This paper develops under-recognized connections between moderate historicist methodology and character (or virtue) epistemology, and goes on to argue that their combination supports a “dialectical” conception of objectivity. Considerations stemming from underdetermination problems motivate our claim that historicism requires agent-focused rather than merely belief-focused epistemology; embracing this point helps historicists avoid the charge of relativism. Considerations stemming from the genealogy of epistemic virtue concepts motivate our claim that character epistemologies are strengthened by moderate historicism about the epistemic virtues and (...) values at work in communities of inquiry; embracing this point helps character epistemologists avoid the charge of objectivism. (shrink)
In Political Liberalism, Rawls emphasizes the practical character and aims of his conception of justice. Justice as fairness is to provide the basis of a reasoned, informed and willing political agreement by locating grounds for consensus in the fundamental ideas and values of the political culture. Critics urge, however, that such a politically liberal conception of justice will be designed merely to ensure the stability of political institutions by appealing to the currently-held opinions of actual citizens. In order to evaluate (...) this concern, I suggest, it is necessary to focus on the normative character of Rawls's analysis. Rawls argues that justice as fairness is the conception of justice that citizens of modern democratic cultures should choose in reflective equilibrium, after reflecting fully upon their considered judgments regarding justice. Since judgments in reflective equilibrium are grounded in considered judgment, rather than situated opinions, I argue that the criticism fails. Key Words: justification objectivity political liberalism Rawls reflective equilibrium. (shrink)
In recent years, a renascent form of pragmatism has developed which argues that a satisfactory pragmatic position must integrate into itself the concepts of truth and objectivity. This New Pragmatism, as Cheryl Misak calls it, is directed primarily against Rorty's neo-pragmatic dismissal of these concepts. For Rorty, the goal of our epistemic practices should not be to achieve an objective view, one that tries to represent things as they are 'in themselves,' but rather to attain a view of things (...) that can gain as much inter-subjective agreement as possible. In Rorty's language, we need to replace the aim of objectivity with that of solidarity. While the New Pragmatists agree with Rorty's 'humanist' and .. (shrink)
This book develops an explanation for the roles of observation and theory in scientific endeavor that occupies the middle ground between empiricism and rationalism, and captures the strengths of both approaches. Brown argues that philosophical theories have the same epistemological status as scientific theories and constructs an epistemological theory that provides an account of the role that theory and instruments play in scientific observation. His theory of perception yields a new analysis of objectivity that combines the traditional view of (...) observation as the foundation of scientific objectivity with the contemporary recognition that observation is theory-dependent. (shrink)
This volume develops and defends critical realism whilst engaging critically with existentialist philosophy in a number of ways. The work of existentialist thinkers as diverse as Kierkegarrd, R.D. Laing, Heideggar and Sartre is discussed at length and Andrew Collier argues that there is much to be learnt from their work, especially in Heidegger's critique of the technological view of the world. However the book concludes with a defence of objectivity against the various forms of subjectivism advanced by the existentialists.
What is objectivity? What is the rule of law? Are the operations of legal systems objective? If so, in what ways and to what degrees are they objective? Does anything of importance depend on the objectivity of law? These are some of the principal questions addressed by Matthew H. Kramer in this lucid and wide-ranging study that introduces readers to vital areas of philosophical enquiry.
