In Carnap’s autobiography, he tells the story how one night in January 1931, “the whole theory of language structure” in all its ramiﬁcations “came to [him] like a vision”. The shorthand manuscript he produced immediately thereafter, he says, “was the ﬁrst version” of Logical Syntax of Language. This document, which has never been examined since Carnap’s death, turns out not to resemble Logical Syntax at all, at least on the surface. Wherein, then, did the momentous insight of 21 January 1931 (...) consist? We seek to answer this question by placing Carnap’s shorthand manuscript in the context of his previous efforts to accommodate scientiﬁc theories and metalinguistic claims within Wittgenstein’s Tractatus theory of meaning. The breakthrough of January 1931 consists, from this viewpoint, in the rejection of the Tractatus theory in favor of the meta-mathematical perspective of Hilbert, Gödel, and Tarski. This was not yet the standpoint of the published Logical Syntax, as we show, but led naturally to the “principle of tolerance” and thus to Carnap’s mature philosophy, in which the inconsistencies between this ﬁrst view and the principle of tolerance, which survived into the published Syntax, were overcome. (shrink)
There is substantial evidence that people with Schizophrenia (SCZ) have altered visual perception and cognition, including impaired face processing. However, the mechanism(s) underlying this observation are not yet known. Eye movement studies have found that people with SCZ do not direct their gaze to the most informative regions of the face (e.g., the eyes). This suggests that SCZ patients may be less able to extract the most relevant face information and therefore have decreased calculation efficiency. In addition, research with non-face (...) stimuli indicates that SCZ is associated with increased levels of internal noise. Importantly, both calculation efficiency and internal noise have been shown to underpin face perception among healthy observers. Therefore, the current study applies noise masking to upright and inverted faces to determine if face processing deficits among those with SCZ are the result of changes in calculation efficiency, internal noise, or both. Consistent with previous results, SCZ participants exhibited higher contrast thresholds in order to identify masked target faces. However, higher thresholds were associated with increases in internal noise but unrelated to changes in calculation efficiency. These results suggest that SCZ-related face processing deficits are the result of a decreased noise-to-signal ratio. The source of increased processing noise among these patients is unclear, but may emanate from abnormal neural dynamics. (shrink)
11 April 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the papal encyclical, Pacem in Terris, a document that has exerted enormous influence on the doctrines of war and peace articulated by Roman Catholic and non-Catholic writers alike. The argument we make here is that in its understanding of human rights, international peace and philosophical anthropology, the encyclical in effect abandons the ?just war? teachings that had guided the church's view of human conflict for 16 centuries, and we argue that the departure (...) is a mistake. (shrink)
A central job for propositions is to be the objects of the attitudes. Propositions are the things we doubt, believe and suppose. Some philosophers have thought that propositions are sets of possible worlds. But many have become convinced that such an account individuates propositions too coarsely. This raises the question of how finely propositions should be individuated. An account of how finely propositions should be individuated on which they are individuated very finely is sketched. Objections to the effect that the (...) account individuates propositions too finely are raised and responses to the objections are provided. It is also shown that theories that try to individuate propositions less finely have serious problems. (shrink)
At least since Russell’s influential discussion in The Principles of Mathematics, many philosophers have held there is a problem that they call the problem of the unity of the proposition. In a recent paper, I argued that there is no single problem that alone deserves the epithet the problem of the unity of the proposition. I there distinguished three problems or questions, each of which had some right to be called a problem regarding the unity of the proposition; and I (...) showed how the account of propositions formulated in my book The Nature and Structure of Content [2007 Oxford University Press] solves each of these problems. In the present paper, I take up two of these problems/questions yet again. For I want to consider other accounts of propositions and compare their solutions to these problems, or lack thereof, to mine. I argue that my account provides the best solutions to the unity problems. (shrink)
