Moran (2013) rightly links performance of speech acts to instituting second-personal normative relations. He also maintains that an audience's recognition of the speaker's intention in speaking is sufficient for the speaker's success in doing the speech act intended. The claim is true on some ways of understanding speech act verbs, but false on others. This complexity of speech act verbs can be explained by seeing how speech acts need to be understood in the context of shared life and cooperative action.
We are social primates, for whom language-mediated co-operative thinking (‘co-cognition’) is a central element of our shared life. Psychological concepts may be illuminated by appreciating their role in enriching and improving such co-cognition — a role which is importantly different from that of enabling detailed prediction and control of thoughts and behaviour. This account of the nature of psychological concepts (‘co-cognitivism’) has social anti-individualism about thought content as a natural corollary. The combination of co-cognitivism and anti-individualism further suggests that, in (...) addition to the familiar first person authority with which we ascribe thoughts to ourselves, there may also be something deserving the name ‘second person authority’. (shrink)
Philosophy is an ambitious, speculative practice, aimed at finding out what wisdom is and how to attain it, in so far as that can be done by explicit discussion and argument. A likely pitfall of any such enterprise is that it loses touch with concerns in human life outside itself and becomes scholastic, in the pejorative sense. Academic institutions which encourage wide and outward-looking intellectual sympathies, and which do not reward narrow point-scoring specialism, are helpful in resisting the tendency to (...) scholasticism. The Moral Sciences Tripos at Cambridge might have provided some of the elements of such a setting, by framing an academic structure in which philosophy was studied in conjunction with other subjects in the humanities and social sciences. As things actually developed, that possibility was not realised. Nevertheless, philosophy at Cambridge maintained vigour and significance, through the intellectual freedom and encouragement it provided to some notable individual philosophers. (shrink)
It is plausible to think, as many developmental psychologists do, that joint attention is important in the development of getting a full grasp on psychological notions. This chapter argues that this role of joint attention is best understood in the context of the simulation theory about the nature of psychological understanding rather than in the context of the theory. Episodes of joint attention can then be seen not as good occasions for learning a theory of mind but rather as good (...) occasions for developing skills of expressing and sharing thoughts. This approach suggests seeing language acquisition as learning how to focus and fine-tune joint attention already present in the normal basic relation of carer and infant. Philosophers in thinking about other minds have concentrated too much on the contrast of first and third person, I vs he/she, and forgotten the centrality of the contrast of first and second person, I vs you, and the related centrality of we. (shrink)
Recent philosophy of mind has had a mistaken conception of the nature of psychological concepts. It has assumed too much similarity between psychological judgments and those of natural science and has thus overlooked the fact that other people are not just objects whose thoughts we may try to predict and control but fellow creatures with whom we talk and co-operate. In this collection of essays, Jane Heal argues that central to our ability to arrive at views about others' thoughts is (...) not knowledge of some theory of the mind but rather an ability to imagine alternative worlds and how things appear from another person's point of view. She then applies this view to questions of how we represent others' thoughts, the shape of psychological concepts, the nature of rationality and the possibility of first person authority. This book should appeal to students and professionals in philosophy of mind and language. (shrink)
How are we to explain the authority we have in pronouncing on our own thoughts? A 'constitutive' theory, on which a second-level belief may help to constitute the first-level state it is about, has considerable advantages, for example in relieving pressures towards dualism. The paper aims to exploit an analogy between authority in performative utterances and authority on the psychological to get a clearer view of how such a constitutive account might work and its metaphysical presuppositions.
Some see the co-cognitive view of how we arrive at judgements about others' thoughts as a version of the analogy approach, where I reason from how I find things to be with me to how they will be for others. These thinkers think it a virtue of the view that it need not accept any linkage between thought and rationality. This paper will, however, defend the view that a co-cognitive view is a natural ally of theories which link thought and (...) rationality. It will try to show that exclusive stress on analogy is unduly sceptical about our cognitive capacities and overestimates our similarity to each other. (shrink)
[Michael Tye] Externalism about thought contents has received enormous attention in the philosophical literature over the past fifteen years or so, and it is now the established view. There has been very little discussion, however, of whether memory contents are themselves susceptible to an externalist treatment. In this paper, I argue that anyone who is sympathetic to Twin Earth thought experiments for externalism with respect to certain thoughts should endorse externalism with respect to certain memories. /// [Jane Heal] Tye claims (...) that an externalist should say that memory content invoking natural kind concepts floats free of the setting where the memory is laid down and is at later times determined by the context in which the memory is revived. His argument assumes the existence of 'slow switching' of the meaning of natural kind terms when a person is transported from Earth to Twin Earth. But proper understanding of natural kind terms suggests that slow switching (contrary to what is often presupposed) is likely never to be completed. Hence the situation of a person unknowingly transported to Twin Earth is not that his memories switch content but rather that he gets two natural kinds confused. (shrink)
Indexicality is a feature of predicates and predicate components (verbs, adjectives, adverbs and the like) as well as of referring expressions. With classic referring indexicals such as 'I' or 'that' a distinctive rule takes us from token and context to some item present in the content which is the semantic correlate of the token. Predicates and predicate components may function in an analogous fashion. For example 'thus' is an indexical adverb which latches onto some manner of performance present in its (...) context. 'John sang thus', said while indicating someone singing discordantly, claims that John sang discordantly. The phenomenon of predicatival indexicality is widespread in English and is expressed in a variety of idioms. Indexical predication plays important epistemological and psychological roles and the notion may have other interesting philosophical applications. (shrink)