For most of the contributions to this volume, the project is this: Fill out “Event X is a cause of event Y if and only if……” where the dots on the right are to be filled in by a claims formulated in terms using any of (1) descriptions of possible worlds and their relations; (2) a special predicate, “is a law;” (3) “chances;” and (4) anything else one thinks one needs. The form of analysis is roughly the same as that (...) sought in the Meno, and the methodology is likewise Socratic—proposals, examples, counterexamples, more proposals. The norms of the enterprise seem to be as follows (i) a proposal is defeated if someone can imagine a circumstance in which it would be false, or perhaps if one can imagine such a circumstance that is not obviously inconsistent with physical laws; (ii) approximately correct solutions, those which cover most but not all cases, are of no value unless they can be modified to cover all cases; (iii) no account is required of how the relations in the right hand side of a proposed analysis could be known or reliably.. (shrink)
In his response, Michael Tye writes as if I reject Representationalism about pain. But in my original paper (Noordhof 2001) I hoped to make clear that I did not. For instance, I remarked that I had sympathy with the position (95) and, on the subsequent page, outlined what I thought the Represen- tationalist should say. My proposal was that when we experience a pain in the finger, the experience is veridical only if the cause of this experience is a disordered (...) state of the finger. My appeal to the notion of a state was not made with any ambitions for ontological reduction (e.g. denying that there are pains but only states of having pain). So I’m afraid that Tye’s objections deriving from attributing to me such a view and pointing out that Repre- sentationalism is needed to capture, amongst other things, the fact that we experience pains in phantom limbs are all beside the point. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that Steglich-Petersen’s response to Owens’ Exclusivity Objection does not work. Our first point is that the examples Steglich-Petersen uses to demonstrate his argument do not work because they employ an undefended conception of the truth aim not shared by his target (and officially eschewed by Steglich-Petersen himself). Secondly we will make the point that deliberating over whether to form a belief about p is not part of the belief forming process. When an agent enters into (...) this process of deliberation, he has not, contra Steglich-Petersen, already adopted the truth aim with regard to p. In closing, we further suggest that proponents of the truth aim hypothesis need to focus on aim-guidance, not mere aim attribution, for their approach to have explanatory utility so underlining the significance of Owens’ argument. (shrink)
I argue that our experience of expressive properties (such as the joyfulness or sadness of a piece of music) essentially involves the sensuous imagination (through simulation) of an emotion-guided process which would result in the production of the properties which constitute the realisation of the expressive properties experienced. I compare this proposal with arousal theories, Wollheim’s Freudian account, and other more closely related theories appealing to imagination such as Kendall Walton’s. I explain why the proposal is most naturally developed in (...) terms of simulation and briefly comment upon the impact of work on cross-cultural perception of facial expression, modularity and autism for the proposal. (shrink)
Michael Tye and I are both Representationalists. Nevertheless, we have managed to disagree about the semantic character of ‘in’ in ‘There is a pain in my fingertip’ (see Noordhof (2001); Tye (2002); Noordhof (2002)). The first section of my commentary will focus on this disagreement. I will then turn to the location of pain. Here, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there seems to be much more agreement between Tye and me. I restrict myself to three points. First, I argue that Tye has (...) not succeeded in providing a decisive consideration against a related theory which takes pains as representationally unmediated objects of pain experiences. Second, I defend Tye against an objection from Murat Aydede. Third, following on from this, I question whether Tye’s characterisation of the content of pain experience is correct. The fact that there is so much to discuss is a testament to richness, interest and exemplary clarity of Tye’s work. (shrink)
In assessing counterfactuals, should we consider circumstances which match the actual circumstances in all probablistically independent fact or all causally independent fact? Jonathan Schaffer argues the latter and claims that the former approach, advanced by me, cannot deal with the case of Morgenbesser’s coin. More generally, he argues that, where there is a difference between the two, his account yields our intuitive verdicts about the truth of counterfactuals where mine does not (Schaffer 2004: 307, n. 16). In this brief note, (...) I explain how my approach deals with the case of Morgenbesser’s coin and argue that the situation is, in fact, the reverse. To keep things brief, I rely upon Schaffer’s paper for general explanation of the context of our debate. (shrink)
Cause and Chance is a collection of specially written papers by world-class metaphysicians. Its focus is the problems facing the "reductionist" approach to causation: the attempt to cover all types of causation, deterministic and indeterministic, with one basic theory.
