that genuine cases of perception have a different structure or a different metaphysical status than non-genuine ones. (...) This version of naive realism has come to be known as ‘disjunctivism’. Epistemological disjunctivism and disjunctivism about phenomenal belief, or what I shall call ‘Epistemological disjunctivism’, have also gained popularity in recent years. More recently disjunctivist accounts of bodily movements, abilities and reasons for action have entered the philosophical scene. This entry focuses on the contemporary debate about disjunctivism: its characterization, its motivation and its potential shortcomings. (shrink)
Descriptions are phrases of the form ‘an F’, ‘the F’, ‘Fs’, ‘the Fs’ and NP's F (e.g. ‘John's mother’). 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’) or plural (e.g., ‘the Fs’, ‘Fs’). In English plural indefinite descriptions lack an article and are for that reason also known as ‘bare plurals’. How to account for the semantics and pragmatics of descriptions has been one of the central (...) topics in philosophy for centuries. This entry focuses on the historical and contemporary philosophical debate about Bertrand Russell’s theory of descriptions and the theories that developed as responses to this theory. (shrink)
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, assessor, 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 a). 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 an appropriate viewing condition and the perceiver, or a perceiver deferred to. (shrink)
Knobe argues that people’s judgments of the moral status of a side-effect of action influence their assessment of whether the side-effect is intentional. We tested this hypothesis using vignettes akin to Knobe’s but involving economically or eudaimonistically (wellness-related) negative side-effects. Our results show that it is people’s sense of what agents deserve and not the moral status of side-effects that drives intuition.
The paradox of knowability is a logical result suggesting that, necessarily, if all truths are knowable in principle then all truths are in fact known. The contrapositive of the result says, necessarily, if in fact there is an unknown truth, then there is a truth that couldn't possibly be known. More specifically, if p is a truth that is never known then it is unknowable that p is a truth that is never known. The proof has been used to argue (...) against versions of anti-realism committed to the thesis that all truths are knowable. For clearly there are unknown truths; individually and collectively we are non-omniscient. So, by the main result, it is false that all truths are knowable. The result has also been used to draw more general lessons about the limits of human knowledge. Still others have taken the proof to be fallacious, since it collapses an apparently moderate brand of anti-realism into an obviously implausible and naive idealism. (shrink)
Let’s say that a philosophical theory is white just in case it treats the perspective of the white (perhaps Western male) as objective.1 The potential dangers of proposing or defending white theories are two-fold. First, if not all of reality is objective, a fact which I take to be established beyond doubt,2 then white theories could well turn out to be false.3 A white theory is unwarranted (and indeed false) when it treats nonobjective reality as objective. Second, by proposing or (...) defending unwarranted white theories one thereby treats the perspective of the non-white as faulty, and this in turn serves to perpetuate the distorted representation of whites as superior to non-whites. As David Owen puts it, [whiteness] serves to underwrite perceptions, understandings, justifications and explanations of the social order that perpetuate distortions in the social system that are a legacy of our nation’s history …what is associated with whiteness becomes defined as natural, normal or mainstream.4 In this chapter I will focus on a particular class of philosophical theories, viz. philosophical theories of color. I argue that realist theories of the objectivist variety.. (shrink)
Douglas Patterson argues that the best way to respond to the semantic paradoxes that arise in natural language is to take natural language semantics to be (explosively) inconsistent. According to Patterson, to understand a natural language is to share with others cognition of a false semantic theory. Patterson’s main argument runs as follows. English is expressively rich. So, the first sentence occurring in this review could be.
Reductionists about knowledge-wh hold that “s knows-wh” (e.g. “John knows who stole his car”) is reducible to “there is a proposition p such that s knows that p, and p answers the indirect question of the wh-clause.” Anti-reductionists hold that “s knows-wh” is reducible to “s knows that p, as the true answer to the indirect question of the wh-clause.” I argue that both of these positions are defective. I then offer a new analysis of knowledge-wh as a spccial kind (...) of de re knowledge. (shrink)
(T5) ϕ → ◊Kϕ |-- ϕ → Kϕ where ◊ is possibility, and ‘Kϕ’ is to be read as ϕ is known by someone at some time. Let us call the premise the knowability principle and the conclusion near-omniscience.2 Here is a way of formulating Fitch’s proof of (T5). Suppose the knowability principle is true. Then the following instance of it is true: (p & ~Kp) → ◊K(p & ~Kp). But the consequent is false, it is not possible to know (...) p & ~Kp. That is because the supposition that it is known is provably inconsistent.3 The inconsistency requires us to deny the possibility of the supposition, yielding ~◊K(p & ~Kp). This, together with the above instance of the knowability principle, entails ~(p & ~Kp), which is (classically) equivalent to p → Kp. Since p occurs in none of our undischarged assumptions, we may generalize to get near-omniscience, ϕ → Kϕ. QED. (shrink)
I will begin with a brief presentation of C & H’s arguments against nonindexical contextualism, temporalism, and relativism. I will then offer a general argument against the monadic truth package. Finally, I will offer arguments in favor of nonindexical contextualism and temporalism.
