John Stuart Mill (1843) thought that proper names denote individuals and do not connote attributes. Contemporary Millians agree, in spirit. We hold that the semantic content of a proper name is simply its referent. We also think that the semantic content of a declarative sentence is a Russellian structured proposition whose constituents are the semantic contents of the sentence’s constituents. This proposition is what the sentence semantically expresses. Therefore, we think that sentences containing proper names semantically express singular propositions, which (...) are propositions having individuals as constituents. For instance, the sentence ‘George W. Bush is human’ semantically expresses a proposition that has Bush himself as a constituent. Call this theory Millianism. Many philosophers initially find Millianism quite appealing, but find it much less so after considering its many apparent problems. Among these problems are those raised by non-referring names, which are sometimes (tendentiously) called empty names. Plausible examples of empty names include certain names from fiction, such as ‘Sherlock Holmes’, which I shall call fictional names, and certain names from myth and false scientific theory, such as ‘Pegasus’ and ‘Vulcan’, which I shall call mythical names. I have defended Millianism from objections concerning empty names in previous work (Braun 1993). In this paper, I shall re-present those objections, along with some new ones. I shall then describe my previous Millian theory of empty names, and my previous replies to the objections, and consider whether the theory or replies need revision. I shall next consider whether fictional and mythical names are really empty. I shall argue that at least some utterances of mythical names are. (shrink)
Braun (Linguistics & Philosophy 35, 461–489, 2012) argued for a non- relativist, invariantist theory of ‘might’. Yanovich (Linguistics & Philosophy, 2013) argues that Braun’s theory is inconsistent with certain facts concerning diachronic meaning changes in ‘might’, ‘can’, and ‘may’. This paper replies to Yanovich’s objection.
In this original and imaginative slant on contemporary brand management, Thom Braun takes us into the minds of the world's greatest Western thinkers to reveal what they might say about branding if they were alive today.
Does the Journalist have the ethical right to deceive in pursuit of a story? This article discusses the ethical implications of deception in the news?gathering process and offers some suggestions to aid journalists in knowing when to go undercover in pursuit of a story. The essay was written by Paul Braun, a spohomore, for an ethics course taught by Prof essor Ronald Koshoshek.
Binocular rivalry in childhood has poorly been investigated in the past. Information is scarce with respect to infancy, and there is a complete lack of data on the development of binocular rivalry beyond the first 4-5 years of age. In this study, we are attempting to fill this gap by investigating the developmental trends in binocular rivalry in pre-puberty. We employ a classic behavioral paradigm with orthogonal gratings, and introduce novel statistical measures (after Pastukhov and Braun) to analyze the (...) data. These novel measures provide a sensitive tool to estimate the impact of the history of perceptual alternations on future alternations. We found that the cumulative history of perceptual alternations has an impact on future percepts, and that this impact is significantly stronger and faster in children than in adults. Assessment of the “cumulative history” and its characteristic time-constant helps us to take a look at the adaptive states of the visual system under multi-stable perception, and brings us closer to establishing a possible developmental scenario of binocular rivalry: children adapt faster and stronger, and this increased readiness for adaption seems to be associated with faster alternation rates. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend a well-known theory of belief reports from an important objection. The theory is Russellianism, sometimes also called `neo-Russellianism', `Millianism', `the direct reference theory', `the "Fido"-Fido theory', or `the naive theory'. The objection concernssubstitution of co-referring names in belief sentences. Russellianism implies that any two belief sentences, that differ only in containing distinct co-referring names, express the same proposition (in any given context). Since `Hesperus' and `Phosphorus' both refer to the planet Venus, this view implies that (...) all utterances of (1) and.. (shrink)
Indexicals are linguistic expressions whose reference shifts from context to context: some paradigm examples are ‘I’, ‘here’, ‘now’, ‘today’,‘he’, ‘she’, and ‘that’. Two speakers who utter a single sentence that contains an indexical may say different things. For instance, Fred and Wilma say different things when they utter the sentence ‘I am female’. Many philosophers (following David Kaplan 1989a) hold that indexicals have two sorts of meaning. The first sort of meaning is often called ‘character’ or ‘linguistic meaning’; the second (...) sort is often called ‘content’. Using this terminology, we can say that the word ‘I’ has a single character (or linguistic meaning), but has different contents in different contexts. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a new semantics for demonstratives. Now some may think that David Kaplan (1989a,b) has already given a more than satisfactory semantics for demonstratives, and that there is no need for a new one. But I argue below that Kaplan's theory fails to describe the linguistic meanings of 'that' and other true demonstratives. My argument for this conclusion has nothing to do with cognitive value, belief sentences, or other such contentious matters in semantics and the philosophy (...) of mind. Rather, it appeals to the obvious fact that there can be true utterances of certain sentences containing several occurrences of the same demonstrative (for instance, 'That is taller than that'). My argument can be answered by making a fairly modest revision in Kaplan's theory. But I believe that the resulting revised version of Kaplan's theory ignores or distorts various important semantic features of 'that'. Thus I ultimately argue in favor of a more substantial departure from Kaplan's theory. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the theory I favor is that it ascribes three distinct sorts of meanings to demonstratives. (shrink)
We use names to talk about objects. We use predicates to talk about properties and relations. We use sentences to attribute properties and relations to objects. We say things when we utter sentences, often things we believe.