Externalists about mental content are supposed to face the following dilemma. Either they must give up the claim that we have privileged access to our own mental states or they must allow that we have privileged access to the world. The dilemma is posed in its most precise form through the McKinsey-Brown argument (McKinsey 1991; Brown 1995). Over the years since it was ?rst published in 1991, our understanding of the precise character of the premisses which constitute the argument has (...) been re?ned. It is based on three claims (where A partially serves to characterise the content of some belief state for which Externalism is true and E is some proposition about the external world). (shrink)
I argue that the extant theories of self-deception face a counterexample which shows the essential role of instability in the face of attentive consciousness in characterising self-deception. I argue further that this poses a challenge to the interpretist approach to the mental. I consider two revisions of the interpretist approach which might be thought to deal with this challenge and outline why they are unsuccessful. The discussion reveals a more general difficulty for Interpretism. Principles of reasoning—in particular, the requirement of (...) total evidence—are given a weight in attentive consciousness which does not correspond to our reflective judgement of their weight. Successful interpretation does not involve ascribing beliefs and desires by reference to what a subject ought to believe and desire, contrary to what Interpretists suggest. (shrink)
One diagnosis of what is wrong with the Knowledge Argument rests on the Ability Hypothesis. This couples an ability analysis of knowing what an experience is like together with a denial that phenomenal propositions exist. I argue against both components. I consider three arguments against the existence of phenomenal propositions and find them wanting. Nevertheless I deny that knowing phenomenal propositions is part of knowing what an experience is like. I provide a hybrid account of knowing what an experience is (...) like which is the coherent expression of a single idea: knowing what an experience is like is knowing what it would be like to have the phenomenal content of the experience as the content of an experience one is currently having. I explain how my conclusions indicate that the focus of discussion should be on the alleged explanatory gap between phenomenal facts and physical facts and not on the Knowledge Argument. The latter is a poor expression of the difficulty Physicalists face. (shrink)
A number of philosophers have argued in favour of the Dependency Thesis: if a subject sensorily imagines an F then he or she sensorily imagines from the inside perceptually experiencing an F in the imaginary world. They claim that it explains certain important features of imaginative experience, in brief: the fact that it is perspectival, the fact that it does not involve presentation of sensory qualities and the fact that mental images can serve a number of different imaginings. I argue (...) that the Dependency Thesis is false and that, in any event, it does not have the explanatory credentials claimed for it. Some of the features of imaginative experience are incorrectly specified, namely the absence of presentation of sensory qualities. With a more precise idea of what we need to explain, I argue that the explanation should proceed by noting that imagination and perception have phenomenally similar contents and that this is to be explained in terms of the similar kinds of representations in play. I trace the consequences of my discussion for disjunctivist theories of perception, Berkeleian Idealism and the characterisation of knowing what an experience is like. (shrink)
made with any ambitions for ontological reduction (e.g. denying that there are pains but only states of having pain). So I'm afraid that Tye's objections deriving from attributing to me such a view and pointing out that Representationalism is needed to capture, amongst other things, the fact that we experience pains in phantom limbs are all beside the point. Instead, the question is entirely a matter of whether the inferences mentioned in my original paper and Tye's reply fail because, although (...) the 'in'. (shrink)
Abstract In Causing Actions, Pietroski defends a distinctive view of the relationship between mind and body which he calls Personal Dualism. Central to his defence is the Argument from Differential Vagueness. It moves from the claim that mental events have different vagueness of spatiotemporal boundaries from neural events to the claim that mental events are not identical to neural events. In response, I argue that this presupposes an ontological account of vagueness that there is no reason to believe in this (...) context. I further argue that Pietroski's reasons for rejecting the possibility that mental events are vaguely constituted from neural events are inadequate. I go on to show how Pietroski's Personal Dualism is ill-equipped to deal with the problem of mental causation because of its apparently necessary appeal to ceteris paribus laws. (shrink)
In order to keep matters brief, I shall assume knowledge of my Mind paper and Sungho Choi’s paper printed before this brief response (Noordhof 1999; Choi 2002). Sungho Choi claims that the example I gave to motivate my formulation of the ‘actual events’ clause fails to motivate it and that the formulation, in fact, contains a redundant element, namely my appeal to supersets. I think he is right that my example doesn’t work. However, I think he is wrong that the (...) actual events clause contains a redundant element. The second case he discusses provides the motivation we need. (shrink)
The Uncontrollability Thesis is that it is metaphysically impossible consciously to believe that p at will. I review the standard ways in which this might be explained. They focus on the aim or purpose of belief being truth. I argue that these don't work. They either explain the aim in a way which makes it implausible that the Uncontrollability Thesis is true, or they fail to justify their claim that beliefs should be understood as aimed at the truth. I further (...) argue that the explanations don't cut deep enough. Making the aim of truth internal to a state does not explain why we can't produce at will states without this feature but sharing these states' motivational role. I put forward a different explanation. I argue that consciousness makes manifest the attraction of the norm of truth. If we are consciously attending to the question of whether p, we cannot help but make a judgement in line with what the evidence gives us grounds for believing true. (shrink)
there is a substantial range of C1, C2, … of different not-too- distant alterations of C and a range E1, E2, of alterations of E, at least some of which differ, such that if C1 had occurred, E1 would have occurred, if C2 had occurred, E2 would have occurred and so on (Lewis 2000).
