At the end of the last century, Ernst Mach coined a term to describe a particular technique of scientific investigation, a mental analogue to physical experiment which he dubbed "Gedunkenexperiment."I According to Mach, this method is central to the history of science; its greatest practitioners include Aristotle and Galileo, and its careful employment "led to enormous changes in our thinking and to an opening up of most important new paths of inquiry."2 In the century that followed, Mach's term (and its (...) English translation) showed up occasionally in the philosophy of science literature, most notably, perhaps, in Karl Popper's "On the Use and Misuse of Imaginary Experiments, Especially in Quantum Theory,"s and in Thomas Kuhn's, "A Function for Thought Experiments."4 Discussions of the technique Ã¢â¬â in science and in philosophy Ã¢â¬â made sporadic appearances on the pages of philosophy journals, each year's Philosophers' Index sporting some dozen entries under "Thought Experiment." Then, in the mid-1980s, the Zeitgeist smiled upon thought experiments; they were explicitly recognized as a central technique in analytic philosophy, and self-conscious philosophical scrutiny was directed upon them.s In the Spring of 1986, Tamara Horowitz and Gerald Massey organized a conference at the University of Pittsburgh on "The Place of Thought Experiments in Science and Philosophy." The papers given at that conference, along with several others inspired by it, are collected in Thought Experiments in Science and Philosophy, published in 1991. A year later, Roy Sorensen published his Thought Experiments, a detailed ten-chapter discussion of thought experiments in philosophy and science, in which he defends their continuity with physical experiment, and adduces numerous arguments in favor of their philosophical legitimacy. Sorensen's style is chatty and unpretensious, full of striking turns of phrase and colloquialisms: "I am bullish on the comparison;" "this protoype gives us a bum steer;" "Wittgenstein discourages fascination with mental freak shows;" "traditional metaphysicians scoffed at Meinong's.... (shrink)
The Elements of Philosophy: Readings from Past and Present is a comprehensive collection of historical and contemporary readings across the major fields of philosophy. With depth and quality, this introductory anthology offers a selection of readings that is both extensive and expansive; the readings span twenty-five centuries. They are organized topically into five parts: Religion and Belief, Moral and Political Philosophy, Metaphysics and Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind and Language, and Life and Death. The product of the collaboration of three highly (...) respected scholars in their fields - Tamar Szabó Gendler, Susanna Siegel, and Steven M. Cahn - The Elements of Philosophy also includes introductions from the editors, explanatory footnotes, and a glossary. (shrink)
I introduce and argue for the importance of a cognitive state that I call alief. An alief is, to a reasonable approximation, an innate or habitual propensity to respond to an apparent stimulus in a particular way. Recognizing the role that alief plays in our cognitive repertoire provides a framework for understanding reactions that are governed by nonconscious or automatic mechanisms, which in turn brings into proper relief the role played by reactions that are subject to conscious regulation and deliberate (...) control. (shrink)
To what extent and how is conceivability a guide to possibility? This essay explores general philosophical issues raised by this question, and critically surveys responses to it by Descartes, Hume, Kripke and "two-dimensionalists.".
It is a commonplace that contemplation of an imaginary particular may have cognitive and motivational effects that differ from those evoked by an abstract description of an otherwise similar state of affairs. In his Treatise on Human Nature, Hume ( 1978) writes forcefully of this.
The capacity to represent things to ourselves as possible plays a crucial role both in everyday thinking and in philosophical reasoning; this volume offers much-needed philosophical illumination of conceivability, possibility, and the relations between them.
Issues of pretense and imagination are of central interest to philosophers, psychologists, and researchers in allied fields. In this entry, we provide a roadmap of some of the central themes around which discussion has been focused. We begin with an overview of pretense, imagination, and the relationship between them. We then shift our attention to the four specific topics where the disciplines' research programs have intersected or where additional interactions could prove mutually beneficial: the psychological underpinnings of performing pretense and (...) of recognizing pretense, the cognitive capacities involved in imaginative engagement with fictions, and the real-world impact of make-believe. In the final section, we discuss more briefly a number of other mental activities that arguably involve imagining, including counterfactual reasoning, delusions, and dreaming. (shrink)
– develop self-knowledge [Socrates] – cultivate internal harmony [Plato] – foster virtue through habit [Aristotle] – cultivate and appreciate true friendship [Cicero] – recognize what is and is not in your control [Epictetus].
Through careful analysis of a speciﬁc example, Parﬁt’s ‘ﬁssion argument’ for the unimportance of personal identity, I argue that our judgements concerning imaginary scenarios are likely to be unreliable when the scenarios involve disruptions of certain contingent correlations. Parﬁt’s argument depends on our hypothesizing away a number of facts which play a central role in our understanding and employment of the very concept under investigation; as a result, it fails to establish what Parﬁt claims, namely, that identity is not what (...) matters. I argue that Parﬁt’s conclusion can be blocked without denying that he has presented an imaginary case where prudential concern would be rational in the absence of identity. My analysis depends on the recognition that the features that explain or justify a relation may be distinct from the features that underpin it as necessary conditions. (shrink)
Regarding certain fictional characters (and situations) F, it is simultaneously true that: (1) We have genuine and rational emotional responses towards F (2) We believe that F is purely fictional At the same time, it is also true that: (3) In order for us to have genuine and rational emotional responses towards a character (or situation), we must not believe that the character (or situation) is purely fictional.
