Knowing-how is currently a hot topic in epistemology. But what is the proper subject matter of a study of knowing-how and in what sense can such a study be regarded as epistemological? The aim of this paper is to answer such metaepistemological questions. This paper offers a metaepistemology of knowing-how, including considerations of the subject matter, task, and nature of the epistemology of knowing-how. I will achieve this aim, first, by distinguishing varieties of knowing-how and, second, by introducing and elaborating (...) the concept of hybrid knowing-how, which entails a combination of a ground-level ability and a meta-level perspective on that ability. The stance I wish to advocate is that the epistemology of knowing-how is a normative discipline whose main task is to study the nature and value of human practical intelligence required to do things in a particular manner. (shrink)
David Lewis (1983, 1988) and Laurence Nemirow (1980, 1990) claim that knowing what an experience is like is knowing-how, not knowing-that. They identify this know-how with the abilities to remember, imagine, and recognize experiences, and Lewis labels their view ‘the Ability Hypothesis’. The Ability Hypothesis has intrinsic interest. But Lewis and Nemirow devised it specifically to block certain anti-physicalist arguments due to Thomas Nagel (1974, 1986) and Frank Jackson (1982, 1986). Does it?
The paper deals with the question of the structure of knowledge and the precise relationship between propositional "knowledge that" and dispositional "knowledge how." In the first part of my essay, I provide an analysis of the term 'knowing how' and argue that the usual alternatives in the recent epistemological debate – knowing how is either a form of propositional or dispositional knowledge – are misleading. In fact it depends on the semantic and pragmatic context of the usage of this term (...) whether 'knowing how' refers to a type of dispositional knowledge, to propositional knowledge, or to a hybrid form of both. Only in the first case, can one say that dispositional know how cannot be reduced to any form of propositional knowledge. Yet, this case is the most interesting one to consider in the investigation of the nature of knowledge, if one assumes that knowing that p presupposes "having found out that p." Having found something out, however, presupposes certain acts of epistemic inquiry and corresponding epistemic abilities. Examined more carefully, it is shown that the dispositional knowledge-how is a necessary condition for propositional knowledge-that, hence propositional knowledge-that is a species of the dispositional knowledge-how. Accordingly, dispositional knowledge has to be understood as being at the very core of our notion of knowledge, including propositional knowledge. (shrink)
In “Knowing How”, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson (2001) propose an intellectualist account of knowledge-how, according to which all knowledge-how is a type of propositional knowledge about ways to act. In this article, I examine this intellectualist account by applying it to the epistemology of language. I argue that (a) Stanley and Williamson mischaracterize the concept of knowledge-how in the epistemology of language, and (b) intellectualism about knowledge of language fails in its explanatory task. One lesson that can be drawn (...) from this case study is that Stanley and Williamson's intellectualism is limited in its explanatory scope and power insofar as it cannot explain the knowledge of language, which is usually conceived as knowledge-how and as non-propositional in character. Their intellectualist claim that all knowledge-how is knowledge-that should be withdrawn. (shrink)
Stanley’s insightful new book refines his earlier formulation of intellectualism. Indeed, it does a whole lot more, but leaves open some tough questions. He makes a powerful case for the view that knowing how to do something is to know, of a certain way, that one could do that thing in that way. But he says surprisingly little about what ways are, and how they might differ, depending on the kind of case. And he doesn't exclude the possibility that in (...) some cases what one knows in knowing-how is a way of doing something rather than a fact about a way of doing it. (shrink)
Jason Stanley's Know How aims to offer an attractive intellectualist analysis of knowledge how that is compositionally predicted by the best available treatments of sentences like 'Emile knows how to make his dad smile.' This paper explores one significant way in which Stanley's compositional treatment fails to generate his preferred account, and advocates a minimal solution.
Intellectualism is the doctrine that knowing how to do something consists in knowing that something is the case. Drawing on contemporary linguistic theories of indirect questions, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson have recently revived intellectualism, proposing to interpret a sentence of the form ‘s knows how to F’ as ascribing to s knowledge of a certain way w of Fing that she can F in w. In order to preserve knowledgehow’s connection to action and thus avoid an overgeneration problem, they (...) add that this knowledge must be had under a “practical” mode of presentation of w. I argue that (i) there can be non-knowledgeable true beliefs under a practical mode of presentation and that (ii) some such beliefs would nevertheless be sufficient to establish knowledge-how’s characteristic connection to action, and thus count as knowledge-how. If so, Stanley & Williamson’s account is faced with a serious undergeneration problem. Moreover, the structural features on which the argument relies make it likely to present a quite general challenge for intellectualist strategies. (shrink)
Anti-Intellectualists about know-how , following Ryle, hold that knowing how to do something is simply having the ability to do it. With qualifications, I defend this traditional view. The central motivation is drawn from observations about what is involved in learning to do something. Two sorts of ability are distinguished and the thesis is defended against putative counterexamples.
Ryle’s distinction between knowing that and knowing how has recently been challenged. The paper first briefly defends the distinction and then proceeds to address the question of classifying moral knowledge. Moral knowledge is special in that it is practical, that is, it is essentially a motive. Hence the way we understand moral knowledge crucially depends on the way we understand motivation. The Humean theory of motivation is wrong in saying that reason cannot be a motive, but right in saying that (...) desire is essential for motivating us. The right response to the Humean theory of motivation is to see that moral knowledge is desire-related rationality or thought-related desire. Moral knowledge is neither knowing that nor knowing how but rather a third species of knowledge which we may call “knowing to do.” Knowing to do is to be rationally disposed to do the right thing. This understanding of moral knowledge is exactly what we can learn from Aristotle’s ethics. (shrink)
Stanley and Williamson have defended the intellectualist thesis that knowing-how is a subspecies of knowing-that by appeal to the syntax and semantics of ascriptions of knowing-how. Critics have objected that this way of defending intellectualism places undue weight on linguistic considerations and fails to give sufficient attention to empirical considerations from the scientific study of the mind. In this paper, I examine and reject Stanley's recent attempt to answer the critics.
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)
Many philosophers believe that there is a fundamental distinction between knowing that something is the case and knowing how to do something. According to Gilbert Ryle, to whom the insight is credited, knowledge-how is an ability, which is in turn a complex of dispositions. Knowledge-that, on the other hand, is not an ability, or anything similar. Rather, knowledge-that is a relation between a thinker and a true proposition.
