Joseph LaPorte argues that scientists have not discovered that sentences about natural kinds are true rather than false. Instead, scientists have found that these sentences were vaguely phrased in the language of earlier speakers and they have thus refined the meanings of the terms to validate the sentences. In the process, however, they have also changed the meaning of the terms. This book will appeal to students and professionals in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of biology and the (...) philosophy of language. (shrink)
Here I defend the position that some singular terms for properties are rigid designators, responding to Stephen P. Schwartz’s interesting criticisms of that position. First, I argue that my position does not depend on ontological parsimony with respect to properties – e.g., there is no need to claim that there are only natural properties – to get around the problem of “unusual properties.” Second, I argue that my position does not confuse sameness of meaning across possible worlds with sameness of (...) designation, or rigid designation. Third, I argue that my position does not founder by way of failing to assign rigidity the work of grounding a posteriori necessity. (shrink)
In this paper I take issue with the doctrine that organisms belong of their very essence to the natural kinds (or biological taxa, if these are not kinds) to which they belong. This view holds that any human essentially belongs to the species Homo sapiens, any feline essentially belongs to the cat family, and so on. I survey the various competing views in biological systematics. These offer different explanations for what it is that makes a member of one species, family, (...) etc. a member of that taxon. Unfortunately, none of them offers an explanation that is compatible with the essentialism in question. (shrink)
Hershenov (2005) gives two interesting, related arguments, which he calls ‘symmetry arguments’, to the effect that a living body or an organism cannot be identical to a corpse, superficial appearances to the contrary. I relate the two arguments briefly and then criticize them for related weaknesses.
In a recent article, Alex Levine raises a paradox. It appears that, given some relatively uncontroversial premises about how a species term comes to refer to its species, a type specimen belongs necessarily and contingently to its species. According to Levine, this problem arises if species are individuals rather than natural kinds. I argue that the problem can be generalized: the problem also arises if species are kinds and type specimens are paradigmatic members used to baptize names for species. Indeed, (...) the same problem arises with respect to kinds like gold and the samples used to ground names for them. After arguing that the paradox arises whether or not species are individuals, I attempt to show how the paradox can be resolved. Levine's argument that a type specimen belongs necessarily to its species is specious. The appeal of the argument stems from a failure to distinguish between two different modal statements concerning type specimens, one de dicto and the other de re. Type specimens belong contingently to their respective species. Even so, they can be known a priori to belong to them: hence, that a particular type specimen belongs to its species is an example of contingent a priori knowledge. (shrink)
Drawing on propositions from the signaling theory and expectancy theory, this study hypothesizes that the perceived corporate citizenship of job seekers positively affects a firm’s attractiveness and career success expectation. This study’s proposed research hypotheses are empirically tested using a survey of graduating MBA students seeking a job. The empirical findings show that a firm’s corporate citizenship provides a competitive advantage in attracting job seekers and fostering optimistic career success expectation. Such findings substantially complement the growing literature arguing that corporate (...) citizenship brings firms competitive advantages without solid evidence from the perspective of recruitment and human resources. Finally, managerial implications and limitations of this study are also discussed. (shrink)
Sharing and helping are important issues in ethical research. This study proposes a model based on flow theory by postulating key antecedents as the critical drivers of knowledge sharing and interemployee helping. Flow is the holistic sensation that employees feel when they act with total immersion and engagement, facilitating individuals’ reciprocal activities such as knowledge sharing and interemployee helping. In the proposed model, knowledge sharing is influenced by flow experience directly and also indirectly via the mediation of interemployee helping. Accordingly, (...) the flow experience is influenced simultaneously by four exogenous factors related to individuals’ perception about their work: work skills, self-fulfillment in challenges, perceived control, and vividness. This study contributes to the knowledge management literature by extending flow theory to the area of knowledge sharing and interemployee helping, by validating idiosyncratic antecedent drivers of the flow theory, and by performing a practical operationalization of the flow experience. This research also provides managerial implications for business leaders to boost their employees’ ethical behavior in terms of sharing and helping. (shrink)
_tableau_ can be given a full and satisfying explanation, while others cannot. We can explain in a full and satisfying way why the water in the mug is identical with H2O, why its liquidity is identical with a state of its molecular bonds, and why its heat is identical with its molecules being in motion. But we cannot explain in the same way why the neural processes which Joe undergoes when he looks at the mug are such as to make (...) the mug look green, and not red. The latter explanations have gaps. (shrink)
Joseph LaPorte in an article on `Kind and Rigidity'(Philosophical Studies, Volume 97) resurrects an oldsolution to the problem of how to understand the rigidityof kind terms and other general terms. Despite LaPorte'sarguments to the contrary, his solution trivializes thenotion of rigidity when applied to general terms. Hisarguments do lead to an important insight however. Thenotions of rigidity and non-rigidity do not usefullyapply at all to kind or other general terms. Extendingthe notion of rigidity from singular terms such as (...) propernames to general terms such as natural kind terms is amistake. (shrink)
Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change is a refreshingly direct book that challenges a range of orthodox views in the philosophy of science (especially biology), the philosophy of language, and metaphysics. Amongst these are the views that species are individuals rather than natural kinds; that scientists discover the essences of natural kinds; that the causal theory of reference has commonly-ascribed implications for realism and analyticity; that there is an unacceptable form of incommensurability entailed by descriptivism about reference; and that there are (...) good grounds, familiar since Quine, for thinking that there is no distinction of significance to be drawn between changes in meaning and changes in theory. LaPorte argues against all of these claims, and if you are curious about just how he does it, then this is a book for you. (shrink)
I argue that a corpse cannot be identified with an earlier living body, because it acquires and retains parts in different ways. Contrary to what Joseph LaPorte maintains, there can be neither one principle of part-assimilation nor a non-disjunctive account of persistence conditions that can establish the identity of a living body and a later corpse.