Murali Ramachandran has kindly provided me with four (alleged) counterexamples to the theory of causation which I recently put forward in Mind (Ramachandran 2000; Noordhof 1999). Space is limited for a response. Since this note will be published Ramachandran's paper, I will not set out the cases he gives. I refer the reader to the appropriate descriptions. I will also presume knowledge of the framework of my paper and just give page references in case this is helpful. I will try (...) to couch the discussion with as little reference to the technical apparatus of my paper as possible. Maybe the ideas will stand out more clearly that way. (shrink)
Moral requirements apply to rational agents as such. But it is a conceptual truth that if agents are morally required to act in a certain way then we expect them to act in that way. Being rational, as such, must therefore sufﬁce to ground our expectation that rational agents will do what they are morally required to do. But how could this be so? It could only be so if we think of the moral requirements that apply to agents as (...) themselves categorical requirements of rationality or reason. For the only thing we can legitimately expect of rational agents as such is that they do what they are rationally required to do (Smith 1994: 85). (shrink)
Counter factual theories of Causation have had problems with cases of probabilistic causation and preemption. I put forward a counterfactual theory that seems to deal with these problematic cases and also has the virtue of providing an account of the alleged asymmetry between hasteners and delayers: the former usually being counted as causes, the latter not. I go on to consider a new type of problem case that has not received so much attention in the literature, those I dub catalysts (...) and anti-catalysts, and show how my account needs to be adjusted to deliver the right verdicts in these cases. The net result is a particular conception of a cause that I try to spell out in the closing section of the paper. In that section, I also briefly discuss causal asymmetry and the purpose behind providing a counterfactual theory of causation. (shrink)
Scott Sturgeon has claimed to undermine the principal argument for Physicalism, in his words, the view that 'actuality is exhausted by physical reality' (Sturgeon 1998, p. 410). In noting that actuality is exhausted by physical reality, the Physicalist is not claiming that all that there is in actuality are those things identified by physics. Rather the thought is that actuality is made up of all the things identified by physics and anything which is a compound of these things. So there (...) are tables as well as their microphysical constituents. The argument that Sturgeon has in his sights is the Overdetermination Argument. In what follows, I shall argue that Sturgeon's criticism of the Overdetermination argument fails. I shall also argue that physicalism can accommodate his claim that causal statements concerning the mental and physical respectively may require diverse patterns of counterfactual activity for their truth. (shrink)
The paper defends Functionalism against the charge that it would make mental properties inefficacious. It outlines two ways of formulating the doctrine that mental properties are Functional properties and shows that both allow mental properties to be efficacious. The first (Lewis) approach takes functional properties to be the occupants of causal roles. Block  has argued that mental properties should not be characterized in this way because it would make them properties of the ?implementing science?, e. g. neuroscience. I show (...) why this is not a problem. The second way of formulating the doctrine takes functional properties to be causal role properties. I claim that mental properties so understood would only be inefficacious if a law-centred rather than a property-centred approach is adopted to the introduction of efficacy into the world. I develop a property-centred account that explains how mental properties can be efficacacious without introducing systematic overdetermination. At the close, I provide a better characterization of the difference between these two approaches and offer an explanation as to why my way of resolving the problems has been missed. (shrink)
David Lewis modified his original theory of causation in response to the problem of ‘late preemption’ (see 1973b; 1986b: 193-212). However, as we will see, there is a crucial difference between genuine and preempted causes that Lewis must appeal to if his solution is to work. We argue that once this difference is recognized, an altogether better solution to the preemption problem presents itself.