Moral disagreement is widely held to pose a threat for metaethical realism and objectivity. In this paper I attempt to understand how it is that moral disagreement is supposed to present a problem for metaethical realism. I do this by going through several distinct (though often related) arguments from disagreement, carefully distinguishing between them, and critically evaluating their merits. My conclusions are rather skeptical: Some of the arguments I discuss fail rather clearly. Others supply with a challenge to realism, but (...) not one we have any reason to believe realism cannot address successfully. Others beg the question against the moral realist, and yet others raise serious objections to realism, but ones that—when carefully stated—can be seen not to be essentially related to moral disagreement. Arguments based on moral disagreement itself have almost no weight, I conclude, against moral realism. (shrink)
In this article I have two primary goals. First, I present two recent views on the distinction between knowledge-that and knowledge-how (Stanley and Williamson, The Journal of Philosophy 98(8):411–444, 2001; Hetherington, Epistemology futures, 2006). I contend that neither of these provides conclusive arguments against the distinction. Second, I discuss studies from neuroscience and experimental psychology that relate to this distinction. Having examined these studies, I then defend a third view that explains certain relevant data from these studies by positing the (...) double dissociation of knowledge-that and knowledge-how and that is also able to do explanatory work elsewhere. (shrink)
The question how to account for illusion has had a prominent role in shaping theories of perception throughout the history of philosophy. Prevailing philosophical wisdom today has it that phenomena of illusion force us to choose between the following two options. First, reject altogether the early modern empiricist idea that the core subjective character of perceptual experience is to be given simply by citing the object presented in that experience. Instead we must characterize perceptual experience entirely in terms of its (...) representational content. Second, retain the early modern idea that the core subjective character of experience is simply constituted by the identity of its direct objects, but admit that these must be mind-dependent entities, distinct from the mind-independent physical objects we all know and love. I argue here that the early modern empiricists had an indispensable insight. The idea that the core subjective character of perceptual experience is to be given simply by citing the object presented in that experience is more fundamental than any appeal to perceptual content, and can account for illusion, and indeed hallucination, without resorting to the problematic postulation of any such mind-dependent objects. (shrink)
You know that George W. Bush is the U.S. president, but you know how to ride a bicycle. What's the difference? According to intellectualists, not much: either knowing how to do something is a matter of knowing that something is the case or, at the very least, know-how requires a prior bit of theoretical knowledge. Anti-intellectualists deny this order of priority: either knowing-how and knowing-that are independent or, at the very least, knowing that something is the case requires a prior (...) bit of know-how. Much of the dispute centers on the relationship between knowing how to do something and having an ability to do it. If having an ability is necessary and sufficient for knowing-how, this is thought to provide comfort for anti-intellectualists. This paper traces the place of ability in the know-how/know-that debate from Ryle's seminal statement of anti-intellectualism through Stanley and Williamson's more recent defense of intellectualism. (shrink)
Metaethical—or, more generally, metanormative—realism faces a serious epistemological challenge. Realists owe us—very roughly speaking—an account of how it is that we can have epistemic access to the normative truths about which they are realists. This much is, it seems, uncontroversial among metaethicists, myself included. But this is as far as the agreement goes, for it is not clear—nor uncontroversial—how best to understand the challenge, what the best realist way of coping with it is, and how successful this attempt is. In (...) this paper I try, first, to present the challenge in its strongest version, and second, to show how realists—indeed, robust realists—can cope with it. The strongest version of the challenge is, I argue, that of explaining the correlation between our normative beliefs and the independent normative truths. And I suggest an evolutionary explanation (of a pre-established harmony kind) as a way of solving it. (shrink)
The mind-body problem arises because all theories about mind-brain connections are too deeply obscure to gain general acceptance. This essay suggests a clear, simple, mind-brain solution that avoids all these perennial obscurities. (1) It does so, first of all, by reworking Strawson and Stoljar’s views. They argue that while minds differ from observable brains, minds can still be what brains are physically like behind the appearances created by our outer senses. This could avoid many obscurities. But to clearly do so, (...) it must first clear up its own deep obscurity about what brains are like behind appearances, and how they create the mind’s privacy, unity and qualia – all of which observable brains lack. (2) This can ultimately be done with a clear, simple assumption: our consciousness is the physical substance that certain brain events consist of beyond appearances. For example, the distinctive electrochemistry in nociceptor ion channels wholly consists of pain. This rejects that pain is a brain property: instead it’s a brain substance that occupies space in brains, and exerts forces by which it’s indirectly detectable via EEGs. (3) This assumption is justified because treating pains as physical substances avoids the perennial obscurities in mind-body theories. For example, this ‘clear physicalism’ avoids the obscure nonphysical pain of dualism and its spinoffs. Pain is instead an electrochemical substance. It isn’t private because it’s hidden in nonphysical minds, but instead because it’s just indirectly detected in the physical world in ways that leave its real nature hidden. (4) Clear physicalism also avoids puzzling reductions of private pains into more fundamental terms of observable brain activity. Instead pain is a hidden, private substance underlying this observable activity. Also, pain is fundamental in itself, for it’s what some brain activity fundamentally consists of. This also avoids reductive idealist claims that the world just exists in the mind. They yield obscure views on why we see a world that isn’t really out there. (5) Clear physicalism also avoids obscure claims that pain is information processing which is realizable in multiple hardwares (not just in electrochemistry). Molecular neuroscience now casts doubt on multiple realization. Also, it’s puzzling how abstract information gets ‘realized’ in brains and affects brains (compare ancient quandries on how universals get embodied in matter). A related idea is that of supervenient properties in nonreductive physicalism. They involve obscure overdetermination and emergent consciousness. Clear physicalism avoids all this. Pain isn’t an abstract property obscurely related to brains – it’s simply a substance in brains. (6) Clear physicalism also avoids problems in neuroscience. Neuroscience explains the mind’s unity in problematic ways using synchrony, attention, etc.. Clear physicalism explains unity in terms of intense neuroelectrical activity reaching continually along brain circuits as a conscious whole. This fits evidence that just highly active, highly connected circuits are fully conscious. Neuroscience also has problems explaining how qualia are actually encoded by brains, and how to get from these abstract codes to actual pain, fear, etc.. Clear physicalism explains qualia electrochemically, using growing evidence that both sensory and emotional qualia correlate with very specific electrical channels in neural receptors. Multiple-realization advocates overlook this important evidence. (7) Clear physicalism thus bridges the mind-brain gulf by showing how brains can possess the mind’s qualia, unity and privacy – and how minds can possess features of brain activity like occupying space and exerting forces. This unorthodox nonreductive physicalism may be where physicalism leads to when stripped of all its reductive and nonreductive obscurities. It offers a clear, simple mind-body solution by just filling in what neuroscience is silent about, namely, what brain matter is like behind perceptions of it. (shrink)
Scientific models invariably involve some degree of idealization, abstraction, or fictionalization of their target system. Nonetheless, I argue that there are circumstances under which such false models can offer genuine scientific explanations. After reviewing three different proposals in the literature for how models can explain, I shall introduce a more general account of what I call model explanations , which specify the conditions under which models can be counted as explanatory. I shall illustrate this new framework by applying it to (...) the case of Bohr’s model of the atom, and conclude by drawing some distinctions between phenomenological models, explanatory models, and fictional models. (shrink)
What modal relation must a fact bear to a belief in order for this belief to constitute knowledge of that fact? Externalists have proposed various answers, including some that combine externalism with contextualism. We shall find that various forms of externalism share a modal conception of “sensitivity” open to serious objections. Fortunately, the undeniable intuitive attractiveness of this conception can be explained through an easily confused but far preferable notion of “safety.” The denouement of our reflections, finally, will be to (...) show how replacing sensitivity with safety makes it possible to defend plain Moorean common sense against the spurious advantages over it claimed by skeptical, tracking, relevant-alternative, and contextualist accounts. (shrink)
Reasons can play a variety of roles in a variety of contexts. For instance, reasons can motivate and guide us in our actions (and omissions), in the sense that we often act in the light of reasons. And reasons can be grounds for beliefs, desires and emotions and can be used to evaluate, and sometimes to justify, all these. In addition, reasons are used in explanations: both in explanations of human actions, beliefs, desires, emotions, etc., and in explanations of a (...) wide range of phenomena involving all sorts of animate and inanimate substances. This diversity has encouraged the thought that the term 'reason' is ambiguous or has different senses in different contexts. Moreover, this view often goes hand in hand with the claim that reasons of these different kinds belong to different ontological categories: to facts (or something similar) in the case of normative/justifying reasons, and to mental states in the case of motivating/explanatory reasons. In this paper I shall explore some of the main roles that reasons play and, on that basis, I shall offer a classification of kinds of reasons. As will become clear, my classification of reasons is at odds with much of the literature in several respects: first, because of my views about how we should understand the claim that reasons are classified into different kinds; second, because of the kinds into which I think reasons should be classified; and, finally, because of the consequences I think this view has for the ontology of reasons. (shrink)
I defend Frank Jackson's knowledge argument against physicalism in the philosophy of mind from a criticism that has been advanced by Laurence Nemirow and David Lewis. According to their criticism, what Mary lacked when she was in her black and white room was a set of abilities; she did not know how to recognize or imagine certain types of experience from a first-person perspective. Her subsequent discovery of what it is like to experience redness amounts to no more than her (...) acquisition of these abilities. The physicalist can admit this, since it does not commit one to the view that there are any facts of which Mary was ignorant (in spite of her exhaustive knowledge of truths about the physical world). I argue against this view, on the grounds that the knowledge of what an experience is like cannot be equated with the possession of any set of abilities. (shrink)