The Doomsday argument purports to show that the risk of the human species going extinct soon has been systematically underestimated. This argument has something in common with controversial forms of reasoning in other areas, including: game theoretic problems with imperfect recall, the methodology of cosmology, the epistemology of indexical belief, and the debate over so-called fine-tuning arguments for the design hypothesis. The common denominator is a certain premiss: the Self-Sampling Assumption. We present two strands of argument in favor of this (...) assumption. Through a series of thought experiments we then investigate some bizarre prima facie consequences – backward causation, psychic powers, and an apparent conflict with the Principal Principle. (shrink)
This is a reply to W. Paul Franks’ critique (‘Why a Believer Could Believe that God Answers Prayers’) of my recent paper in Sophia (2007). I argue that Franks’ Plantinga-inspired criticism fails because it turns on the dubious assumption that the efficacy of prayer could provide evidence for the existence of God.
Atran advances three theses: our folk-biological taxonomy is (1) universal, (2) innate, and (3) the product of natural selection. I argue that Atran offers insufficient support for theses (2) and (3) and that his evolutionary psychology thus amounts to nothing more than a just-so story.
What is the simulation theory? Arguments for simulation theory Simulation theory versus theory theory Simulation theory and cognitive science Versions of simulation theory A possible test of the simulation theory.
Since the publication of David Lewis’ Counterfactuals, the standard line on subjunctive conditionals with impossible antecedents (or counterpossibles) has been that they are vacuously true. That is, a conditional of the form ‘If p were the case, q would be the case’ is trivially true whenever the antecedent, p, is impossible. The primary justification is that Lewis’ semantics best approximates the English subjunctive conditional, and that a vacuous treatment of counterpossibles is a consequence of that very elegant theory. Another justification (...) derives from the classical lore than if an impossibility were true, then anything goes. In this paper we defend non-vacuism, the view that counterpossibles are sometimes non-vacuously true and sometimes non-vacuously false. We do so while retaining a Lewisian semantics, which is to say, the approach we favor does not require us to abandon classical logic or a similarity semantics. It does however require us to countenance impossible worlds. An impossible worlds treatment of counterpossibles is suggested (but not defended) by Lewis (Counterfactuals. Blackwell, Oxford, 1973), and developed by Nolan (Notre Dame J Formal Logic 38:325–527, 1997), Kment (Mind 115:261–310, 2006a: Philos Perspect 20:237–302, 2006b), and Vander Laan (In: Jackson F, Priest G (eds) Lewisian themes. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004). We follow this tradition, and develop an account of comparative similarity for impossible worlds. (shrink)
Kit Fine (1994. “Essence and Modality”, Philosophical Perspectives 8: 1-16) argues that the standard modal account of essence as de re modality is ‘fundamentally misguided’ (p. 3). We agree with his critique and suggest an alternative counterfactual analysis of essence. As a corollary, our counterfactual account lends support to non-vacuism the thesis that counterpossibles (i.e., counterfactual conditionals with impossible antecedents) are not always vacuously true.
