E. Machery, R. Mallon, S. Nichols and S. Stich, have argued that there is empirical evidence against Kripke’s claim that names are not descriptive. Their argument is based on an experiment that compares the intuitions about proper name use of a group of English speakers in Hong Kong with those of a group of non-Chinese American students. The results of the experiment suggest that in some cultures speakers use names descriptively. I argue that such a conclusion is incorrect, for the (...) experiment does not prove what it is purported to prove. (shrink)
According to Donnellan the characteristic mark of a referential use of a definite description is the fact that it can be used to pick out an individual that does not satisfy the attributes in the description. Friends and foes of the referential/attributive distinction have equally dismissed that point as obviously wrong or as a sign that Donnellan’s distinction lacks semantic import. I will argue that, on a strict semantic conception of what it is for an expression to be a genuine (...) referential device, Donnellan is right: if a use of a definite description is referential, it has got to be possible for it to refer to an object independently of any attributes associated with the description, including those that constitute its conventional meaning. (shrink)
An important debate in the current literature is whether “all truth-conditional effects of extra-linguistic context can be traced to [a variable at; LM] logical form” (Stanley, ‘Context and Logical Form’, Linguistics and Philosophy, 23 (2000) 391). That is, according to Stanley, the only truth-conditional effects that extra-linguistic context has are localizable in (potentially silent) variable-denoting pronouns or pronoun-like items, which are represented in the syntax/at logical form (pure indexicals like I or today are put aside in this discussion). According to (...) Recanati (‘Unarticulated Constituents’, Linguistics and Philosophy, 25 (2002) 299), extra-linguistic context can have additional truth-conditional effects, in the form of optional pragmatic processes like ‘free enrichment’. This paper shows that Recanati’s position is not warranted, since there is an alternative line of analysis that obviates the need to assume free enrichment. In the alternative analysis, we need Stanley’s variables, but we need to give them the freedom to be or not to be generated in the syntax/present at logical form, a kind of optionality that has nothing to do with the pragmatics-related optionality of free enrichment. (shrink)
Noel and Amanda Sharkey have written an insightful paper on the ethical issues concerned with the development of childcare robots for infants and toddlers, discussing the possible consequences for the psychological and emotional development and wellbeing of children. The ethical issues involving the use of robots as toys, interaction partners or possible caretakers of children are discussed reviewing a wide literature on the pathology and causes of attachment disorders. The potential risks emerging from the analysis lead the authors to promote (...) a multidisciplinary debate on the current legislation to deal with future robot childcare. As a general first consideration, the questions arising from the paper are extremely timely since current robot technology is surprisingly close to achieving autonomous bonding and sustained socialization with human toddlers. The evolution of robot technology has been so speedy in the last few years that even if a discipline like Human-machine Interaction has only recently welcomed human-robot interaction within its disciplinary scope, a variety of social robots have started to populate our life and daily activities. In the past five years human-robot interaction has received a significant and growing interest leading to the development of the so-called robots companions, a term that emphasizes a constant interaction and co-operation between human beings and robotic machines. While Noel and Amanda Sharkey in their paper take a critical stance on the consequences of the use of robots as companions or caretakers, others researchers seem more keen to highlight the potential of caregiver robots in particular in educational settings. In this commentary I’ll try to offer my personal viewpoint on the consequences of using robot companions or caretakers of children on learning and education, and the effects of technologies on cognitive skills development, a controversial area of research where different findings show how little is known. (shrink)
In this paper I examine two ways of defining the rigidity of general terms. First I discuss the view that rigid general terms express essential properties. I argue that the view is ultimately unsatisfactory, although not on the basis of the standard objections raised against it. I then discuss the characterisation in terms of sameness of designation in every possible world. I defend that view from two objections but I argue that the approach, although basically right, should be interpreted cautiously.
This article considers the process of ethical review of research on human subjects at a very large multinational consumer products company. The commercial context of this research throws up unique challenges and opportunities that make the ethics of the process of oversight distinct from mainstream medical research. Reflection on the justification of governance processes sheds important, contrasting light on the ethics of governance of other forms and context of research.
: Freedom, understood as active participation in public life, connects the thinking of Rosa Luxemburg with that of Hannah Arendt. Biographically separated through the rise and victory of the totalitarian movements, they both developed a concept of the political that is oriented toward freedom and that demonstrates—in spite of their different historical experiences—essential common features: both authors emphasize the recognition of difference as a presupposition for a critical discussion of norms, traditions, and authorities, for the capacity to make unconstrained judgments, (...) and for the ability to take personal responsibility. (shrink)
This paper examines and discusses an argument for the collapse of modal distincions offered by Quine in "Reference and Modality" and in Word and Object that relies exclusively on a version of the Principle of Substitution. It is argued that the argument does not affect its historical targets: Carnap's treatment of modality, presented in Meaning and Necessity, and Church's Logic of Sense and Denotation, developed by Kaplan; nor does it affect a treatment of modality inspired in Frege's treatment of oblique (...) contexts. It is argued, nevertheless, that the immunity of those systems to Quine's argument depends on the success of their rejection of the Principle of Substitution presupposed by Quine. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss two approaches to rigidity. I argue that they differ in the general conception of semantics that each embraces. Moreover, I argue that they differ in how each explains the rigidity of general terms, and in what each presupposes in that explanation.