A growing number of studies have investigated the various dimensions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the literature. However, relatively few studies have considered its impacts on employees. The purpose of this study is to analyze how CSR affects the organizational commitment of employees based on the social identity theory (SIT). The proposed model was tested on a sample of 269 business professionals working in Turkey. The findings of the study revealed that CSR to social and non-social stakeholders, employees, and (...) customers were the significant predictors of organizational commitment. However, there was no link between CSR to government and the commitment level of employees. (shrink)
Chapter 1: Ryle on Knowing How Chapter 2: Knowledge-wh Chapter 3: PRO and the Representation of First-Person Thought Chapter 4: Ways of Thinking Chapter 5: Knowledge How Chapter 6: Ascribing Knowledge How Chapter 7: The Cognitive Science of Practical Knowledge Chapter 8: Knowledge Justified Preface A fact, as I shall use the term, is a true proposition. A proposition is the sort of thing that is capable of being believed or asserted. A proposition is also something that is characteristically the (...) kind of thing that is true or false; that snow is white is a true proposition, that Barack Obama is President of the United States as I am writing these words is another. Facts in this sense are not only among the things we believe and assert; they are also the kinds of things we know. The thesis of this book is that knowing how to do something is the same as knowing a fact. It follows that learning how to do something is learning a fact. For example, when you learned how to swim, what happened is that you learned some facts about swimming. Knowledge of these facts is what gave you knowledge of how to swim. Something similar occurred with every other activity that you now know how to do, such as riding a bicycle or cooking a meal. You know how to perform activities solely in virtue of your knowledge of facts about those activities. (shrink)
A "machine" is any causal physical system, hence we are machines, hence machines can be conscious. The question is: which kinds of machines can be conscious? Chances are that robots that can pass the Turing Test -- completely indistinguishable from us in their behavioral capacities -- can be conscious (i.e. feel), but we can never be sure (because of the "other-minds" problem). And we can never know HOW they have minds, because of the "mind/body" problem. We can only know how (...) they pass the Turing Test, but not how, why or whether that makes them feel. (shrink)
Stanley and Williamson (The Journal of Philosophy 98(8), 411–444 2001 ) reject the fundamental distinction between what Ryle once called ‘knowing-how’ and ‘knowing-that’. They claim that knowledge-how is just a species of knowledge-that, i.e. propositional knowledge, and try to establish their claim relying on the standard semantic analysis of ‘knowing-how’ sentences. We will undermine their strategy by arguing that ‘knowing-how’ phrases are under-determined such that there is not only one semantic analysis and by critically discussing and refuting the positive account (...) of knowing-how they offer. Furthermore, we argue for an extension of the classical ‘knowing-how’/‘knowing-that’-dichotomy by presenting a new threefold framework: Using some core-examples of the recent debate, we will show that we can analyze knowledge situations that are not captured by the Rylean dichotomy and argue that, therefore, the latter has to be displaced by a more fine-grained theory of knowledge-formats. We will distinguish three different formats of knowledge we can have of our actions, namely (1) propositional, (2) practical, and (3) image-like formats of knowledge. Furthermore, we will briefly analyze the underlying representations of each of these knowledge-formats. (shrink)
Using empirical evidence to attack intuitions can be epistemically dangerous, because various of the complaints that one might raise against them (e.g., that they are fallible; that we possess no non-circular defense of their reliability) can be raised just as easily against perception itself. But the opponents of intuition wish to challenge intuitions without at the same time challenging the rest of our epistemic apparatus. How might this be done? Let us use the term “hopefulness” to refer to the extent (...) to which we possess a good capacity for the detection and correction of the errors of any fallible source of evidence. I argue that we should not trust putative sources of evidence that are substantially lacking in hopefulness (even if they are basically reliable), and that we are indeed already operating under such a norm in our ordinary and scientific practices. I argue further that the philosophical practice of the appeal to intuitions is, in these terms, badly hopeless... (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to raise some questions about the idea, which was first made prominent by Gilbert Ryle, and has remained associated with him ever since, that there are at least two types of knowledge (or to put it in a slightly different way, two types of states ascribed by knowledge ascriptions) identified, on the one hand, as the knowledge (or state) which is expressed in the ‘knowing that’ construction (sometimes called, for fairly obvious reasons, ‘propositional’ or (...) ‘factual’ knowledge) and, on the other, as the knowledge (or state) which is ascribed in the ‘knowing how’ construction (sometimes called ‘practical’ knowledge). This idea, which might be said to be Ryle's most lasting philosophical legacy, has, in some vague form, remained part of conventional wisdom in philosophy since he put it forward. My purpose here is fairly accurately described as ‘raising questions’, since both the criticisms of the received view (as I interpret it), and the positive alternative suggestions to be advanced, are, to some extent, tentative and exploratory. The aim is to assemble a broad range of evidence for the conclusion that we need to replace the standard account, to query especially what Ryle suggested as evidence for it, and to explore what seems to me to be the indicated replacement for it. (shrink)
By “deciding how to decide,” I mean using practical reasoning to regulate one's principles of practical reasoning. David Gauthier has suggested that deciding how to decide is something that every rational agent does. According to Gauthier, we assess rival principles of practical reasoning, which tell us how to choose among actions; and assessing how to choose among actions certainly sounds like deciding how to decide. One of my goals in this essay is to argue, in opposition to Gauthier, that assessing (...) rival principles of practical reasoning is a job for theoretical rather than practical reasoning. How to decide is something that we discover rather than decide. The idea that our principles of practical reasoning can be regulated by practical reasoning is essential to Gauthier's defence of his own, somewhat unorthodox conception of those principles. And although I do not endorse the specifics of Gauthier's conception, I do endorse its spirit. There is a flaw in the orthodox conception of practical reasoning, and Gauthier has put his finger on it. Unfortunately, Gauthier's account of why it is a flaw, and how it should be fixed, ultimately rests on practical considerations, whose relevance is open to question if, as I believe, practical reasoning cannot regulate itself. This essay therefore has a second goal, which complicates matters considerably. Although I want to reject Gauthier's notion that we decide how to decide, I also want to preserve what rests upon that notion, in Gauthier's view: I want to resettle Gauthier's critique of the orthodoxy on a new foundation. (shrink)
How should we count people who have two cerebral hemispheres that cooperate to support one mental life at the level required for personhood even though each hemisphere can be disconnected from the other and support its “own” divergent mental life at that level? On the standard method of counting people, there is only one person sitting in your chair and thinking your thoughts even if you have two cerebral hemispheres of this kind. Is this method accurate? In this paper, I (...) argue that it is not, and I advocate an alternative I call the Multiple Person View. (shrink)
Expressivists have a problem with negation. The problem is that they have not, to date, been able to explain why ‘murdering is wrong’ and ‘murdering is not wrong’ are inconsistent sentences. In this paper, I explain the nature of the problem, and why the best efforts of Gibbard, Dreier, and Horgan and Timmons don’t solve it. Then I show how to diagnose where the problem comes from, and consequently how it is possible for expressivists to solve it. Expressivists should accept (...) this solution, I argue, because it is demonstrably the only way of avoiding the problem, and because it generalizes. Once we see how to solve the negation problem, I show, it becomes easy to state a constructive, compositional expressivist semantics for a purely normative language with the expressive power of propositional logic, in which we can for the first time give explanatory, formally adequate expressivist accounts of logical inconsistency, logical entailment, and logical validity. As a corollary, I give what I take to be the first real expressivist explanation of why Geach’s original moral modus ponens argument is genuinely logically valid. This proves that the problem with expressivism cannot be that it can’t account for the logical properties of complex normative sentences. But it does not show that the same solution can work for a language with both normative and descriptive predicates, let alone that expressivists are able to deal with more complex linguistic constructions like tense, modals, or even quantifiers. In the final section, I show what kind of constraints the solution offered here would place expressivists under, in answering these further questions. (shrink)
In my book How the Mind Works, I defended the theory that the human mind is a naturally selected system of organs of computation. Jerry Fodor claims that 'the mind doesn't work that way'(in a book with that title) because (1) Turing Machines cannot duplicate humans' ability to perform abduction (inference to the best explanation); (2) though a massively modular system could succeed at abduction, such a system is implausible on other grounds; and (3) evolution adds nothing to our understanding (...) of the mind. In this review I show that these arguments are flawed. First, my claim that the mind is a computational system is different from the claim Fodor attacks (that the mind has the architecture of a Turing Machine); therefore the practical limitations of Turing Machines are irrelevant. Second, Fodor identifies abduction with the cumulative accomplishments of the scientific community over millennia. This is very different from the accomplishments of human common sense, so the supposed gap between human cognition and computational models may be illusory. Third, my claim about biological specialization, as seen in organ systems, is distinct from Fodor's own notion of encapsulated modules, so the limitations of the latter are irrelevant. Fourth, Fodor's arguments dismissing of the relevance of evolution to psychology are unsound. (shrink)
This paper outlines how we may understand knowing-that as a kind of knowing-how-to, and thereby as an ability. (Contrast this form of analysis with the more commonly attempted reduction, of knowing-how-to to knowing-that.) The sort of ability in question has much potential complexity. In general, questioning can, but need not, be part of this complexity. However, questioning is always an element in the complexity that is philosophical knowing. The paper comments on the nature of this particular form of knowing.