The received view in the philosophy of biology is that biological taxa (species and higher taxa) do not have essences. Recently, some philosophers (Boyd, Devitt, Grifﬁths, LaPorte, Okasha, and Wilson) have suggested new forms of biological essentialism. They argue that according to these new forms of essentialism, biological taxa do have essences. This article critically evaluates the new biological essentialism. This article’s thesis is that the costs of adopting the new biological essentialism are many, yet the beneﬁts are none, (...) so there is no compelling reason to resurrect essentialism concerning biological taxa. (shrink)
The received view in philosophy of biology is that biological taxa (species and higher taxa) do not have essences. Recently some philosophers (Boyd, Devitt, Griffiths, LaPorte, Okasha, and Wilson) have suggested new forms of biological essentialism. They argue that according to these new forms of essentialism biological taxa do have essences. This paper critically evaluates the new biological essentialism. The paper’s thesis is that the costs of adopting the new biological essentialism are many, yet the benefits are none. So (...) there is no compelling reason to resurrect essentialism concerning biological taxa. (shrink)
This paper is about the open future response to fatalistic arguments. I first present a typical fatalistic argument and then spell out the open future response as a response to that argument. Then I raise the question of how the open future response can be independently justified. I consider some possible ways in which the response might be defended, and I try to show that none of these is a plausible, non-question-begging defense. Next I formulate what I take to be (...) the only plausible, nonquestion-begging defense of the open future response. This defense involves both (i) the claim that the laws of nature are indeterministic and (ii) a certain version of the correspondence theory of truth. Finally, I argue that there is a very surprising consequence of justifying the open future response by making the defense in question, namely, that the past is sometimes open. Fatalism is the view that whatever will happen in the future is inevitable, due to certain considerations about truth and time. Fatalism, in turn, is normally taken to imply that there is no such thing as genuine, human free will. Suppose that I am an anti-fatalist. Suppose I believe that Joe Montana is free to choose what he will have for lunch tomorrow, and suppose I take this case to be a paradigmatic example of one involving both evitability and human free will. Now suppose that I meet a fatalist, who presents the following argument.1.. (shrink)
First published in 1899, The School and Society describes John Dewey’s experiences with his own famous Laboratory School, started in 1896. Dewey’s experiments at the Laboratory School reflected his original social and educational philosophy based on American experience and concepts of democracy, not on European education models then in vogue. This forerunner of the major works shows Dewey’s pervasive concern with the need for a rich, dynamic, and viable society. In his introduction to this volume, Joe R. Burnett states Dewey’s (...) theme. Industrialization, urbanization, science, and technology have created a revolution the schools cannot ignore. Dewey carries this theme through eight chapters: The School and Social Progress; The School and the Life of the Child; Waste in Education; Three Years of the University Elementary School; The Psychology of Elementary Education; Froebel’s Educational Principles; The Psychology of Occupations; and the Development of Attention. (shrink)
By “epistemic modals,” I mean epistemic uses of modal words: adverbs like “necessarily,” “possibly,” and “probably,” adjectives like “necessary,” “possible,” and “probable,” and auxiliaries like “might,” “may,” “must,” and “could.” It is hard to say exactly what makes a word modal, or what makes a use of a modal epistemic, without begging the questions that will be our concern below, but some examples should get the idea across. If I say “Goldbach’s conjecture might be true, and it might be false,” (...) I am not endorsing the Cartesian view that God could have made the truths of arithmetic come out differently. I make the claim not because I believe in the metaphysical contingency of mathematics, but because I know that Goldbach’s conjecture has not yet been proved or refuted. Similarly, if I say “Joe can’t be running,” I am not saying that Joe’s constitution prohibits him from running, or that Joe is essentially a non-runner, or that Joe isn’t allowed to run. My basis for making the claim may be nothing more than that I see Joe’s running shoes hanging on a hook. (shrink)
I. Non-Trivial Counterpossibles On Lewis’ account, a subjunctive of the form ‘if it were the case that p, it would be the case that q’ (represented as ‘p → q’) is to be given the following rough meta-linguistic truth-conditions1.
This paper offers directions for the continuing dialogue between business ethicists and environmental philosophers. I argue that a theory of corporate social responsibility must be consistent with, if not derived from, a model of sustainable economics rather than the prevailing neoclassical model of market economics. I use environmental examples to critique both classical and neoclassical models of corporate social responsibility and sketch the alternative model of sustainable development. After describing some implications of this model at the level of individual firms (...) and industries, I offer an ethical justification of the sustainability alternative that is derived from the same values that underlie traditional market economics. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that contraposition, strengthening the antecedent and hypothetical syllogism fail for subjunctive conditionals. The following putative counter-examples are frequently cited, respectively.
The simulation theory is an account of our everyday ability to attribute mental states and predict and explain human behavior. It has been developed both as an empirical hypothesis in cognitive science and as an account of mental concepts in the philosophy of mind.