Many competent speakers initially judge that (i) is true and (ii) isfalse, though they know that (iii) is true. (i) Superman leaps more tallbuildings than Clark Kent. (ii) Superman leaps more tall buildings thanSuperman. (iii) Superman is identical with Clark Kent. Semanticexplanations of these intuitions say that (i) and (ii) really can differin truth-value. Pragmatic explanations deny this, and say that theintuitions are due to misleading implicatures. This paper argues thatboth explanations are incorrect. (i) and (ii) cannot differ intruth-value, yet (...) the intuitions are not due to implicatures, but ratherto mistakes in evaluating (i) and (ii). (shrink)
According to an old and attractive view, vagueness must be eliminated before semantic notions — truth, implication, and so on — may be applied. This view was accepted by Frege, but is rarely defended nowadays.1 This..
This paper presents a semantic and pragmatic theory of complex demonstratives. According to this theory, the semantic content of a complex demonstrative, in a context, is simply an object, and the semantic content of a sentence that contains a complex demonstrative, in a context, is a singular proposition. This theory is defended from various objections to direct reference theories of complex demonstratives, including King's objection from quantification into complex demonstratives.
Hong Oak Yun is a person who is over three inches tall. And now you know who Hong Oak Yun is. For if someone were to ask you ‘Who is Hong Oak Yun?’, you could answer that Hong Oak Yun is a person who is over three inches tall, and you would know what you were saying. So you know an answer to the question ‘Who is Hong Oak Yun?’, and that is sufficient for knowing who Hong Oak Yun is. (...) Getting to know who a person is may be easier than you think. (shrink)
Millianism says that the semantic content of a name (or indexical) is simply its referent. This thesis arises within a general, powerful research program, the propositionalist approach to semantics, which sets as a goal for philosophical semantics an assignment of entities — semantic contents — to bits of language, culminating in the assignment of propositions to sentences. Communication, linguistic competence, truth conditions, and other semantic phenomena are ultimately explained in terms of semantic contents. Over 100 years ago Frege (1952/1892) pointed (...) out the problem with Millianism: sentences containing co-referential names seem semantically inequivalent. a=a is trivial, a priori, etc.; a=b is not, even if a and b have the same referent; φ(a) and φ(b) embed differently in the scope of propositional attitude verbs. (shrink)
Contextualism about ‘might’ says that the property that ‘might’ expresses varies from context to context. I argue against contextualism. I focus on problems that contextualism apparently has with attitude ascriptions in which ‘might’ appears in an embedded ‘that’-clause. I argue that contextualists can deal rather easily with many of these problems, but I also argue that serious difficulties remain with collective and quantified says-that ascriptions. Herman Cappelen and John Hawthorne atempt to deal with these remaining problems, but I argue that (...) their attempt fails. (shrink)
Many philosophers think that the Substitution Objection decisively refutes Russellianism. This objection claims that sentences (1) and (2) can differ in truth value. Therefore, it says, the sentences express different propositions, and so Russellianism is false.