Normal children learn tens of thousands of words, and do so quickly and efficiently, often in highly impoverished environments. In How Children Learn the Meanings of Words, I argue that word learning is the product of certain cognitive and linguistic abilities that include the ability to acquire concepts, an appreciation of syntactic cues to meaning, and a rich understanding of the mental states of other people. These capacities are powerful, early emerging, and to some extent uniquely human, but they are (...) not special to word learning. This proposal is an alternative to the view that word learning is the result of simple associative learning mechanisms, and it rejects as well the notion that children possess constraints, either innate or learned, that are specifically earmarked for word learning. This theory is extended to account for how children learn names for objects, substances, and abstract entities, pronouns and proper names, verbs, determiners, prepositions, and number words. Several related topics are also discussed, including naïve essentialism, children's understanding of representational art, the nature of numerical and spatial reasoning, and the role of words in the shaping of mental life. Key Words: cognitive development; concepts; meaning; semantics; social cognition; syntax; theory of mind; word learning. (shrink)
A (would-be) sophisticated answer to the question of the title might be, ‘The question is senseless. We should not conceive of time at all. We should just get on with our ordinary lives, asking and answering the usual questions, such as “What Time is it?”, “How long will it take?”, and so on, which we understand perfectly well. St. Augustine understood such questions, phrased in Latin, as well as we do. He should have been content with that, instead of bothering (...) his head with the misbegotten metaphysical question, “What is time?”’. (shrink)
Are people free and morally responsible? Or are their actions determined, i.e. inevitable outcomes of the past conditions and the laws of nature? These seem fairly straightforward questions, but it is important to distinguish 3 different dimensions of the free will debate: a descriptive project, a substantive project, and a prescriptive project. In this chapter, I’ll consider how psychology can contribute to each project in turn. First, I should say a bit more about the projects.
Existing accounts of shared intention (by Bratman, Searle, and others) do not claim that a single token of intention can be jointly framed and executed by multiple agents; rather, they claim that multiple agents can frame distinct, individual intentions in such a way as to qualify as jointly intending something. In this respect, the existing accounts do not show that intentions can be shared in any literal sense. This article argues that, in failing to show how intentions can be literally (...) shared, these accounts fail to resolve what seems problematic in the notion of shared intention. It then offers an account in which the problem of shared intention is resolved, because intention can indeed be literally shared. This account is derived from Margaret Gilbert’s notion of a “pool of wills,” to which it applies Searle’s definition of intention. (shrink)
This article addresses the following problems: What is a mechanism, how can it be discovered, and what is the role of the knowledge of mechanisms in scientific explanation and technological control? The proposed answers are these. A mechanism is one of the processes in a concrete system that makes it what it is for example, metabolism in cells, interneuronal connections in brains, work in factories and offices, research in laboratories, and litigation in courts of law. Because mechanisms are largely (...) or totally imperceptible, they must be conjectured. Once hypothesized they help explain, because a deep scientific explanation is an answer to a question of the form, "How does it work, that is, what makes it tickwhat are its mechanisms?" Thus, by contrast with the subsumption of particulars under a generalization, an explanation proper consists in unveiling some lawful mechanism, as when political stability is explained by either coercion, public opinion manipulation, or democratic participation. Finding mechanisms satisfies not only the yearning for understanding, but also the need for control. Key Words: explanation function mechanism process system systemism. (shrink)
I imagine that people will complain that the account of normative concepts defended in Gibbard’s new book makes the metaethical waters even muddier because it blurs the line between cognitivism and noncognitivism and between realism and antirealism. However, these labels are philosophic tools, and in the wake of Gibbard’s new book, one might rightly conclude that there are new and better philosophical tools emerging on the metaethical scene. The uptake of views about practical reasoning—as exhibited by planning—into debates about the (...) (...) meaning of normative claims is a fruitful line of research. And, as Apt Feelings, Wise Choices made an initial bold step into novel and fruitful lines of research into the connection between psychology and morality, Thinking How to Live has also made an initial bold step into novel and fruitful lines of research into the connection between practical reasoning and normative semantics. (shrink)
Stanley and Williamson reject Ryle's knowing-how/knowing-that distinction charging that it obstructs our understanding of human action. Incorrectly interpreting the distinction to imply that knowledge-how is non-propositional, they object that Ryle's argument for it is unsound and linguistic theory contradicts it. I show that they (and their interlocutors) misconstrue the distinction and Ryle's argument. Consequently, their objections fail. On my reading, Ryle's distinction pertains to, not knowledge, but an explanatory gap between explicit and implicit content, and his argument for it is (...) sound. I defend the distinction's necessity in explaining human action and show that it propels a fruitful explanatory program. (shrink)
We begin with a puzzle: why do some know-how attributions entail ability attributions while others do not? After rejecting the tempting response that know-how attributions are ambiguous, we argue that a satisfactory answer to the puzzle must acknowledge the connection between know-how and concept possession (specifically, reasonable conceptual mastery, or understanding). This connection appears at first to be grounded solely in the cognitive nature of certain activities. However, we show that, contra anti-intellectualists, the connection between know-how and concept possession can (...) be generalized via reflection on the cognitive nature of intentional action and the potential of certain misunderstandings to undermine know-how even when the corresponding abilities and associated propositional knowledge are in place. Such considerations make explicit the intimate relation between know-how and understanding, motivating a general intellectualist analysis of the former in terms of the latter. (shrink)
A new position in the philosophy of mind has recently appeared: the extended mind hypothesis (EMH). Some of its proponents think the EMH, which says that a subject's mental states can extend into the local environment, shows that internalism is false. I argue that this is wrong. The EMH does not refute internalism; in fact, it necessarily does not do so. The popular assumption that the EMH spells trouble for internalists is premised on a bad characterization of the internalist thesis—albeit (...) one that most internalists have adhered to. I show that internalism is entirely compatible with the EMH. This view should prompt us to reconsider the characterization of internalism, and in conclusion I make some brief remarks about how that project might proceed. (shrink)
The Mind/Body Problem (M/BP) is about causation not correlation. And its solution (if there is one) will require a mechanism in which the mental component somehow manages to play a causal role of its own, rather than just supervening superflously on other, nonmental components that look, for all the world, as if they can do the full causal job perfectly well without it. Correlations confirm that M does indeed "supervene" on B, but causality is needed to show how/why M is (...) not supererogatory; and that's the hard part. (shrink)
This paper is roughly in two parts. The first deals with whether know-how is constituted by propositional knowledge, as discussed primarily by Gilbert Ryle (1949) The concept of mind. London: Hutchinson, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson (2001). Knowing how. Journal of Philosophy, 98, pp. 411–444 as well as Stephen Hetherington (2006). How to know that knowledge-that is knowledge-how. In S. Hetherington (Ed.) Epistemology futures. Oxford: Oxford University Press. The conclusion of this first part is that know-how sometimes does and sometimes (...) does not consist in propositional knowledge. The second part defends an analysis of know-how inspired by Katherine Hawley’ (2003). Success and knowledge-how. American Philosophical Quarterly, 40, pp. 19–31, insightful proposal that know-how requires counterfactual success. I conclude by showing how this analysis helps to explain why know-how sometimes does and sometimes does not consist of propositional knowledge. (shrink)
Despite recent efforts to improve on counterfactual theories of causation, failures to explain how effects depend on their causes are still manifest in a variety of cases. In particular, theories that do a decent job explaining cases of causal preemption have problems accounting for cases of causal intransitivity. Moreover, the increasing complexity of the counterfactual accounts makes it difficult to see why the concept of causation would be such a central part of our cognition. In this paper, I propose an (...) account of our causal thinking that not only explains the hitherto puzzling variety of causal judgments, but also makes it intelligible why we would employ such an elusive concept. (shrink)
This is the manuscript of a book on meta-ethics. From the Introduction: Maybe the grounding of morality lies closer to the social surface than philosophers like to think, neither in the structure of practical reason nor in a telos of human nature but rather in our mundane ways of muddling through together — that is, in how we get along. Our ways of getting along must themselves rest on the bedrock of practical reason and human nature, but they may form, (...) as it were, a layer of topsoil without which morality could never take root. If so, then asking how moral norms can sprout straight out of our rationality or humanity may be futile. (shrink)
I offer an account of how the quantum theory we have helps us explain so much. The account depends on a pragmatist interpretation of the theory: This takes a quantum state to serve solely as a source of sound advice to physically situated agents on the content and appropriate degree of belief about matters concerning which they are currently inevitably ignorant. The general account of how to use quantum states and probabilities to explain otherwise puzzling regularities is then illustrated by (...) showing how we can explain single particle interference phenomena, the stability of matter, and interference of Bose-Einstein condensates. Finally I note some open problems and relate this account to alternative approaches to explanation that emphasize the importance of causation, of unification, and of structure. (shrink)
