This essay explores whether, and how, genealogy might remain critical within anti-foundationalist philosophical contexts. While adherents of genealogy often presume that genealogy simply is inherently critical in any context, adherents of historicized forms of anti-foundationalist philosophy might rightly wonder whether genealogy can continue to serve any critical purpose whatsoever. Is genealogy a form of historical inquiry that can be done away with once a shift has been made towards historicized forms of anti-foundationalist philosophy? Why continue to do genealogies once certain (...) generalizeable insights have been learned from genealogy? This essay argues that there remains a critical role for genealogy, understood as a particular form of historical inquiry, within anti-foundationalist modes of reasoning. By exploring this critical role for genealogy, our understanding of anti-foundationalist modes of reasoning is enriched, and some clarity is gained into the philosophical foundations of genealogical critique. (shrink)
Introduction -- Descartes : purging the mind of childish ways -- Locke and Leibniz : understanding children -- Locke : children's language and the fate of changelings -- Leibniz : against infant damnation -- Wolff : the inferiority of childhood -- Baumgarten : childhood and the analogue of reason.
We enter this energetic debate over causes and consequences of workaholism using autoethnography. Our main contribution is to explore when our autoethnographies of workaholism experiences is narrative, and when it is expressive, living story. The difference in narrative is a re-presentation (following representationalism of a sensory remembrance), where as living story is a matter of reflexivity upon the fragile nature of our life world. We began through analysis of workaholism narratives in our own academic lives, and in the movies of (...) popular culture, the influence of a particular meta-narrative – that of the American Dream. We proceed to juxtapose our own living stories in their struggle with those American Dream narratives. (shrink)
Humphreys and Forde argue that semantic memory is divided into separate substores for different kinds of information. However, the neuro-imaging results cited in support of this view are inconsistent and often methodologically and statistically unreliable. Our own data indicate no regional specialisation as a function of semantic category or domain and support instead a distributed unitary account.
Henrich et al.'s nice cross-cultural experiments would benefit from models that specify the decision rules that humans use and the specific developmental pathways that allow cooperative norms to be internalized. Such models could help researchers to design further experiments to examine human social adaptations. We must also test whether the “same” experiments measure similar constructs in each culture, using additional methods and measures.
This Savonarola of our century can fill a hall at the drop of a leaflet. But where the inflammatory friar of Florence was silenced by hanging and roasting at the stake, Chomsky's punishment is to be consigned to media oblivion in his own land.
Although Pessoa, Teller & Noë make excellent points concerning the need for a mechanism of filling-in, they throw out the baby of neural specificity with the bathwater of isomorphism and the homuncular observer. The core act of perception is sensory processing by a stationary observer and does not require overt behavioral interaction with the environment. The complexity of intracortical interconnectivity does not preclude local specificity in the representation of higher-order stimulus properties.
The question of whether externalism about mental content is compatible with privileged access is a question of ongoing concern within philosophy of mind. Some philosophers think that Tyler Burge's early work on what he calls "basic self-knowledge" shows that externalism and privileged access are compatible. I critically assess this claim, arguing that Burge's work does not establish the compatbility thesis.
In Burge 2005, Tyler Burge reads disjunctivism as the denial that there are explanatorily relevant states in common between veridical perceptions and corresponding illusions. He rejects the position as plainly inconsistent with what is known about perception. I describe a disjunctive approach to perceptual experience that is immune to Burge's attack. The main positive moral concerns how to think about fallibility.
