It is a near truism of philosophy of language that sentences are prior to words--that they are the only things that fundamentally have meaning. Robert's Stainton's study interrogates this idea, drawing on a wide body of evidence to argue that speakers can and do use mere words, not sentences, to communicate complex thoughts.
Robert Myers presents an original moral theory which charts a course between the extremes of consequentialism and contractualism. He puts forward a radically new case for the existence of both agent-neutral and agent-relative values, and gives an innovative answer to the question how such disparate values can be weighed against each other. The result is a theory of morality which combines a balanced account of its content with a ringing affirmation of its authority.
Slavoj Zizek is no ordinary philosopher. Approaching critical theory and psychoanalysis in a recklessly entertaining fashion, Zizek's critical eye alights upon a bewildering and exhilarating range of subjects, from the political apathy of contemporary life, to a joke about the man who thinks he's a chicken, from the ethicial heroism of Keanu Reeves in speed , to what toilet designs reveal about the national psyche. Tony Myers provides a clear and engaging guide to Zizek's key ideas, explaining the main (...) influences on Zizek's thought, most crucially his engagement with Lacanian psychoanalysis, using examples drawn from popular culture and everyday life. Myers outlines the key issues that Zizek's work has tackled, including: * What is a Subject and why is it so important? * The Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real * What is so terrible about Postmodernity? * How can we distinguish reality from ideology? * What is the relationship between men and women? * Why is Racism always a fantasy? Slavoj Zizek is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the thought of the critic whom Terry Eagleton has described as "the most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged in Europe for some decades.". (shrink)
The earth cannot support humanity's increasing population and consumption. Concerned scientists and citizens are therefore wondering how we might work toward a sustainable, survivable human future. Sustainability involves increased technological efficiency and agricultural productivity, but also incentives and attitudes that moderate consumption. Social psychology contributes to changing attitudes and behavior with evidence that a) materialism exacts psychic as well as environmental costs, and b) economic growth has failed to improve human morale. Two principles-the adaptation level phenomenon and social comparison-help explain (...) why materialism and increasing affluence fail to satisfy. (shrink)
The central issue of this essay is whether contextualism in epistemology is genuinely in conflict with recent claims that ‘know’ is not in fact a contextsensitive word. To address this question, I will first rehearse three key aims of contextualists and the broad strategy they adopt for achieving them. I then introduce two linguistic arguments to the effect that the lexical item ‘know’ is not context sensitive, one from Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore, one from Jason Stanley. I find these (...) and related arguments quite compelling. In particular, I think Cappelen and Lepore (2003, 2005a) show pretty definitively that ‘know’ is not like ‘I’/‘here’/‘now’, and Stanley (2004) shows that ‘know’ is not like ‘tall’/‘rich’.1 One could try to find another model for ‘know’. Instead, I consider whether one can rescue ‘‘the spirit of contextualism in epistemology’’—that is, achieve its aims by deploying a strategy of appealing to speaker context—even while granting that ‘know’ isn’t a context-sensitive word at all. My conclusion, in a nutshell, is this: If there are pragmatic determinants of what is asserted/stated, and contextualism can overcome independent problems not having to do specifically with the context-sensitivity of the word ‘know’, then the spirit of contextualism can be salvaged. Even though, for reasons sketched by the aforementioned authors, ‘know’ doesn’t actually belong in the class of context-sensitive words. (shrink)
My modest aim in this note is to sketch three interrelated critiques of public languages, and to respond to them. All are broadly Chomskyan, and all support the same conclusion: that, insofar as they even exist, the study of public languages is not a viable scientific project. (Related critiques of semantics, understood as involving word–world relations, will be touched on as well).