There are two doctrines for which Quine is particularly well known: the doctrine of ontological commitment and the inscrutability thesis—the thesis that reference and quantification are inscrutable. At first glance, the two doctrines are squarely at odds. If there is no fact of the matter as to what our expressions refer to, then it would appear that no determinate commitments can be read off of our best theories. We argue here that the appearance of a clash between the two doctrines (...) is illusory. The reason that there is no real conflict is not simply that in determining our theories’ ontological commitments we naturally rely on our home language but also (and more importantly) that ontological commitment is not intimately tied to objectual quantification and a reference-first approach to language. Or so we will argue. We conclude with a new inscrutability argument which rests on the observation that the notion of objectual quantification, when properly cashed out, deflates. (shrink)
Relativism offers an ingenious way of accommodating most of our intuitions about 'know': the truth-value of sentences containing 'know' is a function of parameters determined by a context of use and a context of assessment. This sort of double-indexing provides a more adequate account of the linguistic data involving 'know' than does standard contextualism. However, relativism has come under recent attack: it supposedly cannot account for the factivity of 'know', and it entails, counterintuitively, that circumstances of evaluation have features that (...) cannot be shifted by any intensional operator. I offer replies to these objections on behalf of the relativist. I then argue that a version of contextualism can account for the same data as relativism without relativizing sentence truth to contexts of assessment. This version of contextualism is thus preferable to relativism on methodological grounds. (shrink)
Determiner phrases embedded under a propositional attitude verb have traditionally been taken to denote answers to implicit questions. For example, 'the capital of Vermont' as it occurs in 'John knows the capital of Vermont' has been thought to denote the proposition which answers the implicit question 'what is the capital of Vermont?' Thus, where 'know' is treated as a propositional attitude verb rather than an acquaintance verb, 'John knows the capital of Vermont' is true iff John knows that Montpelier is (...) the capital of Vermont. The traditional view lost its popularity long ago, because it was thought to rest on the controversial assumption that determiner phases embedded under a propositional attitude verb function semantically in the same way as the corresponding wh -clauses. Here we defend the traditional assumption against objections. We then argue that wh -clauses are not to be given a uniform treatment as indirect questions. When occurring under a propositional attitude verb, wh -clauses are better treated as having a predicate-type semantic value. We conclude by considering some possible objections to the predicate view. (shrink)
Moral relativism provides a compelling explanation of linguistic data involving ordinary moral expressions like 'right' and 'wrong'. But it is a very radical view. Because relativism relativizes sentence truth to contexts of assessment it forces us to revise standard linguistic theory. If, however, no competing theory explains all of the evidence, perhaps it is time for a paradigm shift. However, I argue that a version of moral contextualism can account for the same data as relativism without relativizing sentence truth to (...) contexts of assessment. This version of moral contextualism is thus preferable to relativism on methodological grounds. (shrink)
The assumption that the future is open makes well known problems for traditional semantics. According to a commonly held intuition, today's occurrence of the sentence 'There will be a sea battle tomorrow', while truth-valueless today, will have a determinate truth-value by tomorrow night. Yet given traditional semantics, sentences that are truth-valueless now cannot later 'become' true. Relativistic semantics has been claimed to do a better job of accommodating intuitions about future contingents than non-relativistic semantics does. However, intuitions about future contingents (...) cannot by themselves give good reasons for shifting to a new paradigm, for despite the initial appearances, standard non-relativistic semantics (plus an account of truth-value gaps) can accommodate both intuitions about future contingents. (shrink)
Relativism offers a nifty way of accommodating most of our intuitions about epistemic modals, predicates of personal taste, color expressions, future contingents, and conditionals. But in spite of its manifest merits relativism is squarely at odds with epistemic value monism: the view that truth is the highest epistemic goal. I will call the argument from relativism to epistemic value pluralism the trivial argument for epistemic value pluralism. After formulating the argument, I will look at three possible ways to refute it. (...) I will then argue that two of these are unsuccessful, and defend the third, which involves denying that there are any genuinely relative truths. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that contraposition, strengthening the antecedent and hypothetical syllogism fail for subjunctive conditionals. The following putative counter-examples are frequently cited, respectively.