Tyler Burge has argued that one has an a priori prima facie entitlement to believe in the truth of what one takes to have been presented as true by an interlocutor. This thesis, however, is problematic, since the alleged a priori prima facie entitlement to believe in the truth of our seeming understanding of things presented as true to us, rests on the possibility of determining assertoric force on a purely intellectual basis. This thesis is not plausible and Burge's (...) analogy from memory does not support it. Two routes for defending Burge's thesis of the a priori prima facie entitlement to believe in the truth of what has been asserted can be identified: the Transcendental Route and the Intrinsic Rationality Route. David Lewis' account of linguistic convention would serve as a transcendental argument for the a priori prima facie entitlement to believe in the truth of what has been asserted, but flaws in Lewis' theory leave us deprived of any good transcendental argument for such an entitlement. The Intrinsic Rationality Route is in better standing, but we have yet to see an argument for why we should resort to that measure. (shrink)
Tyler Burge presents a collection of his seminal essays on Gottlob Frege (1848-1925), who has a strong claim to be seen as the founder of modern analytic philosophy, and whose work remains at the centre of philosophical debate today. Truth, Thought, Reason gathers some of Burge's most influential work from the last twenty-five years, and also features important new material, including a substantial introduction and postscripts to four of the ten papers. It will be an essential resource for any (...) historian of modern philosophy, and for anyone working on philosophy of language, epistemology, or philosophical logic. (shrink)
Several authors have argued that, assuming we have apriori knowledge of our own thought-contents, semantic externalism implies that we can know apriori contingent facts about the empirical world. After presenting the argument, I shall respond by resisting the premise that an externalist can know apriori: If s/he has the concept water, then water exists. In particular, Boghossian's Dry Earth example suggests that such thought-experiments do not provide such apriori knowledge. Boghossian himself rejects the Dry Earth experiment, however, since it would (...) imply that externalism is true of empty concepts as well as non-empty concepts. Yet in this paper I respond by defending empty-concept externalism, from criticisms suggested by Boghossian and Brown, and recently developed further by Besson. My contention is that an externalist can give a non-ad hoc descriptivist account of empty concepts. Accordingly, apriori self-knowledge does not enable an externalist to know contingent features of the external world. (shrink)
According to the expressive theory of communication, the primary function of language is to enable speakers to convey the content of their thoughts to hearers. According to Tyler Burge's social externalism, the content of a person's thought is relative to the way words are used in his or her surrounding linguistic community. This paper argues that Burge's social externalism refutes the expressive theory of communication.
Some worry that semantic externalism is incompatible with knowing by introspection what content your thoughts have. In this paper, I examine one primary argument for this incompatibilist worry, the slow-switch argument. Following Goldberg (2006), I construe the argument as attacking the conjunction of externalism and skeptic-proof knowledge of content, where such knowledge would be immune to skeptical doubt. Goldberg, following Burge (1988), attempts to reclaim such knowledge for the externalist; however, I contend that all Burge-style accounts (at best) vindicate that (...) a subject can introspectively know that she is thinking that “water is wet.” They do not yet show how a subject can introspectively know what she is thinking—which is the distinctive type of knowing at issue in the slow-switch argument. Nonetheless, I subsequently amend the Burge-style view to illustrate how an externalist can introspectively “know what” content her thought has, and know it in a skeptic-proof manner, despite what the slow-switch argument may suggest. For one, I emphasize that “knowing what” is intensional (one can know what a water-thought is sans familiarity with H2O-thoughts). Second, I exploit the fact that such knowledge can be ontologically non-committal (so that knowing your thought is about water does not require knowing that water exists). Finally, following Boër and Lycan (1986), I point out that “knowing what” is purpose-relative—and for at least some purposes, I suggest it is possible for the externalist to “know what” content her thought has, even when skeptical hypotheses about XYZ are entertained. (shrink)
Externalism1 is the thesis that some propositional attitudes depend for their individuation on features of the thinker’s (social and/or physical) environment. The doctrine of self-knowledge of thoughts is the thesis that for all thinkers S and occurrent thoughts that p, S has authoritative and non-empirical knowledge of her thought that p. A much-discussed question in the literature is whether these two doctrines are compatible. In this paper I attempt to respond to one argument for an incompatibilist conclusion, Boghossian’s 1989 ‘Memory (...) Argument.’. (shrink)
Tyler Burge presents a substantial, original study of what it is for individuals to represent the physical world with the most primitive sort of objectivity. By reflecting on the science of perception and related psychological and biological sciences, he gives an account of constitutive conditions for perceiving the physical world, and thus aims to locate origins of representational mind. Origins of Objectivity illuminates several long-standing, central issues in philosophy, and provides a wide-ranging account of relations between human and animal (...) psychologies. (shrink)
Los Angeles Times, “Style and Culture: The joy of thinking globally; Art and commerce enrich each other, says an economist happily obsessed with what he sees as the virtues of modern culture,” profile, 7 February 2003, the link is on my home page http://www.gmu.edu/jbc/Tyler/.
