Definite descriptions, I shall argue, have two possible functions. 1] They are used to refer to what a speaker wishes to talk about, but they are also used quite differently. Moreover, a definite description occurring in one and the same sentence may, on different occasions of its use, function in either way. The failure to deal with this duality of function obscures the genuine referring use of definite descriptions. The best known theories of definite descriptions, those of Russell and Strawson, (...) I shall suggest, are both guilty of this. Before discussing this distinction in use, I will mention some features of these theories to which it is especially relevant. (shrink)
Keith Donnellan (1931 – ) began his studies at the University of Maryland, and earned his Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. He stayed on at Cornell, earning a Master’s and a PhD in 1961. He also taught at there for several years before moving to UCLA in 1970, where he is currently Emeritus Professor of Philosophy. Donnellan’s work is mainly in the philosophy of language, with an emphasis on the connections between semantics and pragmatics. His most influential work (...) was his 1966 paper “Reference and Definite Descriptions”. In this paper, he challenges the canonical view, due to Bertrand Russell, about definite descriptions. Russell had argued that the proper semantic treatment of a definite description such as “the present king of France” was quantificational. Thus, a sentence like “the present king of France is bald” should be analyzed as “There exists one and only one entity x that is the present king of France, and x is bald”. Donnellan argues that in natural languages, there are actually two different kinds of uses of definite descriptions. Russell’s analysis picks out the “attributive” use of definite descriptions. When we use a definite description (“the F”) this way, we mean to make statements about the unique entity x that is F. However, Donnellan notes that we also sometimes use definite descriptions “referentially” to pick out a given entity and say something about it. To see this, imagine you are at a party where virtually everyone is drinking beer. However, you and your friend are observing a man in a corner of the room holding a martini glass. Unbeknownst to you, the man’s glass is filled with water. You turn to your friend and ask, “who is the man drinking a martini?” Suppose further that your friend knows that the man in question is Fred and that Fred’s glass is filled with water. According to the Russellian attributive analysis, such a question would amount to asking for the identity of the one and only one man drinking a martini. But the presupposition that there is a man drinking a martini is false, and so there should be no answer to the question.. (shrink)
Donnellan famously argued that while one can fix the reference of a name with a definite description, one cannot thereby have a de re belief about the named object. All that is generated is meta-linguistic knowledge that the sentence "If there is a unique F, then N is F" is true. Donnellan's argument and the sceptical position are extremely influential. This article aims to show that Donnellan's argument is unsound, and that the Millian who embraces Donnellan's (...) scepticism that the reference-fixer cannot secure the relevant de re belief faces a serious problem: Millianism about names plus scepticism about the reference-fixer's de re belief conflicts with what seems to be an analytical thesis about the relationship between semantic content and understanding. The upshot is that the Millian has good reason to seek an alternative to scepticism. (shrink)
Here, I defend the view that fictional narratives are illusionary and that fictional names are to be accounted metalinguistically, a blend of Walton’s and Donnellan’s theories. Besides, I offer a remedial semantic for sentences external to the story which connects those uses back to the text of the story and to the neighborhood of its retellings.
Abstract Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) research and (future) applications raise important ethical issues that need to be addressed to promote societal acceptance and adequate policies. Here we report on a survey we conducted among 145 BCI researchers at the 4 th International BCI conference, which took place in May–June 2010 in Asilomar, California. We assessed respondents’ opinions about a number of topics. First, we investigated preferences for terminology and definitions relating to BCIs. Second, we assessed respondents’ expectations on the marketability of (...) different BCI applications (BCIs for healthy people, BCIs for assistive technology, BCIs-controlled neuroprostheses and BCIs as therapy tools). Third, we investigated opinions about ethical issues related to BCI research for the development of assistive technology: informed consent process with locked-in patients, risk-benefit analyses, team responsibility, consequences of BCI on patients’ and families’ lives, liability and personal identity and interaction with the media. Finally, we asked respondents which issues are urgent in BCI research. Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-38 DOI 10.1007/s12152-011-9132-6 Authors Femke Nijboer, Human Media Interaction, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands Jens Clausen, Institute for Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany Brendan Z. Allison, Laboratory of Brain-Computer Interfaces, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria Pim Haselager, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands Journal Neuroethics Online ISSN 1874-5504 Print ISSN 1874-5490. (shrink)