This article is a summary of two chapters of a book published in French in 1997, entitled Comment L'esprit vient aux Bêtes, Paris, Gallimard. The core idea is that the crucial distinction between internal and external states, often used uncritically by theorists of intentionality, needs to be made on a non-circular basis. The proposal is that objectivity - the capacity to reidentify individuals as the same across places and times depends on the capacity to extract spatial crossmodal invariants, which (...) in turn presupposes a capacity to (re)calibrate perceptual inputs across modalities in a principled way. (shrink)
An inter-disciplinary philosophical treatise (written as an accredited Ph.D. thesis) that attempts to establish a new approach to moral objectivity. Inspired by the Buddha's Middle Way, but arguing from first premises, it challenges widespread and interlinked assumptions in both analytic and continental philosophy, whilst drawing on both these traditions together with psychological, religious and historical evidence. The first section of the book provides a detailed critique of existing approaches to ethics in the Western tradition. The second half then puts (...) forward positive and practical alternatives, and solutions to long-standing philosophical problems. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Frege, and others who followed him, stressed the role of fallibility as a means to defining ‘objectivity.’ By defining objective judgments as fallible, these philosophers contributed to the consolidation of a theory of objectivity which suggested interpreting epistemological, as well as other judgements, as being objective. An important philosophical implication of this theory lies in its disclosure of the interrelations between truth and objectivity. In light of this insight, and based on an analysis of instances of (...) false (epistemological and other) judgments, I show that truth and objectivity go hand-in-hand, while falsity and objectivity do not. This finding alone indicates the necessity to revise the theory of objectivity. (shrink)
This paper utilizes the theories of metaphor of George Lakoff, Mark Johnson and Julian Jaynes to extend Jaynes' metaphor theory of consciousness by treating consciousness as an operator that works with 'covert behavior' so that humans can integrate temporally discontinuous percepts with concepts based on metaphoric extensions of the embodied schemas of direct and immediate perception and thereby transcend the limitations of direct perception. A theory of first-person expressions and covert behavior to account for self-conscious awareness as language-based is advanced. (...) Subjectivity and objectivity are metaphors based on schemas of perception. (shrink)
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', (...) 'objectivity in political economy', 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
The idea that scientific objectivity requires a method of concept formation according to which concepts are freely created by the mind was famously propagated by Hermann Weyl. I argue that this idea, which he saw as essentially characterizing what physicists do when they do physics, led him to abandon the phenomenological view on objectivity, more particularly the strong connection between objectivity and evidence (understood in a Husserlian sense as a satisfaction of meaning intentions). The free creation of (...) concepts, that is ultimately their introduction via Hilbert-style axiomatizations, is at the heart of Weyl's account of scientific objectivity, for it allows the introduction of hypothetical elements, without which, on his view, objectivity collapses (at best) into mere intersubjectivity. (shrink)
This book is a study of the second-edition version of the 'Transcendental Deduction' (the so-called 'B-Deduction'), which is one of the most important and obscure sections of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. By way of a close analysis of the B-Deduction, Adam Dickerson makes the distinctive claim that the Deduction is crucially concerned with the problem of making intelligible the unity possessed by complex representations - a problem that is the representationalist parallel of the semantic problem of the unity of (...) the proposition. Along the way he discusses most of the key themes in Kant's theory of knowledge, including the nature of thought and representation, the notion of objectivity, and the way in which the mind structures our experience of the world. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Aren't all judgements biased in one way or another? -- 3. Don't all judgements involve some assumptions? -- 4. Doesn't science show there is no objectivity? -- 5. Is it possible to represent things objectively? -- 6. Is objectivity a form of honesty? -- 7. Objectivity in numbers? -- 8. Can the study of human behaviour be objective? -- 9. Can there be objectivity in ethics? -- 10. (...) Can there be objectivity in taste? -- References -- Further reading. (shrink)
Perceptual experience has the phenomenal character of encountering a mind-independent objective world. What we encounter in perceptual experience is not presented to us as a state of our own mind. Rather, we seem to encounter facts, objects, and properties that are independent from our mind. In short, perceptual experience has phenomenal objectivity. This paper proposes and defends a Kantian account of phenomenal objectivity that grounds it in experiences of lawlike regularities. The paper offers a novel account of the (...) connection between phenomenology and intentionality. It also sheds some light on one of the central themes in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. (shrink)
