The chora has proven to be an obscure concept in contemporary philosophy. Cornelius Castoriadis seemed to retreat from the edge of its significance within his work, a significance that is capable of opening up another turn in the labyrinth of his thought. A clear interrogation into the presence of the chora in his thought has, still, yet to be elucidated. This paper proceeds with a notion of the chora defined for the purpose of highlighting its relevance for Castoriadis’ (...)thought, taking up his schema trans-regional ontology and imaginary creation, which lean on the anticipation of a self-altering otherness. Locating the chora in Castoriadis’ trans-regional architectonics of being. (shrink)
The book focuses on the thought that is available in only fragmented form about the various Telugu philosophers and creative writers. The Concrete form you find here helps a better understanding of the foundation,formation and function of philosophical thought during the last hundred years.
Thought experiments have a mysterious way of informing us about the world, apparently without examining it, yet with a great degree of certainty. It is tempting to try to explain this capacity by making use of the idea that in thought experiments, the mind somehow simulates the processes about which it reaches conclusions. Here, I test this idea. I argue that when they predict the outcomes of hypothetical physical situations, thought experiments cannot simulate physical processes. They use (...) mental models, which should not be confused with process-driven simulations. A convincing case can be made that thought experiments about hypothetical mental processes are mental simulations. Concerning moral thought experiments, I argue that construing them as simulations of mental processes favours certain moral theories over others. The scope of mental simulation in thought experiments is primarily limited by the constraint of relevant similarity on source and target processes: on one hand, this constraint disqualifies thought from simulating external natural processes; on the other hand, it is a source of epistemic bias in moral thought experiments. In view of these results, I conclude that thought experiments and mental simulations cannot be assimilated as means of acquiring knowledge. (shrink)
Book description: Much contemporary philosophical debate centres on the topics of logic, thought and language, and on the connections between these topics. This collection of articles is based on the Royal Institute of Philosophy’s annual lecture series for 2000–2001. Its contributors include a number of those working at the forefront of the field, and in their papers they reflect their own current pre-occupations. As such, the volume will be of interest to all philosophers, whether their own work is within (...) the areas of language and thought or not. (shrink)
An explorative contribution to the ongoing discussion of thought experiments. While endorsing the majority view that skepticism about thought experiments is not well justified, in what follows we attempt to show that there is a kind of “bodiliness” missing from current accounts of thought experiments. That is, we suggest a phenomenological addition to the literature. First, we contextualize our claim that the importance of the body in thought experiments has been widely underestimated. Then we discuss David (...) Gooding's work, which contains the only explicit recognition of the importance of the body to understanding thought experiments. Finally, we introduce a phenomenological perspective of the body, which will give us the opportunity to sketch the power and promise of a phenomenological approach to thought experiments. (shrink)
This paper challenges the presumed triumph of laboratory life in the history of twentieth-century biomedical research through an exploration of the relationships between laboratory, clinic, and field in the regional understanding and treatment of allergy in America. In the early establishment of allergy clinics, many physicians opted to work closely with botanists knowledgeable about the local flora in the region to develop pollen extracts in desensitization treatments, rather than rely upon pharmaceutical companies that had adopted a principle of standardized (...) vaccines beholden to bacteriology that gave no thought to the particularities of place where their products were to be sold. Natural historical sciences like plant ecology and systematics furnished important knowledge, resources, and practices in establishing a medical marketplace for allergy in America. And botanists similarly profited from biomedicine and allergic bodies in extending their network of knowledge about the plant world. (shrink)