A central preoccupation of philosophy in the twentieth century was to determine constitutive conditions under which accurate (objective) empirical representation of the macrophysical environment is possible. A view that dominated attitudes on this project maintained that an individual cannot empirically represent a physical subject matter as having specific physical characteristics unless the individual can represent some constitutive conditions under which such representation is possible. The version of this view that dominated the century's second half maintained that objective empirical representation of (...) the physical environment requires the individual to be able to supplement this representation with representation of general constitutive features of objectivity. This essay criticizes instances of this version in P. F. Strawson and Quine. It maintains that all versions of the position postulate conditions on objective empirical representation that are more intellectual than are warranted. Such views leave it doubtful that animals and human infants perceptually represent elements in the physical environment. By appeal to common sense and to empirical perceptual psychology, this essay argues that unaided perception yields objective representation of the macrophysical environment. It does so in prelinguistic animals, even in animals that almost surely lack propositional attitudes. The essay concludes with explications of nondeflationary conceptions of representation and perception. It distinguishes nonperceptual sensing from perceptual representation and explicates perceptual representation as a type of objective sensory representation. Objectivity is marked by perceptual constancies. Representation is marked by a nontrivial role for veridicality conditions in explanations of the relevant states. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Technorati What's this? (shrink)
This essay is a long one. It is not meant to be read in a single sitting. Its structure is as follows. In section I, I explicate perceptual anti-individualism. Section II centers on the two aspects of the representational content of perceptual states. Sections III and IV concern the nature of the empirical psychology of vision, and its bearing on the individuation of perceptual states. Section V shows how what is known from empirical psychology undermines disjunctivism and hence certain further (...) views that entail it, including naive realism. In Section VI, I raise a further point against disjunctivism. Section VII indicates how general reflection on perceptual perspective and epistemic ability supports the constraints from empirical psychology. It also explains how reflection on veridicality conditions, psychological explanation, and cognitive ability conspire to force recognition of the two kinds of representation mentioned in the preceding paragraph. In the Appendix, I criticize attempts to support disjunctivism. (shrink)
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A central question, if not the central question, of philosophy of perception is whether sensory states have a nature similar to thoughts about the world, whether they are essentially representational. According to the content view, at least some of our sensory states are, at their core, representations with contents that are either accurate or inaccurate. Tyler Burge’s Origins of Objectivity is the most sustained and sophisticated defense of the content view to date. His defense of the view is problematic (...) in several ways. The most significant problem is that his approach does not sit well with mainstream perceptual psychology. (shrink)
The view that logic is true independently of a subject matter is criticized—enlarging on Quine's criticisms and adding further ones. It is then argued apriori that full reflective understanding of logic and deductive reasoning requires substantial commitment to mathematical entities. It is emphasized that the objectively apriori connections between deductive reasoning and commitment to mathematics need not be accepted by or even comprehensible to a given deductive reasoner. The relevant connections emerged only slowly in the history of logic. But they (...) can be recognized retrospectively as implicit in logic and deductive reasoning. The paper concludes with discussion of the relevance of its main argument to Kant's question—how is apriori knowledge of a subject matter possible? (shrink)
Tyler Burge convinced us that names are predicates in at least some of their occurrences: -/- There are relatively few Alfreds in Princeton. -/- Names, when predicates, satisfy the being-called condition: schematically, a name "N" is true of a thing just in case that thing is called N. This paper defends the unified view that names are predicates in all of their occurrences. I follow Clarence Sloat, Paul Elbourne, and Ora Matushansky in saying that when a name seems to (...) occur bare in an argument position of a predicate, it is really occurring in the predicate position of a definite description with an unpronounced "the". I call these "denuded definite descriptions". There are good linguistic reasons for defending the denuded-definites view. For example, it explains why "the" cannot be dropped in a sentence like the following: -/- The ever-popular Bill will be speaking this afternoon; The taller Maria is downstairs. -/- The definite article occuring before a name doesn't get pronounced when it's right next to the name. In technical terms, it gets smushed together with it. But the smushing can't happen when another phrase intervenes. The view survives philosophical objections. Denuded definite descriptions with names are incomplete definite descriptions since most names have mutliple bearers. Incomplete definite descriptions are in general rigid, though. So the view survives Kripke's modal argument. (shrink)