[Michael Potter] If arithmetic is not analytic in Kant's sense, what is its subject matter? Answers to this question can be classified into four sorts according as they posit logic, experience, thought or the world as the source, but in each case we need to appeal to some further process if we are to generate a structure rich enough to represent arithmetic as standardly practised. I speculate that this further process is our reflection on the subject matter already obtained. This (...) suggestion seems problematic, however, since it seems to rest on a confusion between the empirical and the metaphysical self. /// [Bob Hale] Michael Potter considers several versions of the view that the truths of arithmetic are analytic and finds difficulties with all of them. There is, I think, no gainsaying his claim that arithmetic cannot be analytic in Kant's sense. However, his pessimistic assessment of the view that what is now widely called Hume's principle can serve as an analytic foundation for arithmetic seems to me unjustified. I consider and offer some answers to the objections he brings against it. (shrink)
I argue that Monique Wittig's view that lesbians are not women neglects the complexities involved in the composition of the category "woman." I develop an articulation of the concept "woman" in the contemporary United States, with thirteen distinct defining characteristics, none of which are necessary nor sufficient. I argue that Wittig's emphasis on the material production of "woman" through the political regime of heterosexuality, however, is enormously fruitful for feminist and queer strategizing.
What is wrong with abstraction, Michael Potter and Peter Sullivan explain a further objection to the abstractionist programme in the foundations of mathematics which they first presented in their Hale on Caesar and which they believe our discussion in The Reason's Proper Study misunderstood. The aims of the present note are: To get the character of this objection into sharper focus; To explore further certain of the assumptions—primarily, about reference-fixing in mathematics, about certain putative limitations of abstractionist set theory, (...) and about the effects of impredicativity in abstraction principles—which underlie it; and To advance the debate of the issues thereby raised. Thanks for helpful comments to Roy Cook and to an anonymous referee. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Erratum to: The Bearable Lightness of Being Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10516-010-9127-7 Authors Bob Hale, Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield, 45 Victoria St, Sheffield, S3 7QB UK Journal Axiomathes Online ISSN 1572-8390 Print ISSN 1122-1151.
Here, Bob Hale and Crispin Wright assemble the key writings that lead to their distinctive neo-Fregean approach to the philosophy of mathematics. In addition to fourteen previously published papers, the volume features a new paper on the Julius Caesar problem; a substantial new introduction mapping out the program and the contributions made to it by the various papers; a section explaining which issues most require further attention; and bibliographies of references and further useful sources. It will be recognized as (...) the most powerful presentation yet of a neo-Fregean program. (shrink)
Review of G. Duke: Dummett onObjects References G. Frege. Über Sinn und Bedeutung. Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik, 100, 25–50, 1892. Translated in G.Frege, Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic and Philosophy, edited by B. McGuinness. Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 157–77. G. Frege. Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik. Breslau, Verlag von W. Koebner, 1884. Translated by J.L. Austin as The Foundations of Arithmetic, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, second revised edition 1953. M. Dummett. Frege: Philosophy of Language. London, Duckworth, 1973. M. Dummett. Frege: Philosophy (...) of Mathematics. London: Duckworth, 1991. B. Hale. Abstract Objects. Oxford: Basil Blackwells, 1987. B. Hale. Dummett's critique of Wright's attempt to resuscitate Frege. Philosophia Mathematica 2 (2):122–47 , 1994 http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/philmat/2.2.122 B. Hale and C. Wright. The Reason's Proper Study: Essays towards a Neo-Fregean Philosophy of Mathematics. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001. B. Hale and C. Wright. The Metaontology of Abstraction. In D. Chalmers, D. Manley & R. Wasserman, editors, Metametaphysics: New essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 178–213, 2009. C. Wright. Frege’s Conception of Numbers as Objects. Scots Philosophical Monographs. Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Press, 1983. (shrink)
We use psychological concepts (e.g., intention and desire) when we ascribe psychological states to others for purposes of describing, explaining, and predicting their actions. Does the evidence reported by Knobe show, as he thinks, that moral evaluation shapes our mastery of psychological concepts? We argue that the evidence so far shows instead that moral evaluation shapes the way we report, not the way we think about, others' psychological states.