How do we know what our intentions are? It is argued that work on self-knowledge has tended to neglect the attitude of intention, and that an epistemological account is needed that is attuned to the specific features of that state. Richard Moran’s Authorship view, on which we can acquire self-knowledge by making up our minds, offers a promising insight for such an account: we do not normally discover what we intend through introspection. However, his formulation of the Authorship view, developed (...) primarily with the attitude of belief in mind, is found wanting when applied to intention. An alternative account is proposed for knowledge of one’s own intentions that gives a central role to the mental act of deciding what to do. It is argued that we can come to know what we intend by making a decision about what to do and self-ascribing the content of that decision as our intended action. (shrink)
In this paper I criticize the most significant recent examples of the practical knowledge analysis of knowledge-how in the philosophical literature: David Carr [1979, Mind, 88, 394–409; 1981a, American Philosophical Quarterly, 18, 53–61; 1981b, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 15(1), 87–96] and Stanley & Williamson [2001, Journal of Philosophy, 98(8), 411–444]. I stress the importance of know-how in our contemporary understanding of the mind, and offer the beginnings of a treatment of know-how capable of providing insight in to the use (...) of know-how in contemporary cognitive science. Specifically, I claim that Carr’s necessary conditions for know-how fail to capture the distinction he himself draws between ability and knowing-how. Moreover, Carr ties knowing-how to conscious intent, and to an explicit knowledge of procedural rules. I argue that both moves are mistakes, which together render Carr’s theory an inadequate account both of common ascriptions of knowledge-how and of widely accepted ascriptions of knowledge-how within explanations in cognitive science. Finally, I note that Carr’s conditions fail to capture intuitions (heshares) regarding the ascription of know-how to persons lacking ability. I then consider the position advocated by Stanley & Williamson (2001), which seems avoid Carr’s commitments to conscious intent and explicit knowledge while still maintaining that “knowledge-how is simply a species of knowledge-that" (Stanley & Williamson, 2001, p. 411). I argue that Stanley and Williamson’s attempt to frame a reductionist view that avoids consciously occurrent beliefs during exercises of knowledge-how and explicit knowledge of procedural rules is both empirically implausible and explanatorily vacuous. In criticizing these theories I challenge the presuppositions of the most pervasive response to Ryle in the philosophic literature, what might be described as “the received view." I also establish several facts about knowing-how. First, neither conscious intent nor explicit representation (much less conscious representation) of procedural rules are necessary for knowing-how given the theory of cognition current in cognitive science. I argue that the discussed analyses fail to capture the necessary conditions for knowledge-how because know-how requires the instantiation of an ability and of the capacities necessary for exploiting an ability—not conscious awareness of purpose or explicit knowledge of rules. Second, one must understand knowledge-how as task-specific, i.e., as presupposing certain underlying conditions. Conceiving of know-how as task-specific allows one to understand ascriptions of know-how in the absence of ability as counterfactual ascriptions based upon underlying competence. (shrink)
recent cognitive theories into two antagonistic groups. Sententialists claim that we think in some language, while advocates of non-linguistic views of cognition deny this claim. The Introspective Argument for Sententialism is one of the most appealing arguments for sententialism. In substance, it claims that the introspective fact of inner speech provides strong evidence that our thoughts are linguistic. This article challenges this argument. I claim that the Introspective Argument for Sententialism confuses the content of our thoughts with their vehicles: while (...) sententialism is a thesis about the vehicles of our thoughts, inner speech sentences are the content of auditory or articulatory images. The rebuttal of the introspective argument for sententialism is shown to have a general significance in cognitive science: introspection does not tell us how we think. The problem The introspective argument for sententialism The argument for the blindness of introspection thesis Objections and replies Conclusion. (shrink)
It has been claimed that the attempt to analyze know-how in terms of propositional knowledge over-intellectualizes the mind. Exploiting the methods of so-called “experimental philosophy”, we show that the charge of over-intellectualization is baseless. Contra neo-Ryleans, who analyze know-how in terms of ability, the concrete-case judgments of ordinary folk are most consistent with the view that there exists a set of correct necessary and sufficient conditions for know-how that does not invoke ability, but rather a certain sort of propositional knowledge. (...) To the extent that one’s considered judgments agree with those of the folk (or to the extent that one is unwilling to contravene widespread judgments), this constitutes a strong prima facie case against neo-Ryleanism. (shrink)
According to the iterative conception of set, sets can be arranged in a cumulative hierarchy divided into levels. But why should we think this to be the case? The standard answer in the philosophical literature is that sets are somehow constituted by their members. In the first part of the paper, I present a number of problems for this answer, paying special attention to the view that sets are metaphysically dependent upon their members. In the second part of the paper, (...) I outline a different approach, which circumvents these problems by dispensing with the priority or dependence relation altogether. Along the way, I show how this approach enables the mathematical structuralist to defuse an objection recently raised against her view. (shrink)
Various fault modes of determinism in classical physics are outlined. It is shown how quantum mechanics can cure some forms of classical indeterminism. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of HPS, University of Pittsburgh, 1017 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; e‐mail: email@example.com.
Ryle’s account of practical knowing is much controverted. The paper seeks to place present disputations in a larger context and draw attention to the connection between Ryle’s preoccupations and Aristotle’s account of practical reason, practical intelligence, and the way in which human beings enter into the way of being and acting that Aristotle denominates ethos . Considering matters in this framework, the author finds inconclusive the arguments that Stanley and Williamson offer for seeing knowing how to as a special case (...) of knowing that. The paper then explores certain implications of the author’s position for the philosophy of mind and the grammatical analysis of constructions involving ‘know how to’. It ends with a neo-Rylean remark about Aristotelian nous. (shrink)
There is a principle in things, about which we cannot be deceived, but must always, on the contrary, recognize the truth – viz. that the same thing cannot at one and the same time be and not be": with these words of the Metaphysics, Aristotle introduced the Law of Non-Contradiction, which was to become the most authoritative principle in the history of Western thought. However, things have recently changed, and nowadays various philosophers, called dialetheists, claim that this Law does not (...) hold unrestrictedly – that in peculiar circumstances the same thing may at the same time be and not be, and contradictions may obtain in the world. This book opens with an examination of the famous logical paradoxes that appear to speak on behalf of contradictions (e.g., the Liar paradox, the set-theoretic paradoxes such as Cantor’s and Russell’s), and of the reasons for the failure of the standard attempts to solve them. It provides, then, an introduction to paraconsistent logics – non-classical logics in which the admission of contradictions does not lead to logical chaos –, and their astonishing applications, going from inconsistent data base management to contradictory arithmetics capable of circumventing Gödel’s celebrated Incompleteness Theorem. The final part of the book discusses the philosophical motivations and difficulties of dialetheism, and shows how to extract from Aristotle’s ancient words a possible reply to the dialetheic challenge. How to Sell a Contradiction will appeal to anyone interested in non-classical logics, analytic metaphysics, and philosophy of mathematics, and especially to those who consider challenging our most entrenched beliefs the main duty of philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
In this paper I propose a teleological account of epistemic reasons. In recent years, the main challenge for any such account has been to explicate a sense in which epistemic reasons depend on the value of epistemic properties. I argue that while epistemic reasons do not directly depend on the value of epistemic properties, they depend on a different class of reasons which are value based in a direct sense, namely reasons to form beliefs about certain propositions or subject matters. (...) In short, S has an epistemic reason to believe that p if and only if S is such that if S has reason to form a belief about p, then S ought to believe that p. I then propose a teleological explanation of this relationship. It is also shown how the proposal can avoid various subsidiary objections commonly thought to riddle the teleological account. (shrink)
There are ways that ethical intuitions might be, and the various possibilities have epistemic ramifications. This paper criticizes some extant accounts of what ethical intuitions are and how they justify, and it offers an alternative account. Roughly, an ethical intuition that p is a kind of seeming state constituted by a consideration whether p, attended by positive phenomenological qualities that count as evidence for p, and so a reason to believe that p. They are distinguished from other kinds of seemings, (...) such as those which are content driven (e.g., the sensory experience that a stick in water seems bent) and those which are competence driven (e.g., the intellectual seeming that XYZ is not water, or that one of DeMorgan’s laws is true). One important conclusion is this: when crafting a positive theory of justification ethical intuitionists have fewer resources than intuitionists in other domains, not because of the subject matter of ethical intuitions, but because of the their structure. A second conclusion is that the seemings featured in substantive ethical intuitions deliver relatively weak justification as compared to other seeming states. (shrink)
The paper shows why and how an empirical study of fast-and-frugal heuristics can provide norms of good reasoning, and thus how (and how far) rationality can be naturalized. We explain the heuristics that humans often rely on in solving problems, for example, choosing investment strategies or apartments, placing bets in sports, or making library searches. We then show that heuristics can lead to judgments that are as accurate as or even more accurate than strategies that use more information and computation, (...) including optimization methods. A standard way to defend the use of heuristics is by reference to accuracy-effort trade-offs. We take a different route, emphasizing ecological rationality (the relationship between cognitive heuristics and environment), and argue that in uncertain environments, more information and computation are not always better (the “less-can-be-more” doctrine). The resulting naturalism about rationality is thus normative because it not only describes what heuristics people use, but also in which specific environments one should rely on a heuristic in order to make better inferences. While we desist from claiming that the scope of ecological rationality is unlimited, we think it is of wide practical use. (shrink)