(1) Harry believes that Twain is a writer. (2) Harry believes that Clemens is a writer. I say that this is Russellianism's most notorious consequence because it is so often used to argue against the view: many philosophers think that it is obvious that (1) and (2) can differ in truth value, and so they conclude that Russellianism is false. Let's call this the Substitution Objection to Russellianism.
This paper presents a number of objections to Jeffrey King's quantificational theory of complex demonstratives. Some of these objections have to do with modality, whereas others concern attitude ascriptions. Various possible replies are considered. The debate between quantificational theorists and direct reference theorists over complex demonstratives is compared with recent debates concerning definite descriptions.
Participants were required to switch among randomly ordered tasks, and instructional cues were used to indicate which task to execute. In Experiments 1 and 2, the participants indicated their readiness for the task switch before they received the target stimulus; thus, each trial was associated with two primary dependent measures: (1) readiness time and (2) target reaction time. Slow readiness responses and instructions emphasizing high readiness were paradoxically accompanied by slow target reaction time. Moreover, the effect of task switching on (...) readiness time was an order of magnitude smaller then the (objectively estimated) duration required for task preparation (Experiment 3). The results strongly suggest that participants have little conscious awareness of their preparedness and challenge commonly accepted assumptions concerning the role of consciousness in cognitive control. (shrink)
In this paper I present an analysis of causal relevance for properties. I believe that most of us are already familiar with the notion of a causally relevant property. But some of us may not recognize it "under that description." So I begin below with some intuitive explanations and some illustrative examples.
I modify Grice's theory of conversational implicature so as to accommodate acts of implicating propositions by asking questions, acts of implicating questions by asserting propositions, and acts of implicating questions by asking questions. I describe the relations between a declarative sentence's semantic content (the proposition it semantically expresses), on the one hand, and the propositions that a speaker locutes, asserts, and implicates by uttering that sentence, on the other. I discuss analogous relations between an interrogative sentence's semantic content (the question (...) it semantically expresses), and the questions that a speaker locutes, asks, and implicates by uttering that sentence. (shrink)
Traditionally, biomedical research has been devoted to improvement in the understanding and treatment or prevention of disease. Building on the knowledge generated by the long history of disease-oriented research, the next few decades will witness an explosion of biomedical enhancements to make people faster, stronger, smarter, less forgetful, happier, prettier, and live longer (Turner et al. 2003; Vastag 2004; Rose 2002). As with other biomedical interventions, research to assess the safety and efficacy of these enhancements in humans should be conducted (...) before their introduction into clinical practice.1 However, various concerns regarding the ethics of enhancement research could be raised. Those who .. (shrink)
Entitlement theorists claim that bequest is a moral right. The aim of this essay is to determine whether entitlement theorists can, on their own grounds, consistently defend that claim. I argue that even if there is a moral right to self-appropriated property and to engage in inter vivos transfers, it is a mistake to contend that there exists an equivalent moral right to make a bequest. Taxing or regulating bequest does not violate an individual’s moral rights because, regardless of whether (...) bequest safeguards certain interests, those interests are not the interests of a living, morally inviolable being. Instead, they are the interests of a deceased entity that has lost the ability to track what it values and pursue projects in accord with those values – a quality that by entitlement theorists’ own arguments renders persons morally significant and deserving of rights in the first place. (shrink)
Propositions are the referents of the ‘that’-clauses that appear in the direct object positions of typical ascriptions of assertion, belief, and other binary cognitive relations. In that sense, propositions are the objects of those cognitive relations. Propositions are also the semantic contents (meanings, in one sense ) of declarative sentences, with respect to contexts. They are what sentences semantically express, with respect to contexts. Propositions also bear truth-values. The truth-value of a sentence, in a context, is the truth-value of the (...) proposition that it semantically expresses, in that context. This much is common ground among many (but not all) philosophers. I accept other claims about propositions that are more controversial. Propositions (I hold) are Russellian: they are structured entities whose constituents include individuals, properties, and relations. The contribution of a proper name to the proposition that a sentence semantically