On Thomas Reid's 18thC theory of psychology and ontology, our conception of primary qualities was original and our conception of secondary qualities was acquired. The conception of both was a response to sensations. In the Inquiry Reid insisted that our original conceptions were automatic and irresistible, while in the Essays he insisted that our conception of general attributes arises from a two step process of abstraction and generalization. These doctrines are rendered consistent by a distinction between particular attributes, which exist (...) and are conceived by abstraction, and general attributes, which do not exist and are conceived by generalization guided by their utility in knowledge and communication. (shrink)
Schlick and Neurath shared a common assumption, what I call the verification theory of truth, as well as the verification of meaning. It is the claim that the truth of a sentence is the method of it's verification. For Neurath, the method of scientific verification must be interpersonal, and, therefore, private experience is precluded. This leads hmi to the doctrme that there is no truth beyond intersubjective agreement. Schlick, on the contrary, regarded it as obvious that certain sentences, even if (...) they were not sentences in a conventional language, were confirmations or Konstatierungen verified by the private experiences they described. These sentences, which Schlick called basic contrasted with the protocol sentences of Neurath m that the truth of the former is determined by private experience and that of latter by interpersonal test. It is argued that once one distinguishes between the facts that make a sentence true and the meaning of a sentence one need not accept either the position of Schlick or that of Neurath. One may hold that the meaning of a sentence is interpersonal even if the fact described by a sentence is a personal experience. This theory yields a form of falliblism according to which the best method of verification of a sentence need not eliminate all possibüity of error. (shrink)
A theory of probabilities of probabilities is articulated and defended. Hume's argument against higher probabiHties is critically evaluated. Conflicting probability assignments for a hypothetis or theory may result from the appHcation of different methods or perspectives, for example, those of consensual authority and individual ratiocination. When we have conflicting probabilities we may assign probabilities to the diverse probabilities initially obtained. These second level probabilities may also conflict as a result of applying diverse methods or perspectives, and the same is true (...) of higher order probabilities. However, when higher order probabilities are normalized to obtain weights that are used to average the probabilities of the next lower level, the averaging process will yield convergence towards a single first order probability condensing higher order information. An infinite averaging process can be finitely calculated to obtain a coherent assignment. Hence there is no vicious regress of probabilities. Memory beliefs illustrate the convergence of an infinite hierarchy. (shrink)
Knowing the content of art -- Consciousness, exemplars, and art -- Aesthetic theory, feminist art ,and autonomy -- Value, expression, and globalization -- Artistic creation, freedom, and self -- Aesthetics, death, and beauty -- Aesthetic experience, intentionality, and the form of representation -- Theories of art, and art as theory of the world -- Self-trust, disagreement, and reasonable acceptance -- Social reason, aggregation, and collective wisdom -- Knowledge, autonomy, and art in loop theory.
Sellars (1963) distinguished in Empiricism and Philosophy of Mind between ordinary discourse, which expressed his “manifest image”, and scientific discourse, which articulated his “scientific image” of man-in-the-world in a way that is both central and problematic to the rest of his philosophy. Our contention is that the problematic feature of the distinction results from Sellars theory of inner episodes as theoretical entities. On the other hand, as Sellars attempted to account for our noninferential knowledge of such states, particularly in correspondence (...) with Castañeda, discussed by Lehrer and Stern (2000), he is lead to account of representation of such states that incorporates the states into what Lehrer has called exemplar representation (2004, 2011a) and Ismael reflexive self-description (2007). What is common to the three accounts, with some differences, is that such states may be function reflexively in selfrepresentation. Our argument is that the elaboration of this account, suggested in Sellars, shows how the discourse of the manifest image can be transformed into the discourse of the scientific image as self-representations of scientific entities. (shrink)
Fischer has argued elegantly that the free actions of a person, the actions of self-expression, play a special role in the story of the person. They are the vehicles of content for the construction of that story. I argue that the experiences of those actions by a person are both representations in the story of a life, vehicles of content, and an exhibit of the content represented, the life itself. Experiences become exemplars that refer back to themselves becoming part of (...) what the story is about. Autonomous choice of my story shows me and others what I am like. (shrink)