Contemplating imaginary scenarios that evoke certain sorts of quasi‐sensory intuitions may bring us to new beliefs about contingent features of the natural world. These beliefs may be produced quasi‐observationally; the presence of a mental image may play a crucial cognitive role in the formation of the belief in question. And this albeit fallible quasi‐observational belief‐forming mechanism may, in certain contexts, be sufficiently reliable to count as a source of justification. This sheds light on the central puzzle surrounding scientific thought experiment, (...) which is how contemplation of an imaginary scenario can lead to new knowledge about contingent features of the natural world. (shrink)
ln "Possibilities and the Arguments for Origin Essentialism" Teresa Robertson (1998) contends that the best-known arguments in favour of origin essentialism can succeed only at the cost of violating modal common sense—by denying that any variation in constitution or process of assembly is possible. Focusing on the (Kripke-style) arguments of Nathan Salmon and Graeme Forbes, Robertson shows that both founder in the face of sophisticated Ship of Theseus style considerations. While Robertson is right that neither of the arguments is compelling (...) as formulated, each can be modified to fend off her particular counterexamples; these modifications do not differ in kind from those already needed to deal with ordinary Theseus cases, requiring only a further narrowing of the sufficiency clause from which the necessity of origins is derived. (shrink)
By the age of two, children are able to engage in highly elaborate games of symbolic pretense, in which objects and actions in the actual world are taken to stand for objects and actions in a realm of make-believe. These games of pretense are marked by the presence of two central features, which I will call quarantining and mirroring (see also Leslie 1987; Perner 1991). Quarantining is manifest to the extent that events within the pretense-episode are taken to have effects (...) only within that pretense-episode (e.g. the child does not expect that ‘spilling’ ( pretend) ‘tea’1 will result in the table really being wet), or more generally, to the extent that proto-beliefs and proto-attitudes concerning the pretended state of affairs are not treated as beliefs and attitudes relevant to guiding action in the actual world. Mirroring is manifest to the extent that features of the imaginary situation that have not been explicitly stipulated are derivable via features of their real-world analogues (e.g. the child does expect that if she up-ends the teapot above the table, then the table will become wet in the pretense), or, more generally to the extent that imaginative content is taken to be governed by the same sorts of restrictions that govern believed content. (shrink)
By carefully examining one of the most famous thought experiments in the history of science—that by which Galileo is said to have refuted the Aristotelian theory that heavier bodies fall faster than lighter ones—I attempt to show that thought experiments play a distinctive role in scientific inquiry. Reasoning about particular entities within the context of an imaginary scenario can lead to rationally justified concluusions that—given the same initial information—would not be rationally justifiable on the basis of a straightforward argument.
Much contemporary discussion of perceptual experience can be traced to two observations. The first is that perception seems to put us in direct contact with the world around us: when perception is successful, we come to recognize— immediately—that certain objects have certain properties. The second is that perceptual experience may fail to provide such knowledge: when we fall prey to illusion or hallucination, the way things appear may differ radically from the way things actually are. For much of the twentieth (...) century, many of the most important discussions of perceptual experience could be fruitfully understood as responses to this pair of observations. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to expand the diet of examples considered in philosophical discussions of imagination and pretense, and to offer some preliminary observations about what we might learn about the nature of imagination as a result. The article presents a number of cases involving imaginative contagion: cases where merely imagining or pretending that P has effects that we would expect only perceiving or believing that P to have. Examples are offered that involve visual imagery, motor imagery, fictional (...) emotions, and social priming. It is suggested that imaginative contagion is a more prevalent phenomenon than has typically been recognized. (shrink)
It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean. It is well he knows that it is long enough to reach the bottom at such places as are necessary to direct his voyage, and caution him against running upon shoals that may ruin him.
In the last few years there has been an explosion of philosophical interest in perception; after decades of neglect, it is now one of the most fertile areas for new work. Perceptual Experience presents new work by fifteen of the world's leading philosophers. All papers are written specially for this volume, and they cover a broad range of topics dealing with sensation and representation, consciousness and awareness, and the connections between perception and knowledge and between perception and action. This will (...) be the book on the philosophy of perception, a fascinating resource for philosophers and psychologists. (shrink)
I had a structural worry about the relation of Gaita’s three chapters on truth, interesting though these chapters are, to the rest of Gaita’s project. And I had some residual questions left after reading the book: What are persons? How do we know when we are encountering one, and when are we justified (we must be sometimes: compare the various sorts of animal) in a decision that something we encounter is not a person? Do evil actions always involve a sort (...) of blindness to what is being done? If so, how easy is it to explain how agents who do evil can be held responsible for their cognitive deficiencies? These may of course be questions that Gaita was not trying to answer; but in any case, as I hope I have conveyed, I found A Common Humanity a striking and revelatory read, and I warmly recommend it. (shrink)
Millikan contrasts her substance-based view of concepts with “descriptionism” according to which description determines what falls under a concept. Focusing on her discussion of the role of language in the acquisition of concepts, I argue that descriptions cannot be separated from perception in the ways Millikan's view requires.