The region of the Middle East is highly conflict-loaded. The absence of one distinct regional power may be considered both cause and consequence of this structural feature. At the same time, there are significant power gaps between states in the Middle East, with Israel among the most powerful actors and accordingly defined as a potential regional power. Due to the specific empirical setting of the Middle East region, an analytical design emphasizing relational and procedural dynamics is required. In (...) attempting to develop such a design, this paper utilizes three well-established schools of thought of international relations: (neo)realism, institutionalism, and constructivism. These three schools of thought are further used for developing hypotheses on both Israeli regional policy and its effects on the Middle East. After illustrating these hypotheses in relation to four periods in the contemporary history of Israel, theoretical lessons to be learned for the analysis of regional powers in other world areas are presented. (shrink)
There are at least two passages in the jamesian corpus where he seems to establish a topology of "regional ontologies", or to set up multiple "language games". the first of these is "the principles of psychology" when he talks about "the many worlds", or "...sub-universes commonly discriminated from each other...", the second is in "pragmatism", where he notes that there "are...at least three well-characterized levels, stages, or types of thought about the world we live in..." two questions immediately (...) come to mind about these levels. first, is each of these areas of equal importance, epistemologically and ontologically speaking? second, how, if at all, are these regional areas related to each other? each of these questions has a seemingly obvious answer. to wit, the world of perception is more important than any of the other areas; and second, the regional areas are related in terms of the disjunctive and conjunctive transitions which james so strenuously upholds, resulting in an overall "concatenated" picture. i argue that both of these responses are insufficient, and that the issue is more complicated than it first appears. (edited). (shrink)
Perception enables us to think demonstrative thoughts about the world around us, but what must perception be like in order to play this role? Does perception enable demonstrative thought only if it is conscious? This paper examines three accounts of the role of consciousness in demonstrative thought, which agree that consciousness is essential for demonstrative thought, but disagree about why it is. First, I consider and reject the accounts proposed by Gareth Evans in The Varieties of Reference (...) and by John Campbell in Reference and Consciousness before offering an alternative proposal of my own. My proposal is that consciousness plays an essential epistemic role in explaining the capacity for demonstrative thought about an object by enabling the subject to form immediately justified beliefs about the object. (shrink)
I begin with an explication of "thought experiment". I then clarify the role that intuitions play in thought experiments by addressing two important issues: (1) the informativeness of thought experiments and (2) the legitimacy of the method of thought experiments in philosophy and the natural sciences. I defend a naturalistic account of intuitions that provides a plausible explanation of the informativeness of thought experiments, which, in turn, allows thought experiments to be reconstructed as arguments. (...) I also specify criteria for distinguishing bad "intuition pumps" from legitimate thought experiments. These criteria help us to avoid being seduced by the dangerous suggestive power of misleading intuitions. (shrink)
Language of thought theories fall primarily into two views. The first view sees the language of thought as an innate language known as mentalese, which is hypothesized to operate at a level below conscious awareness while at the same time operating at a higher level than the neural events in the brain. The second view supposes that the language of thought is not innate. Rather, the language of thought is natural language. So, as an English speaker, (...) my language of thought would be English. My goal is to defend the second view. My methodology will see the project broken down into three major areas. First I will show that human thinking requires a language of thought, after which I will highlight some problems with assuming that this language is innate and hidden. Included in this section will be a small introduction to the compatibility problem. The compatibility problem offers some obvious difficulties for mentalese theories and these will be discussed. The next stage of the project will focus on evidence that can be put forward in support of the claim that natural language is the language of thought. Our most direct source of evidence comes from introspection, and this will play a dominant role in the discussion. The final part of the thesis will involve an examination of the principle arguments that have been put forward against the idea that natural language is the language of thought. My goal will be to show that these arguments do not entail the existence of mentalese, nor do they show that natural language is not the language of thought. I will provide answers to the arguments, and will explain the phenomena they point to in terms of natural language being the language of thought. (shrink)