Lakatos: An Introduction is the first comprehensive analysis on the intellectual life and theories of the distinguished thinker Imre Lakatos. This book clearly presents Lakatos's development of a philosophy of mathematics and empirical science, Lakatos's thought as an important hybrid of Popperian philosophy and Hegelian-Marxist thought, the relationship between Lakatos's views on science and mathematics and his more general philosophical beliefs. Brendan Larvor clearly locates Lakatos in the liberal-rationalist tradition and explains connections between the philosopher's life, philosophy, politics, and (...) technical work in science and mathematics. (shrink)
Daly, Brendan A famous case involving the seal of confession was that of Father Francis Douglas. In 1938, a New Zealand Columban priest, Father Francis Douglas was appointed to Pililla, a town near Manila in the Philippines. It was a difficult assignment, made worse by the Japanese occupation of the country in January 1942. In July 1943 he was asked to visit some guerrillas who said that they needed his priestly services. Afterwards, the Japanese then thought he was a (...) spy. He was tortured for 3 days and presumably killed because among other things he would not break the seal of confession. Many regard him as a martyr for being faithful to his priestly obligations. (shrink)
Purcell, Brendan The Focolare Movement is officially known as the Work of Mary, and since it is primarily a lay movement, it falls under the authority of the Congregation for the Laity. Its founder, Chiara Lubich, was born in Trent in 1920, the second of four children, into a close-knit family. Her mother was a devout daily Massgoing Catholic, her father, a socialist, uninterested in religion, but a man of principle, whose refusal to join the Fascist party lost him (...) any chance of a regular job after the 1929 Depression. (shrink)
am going to discuss some issues inspired by a well-known paper ofKeith Donnellan, "Reference and Definite Descriptions,”2 but the interest—to me—of the contrast mentioned in my title goes beyond Donnellan's paper: I think it is of considerable constructive as well as critical importance to the philosophy oflanguage. These applications, however, and even everything I might want to say relative to Donnellan’s paper, cannot be discussed in full here because of problems of length. Moreover, although I have a (...) considerable interest in the substantive issues raised by Donnellan’s paper, and by related literature, my own conclusions will be methodological, not substantive. I can put the matter this way: Donnellan’s paper claims to give decisive objections both to Russell’s theory of definite descriptions (taken as a theory about English) and to Strawson’s. My concem is not primarily with the question; is Donnellan right, or is Russell (or Strawson)? Rather, it is with the question: do the considerations in Donneilarfs paper refute Russell’s theory (or Strawson’s)? For definiteness, I will concentrate on Donnellan versus Russell, leaving Strawson aside. And about this issue I will draw a definite conclusion, one which I think will illuminate a few methodological maxims about language. Namely, I will conclude that the considerations in Donnellan’s paper, by themselves, do not refute Russell’s theory. Any conclusions about Russell’s views per se, or Donnellan’s, must be tentative, IfI were to be asked for a tentative stab about Russell, I would say that although his theory does a far better job of handling ordinary discourse than many have thought, and although many popular arguments against it are inconclusive, probably it ultimately fails. The considerations I have in mind have to do with the existence of “improper” definite descriptions, such as “the table," where uniquely specifying conditions are not contained in the description itself.. (shrink)
The essays collected in this volume are all concerned with the connection between fiction and truth. This question is of utmost importance to metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophical logic and epistemology, raising in each of these areas and at their intersections a large number of issues related to creation, existence, reference, identity, modality, belief, assertion, imagination, pretense, etc. All these topics and many more are addressed in this collection, which brings together original essays written from various points of view by (...) philosophers of diverse trends. These essays constitute major contributions to the current debates that the connection between truth and fiction continually enlivens, and give a sense of the directions in which research on this question is heading. Contributors: Fred Adams, Frederick Kroon, Robert Howell, Brendan Murday, Terence Parsons, Graham Priest, Erich Rast, Manuel Rebuschi, Marion Renauld, R.M. Sainsbury, Grant Tavinor, Alberto Voltolini. (shrink)
According to Conceptualism, philosophy is an independent discipline that can be pursued from the armchair because philosophy seeks truths that can be discovered purely on the basis of our understanding of expressions and the concepts they express. In his recent book, The Philosophy of Philosophy, Timothy Williamson argues that while philosophy can indeed be pursued from the armchair, we should reject any form of Conceptualism. In this paper, we show that Williamson’s arguments against Conceptualism are not successful, and we sketch (...) a way to understand understanding that shows that there is a clear sense in which we can indeed come to know the answers to (many) philosophical questions purely on the basis of understanding. (shrink)
Intuitively, (1)-(3) seem to express genuine claims (true or false) about what the world is like, attempts to correctly describe parts of extra-linguistic reality. By contrast, it is tempting to regard (4)-(6) as merely reflecting decisions (or conventions, or dispositions, or rules) concerning the terms in which that extra-linguistic reality is described, decisions about which things to label with 'vixen', 'bachelor' or 'cup'.
