In this paper we show that focus structure determines the interpretation of bare plurals in English: topic bare plurals are interpreted generically, focused bare plurals are interpreted existentially. When bare plurals are topics they must be specific, i.e. they refer to kinds. After type-shifting they introduce variables which can be bound by the generic quantifier, yielding characterizing generics. Existentially interpreted bare plurals are not variables, but denote properties that are incorporated into the predicate.The type of predicate determines the interpretation of (...) its bare plural subject. The individual/stage-level distinction, though important, is not sufficient: since only arguments can be topics, only those stage-level predicates which have locative arguments can have existential bare plural subjects.Certain verbs (e.g., hate) fail to incorporate their bare plural objects; therefore no existential reading of the object is available. We provide a novel solution to this puzzle based on the following two claims: (i) incorporated bare plurals do not introduce discourse referents; (ii) nonincorporating verbs are presuppositional. (shrink)
This volume’s two target articles explore novel approaches to word order alternations, especially Scandinavian Object Shift. They share the common perspective that aspects of linear order long considered the exclusive purview of syntax may be better understood if the burden of explanation is split between phonological and syntactic modules. The two articles differ substantially, however, in how this general hunch plays out, in particular in the amount of the explanation that is attributed to extra-syntactic factors. Fox and Pesetsky’s “Cyclic Linearization” (...) model (hereafter F&P, CycLin) is compatible with familiar syntactic models, and can be seen as a filter running (cyclically) on the output of syntactic derivations. F&P suggest that their proposal can explain various heretofore stipulated conditions on syntactic operations as consequences of the architecture of their system and a single axiom about linearization. Erteschik-Shir’s proposal in “Sound Patterns of Syntax” (hereafter E-S) is more radical, in the sense that far less of the familiar syntax is retained; where for CycLin movement is still a syntactic process, on E- S’s view a good deal of traditionally syntactic movement must be rethought in linear, rather than hierarchical terms. Both articles are largely exploratory and leave many of the details still to be spelled-out. To engage the ideas on specifics, then, will involve to some degree making some educated guesses about what ancillary assumptions the relevant authors might condone. I will therefore restrict myself to a few comments at a general level, though it will be impossible to do justice to these authors’ ideas in the allotted space. (shrink)
In this short review I address certain issues and predictions that arise from the position papers by Erteschik- Shir, and by Fox and Pesetsky. The two proposed analyses are radically different, so I have made no attempt to relate them in terms of their properties. In section 1 I discuss some underlying issues in the architecture of grammar assumed by Erteschik-Shir, and in section 2 I evaluate some of the predictions generated by Fox and Pesetsky’s approach. In section 3 (...) I draw some more general conclusions about what consequences Object Shift shows us concerning the organization of grammar, and the nature of grammatical principles. While my remarks mainly address problems or drawbacks that I see with the proposals in the two position papers, they both offer a stimulating account of OS and explore the wider implications of the natures of their enterprises, and deserve fuller consideration beyond the present venue, consideration that they will surely receive. (shrink)
In her book, Unprincipled Virtue, Nomy Arpaly is suspicious of reflective endorsement or deliberative rationality views of agency, those which tie the possibility of responsibility and moral blame to the conscious exercise of deliberation and reflection, and which require as a condition of blame- or praise- worthiness an agent's explicit commitment to ethical principles. I am in sympathy with her attack on standard autonomy theories, but argue that she confuses the phenomenon of unknowing and unreflective responsiveness to the right-making features (...) of an action with incomplete and merely provisional commitment to principles and maxims of action, and argue that she is often arguing against straw men. I also argue that she has misinterpreted the fascinating literary examples she adduces to make her case. (shrink)