expresses (in a context) is the referent of that name. Thus, the semantic content of ‘Bill Clinton’ is Bill Clinton himself, and the semantic content of ‘Bill Clinton smokes’ is a proposition whose constituents are Bill Clinton and the property of smoking (ignoring tense, as I shall do from here on). Such 1 singular propositions are among the objects of belief, assertion, and other cognitive relations. This combination of a Millian view about proper names with a Russellian theory of propositions might appropriately be called ‘Millian Russellianism’, or ‘MR’ for short. David Chalmers, in his stimulating paper “Probability and Propositions,” defines a closely related view, Referentialism, as follows (see also the penultimate paragraph of his introduction). Referentialist views say that insofar as beliefs are about individuals (such as Nietzche), the objects of these belief are determined by those individuals. On one such view, the objects of belief are Russellian propositions composed from the individuals and properties that one’s belief is about.. (shrink)
Russellianism (also called `neo-Russellianism, `Millianism, and `thenaive theory') entails that substitution of co-referring names inattitude ascriptions preserves truth value and proposition expressed.Thus, on this view, if Lucy wants Twain to autograph her book, thenshe also wants Clemens to autograph her book, even if she says ``I donot want Clemens to autograph my book''. Some philosophers (includingMichael Devitt and Mark Richard) claim that attitude ascriptions canbe used to predict behavior, but argue that if Russellianism weretrue, then this would not be so. (...) They conclude that Russellianism isfalse. I defend Russellianism from this objection. I present severalanalyses of ``sentence S can be used to predict event E''. I arguethat, on each of these analyses, attitude ascriptions can be used topredict behavior, even if Russellianism is true. Furthermore, if myarguments are incorrect, and attitude ascriptions cannot be used topredict behavior under Russellianism, then Russellians can explainaway the intuition that they can be so used. (shrink)
Millianism says that the semantic content of a name (or indexical) is simply its referent. This thesis arises within a general, powerful research program, the propositionalist approach to semantics, which sets as a goal for philosophical semantics an assignment of entities – semantic contents – to bits of language, culminating in the assignment of propositions to sentences. Communication, linguistic competence, truth conditions, and other semantic phenomena are ultimately explained in terms of semantic contents.
Marketers use autobiographical advertising as a means to create nostalgia for their products. This research explores whether such referencing can cause people to believe that they had experiences as children that are mentioned in the ads. In Experiment 1, participants viewed an ad for Disney that suggested that they shook hands with Mickey Mouse as a child. Relative to controls, the ad increased their conﬁdence that they personally had shaken hands with Mickey as a child at a Disney resort. The (...) increased conﬁdence could be due to a revival of a true memory or the creation of a new, false one. In Experiment 2, participants viewed an ad for Disney that suggested that they shook hands with an impossible character (e.g., Bugs Bunny). Again, relative to controls, the ad increased conﬁdence that they personally had shaken hands with the impossible character as a child at a Disney resort. The increased conﬁdence is consistent with the notion that autobiographical referencing can lead to the creation of false or distorted memory. ᭧ 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (shrink)
Invariantism about ‘might’ says that ‘might’ semantically expresses the same modal property in every context. This paper presents and defends a version of invariantism. According to it, ‘might’ semantically expresses the same weak modal property in every context. However, speakers who utter sentences containing ‘might’ typically assert propositions concerning stronger types of modality, including epistemic modality. This theory can explain the phenomena that motivate contextualist theories of epistemic uses of ‘might’, and can be defended from objections of the sort that (...) relativists mount against contextualist theories. (shrink)
A structured character is a semantic value of a certain sort. Like the more familiar Kaplanian characters, structured characters determine the contents of expressions in contexts. But unlike Kaplanian characters, structured characters also have constituent structures. The semantic theories with which most of us are acquainted do not mention structured characters. But I argue in this paper that these familiar semantic theories fail to make obvious distinctions in meaning---distinctions that can be made by a theory that uses structured characters. Thus (...) I conclude that we should reject these familiar semantic theories, and accept a semantic theory that includes structured characters among its semantic values. (shrink)
Summary Hans Albert's famous principle âSollen impliziert KÃ¶nnenâ, which should bridge the two disparate domains of normative decisions and empirical informations is a constitutive one of the Popperian metaethical philosophy of social relations.