Abstract: While thought experiments play an important role in contemporary analytic philosophy, much remains unclear about thought experiments. In particular, it is still unclear whether the judgments elicited by thought experiments can provide evidence for the premises of philosophical arguments. This article argues that, if an influential and promising view about the nature of the judgments elicited by thought experiments is correct, then many thought experiments in philosophy fail to provide any evidence for the premises (...) of philosophical arguments. (shrink)
A phenomenon “emerges” when a concept is instantiated for the first time: hence emergence is relative to a set of concepts. Propositional thought and language emerge together. It is proposed that the degree of complexity of an object language relative to a given metalanguage can be gauged by the number of ways it can be translated into that metalanguage: in analogy with other forms of measurement, the more ways the object language can be translated into the metalanguage, the less (...) powerful the conceptual resources of the object language. (shrink)
How do we acquire thoughts and beliefs about particulars by looking at pictures? One kind of reply essentially compares depiction to perception, holding that picture-perception is a form of remote object-perception. Lopes’s theory that pictures refer by demonstrative identification, and Walton’s transparency theory for photographs, constitute such remote acquaintance theories of depiction. The main purpose of this paper is to defend an alternative conception of pictures, on which they are not suitable for acquainting us with particulars but for acquainting us (...) with certain kinds of properties. This conception is outlined in §4, where it is argued that pictures are useful devices for what Heal has called indexical predication. In §2 and §3, I explain why I believe that remote acquaintance theories are false, and why picture-perception cannot function as a form of extended or remote object-perception. The main reason is that the contents of picture-perceptions do not themselves provide the kind of numerical and contextual information required for singular thought. Picture-reference is instead secured by independent beliefs or linguistic communication about the causal history of pictures as objects. In other words, it is beliefs about the numerical identity of pictures as objects that anchors the reference of the representational contents of pictures. (shrink)
Martha Nussbaum has argued in support of the view (supposedly that of Aristotle) that we can, through thought-experiments involving personal identity, find an objective foundation for moral thought without having to appeal to any authority independent of morality. I compare the thought-experiment from Plato’s Philebus that she presents as an example to other thought-experiments involving identity in the literature and argue that this reveals a tension between the sources of authority which Nussbaum invokes for her (...) class='Hi'>thought-experiment. I also argue that each of her sources of authority presents further difficulties for her project. Finally, I argue that it is not clear that her thought-experiment is one that actually involves identity in any crucial way. As a result, the case she offers does not offer any satisfactory support for her view on the relation between identity, morality and thought-experiments, but we do gain some insights into what that relation really is along the way. (shrink)
Philosophers are interested in the phenomenon of thought insertion because it challenges the common assumption that one can ascribe to oneself the thoughts that one can access first-personally. In the standard philosophical analysis of thought insertion, the subject owns the ‘inserted’ thought but lacks a sense of agency towards it. In this paper we want to provide an alternative analysis of the condition, according to which subjects typically lack both ownership and authorship of the ‘inserted’ thoughts. We (...) argue that by appealing to a failure of ownership and authorship we can describe more accurately the phenomenology of thought insertion, and distinguish it from that of non-delusional beliefs that have not been deliberated about, and of other delusions of passivity. We can also start developing a more psychologically realistic account of the relation between intentionality, rationality and self knowledge in normal and abnormal cognition. (shrink)
Philosophers have traditionally used thought-experiments in their endeavours to find a satisfactory account of the self and personal identity. Yet there are considerations from empirical psychology as well as related ones from philosophy itself that appear to completely undermine the method of thought-experiment. This paper focuses on both sets of considerations and attempts a defence of the method.
