In ‘Essential stuff’ (2008) and ‘Stuff’ (2009), Kristie Miller argues that two generally accepted theses, often formulated as follows, are incompatible: - (Temporal) mereological essentialism for stuff (or matter), the thesis that any portion of stuff has the same parts at every time it exists.
Dienes & Perner's (D&P's) target articles proposes an analysis of explicit knowledge based on a progressive transformation of implicit into explicit products, applying this gradient to different aspects of knowledge that can be represented. The goal is to integrate a philosophical concept of knowledge with relevant psychophysical and neuropsychological data. D&P seem to fill an impressive portion of the gap between these two areas. We focus on two examples where a full synthesis of theoretical and empirical data seems difficult to (...) establish and would require further refinement of the model: action representation and the closely related consciousness of action, which is in turn related to self-consciousness. (shrink)
It is now widely believed among philosophers and logicians that ordinary English contains plural terms that may refer to several things at once. But are there terms that stand to ordinary plural terms the way ordinary plural terms stand to singular terms? Let’s call such terms superplural. A superplural term would thus, loosely speaking, refer to several “pluralities” at once. It is reasonably straightforward to devise a formal logic of superplural terms, superplural predicates, and even superplural quantifiers (Rayo 2006). But (...) does this formal logic reflect any features of natural languages? In particular, does ordinary English contain superplural terms and predicates? The purpose of this note is to address these questions. We examine some earlier arguments for the existence of superplural expressions in English, and find these arguments to be either inconclusive or not sufficiently far-reaching. Then we present some better examples of the superplural in ordinary English. [First author: Linnebo; second author: Nicolas.]. (shrink)
This paper offers a framework for consciousness of internal reality. Recent PET experiments are reviewed, showing partial overlap of cortical activation during self-produced actions and actions observed from other people. This overlap suggests that representations for actions may be shared by several individuals, a situation which creates a potential problem for correctly attributing an action to its agent. The neural conditions for correct agency judgments are thus assigned a key role in self/other distinction and self-consciousness. A series of behavioral experiments (...) that demonstrate, in normal subjects, the poor monitoring of action-related signals and the difficulty in recognizing self-produced actions are described. In patients presenting delusions, this difficulty dramatically increases and actions become systematically misattributed. These results point to schizophrenia and related disorders as a paradigmatic alteration of a ''Who?'' system for self-consciousness. (shrink)
What semantics should we attribute to nouns like wisdom and generosity, which are derived from gradable adjectives? We show that, from a morphosyntactic standpoint, these nouns are mass nouns. This leads us to consider and answer the following questions. How are these nouns interpreted in their various uses? What formal representations may one associate with their interpretations? How do these depend on the semantics of the adjective? And where lies the semantic unity of nouns like wisdom and generosity with the (...) more familiar concrete mass nouns, like wine and furniture? (shrink)
The abilities to attribute an action to its proper agent and to understand its meaning when it is produced by someone else are basic aspects of human social communication. Several psychiatric syndromes, such as schizophrenia, seem to lead to a dysfunction of the awareness of one’s own action as well as of recognition of actions performed by other. Such syndromes offer a framework for studying the determinants of agency, the ability to correctly attribute actions to their veridical source. Thirty normal (...) subjects and 30 schizophrenic patients with and without hallucinations and/or delusional experiences were required to execute simple finger and wrist movements, without direct visual control of their hand. The image of either their own hand or an alien hand executing the same or a different movement was presented on a TV-screen in real time. The task for the subjects was to discriminate whether the hand presented on the screen was their own or not. Hallucinating and deluded schizophrenic patients were more impaired in discriminating their own hand from the alien one than the non-hallucinating ones, and tended to misattribute the alien hand to themselves. Results are discussed according to a model of action control. A tentative description of the mechanisms leading to action consciousness is proposed. (shrink)
