Precis of When Truth Gives Out Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9792-4 Authors Mark Richard, Philosophy Department, Harvard University, Emerson Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Many bodily sensations are connected quite closely with specific actions: itches with scratching, for example, and hunger with eating. Indeed, these connections have the feel of conceptual connections. With the exception of D. M. Armstrong, philosophers have largely neglected this aspect of bodily sensations. In this paper, I propose a theory of bodily sensations that explains these connections. The theory ascribes intentional content to bodily sensations but not, strictly speaking, representational content. Rather, the content of these sensations is an imperative: (...) in the case of itches, 'Scratch!' The view avoids non-intentional qualia and hence accords with what could be called, generalizing Lycan slightly, the 'hegemony of intentionality'. (shrink)
In 1907 William James was invited to give the Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College, Oxford. Initially he was reluctant to do so since he feared undertaking them would divert him from developing rigorously and systematically some metaphysical ideas of his own that had preoccupied him for some time. In the end, however, he relented and in the spring of 1908 gave the lectures which were subsequently published as A Pluralistic Universe. As it happened, though, in the course of these lectures (...) James presented some of those metaphysical ideas, though in a popular and informal style appropriate to lecturing. Later on he did get down to working out a systematic metaphysics in proper academic style, but the project was cut short by his untimely death in 1910. The incomplete Some Problems of Philosophy, posthumously published in 1911, recapitulates some major themes of A Pluralistic Universe. (shrink)
Can the physicalist consistently hold that representational content is all there is to sensory experience and yet that two perceivers could have inverted phenomenal spectra? Yes, if he holds that the phenomenal properties the inverts experience are dummy properties, not instantiated in the physical objects being perceived nor in the perceivers.
Howard Callaway's new edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Society and Solitude is an invaluable contribution to both the primary and secondary literature on Emerson. Its contribution to the primary sources is its use of the original 1870 edition of Emerson's text, though with modernized spellings to facilitate the reader's understanding. Its contribution to the secondary literature consists in the scholarly apparatus of page-by-page annotations, an introduction, a chronology, a bibliography, and an index. Callaway's Society and Solitude is a worthy companion (...) to his earlier edition of Emerson's The Conduct of Life. (shrink)
The standard adaptationist explanation of the presence of a sensory mechanism in an organism--that it detects properties useful to the organism--cannot be given for color vision. This is because colors do not exist. After arguing for this latter claim, I consider, but reject, nonadaptationist explanations. I conclude by proposing an explanation of how color vision could have adaptive value even though it does not detect properties in the environment.
In virtue of what does a representational state have the content it does? Several philosophers have recently proposed that a representational state gets its content from its biological function. After explaining the sense of biological function used in these views, I criticise the proposal. I argue that biological function only determines representational content up to extensional equivalence. I maintain that this holds even if biological function is defined in terms of an intensional notion like Sober's "selection for".
The modus operandi of this book is contextual—throughout he demonstrates how ideas emerge from or are inspired by particular environments. And the need to put philosophical ideas in their larger historical and cultural context so as to fully understand them is, as will be illustrated below, a facet of his philosophical method. Another of its facets is fallibilism, a deep commitment to subjecting all theories and concepts (in any field) to incessant scrutiny, testing, correction, and clarification. This suggests that a (...) totality of knowledge of the world or the absolute truth about things is a pair of ideals impossible of realization and approachable at best asymptotically. If his method is contextualist and fallilbilist, then his metaphysics is pluralistic. In his view reality is not reducible to just one single substance or principle but instead is constituted irreducibly of many different kinds of thing or principles. He is thus implacably opposed to any form of ontological monism—what James designates a “block-universe”—and Hegelian absolutism. Callaway conceives of the world as a Jamesian multiverse. Contextualism, fallibilism, and pluralism, then, are the themes brought to the fore in his book and which emerge from his travels at home and abroad. (shrink)
In Memories we have what I take to be a new genre in letters—a hybrid of philosophical reflections, history, geography, and autobiography. It is a memoir made up of these elements, memories recollected in tranquility. Memories is in the form of a multilayered travelogue. Its fundamental layer is a geographic journey. And emerging from and superimposed on it is an adventure of the mind, an intellectual pilgrimage, a quest for both some philosophical and self-understanding. Callaway's book is a literary fugue (...) of sorts, artfully interweaving multiple themes in a seamless contrapuntal web.His modus operandi is contextual—throughout he demonstrates how ideas emerge from or are inspired by particular environments. And .. (shrink)
The English Puritan RichardBaxter (1615-1691) developed an account of forgiveness that resonates with twentieth-century virtue ethics. He understood forgiveness as one component of a larger disposition of character developed in community as human beings recognize themselves as sinful creatures engaged in complex relationships of dependency and responsibility, with both God and one another. In the midst of these relationships, persons experience divine and human forgiveness and discover opportunities to practice forgiveness in return. Baxter thus negotiated a (...) distinctive relationship between Christian hope for reconciliation and more stereotypical Puritan emphases on punishment, civil order, and justice. At the same time that recent moral reflection allows us to raise questions about some features of Baxter's argument (such as his treatment of anger), his work provides important resources for correlating dispositions with concrete obligations, establishing a place for forgiveness in the public realm, and counterbalancing the modern emphasis on individual rights. (shrink)