Abstract: This article considers the conceptual connections between self-consciousness, objectivity, and time. The model of conceptual analysis employed examines the necessary conditions of the meaningfulness of expressions in language. In the course of this analysis two distinct options for the explanation of self-consciousness are identified and examined. According to the first (Strawsonian) view, self-consciousness is based upon the distinction between the self and other subjects of consciousness; according to the second (Kantian) view, self-consciousness is based upon the distinction between (...) the self and the world. The first option is rejected, and a variation of the second option is adopted. According to it, in self-consciousness one is conscious of oneself as a temporally extended point of view (consciousness) over an objective and temporal realm of reality. (shrink)
Legal positivism’s multi-faceted insistence on the separability of law and morality includes an insistence on the thoroughly conventional status of legal norms as legal norms. Yet the positivist affirmation of the conventionality of law may initially seem at odds with the mind-independence of the existence and contents and implications of legal norms. Mind-independence, a central aspect of legal objectivity, has been seen by some theorists as incompatible with the mind-dependence of conventions. Such a perception of incompatibility has led some (...) anti-positivist theorists to reject the notion of law’s conventionality, and has led some positivist theorists to query law’s mind-independence. What will be contended here is that both camps are mistaken. (shrink)
There is a “revolving door” between federal agencies and the industries regulated by them. Often, at the end of their industry tenure, key industry personnel seek employment in government regulatory entities and vice versa. The flow of workers between the two sectors could bring about good. Industry veterans might have specialized knowledge that could be useful to regulatory bodies and former government employees could help businesses become and remain compliant with regulations. But the “revolving door” also poses at least three (...) ethical and policy challenges that have to do with public trust and fair representation. First, the presence of former key industry personnel on review boards could adversely impact the public’s confidence in regulatory decisions about new technology products, including agrifood biotechnologies. Second, the ‘‘revolving door’’ may result in policy decisions about technologies that are biased in favor of industry interests. And third, the ‘‘revolving door’’ virtually guarantees industry a voice in the policy-making process, even though other stakeholders have no assurance that their concerns will be addressed by regulatory agencies. We believe these three problems indicate a failure of regulatory review for new technologies. The review process lacks credibility because, at the very least, it is procedurally biased in favor of industry interests. We argue that prohibiting the flow of personnel between regulatory agencies and industry would not be a satisfactory solution to the three problems of public trust and just representation. To address them, regulatory entities must reject the traditional notion of objectivity. Instead they should adopt the conception of objectivity developed by Sandra Harding and re-configure their regulatory review on the basis of it. That will ensure that a heterogeneous group of stakeholders is at the decision-making table. The fair representation of interests of different constituencies in the review process could do much to inspire warranted public confidence in regulatory protocols and decisions. (shrink)
The first two parts of Objectivity and Insight explore the prospects for objectivity on the standard ontological conception, and find that they are not good. In Part I, under the heading of subject-driven scepticism, Sacks addresses the problem of securing epistemic reach that extends beyond subjective content. In so doing, he considers models of mind proposed by Locke, Hume, Kant, James, and Bergson. Part II, under the heading of world-driven scepticism, discusses the scope for universality of normative structure-a (...) problem which survives even after the assumption of an epistemologically significant breach between subject and object has been rejected. In the third part of the book Sacks introduces an alternative conception of objectivity, and shows that there is good reason to accept it. This conception turns on an insight which is taken to be implicit in transcendental idealism, and responsible for its abiding appeal; but Sacks's articulation of that insight is neither idealist nor metaphysical. (shrink)
In a recent broadcast talk it was said that philosophers commonly base arguments and theories on garbled versions of science. Professor Passmore's article in the April number of Philosophy seems to go some way to justifying this complaint. The article discusses the objectivity of history by a series of comparisons with science under various heads representing criteria of objectivity.
In this volume Rorty offers a Deweyan account of objectivity as intersubjectivity, one that drops claims about universal validity and instead focuses on utility for the purposes of a community. The sense in which the natural sciences are exemplary for inquiry is explicated in terms of the moral virtues of scientific communities rather than in terms of a special scientific method. The volume concludes with reflections on the relation of social democratic politics to philosophy.
The first of a planned series of 5 volumes on Middle Way Philosophy. Middle Way Philosophy was originally inspired by the Middle Way of the Buddha but is developed in an entirely Western context. It addresses the questions of objectivity, justification, facts and values, and the relationship of philosophy and psychology. It develops the concept of experiential adequacy to provide a non-metaphysical resolution of the dichotomy between absolutism and relativism in both facts and values.