where ‘aa’ is a plural term, and ‘F’ a plural predicate. Following George Boolos (1984) and others, many philosophers and logicians also think that plural expressions should be analysed as not introducing any new ontological commitments to some sort of ‘plural entities’, but rather as involving a new form of reference to objects to which we are already committed (for an overview and further details, see Linnebo 2004). For instance, the plural term ‘aa’ refers to Alice, Bob and Charlie simultaneously, (...) and the plural predicate ‘F’ is true of some things just in case these things cooperate. A natural question that arises is whether the step from the singular to the plural can be iterated. Are there terms that stand to ordinary plural terms the way ordinary plural terms stand to singular terms? Let’s call such terms superplural. A superplural term would thus, loosely speaking, refer to several ‘pluralities’ at once, much as an ordinary plural term refers to several objects at once.1 Further, let’s call a predicate superplural if it can be predicated of superplural terms. It is reasonably straightforward to devise a formal logic of superplural terms, superplural predicates, and even superplural quantifiers (see Rayo 2006). But does this formal logic reflect any features of natural languages? In particular, does ordinary English contain superplural terms and predicates? The purpose of this article is to address these questions. We examine some earlier arguments for the existence of superplural expressions in English and find them to be either.. (shrink)
The discussion of ethics, corporate responsibility and its educational dimensions focuses primarily on CSR, corporate citizenship and philanthropic theory and practise. The partnership between Microsoft Corporation and UNHCR was launched to help the victims of the Kosovo crisis, at the same time as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gained momentum, and in particular, at the same time as Microsoft experienced a decrease in stock value. This case study sheds light on a decade of Microsoft Corp. efforts to align business (...) objectives with refugee aid, by use of corporate expertise and company revenues. As a leader in technology and corporate citizenship, can Microsoft bridge the digital divide for the disadvantaged and arouse the unlimited potential of tomorrow’s leaders, as the company claims in its communications? Is the partnership beneficial to UNHCR, in line with corporate objectives of “doing big things” and “doing good”? (shrink)
In English, some common nouns, like cat, can be used in the singular and in the plural, while others, like water, are invariable. Moreover, nouns like cat can be employed with numerals like one and two and determiners like a, many and few, but neither with much nor little . On the contrary, nouns like milk can be used with determiners like much and little, but neither with a, one nor many. These two types of nouns constitute two morphosyntactic sub-classes (...) of English common nouns; cf. for instance Gillon (1992). They have been respectively called count nouns and mass nouns. In many languages, notably Romance and Germanic languages, one can similarly identify two morphosyntactic subclasses of common nouns, nouns of one class admitting singular and plural number, and nouns of the other being invariable in grammatical number.1 The question we want to address in this paper is one in lexical semantics: Is there anything characteristic about the meaning of a count noun? This question has occupied the mind of many linguists and philosophers. It is comparable in intent to: Can one give a purely semantic definition of verbs? Four proposals have been discussed in the literature. (shrink)
A dilemma put forward by Schein (1993, Plurals and events. Cambridge: MIT Press) and Rayo (2002, Nous, 36, 436-464) suggests that, in order to characterize the semantics of plurals, we should not use predicate logic, but plural logic, a formal language whose terms may refer to several things at once. We show that a similar dilemma applies to mass nouns. If we use predicate logic and sets when characterizing their semantics, we arrive at a Russellian paradox. And if we use (...) predicate logic and mereological sums, the semantics turns out to be too weak. We then develop an account where mass nouns are treated as non-singular terms. This semantics is faithful to the intuition that, if there are eight pieces of silverware on a table, the speaker refers to eight things at once when he says: The silverware that is on the table comes from Italy. We show that this account provides a satisfactory semantics for a wide range of sentences. (shrink)
What semantics should we attribute to mass expressions like "wisdom" and "love", which are derived from gradable expressions? We first examine how these expressions are used, then how they are interpreted in their various uses. We then propose a model to account for these data, in which derived mass nouns denote instances of properties.
'Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundation either. It leaves everything as it is.' 'We must do away with all explanation, and description alone must take its place.'.
Contra Jackendoff, we argue that within the parallel architecture framework, the generality of language does not require a rich conceptual structure. To show this, we put forward a delegation model of specialization. We find Jackendoff's alternative, the subdivision model, insufficiently supported. In particular, the computational consequences of his representational notion of modularity need to be clarified.