It has become something of a truism that people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have difficulties with pragmatics. Granting this, however, it is important to keep in mind that there are numerous kinds of pragmatic ability. One very important divide lies between those pragmatic competences which pertain to non-literal contents – as in, for instance, metaphor, irony and Gricean conversational implicatures – and those which pertain to the literal contents of speech acts. It is against this backdrop that our question (...) arises: Are certain pragmatic tasks more difficult than others for people with ASD? (shrink)
The nature of conceptual analysis is elucidated by a proposed solution to moore's paradox of analysis. Occurrent, Dispositional, And property concepts are distinguished, And the notion of epistemic gain is introduced and explained. It is shown that although a correct analysis equates property concepts this is done with epistemic gain. It is argued that in a correct analysis there must be no identity between analysans and analysandum in respect to occurrent concepts. The relevance of thought experiments to conceptual analysis is (...) discussed and it is concluded that conceptual analysis consists of a transformation of knowledge how into knowledge that. (shrink)
James argued that time is a sensation, and the main point of this paper is to deny that claim. The concept of the specious present is explained, indicating how it clarifies the concept of "the present moment." But neither it nor an argument used by Mach and James show time to be a sensation. The analysis presented here requires distinguishing concepts of sensation from concepts of temporal relations. James' view is really a theory that time-as-duration is sensed. But this assumes (...) that the description of time as sensed is also a description of time as an objective property of independent events. This is nowhere established, and making it plausible is a recurrent problem for philosophies like neutral monism and radical empiricism. (shrink)
Our first aim in this paper is to respond to four novel objections in Jason Stanley's 'Context and Logical Form'. Taken together, those objections attempt to debunk our prior claims that one can perform a genuine speech act by using a subsentential expression—where by 'subsentential expression' we mean an ordinary word or phrase, not embedded in any larger syntactic structure. Our second aim is to make it plausible that, pace Stanley, there really are pragmatic determinants of the literal truthconditional content (...) of speech acts. We hope to achieve this second aim precisely by defending the genuineness of subsentential speech acts. Given our two aims, it is necessary to highlight briefly their connection—which we do in the first part of the Introduction. Following that, we introduce Stanley's novel objections. This is the role of the second part of the Introduction. We offer our rebuttals in Section 2 (against 'shorthand') and Section 3 (against syntactic ellipsis, among other things). (shrink)
Is there a notion of domain specificity which affords genuine insight in the context of the highly modular mind, i.e. a mind which has not only input modules, but also central ‘conceptual’ modules? Our answer to this question is no. The main argument is simple enough: we lay out some constraints that a theoretically useful notion of domain specificity, in the context of the highly modular mind, would need to meet. We then survey a host of accounts of what domain (...) specificity is, based on the intuitive idea that a domain specific mechanism is restricted in the kind of information that it processes, and show that each fails at least one of those constraints. (shrink)
According to orthodox Christianity, salvation depends on faith in Christ. If, however, God eternally punishes those who die ignorant of Christ, it appears that we have special instance of the problem of evil: the punishment of the religiously innocent. This is called the soteriological problem of evil. Using Molina's concept of middle knowledge, William Lane Craig develops a solution to this problem which he considers a theodicy. As developed by Craig, the Molinist theodicy rests on the problematic assumption that all (...) informed persons who would freely reject Christ are culpable. Using an informed Muslim as a counter-example, I try to show that Craig's Molinist solution begs the question. (shrink)
Jason Merchant (2004, and Chap. 3, this volume) proposes to account for all speech acts performed with “fragments,” whether in discourse-initial position or otherwise, by appealing to syntactic ellipsis. Though his proposal is insightful, I offer empirical and methodological considerations against it. Empirical problems include: (a) His alleged “elliptical sentences” do not embed the way they should; (b) in some cases where Merchant requires fronting to take place, it is blocked – either by an island (e.g., in English) or because (...) nonsubject fronting is not allowed in the language in question (e.g., in Malagasy); and (c) his “limited ellipsis” strategy, allowing do it and this is __ to be licensed in discourse-initial position, is not general enough. The methodological problem is that, his protests to the contrary, Merchant’s view multiplies hidden structure without necessity. (shrink)
This paper discusses, in a preliminary manner, what revenge is. (It does not address the rationality or moral standing of revenge.) In particular, it proposes four elements of revenge --an agent, a recipient, a harm intended by the former, and a harm done by the latter which provokes the revenge. Based on these four elements, it highlights both agent-internal conditions for getting revenge, and agent-external ones. Along the way, the paper contrasts revenge with related phenomena like merely getting even, and (...) retribution. /// Este trabajo discute de manera preliminar lo que es la venganza. (No considera la racionalidad ni la moralidad de la venganza.) En particular, propone cuatro elementos de la venganza: un agente, un receptor, un daño que el primero tiene la intención de hacer, y un daño hecho por el segundo que provoca la venganza. Basándose en estos cuatro elementos, resaltan tanto las condiciones internas del agente como las externas a él para obtener venganza. A lo largo del trabajo se contrasta la venganza con fenómenos relacionados como el de desquitarse y la retribución. (shrink)
The notion that there is a category mistake or some other conceptual confusion in regarding seeing, hearing, and other forms of perception as events, states, or processes is incorrect. Ryle's analysis of "seeing" as an achievement word does not rule out our regarding seeing as an event, but in fact suggests that we do so when we carry the analysis beyond the point where Ryle leaves it. Furthermore there are uses of "see" not noticed by Ryle which justify our saying (...) that within certain contexts seeing is a state and within other contexts a process. The question of what these events, states, and processes are cannot be met without recognizing a fundamental duality of aspect that characterizes perception. This duality can be formulated in terms of the way perception is known. One who observes a perceiver knows the perceiver's perception in a categorically different way than the perceiver knows it. From this it can be seen that perceptual events, states, and processes have both a physical aspect and an epistemological aspect. Any attempt to reduce one of these aspects to the other would involve a category mistake. (shrink)
This article has two aims. The ﬁrst is to introduce some novel data that highlight rather surprising pragmatic abilities in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The second is to consider a possible implication of these data for an emerging empirical methodology in philosophy of language and mind. In pursuing the ﬁrst aim, we expect our main audience to be clinicians and linguists interested in pragmatics. It is when we turn to methodological issues that we hope to pique the interest of philosophers. (...) Still, the methodological issue becomes pressing precisely because of the empirical ﬁnding—thus the ﬁrst part is important for the philosophical readers as well. The game plan is as follows. Given our intended dual audience, we begin with background on autism and pragmatics. Some of this material will be familiar to some of our readership, but few will know all of it. (Those who do are invited to skip these sections.) We then present some results from our pilot study on a corpus of speech by people with ASD. The heart of our ﬁnding is that certain speakers with ASD, who have severe trouble with familiar pragmatic phenomena such as metaphor and conversational implicature, exhibit surprising abilities with respect to what is often called “pragmatic determinants of what is said.” We turn next to a possible implication of this ﬁnding: It seems to suggest that hitherto seemingly promising evidence from ASD about the semantics/pragmatics boundary is.. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson, in various places, has put forward an argument that is supposed to show that denying bivalence is absurd. This paper is an examination of the logical force of this argument, which is found wanting.