The paradox of knowability threatens to draw a logical equivalence between the believable claim that all truths are knowable and the obviously false claim that all truths are known. In this paper we evaluate prominent proposals for resolving the paradox of knowability. For instance, we argue that Neil Tennant’s restriction strategy, which aims principally to restrict the main quantifier in ‘all truths are knowable’, does not get to the heart of the problem since there are knowability paradoxes that the restriction (...) does nothing to thwart. We argue that Jon Kvanvig’s strategy, which aims to block the paradox by appealing to the special role of quantified epistemic expressions in modal contexts, has grave errors. We offer here a new proposal founded on Kvanvig’s insight that quantified expressions play a special role in modal contexts. On an articulation of this special role provided by Stanley and Szabo, we propose a solution to the knowability paradoxes. Introduction.. (shrink)
The paper argues that the assumption that there are property designators, together with two theoretically innocent claims, leads to a puzzle, whose solution requires us to reject the position that all (canonical) property designators are rigid. But if we deny that all (canonical) property designators are rigid, then the natural next step is to reject an abundant conception of properties and with it the suggestion that properties are the semantic values of predicates.
Attitude reports are reports about people’s states of mind. They are reports about what people think, believe, know, know a priori, imagine, hate, wish, fear, and the like. So, for example, I might report that s knows p, or that she imagines p, or that she hates p, where p specifies the content to which s is purportedly related. One lively current debate centers around the question of what sort of specification is involved when such attitude reports are successful. Some (...) hold that it is specification of the precise content of a mental state; others hold that it is specification of the content of a mental state only relative to a mode of presentation; yet others hold that it is merely a description or characterization of the content of a mental state. After providing a brief introduction to the traditional debate on attitude reports, this entry argues that for certain kinds of knowledge reports and for so-called de re attitude reports, descriptive theories emerge as the most plausible. The entry concludes with a discussion of how the characterizing relation between attitude reports and mental states might be construed. (shrink)
In this paper I revisit the main arguments for a predicate analysis of descriptions in order to determine whether they do in fact undermine Russell's theory. I argue that while the arguments without doubt provide powerful evidence against Russell's original theory, it is far from clear that they tell against a quantificational account of descriptions.
With the aid of some results from current linguistic theory I examine a recent anti-Fregean line with respect to hybrid talk of numbers and ordinary things, such as ‘the number of moons of Jupiter is four’. I conclude that the anti-Fregean line with respect to these sentences is indefensible.
I. Tensed Plural Quantifiers Presentists typically assent to a range of tensed statements, for instance, that there were dinosaurs, that there was a president named Lincoln, and that my future grandchildren will be on their way to school.1 Past- and future-tensed claims are dealt with by introducing primitive, intensional tense operators, for instance, it has been 12 years ago that, it was the case when I was born that, and it will be the case that (Prior 1968). For example, ‘there (...) were dinosaurs’, upon analysis, cashes out to. (shrink)
The paper revisits Sharvy's theory of plural definite descriptions. An alternative account of plural definite descriptions building on the ideas of plural quantification and non-distributive plural predication is developed. Finally, the alternative is extrapolated to account for generic uses of definite descriptions.
