In this paper, I offer a detailed critical reading of Robert Brandom’s project to give an expressive bootstrapping account of intentionality, cashed out as a normative-phenomenalist account of what I will call genuine normativity. I claim that there is a reading of Making It Explicit that evades the predominant charges of either reductionism or circularity. However, making sense of Brandom’s book in the way proposed here involves correcting Brandom’s own general account of what he is doing in it, and thus (...) presenting the argumentative structure of Making It Explicit in a new light. (shrink)
Phenomenalism is a philosophical theory of perception involving the idea that statements about material objects can be explained in terms of statements about actual and possible sense experiences. In this study James Giles explores the development of phenomenalism through the works of Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and others. He shows how problems occur for phenomenalists precisely at the point where they abandon their empiricism. Holding to empiricism, Giles then presents his own version of phenomenalism as a metaphysical thesis (...) in which the material objects are constructed out of sense experience. He then argues that the major critiques of phenomenalism, including Wittgenstein’s private language argument and Sellars’ famous attack on the ‘myth of the given’, all fail to dislodge the basic phenomenalist insights. (shrink)
During the second decade of the 20th century Hans Kleinpeter, an Austrian scholar devoted to the development of the modern science, published some brief papers on Nietzsche’s thought. Kleinpeter has been one of the main upholders of Mach’s epistemology and probably the first who connected his ideas with the philosophy of Nietzsche. In his book on Der Phänomenalismus (1913) he described a new world view that arose in the 19th century, a perspective that ‒ according to him ‒ completely contrasted (...) the mechanistic and metaphysical world view of the old school of scientific inquiry. The main outcome of the scientists whose name was related with this perspective (e.g. Clifford, Maxwell, Kirchoff and, obviously, Mach himself) has been the refusal of the absolute value of any “truth”. Kleinpeter’s statements on this topic are a good example of the rising of a Scientific Philosophy, whose development involved many scientists and thinkers that later set up the Verein Ernst Mach and the Wiener Kreis. On the other hand, his interest on Nietzsche is a relevant case of reception of the latter’s thought, that Kleinpeter puts into the context of the contemporary epistemology. In fact, he considers Nietzsche as one of the main upholders of the phenomenalistic world view, and states that he «took part at the same renewal of philosophical investigation that arose from the latest results of scientific inquiry» during the 19th century. A renewal whose main outcomes has been presented by John Stallo in his book on The Concepts and Theories of Modern Physics (1881), which Kleinpeter translated in German and published in 1901. According to Kleinpeter, in Nietzsche’s writings (mostly unpublished) one can find a theory of knowledge quite close to the one presented by both Mach and the new born Pragmatism, i.e. the complete refusal of an absolute truth and, therefore, the development of an antimetaphysical world view. In my paper I’ll discuss the main statements presented by Kleinpeter on this topic and show which of Nietzsche’s ideas has actually been in compliance with the main outcomes of late 19th century science. Thus, I’ll carry out a reconstruction of an unfamiliar side of the first period of reception of the philosophy of Nietzsche and its relevance to the development of a new (scientific) world view. (shrink)
O ponto de partida deste artigo é a observação intrigante de que Goodman defendeu um ponto de vista fenomenalista em suas obras epistemológicas, e fenomenalista em suas obras sobre estética. Na verdade, seria certamente mais preciso dizer que seu foco era antifisicalista em epistemologia e antifenomenalista na estética. De qualquer maneira, a maioria dos interpretadores teria, espontaneamente, esperado a escolha oposta, de fato mais consistente com as posições tomadas pelos representantes dessas áreas. Contudo, a estratégia de Goodman não é arbitrária, (...) tendo raízes profundas no contexto geral da filosofia no século XX e, em compensação, contribui para esclareces algumas de suas características e motivação. doi: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.5007 / 1808-1711.2011v15n3p439. (shrink)
How do we reconcile Husserl’s repeated criticism of Mach’s phenomenalism almost everywhere in his work with the leading role that Husserl seems to attribute to Mach in the genesis of his own phenomenology? To answer this question, we shall examine, first, the narrow relation that Husserl establishes between his phenomenological method and Mach’s descriptivism. Second, we shall examine two aspects of Husserl’s criticism of Mach: the first concerns phenomenalism and Mach’s doctrine of elements, while the second concerns the (...) principle of economy of thought, which Husserl closely associates with a form of psychologism in his Logical Investigations . Our working hypothesis is that the apparent contradictory comments of Husserl regarding Mach’s positivism can be partially explained by the double status he confers to his own phenomenology—as a philosophical program radically opposed to positivism, and as a method akin to Mach’s descriptivism. (shrink)