It is widely thought that functionalism and the qualia theory are better positioned to accommodate the ‘affective’ aspect (i.e., the hurtfulness) of pain phenomenology than representationalism. In this paper, we attempt to overturn this opinion by raising problems for both functionalism and the qualia theory on this score. With regard to functionalism, we argue that it gets the order of explanation wrong: pain experience gives rise to the effects it does because it hurts, and not the other way around. With (...) regard to the qualia theory, we argue that it fails to capture the sense in which pain's affective phenomenology rationalises various bodily-directed beliefs, desires, and behaviours. Representationalism, in contrast, escapes both of these problems: it gets the order of explanation right and it explains how pain's affective phenomenology can rationalise bodily-directed beliefs, desires, and behaviours. For this reason, we argue that representationalism has a significant advantage in the debates about pain's affective phenomenology. We end the paper by examining objections, including the question of what representationalists should say about so-called ‘disassociation cases’, such as pain asymbolia. (shrink)
According to Donnellan the characteristic mark of a referential use of a definite description is the fact that it can be used to pick out an individual that does not satisfy the attributes in the description. Friends and foes of the referential/attributive distinction have equally dismissed that point as obviously wrong or as a sign that Donnellan’s distinction lacks semantic import. I will argue that, on a strict semantic conception of what it is for an expression to be (...) a genuine referential device, Donnellan is right: if a use of a definite description is referential, it has got to be possible for it to refer to an object independently of any attributes associated with the description, including those that constitute its conventional meaning. (shrink)
This paper addresses two questions: what is the distinction between semantics and pragmatics? And why is this distinction important? These questions are discussed in light of the central explanatory goal of linguistics and in relation to the phenomenon of context sensitivity, as illustrated by relational words with implicit arguments and by so-called quantifier domain restriction. It is concluded that context sensitivity is, in the former case, grammatical or lexical and, in the latter case, neither.
This paper enters the continuing fray over the semantic significance of Donnellan’s referential/attributive distinction. Some holdthat the distinction is at bottom a pragmatic one: i.e., that the difference between the referential use and the attributive use arises at the level of speaker’s meaning rather the level of sentence-or utterance-meaning. This view has recently been challenged byMarga Reimer andMichael Devitt, both of whom argue that the fact that descriptions are regularly, that is standardly, usedto refer defeats the pragmatic approach. The (...) present paper examines a variety of issues bearing on the regularity in question: whether the regularity would arise in a Russellian language, whether the regularity is similar to the standard use ofcomplex demonstratives, and whether the pragmatic approach founders on the problem of dead metaphors. I argue that the pragmatic approach can readily explain all of these facets ofthe referential use of descriptions. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy standardly accepts Frege's conceptions of sense as the determiner of reference and of analyticity as (necessary) truth in virtue of meaning. This paper argues that those conceptions are mistaken. It develops referentially autonomous notions of sense and analyticity and applies them to the semantics of natural kind terms. The arguments of Donnellan, Putnam, and Kripke concerning natural kind terms are widely taken to refute internalist and rationalist theories of meaning. This paper shows that the counter-intuitive consequences about (...) the reference of natural kind terms depend as much on Frege's conceptions of sense and analyticity as on what such theories of meaning say about the senses of natural kind terms. Rather than refuting the internalist and rationalist theories of meaning, the arguments of Donnellan, Putnam, and Kripke are best recast as refutations of their own Fregean assumptions. The paper also shows how autonomous notions of sense and analyticity enable us to reconstruct such theories, formulate an internalist/ rationalist account of semantic knowledge, and preserve Donnellan's, Putnam's, and Kripke's insights about reference. (shrink)
In this paper [submitted in 2008] I discuss the relation between truth and assertion, starting from Linsky's example [her husband is kind to her], used in the debate on definite description by Keith Donnellan and Saul Kripke. To treat the problem of the referential use of definite descriptions we need not only to take into account the contest of utterance, but also the context of reception, or the cognitive context. If the cognitive context is given the right relevance we (...) may even accept the possibility to speak of "pragmatic ambiguity" as Donnellan did. However I will not give a definite answer to the debate between Donnellan and Kripke, but I will try to show that there is a moral to be drawn by the discussion: it is advisable to use truth attribution in a charitable way if we want to entertain conversation with people who have beliefs not necessarily similar to ours. (shrink)