In this paper, I suggest an outline of a new interpretation of core issues in Spinoza’s metaphysics and philosophy of mind. I argue for three major theses. (1) In the first part of the paper I show that the celebrated Spinozistic doctrine commonly termed “the doctrine of parallelism” is in fact a confusion of two separate and independent doctrines of parallelism. Hence, I argue that our current understanding of Spinoza’s metaphysics and philosophy of mind is fundamentally flawed. (2) The clarification (...) and setting apart of the two doctrines will also put us in a position to present my second major thesis and address one of the more interesting and enduring problems in Spinoza’s metaphysics: how can the attribute of thought be, on the one hand, isomorphic with any other attribute, and yet, on the other hand, be isomorphic with God himself, who has infinitely many attributes? In the second part of the paper, I present Spinoza’s solution to this problem. I argue that the number and order of modes is the same in all attributes. Yet, modes of Thought, unlike modes of any other attribute, have an infinitely-faceted internal structure so that one and the same idea represents infinitely many modes by having infinitely many facets (or aspects). (3) This new understanding of the inner structure of ideas in Spinoza will lead us to my third thesis in which I explain and solve another old riddle in Spinoza’s metaphysics: his insistence on the impossibility of the human mind knowing any of God’s infinite attributes other than Thought and Extension. In the third part, I show some of the major ramifications of my new interpretation and respond to some important objections. In my conclusion I discuss the philosophical importance of my interpretation. I explain why Spinoza could not embrace reductive idealism in spite of the preeminence he grants to the attribute of Thought. I argue that Spinoza is a dualist -- not a mind-body dualist, as he is commonly conceived to be, but rather a dualist of Thought and Being. Finally, I suggest that Spinoza’s position on the mind-body issue breaks with the traditional categories and ways of addressing the subject by suggesting a view which grants clear primacy to Thought without accepting any idealist reduction of bodies to thought. (shrink)
The paper is a contribution to the debate on the epistemological status of thought experiments. I deal with the epistemological uniqueness of experiments in the sense of their irreducibility to other sources of justification. In particular, I criticize an influential argument for the irreducibility of thought experiments to general arguments. First, I introduce the radical empiricist theory of eliminativism, which considers thought experiments to be rhetorically modified arguments, uninteresting from the epistemological point of view. Second, I present (...) objections to the theory, focusing on the critique of eliminativism by Tamar Szabó Gendler based on the reconstruction of famous Galileo's Pisa experiment. I show that her reconstruction is simplistic and that more elaborate reconstruction is needed for an appropriate assessment of the epistemic power of general argument. I propose such a reconstruction and demonstrate that general version of Pisa experiment is epistemically equal to the particular one. Thus, from an epistemological perspective, Galileo's thought experiment is reducible to a straightforward argument without particular premises. (shrink)
This paper discusses Wittgenstein's ideas about the relation between thought, neurophysiology and language, and about the mental capacities of non-linguistic animals. It deals with his initial espousal and later rejection of a 'language of thought', his arguments against the idea that thought requires a medium of images or words, his reasons for resisting the encephalocentric conception of the mind which dominates contemporary philosophy of mind, his mature views about the connection between thought and language, and his (...) remarks about animals. The aim is not just to get a clear picture of Wittgenstein's position, but also to contrast it with contemporary approaches such as those of Fodor and Searle. While rejecting some of Wittgenstein's claims about the role of the brain, I defend his basic idea, namely that the capacity for entertaining a thought is conceptually tied to the capacity for displaying that thought in behaviour, rather than to the possession of language as such or to the occurrence of specific neurophysiological phenomena. (shrink)