This paper argues that Donald Davidson''s account ofassertions of evaluative judgments contains ahere-to-fore unappreciated strategy forreconciling the meta-ethical ``inconsistenttriad.'''' The inconsistency is thought to resultbecause within the framework of thebelief-desire theory assertions of moraljudgments must have conceptual connections withboth desires and beliefs. The connection withdesires is necessary to account for theinternal connection between such judgments andmotivation to act, while the connection withbeliefs is necessary to account for theapparent objectivity of such judgments.Arguments abound that no class of utterancescan coherently be (...) understood as having suchconceptual connections to attitudes of bothsorts, hence that an inconsistency results. Buton Davidson''s account assertions of evaluativejudgments have just such connections to boththe relevant desire and a belief concerning anevaluative matter of fact. I argue that thisaccount has the resources to respond tostandard objections, and at least meritsconsideration as one among other plausiblealternatives. (shrink)
I criticize Sacks' ambitious work on objectivity and its history in modern philosophy in three main regards: First, Sacks tends to oversimplify the different views of Descartes, Locke, and Hume, which are not all haunted in the same sense by a "subject-driven skepticism". Second, Kant's conception of objectivity isn't directed (primarily) at refuting external world skepticism. Third, Sacks assumes that it is clear what transcendental idealism is: a doctrine that asserts an ontological distinction between "appearances" and "things in (...) themselves". This ignores the deep interpretive and systematical discussions about this doctrine. In sum, the book lacks a proper historical diagnosis of where current notions of objectivity come from, or how our agenda has changed from those of early modern philosophers. (shrink)
How should we understand the familiar demand that journalists ‘be objective’? One possibility is that journalists are under an obligation to report only the facts of the matter. However, facts need to be interpreted, selected, and communicated. How can this be done objectively? This paper aims to explain the concept of journalistic objectivity in methodological terms. Specifically, I will argue that the ideal of journalistic objectivity should be recast as a commitment to John Rawls’s conception of public reason. (...) Journalism plays a vital role in the operation of all modern liberal democracies, functioning as the public watchdog, the fourth estate, or the conduit through which vital information flows to the citizenry. Journalism is, therefore, an institution that is best understood as part of the basic structure of society. In Political Liberalism, Rawls explicitly excludes media of any kind from the demands of public reason because he doesn’t think that they play a political role that is important enough to bring them under the official auspices of public reason. I will argue that overlooking the political significance of journalism is a mistake, but one that can be corrected while keeping within the spirit and most important elements of his theory. This revision will widen the scope for what counts as journalism beyond traditional outlets and forms of media but will impose the demands of public reason on anyone who intends to participate in the institution. (shrink)
Climate change assessments rely upon scenarios of socioeconomic developments to conceptualize alternative outcomes for global greenhouse gas emissions. These are used in conjunction with climate models to make projections of future climate. Specifically, the estimations of greenhouse gas emissions based on socioeconomic scenarios constrain climate models in their outcomes of temperatures, precipitation, etc. Traditionally, the fundamental logic of the socioeconomic scenarios—that is, the logic that makes them plausible—is developed and prioritized using methods that are very subjective. This introduces a fundamental (...) challenge for climate change assessment: The veracity of projections of future climate currently rests on subjective ground. We elaborate on these subjective aspects of scenarios in climate change research. We then consider an alternative method for developing scenarios, a systems dynamics approach called ‘Cross-Impact Balance’ (CIB) analysis. We discuss notions of ‘objective’ and ‘objectivity’ as criteria for distinguishing appropriate scenario methods for climate change research. We distinguish seven distinct meanings of ‘objective,’ and demonstrate that CIB analysis is more objective than traditional subjective approaches. However, we also consider criticisms concerning which of the seven meanings of ‘objective’ are appropriate for scenario work. Finally, we arrive at conclusions regarding which meanings of ‘objective’ and ‘objectivity’ are relevant for climate change research. Because scientific assessments uncover knowledge relevant to the responses of a real, independently existing climate system, this requires scenario methodologies employed in such studies to also uphold the seven meanings of ‘objective’ and ‘objectivity.’. (shrink)
This essay argues that to understand Dewey's vision of democracy as “epistemic” requires consideration of how experiential and communal aspects of inquiry together produce what is named here “pragmatic objectivity.” Such pragmatic objectivity provides an alternative to absolutism and self-interested relativism by appealing to certain norms of empirical experimentation. Pragmatic objectivity, it is then argued, can be justified by appeal to Dewey's conception of primary experience. This justification, however, is not without its own complications, which are highlighted (...) with objections regarding “radical pluralism” in political life, and some logical problems that arise due to the supposedly “ineffable” nature of primary experience. The essay concludes by admitting that while Dewey's theory of democracy based on experience cannot answer all of the objections argumentatively, it nevertheless provides potent suggestions for how consensus building can proceed without such philosophical arguments. (shrink)