Berit Brogaard and Joe Salerno (2008) have defended the validity of counterfactual hypothetical syllogism (CHS) within the Stalnaker-Lewis account. Whenever the premisses of an instance of CHS are non-vacuosly true, a shift in context has occurred. Hence the standard counterexamples to CHS suffer from context failure. Charles Cross (2011) rejects this argument as irreconcilable with the Stalnaker-Lewis account. I argue against Cross that the basic Stalnaker-Lewis truth condition may be supplemented in a way that makes (CHS) valid. Yet pace Brogaard (...) and Salerno, there are alternative ways of spelling out the basic truth condition which are standard in most debates; and given these ways, the counterexamples to CHS are successful. (shrink)
Internalism in epistemology is the view that all the factors relevant to the justification of a belief are importantly internal to the believer, while externalism is the view that at least some of those factors are external. This extremely modest first approximation cries out for refinement (which we undertake below), but is enough to orient us in the right direction, namely that the debate between internalism and externalism is bound up with the controversy over the correct account of the distinction (...) between justified beliefs and unjustified beliefs.1 Understanding that distinction has occasionally been obscured by attention to the analysis of knowledge and to the Gettier problem, but our view is that these problems, while interesting, should not completely seduce philosophers away from central questions about epistemic justification. A plausible starting point in the discussion of justification is that the distinction between justified beliefs and unjustified beliefs is not the same as the distinction between true beliefs and false beliefs. This follows from the mundane observation that it is possible to rationally believe.. (shrink)
Berit Brogaard and Joe Salerno (Counterfactuals and Context, ANALYSIS 68 (2008): 39-46) argue that the standard Stalnaker-Lewis counterexamples to hypothetical syllogism, strengthening the antecedent, and contraposition trade on a failure to hold fixed the context in which truth values are determined for the premises and conclusion in each counterexample. I argue that no contextual fallacy is committed in the standard counterexamples, and I offer a different view of what it is for a fact to be held fixed by a counterfactual (...) antecedent. On my view, for a fact to be held fixed is an epistemological matter, not a semantic matter. (shrink)
I defend this claim that some natural essences can be known (only) a pos- teriori against two philosophers who accept essentialism but who hold that essences are known a priori: Joseph LaPorte, who argues from the use of kind terms in science, and E. J. Lowe, who argues from general metaphysical and epistemological principles.
Nussbaum’s theory of the emotions draws heavily on the Stoic account. In her theory, emotions are a kind of value judgment or thought. This is in stark contrast to the well-known proposal from William James, who took emotions to be bodily feelings. There are various motivations for taking emotions as judgments. One main reason is that emotions are intentional mental states. They are always about something, directed at particular objects or state of affairs. For example, fear seems to involve the (...) anticipation of danger. To grief for the passing of a loved one involves the thought that someone dear to us is now gone. In Upheavals of Thought and also in her Hochelaga Lecture, Nussbaum analyzed compassion as a set of judgments, including for example the judgment that someone is experiencing serious suffering, and that the person in question does not deserve the suffering. (shrink)
According to the view I christen sharpism, when Joe says to his daughter in a perfectly ordinary context ‘The Earth is super-duper old’, his claim has an incredibly discriminating truth condition: although it’s true if the Earth is over 347,342,343 years, 2 days, and 17 nanoseconds old, if the Earth is even a nanosecond younger then his claim has some status other than “just plain true”—but we leave open what that new status might be: false, indeterminate, indeterminately indeterminate, meaningless, just (...) under 100% true, or whatnot. The material point is that the claim changes in truth status (“alethic status”) with a nanosecond change in the Earth’s age. The sharp cutoff might not be a cutoff separating the true from the false, but it is a sharp alethic cutoff nonetheless. It has this sensitive truth condition even though Joe has never made any relevant linguistic stipulations and doesn’t even know what a nanosecond is. Another example: when I say to a visiting speaker, ‘The auditorium where you’ll give your lecture is a short walk from here’, my claim is true if the auditorium is no more than 123 meters, 6 centimeters, and 16 nanometers away. Hence, if it turns out that we were 123 meters, 6 centimeters, and 17 nanometers away from the auditorium, my claim had some status other than true. (shrink)