Following Karni's seminal work, Walker and other researchers have recently provided gradually convincing evidence that sleep is critical for the consolidation-based enhancement (CBE) of motor sequence learning. Studies in our laboratory using a motor adaptation paradigm, however, show that CBE can also occur after the simple passage of time, suggesting that sleep effects on memory consolidation are task-related, and possibly dependent on anatomically dissociable circuits.
Oxford Studies in Epistemology is a biennial publicaton which offers a regular snapshot of state-of-the-art work in this important field. Under the guidance of a distinguished editorial board composed of leading philosophers in North America, Europe and Australasia, it publishes exemplary papers in epistemology, broadly construed. Topics within its purview include: *traditional epistemological questions concerning the nature of belief, justification, and knowledge, the status of scepticism, the nature of the a priori, etc; *new developments in epistemology, including movements such as (...) naturalized epistemology, feminist epistemology, social epistemology, and virtue epistemology, and approaches such as contextualism; *foundational questions in decision-theory; *confirmation theory and other branches of philosophy of science that bear on traditional issues in epistemology; *topics in the philosophy of perception relevant to epistemology; *topics in cognitive science, computer science, developmental, cognitive, and social psychology that bear directly on traditional epistemological questions; and *work that examines connections between epistemology and other branches of philosophy, including work on testimony and the ethics of belief. Anyone wanting to understand the latest developments at the leading edge of the discipline can start here. (shrink)
Oxford Studies in Epistemology is a biennial publicaton which offers a regular snapshot of state-of-the-art work in this important field. Under the guidance of a distinguished editorial board composed of leading philosophers in North America, Europe and Australasia, it will publish exemplary papers in epistemology, broadly construed. Topics within its purview include: *traditional epistemological questions concerning the nature of belief, justification, and knowledge, the status of scepticism, the nature of the a priori, etc; *new developments in epistemology, including movements such (...) as naturalized epistemology, feminist epistemology, social epistemology, and virtue epistemology, and approaches such as contextualism; *foundational questions in decision-theory; *confirmation theory and other branches of philosophy of science that bear on traditional issues in epistemology; *topics in the philosophy of perception relevant to epistemology; *topics in cognitive science, computer science, developmental, cognitive, and social psychology that bear directly on traditional epistemological questions; and *work that examines connections between epistemology and other branches of philosophy, including work on testimony and the ethics of belief. Anyone wanting to understand the latest developments at the leading edge of the discipline can start here. (shrink)
Oxford Studies in Epistemology is a major new biennial volume offering a regular snapshot of state-of-the-art work in this important field. Under the guidance of a distinguished editorial board composed of leading philosophers in North America, Europe and Australasia, it will publish exemplary papers in epistemology, broadly construed. Topics within its purview include: *traditional epistemological questions concerning the nature of belief, justification, and knowledge, the status of scepticism, the nature of the a priori, etc; *new developments in epistemology, including movements (...) such as naturalized epistemology, feminist epistemology, social epistemology, and virtue epistemology, and approaches such as contextualism; *foundational questions in decision-theory; *confirmation theory and other branches of philosophy of science that bear on traditional issues in epistemology; *topics in the philosophy of perception relevant to epistemology; *topics in cognitive science, computer science, developmental, cognitive, and social psychology that bear directly on traditional epistemological questions; and *work that examines connections between epistemology and other branches of philosophy, including work on testimony and the ethics of belief. Anyone wanting to understand the latest developments at the leading edge of the discipline can start here. -/- Editorial Board -/- Stewart Cohen, Arizona State University Keith DeRose, Yale University Richard Fumerton, University of Iowa Alvin Goldman, Rutgers University Alan Hajek, Australian National University Gilbert Harman, Princeton University Frank Jackson, Australian National University James Joyce, University of Michigan Scott Sturgeon, Birkbeck College London Jonathan Vogel, Amherst College Timothy Williamson, University of Oxford. (shrink)
In cases of imaginative contagion, imagining something has doxastic or doxastic-like consequences. In this reply to Tamar Szabó Gendler's article in this collection, I investigate what the philosophical consequences of these cases could be. I argue (i) that imaginative contagion has consequences for how we should understand the nature of imagination and (ii) that imaginative contagion has consequences for our understanding of what belief-forming mechanisms there are. Along the way, I make some remarks about what the consequences of the (...) contagion cases are for the relation between knowledge and imagination. (shrink)
Tamar Gendler argues that, for those living in a society in which race is a salient sociological feature, it is impossible to be fully rational: members of such a society must either fail to encode relevant information containing race, or suffer epistemic costs by being implicitly racist. However, I argue that, although Gendler calls attention to a pitfall worthy of study, she fails to conclusively demonstrate that there are epistemic (or cognitive) costs of being racist. Gendler offers (...) three supporting phenomenon. First, implicit racists expend cognitive energy repressing their implicit biases. I reply, citing Ellen Bialystok’s research, that constant use of executive functioning can be beneficial. Second, Gendler argues that awareness of a negative stereotype of one’s own race with regard to a given task negatively affects one’s performance of that task. This phenomenon, I argue, demonstrates that those against whom the stigma is directed suffer costs, but it fails to demonstrate that the stigmatizers suffer cognitively. Finally, Gendler argues that racists are less competent when recognizing faces of other races than when recognizing faces of their own race because, in the first instance, they encode the race of the face (taking up cognitive space that could have been used to encode fine-grained distinctions), whereas in the second instance they encode no race. I argue that in-group/out-group categorization rather than racism is the cognitive cost. I conclude that Gendler has failed to demonstrate that there are cognitive costs associated with being a racist. (shrink)
This paper challenges T. S. Gendler's notion of aliefs, a novel kind of mental state which she introduces to explain a wide variety of belief-discordant behaviors. In particular, I argue that many of the cases which she uses to motivate such a mental state can be fully explained by accounts that make use only of commonplace attitudes such as beliefs and desires.