An Objectivity Principle (O) and a Locality Principle (L) are considered with respect to two simple, but fundamental Gedanken experiments, namely a “Welcher-Weg” Gedanken experiment and an Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) Gedanken experiment. It is shown that, if both principles (O) and (L) are assumed to be valid, a contradiction, in the EPR case Bell’s inequality, can be derived implying that at least one of the two principles (O) and (L) has to be denied. It is shown that, if (O) is (...) denied, (L) is preserved in the EPR-Gedanken experiment. For a more adequate discussion, in particular of (L), the two experiments are described in Minkowskian space-time of special relativity. (shrink)
Scientific knowledge should not only be true, it should be as objective as possible. It should refer to a reality independent of any subject. What can we use as a criterion of objectivity? Intersubjectivity (i.e., intersubjective understandability and intersubjective testability) is necessary, but not sufficient. Other criteria are: independence of reference system, independence of method, non-conventionality. Is there some common trait? Yes, there is: invariance under some specified transformations. Thus, we say: A proposition is objective only if its truth (...) is invariant against a change in the conditions under which it was formulated. We give illustrations from geometry, perception, neurobiology, relativity theory, and quantum theory. Such an objectivist position has many advantages. (shrink)
Prologue: objectivity shock -- Epistemologies of the eye -- Blind sight -- Collective empiricism -- Objectivity is new -- Histories of the scientific self -- Epistemic virtues -- The argument -- Objectivity in shirtsleeves -- Truth-to-nature -- Before objectivity -- Taming nature's variability -- The idea in the observation -- Four-eyed sight -- Drawing from nature -- Truth-to-nature after objectivity -- Mechanical objectivity -- Seeing clear -- Photography as science and art -- Automatic images (...) and blind sight -- Drawing against photography -- Self-surveillance -- Ethics of objectivity -- The scientific self -- Why objectivity? -- The scientific subject -- Kant among the scientists -- Scientific personas -- Observation and attention -- Knower and knowledge -- Structural objectivity -- Objectivity without images -- The objective science of mind -- The real, the objective, and the communicable -- The color of subjectivity -- What even a god could not say -- Dreams of a neutral language -- The cosmic community -- Trained judgment -- The uneasiness of mechanical reproduction -- Accuracy should not be sacrificed to objectivity -- The art of judgment -- Practices and the scientific self -- Representation to presentation -- Seeing is being : truth, objectivity, and judgment -- Seeing is making : nanofacture -- Right depiction. (shrink)
This article defends a pragmatic conception of objectivity for the moral domain. I begin contextualizing pragmatic approaches to objectivity and discuss at some length one of the most interesting proposals in this area, Cheryl Misak’s conception of pragmatic objectivity. My general argument is that in order to defend a pragmatic approach to objectivity the pragmatic stance should be interpreted in more radical terms than most contemporary proposals do. I propose notably to disentangle the connection between (...) class='Hi'>objectivity and truth, claiming that moral inquiry is in most of the cases responsive to a discursive norm that is closer to warranted assertibility than to truth. Using an argument that relies partly on Huw Price's account of forms of normative assertion, I will show that a practice-based account of warranted assertibility does the epistemic work required to defend objectivity while not being exposed to the criticisms that are usually addressed against this notion. The first section sets the general argument within its pragmatic context. The second section outlines Misak's conception of pragmatic objectivity, and highlights the sense in which she makes moral objectivity depend upon truth. The third and the fourth sections provide two critical arguments against Misak's thesis. Finally, with the critical work done, in the last section I present my constructive account of pragmatic objectivity for the moral domain. (shrink)
We add to current discussions about the interface between ecology, values, and objectivity by reporting on a novel Delphi-based study of the scientific reasoning employed by a group of eight ecologists as they collectively considered current ecological thinking. We rely on contextual empiricism, with its features of multiple ways of relating theory to reality and science as a social activity, to provide a richer understanding of scientific objectivity. This understanding recognizes the place and contributions of values and, in (...) so doing, moves the discussion beyond whether or not science is value neutral. (shrink)
Thomas Nagel argues that the subjective character of mind inevitably eludes philosophical efforts to incorporate the mental into a single, complete, physically objective view of the world. Nagel sees contemporary philosophy as caught on the horns of a dilemma.
