An expressivist theory of consciousness is outlined. The suggestion that attributions of consciousness involve an essentially projective element is carefully examined, as is the view that ‘zombism’, defined as the thought that certain people are unconscious although physically normal, is a largely affective and not wholly cognitive (hypothetical) disorder. A comparison is drawn between ‘zombism’ and the Capgras delusion. The notion of supervenience is shown to be deeply problematic when applied to projected properties, as is the distinction between weak and (...) strong varieties. It is concluded that, contrary to most received opinion, consciousness and values are not all that different as far as these modal considerations are concerned. (shrink)
A major part of the mind–body problem is to explain why a given set of physical processes should give rise to qualia of one sort rather than another. Colour hues are the usual example considered here, and there is a lively debate between, for example, Hardin, Levine, Jackson, Clark and Chalmers as to whether the results of colour vision science can provide convincing explanations of why colours actually look the way they do. This paper examines carefully the type of explanation (...) that is needed here, and it is concluded that it does not have to be reductive to be effective. What needs to be explained more than anything is why inverted hue scenarios are more intuitive than other sensory inversions: and the issue of physicalism versus dualism is only of marginal relevance here. (shrink)
A line of argument, presented by David Lewis, to show that the correspondence theory of truth is not a real alternative to deflationism is developed. It is shown that truthmakers, construed as concrete events or states of affairs, are unsatisfactory entities, since we do not know how to individuate them or how to identify their essential qualities. Furthermore, the real work is usually done by supervenience relations, which have little to do with truth. It is argued that the Equivalence Schema (...) is quite sufficient to yield a unitary property of being true, and that this generates a weak, but non-trivial, version of the correspondence theory of truth. (shrink)
It is often claimed, following Joseph Levine, that there is an ‘explanatory gap’ between ordinary physical facts and the way we perceive things, so that it is impossible to explain, among other things, why colours actually look the way they do. C.L. Hardin, by contrast, argues that there are sufficient asymmetries between colours to traverse this gap. This paper argues that the terms we use to characterize colours, such as ‘warm’ and ‘cool’, are not well understood, and that we need (...) to understand the neurological basis for such associations if we are even to understand what is fully meant by saying, for example, that red is a warm colour. This paper also speculates on how Hardin’s strategy can be generalized. A PowerPoint presentation that depicts inverted colour qualia is attached as an appendix. (shrink)
Some links between colour phenomenology and its physiological basis are examined in detail, in particular concerning a kind of hue-inversion where blue is exchanged with green and yellow with pink. A project to develop an appropriate phenomenal language is outlined. The impact of such links on the â��explanatory gapâ�� and the â��knowledge argumentâ�� is considered in the context of the debate between Hardin and Levine. I agree with Hardin that the â��gapâ�� is highly exaggerated, but conclude instead that it is (...) for just this reason that we do not need to be physicalists. Instead, a kind of dualism is shown to be scientifically respectable. (shrink)
Divine law theories of metaethics claim that moral rightness is grounded in God’s commands, wishes and so forth. Expressivist theories, by contrast, claim that to call something morally right is to express our own attitudes, not to report on God’s. Ostensibly, such views are incompatible. However, we shall argue that a rapprochement is possible and beneficial to both sides. Expressivists need to explain the difference between reporting and expressing an attitude, and to address the Frege-Geach problem. Divine law theorists need (...) to get past the Euthyphro dilemma, and to avoid moral externalism. This paper shows how a combined theory helps us to achieve this. (shrink)
The author argues that is not obvious what it means for our beliefs and assertions to be "truth-directed", and that we need to weaken our ordinary notion of a belief if we are to deal with radical scepticism without surrendering to idealism. Topics examined also include whether there could be alien conceptual schemes and what might happen to us if we abandoned genuine belief in place of mere pragmatic acceptance. A radically new "ecological" model of knowledge is defended.
A difficulty is exposed in Allan Gibbard's solution to the embedding/Frege-Geach problem, namely that the difference between refusing to accept a normative judgement and accepting its negation is ignored. This is shown to undermine the whole solution.
Expressivists, such as Blackburn, analyse sentences such as 'S thinks that it ought to be the case that p' as S hoorays that p'. A problem is that the former sentence can be negated in three different ways, but the latter in only two. The distinction between refusing to accept a moral judgement and accepting its negation therefore cannot be accounted for. This is shown to undermine Blackburn's solution to the Frege-Geach problem.
It is argued that current solutions to the question of how to individuate events do not work. Jonathan Bennett's thesis that the indeterminacy here is only semantic, not ontological, is refuted. An alternative account of why events resemble facts (although their identity criteria are less fine-grained) is defended.
Moral relativism is the doctrine that morality may vary from culture to culture. Given the difficulty of saying when two individuals belong to the same culture it can be taken in more or less radical forms. In its least radical form it means nothing more than that, although morality is fixed and universal for human beings, Martian morality may be different. In its most radical form it implies that each person has his own morality which may vary from one individual (...) to another and from one moment to the next. (shrink)