Intentionality is a mark of the mental, as Brentano (1874) noted. Any representation or conception of anything has the feature of intentionality, which informally put, is the feature of being about something that may or may not exist. Visual artworks are about something, whether something literal or abstract. The artwork is a mentalized physical object. Aesthetic experience of the artwork illustrates the nature of intentionality as we focus attention on the phenomenology of the sensory exemplar. This focus of attention on (...) the exemplar in aesthetic experience simultaneously exhibits what the intentional object is like and what our conception of it is like. The exemplar is Janus-faced, looking in one direction outward toward the objects conceived and in the other direction inward toward our conceiving of them. It shows us what intentionality is like and how we know it. (shrink)
Thomas Reid has a theory of consciousness that is central to his philosophy of mind but which raises a regress problem. I have two tasks in this paper. The first is to give an account of Reid's views on consciousness and the avoidance of the regress based on textual analysis. The second is to expand the theory of consciousness Reid gives to offer a deeper explanation of how the regress is avoided that is based on Reid's philosophy of mind but (...) goes beyond any text from Reid that I know. The distinction is important. Philosophers are inclined to attribute to a philosopher views that they have invented by studying the philosopher. Both textual analysis and invention based on a philosopher's writings are legitimate uses of the history of philosophy. When they are confused, however, arguments about what the philosopher held generate confusion. If you invent something from his or her philosophy, even something implied by it, that is your philosophy, not the philosopher's. The distinction is important for avoiding useless disputes. This first part of my paper is an attempt to remain true to the texts of Reid. The second part goes beyond the text, though it is what I extrapolate from Reid. (shrink)
There is an objection to coherence theories of knowledge to the effect that coherence is not connected with truth, so that when coherence leads to truth this is just a matter of luck. Coherence theories embrace falliblism, to be sure, but that does not sustain the objection. Coherence is connected with truth by principles of justified acceptance that explain the connection between coherence and truth. Coherence is connected with truth by explanatory principle, not just luck.
Chisholm held that some states of ourselves are self-presenting and provide a stopping place in the quest for justification. The justification we have for accepting that we are in those states is transparent to us in a way that enables us to answer questions about justification. Representation enables us to apprehend such self-presenting states through themselves in a representational loop. It is a loop of exemplarization wherein the state is used as an exemplar to represent the kind of state it (...) is. The result is that the representation of the state provides the subject with a kind of representation that loops back onto itself escaping the bondage of stratified mentality. This form of representation by exemplarization is shown to resolve problems and paradoxes concerning subjectivity, consciousness and the self raised by the writings of Hume, Kierkegaard, Ferrier, Sartre and Frank Jackson. (shrink)
There is a contemporary conflict between individualistic andcommunitarian conceptions of rationality. Robert Goodin describes it asa conflict between an enlightenment individualistic conception of a``sovereign artificer'''' and ``a socially unencumbered self'''' ascontrasted with the communitarian conception of a ``socially embeddedself'''' whose identity is formed by his or her community. Should wejustify and explain rationality individualistically or socially? This isa false dilemma when consensus is reached by a model articulated byKeith Lehrer and Carl Wagner. According to this model, the consensusresults from the (...) positive weights individuals give to others and use tocontinually average and, thus, aggregate their allocations. Aggregationconverges toward a consensus in which the social preference and theindividual preferences become identical. The truth of communitarianismis to be found in the aggregate and the truth of individualism in theaggregation. The original conflict dissolves in rational consensus. (shrink)
Robert Goodin claims that he has undermined my ``proof of theinevitability of rational consensus among all patient people of goodwill.'''' I did not intend my position as a proof of the inevitabilityof rational consensus, however, and, in fact, I insist on thereasonableness of dissensus in some cases. I welcome the opportunity,provoked by Goodin''s interesting reflections, to clarify my position. Iproved with Carl Wagner that iterated weighted averaging converges towardconsensus under conditions of connectedness and constancy resulting fromthe positive weight that individuals (...) give to each other. I allow, nevertheless,that individuals may rationally assign zero weight to each other in a waythat blocks convergence and yields dissensus. The assignment of zeroweight to others will be rational, for example, when the interests ormoral concerns of the individual would be co-opted as a result of givingpositive weight to others. The assignment of positive weight to othersrequires modification of one''s position, however, for the refusal to modifyone''s position is mathematically equivalent to assigning zero weight toothers. Dissent is rational to avoid being co-opted, but the cost ofdisensus may be the assignment of zero weight to others and theirrational reciprocation. (shrink)