Perceptual experience, that paradigm of subjectivity, constitutes our most immediate and fundamental access to the objective world. At least, this would seem to be so if commonsense realism is correct — if perceptual experience is (in general) an immediate awareness of mind-independent objects, and a source of direct knowledge of what such objects are like. Commonsense realism raises many questions. First, can we be more precise about its commitments? Does it entail any particular conception of the nature of perceptual experience (...) and its relation to perceived objects, or any particular view of the way perception yields knowledge? Second, what explains the apparent intuitive appeal of commonsense realism? Should we think of it as a kind of folk theory held by most human adults or is there a sense in which we are pre-theoretically committed to it — in virtue of the experience we enjoy or in virtue of the concepts we use or in virtue of the explanations we give? Third, is commonsense realism defensible, in the face of formidable challenges from epistemology, metaphysics and cognitive science? The project of the present volume is to advance our understanding of these issues and thus to shed light on the commitments and credentials of commonsense realism. As you may have guessed from the title, the volume also aims to highlight the key role the concept of causation plays in these debates. Central issues to be addressed include the status and nature of causal requirements on perception, the causal role of perceptual experience, and the relation between objective perception and causal thinking — issues that, as many chapters in the volume bring out, are inseparable from concerns with the very nature of causation. (shrink)
In recent times the question of whether or not there is such a thing as nonconceptual content has been the object of much serious attention. For analytical philosophers, the locus classicus of the view that there is such a phenomena is to be found in Evans remarks about perceptual experience in Varieties of Reference. John McDowell has taken issue with Evans over his claim that "conceptual capacities are first brought into operation only when one makes a judgement of experience, and (...) at that point a different species of content comes into play" (McDowell 1994: 48). In contrast, he proposes that "A judgement of experience does not introduce a new kind of content, but simply endorses the conceptual content, or some of it, that is already possessed by the experience on which it is grounded" (McDowell 1994: 48-49). Ironically, in light of the ambitions of Mind and World, this sits very happily with the firmly embedded views of many traditional classical cognitivists. It has been a long-standing article of faith that, even in its most basic forms, perceptual content must be conceptual. But those who adopt this position have a heavy burden when it comes to explaining the origin and development of concepts (cf. Peacocke 1992a: 9). In line with the proposal that at least some primitive concepts must be innate, theorists like Fodor make appeal to the intrinsic character of such concepts to explain more complex conceptual contents and their essential characteristics (Fodor 1998: 130). Primitive concepts and their properties as simply assumed because of an explanatory need despite that fact that making this assumption has a paradoxical consequence --which, in this case, is revealed by Fodor's claim that all concepts must be acquired inductively (cf. Fodor 1998: 130-132). The good news is that if we opt for a nonconceptualist approach then we need not assume that any concepts are innate. There is a plausible programme afoot, initiated by Cussins, which hopes explain "the construction of cognitive properties out of non-cognitive properties" (Cussins 1990: 374). He encourages us to suppose "that the mind/world distinction is a phylogenetic or ontogenetic achievement" (Cussins 1990: 409). However, some advocates of nonconceptual content believe that providing this explanation will be a relatively straightforward, although clearly difficult, task given that a contentful base of nonconceptual informational states, of the kind Evans envisioned, is presupposed. My aim is to defend Evans but if if nonconceptual content is to play the important role assigned to it of helping to explain the development of concepts then we must explicate the nature of such content in such a way that does not presuppose that it is truth-conditional. We must also be able to say exactly what part nonconceptual responses play in judgement making and conceptual development. It is the burden of this paper to provide a sketch of how both these ends might be achieved and to offer some reasons for thinking the project is a viable one. I do this in two stages. The first is to advocate a modest biosemantic theory of nonconceptual content and the second is to show how this can shore up a Davidsonian understanding of the possession conditions for concepts. (shrink)
Since the beginning of philosophy, philosophers have sought objective knowledge: knowledge of things whose existence does not depend on one's conceiving of them. This book uses lessons from debates over objective knowledge to characterize the kinds of reasons pertinent to philosophical and other theoretical views. It argues that we cannot meet skeptics' typical demands for nonquestion-begging support for claims to objective truth, and that therefore we should not regard our supporting reasons as resistant to skeptical challenges. One key lesson is (...) that a constructive, explanatory approach to philosophy must change the subject from skeptic-resistant reasons to perspectival reasons arising from variable semantic commitments and instrumental, purpose-relative considerations. The book lays foundations for such a reorientation of philosophy, treating fundamental methodological issues in ontology, epistemology, the theory of meaning, the philosophy of mind, and the theory of practical rationality. It explains how certain perennial debates in philosophy rest not on genuine disagreement, but on conceptual diversity: talk about different matters. The book shows how acknowledgment of conceptual diversity can resolve a range of traditional disputes in philosophy. It also explains why philosophers need not anchor their discipline in the physicalism of the natural sciences. (shrink)