Kripke defines a rigid designator as one that designates the same object in every possible world in which that object exists. He argues that proper names are rigid. So also, he claims, are various natural kind terms. But we wonder how they could be. These terms are general and it is not obvious that they designate at all. It has been proposed that these kind terms rigidly designate abstract objects. This proposal has been criticized because all terms then seem to (...) come out rigid, thus trivializing rigidity. The paper starts with further criticisms of this proposal aimed particularly at a recent version given by LaPorte. The paper goes on to develop and defend an alternative proposal presented briefly in Devitt and Sterelny (1999): instead of taking those natural kind terms to rigidly designate an object we take them to rigidly apply to the members of their extensions. Schwartz has rightly insisted that a notion of rigidity must do some theoretical work if it is to be interesting. The paper argues that rigid application for kind terms does the same primary work as rigid designation for singular terms, the work of refuting description theories of some terms; and it does the same secondary work, of explaining certain modal phenomena (with one exception). (shrink)
Demonstrative noun phrases (e.g. this; that guy over there ) are intimately connected to the context of use in that their reference is determined by demonstrations and/or the speaker's intentions. The semantics of demonstratives therefore has important implications not only for theories of reference, but for questions about how information from the context interacts with formal semantics. First treated by Kaplan as directly referential , demonstratives have recently been analyzed as quantifiers by King, and the choice between these two approaches (...) is a matter of ongoing controversy. Meanwhile, linguists and psychologists working from a variety of perspectives have gathered a wealth of data on the form, meaning, and use of demonstratives in many languages. Demonstratives thus provide a fruitful topic for graduate study for two reasons. On the one hand, they serve as an entry point to foundational issues in reference and the semantics–pragmatics interface. On the other hand, they are an especially promising starting point for interdisciplinary research, which brings the results of linguistics and related fields to bear on the philosophy of language. Author Recommends Kaplan, David. 'Demonstratives.' 1977. Themes from Kaplan . Ed. J. Almong, J. Perry, and H. Wettstein. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989. 481–563. The seminal work on the semantics of demonstratives and indexicals, such as I, here , and now . Kaplan introduces a distinction between content (which maps from possible circumstances to extensions) and character (which maps from possible contexts to contents). He argues that demonstratives and indexicals are directly referential : given a possible context, their character fixes their extension. Kaplan, David. 'Afterthoughts.' Themes from Kaplan . Ed. J. Almong, J. Perry, and H. Wettstein. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989. 565–614. An elaboration on the theory developed in 'Demonstratives.' Kaplan considers the connection between direct reference and rigid designation; raises the issue of whether demonstratives depend on demonstrations or speaker intentions; and discusses implications of the analysis for formal semantics and for epistemology. King, Jeffrey C. Complex Demonstratives . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001. In perhaps the most influential challenge to date to the direct reference theory of demonstratives, King argues that complex demonstratives (i.e. demonstrative determiners with nominal complements) are best analyzed as quantifiers. Braun, David. 'Complex Demonstratives and Their Singular Contents.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 57–99. This recent Kaplanian analysis of complex demonstratives shows the 'state of the art' of direct reference approaches and responds to some of the objections to such approaches raised by King. Elbourne, Paul. 'Demonstratives as Individual Concepts.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 409–466. The most recent analysis of demonstratives as individual concepts, contrasting with both the direct reference and quantificational approaches. Fillmore, Charles. Lectures on Deixis . Stanford, CA: CSLI, 1997. In this collection of lectures, originally delivered in 1971, Fillmore considers demonstratives and indexical expressions in many languages to describe the types of information about the context (e.g. locations in space, time, and discourse) that are encoded in natural language. Gundel, Jeanette K., Nancy Hedberg, and Ron Zacharski. 'Cognitive Status and the Form of Referring Expressions in Discourse.' Language 69 (1993): 274–307. Perhaps the most detailed pragmatic alternative to formal semantic theories of demonstratives and other referring expressions. The authors argue that demonstratives are best described as imposing a condition of use in which the referent of the demonstrative has a certain level of salience for the interlocutors. Online Materials http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/indexicals/ Indexicals (David Braun) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reference/ Reference (Marga Reimer) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rigid-designators/ Rigid designators (Joseph LaPorte) http://philpapers.org/browse/indexicals-and-demonstratives/ Online bibliography of papers on indexicals and demonstratives Sample Syllabus The following syllabus can be used in entirety for a survey course on demonstratives; in addition, each of the three units is self-contained and can be used alone. Unit 1: Demonstratives and Indexicality Week 1: Indexicals 1. Kaplan, Demonstratives 2. Kaplan, Afterthoughts Week 2: Issues for Indexical Reference 1. Reimer, Marga. 'Do Demonstrations Have Semantic Significance?' Analysis 51 (1991): 177–83. 2. Bach, Kent. 'Intentions and Demonstrations.' Analysis 52 (1992): 140–46. 3. Nunberg, Geoffrey. 'Indexicality and Deixis.' Linguistics and Philosophy 16.1 (1993): 1–43. Week 3: Optional detour: Monsters 1. Schlenker, Philippe. 