Thought experiments have been used by philosophers for centuries, especially in the study of personal identity where they appear to have been used extensively and indiscriminately. Despite their prevalence, the use of thought experiments in this area of philosophy has been criticized in recent times. Bernard Williams criticizes the conclusions that are drawn from some experiments, and retells one of these experiments from a different perspective, a retelling which leads to a seemingly opposing result. Wilkes criticizes the method (...) of thought experimentation itself, suggesting that the results drawn from the experiments are tainted by a faulty method. This paper examines both these types of objection, and concludes that neither can be sustained. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue in favor of evidential constraints on singular thoughts and thoughts with singular purport. In typical cases of singular thought, I claim, a thinker stands in an evidential relation to the object of thought suitable for providing knowledge of the object’s existence. Furthermore, a thinker may generate representations that purport to refer to particular objects in response to appropriate, though defeasible, evidence of the existence of such an object. I motivate these constraints by considering (...) a number of examples introduced in a recent paper by Robin Jeshion in support of a view she calls ‘cognitivism’. Although I agree with Jeshion that acquaintance is not required for all cases of singular thought, I argue that her account doesn’t go far enough in rejecting semantic instrumentalism, the view that we can generate singular thoughts arbitrarily, by manipulating the mechanisms of direct reference. (shrink)
A series of representations must be semantics-driven if the members of that series are to combine into a single thought. Where semantics is not operative, there is at most a series of disjoint representations that add up to nothing true or false, and therefore do not constitute a thought at all. There is necessarily a gulf between simulating thought, on the one hand, and actually thinking, on the other. A related point is that a popular doctrine - (...) the so-called 'computational theory of mind' (CTM) - is based on a confusion. CTM is the view that thought-processes consist in 'computations', where a computation is defined as a 'form-driven' operation on symbols. The expression 'form-driven operation' is ambiguous, and may refer either to syntax-driven operations or to morphology-driven operations. Syntax-driven operations presuppose the existence of operations that are driven by semantic and extra-semantic knowledge. So CTM is false if the terms 'computation' and 'form-driven operation' are taken to refer to syntax-driven operations. Thus, if CTM is to work, those expressions must be taken to refer to morphology-driven operations; and CTM therefore fails, given that an operation must be semantics-driven if it is to qualify as a thought. CTM therefore fails on every disambiguation of the expressions 'formal operation' and 'computation,' and it is therefore false. (shrink)
In Memories and Portraits: Explorations in American Thought, H. G. Callaway embeds his distinctive contextualism and philosophical pluralism within strands of history and autobiography, spanning three continents. Starting in Philadelphia, and reflecting on the meaning of home in American thought, he offers a philosophically inspired narrative of travel and explorations, in Europe and Africa, illuminating central elements of American thought—partly out of diverse foreign and domestic reactions and fascinating cultural contrasts. -/- This book is of interest for (...) the contemporary interplay of analytic philosophy with American pragmatism and for those focused on the interaction of European and Anglo-American thought and society. In this book, the formalism of analytic philosophy encounters a logically articulate version of the contextualism implicit in the pragmatist tradition; and a deep and abiding interest in natural science is augmented by a more literary account of the social and cultural contexts of inquiry—encountered in many years of travel and life abroad. The final chapter, employing a methodological naturalism, brings the perspectives and lessons, from near and far, back home for renewed reflection. (shrink)
A characteristic of contemporary analytic philosophy is its ample use of thought experiments. We formulate two features that can lead one to suspect that a given thought experiment is a poor one. Although these features are especially in evidence within the philosophy of mind, they can, surprisingly enough, also be discerned in some celebrated scientific thought experiments. Yet in the latter case the consequences appear to be less disastrous. We conclude that the use of thought experiments (...) is more successful in science than in philosophy. (shrink)
In this exciting new collection, a distinguished international group of philosophers contribute new essays on central issues in philosophy of language and logic, in honor of Michael Dummett, one of the most influential philosophers of the late twentieth century. The essays are focused on areas particularly associated with Professor Dummett. Five are contributions to the philosophy of language, addressing in particular the nature of truth and meaning and the relation between language and thought. Two contributors discuss time, in particular (...) the reality of the past. The last four essays focus on Frege and the philosophy of mathematics. The volume represents some of the best work in contemporary analytical philosophy. (shrink)
AN OCCURRENT THOUGHT IS DISTINGUISHED FROM BELIEF, INTELLIGENT BEHAVIOR, AND THE ACTIVE PROCESS OF THINKING. THE OCCURRENCE OF THOUGHTS IS NOT TO BE ANALYZED IN TERMS OF THE OCCURRENCE OF IMAGES OF WORDS OF SENTENCES WHICH EXPRESS THEM AND OFTEN ACCOMPANY THEM. THOUGHTS HAVE INBUILT INTENTIONALITY.