We must admire the ambition of Prinz’s title question. But does he provide a convincing answer to it? Prinz’s own view of morality as “a byproduct – accidental or invented – of faculties that evolved for different purposes (1),” which appears to express a negative reply, does not receive much direct argument here. Rather, Prinz’s main aim is to try to show that the considerations he believes are typically presented by moral nativists are insufficient or inadequate to establish that morality (...) is innate. He discusses, individually, how much evidential weight the (alleged) existence of (1) universal moral norms, (2) universal moral domains, (3) fixed stages in moral development, and (4) precursors to morality among non-human animals lend to nativist claims, and, in addition, he argues that poverty-of-the-moral-stimulus arguments are as yet unconvincing. “[C]urrent evidence,” Prinz claims, “is consistent with the conclusion that children acquire moral competence through experience (22).” It is not my intention here to follow Prinz’s piecemeal criticisms of moral nativism. In their attacks on linguistic nativism (see, e.g., Cowie 1999) and now on moral nativism, empiricists typically deploy the.. (shrink)
In this paper I explore why one might hope to, and how to begin to, develop an expressivist account of truth – that is, a semantics for ‘true’ and ‘false’ within an expressivist framework. I do so for a few reasons: because certain features of deflationism seem to me to require some sort of nondescriptivist semantics, because of all nondescriptivist semantic frameworks which are capable of yielding definite predictions rather than consisting merely of hand-waving, expressivism is that with which I (...) am most familiar, and because I believe that certain problems about truth and particularly about paradox seem to me to look different, when seen through the lens of an expressivist theory. I don’t mean to defend such a theory in this paper, and indeed I have cast doubts on the ultimate prospects of the framework I will be employing here elsewhere.1 But I do think that seeing what an expressivist theory of truth would look like helps to shed light on both expressivism and on truth. (shrink)
abstract Ryle's claim that knowing how is distinct from knowing that is defended from critics like Stanley and Williamson and Snowdon. However, the way in which Ryle himself deploys this distinction is problematic. By effectively dismissing the idea that systematic propositional knowledge has a significant bearing on knowledge how, Ryle implicitly supports a view of vocational education that favours narrow notions of skill and associated training over knowledge informed occupational practice of the kind found in most Northern European countries. The (...) source of Ryle's error in excluding systematic propositional knowledge from a significant place in the constitution of knowing how is traced. It is argued that Ryle's original distinction survives without the exclusion of systematic propositional knowledge from knowing how and the resulting account does more justice to the practice of vocational education in advanced economies than does Ryle's original treatment. (shrink)
Under free institutions the exercise of human reason leads to a plurality of reasonable, yet irreconcilable doctrines. Rawls's political liberalism is intended as a response to this fundamental feature of modern democratic life. Justifying coercive political power by appeal to any one (or sample) of these doctrines is, Rawls believes, oppressive and illiberal. If we are to achieve unity without oppression, he tells us, we must all affirm a public political conception that is supported by these diverse reasonable doctrines. The (...) first part of this essay argues that the free use of human reason leads to reasonable pluralism over most of what we call the political. Rawls's notion of the political does not avoid the problem of state oppression under conditions of reasonable pluralism. The second part tries to show how justificatory liberalism provides (1) a conception of the political that takes seriously the fact that the free use of human reason leads us to sharply disagree in the domain of the political while (2) articulating a conception of the political according to which the coercive intervention of the state must be justified by public reasons. (shrink)
How Does the Environment Affect the Person? Mark H. Bickhard invited chapter in Children's Development within Social Contexts: Metatheoretical, Theoretical and Methodological Issues, Erlbaum. edited by L. T. Winegar, J. Valsiner, in press.
Sometimes we work out by ourselves how to do something. But often we rely upon the help, advice or example of others. To this extent learning how resembles learning that: sometimes you can see the truth for yourself, but sometimes you need to phone a friend. Do the similarities end there? When we are tempted to think that knowing how differs significantly from knowing that, it is often because knowing how seems to be transmitted, acquired, taught and learned in distinctive (...) ways. Practical knowledge can’t always be obtained from books or lectures, it often requires hands-on experience, those who know how can’t always teach, and sometimes those who can’t do can nevertheless teach. (shrink)
Theorem 1 of Ketland 1999 is not quite correct as stated. The theorem would imply that the disquotational T-scheme – suitably restricted to avoid the liar paradox – is conservative over pure logic. But it has been pointed out (e.g. Halbach 2001, “How Innocent is Deflationism?”, Synthese 126, pp. 179-181) that this is not the case, for one can prove ∃x∃y(x ≠ y) from the T-scheme (lemma 2 below).
A knowledge-how attributing sentence of the form ' S knows how to F ' may yield an 'ability-entailing' reading as well as an 'ability-neutral' reading. The present paper offers an epistemological account of the availability of both readings, based on two conceptual distinctions: first, a distinction between a 'practical' and a 'theoretical' kind of knowledge of how to do something; second, a distinction between an 'intrinsic' and an 'extrinsic' kind of ability to do something. The first part of the paper (...) presents the double distinction that constitutes the proposed account; the second part presents a number of theoretical, mainly epistemological motivations for accepting the account. (shrink)
How the Body Shapes the Mind is an interdisciplinary work that addresses philosophical questions by appealing to evidence found in experimental psychology, neuroscience, studies of pathologies, and developmental psychology. There is a growing consensus across these disciplines that the contribution of embodiment to cognition is inescapable. Because this insight has been developed across a variety of disciplines, however, there is still a need to develop a common vocabulary that is capable of integrating discussions of brain mechanisms in neuroscience, behavioral expressions (...) in psychology, design concerns in artificial intelligence and robotics, and debates about embodied experience in the phenomenology and philosophy of mind. Shaun Gallagher's book aims to contribute to the formulation of that common vocabulary and to develop a conceptual framework that will avoid both the overly reductionistic approaches that explain everything in terms of bottom-up neuronal mechanisms, and inflationistic approaches that explain everything in terms of Cartesian, top-down cognitive states. Gallagher pursues two basic sets of questions. The first set consists of questions about the phenomenal aspects of the structure of experience, and specifically the relatively regular and constant features that we find in the content of our experience. If throughout conscious experience there is a constant reference to one's own body, even if this is a recessive or marginal awareness, then that reference constitutes a structural feature of the phenomenal field of consciousness, part of a framework that is likely to determine or influence all other aspects of experience. The second set of questions concerns aspects of the structure of experience that are more hidden, those that may be more difficult to get at because they happen before we know it. They do not normally enter into the content of experience in an explicit way, and are often inaccessible to reflective consciousness. To what extent, and in what ways, are consciousness and cognitive processes, which include experiences related to perception, memory, imagination, belief, judgement, and so forth, shaped or structured by the fact that they are embodied in this way? (shrink)
We argue against a positive case Enoch offers for thinking that there are non-natural normative properties. Enoch had argued that there is a general difference in how we should treat preference disputes and factual disputes--a difference that shows that normative disputes look more like factual disputes than like preference disputes. We argue that that is not so.
In this paper, I investigate the prospects for using the distinction between rejection and denial to resolve Saul Kripke’s puzzle about belief. One puzzle Kripke presents in A Puzzle About Belief poses what would have seemed a fairly straightforward question about the beliefs of the bilingual Pierre, who is disposed to sincerely and reflectively assent to the French sentence Londres est jolie , but not to the English sentence London is pretty , both of which he understands perfectly well. The (...) question to be answered is whether Pierre believes that London is pretty, and Kripke argues, of each answer, that it is unacceptable. On my proposal, either answer to the question is to be rejected, but neither answer is to be denied, using the resource of partially-defined predicates. After demonstrating how this serves as a solution to the puzzle, I illustrate some philosophical motivations—independent of Kripke’s puzzle—for adopting a view on which belief is a partially defined predicate. I conclude that there are decent prospects for the proposed response to Kripke’s puzzle. (shrink)
Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson have argued that there is no fundamental distinction between what Gilbert Ryle famously called 'knowing how' and 'knowing that', and that the former can be treated as a special kind of the latter. I will endeavour to show that sentences of the form 'a knows how to F' are ambiguous between a reading in which we ascribe knowledge-that to a and another in which we ascribe something to a which is irreducible to any kind of (...) knowledge-that and can most appropriately be characterized as an ability. The authors' attempt to reduce also the latter reading to an ascription of knowledge-that fails because it rests on an unexplained conception of practical modes of presentation. (shrink)
A popular view about why death is bad for the one who dies is that death deprives its subject of the good things in life. This is the “deprivation account” of the evil of death. There is another view about death that seems incompatible with the deprivation account: the view that a person’s death is less bad if she has lived a good life. In The Ethics of Killing, Jeff McMahan argues that a deprivation account should discount the evil of (...) death for previous gains in life. I argue against discounting evils, and show how a version of the deprivation view can accommodate McMahan’s examples. (shrink)
Questions concerning the nature of representation and what representations are about have been a staple of Western philosophy since Aristotle. Recently, these same questions have begun to concern neuroscientists, who have developed new techniques and theories for understanding how the locus of neurobiological representation, the brain, operates. My dissertation draws on philosophy and neuroscience to develop a novel theory of representational content.