This essay presents a version of divine command metaethics inspired by recent work of Donnellan, Kripke, and Putnam on the relation between necessity and conceptual analysis. What we can discover a priori, by conceptual analysis, about the nature of ethical wrongness is that wrongness is the property of actions that best fills a certain role. What property that is cannot be discovered by conceptual analysis. But I suggest that theists should claim it is the property of being contrary to (...) the commands of a loving God. This claim, if true, is a necessary but not an a priori truth. It also is a claim, not about the way in which some believers use the word 'wrong,' but about the wrongness that virtually everyone talks about. This position is distinguished from the author's previous views, and from a holistic development of the latter proposed by Jeffrey Stout. (shrink)
The term ‘logical form’ has been called on to serve a wide range of purposes in philosophy, and it would be too ambitious to try to survey all of them in a single essay. Instead, I will focus on just one conception of logical form that has occupied a central place in the philosophy of language, and in particular in the philosophical study of linguistic meaning. This is what I will call the classical conception of logical form. The classical conception, (...) as I will present it in section 1, has (either explicitly or implicitly) shaped a great deal of important philosophical work in semantic theory. But it has come under fire in recent decades, and in sections 2 and 3 I will discuss two of the recent challenges that I take to be most interesting and significant. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to criticize the reification of language present in Heideggers writings after the Kehre . The steps of the argument are as follows. First, it is argued that the specific features of Heideggers conception of language after the Kehre can be traced back to Heideggers conception of the ontological difference in Being and Time . The common element in both conceptions is the assumption that meaning determines reference (i.e. that the way entities are understood determines which (...) entities we can refer to). In the next step the implications of this assumption are shown through an analysis of Heideggers conception of designation in Being and Time and after the Kehre . Finally, this conception of designation is criticized with the help of the analysis of designation offered by the so-called theories of direct reference. Key Words: Donnellan Heidegger language linguistic idealism meaning ontological difference reference referential/attributive distinction. (shrink)
This paper develops a model theoretic semantics for so called natural kind terms that reflects the viewpoint of (Kripke, 1980) and (Putnam, 1975). The semantics generates a formal counterpart of the K-mechanism investigated in (Salmon, 1981) and in unpublished work by Keith Donnellan.
Donnellan (1966) makes a convincing case for two distinct uses ofdefinite descriptions. But does the difference between the usesreflects an ambiguity in the semantics of descriptions? This paperapplies a linguistic test for ambiguity to argue that the differencebetween the uses is not semantically significant.
Semantics: A Reader contains a broad selection of classic articles on semantics and the semantics/pragmatics interface. Comprehensive in the variety and breadth of theoretical frameworks and topics that it covers, it includes articles representative of the major theoretical frameworks within semantics, including: discourse representation theory, dynamic predicate logic, truth theoretic semantics, event semantics, situation semantics, and cognitive semantics. All the major topics in semantics are covered, including lexical semantics and the semantics of quantified noun phrases, adverbs, adjectives, performatives, and interrogatives. (...) Included are classic papers in the field of semantics as well as papers written especially for the volume. The volume comes with an extensive introduction designed not only to provide an overview of the field, but also to explain the technical concepts the beginner will need to tackle before the more demanding articles. Semantics will have appeal as a textbook for upper level and graduate courses and as a reference for scholars of semantics who want the classic articles in their field in one convenient place. (shrink)
The problem addressed is that of finding a sound characterization of ambiguity. Two kinds of characterizations are distinguished: tests and definitions. Various definitions of ambiguity are critically examined and contrasted with definitions of generality and indeterminacy, concepts with which ambiguity is sometimes confused. One definition of ambiguity is defended as being more theoretically adequate than others which have been suggested by both philosophers and linguists. It is also shown how this definition of ambiguity obviates a problem thought to be posed (...) by ambiguity for truth theoretical semantics. In addition, the best known test for ambiguity, namely the test by contradiction, is set out, its limitations discussed, and its connection with ambiguity's definition explained. The test is contrasted with a test for vagueness first proposed by Peirce and a test for generality propounded by Margalit. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer one example of conceptual change. Specifically, I contend that the discovery that viruses could cause cancer represents an excellent example of branch jumping, one of Thagard’s nine forms of conceptual change. Prior to about 1960, cancer was generally regarded as a degenerative, chronic, non-infectious disease. Cancer causation was therefore usually held to be a gradual process of accumulating cellular damage, caused by relatively non-specific component causes, acting over long periods of time. Viral infections, on the (...) other hand, were generally understood to be acute processes, whereby single, specific and necessary causal agents acted alone to produce disease. However, during the 1960s and 1970s, a number of cancers were discovered to have an infectious aetiology. Of particular note were two—Burkitt’s lymphoma and cervical cancer—which I will discuss in detail later in this piece. Together, these discoveries led, in the short term, to a tentative aetiological reclassification of some types of cancer as infectious diseases and, in the longer term, to a full-blown reclassification of cancer as an aetiological disease branch in its own right. This process of reclassification forms the empirical basis for my concluding remarks on the influence of classification upon causation in medicine. Through this, I aim to demonstrate that conceptual change, far from being a purely abstract concern of the philosopher of science, is of substantial import to scientific practitioners. (shrink)