Abstract: How it is that one's own thoughts can seem to be someone else's? After noting some common missteps of other approaches to this puzzle, I develop a novel cognitive solution, drawing on and critiquing theories that understand inserted thoughts and auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia as stemming from mismatches between predicted and actual sensory feedback. Considerable attention is paid to forging links between the first-person phenomenology of thought insertion and the posits (e.g. efference copy, corollary discharge) of current (...) cognitive theories. I show how deficits in the subconscious mechanisms regulating inner speech may lead to a 'fractured phenomenology' responsible for schizophrenic patients' reports of inserted thoughts and auditory verbal hallucinations. Supporting work on virtual environments is discussed, and lessons concerning the fixity of delusional belief are drawn. (shrink)
Thought experiments are profitably compared to compasses. A compass is a simple but useful device for determining direction. Nevertheless, it systematically errs in the presence of magnets ...it becomes unreliable near the North Pole, in mine shafts, when vibrated, in the presence of metal ...experts will wish to use the compass as one element in a wider portfolio of navigational techniques. Analogously, thought experiments are simple but useful devices for determining the status of propositions. Sadly, they systematically err (...) under certain conditions and so are best used with sensitivity to their foibles and limited scope (Sorensen, 1992, pp. 288–289). (shrink)
A commonplace in contemporary philosophy is that mental content has normative properties. A number of writers associate this view to the idea that the normativity of content is essentially connected to its social character. I agree with the first thesis, but disagree with the second. The paper examines three kinds of views according to which the norms of thought and content are social: Wittgensteinâs rule following considerations, Davidsonâs triangulation argument, and Brandomâs inferential pragmatics, and criticises each. It is argued (...) that there are objective conceptual norms constitutive of mental content, but that these are not essentially social. (shrink)
Creativity has received, and continues to receive, comparatively little analysis in philosophy and the brain and behavioural sciences. This is in spite of the importance of creative thought and action, and the many and varied resources of theories of mind. Here an alternative approach to analyzing creativity is suggested: start from the bottom up with minimally creative thought. Minimally creative thought depends non-accidentally upon agency, is novel relative to the acting agent, and could not have been tokened (...) before the time it is in fact tokened, relative to the agent in question. Thoughts that meet these three conditions—agency, psychological novelty, and modal—are what may be called cognitive breakthroughs. Even if such breakthroughs are not necessary to or definitive of richer creativity, they are indeed central to much of creativity. The minimal analysis provides a more workable explanandum for theories of creativity of varied motivation and method. (shrink)
This paper discusses an "expressive constraint" on accounts of thought and language which requires that when a speaker expresses a belief by sincerely uttering a sentence, the utterance and the belief have the same content. It will be argued that this constraint should be viewed as expressing a conceptual connection between thought and language rather than a mere empirical generalization about the two. However, the most obvious accounts of the relation between thought and language compatible with the (...) constraint (giving an independent account of one of either linguistic meaning or thought content and understanding the other in terms of it) both face serious difficulties. Because of this, the following will suggest an alternative picture of the relation between thought and language that remains compatible with the constraint. (shrink)
In their article “Out of nowhere: thought insertion, ownership and context-integration”, Jean-Remy Martin & Elisabeth Pacherie criticize the standard approach to thought insertion. However, their criticism is based on a misunderstanding of what the standard approach actually claims. By clarifying the notions ‘sense of ownership’ and ‘sense of agency’, I show that Martin & Pacherie’s own approach can be construed as a refined version of the standard approach.