In this paper, we investigate how certain types of predicates should be connected with certain types of degree scales, and how this can affect the events they describe. The distribution and interpretation of various degree adverbials will serve us as a guideline in this perspective. They suggest that two main types of degree scales should be distinguished: (i) quantity scales, which are characterized by the semantic equivalence of Yannig ate the cake partially and Yannig ate part of the cake; quantity (...) scales only appear with verbs possessing an incremental theme (cf. Dowty 1991); (ii) intensity scales, which are characterized by degree modifiers (e.g., extremely, perfectly) receiving an intensive interpretation; intensity scales typically occur with verbs morphologically related to an adjective (to dry). More generally, we capitalize on a typology of degree structures to explain how degrees play a central role with respect to event structure. (shrink)
L'objet de cet article est d'examiner en quoi la phrase nominale existentielle : (a) Lecture pendant toute la matinée. (b) Lecture d'un poème. (c) Lecture. peut être concernée par la distinction aspectuelle télique / atélique. Nous avons examiné les phrases qui, notamment à cause du type d'expression nominale employé, renvoient à un événement, un processus ou un état. Celles qui renvoient à un événement sont téliques, les autres sont atéliques, comme dans le cas des expressions verbales. Nous avons étudié les (...) énoncés nominaux qui comportent un circonstant (a) pouvant influer sur l'aspect télique ou atélique de l'énoncé et les énoncés qui renferment uniquement un groupe nominal, comme en (b), ou un simple nom comme en (c). Il ressort de cette étude i) que le caractère télique ou atélique d'une phrase nominale existentielle dépend non seulement du type de nom utilisé, mais aussi de facteurs syntaxiques (circonstant, complément, adjectif et déterminant du nom) voire contextuels (l'énoncé précédent); ii) que la phrase nominale existentielle impose certaines contraintes d'emploi, notamment par rapport aux déterminants, ce qui peut freiner l'observation de la télicité pour certains groupes nominaux2. (shrink)
Nos daremos a la tarea de presentar una discusión que se encuentra en la obra del filósofo colombiano Julio Enrique Blanco, y en particular en dos de sus primeros escritos: “De la causalidad biológica I” (1917) y “Caminos de perfección” (1918). Para hacerlo debimos primero recurrir a uno de los textos centrales del inglés John Stuart Mill: Un sistema de lógica (1843). Lo que ha resultado de estas tres lecturas es la reconstrucción de una propuesta metodológica realizada por el colombiano, (...) propuesta que presentamos con complementos que son el resultado de las lecturas de éstas y otras obras suyas. Finalmente, intentaremos demostrar que ante la evaluación de los fundamentos cognoscitivos de nociones heredadas, una de las posibilidades que se presenta es inmovilizar aquellas que sean de carácter hipotético antes que hipertético. (shrink)
Abstract: Friends of plural logic—like Oliver & Smiley (2001), Rayo (2002), Yi (2005), and McKay (2006)—have argued that a semantics of plurals based on mereological sums would be too weak, and they have adduced several examples in favor of their claim. However, they have not considered various possible counter-arguments. So how convincing are their own arguments? We show that several of them are easily answered, while some others are more problematic. Overall, the case against mereological singularism—the idea that mereological sums (...) can serve as the semantic values of plurals—turns out to be much less strong than what it is usually presented to be. (shrink)
A dilemma put forward by Schein (1993) and Rayo (2002) suggests that, in order to characterize the semantics of plurals, we should not use predicate logic, but non-singular logic, a formal language whose terms may refer to several things at once. We show that a similar dilemma applies to mass nouns. If we use predicate logic and sets, we arrive at a Russellian paradox when characterizing the semantics of mass nouns. Likewise, a semantics of mass nouns based upon predicate logic (...) and mereological sums is too weak, since it cannot characterize the “intermediary” construals that sentences containing mass nouns may receive. We then develop an account where mass nouns are treated as non-singular terms, which may refer to several things at once. This semantics is faithful to the intuition that, if there are eight pieces of silverware on a table, the speaker refers to eight things at once when he says: “The silverware that is on the table comes from Italy”. We show that this account provides a satisfactory semantics for a wide range of sentences, including cases often seen as difficult, like “The gold on the table weighs seven ounces” (Bunt 1985) and “All phosphorus is either red or black” (Roeper 1983). (shrink)