“Identità” qui si intende nel senso già precisato da Aristotele di “identità numerica”, che si ha “quando i nomi sono parecchi, ma la cosa è una sola” e, non nel senso di “identità specifica”, che si ha invece “quando gli oggetti, pur essendo parecchi, non rivelano differenze quanto alla specie”.1 In questo articolo intendo fornire al lettore indicazioni introduttive (non certo esaustive) sul posto che la nozione di identità numerica occupa nella logica contemporanea e nell’area di riflessione filosofica del (...) Novecento più strettamente legata alla logica, la filosofia analitica. Nella terza parte proporrò qualche spunto per un’indagine originale. (shrink)
The Cogito and the Mexican Salamander.Philosophy and the Rest of Sciences in the late Merleau-Ponty The article examines Merleau-Ponty’s almost parallel reading – in his last courses at the Collège de France – of the Cartesian cogito and the development of the Axolotl, the salamander studied by American biologist Coghill. My hypothesis is that the metaphysics of the cogito and the biology of the Axolotl represented for Merleau-Ponty two ways of access to the same discovery. Descartes came up against a (...) phenomenon, the cogito, which required the reshaping of metaphysics as a sort of (impossible) psychology of the event or the absolute. Within the field of anatomy, Coghill came up against a phenomenon, the embryogenesis of the Axolotl, which similarly required a sort of conversion of anatomy into embryology. Therefore, bios and psyché, “embryonality” and the cogito, would be nothing but the denomination of the objects that psychology and biology meet along their borders, names for what we could refer to as “event,” “continuum,” “becoming” or, according to an old but still suitable definition, “absolute.” This has countless consequences on the relationship between the so-called human sciences and the so-called natural sciences, their eternally missed dialogue, their false complementarity and the illusion that the famous “two cultures” do actually exist.Il Cogito e la lucertola messicana.La filosofia e il resto delle scienze nell’ultimo Merleau-Ponty L’articolo prende in esame la lettura quasi parallela che Merleau-Ponty svolge, negli ultimi corsi di lezione al Collège de France, del cogito cartesiano e dello sviluppo dell’Axolotl, la lucertola studiata dal biologo americano Coghill. La nostra ipotesi è che la metafisica del cogito, e la biologia dell’Axolotl, rappresentino agli occhi di Merleau-Ponty due modi d’accesso a una stessa scoperta. Dall’interno della metafisica, Descartes si imbatte in un fenomeno, il cogito appunto, che esige che la metafisica si istituisca come una sorta di (impossibile) psicologia dell’eventoo dell’assoluto. Tutta la metafisica sarebbe psicologia, cioè indicazione del luogo assoluto nel quale è inscritto ogni luogo. Dall’interno dell’anatomia, Coghill siimbatte in un fenomeno, lo sviluppo dell’embrione dell’Axolotl, che esige analogamente che tutta l’anatomia si risolva in embriologia. Il vivente sarebbe allora in generale questa condizione di gemmazione e autoorganizzazione, e l’embriologia sarebbe la scienza (impossibile) di questo divenire perfettamenteanoggettuale. Bios e psyché, “embrionalità” e cogito non sarebbero che i nomi di ciò che la psicologia e la biologia incontrano al loro confine, nomi di ciò che infilosofia si chiama evento, continuum, divenire, o, con un vecchio e adattissimo termine, assoluto. Il che comporta innumerevoli conseguenze circa il rapporto trale cosiddette scienze umane e le cosiddette scienze naturali, sul loro dialogo eternamente mancato, sulla loro falsa complementarietà, sull’illusione che si diano davvero le celebri “due culture”. (shrink)
Personnalité et irrationalité chez Merleau-PontyUne personnalité est l’ensemble des traits et des qualités propres à une personne spécifique. Il s’agit d’un être humain concret, considéré dans sa totalité et distinct des autres individus. Merleau-Ponty s’est peu intéressé au concept de “personnalité”. Mais il fait référence au concept de totalité pour un individu lorsqu’il parle d’ “existence” ou d’ “être humain”. Grâce à la clarification du concept merleau-pontien de personnalité, je voudrais démontrer ce qui suit : la philosophie merleau-pontienne de la (...) structure caractérise la personnalité humaine comme un tout. Cette idée est héritée du “personnalisme” de la psychologie française inauguré par Ribot. La personnalité ainsi définie possède une rationalité téléologique (un objet visé). Cependant, lorsque Merleau-Ponty propose plus tard le concept d’“institution”, il