A general representation of the processesof conceptualization, founded upon adescriptional mould drawn from fundamentalquantum mechanics, is outlined. The approach iscalled the method of relativizedconceptualization. This stresses that therepresentation is not researched as a ``neutralstatement of facts'' but, from the start on, asa method subjected to definitedescriptional aims, namely an a prioriexclusion of the emergence of false problems orparadoxes and of any gliding into relativism.The method is characterized by an explicit andsystematic relativization of each descriptionalstep, to all the descriptional elementsinvolved in (...) this step, namely: the epistemicaction by which the object-entity is generated,the object-entity itself, and the epistemicaction by which the object-entity is qualified.Successive steps which complexify progressivelya given initial description, form an unlimitedchain of cells of conceptualization wherethe very first cell, necessarily, is rooted in as yet strictly unconceptualizedphysical factuality while the subsequent cellsconsist of increasingly abstract descriptionsthat are connected hierarchically. The chainsinteract at nodes where they branch, thusgenerating an indefinitely evolving,complexifying web of relativizedconceptualization, free of ambiguities, andwhere each element stays under control.The method contains the positedassertion of a realism of which a definite sortof minimality follows then inside themethod. This generates a clear distinctionbetween illusory qualifications of``how-a-physical-entity-is-in-itself'', and models of this physical entity. Thereby aworked out connection with philosophicalthinking is incorporated in the method. (shrink)
Since I do not disagree with the line of argument taken by Kramer and the distinctions he draws between the different ways rules can be ‘mind-independent’, my comments focus on some of the complexities involved in the application of his distinctions. I suggest that law, properly understood as a system of rules/conventions is both existentially and observationally weakly mind independent, but nonetheless objective.
Let me start with a confession: I suspect that as a psychological matter, I hold the metaethical view I in fact hold not because of highly abstract arguments in the philosophy of language, say, or in the philosophy of action, or because of some general ontological commitments. My underlying motivations for holding the metaethical view I in fact hold are—to the extent that they are transparent to me—much less abstract, and perhaps even much less philosophical. Like many other realists (I (...) suspect), I pretheoretically feel that nothing short of a fairly strong metaethical realism will vindicate our taking morality—or perhaps normativity more generally—seriously. Elsewhere I develop an argument for my favorite kind of realism—the one I call Robust Realism—that is an attempt to ﬂesh out the details of one member of this taking-morality-seriously family.¹ Here I want to develop an argument that is another member of this family. The intuitive idea my argument here will attempt to explicate is rather simple: Metaethical positions that are not objectivist in some important, intuitive sense have—in the context of interpersonal disagreement and conﬂict—implications that are objectionable on ﬁrst-order, moral grounds, and should therefore be rejected. The idea, then, is not to look into the.. (shrink)
What laws of logic say -- Frege's target -- The twilight of empiricism -- Psychologism -- Morally alien thought -- To represent as so -- The proposition's progress -- Truth and merit -- The shape of the conceptual -- Thought's social nature -- Faust's way.
“There's one thing certain,” said a historian of my acquaintance when he heard the title of this paper, “that's a problem which would never perturb a working-historian.” He was wrong: a working-historian first drew it to my attention; and in one form or another it raises its head whenever historians discuss the nature of their own inquiries. Yet in a way he was right. His mind had turned to the controversies of epistemologists, controversies about “the possibility of knowledge”; historians, he (...) rightly felt, do not trouble their-heads about such matters. (shrink)
Patients may show a more-or-less complete deviation of the head and eyes towards the right (ipsilesional) side [that is, to the same side of egocentric space as the brain lesion responsible for their disorder]. If addressed by the examiner from the left (contralesional) side [the opposite side to their lesion], patients with severe extrapersonal neglect may fail to respond or may look for the speaker in the right side of the room, turning head and eyes more and more to the (...) right. Frequently these patients will not pick up food from the left half of the plate. Given a crossword puzzle, they may complete only the squares to the right. If walking is not prevented by hemiparesis, neglect patients may lose their bearings, since they do not make use of left sided cues. (shrink)