In ‘Fregean Reference Defended’ (1995), Sosa presents a sophisticated descriptive theory of reference, which he calls ‘fregean’, and which he argues avoids standard counterexamples to more basic variants of this approach. What is characteristic of a fregean theory, in his sense, is the idea that what makes a person’s thought about some object, a, a thought about that particular thing, is the fact that a uniquely satisfies an appropriate individuator which is suitably operative in her thinking.1 On his version, (FT), (...) any individuating concept, or definite description, is an appropriate individuator, whether it picks out its referent entirely independently of context, and is therefore absolute (e.g. ), or it picks out its referent only with the aid of a context of use, and is therefore perspectival (e.g. ); and such an individuator, α, may be suitably operative in a person’s thinking in one of two ways. First, she may be thinking, de dicto, a proposition predicating some property φ with respect to α. Second, she may be thinking, de dicto, a proposition predicating φ with respect to another individuator, β, which is a member of a referential conception for her at that time, whose epistemic basis contains α as one of its great preponderance of individually co-referential members. The second possibility is designed to avoid standard counterexamples, in which, insofar as a person is thinking, de dicto, a proposition predicating φ with respect to some individuator, β, she is nevertheless intuitively thinking about something other than the unique satisfier of β, either because there is no such thing, just a near miss, or because, although there is, she is really thinking about something else, which may generally be believed to be the β (e.g. Donnellan, 1966; and Kripke, 1980). For Sosa argues that, in such cases, the intuitive object of thought uniquely satisfies an appropriately related α.. (shrink)
This book is a major contribution to the understanding of Heidegger and a rare attempt to bridge the schism between traditions of analytic and Continental philosophy. Cristina Lafont applies the core methodology of analytic philosophy, language analysis, to Heidegger's work providing both a clearer exegesis and a powerful critique of his approach to the subject of language. In Part One, she explores the Heideggerean conception of language in depth. In Part Two, she draws on recent work from theorists of direct (...) reference (Putnam, Donnellan and Kripke inter alia) to reveal the limitations of Heidegger's views and to show how language shapes our understanding of the world without making learning impossible. The book first appeared in German but has been substantially revised for the English edition. (shrink)
What, from a semantic perspective, is the difference between singular indefinite and definite descriptions? Just over a century ago, Russell provided what has become the standard philosophical response. Descriptions are quantifier phrases, not referring expressions. As such, they differ with respect to the quantities they denote. Indefinite descriptions denote existential quantities; definite descriptions denote uniquely existential quantities. Now around the 1930s and 1940s, some linguists, working independently of philosophers, developed a radically different response. Descriptions, linguists such as Jespersen held, were (...) referring expressions, not quantifier phrases. Accordingly, descriptions differ with respect their rules of reference. Indefinite descriptions refer to „novel‟ items, definite descriptions to „familiar‟ ones. My dissertation serves as the first systematic effort to bridge the gap between these two seemingly incompatible responses. It provides a satisfactory answer to the above question which links the seemingly intractable divide between Russellians and familiarity theorists. This is achieved by utilizing two observations: Donnellan‟s observation that speakers use descriptions not only as devices of quantification but also as devices of reference, and Devitt‟s observation that these two uses, being regular, systematic, and cross-linguistic, have the status of convention in our language. Taken in conjunction, these two observations, I argue, require postulating that descriptions are semantically ambiguous. These observations compel the thoughtful theorist to maintain that descriptions have two distinct semantic functions, one quantificational and one referential. Accordingly, the semantic contrast between singular indefinite and definite descriptions is two-fold. Descriptions can contrast either quantificationally or with respect to the speaker‟s view of the audience‟s familiarity with the description‟s referent. (shrink)