An important debate in the current literature is whether "all truth-conditional effects of extra-linguistic context can be traced to [a variable at; LM] logical form" (Stanley, 'Context and Logical Form', Linguistics and Philosophy, 23 (2000) 391). That is, according to Stanley, the only truth-conditional effects that extra-linguistic context has are localizable in (potentially silent) variable-denoting pronouns or pronoun-like items, which are represented in the syntax/at logical form (pure indexicals like I or today are put aside in this discussion). According to (...) Recanati ('Unarticulated Constituents', Linguistics and Philosophy, 25 (2002) 299), extra-linguistic context can have additional truth-conditional effects, in the form of optional pragmatic processes like 'free enrichment'. This paper shows that Recanati's position is not warranted, since there is an alternative line of analysis that obviates the need to assume free enrichment. In the alternative analysis, we need Stanley's variables, but we need to give them the freedom to be or not to be generated in the syntax/present at logical form, a kind of optionality that has nothing to do with the pragmatics-related optionality of free enrichment. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to propose a unified approach to the split scope readings of negative indefinites, comparative quantifiers, and numerals. There are two main observations that justify this approach. First, split scope shows the same kinds of restrictions across these different quantifiers. Second, split scope always involves low existential force. In our approach, following Sauerland, natural language determiner quantifiers are quantifiers over choice functions, of type <<,t>,t>. In split readings, the quantifier over choice functions scopes above other (...) operators (such as intensional verbs like must or can). Determiner quantifiers leave a choice-function trace when they move and this trace combines with the noun restriction, which is interpreted low. That split scope always involves low existential force is derived, without stipulation, from Kratzer’s idea that low existential force can be achieved via binding (into the noun restriction). (shrink)
Interest in republicanism as a political theory has burgeoned in recent years, but its implications for the understanding of law have remained largely unexplored. Legal Republicanism is the first book to offer a comprehensive, critical survey of the potential for creating republican accounts of fundamental issues in law and legal theory. -/- Bringing together contributors with backgrounds in political and legal philosophy, the essays in the volume assess republicanism's historical traditions, conceptual coherence, and normative proposals. The collection offers a valuable (...) insight into new debates taking place in republican political and legal theory. It also analyses potential republican approaches to concrete issues arising in areas of law such as criminal, constitutional and international law. Finally, the book includes comparisons between republican legal traditions and how they react to contemporary challenges. The book will be of value to political and democratic theorists, to legal philosophers and constitutional theorists, and all those interested in the legitimacy of decision-making in national and international settings. (shrink)
There are obvious differences between (1) Mary is talking to the Dean and (2) Mary is looking for the Dean. In (1) we can replace "the Dean" by any other coextensional term and preserve truth value; also, from (1) we can infer that there is someone Mary is talking to. Such behavior breaks down in (2): neither intersubstitution of coextensional terms nor existential generalization guarantee preservation of truth value in a sentence like (2). (1) is purely extensional; (2) is intensional.
The following Principle of Substitutivity holds for the former, but not for the latter sentence: (PS) The truth value of (the proposition expressed by) a sentence that contains an occurrence of t1 remains constant when t2 is substituted for t1, provided that t1 and t2 are codesignative singular terms. It is an undeniable fact that different sentences behave differently when it comes to which substitutions preserve their truth value. What is curious is that this fact has been presented by the (...) philosophical tradition as a puzzle. To be more precise, what is supposed to be puzzling is the breakdown of PS in some sentences. Meanwhile, it is assumed that everything is as it should be, that nothing needs to be explained when we observe that the substitution of 'the number of planets' for 'nine' in 'nine is greater than seven' guarantees the preservation of truth value, in spite of the fact that the subject matter of the former sentence and the subject matter of 'the number of planets is greater than seven' are radically different. The former sentence expresses a claim about numbers and their relationships, whereas the latter sentence makes an assertion about our solar system. (shrink)
We defend the view that defines the rigidity of general terms as sameness of designated universal across possible worlds from the objection that such a characterization is incapable of distinguishing rigid from non-rigid readings of general terms and, thus, that it trivializes the notion of rigidity. We also argue that previous attempts to offer a solution to the trivialization problem do no succeed.