We are in a state of impending crisis. And the fault lies in part with academia. For two centuries or so, academia has been devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how. This has enormously increased our power to act which has, in turn, brought us both all the great benefits of the modern world and the crises we now face. Modern science and technology have made possible modern industry and agriculture, the explosive growth of the world’s population, global (...) warming, modern armaments and the lethal character of modern warfare, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, immense inequalities of wealth and power across the globe, pollution of earth, sea and air, even the aids epidemic (aids being spread by modern travel). All these global problems have arisen because some of us have acquired unprecedented powers to act, via science and technology, without also acquiring the capacity to act wisely. We urgently need to bring about a revolution in universities so that the basic intellectual aim becomes, not knowledge merely, but rather wisdom – wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. (shrink)
There has been little scholarly attention given to explaining exactly how and why Socrates thinks that wrongdoing damages the soul. But there is more than a simple gap in the literature here, we shall argue. The most widely accepted view of Socratic moral psychology, we claim, actually leaves this well-known feature of Socrates’ philosophy absolutely inexplicable. In the first section of this paper, we rehearse this view of Socratic moral psychology, and explain its inadequacy on the issue of the damaging (...) consequences of wrongdoing. We then go on to provide our own account of the way in which injustice damages the soul, and then draw conclusions about how Socratic moral psychology should be understood. (shrink)
Modern-day heirs of the Cartesian revolution have been fascinated by the thought that one could utilize certain hypotheses – that one is dreaming, deceived by an evil demon, or a brain in a vat – to argue at one fell swoop that one does not know, is not justified in believing, or ought not believe most if not all of what one currently believes about the world. A good part of the interest and mystique of these discussions arises from the (...) contention that the seeds of such arguments lie in our ordinary epistemic practices, so that external world skepticism can arise “from within”. But is this contention correct? I doubt it. Taking skepticism seriously requires that we address this question head on. To do so, I will approach skeptical arguments from a certain vantage point. I will try to stand, as far as possible, with both feet squarely in ordinary life. I will start out with all of our ordinary commitments about what is the case, about what we know or have reason to believe, about when someone knows, is justified, or has good reason to believe something, and about how one should proceed in deciding what to believe. My question, then, will be this. From within that vantage point can I somehow be moved in a reasonable way to accept the conclusion that I know far less about the world around me than I thought, or that epistemically speaking, I really ought not believe much of what I have believed about the world around me? In order for such movement to take place, I will have to find reason from within my ordinary standpoint to discount or reject much of what I ordinarily accept. And of course, that reason will have to come from some.. (shrink)
A main epistemic problematic, found already in Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics, presents a threefold choice on how a belief may be justified: either through infinitely regressive reasoning, or through circular reasoning, or through reasoning resting ultimately on some foundation. Aristotle himself apparently takes the foundationalist option when he argues that rational intuition is a foundational source of scientific knowledge. The five modes of Agrippa, which pertain to knowledge generally, again pose the same problematic, the “Pyrrhonian” problematic. And here Galen and the (...) Stoics also opt for foundations. Sections I and II below explore that foundationalist option. Section III draws some lessons. And Section IV uses these to interpret Descartes. I argue that Descartes shows us the way beyond the Pyrrhonian problematic, although his way is not that traditionally attributed to him. On these basic issues of epistemology, Descartes is no Cartesian. (shrink)
Modern consciousness studies are in a healthy state, with many progressive empirical programmes in cognitive science, neuroscience and related sciences, using relatively conventional third-person research methods. However not all the problems of consciousness can be resolved in this way. These problems may be grouped into problems that require empirical advance, those that require theoretical advance, and those that require a re-examination of some of our pre-theoretical assumptions. I give examples of these, and focus on two problems—what consciousness is, and what (...) consciousness does—that require all three. In this, careful attention to conscious phenomenology and finding an appropriate way to relate first-person evidence to third-person evidence appears to be central to progress. But we may also need to re-examine what we take to be “natural facts” about the world, and how we can know them. The same appears to be true for a trans-cultural understanding of consciousness that combines classical Indian phenomenological methods with the third-person methods of Western science. (shrink)
Much of the recent debate regarding scepticism has focussed on a certain template sceptical argument and a rather restricted set of proposals concerning how one might deal with that argument. Throughout this debate the ‘Moorean’ response to scepticism is often cited as a paradigm example of how one should not respond to the sceptical argument, so conceived. As I argue in this paper, however, there are ways of resurrecting the Moorean response to the sceptic. In particular, I consider the prospects (...) for three such proposals in this regard: a classical epistemic internalist neo-Mooreanism, a classical epistemic externalist neo-Mooreanism, and a non-classical McDowellian epistemic internalist neo-Mooreanism, and maintain that the last two of these proposals (both of which make appeal to a disjunctivist account of perception, broadly conceived) merit further exploration. Indeed, I claim that a suitably qualified version of neo-Mooreanism would actually sit quite well with the general philosophical motivations behind other key anti-sceptical views and I argue that given this fact neo-Mooreanism is actually at a dialectical advantage relative to other views when it comes to dealing with the sceptical problem as it is typically conceived. (shrink)
Assuming that states can hold moral duties, it can easily be seen that states—just like any other moral agent—can sometimes fail to discharge those moral duties. In the context of climate change examples of states that do not meet their emission reduction targets abound. If individual moral agents do wrong they usually deserve and are liable to some kind of punishment. But how can states be punished for failing to comply with moral duties without therewith also punishing their citizens who (...) are not necessarily deserving of any punishment? (shrink)
This article aims to disrupt received views about the significance of J. L. Austin's contribution to philosophy of language. Its focus is Austin's 1955 lectures How To Do Things With Words . Commentators on the lectures in both philosophical and literary-theoretical circles, despite conspicuous differences, tend to agree in attributing to Austin an assumption about the relation between literal meaning and truth, which is in fact his central critical target. The goal of the article is to correct this misunderstanding and (...) to show that Austin is deeply critical of a picture of correspondence between language and the world which nearly half a century after he delivered his lectures continues to structure philosophical discussions of language. (shrink)
Abstract: The notion that philosophy can be practised as a kind of therapy has become a focus of debate. This article explores how philosophy can be practised literally as a kind of therapy, in two very different ways: as philosophical therapy that addresses “real-life problems” (e.g., Sextus Empiricus) and as therapeutic philosophy that meets a need for therapy which arises in and from philosophical reflection (e.g., Wittgenstein). With the help of concepts adapted from cognitive and clinical psychology, and from cognitive (...) linguistics, the article shows that both philosophical projects address important and literally therapeutic tasks and explains how they can do so with genuinely philosophical argument and analysis. This brings into view new applications for philosophy, a need for therapy in core areas of the subject, and the outline of a new approach to meet what will be shown to be a central need. (shrink)
Can identity be vague? More exactly, can there be objects x and y such that it is vague whether x = y, and the vagueness is due to the objects themselves as opposed to vagueness in language used to denote the objects? The question has been extensively discussed since Evans (1978) where it was claimed that an affirmative answer was a necessary condition for the thesis that there could be vague objects. A recent, ingenious argument in Pinillos (2003) seeks to (...) establish the negative and show that it cannot be de re vague whether x = y. The argument depends crucially on count claims concerning objects whose identity conditions are de re vague, and so we must learn how to count such objects — clouds, persons and much else besides. When that has been accomplished we can see a way out of Pinillos’s argument, and claim that de re vague identity remains coherent. (shrink)
Ceteris-paribus clauses are nothing to worry about; aceteris-paribus qualifier is not poisonously indeterminate in meaning. Ceteris-paribus laws teach us that a law need not be associated straightforwardly with a regularity in the manner demanded by regularity analyses of law and analyses of laws as relations among universals. This lesson enables us to understand the sense in which the laws of nature would have been no different under various counterfactual suppositions — a feature even of those laws that involve no ceteris-paribus (...) qualification and are actually associated with exceptionless regularities. Ceteris-paribus generalizations of an‘inexact science’ qualify as laws of that science in virtue of their distinctive relation to counterfactuals: they form a set that is stable for the purposes of that field. (Though an accident may possess tremendous resilience under counterfactual suppositions, the laws are sharply distinguished from the accidents in that the laws are collectively as resilient as they could logically possibly be.) The stability of an inexact science's laws may involve their remaining reliable even under certain counterfactual suppositions violating fundamental laws of physics. The ceteris-paribus laws of an inexact science may thus possess a kind of necessity lacking in the fundamental laws of physics. A nomological explanation supplied by an inexact science would then be irreducible to an explanation of the same phenomenon at the level of fundamental physics. Island biogeography is used to illustrate how a special science could be autonomous in this manner. (shrink)
We can see a number of entities without seeing a determinate number of entities. For example, when we see the speckled hen, we do not see it as having a determinate number of speckles, although we do see it as having a lot of speckles. How is this possible? I suggest a contextualist answer that differs both from Michael Tye's and from Fred Dretske's.