There are two major semantic theories of proper names: Semantic Descriptivism and Direct Reference. According to Semantic Descriptivism, the semantic content of a proper name N for a speaker S is identical to the semantic content of a definite description “the F” that the speaker associates with the name. According to Direct Reference, the semantic content of a proper name is identical to its referent. As is well known, Semantic Descriptivism suffers from a number of drawbacks first pointed out by (...)Donnellan (1970) and Kripke (1972).1 The first difficulty is semantic: in many cases, the definite description that S associates with N (if it denotes) denotes an entity other than the referent of N. The second difficulty is epistemic: in many cases, contrary to what Semantic Descriptivism predicts, an utterance of “N=the F” does not semantically express a proposition that is knowable a priori. And the third difficulty is modal: although Semantic Descriptivism entails that the proposition semantically expressed by an utterance of “N=the F” is metaphysically necessary, in many cases the relevant proposition is actually metaphysically contingent. Direct Reference faces three main difficulties of its own. First, there is the problem of cognitive significance (or, as it has come to be known, Frege’s Puzzle): if the content of a proper name is its referent, then different proper names have the same content, and hence utterances of “N=M” and “N=N” semantically express the same proposition; yet these two utterances differ in cognitive significance, and it would seem 1 that utterances semantically expressing the same proposition should not differ in cognitive significance. Second, there is the problem of substitution: if the content of a proper name is its referent, then co-referential proper names should be intersubstitutable in propositional attitude contexts salva veritate; yet linguistic intuitions suggest that substitution of co-referential proper names in such contexts often fails to preserve truthvalue.. (shrink)
Abstract: Particularism is usually understood as a position in moral philosophy. In fact, it is a view about all reasons, not only moral reasons. Here, I show that particularism is a familiar and controversial position in the philosophy of science and mathematics. I then argue for particularism with respect to scientific and mathematical reasoning. This has a bearing on moral particularism, because if particularism about moral reasons is true, then particularism must be true with respect to reasons of any sort, (...) including mathematical and scientific reasons. (shrink)
In this thesis, I give a metascientific account of causality in medicine. I begin with two historical cases of causal discovery. These are the discovery of the causation of Burkitt’s lymphoma by the Epstein-Barr virus, and of the various viral causes suggested for cervical cancer. These historical cases then support a philosophical discussion of causality in medicine. This begins with an introduction to the Russo- Williamson thesis (RWT), and discussion of a range of counter-arguments against it. Despite these, I argue (...) that the RWT is historically workable, given a small number of modifications. I then expand Russo and Williamson’s account. I first develop their suggestion that causal relationships in medicine require some kind of evidence of mechanism. I begin with a number of accounts of mechanisms and produce a range of consensus features of them. I then develop this consensus position by reference to the two historical case studies with an eye to their operational competence. In particular, I suggest that it is mechanistic models and their representations which we are concerned with in medicine, rather than the mechanism as it exists in the world. -/- I then employ these mechanistic models to give an account of the sorts of evidence used in formulating and evaluating causal claims. Again, I use the two human viral oncogenesis cases to give this account. I characterise and distinguish evidence of mechanism from evidence of difference-making, and relate this to mechanistic models. I then suggest the relationship between types of evidence presents us with a means of tackling the reference-class problem. This sets the scene for the final chapter. Here, I suggest the manner in which these two different classes of evidence become integrated is also reflected in the way that developing research programmes change as their associated causal claims develop. (shrink)
In his classic paper, “Delusional thinking and perceptual disorder,” Brendan Maher (1974) argues that psychiatric delusions are hypotheses designed to explain anomalous experiences, and are “developed through the operation of normal cognitive processes.” Consider, for instance, the Capgras delusion. Patients suffering from this particular delusion believe that someone close to them—such as a spouse, a sibling, a parent, or a child—has been replaced by an impostor: by someone who bears a striking resemblance to the “original” and who (for reasons (...) unknown) is intent on passing herself off as that individual. On Maher's view, the “Impostor Hypothesis” is the response of a rational agent to the anomalous experience it is invoked to explain. Recently, a number of philosophers have argued that Maher's analysis of delusion doesn't work when applied to the Capgras delusion. In this paper, I defend Maher's analysis against these arguments. However, my aim is not merely to defend Maher's analysis, but also to draw attention to some of the methodological problems that have led to its hasty dismissal. (shrink)
My interest in semantic categories arises out of consideration of what is often called structural entailment. Consider the following: 1. Lisa quickly left; so Lisa left. The first of the two sentences in (1) entails the second; necessarily, if the first is true then so is the second. Moreover, (1) is an instance of a more general pattern whose validity doesn’t seem to depend on the specific meanings of the words in (1). The adverb ‘quickly’, for example, can be replaced (...) with any of a wide range of adverbs without loss of validity; analogous remarks hold for the verb ‘leave’. Here are a few more paradigm examples of structural entailment. (shrink)
