I think that one of the main objections to be made to Ayer's verifiability criterion is simply the mechanical way in which it is designed to work: supposedly, a philosopher need not study, for example, how religious assertions are used, nor what sorts of illumination their users take themselves to be shedding on the human condition; instead, Ayer imagines that we can test them in a simple way that requires us to do no exploration whatever. This, surely, is hubris; and (...) that accounts for much of the very angry and passionate reaction which Ayer's criterion provoked. (shrink)
ESCARTES was born at the end of the sixteenth century, a time of enormous changes in the western intellectual world, largely brought about by the Reformation. Luther had denied the Church's authority to settle disputes on matters of faith: it was, he had insisted, the Scriptures alone which carry authority; pronouncements of the church, even those with long tradition behind them, were mere opinion, not truth. And so the question was explicitly raised and debated, how does one..
I think that van Inwagen's argument is invalid because it equivocates on the modal auxiliaries. To give a quick idea of what I think has gone wrong, consider for comparison two arguments which are transparently invalid, though they superficially resemble Modus Tollens arguments: (a) If Lincoln was honest, he couldn't have pocketed the penny (such taking being dishonest). (b) But it is false that Lincoln could not have pocketed the penny: after all, he was not paralyzed and did not fail (...) to realize that the penny was (slightly) valuable and would be his for the taking. (c) Therefore, Lincoln was not honest. (a') If determinism is correct, then if various past events had occurred earlier, the judge could not have raised his hand at the time of the execution (since doing so would be inconsistent with the behavior issuing from and predictable from those earlier events). (b') But it is false that the judge could not have raised his hand at the time of the execution: for he was not paralyzed or unconscious-- he certainly possessed the power to move his hand. (c') Therefore, since the various past events did occur earlier, determinism is not correct. (shrink)
A LTHOUGH the notion of a Form is important to Plato's theory, it is difficult to understand what these Forms are supposed to be and why Plato is convinced they exist. So I'll try, first, to help you make sense out of the doctrine of the Forms. Then I will try to show that this abstract doctrine is responsible for some concrete implications.
The term 'explicatum' has been suggested by the following two usages. Kant calls a judgment explicative if the predicate is obtained by analysis, of the subject. Husserl, in speaking about the synthesis of identification between a confused, nonarticulated sense and a subsequently intended distinct, articulated sense, calls the latter the 'Explikat' of the former. (For both uses see Dictionary Of Philosophy , ed. D. Runes, p. 105). What I mean by 'explicandum' and 'explicatum' is to some extent similar to what (...) C. H. Langford calls 'analysandum' and 'analysans': "the analysis then states an appropriate relation of equivalence between the analysandum and the analysans" ("The notion of analysis in Moore's philosophy", in The Philosophy of G. E. Moore , ed. P. A. Schilpp, pp. 321-42; see p. 323); he says that the motive of an analysis "is usually that of supplanting a relatively vague idea by a more precise one" (ibid., p. 329). (shrink)
Consider Dretske's measles example (from page 74 in his Knowldege and the Flow of Information (MIT/Bradford: 1981) ): since the question of whether Alice's being one of Herman's children carries the information that she has the measles is a question about conditional probabilities, we must be careful about our specification of the condition, the antecedent. Although we are to suppose that it is a true generalization that all of Herman's children have the measles, since that is a coincidence, we can (...) just as well suppose that Alice is an only child with the measles. It is of course true that the conditional probability of Alice's having measles given that she has the measles is 1; but that is not relevant to the question Dretske raises. In Dretske's example, the question is whether Alice's being Herman's child carries the information that she has measles. And so the relevant condition in this example is simply Alice's being Herman's child. While it is in fact true that Alice has the measles, that isn't part of the condition: for the question is, "how probable is the one state of affairs given some other state of affairs,". (shrink)
To begin with, we need to separate off the easy talk of “rights” in which they seem automatically to correspond with a person’s duties or obligations. It is of course true that since I have a duty not to wreak murder or mayhem on you, you have the corresponding right that I not do these things. But so far, the talk of “rights” is simply an alternative way to speak of someone else’s duties; the special or unique point to a (...) “right” would seem to be that it places in its possessor’s hands the power to decide whether another person’s obligation toward him may be waived or not. I wouldn’t be able to waive my right to your not murdering me; although I could waive your right to be extraordinarily careful not to cause me harm—as I imagine boxers do (within the limits of the agreed-upon rules) or patients do who will be subjected to experimental therapies and sign consent forms or skydivers do who agree to be dropped from planes at high altitudes. A right places a constraint on the corresponding obligation. (shrink)
Note on the tables: The agents represented by the rows and by the columns are choosing simultaneously and independently; each square represents the outcome of such a pair of choices. Column-chooser's payoff is shown in the top-right portion of a square; Row-chooser's payoff is shown in the bottom-left portion of a square. Each chooser knows what the payoffs would be for each set of concurrent choices and knows that the other chooser also knows. Because an outcome depends upon the combination (...) of choices, each chooser must anticipate what the other will choose given that other person's likely anticipation of what the first chooser will do. (shrink)
By a `denoting phrase' I mean a phrase such as any one of the following: a man, some man, any man, every man, all men, the present King of England, the presenting King of France, the center of mass of the solar system at the first instant of the twentieth century, the revolution of the earth round the sun, the revolution of the sun round the earth. Thus a phrase is denoting solely in virtue of its..
