Replies to McKenna, Pereboom, and Kane Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-22 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9893-8 Authors Mark Balaguer, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Los Angeles, CA, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Hermeneutic non-assertivism is a thesis that mathematical fictionalists might want to endorse in responding to a recent objection due to John Burgess. Brad Armour-Garb has argued that hermeneutic non-assertivism is false. A response is given here to Armour-Garb's argument.
It is argued here that there is no fact of the matter between direct reference theory and neo-Fregeanism. To get a more precise idea of the central thesis of this paper, consider the following two claims: (i) While direct reference theory and neo-Fregeanism can be developed in numerous ways, they can be developed in essentially parallel ways; that is, for any (plausible) way of developing direct reference theory, there is an essentially parallel way of developing neo-Fregeanism, and vice versa. And (...) (ii) for each such pair of theories, there is no fact of the matter as to which of them is superior; or more precisely, they are tied in terms of factual accuracy. These are sweeping claims that cannot be fully justified in a single paper. But arguments are given here that motivate these theses, i.e., that suggest that they are very likely true. (shrink)
This paper develops a novel version of mathematical fictionalism and defends it against three objections or worries, viz., (i) an objection based on the fact that there are obvious disanalogies between mathematics and fiction; (ii) a worry about whether fictionalism is consistent with the fact that certain mathematical sentences are objectively correct whereas others are incorrect; and (iii) a recent objection due to John Burgess concerning “hermeneuticism” and “revolutionism”.
It is argued here that the question of whether compatibilism is true is irrelevant to metaphysical questions about the nature of human decision-making processes—for example, the question of whether or not humans have free will—except in a very trivial and metaphysically uninteresting way. In addition, it is argued that two other questions—namely, the conceptual-analysis question of what free will is and the question that asks which kinds of freedom are required for moral responsibility—are also essentially irrelevant to metaphysical questions about (...) the nature of human beings. (shrink)
This paper considers the empirical evidence that we currently have for various kinds of determinism that might be relevant to the thesis that human beings possess libertarian free will. Libertarianism requires a very strong version of indeterminism, so it can be refuted not just by universal determinism, but by some much weaker theses as well. However, it is argued that at present, we have no good reason to believe even these weak deterministic views and, hence, no good reason—at least from (...) this quarter—to doubt that we are libertarian free. In particular, the paper responds to various arguments for neural and psychological determinism, arguments based on the work of people like Honderich, Tegmark, Libet, Velmans, Wegner, and Festinger. (shrink)
Mathematical fictionalism (or as I'll call it, fictionalism) is best thought of as a reaction to mathematical platonism. Platonism is the view that (a) there exist abstract mathematical objects (i.e., nonspatiotemporal mathematical objects), and (b) our mathematical sentences and theories provide true descriptions of such objects. So, for instance, on the platonist view, the sentence ‘3 is prime’ provides a straightforward description of a certain object—namely, the number 3—in much the same way that the sentence ‘Mars is red’ provides a (...) description of Mars. But whereas Mars is a physical object, the number 3 is (according to platonism) an abstract object. And abstract objects, platonists tell us, are wholly nonphysical, nonmental, nonspatial, nontemporal, and noncausal. Thus, on this view, the number 3 exists independently of us and our thinking, but it does not exist in space or time, it is not a physical or mental object, and it does not enter into causal relations with other objects. This view has been endorsed by Plato, Frege (1884, 1893-1903, 1919), Gödel (1964), and in some of their writings, Russell (1912) and Quine (1948, 1951), not to mention numerous more recent philosophers of mathematics, e.g., Putnam (1971), Parsons (1971), Steiner (1975), Resnik (1997), Shapiro (1997), Hale (1987), Wright (1983), Katz (1998), Zalta (1988), and Colyvan (2001). (shrink)
Platonism is the view that there exist such things as abstract objects — where an abstract object is an object that does not exist in space or time and which is therefore entirely non-physical and nonmental. Platonism in this sense is a contemporary view. It is obviously related to the views of Plato in important ways, but it is not entirely clear that Plato endorsed this view, as it is defined here. In order to remain neutral on this question, the (...) term ‘platonism’ is spelled with a lower-case ‘p’. (See entry on Plato.) The most important figure in the development of modern platonism is Gottlob Frege (1884, 1892, 1893-1903, 1919). The view has also been endorsed by many others, including Kurt Gödel (1964), Bertrand Russell (1912), and W.V.O. Quine (1948, 1951). (shrink)