It has been persuasively argued by David Kaplan and others that the proposition expressed by statements like (1) is a singular proposition, true in just those worlds in which a certain person, David Israel, is a computer scientist. Call this proposition P . The truth of this proposition does not require that the utterance (1) occur, or even that Israel has ever said anything at all. Marcus, Donnellan, Kripke and others have persuasively argued for a view of proper names (...) that, put in Kaplan’s terms and applied to this example, implies that the proposition expressed by (2) is also simply P .1 The thesis that expressions of a certain category (names, indexicals, demonstratives, pronouns, descriptions, etc.) are referential 2holds that these expressions contribute the object to which they refer, rather than a mode of presentation of that object, to the propositions expressed by statements containing them. The thesis that indexicals and names are referential creates the challenge of explaining the difference in cognitive signiﬁcance between statements like (1) and (2), that express the same proposition[Wettstein, 1986]. The problem has two parts, which.. (shrink)
Donnellan and Predelli have both responded to accusations that in virtue of involving intentions in their accounts of reference they are committed to ‘Humpty Dumpty’ theories of reference. I examine their responses and argue that they do not succeed in escaping this accusation. Corazza et al. (2002) propose an alternative to Predelli’s account involving linguistic conventions instead of intentions. I argue that Predelli’s responses to Corazza et al. are unsatisfactory and that the intentional theorist is obliged either to accept (...) the Humpty Dumpty conclusion or to adopt the conventional picture, thus relegating intentions to a less significant role in their reference theory. (shrink)
One way to challenge the substantiveness of a particular philosophical issue is to argue that those who debate the issue are engaged in a merely verbal dispute. For example, it has been maintained that the apparent disagreement over the mind/brain identity thesis is a merely verbal dispute, and thus that there is no substantive question of whether or not mental properties are identical to neurological properties. The goal of this paper is to help clarify the relationship between mere verbalness and (...) substantiveness. I first argue that we should see mere verbalness as a certain kind of discourse defect that arises when the parties differ as to what each takes to be the immediate question under discussion. I then argue that mere verbalness, so understood, does not imply that the question either party is attempting to address is a non-substantive one. Even if it turns out that the parties to the mind/brain dispute are addressing subtly different questions, these might both be substantive questions to which their respective metaphysical views provide substantive answers. One reason it is tempting to reach deflationary conclusions from the charge of mere verbalness is that we fail to distinguish it from the claim that a sentence under dispute is, in a certain sense, indisputable. Another reason is that we fail to distinguish mere verbalness from a certain sort of indeterminacy. While indisputability and indeterminacy plausibly capture forms of non-substantiveness, I argue that mere verbalness is insufficient to establish either indisputability or indeterminacy. (shrink)
It is argued in this study that (i) progress in the philosophy of mathematical practice requires a general positive account of informal proof; (ii) the best candidate is to think of informal proofs as arguments that depend on their matter as well as their logical form; (iii) articulating the dependency of informal inferences on their content requires a redefinition of logic as the general study of inferential actions; (iv) it is a decisive advantage of this conception of logic that it (...) accommodates the many mathematical proofs that include actions on objects other than propositions; (v) this conception of logic permits the articulation of project-sized tasks for the philosophy of mathematical practice, thereby supplying a partial characterisation of normal research in the field. (shrink)
In Max Blackâs Objection to MindâBody Identity, Ned Block seeks to offer a definitive treatment of property dualism arguments that exploit modes of presentation. I will argue that Blockâs central response to property dualism is confused. The property dualist can happily grant that mental modes of presentation have a hidden physical nature. What matters for the property dualist is not the hidden physical side of the property, but the apparent mental side. Once that âthinâ side is granted, the property dualist (...) has won. I conclude that although Block is wrong to think that the property dualist must argue for so-called thin mental properties, Block, and the physicalist, are able to resist property dualism. But any attempt to bolster this resistance and do more than dogmatically assert the crucial identity runs a serious risk of undermining the physicalism it is meant to save. (shrink)
Qualia have proved difficult to integrate into a broadly physicalistic worldview. In this paper, I argue that despite popular wisdom in the philosophy of mind, qualia’s intrinsicality is not sufficient for their non-reducibility. Second, I diagnose why philosophers mistakenly focused on intrinsicality. I then proceed to argue that qualia are categorical and end with some reflections on how the conceptual territory looks when we keep our focus on categoricity.