A number of authors in favor of a unitary account of singular descriptions have alleged that the unitary account can be extrapolated to account for plural definite descriptions. In this paper I take a closer look at this suggestion. I argue that while the unitary account is clearly onto something right, it is in the end empirically inadequate. At the end of the paper I offer a new partitive account of plural definite descriptions that avoids the problems with both the (...) unitary account and standard Russellian analyses. (shrink)
According to epistemic two-dimensionalism, every expression is associated with two kinds of meaning: a primary intension (a “Fregean” component) and a secondary intension (a “Russellian” component). While the rst kind of meaning lines up with the speaker’s abilities to pick out referents of correctly employed expressions in hypothetical scenarios, the second kind of meaning is a version of what standard semanticists call “semantic content”—a kind of content which does not pivot on speaker abilities. Despite its conciliatory temperament, epistemic two-dimensionalism has (...) come under recent attack. It has been alleged that it is bound to attribute to speakers a priori identifying knowledge of the referents of correctly employed terms, and bound also to reject valid rules of inference such as exportation: P(a) → λx[P(x)](a) (see, e.g., Soames 2005. (shrink)
Virtue reliabilism appears to have a major advantage over generic reliabilism: only the former has the resources to explain the intuition that knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief. I argue that this appearance is illusory. It is sustained only by the misguided assumption that a principled distinction can be drawn between those belief-forming methods that are grounded in the agent’s intellectual virtues, and those that are not. A further problem for virtue reliabilism is that of explaining why knowledge (...) is more valuable than mere justified true belief. I argue that virtue reliabilism lacks the resources to explain this value difference. I conclude by considering what it would take for a theory to explain the extra value of knowledge over mere justified true belief. (shrink)
It is sometimes said that no living philosopher is a genuine modal realist. This is no doubt an exaggeration. But at least this much is true: while we all partake of possible world talk when philosophizing, most of us regard this talk as incurring no commitment to a plurality of concrete worlds.
Does a factive conception of knowability figure in ordinary use? There is some reason to think so. ‘Knowable’ and related terms such as ‘discoverable’, ‘observable’, and ‘verifiable’ all seem to operate factively in ordinary discourse. Consider the following example, a dialog between colleagues A and B: A: We could be discovered. B: Discovered doing what? A: Someone might discover that we're having an affair. B: But we are not having an affair! A: I didn’t say that we were. A’s remarks (...) sound contradictory. In this context the factivity of ‘someone might discover that’ explains this fact. So there is some reason to believe that knowability and related modalities are factive in ordinary use. For factive treatments of knowability in the context of epistemic theories of truth, compare Tennant (2000: 829) and Wright (2001: 59-60, n. 17). (shrink)
In his presidential address to the APA, ‘‘How to be an Anti-realist’’ (1982, 64–66), Alvin Plantinga argues that the only sensible way to be an antirealist is to be a theist.1 Anti-realism (AR) in this context is the epistemic analysis of truth that says, (AR) necessarily, a statement is true if and only if it would be believed by an ideally [or sufficiently] rational agent/community in ideal [or sufficiently good] epistemic circumstances. Plantinga demonstrates, with modest modal resources, that AR entails (...) that necessarily, ideal epistemic circumstances obtain. It is a contingent matter whether ideal epistemic circumstances obtain for worldly agents and communities. Hence, the lesson, according to Plantinga, is that an anti-realist should be a theist. In the present paper we evaluate whether anti-realism entails that necessarily ideal epistemic circumstances obtain. A more careful analysis of Plantinga’s argument appears in section 1. We notice that Plantinga’s interpretation of anti-realism harbors an ambiguity of quantifier scope and that only on the less plausible placement of the quantifiers does AR obviously entail that necessarily ideal epistemic circumstances obtain. In section 2 we evaluate an alternative version of Plantinga’s argument developed by Michael Rea. Rea’s argument gets the quantifiers straight, but depends on logical resources that the anti-realist has independent reason to reject. After evaluating Rea’s argument we conclude that an anti-realist need not be a theist and is not committed to the necessary existence of.. (shrink)
Abstract A meaningful life, we shall argue, is a life upon which a certain sort of valuable pattern has been imposed by the person in question?a pattern which involves in serious ways the person having an effect upon the world. Meaningfulness is thus a special kind of value which a human life can bear. Two interrelated difficulties face ths proposal. One concerns responsiblity: how are we to account for the fact that a life that satisfies the above criteria can have (...) more meaning than a life with the same positive outcomes but which lacks responsiblity on the part of the agent? The other turns on these outcomes themselves: how can the meaningfulness engendered by actions you perform now be affected by what those actions go on to produce in the future, perhaps even after your death? We provide a response to both of these difficulties. (shrink)