'A Plea for Monsters.' Linguistics and Philosophy 26 (2003): 29-120. Week 4: Demonstratives as Quantifiers 1. King. Complex Demonstratives , chapters 1–3. Week 5: Indexical and Non-Indexical Demonstratives 1. Braun, David. 'Complex Demonstratives and Their Singular Contents.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 57–99. Optional additional reading 2. Roberts, Craige. 'Demonstratives as Definites.' Information Sharing . Ed. Kees van Deemter and Roger Kibble. Stanford, CA: CSLI Press, 2002. 3. Wolter, Lynsey. 'That's That: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Demonstrative Noun Phrases.' Diss. University of California, Santa Cruz, 2006, chapters 2–3. 4. Elbourne, Paul. 'Demonstratives as Individual Concepts.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 409–66. Unit 2: Demonstratives, Proximity, Salience Week 6: Demonstratives and Proximity 1. Fillmore, Charles. 'Deixis I.' in Lectures on Deixis . Stanford, CA: CSLI, 1997. 59–76. 2. Fillmore, Charles. 'Deixis II.' in Lectures on Deixis . Stanford, CA: CSLI, 1997. 103–26. Optional additional reading 3. Prince, Ellen. 'On the Inferencing of Indefinite- this NPs.' Elements of Discourse Understanding . Ed. Aravind K. Joshi, Bonnie L. Weber, and Ivan A. Sag. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. 231–50. Week 7: Demonstratives and Salience 1. Gundel, Jeanette K., Nancy Hedberg, and Ron Zacharski. 'Cognitive Status and the Form of Referring Expressions in Discourse.' Language 69 (1993): 274–307. Optional additional reading 2. Brown-Schmidt, Sarah, Donna K. Byron, and Michael K. Tanenhaus. 'Beyond Salience: Interpretation of Personal and Demonstrative Pronouns.' Journal of Memory and Language 53 (2005): 292–313. Note: readers new to psycholinguistics should concentrate on the Introduction. Unit 3: Demonstratives and Copular Sentences Week 8: Background on the Typology of Copular Sentences 1. Higgins, F. Roger. 'The Pseudo-Cleft Construction in English.' Diss. MIT, 1973, chapter 5. Week 9: Demonstratives in Copular Sentences 1. Mikkelsen, Line. 'Specifying Who: On the Structure, Meaning, and Use of Specificational Copular Clauses.' Diss. University of California, Santa Cruz, 2004, chapter 8.2 (Truncated Clefts). 2. Heller, Daphna and Lynsey Wolter. ' That is Rosa : Identificational Sentences as Intensional Predication.' Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 12 . Ed. Atle Grønn. Oslo: Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages, University of Oslo, 2008. Week 10: Demonstratives, Copular Sentences, Modals 1. Birner, Betty J., Jeffrey P. Kaplan, and Gregory Ward. 'Functional Compositionality and the Interaction of Discourse Constraints.' Language 83 (2007): 317–43. Focus Questions 1. Which of the following expressions are indexicals? Which are demonstratives? Why? (a) a pencil (b) the pencil (c) this pencil (d) Mary Smith (e) Mary's pencil (f ) my pencil (g) we (h) you (i) here (j) there (k) now (l) then 2. Do demonstratives ever interact with scope-taking operators to give rise to two or more truth-conditionally distinct readings? If so, under what circumstances? 3. (a) If demonstratives (sometimes or always) interact with scope-taking operators to give rise to two or more truth-conditionally distinct readings, to what extent can a direct reference theory of demonstratives be maintained? (b) If demonstratives never interact with scope-taking operators to give rise to two or more truth-conditionally distinct readings, to what extent can a quantificational theory of demonstratives be maintained? 4. What kind of thing is a demonstration? Is it a pointing gesture? An indication of the speaker's focus of attention? Something more abstract? 5. What information do English demonstratives convey about proximity? What is 'proximity'– physical closeness to the speaker, or something more abstract? What is the status of this information: is it entailed, presupposed, or something else? 6. Do demonstratives that are accompanied by a physical gesture of demonstration have the same semantic value as anaphoric demonstratives, such as that in (a)? Why or why not? (a) John made a peanut butter sandwich and ate it quickly. Next he took an apple from the fridge. He ate that more slowly. (shrink)
Lewis/Stalnaker semantics has it that all counterpossibles (i.e., counterfactual conditionals with impossible antecedents) are vacuously true. Non-vacuism, by contrast, says the truth-values of counterpossibles are affected by the truth-values of the consequents. Some counterpossibles are true, some false. Williamson objects to non-vacuism. He asks us to consider someone who answered ‘11’ to ‘What is 5 + 7?’ but who mistakenly believes that he answered ‘13’. For the non-vacuist, (1) is false, (2) true: (1) If 5 + 7 were 13, x (...) would have got that sum right (2) If 5 + 7 were 13, x would have got that sum wrong Williamson is not persuaded by the initial intuitiveness of such examples: ... they tend to fall apart when thought through. For example, if 5 + 7 were 13 then 5 + 6 would be 12, and so (by another eleven steps) 0 would be 1, so if the number of right answers I gave were 0, the number of right answers I gave would be 1. (2006) That’s the whole argument—much of it implicit. Alan Baker’s critique (2007) of Brogaard and Salerno (2007) prompts us to say something less abbreviated about a less abbreviated form of Wiliamson’s argument. Then we further develop our (2007) counterfactual analysis of essense. (shrink)
A collection of long, detailed interviews with philosophers and scientists who work on issues in ethics and moral psychology. The researchers interviewed include Galen Strawson, Philiip Zimbardo, Stephen Stich, Jonathan Haidt, Frans De Waal, Michael Ruse, Joshua Greene, Liane Young, Joe Henrich, and William Ian Miller.