Leading scholars in the philosophy of language and theoretical linguistics present brand-new papers on a major topic at the intersection of the two fields, the distinction between semantics and pragmatics. Anyone engaged with this issue in either discipline will find much to reward their attention here. Contributors: Kent Bach, Herman Cappelen, Michael Glanzberg, Jeffrey C. King, Ernie Lepore, Stephen Neale, F. Recanati, Nathan Salmon, Mandy Simons, Scott Soames, Robert J. Stainton, Jason Stanley, Zoltan Gendler Szabo.
Knowledge ascriptions seem context sensitive. Yet it is widely thought that epistemic contextualism does not have a plausible semantic implementation. We aim to overcome this concern by articulating and defending an explicit contextualist semantics for ‘know,’ which integrates a fairly orthodox contextualist conception of knowledge as the elimination of the relevant alternatives, with a fairly orthodox “Amherst” semantics for A-quantification over a contextually variable domain of situations. Whatever problems epistemic contextualism might face, lack of an orthodox semantic implementation is not (...) among them. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to present an explanation for the impact of normative considerations on people’s assessment of certain seemingly purely descriptive matters. The explanation is based on two main claims. First, a large category of expressions are tacitly modal: they are contextually equivalent to modal proxies. Second, the interpretation of predominantly circumstantial or teleological modals is subject to certain constraints which make certain possibilities salient at the expense of others.
We design new languages, by and large, in order to bypass complexities and limitations within the languages we already have. But when we are concerned with language itself we should guard against projecting the simple and powerful syntax and semantics we have concocted back into the sentences we encounter. For some of the features of English, French, or Ancient Greek we routinely abstract away from in the process of formalization might be linguistic universals – the very features that set human (...) languages apart from all the other conceivable ones. How similar natural languages really are to formal ones is an empirical question for linguistics. (shrink)
In a series of publications, Tamar Gendler has argued for a distinction between belief and what she calls ?alief?. Gendler's argument for the distinction is a serviceability argument: the distinction is indispensable for explaining a whole slew of phenomena, typically involving ?belief-behaviour mismatch?. After embedding Gendler's distinction in a dual-process model of moral cognition, I argue here that the distinction also suggests a possible (dis)solution of what is perhaps the organizing problem of contemporary moral psychology: the apparent (...) tension between the inherently motivational role of moral judgments and their manifestly objectivistic phenomenology. I argue that moral judgments come in two varieties, moral aliefs and moral beliefs, and it is only the former that are inherently motivating and only the latter that have an objectivistic phenomenology. This serves to both bolster the case for the alief/belief distinction and shed new light on otherwise well-trodden territory in metaethics. I start with an exposition of the moral-psychological problem (?1) and a discussion of Gendler's alief/belief distinction (?2). I then apply the latter to moral judgments in an attempt to dissolve the former (?3). I close with discussion of the upshot for our understanding of moral thought, moral motivation, and moral phenomenology (?4). (shrink)
Authors have a lot of leeway with regard to what they can make true in their story. In general, if the author says that p is true in the fiction we’re reading, we believe that p is true in that fiction. And if we’re playing along with the fictional game, we imagine that, along with everything else in the story, p is true. But there are exceptions to these general principles. Many authors, most notably Kendall Walton and Tamar Szabó (...) class='Hi'>Gendler, have discussed apparent counterexamples when p is “morally deviant”. Many other statements that are conceptually impossible also seem to be counterexamples. In this paper I do four things. I survey the range of counterexamples, or at least putative counterexamples, to the principles. Then I look to explanations of the counterexamples. I argue, following Gendler, that the explanation cannot simply be that morally deviant claims are impossible. I argue that the distinctive attitudes we have towards moral propositions cannot explain the counterexamples, since some of the examples don’t involve moral concepts. And I put forward a proposed explanation that turns on the role of ‘higher-level concepts’, concepts that if they are satisfied are satisfied in virtue of more fundamental facts about the world, in fiction, and in imagination. (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)
I propose that paradigmatic cases of self-deception satisfy the following conditions: (a) the person who is self-deceived about not-P pretends (in the sense of makes-believe or imagines or fantasizes) that not-P is the case, often while believing that P is the case and not believing that not-P is the case; (b) the pretense that not-P largely plays the role normally played by belief in terms of (i) introspective vivacity and (ii) motivation of action in a wide range of circumstances. Understanding (...) self-deception in this way is highly natural. And it provides a non-paradoxical characterization of the phenomenon that explains both its distinctive patterns of instability and its ordinary association with irrationality. Why, then, has this diagnosis been overlooked? I suggest that the oversight is due to a failure to recognize the philosophical significance of a crucial fact about the human mind, namely, the degree to which attitudes other than belief often play a central role in our mental and practical lives, both by "influenc[ing our]... passions and imagination," and by "governing.. .our actions.". (shrink)
I argue against the standard view that ontological debates can be fully described as disagreements about what we should believe to exist. The central thesis of the paper is that believing in Fs in the ontologically relevant sense requires more than merely believing that Fs exist. Believing in Fs is not even a propositional attitude; it is rather an attitude one bears to the term expressed by 'Fs'. The representational correctness of such a belief requires not only that there be (...) Fs, but also that the term expressed by 'Fs' should not misrepresent them. In certain cases we might believe that there are Fs without believing our conception of Fs applies to them. This may well be the situation we are in with regard to abstract entities of various sorts. (shrink)
Wright (In Gendler and Hawthorne (Eds.), Conceivability and possibility, 2002) rejects some dominant responses to Kripke’s modal argument against the mind-body identity theory, and instead he proposes a new response that draws on a certain understanding of counterpossibles. This paper offers some defensive remarks on behalf of Lewis’ objection to that argument, and it argues that Wright’s proposal fails to fully accommodate the conceivability intuitions, and that it is dialectically ineffective.