This paper reviews the development of socially responsible investment (SRI) in the Spanish financial market. The year, 1997 saw the appearance in Spain of the first SRI mutual fund, but it was not until late 1999, that major Spanish fund managers offered SRI mutual funds on the retail market. The development of SRI in the Spanish financial market has not experienced the high levels of development seen in other European countries, such as France or Italy, where interest in SRI began (...) during the same period. This paper presents an analysis of the impact of SRI mutual funds managed by Spanish fund managers comparing the evolution of managed assets and number of investors. We also analyse the investment strategies adopted by these funds, which mainly use negative screening criteria and the participation of non-governmental organisations as institutional investors. An analysis of the take up of socially responsible investment in the Spanish financial market shows majors deficits in this process. This is due to Spanish investors having limited sensitivity to social issues and knowledge of SRI, and a lack of development of SRI investment strategies, such as engagement or shareholder activism by fund managers. Furthermore, the take-up of SRI mutual funds in the Spanish financial market coincided with a fall in the stock market at the beginning of the 21st Century. We conclude with an analysis of the relationship between SRI and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). (shrink)
I develop here a novel version of the Fregean view of belief ascriptions (i.e., sentences of the form ‘S believes that p’) and I explain how my view accounts for various problem cases that many philosophers have supposed are incompatible with Fregeanism. The so-called problem cases involve (a) what Perry calls essential indexicals and (b) de re ascriptions in which it is acceptable to substitute coreferential but non-synonymous terms in belief contexts. I also respond to two traditional worries about what (...) the sense of a proper name could be, and I explain how my view provides intuitively pleasing solutions to Kripke’s ‘London’–‘Londres’ puzzle and his Paderewski puzzle. Finally, in addition to defending my view, I also argue very briefly against Russellian alternatives to Fregeanism. (shrink)
In this paper, I respond to an objection that Jill Dieterle has raised to two arguments in my book, Platonism and Anti-Platonism in Mathematics. Dieterle argues that because I reject the notion of metaphysical necessity, I cannot rely upon the notion of supervenience, as I in fact do in two places in the book. I argue that Dieterle is mistaken about this by showing that neither of the two supervenience theses that I endorse requires a notion of metaphysical necessity.
This paper develops a novel version of anti-platonism, called semantic fictionalism. The view is a response to the platonist argument that we need to countenance propositions to account for the truth of sentences containing `that'-clause singular terms, e.g., sentences of the form `x believes that p' and `σ means that p'. Briefly, the view is that (a) platonists are right that `that'-clauses purport to refer to propositions, but (b) there are no such things as propositions, and hence, (c) `that'-clause-containing sentences (...) of the above sort are not true-they are useful fictions. Semantic fictionalism is an extension of Hartry Field's mathematical fictionalism, but my defense of the view is not analogous to his. One of the many virtues of my defense is its generality: it explains how we can adopt a fictionalist stance towards all abstract singular terms, e.g., mathematical singular terms and `that'-clauses. (shrink)
A response is given here to Benacerraf's (1965) non-uniqueness (or multiple-reductions) objection to mathematical platonism. It is argued that non-uniqueness is simply not a problem for platonism; more specifically, it is argued that platonists can simply embrace non-uniqueness—i.e., that one can endorse the thesis that our mathematical theories truly describe collections of abstract mathematical objects while rejecting the thesis that such theories truly describe unique collections of such objects. I also argue that part of the motivation for this stance is (...) that it dovetails with the correct response to Benacerraf's other objection to platonism, i.e., his (1973) epistemological objection. (shrink)
In this book, Balaguer demonstrates that there are no good arguments for or against mathematical platonism. He does this by establishing that both platonism and anti-platonism are defensible views. Introducing a form of platonism ("full-blooded platonism") that solves all problems traditionally associated with the view, he proceeds to defend anti-platonism (in particular, mathematical fictionalism) against various attacks, most notably the Quine-Putnam indispensability attack. He concludes by arguing that it is not simply that we do not currently have any good argument (...) for or against platonism, but that we could never have such an argument and, indeed, that there is no fact of the matter as to whether platonism is correct. (shrink)
A response is given here to Benacerraf's 1973 argument that mathematical platonism is incompatible with a naturalistic epistemology. Unlike almost all previous platonist responses to Benacerraf, the response given here is positive rather than negative; that is, rather than trying to find a problem with Benacerraf's argument, I accept his challenge and meet it head on by constructing an epistemology of abstract (i.e., aspatial and atemporal) mathematical objects. Thus, I show that spatio-temporal creatures like ourselves can attain knowledge about mathematical (...) objects by simply explaininghow they can do this. My argument is based upon the adoption of a particular version of platonism — full-blooded platonism — which asserts that any mathematical object which possiblycould exist actuallydoes exist. (shrink)
It is argued here that mathematical objects cannot be simultaneously abstract and perceptible. Thus, naturalized versions of mathematical platonism, such as the one advocated by Penelope Maddy, are unintelligble. Thus, platonists cannot respond to Benacerrafian epistemological arguments against their view vias Maddy-style naturalization. Finally, it is also argued that naturalized platonists cannot respond to this situation by abandoning abstractness (that is, platonism); they must abandon perceptibility (that is, naturalism).