At first glance there seem to be many similarities between Thomas S. Kuhn’s and Ludwik Fleck’s accounts of the development of scientific knowledge. Notably, both pay attention to the role played by the scientific community in the development of scientific knowledge. But putting first impressions aside, one can criticise some philosophers for being too hasty in their attempt to find supposed similarities in the works of the two men. Having acknowledged that Fleck anticipated some of Kuhn’s later theses, there seems (...) to be a temptation in more recent research to equate both theories in important respects. Because of this approach, one has to deal with the problem of comparing the most notable technical terms of both philosophers, namely ‘‘thought style’’ and ‘‘paradigm’’. This paper aims at a more thorough comparison between Ludwik Fleck’s concept of thought style and Thomas Kuhn’s concept of paradigm. Although some philosophers suggest that these two concepts are essentially equal in content, a closer examination reveals that this is not the case. This thesis of inequality will be defended in detail, also taking into account some of the alleged similarities which may be responsible for losing sight of the differences between these theories. (shrink)
A full appreciation for Ernst Mach's doctrine of the economy of thought must take account of his direct realism about particulars (elements) and his anti-realism about space-time laws as economical constructions. After a review of thought economy, its critics and some contemporary forms, the paper turns to the philosophical roots of Mach's doctrine. Mach claimed that the simplest, most parsimonious theories economized memory and effort by using abstract concepts and laws instead of attending to the details of each (...) individual event or experiment. For Mach, the individual case never truly repeated in all of its uniqueness, nor was all of the individual detail of a physical element adequately captured in abstract laws and schemata, however necessary these were for the pursuit of science. As can be shown from specific passages, some already published, some not, Mach's elements included physical qualia in nature similar to Russell's unsensed sensibilia, which existed even where there were no conscious observers. An argument will be presented to make the case that Mach believed in the mind-independent elements from the 1870s on, while other aspects of his thought evolved over time; I have thus dated the references to reflect this historical progression. I concentrate on Mach's ontology, as it bears on economy of thought, not his epistemology per se, which might well have been restricted to observable elements/sensations. After his own conversion to neutral monism, in the 1920s, Bertrand Russell echoed Mach's call for a 'future science' capable of handling the 'intrinsic character' of qualitative data directly without the excessive abstraction of physics. (shrink)
Recent years saw the rise of an interest in the roles and significance of thought experiments in different areas of human thinking. Heisenberg's gamma ray microscope is no doubt one of the most famous examples of a thought experiment in physics. Nevertheless, this particular thought experiment has not received much detailed attention in the philosophical literature on thought experiments up to date, maybe because of its often claimed inadequacies. In this paper, I try to do two (...) things: to provide an interesting interpretation of the roles played by Heisenberg's gamma ray microscope in interpreting quantum mechanics – partly based on Thomas Kuhn’s views on the function of thought experiments – and to contribute to the ongoing discussions on the roles and significance of thought experiments in physics. (shrink)
Recently, many philosophers and psychologists have claimed that the explanation that grounds both passivity phenomena in the cognitive domain and passivity phenomena that occur with respect to overt actions is, along broad lines, the same. Furthermore, they claim that the best account we have of such phenomena in both scenarios is the “comparator” account. However, there are reasons to doubt whether the comparator model can be exported from the realm of overt actions to the cognitive domain in general. There is (...) a lingering worry concerning such explanations of thought insertion: the "What is compared to what?" problem. Here I examine two ways to tackle this problem. First: thought insertion consists of the misattribution of strings of inner speech which are not attenuated (thought insertion is thus another name for auditory verbal hallucinations). Second: thought insertion is misattributed inner speech which exhibits the same phenomenological characteristics as normal inner speech. After explaining the types of problem that each of these potential solutions faces, I conclude with a set of open questions that the comparator theorist has to tackle. (shrink)
Tyler Burge has argued that a necessary condition for individual's having many of the thoughts he has is that he bear certain relations to other language users. Burge's conclusion is based on a thought experiment in which an individual's social relations are imagined, counterfactually, to differ from how they are actually. The result is that it seems, counterfactually, the individual cannot be attributed many of the thoughts he can be actually. In the article, an alternative interpretation of Burge's (...) class='Hi'>thought experiment is offered on which the intuitions Burge evokes can be accepted while his conclusion about the social character of thought is denied. The alternative interpretation given, it is then argued that it is preferable to Burge's. (shrink)
Can some films be genuine thought experiments that challenge our commonsense intuitions? Certain filmic narratives and their mise-en-scène details reveal rigorous reasoning and counterintuitive outcomes on philosophical issues, such as skepticism or personal identity. But this philosophical façade may hide a mundane concern for entertainment. Unfamiliar narratives drive spectator entertainment, and every novel cinematic situation could be easily explained as part of a process that lacks motives of philosophical elucidation. -/- The paper inverses the above objection, and proposes that (...) when the main cinematic character resists spectator engagement (a crucial source of cinematic entertainment), emotionally challenged spectators also question their commonsensical beliefs about his/her actions, and detect a conceptually novel situation as such. -/- A case study is Mike Leigh’s film Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), in which the main female character presents an unrelenting but eccentric version of 'feel good' happiness. Spectators gradually detect that the previously unexamined, commonsensical version of subjective happiness comes at the price of individual eccentricity, and that the choice of a subjective theory of happiness leads to consequences hitherto unacknowledged. (shrink)
This paper attempts to clarify and critically examine Fodor's language of thought (LOT) hypothesis, focusing on his contention that the systematicity of language use provides a solid ground for the LOT hypothesis. (edited).