This paper explores the work of Nicolas Rashevsky, a Russian émigré theoretical physicist who developed a program in "mathematical biophysics" at the University of Chicago during the 1930s. Stressing the complexity of many biological phenomena, Rashevsky argued that the methods of theoretical physics -- namely mathematics -- were needed to "simplify" complex biological processes such as cell division and nerve conduction. A maverick of sorts, Rashevsky was a conspicuous figure in the biological community during the 1930s and early 1940s: (...) he participated in several Cold Spring Harbor symposia and received several years of funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. However, in contrast to many other physicists who moved into biology, Rashevsky's work was almost entirely theoretical, and he eventually faced resistance to his mathematical methods. Through an examination of the conceptual, institutional, and scientific context of Rashevsky's work, this paper seeks to understand some of the reasons behind this resistance. (shrink)
Henry More and Nicolas Malebranche, each in his own way, drew a distinction between two kinds of extension, the one indivisible and the other divisible. Spinoza also drew a comparable distinction, explaining that, insofar as extended substance was conceived intellectually, it would be grasped as indivisible, whereas, when it was instead depicted in the imagination, it would be seen as divisible. But, whereas for Spinoza these were just different views on one and the same extended substance, More and Malebranche's (...) two kinds of extension were supposed to be really distinct from one another. Consequently, neither of them could identify Spinoza's substance with both of his own non-identical kinds; and so they faced a choice over which one they would associate it with. The intriguing thing is that here they diverged. More felt that Spinoza's substance was actually divisible, and consequently material. Malebranche felt that it was actually indivisible, and consequently ideal and divine. In each case, they felt that the other kind of extension—whichever that might be—was simply absent from Spinoza's system. This article explores this divergence between More and Malebranche's interpretations of Spinoza's metaphysics, and it seeks an explanation for it in their own respective epistemologies. (shrink)
El trabajo intenta mostrar, a partir de una introducción historiografica, uno de los modos posibles en que pueden vincularse el sistema filosófico de Nicolas de Cusa [1401 -1464], a traves de la reformulación que hace el Cusano de la coincidentia oppositorum en el Trialogus De possest' , con la teoria sustancialista de Baruch de Spinoza [1632 -1677], tal como es presentada en el Liber Primus de su Ethic.
In the present article two possible meanings of the term mathematical structure are discussed: a formal and a nonformal one. It is claimed that contemporary mathematics is structural only in the nonformal sense of the term. Bourbaki's definition of structure is presented as one among several attempts to elucidate the meaning of that nonformal idea by developing a formal theory which allegedly accounts for it. It is shown that Bourbaki's concept of structure was, from a mathematical point of view, a (...) superfluous undertaking. This is done by analyzing the role played by the concept, in the first place, within Bourbaki's own mathematical output. Likewise, the interaction between Bourbaki's work and the first stages of category theory is analyzed, on the basis of both published texts and personal documents. (shrink)
Malebranche's metaphysics and the problem of human freedom -- God, order, and general volitions -- Arnauld and Malebranche on the power of the human intellect -- The cognitive faculties and the divine ideas -- Malebranche on free will and imminent causation.
This paper takes the recent French elections as an opportunity to reflect on the nature of the presidential function in parliamentary democracies. The discrepancy between the winning candidate's pre-election declarations and his actual approach to his new function reflects a fundamental divergence in the possible interpretations of political representation. This divergence was made fully explicit and came to a head in the debate that opposed the two great jurists of the Weimar Republic, Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt. This paper suggests (...) that revisiting this old polemic can yield interesting insights into the contemporary situation. (shrink)