In this impressive second edition of Theory of Knowledge, Keith Lehrer introduces students to the major traditional and contemporary accounts of knowing. Beginning with the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief, Lehrer explores the truth, belief, and justification conditions on the way to a thorough examination of foundation theories of knowledge,the work of Platinga, externalism and naturalized epistemologies, internalism and modern coherence theories, contextualism, and recent reliabilist and causal theories. Lehrer gives all views careful examination and concludes that (...) external factors must be matched by appropriate internal factors to yield knowledge. This match of internal and external factors follows from Lehrer’s new coherence theory of undefeated justification. In addition to doing justice to the living epistemological traditions, the text smoothly integrates several new lines that will interest scholars. Also, a feature of special interest is Lehrer’s concept of a justification game.This second edition of Theory of Knowledge is a thoroughly revised and updated version that contains several completely new chapters. Written by a well-known scholar and contributor to modern epistemology, this text is distinguished by clarity of structure, accessible writing, and an elegant mix of traditional material, contemporary ideas, and well-motivated innovation. (shrink)
Philosophers have advocated different kinds of freedom, but each has value and none should be neglected in a complete theory of freedom and responsibility. There are three kinds of freedom of preference and action that should be distinguished. A person S may fully prefer to do A at every level, and that is one kind of freedom. A person S may autonomously prefer to do A when S has the preference structure concerning doing A because S prefers to have that (...) very preference structure, and that is a second kind of freedom. A person S may prefer to do A when S could have preferred otherwise, and that is a third kind of freedom. These forms of freedom may be combined, but they are valuable and essentially independent. They all involve the metamental ascendence of preference over desire, but it is autonomous preference that makes a person the author of his or her preference. The responsibility a person has for what he or she does out of a preference for doing it depends on the kinds of freedom of preference the person has and must be ranked in terms of them. (shrink)
The eminent philosopher Keith Lehrer offers an original and distinctively personal view of central aspects of the human condition, such as reason, knowledge, wisdom, autonomy, love, consensus, and consciousness. He argues that what is uniquely human is our capacity for evaluating our own mental states (such as beliefs and desires), and suggests that we have a system for such evaluation which allows the resolution of personal and interpersonal conflict. The keystone in this system is self-trust, on which reason, knowledge, and (...) wisdom are grounded. (shrink)
The human mind is essentially a metamind. Autonomy, knowledge, preference, acceptance, consciousness, and the content of thought all incorporate metamental ascent to a higher level beyond first level belief and desire. The primary function or role of metamental ascent is conflict resolution and higher order evaluation. An infinite regress of metamental ascent is avoided by a mental loop of keystone states which refer back to themselves yielding autonomy and knowledge without paradox. The metamental loop is, moreover, compatible with materialism, even (...) eliminative materiahsm. Vector activation in the brain averages neural impulses, and conflict resolution in the brain, like interpersonal conflict resolution, is obtained from weighted averaging. The resolution of the conflict is a fixed point vector of integrative weights which yields itself back forming a neural loop. Thus, neurophysiology recapitulates metamentality. (shrink)
If it is certain that performing an observation to determine whether P is true will in no way influence whether P is tme, then the proposition that the observation is performed ought to be probabilistically independent of P. Applying the notion of "observation" liberally, so that a wide variety of actions are treated as observations, this proposed new principle of belief revision yields the result that simple utihty maximization gives the correct solution to the Fisher smoking paradox and the two-box (...) solution to Newcomb's paradox. Contrary intuitions are explained as arising from mistakenly treating subjective probability as a measure of the intensity of conscious assent, whereas it ought to be regarded as measuring dispositions to action. (shrink)
In this collection of essays, Lehrer argues that freedom, rationality, consensus, and knowledge depend on "metamental" operations--thoughts about thoughts--and are impossible without them. Metamental operations provide for our optionality, plasticity, and most of all, for the evaluation and control of lower-level information. The human mind, he argues, is essentially a metamind.