(1) The average Mum has 2.4 children. (2) The number of Argle’s fingers equals the number of Bargle’s toes. (3) There are two possible ways in which Joe could win this chess game. In the right contexts, and outside the philosophy room, all the above sentences may be completely uncontroversial. For instance, if we know that Joe could win either by exchanging queens and entering an endgame, or by initiating a kingside attack then, if ignorant of Quine’s work on ontology, (...) we would take (3) to be uncontroversially true. (shrink)
This paper is about possible worlds semantics for propositional attitude sentences. In particular I shall focus on belief reports in English such as "Lusina believes that tofu is nutritious." It is well-known that possible worlds semantics for such reports suffers from the so-called _problem of equivalence_ . In this paper I shall examine some attempts to deal with this problem and argue that they are unsatisfactory.
This paper is an examination of evidential holism, a prominent position in epistemology and the philosophy of science which claims that experiments only ever confirm or refute entire theories. The position is historically associated with W.V. Quine, and it is at once both popular and notorious, as well as being largely under-described. But even though there’s no univocal statement of what holism is or what it does, philosophers have nevertheless made substantial assumptions about its content and its truth. Moreover they (...) have drawn controversial and important conclusions from these assumptions. In this paper I distinguish three types of evidential holism and argue that the most oft-cited and controversial thesis is entirely unmotivated. The other two theses are much overlooked, but are well-motivated and free from controversial implications. (shrink)
In 'Jackson on physical information and qualia'(1984) Terry Horgan defended physicalism against Frank Jackson's Knowledge Argument by raising what later has been called the 'mode of presentation reply'- arguingthatthe Knowledge Argumentis fallacious because itsubtly equivocates on two different readings of 'physical information'. In 'Mary, Mary, quite contrary' (2000) however, George Graham and Terry Horgan maintain that none of the replies against Jackson has yet been successful, not even Horgan's own 1984 rejoinder.Tosubstantiate their claim, they present an allegedly improved version of (...) the Knowledge Argument, the 'Mary Mary Argument' whose default moral is property-dualism. In section 1, I will set the scene by making some clarifying remarks regarding Jackson's original argument. In section 2, I will consider several objections to the most promising physicalist rejoinder to the Knowledge Argument, the mode of presentation reply. In section 3 I will discuss the Mary Mary Argument and propose the indexical account of consciousness that, as it happens, is based on Horgan's own 1984 account as a possible solution. Finally,in section 4, I will argue that to the extent that the Mary Mary Argument exceeds the force of Jackson's original challenge it coincides with Joe Levine's Explanatory Gap Argument. (shrink)
I'm going to focus my comments on a relatively small part of Joe Heath's book, the section on the household division of labour. Although it's a small piece of a much larger picture, I've chosen this area for two reasons: First, it connects with my own interests in issues of family justice. Second, I think for me it highlights a potentially larger problem concerning the relationship between justice and efficiency. When Heath puts the contrast between those who place rights before (...) efficiency in terms of a contrast between the US and Canadian health care systems, I find that I'm in agreement with the argument for efficiency. But when I think about the contrast in terms of the question of the gendered division of domestic labour, I'm less certain that I want to accord efficiency the kind of status it has according to Heath. (I must confess that I've always thought of Canada as the just society, rather than the efficient society. If it turns out.. (shrink)
The paradox of knowability is a logical result suggesting that, necessarily, if all truths are knowable in principle then all truths are in fact known. The contrapositive of the result says, necessarily, if in fact there is an unknown truth, then there is a truth that couldn't possibly be known. More specifically, if p is a truth that is never known then it is unknowable that p is a truth that is never known. The proof has been used to argue (...) against versions of anti-realism committed to the thesis that all truths are knowable. For clearly there are unknown truths; individually and collectively we are non-omniscient. So, by the main result, it is false that all truths are knowable. The result has also been used to draw more general lessons about the limits of human knowledge. Still others have taken the proof to be fallacious, since it collapses an apparently moderate brand of anti-realism into an obviously implausible and naive idealism. (shrink)
At 30 years' distance, it is safe to say that Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia has achieved the status of a classic. It is not only the central text for all contemporary academic discussions of libertarianism; with Rawls's A Theory of Justice, it arguably frames the landscape of academic political philosophy in second half of 20th century. Many factors, obviously account for the prominence of the book. This paper considers one: the book's use of rhetoric to charm and disarm its (...) readers, simultaneously establishing Nozick's credibility with readers, turning them on his ideological opponents, and helping his argument over some of its more serious substantive difficulties. Footnotesa I am grateful to Joe Bankman, Tom Grey, Pam Karlan, Ellen Frankel Paul, Seana Shiffrin, and Bob Weisberg for their very helpful comments on previous drafts of this essay. I am also grateful to my fellow contributors to this volume and to the participants in the Berkeley GALA and the UCLA Law and Philosophy Workshop, at which earlier versions of this essay were presented. All errors and indiscretions are mine alone. (shrink)