Examples of classic thought experiments are presented and some morals drawn. The views of my fellow symposiasts, Tamar Gendler, John Norton, and James McAllister, are evaluated. An account of thought experiments along a priori and Platonistic lines is given. I also cite the related example of proving theorems in mathematics with pictures and diagrams. To illustrate the power of these methods, a possible refutation of the continuum hypothesis using a thought experiment is sketched.
In the tradition of Stalnaker (1978,2002, context can be regarded as a set of assumptions that are mutually shared by a group of epistemic agents.An obvious generalization of this view is to explicitly represent each agent’s assumptions in a given situation and update them accordingly when new information is accepted. I lay out a number of philosophical and linguistic requirements for using such a model in order to describe communication of ideally-rational agents. In particular,the following questions are addressed: -/- 1. (...) What is the logical status of assumptions as opposed to rational belief, how are these assumptions generated from an underlying belief base in a given interpretation situation,and how are assumptions revised/contracted? -/- 2.What kind of ideal reasoning processes underly the interpretation of ‘incomplete’ content that may for example be obtained by an agent from an utterance by deriving some literal meaning from the lexicon and a grammar? -/- Regarding the first set of questions, my proposal is to consider assumptions akin to rational belief, but not stronger than modal logic KD, since positive and negative introspection do not seem to hold for them.Given that, an obvious question is what the relation between beliefs and assumptions is. One possible answer is to generate an agent’s assumptions from an agent’s beliefs in a given interpretation situation by revising his beliefs with his beliefs about what the message sender believes in that situation. If such an account is based on AGM belief revision/contraction(Alchourrón 1985, Gärdenfors 1989)there is a number of well-known problems that need to be addressed, because revision of iterated belief modalities is required in this case. These problems have already been investigated in detail in recent works on DDL Leitgeb/Segerberg 2007)and DEL see e.g. Ditmarsch et. (2008) Another strategy would be to maintain and revise assumptions independently of the beliefs of an agent.I will briefly discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of these views. In both views, assumptions constitute the subjective context in which an agent interprets an utterance and encounters the world. The result of an interpretation is in turn checked against the agent’s original beliefs, and if the checking operation succeeds the agent revises his beliefs by the result in the normal way described by the AGM paradigm. -/- The second of the above questions needs to be addressed on the basis of concrete examples. Considering utterance like David is ready’ or ‘John is tall’that from a contextualist viewpoint express semantically incomplete content in the sense of Bach(2005, 2007, how may an agent arrive at interpretations of these utterances that are more complete? A first step is to presume that missing semantic ingredients are represented by missing argument places, which is a problematic assumption as it introduces a dependence on the semantic representation language. Given that, a default interpretation can be obtained by existentially quantifying over the missing argument and interpretation can then be regarded as an inference process. In case of the two examples mentioned,the assumptions of the agent allow him to obtain more specific readings by instantiating a value for the existentially bound variable.<span class='Hi'></span> As I will show,<span class='Hi'></span> this inference can be relatively straightforward in some cases like <span class='Hi'></span>‘John is tall’<span class='Hi'></span>, whereas it requires complicated encyclopedic background knowledge and a number of default reasoning steps in other cases.<span class='Hi'></span> -/- Based on more examples of this kind,<span class='Hi'></span> I argue that first,<span class='Hi'></span> belief revision with iterated modalities in a multi-agent setting is needed to generate an agent’s assumptions as laid out above.<span class='Hi'></span> Second,<span class='Hi'></span> default reasoning is needed.<span class='Hi'></span> Third,<span class='Hi'></span> a qualitative or quantitative representation of uncertainty <span class='Hi'></span>(‘degrees of belief’<span class='Hi'></span>) is needed in order to obtain a useful model of the checking step,<span class='Hi'></span> since fortunately not everybody believes everything that other people say.<span class='Hi'></span> These requirements put the theory of interpretation based on assumptions in the frontline of ongoing research on the implementation of belief revision and update in dynamic logics.<span class='Hi'></span> Such a theory might also be useful for contextualist accounts of strong knowledge,<span class='Hi'></span> as it can be argued convincingly that when a knowledge ascription appears to be context-sensitive,<span class='Hi'></span> this is so because the embedded proposition is context-sensitive and not because knowledge itself is context-sensitive.