According to an influential view, one function of mirror neurons (MNs), first discovered in the brain of monkeys, is to underlie third-person mindreading. This view relies on two assumptions: the activity of MNs in an observer’s brain matches (simulates or resonates with) that of MNs in an agent’s brain and this resonance process retrodictively generates a representation of the agent’s intention from a perception of her movement. In this paper, I criticize both assumptions and I argue instead that the activity (...) of MNs in an observer’s brain is enhanced by a prior representation of the agent’s intention and that their task is to predictively compute the best motor command suitable to satisfy the agent’s intention. (shrink)
I investigate two asymmetrical approaches to knowledge of absolute possibility and of necessity--one which treats knowledge of possibility as more fundamental, the other according epistemological priority to necessity. Two necessary conditions for the success of an asymmetrical approach are proposed. I argue that a possibility-based approach seems unable to meet my second condition, but that on certain assumptions--including, pivotally, the assumption that logical and conceptual necessities, while absolute, do not exhaust the class of absolute necessities--a necessity-based approach may be able (...) to do so. (shrink)
A "moral hazard" is a market failure most commonly associated with insurance, but also associated by extension with a wide variety of public policy scenarios, from environmental disaster relief, to corporate bailouts, to natural resource policy, to health insurance. Specifically, the term "moral hazard" describes the danger that, in the face of insurance, an agent will increase her exposure to risk. If not immediately clear, such terminology invokes a moral notion, suggesting that changing one's exposure to risk after becoming insured (...) is morally problematic. This paper challenges that position. It argues that there is nothing inherently moral about the moral hazard. It does so by arguing against three proposed claims regarding the wrongness of the moral hazard: first, the view that conceives of it as deception; then, the view that conceives of it as cheating; and finally, the view that conceives of it as stealing. (shrink)
How are philosophical questions about what kinds of things there are to be understood and how are they to be answered? This paper defends broadly Fregean answers to these questions. Ontological categories—such as object , property , and relation —are explained in terms of a prior logical categorization of expressions, as singular terms, predicates of varying degree and level, etc. Questions about what kinds of object, property, etc., there are are, on this approach, reduce to questions about truth and logical (...) form: for example, the question whether there are numbers is the question whether there are true atomic statements in which expressions function as singular terms which, if they have reference at all, stand for numbers, and the question whether there are properties of a given type is a question about whether there are meaningful predicates of an appropriate degree and level. This approach is defended against the objection that it must be wrong because makes what there depend on us or our language. Some problems confronting the Fregean approach—including Frege’s notorious paradox of the concept horse—are addressed. It is argued that the approach results in a modest and sober deflationary understanding of ontological commitments. (shrink)
The philosophy of modality investigates necessity and possibility, and related notions--are they objective features of mind-independent reality? If so, are they irreducible, or can modal facts be explained in other terms? This volume presents new work on modality by established leaders in the field and by up-and-coming philosophers. Between them, the papers address fundamental questions concerning realism and anti-realism about modality, the nature and basis of facts about what is possible and what is necessary, the nature of modal knowledge, modal (...) logic and its relations to necessary existence and to counterfactual reasoning. The general introduction locates the individual contributions in the wider context of the contemporary discussion of the metaphysics and epistemology of modality. (shrink)
Metaphor enters contemporary philosophical discussion from a variety of directions. Aside from its obvious importance in poetics, rhetoric, and aesthetics, it also figures in such fields as philosophy of mind (e.g., the question of the metaphorical status of ordinary mental concepts), philosophy of science (e.g, the comparison of metaphors and explanatory models), in epistemology (e.g., analogical reasoning), and in cognitive studies (in, e.g., the theory of concept-formation). This article will concentrate on issues metaphor raises for the philosophy of language, with (...) the understanding that the issues in these various fields cannot be wholly isolated from each other. Metaphor is an issue for the philosophy of language not only for its own sake, as a linguistic phenomenon deserving of analysis and interpretation, but also for the light it sheds on non-figurative language, the domain of the literal which is the normal preoccupation of the philosopher of language. A poor reason for this preoccupation would be the assumption that purely literal language is what most language-use consists in, with metaphor and the like sharing the relative infrequency and marginal status of songs or riddles. This would not be a good reason not only because mere frequency is not a good guide to theoretical importance, but also because it is doubtful that the assumption is even true. In recent years, writers with very different concerns have pointed out that figurative language of one sort or another is a staple of the most.. (shrink)
Alva Noë’s version of the enactive conception in _Action in Perception_ is an important contribution to the study of visual perception. First, I argue, however, that it is unclear (at best) whether, as the enactivists claim, work on change blindness supports the denial of the existence of detailed visual representations. Second, I elaborate on what Noë calls the ‘puzzle of perceptual presence’. Thirdly, I question the enactivist account of perceptual constancy. Finally, I draw attention to the tensions between enactivism and (...) two trends in cognitive neuroscience: the two-visual systems model of human vision and the theory of internal forward models of action. (shrink)