Interference resolution is improved for stimuli presented in contexts (e.g. locations) associated with frequent conflict. This phenomenon, the “context-specific proportion congruent” (CSPC) effect, has challenged the traditional juxtaposition of “automatic” and “controlled” processing because it suggests that contextual cues can prime top-down control settings in a bottom-up manner. We recently obtained support for this “priming of control” hypothesis with fMRI by showing that CSPC effects are mediated by contextually-cued adjustments in processing selectivity. However, an equally plausible explanation is that CSPC (...) effects reflect adjustments in response caution triggered by expectancy violations (i.e. prediction errors) when encountering rare events as compared to common ones (e.g. high-conflict incongruent trials in a task context associated with infrequent conflict). Here, we applied a quantitative model of choice, the linear ballistic accumulator (LBA), to distil the reaction time and accuracy data from four independent samples that performed a modified flanker task into latent variables representing the psychological processes underlying task-related decision making. We contrasted models which differentially accounted for CSPC effects as arising either from contextually-cued shifts in the rate of sensory evidence accumulation (“drift” models) or in the amount of evidence required to reach a decision (“threshold” models). For the majority of the participants, the LBA ascribed CSPC effects to increases in response threshold for contextually-infrequent trial types (e.g. low-conflict congruent trials in the frequent conflict context), suggesting that the phenomenon may reflect more a prediction error-triggered shift in decision criterion rather than enhanced sensory evidence accumulation under conditions of frequent conflict. (shrink)
Current scholarship has focused on analyzing how Arendt's storytelling corresponds to her political arguments. In following up this discussion, I offer a closer examination of the unusual myth Arendt uses to explain the condition of the modern age, a myth she refers to as the ?political nature of history.? I employ literary terms along with the standard vocabulary of political theory in shaping this reading of Arendt. Following Robert C. Pirro, I also consider Arendt's story as a tragedy, but in (...) the broadest sense, that of a collision of two goods, freedom and security. By describing Arendt's thought in this manner, I hope to reveal another way in which Arendt represents the call to action that she believes so crucial to humanity, as a summons to we flawed antiheroes through the device of a heroic myth. (shrink)
The following essay involves a discussion of four theories about lying and their application to a specific circumstance, the Nazi-Jew situation, as found in Kant, Aquinas, Pruss, and Guervin. By examining their thoughts on this particular situation, we may draw out, by the use of “right reason,” ways to handle everyday situations that causes us to face the tragic choice between two goods that lying presents. The argument is that, if approached in a certain way, the tragic choice lying presents (...) may be avoided. (shrink)
This article addresses the pressing issue of what process courts should use to identify those questions whose resolution lies beyond their appropriate capacity and legitimacy. The search for such a process is a basic constitutional problem that has defied a clear answer for well over a hundred years. The chequered history of earlier attempts illustrates why commentators have once again begun to gravitate towards institutional approaches. The general features of institutional approaches include emphasis on uncertainty, judicial fallibility, systemic impact, collaboration (...) between branches of government and incrementalism in judging. These features, however, are relied upon in support of two conflicting views of the role of judges in public law adjudication. One is restrictive, and advocates sharp limitations to the ambit of judicial review. The other is contextual, and, in stark contrast, it proposes to expand the ambit of review in reliance on the idea of using principles of restraint to structure the exercise of judicial discretion. While this article does not take sides between them, it nonetheless seeks to refine the contextual institutional approach by outlining a general framework for reasoning with principles of restraint, and by addressing some of the key difficulties such a reasoning process would face. (shrink)
In “Complex Demonstratives: A Quantificational Account” (MIT Press 2001) (henceforth CD), I argued that complex demonstratives are quantifiers. Many philosophers had held that demonstratives, both simple and complex, are referring terms. Since the publication of CD various objections to the account of complex demonstratives I defended in it have been raised. In the present work, I lay out these objections and respond to them.