<span class='Hi'></span> Hence,the context-sensitivity of embedded propositions in knowledge claims and how different agents in the same situation arrive at different assessments about them may be explained by an inferential theory of interpretation similar to the one outlined here but with another underlying concept of assumptions.<span class='Hi'></span> -/- Literature <span class='Hi'></span> Alchourrón,<span class='Hi'></span> C.<span class='Hi'></span> E.<span class='Hi'></span>; Gärdenfors,<span class='Hi'></span> P.<span class='Hi'></span> &<span class='Hi'></span> Makinson,<span class='Hi'></span> D.<span class='Hi'></span> (1985)<span class='Hi'></span>, <span class='Hi'></span>'On the logic of theory change:<span class='Hi'></span> partial meet contraction and revision functions'<span class='Hi'></span>, Journal of Symbolic Logic(50)<span class='Hi'></span>, 510-530.<span class='Hi'></span> -/- Bach,<span class='Hi'></span> K.<span class='Hi'></span> (2007)<span class='Hi'></span>, <span class='Hi'></span>'Minimalism for Dummies:<span class='Hi'></span> Reply to Cappelen and Lepore'<span class='Hi'></span>, Technical report,<span class='Hi'></span> University of San Fransisco,<span class='Hi'></span> Department of Philosophy.<span class='Hi'></span> -/- Bach,<span class='Hi'></span> K.<span class='Hi'></span> (2005)<span class='Hi'></span>, Context ex Machina,<span class='Hi'></span> in án Gendler Szabó,<span class='Hi'></span> ed.<span class='Hi'></span>,'Semantics versus Pragmatics'<span class='Hi'></span>, Oxford UP,<span class='Hi'></span> Oxford,<span class='Hi'></span> pp.<span class='Hi'></span> 16-44.<span class='Hi'></span> -/- Ditmarsch,<span class='Hi'></span> H.<span class='Hi'></span> v.<span class='Hi'></span>; Hoek,<span class='Hi'></span> W.<span class='Hi'></span> v.<span class='Hi'></span> d.<span class='Hi'></span> &<span class='Hi'></span> Kooi,<span class='Hi'></span> B.<span class='Hi'></span> (2008)<span class='Hi'></span>, Dynamic Epistemic Logic,<span class='Hi'></span> Kluwer.<span class='Hi'></span> -/- Gärdenfors,<span class='Hi'></span> P.<span class='Hi'></span> (1988)<span class='Hi'></span>, Knowledge in Flux,<span class='Hi'></span> MIT Press.<span class='Hi'></span> -/- Leitgeb,<span class='Hi'></span> H.<span class='Hi'></span> &<span class='Hi'></span> Segerberg,<span class='Hi'></span> K.<span class='Hi'></span> (2007)<span class='Hi'></span>, <span class='Hi'></span>'Dynamic doxastic logic:<span class='Hi'></span> why,<span class='Hi'></span> how,<span class='Hi'></span> and where to?<span class='Hi'></span>',<span class='Hi'></span> Synthese155(2)<span class='Hi'></span>, 167-190.<span class='Hi'></span> -/- Stalnaker,<span class='Hi'></span> R.<span class='Hi'></span> (1978)<span class='Hi'></span>, Assertion,<span class='Hi'></span> in <span class='Hi'></span>. Cole,<span class='Hi'></span> ed.<span class='Hi'></span>,'Pragmatics'<span class='Hi'></span>, Academic Press,<span class='Hi'></span> New York,<span class='Hi'></span> pp.<span class='Hi'></span> 315-332.<span class='Hi'></span> -/- Stalnaker,<span class='Hi'></span> R.<span class='Hi'></span> (2002)<span class='Hi'></span>, <span class='Hi'></span>'Common Ground'<span class='Hi'></span>, Linguistics and Philosophy25(5-6)<span class='Hi'></span>, 701-<span class='Hi'></span>-721.<span class='Hi'></span> -/- . (shrink)
David Hume's relatively short essay 'Of the Standard of Taste' deals with some of the most difficult issues in aesthetic theory. Apart from giving a few pregnant remarks, near the end of his discussion, on the role of morality in aesthetic evaluation, Hume tries to reconcile the idea that tastes are subjective (in the sense of not being answerable to the facts) with the idea that some objects of taste are better than others. 'Tastes', in this context, are the pleasures (...) or displeasures that a person can take in the beauties of poems, paintings, and other artistic compositions (though Hume also wants to stress the continuities between tastes, so understood, and the bodily sense of taste). The position at which Hume arrives in the essay (despite some dialectical unclarity) is that some people – the 'true judges'– determine by their 'joint verdict' which works are meritorious. This solution continues to exercise a fascination, as does Hume's complicated route to it. Author Recommends: Paul Guyer, 'The Standard of Taste and the "Most Ardent Desire of Society" ', Values of Beauty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 37–76. This paper places 'Of the Standard of Taste' in an especially rich context, and asks why Hume concentrates on true judges instead of the improvement of one's own taste. Mary Mothersill, 'Hume: "Of the Standard of Taste" ', Beauty Restored (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), 177–208. This chapter, embedded in an exposition of Mothersill's 'First Thesis' (the denial that there are principles of taste) and 'Second Thesis' (the affirmation that some judgments of taste are genuine judgments), gives a detailed running commentary on Hume's essay. A shorter self-contained version of the chapter appeared as 'Hume and the Paradox of Taste' in Aesthetics: A Critical Anthology , 2nd ed., eds. George Dickie, Richard Sclafani, and Ronald Roblin (New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1989, 269–86). Jerrold Levinson, 'Hume's Standard of Taste: The Real Problem', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (2002): 227–38. An importance recent article, Levinson's piece argues that the 'real' difficulty with Hume's essay has gone unnoticed: why should I care about what Hume's true judges think? Christopher Williams, 'Some