Direct source incompatibilism (DSI) is the conjunction of two claims: SI-F: there are genuine Frankfurt-style counterexamples (FSCs); SI-D: there is a sound version of the direct argument (DA). Eric Yang ( 2012 ) responds to a recent criticism of DSI (Campbell 2006 ). We show that Yang misses the mark. One can accept Yang’s criticisms and get the same result: there is a deep tension between FSCs and DA, between SI-F and SI-D. Thus, DSI is untenable. In this essay, we (...) use an important yet overlooked distinction between truthmakers and determiners to help drive this point home. (shrink)
Scott Soames has argued that Rigidified Descriptivism wrongly predicts that one cannot believe, say, that Joe Strummer was born in 1952 without having a belief about the actual world. Soames suggests that agents in other possible worlds may have this belief, but may lack any beliefs about the actual world, a world that they do not occupy and have no contact with. I respond that this argument extends to other popular actuality-involving analyses. In order for Soames to hold on to (...) his argument against Rigidified Descriptivism, he must provide alternatives to these analyses. I argue that there is reason to think that these alternatives are not forthcoming, so Soames should surrender his argument against Rigidified Descriptivism. (shrink)
Does a factive conception of knowability figure in ordinary use? There is some reason to think so. ‘Knowable’ and related terms such as ‘discoverable’, ‘observable’, and ‘verifiable’ all seem to operate factively in ordinary discourse. Consider the following example, a dialog between colleagues A and B: A: We could be discovered. B: Discovered doing what? A: Someone might discover that we're having an affair. B: But we are not having an affair! A: I didn’t say that we were. A’s remarks (...) sound contradictory. In this context the factivity of ‘someone might discover that’ explains this fact. So there is some reason to believe that knowability and related modalities are factive in ordinary use. For factive treatments of knowability in the context of epistemic theories of truth, compare Tennant (2000: 829) and Wright (2001: 59-60, n. 17). (shrink)
The paradox of knowability threatens to draw a logical equivalence between the believable claim that all truths are knowable and the obviously false claim that all truths are known. In this paper we evaluate prominent proposals for resolving the paradox of knowability. For instance, we argue that Neil Tennant’s restriction strategy, which aims principally to restrict the main quantifier in ‘all truths are knowable’, does not get to the heart of the problem since there are knowability paradoxes that the restriction (...) does nothing to thwart. We argue that Jon Kvanvig’s strategy, which aims to block the paradox by appealing to the special role of quantified epistemic expressions in modal contexts, has grave errors. We offer here a new proposal founded on Kvanvig’s insight that quantified expressions play a special role in modal contexts. On an articulation of this special role provided by Stanley and Szabo, we propose a solution to the knowability paradoxes. Introduction.. (shrink)
The indispensability argument is a method for showing that abstract mathematical objects exist (call this mathematical Platonism). Various versions of this argument have been proposed (§1). Lately, commentators seem to have agreed that a holistic indispensability argument (§2) will not work, and that an explanatory indispensability argument is the best candidate. In this paper I argue that the dominant reasons for rejecting the holistic indispensability argument are mistaken. This is largely due to an overestimation of the consequences that follow from (...) evidential holism. Nevertheless, the holistic indispensability argument should be rejected, but for a different reason (§3)—in order that an indispensability argument relying on holism can work, it must invoke an unmotivated version of evidential holism. Such an argument will be unsound. Correcting the argument with a proper construal of evidential holism means that it can no longer deliver mathematical Platonism as a conclusion: such an argument for Platonism will be invalid. I then show how the reasons for rejecting the holistic indispensability argument importantly constrain what kind of account of explanation will be permissible in explanatory versions (§4). (shrink)
This piece outlines the opportunities and obstacles to the appli- cation of critical realism to the study of the self. Based on a recent seminar on the subject, the paper discusses a number of diverse approaches to the application of critical realism to selfhood, identity and psychology. It is argued that for the social sciences, the political dangers of essentialism in studying the self require clear explication of how critical realist approaches do not necessarily lead to reductionism or determinism.
de Queiroz (1995), Griffiths (1999) and LaPorte (2004) offer a new version of essentialism called "historical essentialism". According to this version of essentialism, relations of common ancestry are essential features of biological taxa. The main type of argument for this essentialism proposed by Griffiths (1999) and LaPorte (2004) is that the dominant school of classification, cladism, defines biological taxa in terms of common ancestry. The goal of this paper is to show that this argument for historical essentialism is (...) unsatisfactory: cladism does not assume that relations of common ancestry are essential attributes of biological taxa. Therefore, historical essentialism is not justified by cladism. (shrink)