In what follows, I introduce a pragmatics-oriented approach to non-sentential speech, and defend it against two recent attacks. Among other things, I will rehearse and elaborate a defense against the idea that much, or even all, of such speech is actually syntactically elliptical—and hence should be treated semantically, rather than pragmatically. The chapter is structured as follows. In Section 1 I introduce the phenomenon, contrast semantic versus pragmatic approaches to it, and explain some of what hinges on which approach is (...) taken. In Section 2 I present Jason Stanley’s objections to the pragmatics-oriented approach, and his counterproposal that all truth-conditional effects of context on what is asserted can be traced to elements of underlying structure. In Section 3 I canvass numerous varieties of ellipsis. The focus in Section 3 will be on what kind of “ellipsis” is required if the pragmatics-oriented approach is actually to be rejected rather than being recast in other terms. In Section 4 I respond to.. (shrink)
As computer-based information systems start to have a great impact on people, organizations, and society as a whole, there is much debate about information technology in relation to social control and privacy, security and reliability, and ethics and professional responsibilities. However, more often than not, these debates reveal some fundamental disagreements, sometimes about first principles. In this article the authors suggest that a fruitful and interesting way to conceptualize some of these moral and ethical issues associated with the use of (...) information technology is to apply the principles of Aristotle's ethics to this topic. They argue that framing the moral and ethical choices associated with information technology in Aristotelian terms draws attention to the fact that there are fundamental dilemmas to be addressed. These dilemmas are discussed in relation to the four areas suggested by Dejoie, Fowler, and Paradice (1991): (a) privacy, (b) information accuracy, (c) access to information, and (d) intellectual property rights. The dilemmas associated with all four areas are illustrated with references to recent legal developments in Australia and New Zealand. (shrink)
Philosophy of language is an extraordinarily rich field. It has a history stretching back, in the Western tradition, to the pre-Socratics. And, in the last century or so, it has been of central concern in both the Anglo-American and Continental traditions. Obviously, a brief survey cannot hope to cover such intellectual abundance. What’s more, as this encyclopedia itself attests to, pragmatics is an equally rich academic endeavour. Any mere overview of their intersection must, then, narrow its focus. As a (...) result, my specific topic will be: What has Anglo-American philosophy of language contributed to the study of utterance meaning in context? (shrink)
Vernacularism is the view that logical forms are fundamentally assigned to natural language expressions, and are only derivatively assigned to anything else, e.g., propositions, mental representations, expressions of symbolic logic, etc. In this paper, we argue that Vernacularism is not as plausible as it first appears because of nonsentential speech. More specifically, there are argument-premises, meant by speakers of non-sentences, for which no natural language paraphrase is readily available in the language used by the speaker and the hearer. The speaker (...) can intend this proposition and the hearer can recover it (and its logical form). Since they cannot, by hypothesis, be doing this by using a sentence of their shared language, the proposition-meant has its logical form non-derivatively, which falsifies Vernacularism. We conclude the paper with a brief review of the debate on incomplete definite descriptions in which Vernacularism is assumed as a suppressed premise. (shrink)
Three and 4-year-old children were tested on matched versions of Zaitchik's (1990) photo task and Wimmer and Perner's (1983) false belief task. Although replicating Zaitchik's finding that false belief and photo task are of equal difficulty, this applied only to mean performance across subjects and no substantial correlation between the two tasks was found. This suggests that the two tasks tap different intellectual abilities. It was further discovered that children's performance can be improved by drawing their attention to the back (...) of the photo but not by drawing attention to the person holding the false belief. Results are interpreted as showing that children's difficulty with the photo task is due to referential confusion about which scene the question refers to (the picture or reality) while the hurdle in the false belief task is to understand that the believer misrepresents reality. (shrink)
This article has two aims. The first is to introduce some novel data that highlight rather surprising pragmatic abilities in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The second is to consider a possible implication of these data for an emerging empirical methodology in philosophy of language and mind.