result from combining the determiners `this' or `that' with syntactically simple or complex common noun phrases such as `woman' or `woman who is taking her skis off'. Thus, `this woman', and `that woman who is taking her skis off' are complex demonstratives. There are also plural complex demonstratives such as `these skis' and `those snowboarders smoking by the gondola'. My book Complex Demonstratives: A Quantificational Account argues against what I call the direct reference account of complex demonstratives (henceforth DRCD) and (...) defends a quantificational account of complex demonstratives. In two recent papers, Nathan Salmon has criticized one of the book's arguments against DRCD. In this essay I show that Salmon's criticism fails. I also show that the version of DRCD that Salmon ends up endorsing is false. (shrink)
Belief in propositions has had a long and distinguished history in analytic philosophy. Three of the founding fathers of analytic philosophy, Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, and G. E. Moore, believed in propositions. Many philosophers since then have shared this belief; and the belief is widely, though certainly not universally, accepted among philosophers today. Among contemporary philosophers who believe in propositions, many, and perhaps even most, take them to be structured entities with individuals, properties, and relations as constituents. For example, the (...) proposition that Glenn loves Tracy has Glenn, the loving relation, and Tracy as constituents. What is it, then, that binds these constituents together and imposes structure on them? And if the proposition that Glenn loves Tracy is distinct from the proposition that Tracy loves Glenn yet both have the same constituents, what is about the way these constituents are structured or bound together that makes them two different propositions? In The Nature and Structure of Content, Jeffrey C. King formulates a detailed account of the metaphysical nature of propositions, and provides fresh answers to the above questions. In addition to explaining what it is that binds together the constituents of structured propositions and imposes structure on them, King deals with some of the standard objections to accounts of propositions: he shows that there is no mystery about what propositions are; that given certain minimal assumptions, it follows that they exist; and that on his approach, we can see how and why propositions manage to have truth conditions and represent the world as being a certain way. The Nature and Structure of Content also contains a detailed account of the nature of tense and modality, and provides a solution to the paradox of analysis. Scholars and students working in the philosophy of mind and language will find this book rewarding reading. (shrink)
Robert Stalnaker is an actualist who holds that merely possible worlds are uninstantiated properties that might have been instantiated. Stalnaker also holds that there are no metaphysically impossible worlds: uninstantiated properties that couldn't have been instantiated. These views motivate Stalnaker's "two dimensional" account of the necessary a posteriori on which there is no single proposition that is both necessary and a posteriori. For a (metaphysically) necessary proposition is true in all (metaphysically) possible worlds. If there were necessary a posteriori propositions, (...) that would mean that there were propositions true in all possible worlds but which could only be known to be true by acquiring empirical evidence. Consider such a purported proposition P. The role of empirical evidence for establishing P's truth would have to be to rule out worlds in which P is false. If there were no such worlds to be ruled out, we would not require evidence for P. But by hypothesis, P is necessary and so true in all metaphysically possible worlds. And on Stalnaker's view, the metaphysically possible worlds are all the worlds there are. So there can be no proposition that is true in all possible worlds, but that we require evidence to know. In this way, the motivation for Stalnaker's two dimensional account of the necessary a posteriori rests on his denying that there are metaphysically impossible Worlds. I argue that given his view of what possible worlds are, Stalnaker has no principled reason for denying that there are metaphysically impossible worlds. If I am right, this undercuts Stalnaker's motivation for his two dimensional account of the necessary a posteriori. (shrink)
Assume that the only thing before you is a statue made of some alloy. Call those who think that there is one thing before you in such a case monists. Call those who think there are at least two things before you in such a case pluralists. The most common arguments for pluralism run as follows. The statue is claimed to have some property P that the piece of alloy lacks (or vice versa), and hence it is concluded that they (...) are distinct. Most often, the predicates employed in such arguments to express the crucial property are predicates expressing ‘temporal properties’, such as existing at a certain time; or ‘modal properties’, such as possibly being spherical; or ‘constitution properties’, such as being made of a certain sort of material. In a recent paper, Kit Fine has noted that such predicates suffer from various defects that make it possible for the monist to plausibly resist the relevant versions of the pluralist's arguments. For this reason, Fine considers a number of predicates that do not suffer from these defects, and constructs new versions of the above argument using them. Fine argues that any attempt on the monist's part to resist his versions of the argument force the monist to adopt implausible positions in the philosophy of language. As against this, I argue that the monist has perfectly plausible responses to Fine's arguments that require the monist to adopt only quite reasonable positions in the philosophy of language. (shrink)
Followers of Wittgenstein allegedly once held that a meaningful claim to know that p could only be made if there was some doubt about the truth of p. The correct response to this thesis involved appealing to the distinction between the semantic content of a sentence and features attaching (merely) to its use. It is inappropriate to assert a knowledge-claim unless someone in the audience has doubt about what the speaker claims to know. But this fact has nothing to do (...) with the semantic content of knowledgeascriptions; it is entirely explicable by appeal to pragmatic facts about felicitous assertion (that is, a kind of use of a sentence). (shrink)
The uncertainty response adds an important new dimension to conventional animal learning and memory studies. Although the uncertainty response by monkeys and dolphins resembled that of humans, parsimony alone does not necessarily indicate that the monkeys and dolphins had a full self-awareness. However, the uncertain response may be an index of an evolutionary precursor to full self-awareness of uncertainty and a theory of mind.
