As Lamarque agrees, to read philosophy is to read for truth, so if literary fiction non-accidentally conveys philosophical claims, Lamarque's anti-cognitivist position on it must be flawed. Deploying Iris Murdoch's notion of the ‘work’ an author does in a text, I try to expand what should be understood by an argument in this context, and thus address Lamarque's argument that literary fiction cannot non-accidentally convey philosophical claims because it typically contains no arguments. The main literary example is George Eliot's Felix (...) Holt ; special reference is made to the idea of an author's complicity with the reader. (shrink)
Crisp is right to detect a clash between Dancy's leading formulation of holism about reasons and the phenomenon of invariance. Replying to Crisp on behalf of the particularist, I suggest a better formulation of holism modelled on a standard treatment in the philosophy of language of context-sensitive expressions. Key Words: context-sensitivity Crisp Dancy holism invariance particularism.
The paper develops an attack on quasi-realism in ethics, according to which expressivism about ethical discourse—understood as the thesis that the states that discourse expresses are non-representational—is consistent with some of the discourse's familiar surface features, thus ‘saving the ethical appearances’. A dilemma is posed for the quasi-realist. Either ethical discourse appears, thanks to those surface features, to express representational states, or else there is no such thing as its appearing to express such states. If the former then, by expressivism, (...) the appearance presented by ethical discourse is false, so the ethical appearances are not saved. If the latter, it is unintelligible why an appeal to projection should be needed to explain how the surface features come to express non-representational states if no explanation is needed—as evidently none is—to explain how they come to express representational states. The conclusion of this argument is then argued to converge with some other considerations which show that there is no gap between ethical discourse's possessing the surface features in question and its expressing representational states. (shrink)
[Michael Smith] The requirements of instrumental rationality are often thought to be normative conditions on choice or intention, but this is a mistake. Instrumental rationality is best understood as a requirement of coherence on an agent's non-instrumental desires and means-end beliefs. Since only a subset of an agent's means-end beliefs concern possible actions, the connection with intention is thus more oblique. This requirement of coherence can be satisfied either locally or more globally, it may be only one among a number (...) of such requirements on an agent's total set of desires and beliefs, and it has no special connection with reasoning. An appreciation of these facts leads to a better understanding of both the nature and the significance of instrumental rationality. /// [Edward Harcourt] I argue that the incoherence Smith claims to identify in agents who desire that q, believe that p is a necessary means to q, but fail to desire that p is illusory, since it rests on the false assumption that every property I know to be possessed by an object of my desire is an object of my desire. Though the failure of Smith's account of the irrationality of this pattern of attitudes leaves it open that the pattern is indeed irrational, I argue that there are instances of it that are not irrational where the desires are desires for what the agent knows to be impossible for him. This conclusion casts doubt on the overall strategy-that of making a Humean theory of action explanation do duty as a theory of instrumental rationality-which implies that the norms of instrumental rationality apply to desires simply as such. I then try to criticise the strategy in such a way as to leave the Humean theory of action explanation unaffected. (shrink)
The relationship among morality, reflection, and ideology is extremely intricate, with many avenues open for investigation. In this intriguing collection, an eminent group of scholars, including Bernard Williams, address the question of how far our moral beliefs and practices can survive the reflective understanding we have of them. From the work of a particular historical figure to the discussion of moral metaphysics, psychology, and political theory, the contributors approach the question from a variety of different fascinating angles.
In this paper, I argue against an influential view of Frege''s writings on indexical and other context-sensitive expressions, and in favour of an alternative. The centrepiece of the influential view, due to (among others) Evans and McDowell, is that according to Frege, context-sensitiveword-meaning plus context combine to express senses which are essentially first person, essentially present tense and so on, depending on the context-sensitive expression in question. Frege''s treatment of indexicals thus fits smoothly with his Intuitive Criterion of difference of (...) sense. On my view, by contrast, Frege stuck by the view which he held in his unpublished 1897 Logic, namely that the senses expressed by the combination of context-sensitive word-meaning and context could just as well be expressed by means of non-context-sensitive expressions: being first person, present tense and so on are properties, in Frege''s view, only of language, not of thought. Given the irreducibility of indexicals – a phenomenon noticed by Castañeda, Perry and others – Frege''s treatment of indexicals thus turns out to be inconsistent with the Intuitive Criterion. I argue that Frege was not aware of the inconsistency because he was not aware of the irreducibility of indexicals. This oversight was possible because the source of Frege''s interest in indexicals, as inother context-sensitive expressions, differed from that of contemporary theorists. Whereas contemporary theorists are most often interested in indexicals (and in Frege''s treatment of them) because they are interested in the indexical versions of Frege''s Puzzle and their relation to psychological explanation, Frege himself was interested in them because they pose a prima facie threat to his general conception of thoughts. The only indexical expression Frege''s view of which the above account does not cover is I insofar as it is associated with special and primitive senses, but Frege did not introduce such senses with a view to explaining theirreducibility of I his real reason for introducing them remains obscure. (shrink)