There are two major semantic theories of proper names: Semantic Descriptivism and Direct Reference. According to Semantic Descriptivism, the semantic content of a proper name N for a speaker S is identical to the semantic content of a definite description “the F” that the speaker associates with the name. According to Direct Reference, the semantic content of a proper name is identical to its referent. Semantic Descriptivism suffers from a number of drawbacks first pointed out by Donnellan (1970) and (...) Kripke (1972). Direct Reference faces difficulties of its own, most importantly the problem of empty names. The most promising Directly Referential solution to this problem is the Unfilled Proposition view, according to which utterances of sentences containing empty names semantically express unfilled propositions. But this view faces the problem of accounting for the intuition that negative existentials involving empty names are true. The most promising way of dealing with this problem within Unfilled Proposition theory is to suppose (i) that utterances of sentences may be used to pragmatically convey propositions they do not semantically express, and (ii) that the proposition pragmatically conveyed by a speaker S's utterance of a sentence containing an empty name N (where “the F” is a definite description S associates with N) is identical to the proposition semantically expressed by an utterance of the sentence obtained by replacing N with “the F”. Call this view “Pragmatic Descriptivism”. With respect to the problem of negative existentials, Pragmatic Descriptivists can insist that, although an utterance of “Santa does not exist” is literally neither true nor false, our taking it to be true may be explained as the result of our having confused the unfilled proposition it semantically expresses with the clearly true descriptive proposition it pragmatically conveys. Despite its theoretical virtues, Pragmatic Descriptivism has recently come under fire. Everett (2003), in particular, has advanced four different lines of criticism, to which Adams and Dietrich (2004) have responded in some detail. In this article, I have two main aims. The first is to argue that Adams and Dietrich's replies to Everett's criticisms (with one exception) are ineffective. I conclude that there is no acceptable strategy for solving the problem of empty names within Direct Reference theory. The second is to argue that there is a promising alternative to Semantic Descriptivism and Direct Reference that requires us to fill unfilled propositions with names, thereby solving the problem of empty names. (shrink)
Notice that each of (1)–(4) is an instance of a more general pattern. For example, we could replace ‘black’ in (1) with any of a wide range of other adjectives such as ‘furry’ or ‘hungry’ or ‘three-legged’, without rendering the entailment invalid or any less obvious. Similarly, there are a number of verbs that occur in entailments parallel to (3): ‘Moe boiled the water; so the water boiled’; ‘Bart blew up the school; so the school blew up’; ‘Homer sank the (...) boat; so the boat sank’ and so on. (shrink)
These days it is widely agreed that there is no such thing as absolute motion and rest; the motion of an object can only be characterized with respect to some chosen frame of reference.1 This is a fact of which many of us are well-aware, and yet a cursory consideration of the ways we ascribe motion to objects gives the impression that it is a fact we persistently ignore. We insist to the police officer that we came to a full (...) and complete stop at the stop sign, we fret that traffic is moving too slowly, we observe that the sun has dropped below the hills on the horizon, all without ever saying which frames of reference we have in mind. (shrink)
This article canvasses five senses in which one might introduce an historical element into the philosophy of mathematics: 1. The temporal dimension of logic; 2. Explanatory Appeal to Context rather than to General Principles; 3. Heraclitean Flux; 4. All history is the History of Thought; and 5. History is Non-Judgmental. It concludes by adapting Bernard Williams’ distinction between ‘history of philosophy’ and ‘history of ideas’ to argue that the philosophy of mathematics is unavoidably historical, but need not and must not (...) merge with historiography. (shrink)
I argue that an identity theorist can successfully resist a Kripkean modal argument by employing what I call a metaconceptual move. Furthermore, by showing how this move fails to apply straightforwardly to Chalmers' argument, I clarify the nature of the threat presented by Chalmers and how it differs from a Kripkean modal argument.