In Biro and Siegel (1992) we argued that a theory of argumentation mustfully engage the normativity of judgments about arguments, and we developedsuch a theory. In this paper we further develop and defend our theory.
A number of writers have deployed the notion of a point of view as a key to the allegedly theory-resistant subjective aspect of experience. I examine that notion more closely than is usually done and find that it cannot support the anti-objectivist's case. Experience may indeed have an irreducibly subjective aspect, but the notion of a point of view cannot be used to show that it does.
Many who agree with Kripke that ‘sloppy, colloquial speech’ often confuses use and mention would deem ‘ a is called N’ an example of such confusion, insisting on ‘ a is called "N"’ as the properly philosophical, un-sloppy, way of saying what is usually intended. Delia Graff Fara demurs – in my view, rightly. But the reasons she gives for doing so are, I think, themselves questionable and in any case do not go to the heart of the mistake on (...) which Kripke's condemnation of colloquial speech as sloppy rests. I discuss Fara's claims that what is behind the mistake is failing to appreciate the difference between "appellative" and "referring" uses of names and overlooking the fact that names sometimes function as predicates, finding fault with both. I then argue that the mistake stems from adherence to a widely accepted picture of the mechanics of mentioning and that it is that picture that is confused, not ordinary speakers. (shrink)
Davidson's paratactic account of indirect speech exploits the fact that ‘that’ can be either a demonstrative pronoun or a subordinating conjunction. Davidson thinks that the fact that it is plausible to think that it inherited the latter function from the former lends support to his account. However, in other languages the two functions are performed by unrelated words, which makes the account impossible to apply to them. I argue that this shows that, rather than revealing the underlying form of indirect (...) reports, the account reflects only a quirk of English. (shrink)
This collection of previously unpublished essays on Spinoza provides a superb sample of new and interesting research on the philosopher. In these chapters, the top Spinoza scholars present him as a metaphysician who tried to pave the way for the new science, as they investigate several themes--notably Spinoza's monism, the nature of the individual, the relation between mind and body, and his place in 17th century philosophy.
Our concern in this paper is with the question of how irrational an intentional agent can be, and, in particular, with an argument Stephen Stich has given for the claim that there are only very minimal a priori requirements on the rationality of intentional agents. The argument appears in chapter 2 of The Fragmentation of Reason.1 Stich is concerned there with the prospects for the ‘reform-minded epistemologist’. If there are a priori limits on how irrational we can be, there are (...) limits to how much reform we could expect to achieve. With this in mind, Stich sets out to determine what a priori limits there are on irrationality by examining `a cluster of influential arguments aimed at showing that there are conceptual constraints on how badly a person can reason’ (p. 30). Stich aims to remove the threat of a priori limits on the project of reforming our cognitive practices by showing, first, that these influential arguments are bad arguments, and, second, that at best there are only minimal constraints on how irrational we can be.2 We aim to show three things. The first is that Stich’s own arguments against strong a priori limits on how badly a person can reason are unsuccessful, because Stich fails to take into account that the concept of rationality is an epistemic, not just a logical concept, and because he fails to take into account the connection between having a concept and being able to recognize conceptually simple inferences involving the concept. The second is that the position Stich argues for, on the basis of Richard Grandy’s principle of humanity, turns out not to be distinct from the one he rejects. The third is that, in any case, the position that Stich rejects in order to preserve some scope for the project of improving our reasoning is not only no danger to that project but must be presupposed by it. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: While we applaud several aspects of Lilian Bermejo-Luque's novel theory of argumentation and especially welcome its epistemological dimensions, in this discussion we raise doubts about her conception of argumentation, her account of argumentative goodness, and her treatments of the notion of “giving reasons” and of justification.RESUMEN: Aunque aprobamos varios aspectos de la nueva teoría de la argumentación propuesta por Lilian Bermejo Luque y, en particular, su dimensión epistemológica, en este debate planteamos algunas dudas sobre su concepción de la argumentación, (...) su análisis de la bondad argumentativa y su tratamiento de la noción de “dar razones” y de justificación. (shrink)
Because it focuses primarily on the sick body (disease), medicine ignores many of the concerns and needs of sick people. By listening to the stories of patients in the clinic, on the Internet, and in published book form, health care providers could gain a better understanding of the impact of disease on the person (illness), what it means to patients over and above their physical symptoms and what they might require over and above surgery or chemotherapy. Only by familiarizing themselves (...) with the entire emotional landscape of illness, which includes fear, anger, shame, guilt, and above all loneliness, can the healthy—medicine as well as society in general—hope to heal in a comprehensive manner. (shrink)
The so–called truthmaker solution to the problem Gettier is thought to have posed for the analysis of knowledge as justified true belief is to add a fourth condition, requiring that one’s evidence for one’s belief be the state of affairs that makes the belief true. Adrian Heathcote argues that the reason why one lacks knowledge in Russell’s case of the stopped clock is that, as in the classic Gettier–style cases, this condition is not satisfied. I argue that the proposed solution (...) fails, as it embodies a misunderstanding of what evidence is. (shrink)
It has been shown that, when observing an action, infants can rely on either outcome selection information (i.e., actions that express a choice between potential outcomes) or means selection information (i.e., actions that are causally efficient toward the outcome) in their goal attribution. However, no research has investigated the relationship between these two types of information when they are present simultaneously. In an experiment that addressed this question directly, we found that when outcome selection information could disambiguate the goal of (...) the action (e.g., the action is directed toward one of two potential targets), but means selection information could not (i.e., the action is not efficiently adjusted to the situational constraints), 7- and 9-month-old infants did not attribute a goal to an observed action. This finding suggests that means selection information takes primacy over outcome selection information. The early presence of this bias sheds light on the nature of the notion of goal in action understanding. (shrink)
The input data to grammar learning algorithms often consist of overt forms that do not contain full structural descriptions. This lack of information may contribute to the failure of learning. Past work on Optimality Theory introduced Robust Interpretive Parsing (RIP) as a partial solution to this problem. We generalize RIP and suggest replacing the winner candidate with a weighted mean violation of the potential winner candidates. A Boltzmann distribution is introduced on the winner set, and the distribution’s parameter $T$ is (...) gradually decreased. Finally, we show that GRIP, the Generalized Robust Interpretive Parsing Algorithm significantly improves the learning success rate in a model with standard constraints for metrical stress assignment. (shrink)
This paper belongs to cylindric-algebraic model theory understood in the sense of algebraic logic. We show the existence of isomorphic but not lower base-isomorphic cylindric set algebras. These algebras are regular and locally finite. This solves a problem raised in [N 83] which was implicitly present also in [HMTAN 81]. This result implies that a theorem of Vaught for prime models of countable languages does not continue to hold for languages of any greater power.
In this paper we defend a particular version of the epistemic approach to argumentation. We advance some general considerations in favor of the approach and then examine the ways in which different versions of it play out with respect to the theory of fallacies, which we see as central to an understanding of argumentation. Epistemic theories divide into objective and subjective versions. We argue in favor of the objective version, showing that it provides a better account than its subjectivist rival (...) of the central fallacy of begging the question. We suggest that the strengths of the objective epistemic theory of fallacies provide support for the epistemic approach to argumentation more generally. (shrink)
A major virtue of the Pragma-Dialectical theory of argumentation is its commitment to reasonableness and rationality as central criteria of argumentative quality. However, the account of these key notions offered by the originators of this theory, Frans van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst, seems to us problematic in several respects. In what follows we criticize that account and suggest an alternative, offered elsewhere, that seems to us to be both independently preferable and more in keeping with the epistemic approach to arguments (...) and argumentation we favor. (shrink)