Questions in Hume's Aesthetics', Philosophy Compass 2/2 (2007). This article provides a brief overview of the topics discussed under weeks 3–5 in the sample syllabus below. It is intended to provide a roadmap for the particular set of readings listed there. David Wiggins, 'A Sensible Subjectivism?', Needs, Values, and Truth , 3rd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 185–214. This is a stimulating paper in moral philosophy that treats Hume's essay on taste as a model for a serious subjectivism. Wiggins then presents his own brand of subjectivism as an alternative to Hume's. Online Materials: Hume's Aesthetics (Ted Gracyk): http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume-aesthetics/ Sample Syllabus: Recommended background reading on Hume's historical context: Peter Kivy, The Seventh Sense: Francis Hutcheson and Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics , 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), especially Part III. Recommended background reading on the general topic of taste: David A. Whewell, 'Taste', Blackwell Companion to Aesthetics (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), 415–18. Dabney Townsend and Carolyn Korsmeyer, 'Taste', Encyclopedia of Aesthetics , ed. Michael Kelly (New York, NY and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 4:355–62. Ted Cohen, 'The Philosophy of Taste: Thoughts on the Idea', Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics , ed. Peter Kivy (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), 167–73. Week 1: Hume on beauty, art, and aesthetic judgment in the Treatise of Human Nature and the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals The following references are usable for any complete edition of the Treatise or Enquiry Treatise , 2.1.8 ('Of Beauty and Deformity') Treatise , 2.2.5 ('Of Our Esteem for the Rich and Powerful') Treatise , 2.2.8 ('Of Malice and Envy'), final three paragraphs Treatise , 2.2.11 ('Of the Amorous Passion, or Love Betwixt the Sexes') Treatise , 3.1.2 ('Moral Distinctions Deriv'd from a Moral Sense') Treatise , 3.3.1 ('Of the Origin of the Natural Virtues') Treatise , 3.3.5 ('Some Farther Reflexions Concerning the Natural Virtues') Enquiry , Appendix 1 ('Of moral sentiment') Week 2: Hume's essays Essays Moral, Political, and Literary , ed. Eugene Miller (Indianapolis, IN: LibertyClassics, 1985) is the most commonly used edition today. 'Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion' 'Of Eloquence' 'Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences' 'Of Simplicity and Refinement in Writing' 'Of Tragedy' 'Of the Standard of Taste' Week 3: Circularity–Virtuous or Vicious? Peter Kivy, 'Hume's Standard of Taste: Breaking the Circle', British Journal of Aesthetics (1967): 57–66. David Wiggins, 'A Sensible Subjectivism?', Needs, Values, and Truth , 3rd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 185–214. Week 4: Rules of Art Mary Mothersill, 'Hume: "Of the Standard of Taste" ', Beauty Restored (Oxford: Clarendon, 1984), 177–208. James Shelley, 'Hume's Double Standard of Taste', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (1994): 437–45. Nick Zangwill, 'Hume, Taste, and Teleology', The Metaphysics of Beauty (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001), 149–65. Week 5: The True Judge Malcolm Budd, 'Hume and Kant', 'Hume's Standard of Taste', 'Hume and Human Nature', Values of Art (London: Allen Lane, 1995), 16–24 . Paul Guyer, 'The Standard of Taste and the "Most Ardent Desire of Society" ', Values of Beauty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 37–76. Jerrold Levinson, 'Hume's Standard of Taste: The Real Problem', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (2002): 227–38. Week 6: Moralism in Aesthetic Judgment: Hume and Beyond Kendall Walton, 'Morals in Fiction and Fictional Morality', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (1994): 27–50. Richard Moran, 'The Expression of Feeling in Imagination', Philosophical Review (1994): 75–106. Tamar Szabo-Gendler, 'The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance', Journal of Philosophy (2000): 55–81. Focus Questions 1. How does Hume distinguish between matters of 'fact' and 'sentiment'? 2. What is a 'rule of art', and are there any rules? 3. Can a bad critic be 'silenced'? 4. What are the characteristics of good critics? 5. Should we expect good critics to agree on the merits of a work, and should I care about becoming a good critic myself? 6. Is it possible to distinguish variations in taste for which we should expect a standard and variations for which it is 'vain' to have such an expectation? 7. How is the excellence of a work related to the exercise of taste? 8. If a work of literature has a moral outlook that differs from our own, should we consider the work defective on literary grounds? (shrink)
Most philosophers writing on the imagination have insisted that we cannot gain knowledge by relying on imagining – in contrast, say, to perception or inference – as our source of knowledge. Their doubts have not concerned the widely acknowledged fact that imagining a situation may help or enable us to acquire certain pieces of knowledge – for instance, when we visualise geometrical figures or patterns of numbers to come to know mathematical facts (cf. Giaquinto (1992) and (2007)), or when we (...) engage in thought experiments or other imaginative projects to gain philosophical knowledge (cf. Gendler (2000), and Gendler & Hawthorne (2002)). Instead, what is traditionally rejected is the idea that mental episodes of imagining can ground or constitute knowledge in the same way in which episodes of perceiving, remembering or judging can do so.1.. (shrink)