souligne que toute signification de l’expérience humaine se fonde sur une expérience particulière et sur un point de vue concret ayant valeur de dimension, de niveau, ou encore sur un critère qui donne un sens à l’expérience suivante. S’il en est ainsi, les êtres humains doivent posséder une irrationalité fondamentale au coeur de leur personnalité ; irrationalité désigne une attitude attachée à une expérience particulière ou à un point de vue singulier. Les hommes peuvent “ré-instituer” leur expérience, c’est-à-dire abolir et transformer une dimension, un niveau ou un critère de l’expérience en y intégrant d’autres points de vue à travers leurs relations intersubjectives. Ils gagnent ainsi en nuance et en objectivité. Cependant, ils ne parviennent jamais à une rationalité totale si celle-ci se définit par une pensée totalement objective, universelle et non située, capable de voir le monde de nulle part. La ré-institution pourrait aussi entraîner une rupture dans la personnalité de quelqu’un et la rendre complexe et multiple, sans être pathologique pour autant.Personalità e irrazionalità in Merleau-PontyLa personalità è l’insieme delle qualità e dei tratti peculiari di una certa persona. È un essere umano concreto, preso nella sua interezza e distinto dagli altri individui. Merleau-Ponty non si è mai occupato molto del concetto di “personalità”. Ma si è riferito a tale concetto di totalità di un individuo sotto i nomi di “esistenza” o “essere umano”. Chiarendo la concezione merleau-pontiana della “personalità”, intendo sostenere che la filosofia della struttura di Merleau-Ponty caratterizza la personalità umana come un tutto unificato. Quest’idea è un’eredità del “personalismo” della psicologia francese inaugurata da Ribot. La personalità definita come tale ha una razionalità teleologica (orientata ad un obiettivo). Tuttavia, quando Merleau-Ponty propose più tardi il concetto di “istituzione”, sottolineò più di quanto avesse fatto precedentemente che perché ogni esperienza umana abbia un significato occore stabilire una particolare esperienza ed un punto di vista concreto quale dimensione, livello, o criterio che dia significato all’esperienza successiva. Se così è, gli esseri umani devono avere una fondamentale irrazionalità nel profondo della loro personalità, intendendo con irrazionalità un atteggiamento che è legato ad una particolare esperienza o punto di vista. Gli esseri umani possono “re-istituire” la loro esperienza, ovvero, riconsiderare una dimensione, un livello, o un criterio dell’esperienza attraverso l’integrazione degli altri punti di vista grazie alle loro relazioni intersoggettive. Guadagnano, così, sfumature e obiettività. Tuttavia, non possono mai realizzare la razionalità completa se per razionalità s’intende il pensiero completamente oggettivo, universale, imparziale, che guarda il mondo da nessun luogo. E la re-istituzione potrebbe creare una fessura decisiva nell’identità personale di un uomo, e rendere tale personalità complessa e “multipla,” anche se non necessariamente patologica. (shrink)
This article discusses the interrelationship of race and religion in law, the subject of Eve Darian-Smith's new book, which seeks to rectify the neglect of religion in the study of race and law and the parallel neglect of race in studies of law and religion. Concurring with the book's basic propositions, that the segregation of race and religion into separate fields of legal studies needs to be overcome and the religious origins of fundamental liberal legal ideas need to be recognized, (...) I tease out different ways in which race and religion can be ‘linked’ and religion can ‘play a role’ in the development of modern law that are not fully parsed out in Darian-Smith's analysis. Applauding her attempt to integrate recent challenges to the long regnant ‘secularization thesis’ into the study of race and law, I point out some unresolved ambiguities in those challenges and their implications for law. (shrink)
Nomy Arpaly rejects the model of rationality used by most ethicists and action theorists. Both observation and psychology indicate that people act rationally without deliberation, and act irrationally with deliberation. By questioning the notion that our own minds are comprehensible to us--and therefore questioning much of the current work of action theorists and ethicists--Arpaly attempts to develop a more realistic conception of moral agency.
I argue that akrasia is not always significantly irrational. To be more precise, I argue that an agent is sometimes more rational for being akratic then she would have been for being enkratic or strong-willed.