In the sketch of his (discontinuous) envelope argument in his Some Main Problems of Philosophy (Macmillan: 1953), Moore treats the various phrases, "appears to be," "appears like a thing would appear if it were presented in a certain way," as though they were synonymous. Austin, in the fourth chapter of his Sense and Sensibilia (Oxford: 1962), tries to call to our attention the fact that these philosophically favorite phrases are not interchangeable; as a result, if an argument is begun by (...) using one phrase and then a different one is substituted without argument, the person equivocates and the argument fails. (shrink)
You are all, I trust, looking at the envelope I am holding up. Everybody see it? (Affirmative murmur from class.) Fine! Now you people to my left, notice that what you see is not strictly rectangular: it is trapezoidal. If you were an artist, you would draw what you see after this manner: (he draws trapezoid whose right, vertical side is longer than its left vertical side). (Murmur of approval for artistic talent.) Yet the people to my right will notice (...) that what they see is not rectangular either; nor is it exactly like the trapezoid which I have just drawn. Rather, what you see is like this: (he draws a mirror image of the first figure, having a taller left vertical side and a shorter right vertical side). (shrink)
The Scylla and Charybdis of institutions of cooperative enterprises are the potential for free riders, on the one hand, and the fact that some people may not value certain public goods. If we go to the one side, we encourage people who do value the public goods but whom cannot be excluded from enjoying them, to refuse to pay their share of the costs of providing them; if we go to the other side and force everyone to pay for them, (...) we make people who do not value the public goods subsidize those who do and who perhaps have gained special control over the agenda of selecting which public goods are to be required. (shrink)
O SET THE STAGE for the discussion, I will rehearse and clarify a well-known dispute between A. J. Ayer and J. L. Austin concerning whether perceptual judgments are inferences. Both in his Sense and Sensibilia and in his "Other Minds," Austin carefully distinguishes recognizing that p from inferring that p. For the purpose of comparing his position to Ayer's, we might put his basic claim in this way: given the way words such as "recognize" and "infer" are used outside philosophical (...) discussions, one clearly distinguishes instances of recognizing from instances of inferring. Yet Ayer does not dispute that, but replies that while non-philosophers do make a sharp distinction between the two, it is arbitrary for philosophical purposes. Claims based upon one's having recognized something are sufficiently like claims based upon one's having inferred, Ayer supposes, that it is useful to treat them as instances of a common category. So the issue is not whether the distinction is recognized outside philosophical circles, but whether it is a defensible and useful one to make. Clearly, Austin insists upon the distinction because he supposes that failing to make it will promote philosophical confusion; indeed, he argues that one traditional problem of skepticism is largely due to this confusion. In his "Other Minds," Austin tries to suggest how recognizing differs from inferring by showing how the sorts of questions or challenges brought to bear differ between the two sorts of claim: for inferences, one wants a rehearsal of the pieces of evidence and an account of their connections to the judgment; for perceptual claims of recognition, one explores whether the observer had the opportunity to see what he claimed to have seen, whether he had acquired the expertise to recognize the sort of thing he claimed to have seen, and whether the circumstances were free of evident distraction and defect. But his readers' appreciation of these things depends. (shrink)
Since the most promising path to a solution to the problem of skepticism regarding perceptual knowledge seems to rest on a sharp distinction between perceiving and inferring, I begin by clarifying and defending that distinction. Next, I discuss the chief obstacle to success by this path, the difficulty in making the required distinction between merely logical possibilities that one is mistaken and the real (Austin) or relevant (Dretske) possibilities which would exclude knowledge. I argue that this distinction cannot be drawn (...) in the ways Austin and Dretske suggest without begging the questions at issue. Finally, I sketch and defend a more radical way of identifying relevant possibilities that is inspired by Austin's controversial suggestion of a parallel between saying I know and saying I promise: a claim of knowledge of some particular matter is relative to a context in which questions about the matter have been raised. (shrink)
Malcolm; but the sharp attacks in the last decade on Malcolm's assumptions have led some philosophers to suppose that Descartes' dreaming problem is a cogent support for scepticism.  In this paper, I hope to dispose of the problem without using controversial assumptions of the sort used by Malcolm.