A phenomenalist philosophy which employs the Principle of Acquaintance (PA) plus the Principle that what exists are the referents of certain meaningful terms, defined by PA, cannot include either universals or particulars in its ontology, but is limited to instances of universals as constituting the range of ontological existents. Universals must be omitted since they are repeatable and, hence, never wholly presented or contained, whereas the objects of direct acquaintance are wholly and exhaustively presented. Furthermore, no entities beyond characters (qualities (...) and relations) are given in direct acquaintance; hence, particulars, too, must be omitted for the phenomenalist who relies on PA. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Robert Brandom argues for a "pragmatic phenomenalist account" of knowledge. On this account, we should understand our notion of justification in accordance will a Sellarsian social practice model, and there is nothing more to the phenomenon of knowledge than the proprieties of takings-as-knowing. I agree with these two claims. But Brandom's proposal is so sketchy that it is unclear how it can deal will a number of much-discussed problems in contemporary epistemology. The main purpose of this article is to (...) develop and defend a pragmatic phenomenalist account of knowledge by resolving those problems. I argue, in particular, that thisaccount can accommodate both the lesson of the Gettier problem and the lesson of reliabilism simultaneously.RÉSUMÉ: Robert Brandom soutient une «théorie pragmatique et phénomenaliste» de la connaissance. Selon cette théorie, nous devons comprendre notre notion de justification d'après un modèle sellarsien de la pratique sociale, et il n'y a rien d'autre dans phénomène de connaissance que la pertinence de «prendre-pour-connaître». Je suis tout à fait d'accord avec ces deux opinions. Mais la thèse de Brandom est si sommaire qu'il n'est pas évident de savoir comment elle peut trailer les nombreux problèmes discutés en épistémologie contemporaine. Le but principal de cet article est de développer et défendre une théorie pragmatique et phénomenaliste de la connaissance en résolvant ces problèmes. Je soutiens, en particulier, que cette théorie peut s'accorder en même temps à lerçon du problème de Gettier et au «fiabilisme». (shrink)
El debate entre representacionistas y fenomenistas acerca del realismo de los qualia parece no avanzar. Este artículo defiende una solución que no es ni representacionista ni fenomenista. En contra de los representacionistas mantenemos que no todo contenido perceptual es reducible a su contenido representacional. En contra de los fenomenistas sostenemos que todo contenido perceptual es contenido intencional. Negamos así la existencia de los qualia, de aquellos, al menos, caracterizados de manera más estándar. Finalmente, mostramos que nuestra propuesta --situada entre el (...) representacionismo y el fenomenismo-- no ha sido explorada, porque se ha asumido, erróneamente, que todo contenido no representacional debe ser contenido no intencional. \\\ The debate between representationalists and phenomenalists on the reality of qualia has stagnated. The present article argues for a solution that is neither representationalist nor phenomenalist. Unlike the representationalists, we hold that not all perceptual content is reducible to its representational content. Against the phenomenalists, we claim that all perceptual content is intentional content. We therefore discard the existence of qualia, at least in their standard guise. Finally, we show that our intermediate proposal has not been explored because until now all non-representational content has been erroneously understood to be non-intentional content. (shrink)
According to the received view, the philosophy of C.I. Lewis is a form of phenomenalism. The first part of this paper is an argument designed to show that Lewis does not support one of the necessary conditions for ontological phenomenalism; namely, the sense-datum theory. The secondpart is an argument designed to show that Lewis’ theory is incompatible with linguistic phenomenalism, a view according to which there is an equivalence of meaning between physical object statements and sense-data statements. (...) The argument is not merely that terminating judgments are not sense-data statements, but that they cannot be equivalent to objective statements. (shrink)
Since the demise of the Sense-Datum independent objects or events to be objects Theory and Phenomenalism in the last cenof perception; however, unlike Direct Retury, Direct Realism in the philosophy of alists, Indirect Realists take this percepperception has enjoyed a resurgence of tion to be indirect by involving a prior popularity.1 Curiously, however, although awareness of some tertium quid between there have been attempts in the literature the mind and external objects or events.3 to refute some of the arguments (...) against Idealists and Phenomenalists agree with Direct Realism, there has been, as of yet, the Indirect Realists. (shrink)
In the texts of the middle years (roughly, the 1680s and 90s), Leibniz appears to endorse two incompatible approaches to motion, one a realist approach, the other a phenomenalist approach. I argue that once we attend to certain nuances in his account we can see that in fact he has only one, coherent approach to motion during this period. I conclude by considering whether the view of motion I want to impute to Leibniz during his middle years ranks as a (...) kind of realism or rather as some kind of phenomenalism or idealism. (shrink)
Brandom (1994) claims to have succeeded in showing how certain kinds of social practices can institute objective deontic statuses and confer objective conceptual contents on certain performances. This paper proposes a reconstruction of how, on Brandom’s views, this is supposed to come about, and a critical examination of the explicit arguments offered in support for this claim.