Two issues are raised with regard to Ted Honderich's A Theory of Determinism. First, regarding the relation between a token identity theory of mental and physical events and Honderich's ?psychoneural union theory?, it is suggested that a token identity theory would serve Honderich's purposes while securing a simpler ontology. Second, it is argued that there is a substantive philosophical issue dividing compatibilists and incompatibilists on the question of whether persons possess free will, contrary to Honderich's contention that the compatibilist and (...) incompatibilist differ only in responsive attitude. (shrink)
Internalism and externalism are both false. What is needed to convert true belief into knowledge is the appropriate blend of subjective and objective factors to yield the appropriate sort of connection between mind and the world. The sort of knowledge explicated is calledmetaknowledge and is knowledge that involves the evaluation of incoming information in terms of a background system. It is proposed that knowledge is equivalent to undefeated justification which is justification on the basis of every system that eliminates or (...) corrects any error in what a person accepts. The system of such system is called the ultrasystem of the person. This account appeals both to internal factors and external factors and involves appeal to both normative requirements and empirical constraints. Justification is defined in terms of a comparative notion of rationality adapted from Chisholm. (shrink)
This paper is an investigation of the relation between personal and social conditions of knowledge. A coherence theory of knowledge and justification is assumed, according to which incoming information is evaluated in terms of background information. The evaluation of incoming information in terms of background information is a higher order or metamental activity. Personal knowledge and justification is based on the coherent integration of individual information. Social knowledge and justification is based on the coherent aggregation of social information, that is, (...) the information of individuals belonging to the social group. Personal justification and consensual justification are based upon personal and consensual probabilities respectively. Consensual and personal probabilities may differ, but under salient conditions personal probabilities will coincide with consensual probabilities and consensual probabilities will coincide with truth. (shrink)
The problems that I address concern the morality and rationality of decisions with respect to the application and practice of science. Formally, the situation is a standard decision theoretic one in which one has a set of alternatives and a set of outcomes. The standard solution is to maximize expected utility. This formal simplicity conceals considerable philosophical complexity. The most obvious is — whose expected utility should we maximize? The second is — are there any moral constraints on what utility (...) assignments we shall allow? The principle of rationality I am assuming is that a rational decision should be based on the total information available. Failure to cooperate in effecting such an amalgamation is subversive with respect to this overriding principle of rationality. It is a fundamental principle of truth seeking. Given the prima facie moral obligation to seek truth, failure to cooperate is prima facie immoral as well. (shrink)
Weighted averaging is a method for aggregating the totality of information, both regimented and unregimented, possessed by an individual or group of individuals. The application of such a method may be warranted by a theorem of the calculus of probability, simple conditionalization, or Jeffrey's formula for probability kinematics, all of which average in terms of the prior probability of evidence statements. Weighted averaging may, however, be applied as a method of rational aggregation of the probabilities of diverse perspectives or persons (...) in cases in which the weights cannot be articulated as the prior probabilities of statements of evidence. The method is justified by Wagner's Theorem exhibiting that any method satisfying the conditions of the Irrelevance of Alternatives and Zero Unanimity must, when applied to three or more alternatives, be weighted averaging. (shrink)
A central issue in epistemology concerns the connection between truth and justification. The burden of our paper is to explain this connection. Reliabilism, defended by Goldman, assumes that the connection is one of reliability. We argue that this assumption is too strong. We argue that foundational theories, such as those articulated by Pollock and Chisholm fail to elucidate the connection. We consider the potentiality of coherence theories to explain the truth connection by means of higher level convictions about probabilities, which (...) we call doxastic ascent, and defend such a theory. Our defense appeals to the work of Reid and contemporary cognitive psychology in order to account for the psychological reality of higher level evaluations. (shrink)