There is no question that the constituents of cells and organisms are joined together by the part-whole relation. Genes are part of cells, and cells are part of organisms. Species taxa, however, have traditionally been conceived of, not as wholes with parts, but as classes with members. But why does the relation change abruptly from part-whole to class-membership above the level of organisms? Ghiselin, Hull and others have argued that it doesn't. Cells and organisms are cohesive mereological sums, and since (...) species taxa are like cells and organisms in the relevant respects, they, too, are cohesive mereological sums. I provide further reasons in support of the thesis that species are mereological sums. I argue, moreover, that the advocate of this thesis is committed to a form of pluralism with respect to the species concept. (shrink)
Abstract Ernest Sosa has argued that the relevant alternatives theory of knowledge has yet to overcome serious difficulties. The most serious difficulty is that of providing criteria for when a rival alternative to a claim is relevant. Without such criteria, the theory is ad hoc. I argue that most other externalist theories of knowledge, including Sosa's own, fall victim to this criticism. At the end of the paper I make a suggestion as to why Sosa's objection might not be as (...) damaging as it at first seems. (shrink)
We have a strong intuition that a person’s moral standing should not be affected by luck, but the fact is that we do blame a morally unfortunate person more than her fortunate counterpart. This is the problem of moral luck. I argue that the problem arises because account is not taken of the fact that the extension of the term ‘blame’ is contextually determined. Loosely speaking, the more likely an act is to have an undesirable consequence, the more its agent (...) is to blame. But how likely a consequence is depends on which possibilities of harm we take to be relevant. (shrink)
The truthmaker theory rests on the thesis that the link between a true judgment and that in the world to which it corresponds is not a one-to-one but rather a one-to-many relation. An analogous thesis in relation to the link between a singular term and that in the world to which it refers is already widely accepted. This is the thesis to the effect that singular reference is marked by vagueness of a sort that is best understood in supervaluationist terms. (...) In what follows we show that the supervaluationist approach to singular reference, when wedded to the truthmaker idea, yields a framework of surprising power, which offers a uniform set of solutions to a range of problems regarding identity, reference and knowledge, problems which have hitherto been dealt with on an ad hoc basis. (shrink)
When does a human being begin to exist? We argue that it is possible, through a combination of biological fact and philosophical analysis, to provide a definitive answer to this question. We lay down a set of conditions for being a human being, and we determine when, in the course of normal fetal development, these conditions are first satisfied. Issues dealt with along the way include: modes of substance-formation, twinning, the nature of the intra-uterine environment, and the nature of the (...) relation between fetus and mother (connection, parthood, dependence). (shrink)
Tr(A) iff ‡K(A) To remedy the error, Dummett’s proposes the following inductive characterization of truth: (i) Tr(A) iff ‡K(A), if A is a basic statement; (ii) Tr(A and B) iff Tr(A) & Tr(B); (iii) Tr(A or B) iff Tr(A) v Tr(B); (iv) Tr(if A, then B) iff (Tr(A) Æ Tr(B)); (v) Tr(it is not the case that A) iff ¬Tr(A), where the logical constant on the right-hand side of each biconditional clause is understood as subject to the laws of intuitionistic (...) logic.2 The only other principle in play in Dummett’s discussion is (+) A iff Tr(A), which, as he notes, the anti-realist is likely to accept. (shrink)
Mereotopology faces problems when its methods are extended to deal with time and change. We offer a new solution to these problems, based on a theory of partitions of reality which allows us to simulate (and also to generalize) aspects of set theory within a mereotopological framework. This theory is extended to a theory of coarse- and ﬁne-grained histories (or ﬁnite sequences of partitions evolving over time), drawing on machinery developed within the framework of the socalled ‘consistent histories’ interpretation of (...) quantum mechanics. (shrink)
Four-dimensionalism is the thesis that everyday objects, such as you and me, are space-time worms that persist through time by having temporal parts none of which is identical to the object itself. Objects are aggregates or sums of such temporal parts. The main virtue of fourdimensionalism is that it solves—or does away with—the problem of identity through change.1 The main charge raised against it is that it is inconsistent with the thesis according to which there is change in the world.2 (...) If this charge could be sustained, then we would need compelling arguments in support of the view that things are four-dimensional, since the view that there is no change in the world conflicts with so many of our most well-supported common-sense beliefs. In what follows, however, I want to show that, contrary to what is usually believed, fourdimensionalism does not entail a changeless world. (shrink)
It is sometimes argued that the fact that possession of perfect knowledge about the future is impossible, means that it is impossible for decisions to be rational. This reasoning is fallacious. If rationality is given a new interpretation, then decisions can be considered rational. A theory of decision that has as its basis Peirce’s theory of abduction can provide a new way of understanding decisions as rational processes. The Peircean theory of decision (i) considers decisions as part of a complete (...) strategy, and (ii) shows that decision making is governed by the same rules as scientific abduction. These rules are neither permissive rules like rules of deductive inference nor predictive like laws of nature, but rather genuine laws of conduct that determine what step should be made, if a given end is to be reached. (shrink)