American philosopher Everett W. Hall (1901-1960) was among the first epistemologists writing in English to have promoted “representationism,” a currently popular explanation of cognition. According to this school, there are no private sense-data or qualia, because the ascription (representation) of public properties that are exemplified in the world of common sense is believed to be sufficient to explain mental content. In this timely volume, Walter Horn, perhaps the foremost living expert on Hall’s philosophy, not only provides copious excerpts (...) from Hall’s works in epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of language--as well as his own commentaries on those writings--but also includes articles by Richard Rorty, Amie Thomasson, Thomas Natsoulas, and Romane Clark that are pertinent to Hall’s unique blend of linguistic idealism and intentional, common-sense realism. Covering metaphilosophy, the intentionality of perception, naïve realism, linguistic relativism, and Hall's public disagreements with such luminaries as Moore, Carnap, Wittgenstein, Quine, and Sellars, The Roots of Representationism is essential reading for students of 20th Century analytic philosophy. (shrink)
On Richard’s When Truth Gives Out Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-9 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9796-0 Authors Kevin Scharp, Department of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 350 University Hall, 230 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210, USA Stewart Shapiro, Department of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 350 University Hall, 230 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Pain, crucially, is unpleasant and motivational. It can be awful; and it drives us to action, e.g. to take our weight off a sprained ankle. But what is the relationship between pain and those two features? And in virtue of what does pain have them? Addressing these questions, Colin Klein and Richard J. Hall have recently developed the idea that pains are, at least partly, experiential commands—to stop placing your weight on your ankle, for example. In this paper, (...) I reject their accounts. Against Klein, I use dissociation cases to argue that possession of ‘imperative content’ cannot wholly constitute pain. Against them both, I further claim that possession of such content cannot even constitute pain’s unpleasant, motivational aspect. For, even if it were possible to specify the relevant imperative content—which is far from clear—the idea of a command cannot bear the explanatory weight Klein and Hall place on it. (shrink)
We give an analysis of the Monty Hall problem purely in terms of confirmation, without making any lottery assumptions about priors. Along the way, we show the Monty Hall problem is structurally identical to the Doomsday Argument.
Abstract: In The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce argues there is good reason to think that the “moral sense” is a biological adaptation, and that this provides a genealogy of the moral sense that has a debunking effect, driving us to the conclusion that “our moral beliefs are products of a process that is entirely independent of their truth, … we have no grounds one way or the other for maintaining these beliefs.” I argue that Joyce's skeptical conclusion is (...) not warranted. Even if the moral sense is a biological adaptation, developed moralities (such as Aristotelian eudaimonism) can “co-opt” it into new roles so that the moral judgments it makes possible can come to transcend the evolutionary process that is “entirely independent of their truth.” While evolutionary theory can shed much light on our shared human nature, moral theories must still be vindicated, or debunked, by moral arguments. (shrink)
Richard Rorty’s philosophy has two basic commitments: one to postmodernism and the other to liberalism. However, these commitments generate tension. As a postmodernist, he sharply criticizes the Enlightenment; as a liberal, he forcefully defends it. His postmodernist liberalism actually explains liberalism using irrationalism.
Richard Rorty (1931–2007) developed a distinctive and controversial brand of pragmatism that expressed itself along two main axes. One is negative—a critical diagnosis of what Rorty takes to be defining projects of modern philosophy. The other is positive—an attempt to show what intellectual culture might look like, once we free ourselves from the governing metaphors of mind and knowledge in which the traditional problems of epistemology and metaphysics (and indeed, in Rorty's view, the self-conception of modern philosophy) are rooted. (...) The centerpiece of Rorty's critique is the provocative account offered in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979, hereafter PMN). In this book, and in the closely related essays collected in Consequences of Pragmatism (1982, hereafter CP), Rorty's principal target is the philosophical idea of knowledge as representation, as a mental mirroring of a mind-external world. Providing a contrasting image of philosophy, Rorty has sought to integrate and apply the milestone achievements of Dewey, Hegel and Darwin in a pragmatist synthesis of historicism and naturalism. Characterizations and illustrations of a post-epistemological intellectual culture, present in both PMN (part III) and CP (xxxvii-xliv), are more richly developed in later works, such as Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989, hereafter CIS), in the popular essays and articles collected in Philosophy and Social Hope (1999), and in the four volumes of philosophical papers, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth (1991, hereafter ORT); Essays on Heidegger and Others (1991, hereafter EHO); Truth and Progress (1998, hereafter TP); and Philosophy as Cultural Politics (2007, hereafter PCP). In these writings, ranging over an unusually wide intellectual territory, Rorty offers a highly integrated, multifaceted view of thought, culture, and politics, a view that has made him one of the most widely discussed philosophers in our time. (shrink)