I argue against one way of understanding the claim that how one’s visual experience “seems” provides support for the naïve-realist theory and weighs against sense-data theories (and other theories). If my argument is correct, and we abandon this way of understanding how experience “seems”, we would lose one reason for favouring naïve-realism at the start of the dialectic of the traditional problem of perception. En route, I distinguish diff erent ways of understanding the (alleged) transparency of experience, consider how to (...) make sense of rival theorists’ disagreement over the manifest nature of visual phenomenology and recount a story about Wittgenstein. (shrink)
In this paper, we present a number of problems for intellectualism about knowledge-how, and in particular for the version of the view developed by Stanley & Williamson 2001. Their argument draws on the alleged uniformity of 'know how'-and 'know wh'-ascriptions. We offer a series of considerations to the effect that this assimilation is problematic. Firstly, in contrast to 'know wh'-ascriptions, 'know how'-ascriptions with known negative answers are false. Secondly, knowledge-how obeys closure principles whose counterparts fail for knowledge-wh and knowledge-that. Thirdly, (...) as opposed to knowledge-wh and knowledge-that, knowledge-how is inferentially isolated from further knowledge-that. We close by providing some evidence against the further reduction of knowledge-wh to knowledge-that, which is presupposed by the intellectualist theory under discussion. (shrink)
Advocates of extended cognition argue that the boundaries of cognition span brain, body, and environment. Critics maintain that cognitive processes are confined to a boundary centered on the individual. All participants to this debate require a criterion for distinguishing what is internal to cognition from what is external. Yet none of the available proposals are completely successful. I offer a new account, the mutual manipulability account, according to which cognitive boundaries are determined by relationships of mutual manipulability between the properties (...) and activities of putative components and the overall behavior of the cognitive mechanism in which they figure. Among its main advantages, this criterion is capable of (a) distinguishing components of cognition from causal background conditions and lower-level correlates, and (b) showing how the core hypothesis of extended cognition can serve as a legitimate empirical hypothesis amenable to experimental test and confirmation. Conceiving the debate in these terms transforms the current clash over extended cognition into a substantive empirical debate resolvable on the basis of evidence from cognitive science and neuroscience. (shrink)
I shall be mainly concerned with the question ‘What is personal propositional knowledge?’. This question is obviously quite narrowly focused, in three respects. In the first place, there is impersonal as well as personal knowledge. Second, a distinction is often drawn between propositional knowledge and practical knowledge. And third, as well as asking what knowledge is, it is also possible to ask whether and how knowledge of various kinds can be acquired: causal knowledge, a priori knowledge, moral knowledge, and so (...) on. I shall dwell briefly on each of these three points. First, there is the distinction between personal and impersonal knowledge – in other words, between the psychological concept of knowledge and the social one.1 We use the concept of knowledge to describe the cognitive condition of individuals; but we also use it to describe the progress of scientific and historical research. So for example we can speak or enquire about the state of knowledge in a particular field of biology or history. And if we do so, we are evidently not concerned with what anyone in particular knows about, say, the genetics of fruit flies or the career of Charlemagne, but rather with what the scientific or academic community knows. Needless to say, there is a close connection between personal and impersonal knowledge. But ‘It is known that p’ does not simply mean ‘Someone or other.. (shrink)
Philosophers and scientists are concerned with the why and the how of things. Questions like the following are so much grist for the philosopher’s and scientist’s mill: How can we be free and yet live in a deterministic universe?, How do neural processes give rise to conscious experience?, Why does conscious experience accompany certain physiological events at all?, How is a three-dimensional perception of depth generated by a pair of two-dimensional retinal images?. Since Belnap and Steel’s pioneering work on the (...) logic of questions, Van Fraassen has managed to apply their approach in constructing an account of the logic of why-questions. Comparatively little, by contrast, has been written on the logic of how-questions despite the apparent centrality of questions such as How is it possible for us to be both free and determined? to philosophical enterprise.1 In what follows I develop a logic for how-questions of various sorts including how-questions of cognitive resolution, how-questions of manner, how-questions of method, of means, and of mechanism. (shrink)
Traditional analyses of the curve fitting problem maintain that the data do not indicate what form the fitted curve should take. Rather, this issue is said to be settled by prior probabilities, by simplicity, or by a background theory. In this paper, we describe a result due to Akaike , which shows how the data can underwrite an inference concerning the curve's form based on an estimate of how predictively accurate it will be. We argue that this approach throws light (...) on the theoretical virtues of parsimoniousness, unification, and non ad hocness, on the dispute about Bayesianism, and on empiricism and scientific realism. * Both of us gratefully acknowledge support from the Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and NSF grant DIR-8822278 (M.F.) and NSF grant SBE-9212294 (E.S.). Special thanks go to A. W. F. Edwards.William Harper. Martin Leckey. Brian Skyrms, and especially Peter Turney for helpful comments on an earlier draft. (shrink)
In a previous paper, I had argued that Strong’s counterexamples to Marquis’s argument against abortion—according to which terminating fetuses is wrong because it deprives them of a valuable future—fail either because they have no bearing on Marquis’s argument or because they make unacceptable claims about what constitutes a valuable future. In this paper I respond to Strong’s criticism of my argument according to which I fail to acknowledge that Marquis uses "future like ours" and "valuable future" interchangeably. I show that (...) my argument does not rely on not acknowledging that "future like ours" and "valuable future" are interchangeable; and that, rather, it is exactly by replacing "future like ours" with "valuable future" that I construct my argument against Strong. I conclude with some remarks on how Marquis’s concept of "future like ours" should be interpreted. (shrink)
The thought that there is a way to reconcile empiricism with a realist stance towards scientific theories, avoiding instrumentalism and without fearing that this will lead straight to metaphysics, seems very promising. This paper aims to articulate this thought. It consists of two parts. The first (sections 2 and 3) will articulate how empiricism can go for scientific realism without metaphysical anxiety. It will draw on the work of Moritz Schlick, Hans Reichenbach and Herbert Feigl to develop an indispensability argument (...) for the adoption of the realist framework. This argument, unlike current realist arguments, has a pragmatic ring to it: there is no ultimate argument for the adoption of the realist framework. The guiding thought here is that fundamental ontic questions are not dealt with in the same way in which questions about the reality of ordinary entities (be they stones or electrons) are dealt with—the ontic framework must already be in place before questions about the reality of specific entities are raised. The second part (sections 4 and 5) will articulate reasons for avoiding instrumentalism. Most space is given in offering reasons to refrain from adopting P. Kyle Stanford’s (2006) neo-instrumentalism—a very sophisticated version of instrumentalism that seems to work within the realist framework and promises empiricists a way to avoid scientific realism. Scientific realism is alive and well because of Ti(a)na: there is (almost) no alternative. However, in section 6, it will be argued that there is room for rapprochement between contextualist instrumentalism and scientific realism. The paper is accompanied by an appendix in which Reichenbach’s argument for scientific realism is presented and discussed. (shrink)
How do frogs represent their prey? This question has been the focus of many debates among proponents of naturalistic theories of content, especially among proponents of teleosemantics. This is because alternative versions of the teleosemantic approach have different implications for the content of frog representations, and it is still controversial which of these content ascriptions (if any) is the most adequate. Theorists often appeal to intuitions here, but this is a dubious strategy. In this paper, I suggest an alternative, empirical (...) test for theories of content. I propose that we should examine whether a theory generates content ascriptions that fit with our best scientific explanations of animal behavior. I then focus on the most prominent version of teleosemantics, Ruth Millikan’s consumer-oriented approach, and argue that it fails the empirical test in the frog case, since it yields a content ascription that (i) does not include properties that should be included (namely, being small, dark and moving ) and (ii) includes a property that should not be included (namely, being frog food ). This is an important result in itself, but it also demonstrates by way of example how progress can be made in the complex debate about theories of content. (shrink)
Argues from the possibility of basic intentional action to a non-propositional theory of knowing how. The argument supports a broadly Anscombean conception of the will as a capacity for practical knowledge.