This article improves our understanding of the reasons underlying the intellectual migration of scientists from existing cognitive domains to nascent scientific fields. To that purpose we present, first, a number of findings from the sociology of science that give different insights about scientific migration. We then attempt to bring some of these insights together under the conceptual roof of an actor-based approach linking expected utility and diffusion theory. Intellectual migration is seen as the choice of scientists who decide under uncertainty (...) and on the base of estimations about probabilities, costs, and benefits of the migration. The resulting choice model can be used as a heuristic base for further exploration of the subject. (shrink)
This article reports findings of a survey of college students in 3 educational settings regarding student perceptions of mass media ethics pedagogy, including course objectives, value systems examined, the use of civil law and/or ethics codes as standards of media ethics, and teaching techniques used in media ethics instruction. Of particular interest was how closely student expectations correlate with previous research findings indicating instructor techniques and goals. The results revealed several areas in which instructor goals and the student rankings were (...) not in accordance, including marked discrepancies between professor and student views on ethical standards employed, values systems examined, and teaching techniques preferred. The study concluded that most students would respond well to a stand-alone media ethics course employing a variety of teaching methods. Respondents felt the course should not emphasize universal ethics, but should respect pluralistic principles and examine various cultural interpretations of media ethics. (shrink)
Zusammenfassung Die Philosophiegeschichte (als Philosophiegeschichtsschreibung) hat festen Bestand als philosophische Disziplin. Sie wird hier als eine âNachlese (discours second) der authentischen Texte der Philosophen eingefÃ¼hrt. Der heutige wissenschaftstheoretische Reflexionsstand im allgemeinen legt auch eine Reflexion auf die Prinzipien dieses âzweiten Diskurses nahe. Dazu sind Vorbedingung die effektive Kenntnis der âGeschichte der Philosophiegeschichte selber (wozu Verf. in seiner âHistoire de l'histoire de la philosophie von 1973 wesentliche Vorarbeiten geleistet hat) wie auch der Prinzipien, die diese Historiographie steuern. Eine Reihe sich fÃ¼r (...) eine solche âPhilosophie der Philosophiegeschichte stellender Fragen und Problem-Topoi wird genannt, deren Existenz die heute allgemein spÃ¼rbare âPrinzipienkrise der Philosophiegeschichtsschreibung ausmacht. Das fÃ¼hrt zu der Frage, inwieweit die Prinzipienreflexion und das ProblembewuÃtsein selber den Verfall einer magistralen Philosophiegeschichtsschreibung mitbedingt, der durch Kollektivarbeiten allenfalls verdeckt, nicht aber kompensiert wird. (shrink)
In Book II of the Republic (370c-372d), Socrates briefly depicts a city where each inhabitant contributes to the welfare of all by performing the role for which he or she is naturally suited. Socrates calls this city the `true city' and the `healthy one'. Nearly all commentators have argued that Socrates' praise of the city cannot be taken at face value, claiming that it does not represent Socrates' preferred community. The point of this paper is to argue otherwise. The claim (...) is that Socrates genuinely believes the city is a healthy and desirable city, and that he believes that the First City (the so-called `city of pigs') is in fact superior to the Kallipolis. (shrink)
This article traces the semantics of ?life? and ?vitality? in Carl Schmitt up to the 1930s. It shows that Schmitt deploys these vitalist elements against the modern ?spirit of technicity? in his attempt to combat the lack of substantial ideas in modern politics. However, Schmitt himself cannot escape a fundamental political relativism. There remains an unstable tension at the heart of his thought between the quest for substance and the quest for order. The latter is relativist because it is a (...) quest for order as such, any order. Although Schmitt's semantics of life and vitality is not drawn from a biological register, it adopted a völkisch meaning in 1933. Anti-Semitism becomes a form of life and racial homogeneity fills in for substance. The article concludes that, while there are good reasons for criticizing the modern ?spirit of technicity,? Schmitt's critical model is fundamentally flawed. (shrink)