Though these expressions are often called “names of months”, there is good reason to hold that they are not names at all. Syntactically, these words behave as count nouns. They combine with determiners such as ‘every’, ‘many’, ‘exactly three’ etc. to form restricted quantifiers:3 (1) Every January I go skiing. (2) I spent many Januarys at Squaw Valley. (3) I wasted exactly three Januarys in Bakersfield. Like other count nouns, they can take relative clauses in constructions such as (1)-(3): (1a) (...) Every January that you visited we went skiing. (2a) I spent many Januarys that I will never forget at Squaw Valley. (3a) I wasted three Januarys that seemed interminable in Bakersfield. They also combine with the copula, indefinite article and adjectival modifiers to form predicates in the way that other count nouns do: (4) The first full month I lived in Northern California was a pleasant July. Further, it is generally held that only constituents of the same syntactic category can be conjoined. And as the following example shows, ‘January’ can be conjoined with other count nouns:4 (5) All Januarys and funerals last too long. Thus distributional evidence strongly suggests that ‘January’, ‘February’, etc. are count nouns. Since in general we take count nouns to express properties, we ought to take ‘January’, ‘February’ etc. to express properties as well.5 We shall return to the question of what properties such words express below. For now, we shall stick with syntax. (shrink)
This study describes the results of experiments motivated by an attempt to understand spectral processing in the cerebral cortex (DeValois and DeValois, 1988; Pribram, 1971, 1991). This level of inquiry concerns processing within a restricted cortical area rather than that by which spatially separate circuits become synchronized during certain behavioral and experiential processes. We recorded neural responses for 55 locations in the somatosensory (barrel) cortex of the rat to various combinations of spatial frequency (texture) and temporal frequency stimulation of their (...) vibrissae. The recordings obtained from single and multi-unit bursts of spikes were mapped as surface distributions of local dendritic potentials. The distributions showed a variety of patterns that are asymmetric with respect to the spatial and temporal parameters of stimulation, and were, therefore, not simply reflecting whisker flick rate. Next, a simulation of our results showed that these surface distributions of local dendritic potentials can be described by Gabor-like functions much as in the visual system. The results provide support for a model of distributed cortical processing that imposes a physiologically derived frame (the limited extent of a dendritic patch) and an anatomically derived (axonal) sampling of the distributed process. This combination provides a complex Gabor wavelet that encodes phase, which is necessary to processing such details as edges and texture in a scene. The synchronization across cortical areas that make the Gabor wavelet processes within restricted cortical areas available to one another (the binding problem) proceed at a ''higher order'' level of integration. Both levels of distributed processing accomplish computation in the conjoint spacetime and spectral domain. (shrink)
Scalp-recorded event-related potential (ERP) measures of reading and listening have been proved more sensitive to the time course of syntactic processing than the chronometric and behavioral data described by Caplan & Waters. ERP studies using sentences containing relative clauses indicate that there are individual differences in syntactic processing that appear at the earliest theoretically relevant time points and are attributable to working memory operations.
It is common for philosophers to offer philosophical accounts or analyses, as they are sometimes called, of knowledge, autonomy, representation, (moral) goodness, reference, and even modesty. These philosophical analyses raise deep questions.What is it that is being analyzed (i.e. what sorts of things are the objects of analysis)? What sort of thing is the analysis itself (a proposition? sentence?)? Under what conditions is an analysis correct? How can a correct analysis be informative? How, if at all, does the production of (...) philosophical analyses differ from what scientists do? The purpose of the present paper is to provide answers to these questions. (shrink)