Teachers Behaving Badly? is concerned about sexual behaviour that may occur between adults working in and connected to the school, and teacher/older pupil relations, initiated by both parties. Leaders faced with trying to sort out these issues find that they are not always clear-cut. Often there are no easy resolutions and the consequences may be potentially explosive for the individuals concerned, for the school, and for the community.
Does scientific psychology have a legitimate role to play in the philosophy of language? For example, is it methodologically permissible for philosophers of language to rely upon evidence from neurological development, experiments about processing, brain scans, clinical case histories, longitudinal studies, questionnaires, etc.? If so, why? These two questions are the focus of this survey. I address them in two stages. It may seem obvious that the science of psychology is relevant. I thus begin by introducing arguments against relevance, to (...) motivate the discussion. I will urge that these arguments ultimately fail, and that the appearance of relevance should be taken at face value. Next, I introduce positive arguments for relevance, with examples. To foreshadow the main conclusion, the methods and results of contemporary cognitive psychology are relevant because there are non-obvious connections, both constitutive and contingent, between language and human psychology. (shrink)
Our first aim in this paper is to respond to four novel objections in Jason Stanley’s ‘Context and Logical Form’. Taken together, those objections attempt to debunk our prior claims that one can perform a genuine speech act by using a subsentential expression—where by ‘sub-sentential expression’ we mean an ordinary word or phrase, not embedded in any larger syntactic structure. Our second aim is to make it plausible that, pace Stanley, there really are pragmatic determinants of the literal truthconditional content (...) of speech acts. We hope to achieve this second aim precisely by defending the genuineness of sub-sentential speech acts. Given our two aims, it is necessary to highlight briefly their connection—which we do in the first part of the Introduction. Following that, we introduce Stanley’s novel objections. This is the role of the second part of the Introduction. We offer our rebuttals in Section 2 (against ‘shorthand’) and Section 3 (against syntactic ellipsis, among other things). (shrink)
From the perspective of certain contextualists, the most worrisome theses of Cappelen & Lepore’s Insensitive Semantics would seem to be: T1: The only context sensitive items are the basic and obvious ones, i.e., pronouns, demonstratives, etc.; T2: Once referents are assigned to these basic and obvious items in a (declarative) sentence, that sentence has truth conditions; T3: This truth-conditional content is asserted when the sentence is used; T4: The content of the assertion made is not thereby fixed, however, because speech (...) act content depends upon features beyond the utterance context; T5: The relativized truth conditions are psychologically relevant. (shrink)
This edited volume offers ten new essays on semantics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of linguistics by top scholars in the field. Covering a wide range of topics, the collection is sure to be of interest to scholars in those areas as well as some philosophers of mind. Because of the diversity of topics and perspectives inherent in the collection, readers will find both exposition and debate among the contributors.
According to the practicality requirement, there could be truths about what people have reason to do only if people’s motivating states could be, in an appropriate sense, either correct or incorrect. Yet according to the Humean theory of motivation, people’s motivating states are a species of desire, and these desires are not a species of belief, being neither identical to nor entailed by them; and according to the standard view of desire, P’s desire to is, at bottom, a disposition to (...) act in whatever ways she believes will increase her chances of -ing. As there is no obvious sense in which such disposition are aiming to get P’s reasons right, they seem incapable of satisfying the practicality requirement and scepticism about normative truths seems to follow. I argue, first, that this sceptical conclusion is best avoided, not by rejecting either the practicality requirement or the Humean theory of motivation, but rather by rejecting the standard view of desire, and, second, that this is best done by endorsing a holistic view, according to which the contents of people’s desires depend importantly, though not essentially, on the contents of their normative beliefs. (shrink)
Vernacularism is the view that logical forms are fundamentally assigned to natural language expressions, and are only derivatively assigned to anything else, e.g., propositions, mental representations, expressions of symbolic logic, etc. In this paper, we argue that Vernacularism is not as plausible as it first appears because of non-sentential speech. More specifically, there are argument-premises, meant by speakers of non-sentences, for which no natural language paraphrase is readily available in the language used by the speaker and the hearer. The speaker (...) can intend this proposition and the hearer can recover it (and its logical form). Since they cannot, by hypothesis, be doing this by using a sentence of their shared language, the proposition-meant has its logical form non-derivatively, which falsifies Vernacularism. We conclude the paper with a brief review of the debate on incomplete definite descriptions in which Vernacularism is assumed as a suppressed premise. (shrink)