Experiences and beliefs are different sorts of mental states, and are often taken to belong to very different domains. Experiences are paradigmatically phenomenal, characterized by what it is like to have them. Beliefs are paradigmatically intentional, characterized by their propositional content. But there are a number of crucial points where these domains intersect. One central locus of intersection arises from the existence of phenomenal beliefs: beliefs that are about experiences.
What is the nature of consciousness? How is consciousness related to brain processes? This volume collects thirteen new papers on these topics: twelve by leading and respected philosophers and one by a leading color-vision scientist. All focus on consciousness in the "phenomenal" sense: on what it's like to have an experience. Consciousness has long been regarded as the biggest stumbling block for physicalism, the view that the mind is physical. The controversy has gained focus over the last few decades, and (...) phenomenal knowledge and phenomenal concepts--knowledge of consciousness and the associated concepts--have come to play increasingly prominent roles in this debate. Consider Frank Jackson's famous case of Mary, the super-scientist who learns all the physical information while confined in a black-and-white room. According to Jackson, if physicalism is true, then Mary's physical knowledge should allow her to deduce what it's like to see in color. Yet it seems intuitively clear that she learns something when she leaves the room. But then how can consciousness be physical? Arguably, whether this sort of reasoning is sound depends on how phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge are construed. For example, some argue that the Mary case reveals something about phenomenal concepts but has no implications for the nature of consciousness itself. Are responses along these lines adequate? Or does the problem arise again at the level of phenomenal concepts? The papers in this volume engage with the latest developments in this debate. The authors' perspectives range widely. For example, Daniel Dennett argues that anti-physicalist arguments such as the knowledge argument are simply confused; David Papineau grants that such arguments at least reveal important features of phenomenal concepts; and David Chalmers defends the anti-physicalist arguments, arguing that the "phenomenal concept strategy" cannot succeed. (shrink)
This paper describes and defends in detail a novel account of belief, an account inspired by Ryle's dispositional characterization of belief, but emphasizing irreducibly phenomenal and cognitive dispositions as well as behavioral dispositions. Potential externalist and functionalist objections are considered, as well as concerns motivated by the inevitably ceteris paribus nature of the relevant dispositional attributions. It is argued that a dispositional account of belief is particularly well-suited to handle what might be called "in-between" cases of believing - cases in (...) which it is neither quite right to describe a person as having a particular belief nor quite right to describe her as lacking it. (shrink)
The thesis that there is a troublesome explanatory gap between the phenomenal aspects of experiences and the underlying physical and functional states is given a number of different interpretations. It is shown that, on each of these interpretations, the thesis is false. In supposing otherwise, philosophers have fallen prey to a cognitive illusion, induced largely by a failure to recognize the special character of phenomenal concepts.