I argue that a right action has moral worth if and only if it is done for the right reasons - that is, for its right-making features. The reasons the agent acts on have to be identical to the reasons for which the action is right. I argue that Kantians are wrong in thinking that a right action has moral worth iff it is done because the agent thinks it is right, giving examples of morally worthy actions that are done (...) by agents who think they are wrong (Huckleberry Finn) and right actions done "because they are right" that have no moral worth. I also discuss degrees of moral worth as well as blameworthiness. (shrink)
What is that makes an act subject to either praise or blame? The question has often been taken to depend entirely on the free will debate for an answer, since it is widely agreed that an agent’s act is subject to praise or blame only if it was freely willed, but moral theory, action theory, and moral psychology are at least equally relevant to it. In the last quarter-century, following the lead of Harry Frankfurt’s (1971) seminal article “Freedom of the (...) Will and the Concept of a Person,” the interdisciplinary nature of the question has been emphasized by various authors. Going beyond the boundaries of the traditional free will debate, they have attempted to describe the requirements for agent accountability by appeal to theories of personality, rational agency, and ethical choice. The approach has been a breath of fresh air in the often-stagnant free will debate, bringing new considerations to bear and provoking new lines of argument, and it is an approach that we will adopt in this paper. In the following pages, we hope to show that an under-noticed phenomenon of moral psychology, inverse akrasia, exemplified by Huckleberry Finn, has something to contribute to the understanding of agency and accountability. After presenting the phenomenon in section I, we will move in section II to a quick survey of a family of Frankfurt-inspired views and a critique of them based on the phenomenon in sections III and IV. A new theory will be offered in section V, and potential objections addressed in the final section of the paper. (shrink)
I argue that in his response to me Robert Pippin misrepresents my view of akrasia (partially because of what looks like his strong disbelief in the existence of akrasia) as well as expresses a false view of the way a generalizing moral theory is supposed to apply to specific cases. The last issue is related to particularism, which I turn to discuss, arguing that one familiar way in which it seems attractive is a misleading one.
In this essay, I propose a standard of practical rationality and a grounding for the standard that rests on the idea of autonomous agency. This grounding is intended to explain the “normativity” of the standard. The basic idea is this: To be autonomous is to be self-governing. To be rational is at least in part to be self-governing; it is to do well in governing oneself. I argue that a person's values are aspects of her identity—of her “self-esteem identity”—in a (...) way that most of her ends are not, and that it therefore is plausible to view action governed by one's values as self-governed. This is also plausible on independent grounds. Given this, I say, rational agents comply with a standard—the “values standard”—that requires them to serve their values, and to seek what they need in order to continue to be able to serve their values. Footnotesa I am grateful to many people for helpful comments and discussion over the many years in which I have been developing the ideas in this essay. With apologies to those whose help escapes my memory, I would like to thank Nomy Arpaly, Sam Black, Michael Bratman, Justin D'Arms, Dan Farrell, Pat Greenspan, Don Hubin, Dan Jacobson, Marina Oshana, Michael Ridge, Michael Robins, David Sobel, Pekka Väyrynen, and David Velleman. I presented early versions of some of the ideas in this essay to audiences in the departments of philosophy at the University of Alberta, the University of Maryland at College Park, l'Université de Montréal, the University of Southern California, and the University of Florida, to the 1999 Conference on Moral Theory and Its Applications, Le Lavandou, France, and to the 2001 Conference on Reason and Deliberation, Bowling Green State University. I am grateful for the helpful comments of those who participated in the discussions on all of these occasions and especially to the other contributors to this volume, and its editors. I owe special thanks to Ellen Paul for encouraging me to integrate my thinking on identity with my thinking on rationality and for her useful comments. (shrink)
Jonathan Bennett, Nomy Arpaly, and others see in Huckleberry Finn's apparent praiseworthiness for not turning Jim in (even though this goes against his own moral judgments in the matter) a model for an improved, non-intellectualist approach to moral appraisal. I try to show – both on Aristotelian and on independent grounds – that these positions are fundamentally flawed. In the process, I try to show how Huck may be blameless for lacking what would have been a praiseworthy belief (that I (...) should help Jim), hence, blameless for not acting on this belief; but being ‘blamelessly unpraiseworthy’ is not the same thing as being praiseworthy. (shrink)
Harry Frankfurt introduces the concept of externality. Externality is supposed to be a fact about the structure of an agent's will. We argue that the pre-theorethical basis of externality has a lot more to do with feelings of alienation than it does with the will. Once we realize that intuitions about externality are guided by intuitions about feelings of alienation surprising conclusions follow regarding the structure of our will.
Recently, philosophers have employed the notion of advice to tackle a variety of philosophical problems. In particular, Michael Smith and Nomy Arpaly have in different ways related the notion of advice to the notion of a reason for action. Here I argue that both accounts are flawed, because each operates with a simplistic picture of the way advice works. I conclude that it would be wise to take more time to analyze what advice is and how it in fact works, (...) before putting it to particular philosophical uses. (shrink)
Online Publication Date: 01 September 2007 To cite this Article: Pippin, Robert (2007) 'Can There Be 'Unprincipled Virtue'? Comments on Nomy Arpaly', Philosophical Explorations, 10:3, 291 - 301 To link to this article: DOI: 10.1080/13869790701535360 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13869790701535360..
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