This article is a discussion of Hume's maxim Nothing we imagine is absolutely impossible. First I explain this maxim and distinguish it from the principle Whatever cannot be imagined (conceived), is impossible. Next I argue that Thomas Reid's criticism of the maxim fails and that the arguments by Tamar Szábo Gendler and John Hawthorne for the claim that "it is uncontroversial that there are cases where we are misled" by the maxim are unconvincing. Finally I state the limited but (...) real value of the maxim: it does help us, in certain cases, reliably to make up our minds. Along the way I show that Reid, his criticism of the maxim notwithstanding, actually employs it, and I furthermore argue that the principle What is inconceivable, is impossible is spurious. (shrink)
We defend the view that belief is a psychological category against a recent attempt to recast it as a normative one. Tamar Gendler has argued that to properly understand how beliefs function in the regulation and production of action, we need to contrast beliefs with a class of psychological states and processes she calls “aliefs.” We agree with Gendler that affective states as well as habits and instincts deserve more attention than they receive in the contemporary philosophical psychology (...) literature. But we argue that it is a serious error to align beliefs with the norm of rationality, while building a contrasting category whose members are characterized primarily by their failure to measure up to that normative standard, since these latter ones cannot constitute a distinct psychological category. First, we demonstrate that Gendler gets unwarranted conclusions about the existence of aliefs from belief-discordant cases. Next, we argue that the concept of alief is insufficiently clear. Aliefs cannot be distinguished from other types of states, such as beliefs. Also, when grouping many states under the category of aliefs, Gendler overlooks important differences between phenomena that are clearly distinct, such as habits and instincts. Aliefs simply do not constitute a legitimate psychological category. (shrink)
Philosophers and linguists alike tend to call a semantic theory ‘Russellian’ just in case it assigns to sentences in which definite descriptions occur the truth-conditions Russell did in ‘On Denoting’. This is unfortunate; not all aspects of those particular truth-conditions do explanatory work in Russell's writings. As far as the semantics of descriptions is concerned, the key insights of ‘On Denoting’ are that definite descriptions are not uniformly referring expressions, and that they are scope-bearing elements. Anyone who accepts these two (...) claims can account for Russell's puzzle cases the way he did. Russell had no substantive argument for the claim that ‘The F is G’ entails ‘There is at most one F’; in fact, he had important misgivings about it. I outline an argument against this claim, and I argue that by holding on to uniqueness contemporary semanticists make a momentous mistake: they keep the illusion alive that there is a way to account for linguistic meaning without addressing what linguistic expressions are for. (shrink)
The big philosophical questions about modality are metaphysical and epistemic: What are the truth-makers for our modal judgments? What justifies our modal judgments? These two questions are notoriously problematic.¹ What fact could make it true that blue swans are possible? And, assuming there is such a fact, what justifies our belief in that fact? Few philosophers think that there are easy answers here (see e.g. Gendler and Hawthorne 2002). Indeed, one might regard modal realism—the view that there exist infinitely (...) many possible worlds (Lewis 1986)—as revealing the depth of philosophical desperation over modality. (shrink)
There has been a surge of interest over cases where a subject sincerely endorses P while displaying discordant strains of not-P in her behaviour and emotion. Cases like this are telling because they bear directly upon conditions under which belief should be ascribed. Are beliefs to be aligned with what we sincerely endorse or with what we do and feel? If belief doesn’t explain the discordant strains, what does? T.S. Gendler has recently attempted to explain all the discordances by (...) introducing a controversial new cognitive category—associative clusters called ‘alief’. Others think that belief explains all the discordancy cases, while others argue that in-between belief does the trick, and so on. Most advocates of the different positions, indeed, assume that their favoured analysis will explain the whole range of discordancy cases. This paper defends what I call the ‘contextual view’, where I argue that overturning this assumption of uniformity leads to more nuanced account of belief-ascription. On the contextual view, which analysis applies to which case depends on the discordancy case at hand. Perhaps a height-phobic stepping on a glass platform deserves different treatment to a hesitant stepper. I ground the contextual view in a biologically functional account of the alief/belief distinction, which construes alief as a real cognitive category but without the explanatory reach Gendler gives it. This functional distinction yields a principled strategy for determining the correct application of analysis to discordancy case. (shrink)