According to Peacocke, concepts are individuated by their possession conditions, which are specified in terms of conditions in which certain propositions containing those concepts are believed. In support, Peacocke tries to explain what it is for a thought to have a structure and what it is for a belief to have a propositional content. I show that the possession condition theory cannot answer such fundamental questions. Peacocke’s theory founders because concepts are metaphysically fundamental. They individuate the propositions and thoughts (...) containing them, which in turn individuate the propositional attitudes that are relations to those propositions or thoughts. (shrink)
What is the place of language in human cognition? Do we sometimes think in natural language? Or is language for purposes of interpersonal communication only? Although these questions have been much debated in the past, they have almost dropped from sight in recent decades amongst those interested in the cognitive sciences. Language and Thought is intended to persuade such people to think again. It brings together essays by a distinguished interdisciplinary team of philosophers and psychologists, who discuss various ways (...) in which language may be implicated in human cognition. The editors have provided an introduction which lays out the basic terms and history of the debate, and a consolidated bibliography which will provide a valuable reference resource for all those interested in this area. The volume will be of great interest to all researchers and students interested in language and its place in cognition. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor presents a new development of his famous Language of Thought hypothesis, which has since the 1970s been at the centre of interdisciplinary debate about how the mind works. Fodor defends and extends the groundbreaking idea that thinking is couched in a symbolic system realized in the brain. This idea is central to the representational theory of mind which Fodor has established as a key reference point in modern philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science. The foundation stone of our (...) present cognitive science is Turing's suggestion that cognitive processes are not associations but computations; and computation requires a language of thought. So the latest on the Language of Thought hypothesis, from its progenitor, promises to be a landmark in the study of the mind. LOT 2 offers a more cogent presentation and a fuller explication of Fodor's distinctive account of the mind, with various intriguing new features. The central role of compositionality in the representational theory of mind is revealed: most of what we know about concepts follows from the compositionality of thoughts. Fodor shows the necessity of a referentialist account of the content of intentional states, and of an atomistic account of the individuation of concepts. Not least among the new developments is Fodor's identification and persecution of pragmatism as the leading source of error in the study of the mind today. LOT 2 sees Fodor advance undaunted towards the ultimate goal of a theory of the cognitive mind, and in particular a theory of the intentionality of cognition. No one who works on the mind can ignore Fodor's views, expressed in the coruscating and provocative style which has delighted and disconcerted countless readers over the years. (shrink)
David Bloor’s thought experiment is taken into consideration to suggest that the rationality of the Other cannot be inferred by way of argument for the reason that it is unavoidably contained as a hidden supposition by any argument engaged in proving it. We are able to understand a different culture only as far as we recognize in it the same kind of rationality that works in our own culture. Another kind of rationality is either impossible, or indiscernible.