In “Double Vision Two Questions about the Neo-Fregean Programme”, John MacFarlane’s raises two main questions: (1) Why is it so important to neo-Fregeans to treat expressions of the form ‘the number of Fs’ as a species of singular term? What would be lost, if anything, if they were analysed instead as a type of quantifier-phrase, as on Russell’s Theory of Definite Descriptions? and (2) Granting—at least for the sake of argument—that Hume’s Principle may be used as a means of implicitly (...) defining the number operator, what advantage, if any, does adopting this course possess over a direct stipulation of the Dedekind-Peano axioms? This paper attempts to answer them. In response to the first, we spell out the links between the recognition of numerical terms as vehicles of singular reference and the conception of numbers as possible objects of singular, or object-directed, thought, and the role of the acknowledgement of numbers as objects in the neo-Fregean attempt to justify the basic laws of arithmetic. In response to the second, we argue that the crucial issue concerns the capacity of either stipulation—of Hume’s Principle, or of the Dedekind-Peano axioms—to found knowledge of the principles involved, and that in this regard there are crucial differences which explain why the former stipulation can, but the latter cannot, play the required foundational role. (shrink)
Must we believe in logical necessity? I examine an argument for an affirmative answer given by Ian McFetridge in his posthumously published paper 'Logical Necessity: Some Issues', and explain why it fails, as it stands, to establish his conclusion. I contend, however, that McFetridge's argument can be effectively buttressed by drawing upon another argument aimed at establishing that we ought to believe that some propositions are logically necessary, given by Crispin Wright in his paper 'Inventing Logical necessity'. My contention is (...) that Wright's argument, whilst it likewise fails, as it stands, to establish the necessity of necessity, established enough to close off what appears to me to be the only effective-looking sceptical response to McFetridge's original argument. My paper falls into four principal parts. In the first I expound McFetridge's argument and draw attention to the possibility of a certain type of sceptical counter to it. In the second, I begin a response to this sceptical move, taking it as far as I can without reliance upon argument of the kind given by Wright. Turning, then, to Wright's argument, I explain to what extent I think it is successful and seek to rebut some objections to the argument which, were they well-taken, would show that the argument cannot enjoy even the partial success I which to claim for it. Finally, I return to my main theme and try to show, with the assistance of what I take to be solidly established by Wright's argument, that the sceptical response collapses. (shrink)
Intentionality is the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs. The puzzles of intentionality lie at the interface between the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language. The word itself, which is of medieval Scholastic origin, was rehabilitated by the philosopher Franz Brentano towards the end of the nineteenth century. ‘Intentionality’ is a philosopher's word. It derives from the Latin word intentio, which in turn derives from the verb (...) intendere, which means being directed towards some goal or thing. The entry falls into eleven sections. (shrink)
Externalism is the view that the contents of many of a personâs propositional attitudes and perhaps sensory experiences are extrinsic properties of the personâs brain: they involve relations between the personâs brain and properties instantiated in his or her present or past environment. Privileged self-knowledge is the view that every human being is able to know directly or non-inferentially, in a way unavailable to anybody else, what he or she thinks or experiences. Now, if what I think (or experience) is (...) not in my brain, then it seems indeed as if I cannot have any privileged authoritative first-personal access to the content of what I think. Hence, externalism seems inconsistent with privileged self-knowledge. The purpose of this paper is to provide a road towards a conciliation between self-knowledge and externalism. (shrink)
There are presently three broad approaches the project of naturalizing intentionality: a purely informational approach (Dretske and Fodor), a purely teleological approach (Millikan and Papineau), and a mixed informationally-based teleological approach (Dretske again). I will argue that the last teleosemantic theory offers the most promising approach. I also think, however, that the most explicit version of a pure teleosemantic theory of content, namely Millikan’s admirable theory, faces a pair of objections. My goal in this paper is to spell out Millikan’s (...) pure teleosemantic theory; then to present two objections; and finally to ask the question whether a teleosemantic framework can be saved from the objections. (shrink)
Defining the real numbers by abstraction as ratios of quantities gives prominence to then- applications in just the way that Frege thought we should. But if all the reals are to be obtained in this way, it is necessary to presuppose a rich domain of quantities of a land we cannot reasonably assume to be exemplified by any physical or other empirically measurable quantities. In consequence, an explanation of the applications of the reals, defined in this way, must proceed indirectly. (...) This paper explains the main complications involved and answers the main objections advanced in Batitsky's paper in this issue. (shrink)
The tuning-fork model of human social cognition, based on the discovery of mirror neurons (MNs) in the ventral premotor cortex of monkeys, involves the four following assumptions: (1) mirroring processes are processes of resonance or simulation. (2) They can be motor or non-motor. (3) Processes of motor mirroring (or action-mirroring), exemplified by the activity of MNs, constitute instances of third-person mindreading, whereby an observer represents the agent's intention. (4) Non-motor mirroring processes enable humans to represent others' emotions. After questioning all (...) four assumptions, I point out that MNs in an observer's brain could not synchronically resonate with MNs in an agent's brain unless they discharged in a single brain in two distinct tasks at different times. Finally, I sketch a conceptualist alternative to the resonance model according to which a brain mechanism active in both the execution and the perception of e.g., the act of grasping is the neural basis of the concept of e.g., grasping. (shrink)