I argue that, contrary to widespread philosophical opinion, phenomenal indiscriminability is transitive. For if it were not transitive, we would be precluded from accepting the truisms that if two things look the same then the way they look is the same and that if two things look the same then if one looks red, so does the other. Nevertheless, it has seemed obvious to many philosophers (e.g. Goodman, Armstrong and Dummett) that phenomenal indiscriminability is not transitive; and, moreover, that this (...) non-transitivity is straightforwardly revealed to us in experience. I show this thought to be wrong. All inferences from the character of our experience to the non-transitivity of indiscriminability involve either a misunderstanding of continuity, a mistaken interpretation of the idea that we have limited powers of discrimination, or tendentious claims about what our experience is really like; or such inferences are based on inadequately supported premisses, which though individually plausible are jointly implausible. (shrink)
Barry Dainton presents a fascinating new account of the self, the key to which is experiential or phenomenal continuity. Provided our mental life continues we can easily imagine ourselves surviving the most dramatic physical alterations, or even moving from one body to another. It was this fact that led John Locke to conclude that a credible account of our persistence conditions - an account which reflects how we actually conceive of ourselves - should be framed in terms of mental rather (...) than material continuity. But mental continuity comes in different forms. Most of Locke's contemporary followers agree that our continued existence is secured by psychological continuity, which they take to be made up of memories, beliefs, intentions, personality traits, and the like. Dainton argues that that a better and more believable account can be framed in terms of the sort of continuity we find in our streams of consciousness from moment to moment. Why? Simply because provided this continuity is not lost - provided our streams of consciousness flow on - we can easily imagine ourselves surviving the most dramatic psychological alterations. Phenomenal continuity seems to provide a more reliable guide to our persistence than any form of continuity. The Phenomenal Self is a full-scale defence and elaboration of this premise. The first task is arriving at an adequate understanding of phenomenal unity and continuity. This achieved, Dainton turns to the most pressing problem facing any experience-based approach: losses of consciousness. How can we survive them? He shows how the problem can be solved in a satisfactory manner by construing ourselves as systems of experiential capacities. He then moves on to explore a range of further issues. How simple can a self be? How are we related to our bodies? Is our persistence an all-or-nothing affair? Do our minds consist of parts which could enjoy an independent existence? Is it metaphysically intelligible to construe ourselves as systems of capacities? The book concludes with a novel treatment of fission and fusion. (shrink)
1) There is widespread agreement that consciousness must be a physical phenomenon, even if it is one that we do not yet understand and perhaps may never do so fully. There is also widespread agreement that the way to defend physicalism about consciousness against a variety of well known objections is by appeal to phenomenal concepts (Loar 1990, Lycan 1996, Papineau 1993, Sturgeon 1994, Tye 1995, 2000, Perry 2001) . There is, alas, no agreement on the nature of phenomenal concepts.
Contrary to certain rumours, the mind-body problem is alive and well. So argues Joseph Levine in Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness . The main argument is simple enough. Considerations of causal efficacy require us to accept that subjective experiential, or 'phenomenal', properties are realized in basic non-mental, probably physical properties. But no amount of knowledge of those physical properties will allow us conclusively to deduce facts about the existence and nature of phenomenal properties. This failure of deducibility constitutes an (...) explanatory problem - an explanatory gap - but does not imply the existence of immaterial mental properties. Levine introduced this notion of the explanatory gap almost two decades ago. Purple Haze allows Levine to situate the explanatory gap in a broader philosophical context. He engages with those who hold that the explanatory gap is best understood as implying anti-materialist metaphysical conclusions. But he also seeks to distance himself from contemporary naturalistic philosophical theorizing about consciousness by arguing that reductive and eliminative theories of consciousness all fail. Levine's work is best seen as an attempt to firmly establish a definite status for the mind-body problem, i.e. that the mind-body problem is a real, substantive epistemological problem but emphatically not a metaphysical one. Because Levine's work is tightly focused upon contemporary Anglophone analytic philosophy of mind, there is little discussion of the broader conceptual background to the mind-body problem. My aim here is to place Levine's work in a broader conceptual context. In particular, I focus on the relationship between consciousness and intentionality in the belief that doing so will allow us better to understand and evaluate Levine's arguments and their place in contemporary theorizing about mentality and consciousness. (shrink)
This article contributes to understanding the relation within Gibson's perception theory between two questions that Gibson raised in the introductory paragraph of his final book, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception: (a) how we see how to do things and (b) why things look to us as they do (Koffka's question). Although Gibson considered Koffka's question to be a crucial test for any psychological theory of visual perceiving, Gibson did not explicitly defend his ecological approach with reference to Koffka's question. (...) Gibson's entire final book is not, as some Gibsonians would suggest, Gibson's answer to Koffka's question. However, certain subsidiary parts of the book implicitly and almost explicitly suggest a place in Gibsonian perception theory for the phenomenal looks of things that we visually perceive. The present article considers some Gibsonian answers and reactions to Koffka's question, and argues that the phenomenal looks of things play a crucial role in Gibson's account of the visual control of locomotion. (shrink)
Most contemporary metaphysicians are sceptical about the reality of familiar objects such as dogs and trees, people and desks, cells and stars. They prefer an ontology of the spatially tiny or temporally tiny. Tiny microparticles 'dog-wise arranged' explain the appearance, they say, that there are dogs; microparticles obeying microphysics collectively cause anything that a baseball appears to cause; temporal stages collectively sustain the illusion of enduring objects that persist across changes. Crawford L. Elder argues that all such attempts to 'explain (...) away' familiar objects project downwards, onto the tiny entities, structures and features of familiar objects themselves. He contends that sceptical metaphysicians are thus employing shadows of familiar objects, while denying that the entities which cast those shadows really exist. He argues that the shadows are indeed really there, because their sources - familiar objects - are mind-independently real. (shrink)