Philosophers have often claimed that generalideas or representations have their origin in abstraction, but it remains unclear exactly what abstraction as a psychological process consists in. We argue that the Lockean aspiration of using abstraction to explain the origins of all general representations cannot work and that at least some general representations have to be innate. We then offer an explicit framework for understanding abstraction, one that treats abstraction as a computational process that operates over (...) an innate quality space of fine-grained general representations. We argue that this framework has important philosophical implications for the nativism-empiricism dispute, for questions about the acquisition of unstructured representations, and for questions about the relation between human and animal minds. (shrink)
With a new foreword by Dermot Moran 'the work here presented seeks to found a new science though, indeed, the whole course of philosophical development since Descartes has been preparing the way for it a science covering a new field of ...
In Book I, Part I, Section VII of the Treatise, Hume sets out to settle, once and for all, the early modern controversy over abstract ideas. In order to do so, he tries to accomplish two tasks: (1) he attempts to defend an exemplar-based theory of general language and thought, and (2) he sets out to refute the rival abstraction-based account. This paper examines the successes and failures of these two projects. I argue that Hume manages to articulate (...) a plausible theory of generalideas; indeed, a version of his account has defenders in contemporary cognitive science. But Hume fails to refute the abstraction-based account, and as a result, the early modern controversy ends in a stalemate, with both sides able to explain how we manage to speak and think in general terms. Although Hume fails to settle the controversy, he nevertheless advances it to a point from which we have yet to progress: the contemporary debate over abstract ideas in cognitive science has stalled on precisely this point. (shrink)
In this paper I suggest that the Humean male and Humean female of Hume’s Treatise would have different mental lives due to a great extent to what Hume takes to be the socio-culture in place. Specifically, I show that the Humean male would be incapable but the Humean female would be capable of forming a Humean sex-neutral general idea of man. The Humean male’s inability is not innate but the result of the trauma he experiences when discovering sexuality, reproduction (...) and realizing how insecure a claim of paternity is. The Humean female not having such a traumatic experience is not impaired in the same way. Insofar as she is impaired, it is because in the very same socio-culture she cannot exercise her ability because it would endanger the socio-culture she is expected to partake in. (shrink)
São variadas as interpretações da crítica berkeleyana às idéias abstratas, mas elas costumam concordar na tese de que essa crítica gira em torno da natureza das idéias. Isto é, se idéia for o mesmo que imagem, então a abstração lockeana é impossível, caso contrário, não. Neste artigo eu procuro mostrar que essa crítica não depende de idéia ser ou não uma imagem e que Locke está parcialmente consciente do problema levantado por Berkeley. Locke's general triangle and Berkeley's partial considerationThere (...) are many different interpretations of Berkeley's attack on abstract ideas, but they usually agree in sustaining that this attack depends on the nature of "ideas". That is, if "idea" is the same as "image", then lockean abstraction is impossible, but otherwise not. In this paper I show that this attack on abstract ideas does not depend on the issue concerning the nature of idea as image, and that Locke is partially aware of the problem raised by Berkeley. (shrink)
Here's one way this chapter could go. After defining the terms 'innate' and 'idea', we say whether Chomsky thinks any ideas are innate -- and if so, which ones. Unfortunately, we don't have any theoretically interesting definitions to offer; and, so far as we know, Chomsky has never said that any ideas are innate. Since saying that would make for a very short chapter, we propose to do something else. Our aim is to locate Chomsky, as he locates (...) himself, in a rationalist tradition where talk of innate ideas has often been used to express the following view: the general character of human thought is due largely to human nature. (shrink)
The Peri ide^on (On Ideas) is the only work in which Aristotle systematically sets out and criticizes arguments for the existence of Platonic forms. Gail Fine presents the first full-length treatment in English of this important but neglected work. She asks how, and how well, Aristotle understands Plato's theory of forms, and why and with what justification he favors an alternative metaphysical scheme. She examines the significance of the Peri ide^on for some central questions about Plato's theory of forms--whether, (...) for example, there are forms corresponding to every property or only to some, and if only to some, then to which ones; whether forms are universals, particulars or both; and whether they are meanings, properties or both. Fine also provides a general discussion of Plato's theory of forms, and of our evidence about the Peri ide^on and its date, scope, and aims. While she pays careful attention to the details of the text, she also relates it to contemporary philosophical concerns. The book will be valuable for anyone interested in metaphysics ancient or modern. (shrink)
This target article considers the relation of fluid cognitive functioning to general intelligence. A neurobiological model differentiating working memory/executive function cognitive processes of the prefrontal cortex from aspects of psychometrically defined general intelligence is presented. Work examining the rise in mean intelligence-test performance between normative cohorts, the neuropsychology and neuroscience of cognitive function in typically and atypically developing human populations, and stress, brain development, and corticolimbic connectivity in human and nonhuman animal models is reviewed and found to provide (...) evidence of mechanisms through which early experience affects the development of an aspect of cognition closely related to, but distinct from, general intelligence. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of emotion in fluid cognition and on research indicating fluid cognitive deficits associated with early hippocampal pathology and with dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis stress-response system. Findings are seen to be consistent with the idea of an independent fluid cognitive construct and to assist with the interpretation of findings from the study of early compensatory education for children facing psychosocial adversity and from behavior genetic research on intelligence. It is concluded that ongoing development of neurobiologically grounded measures of fluid cognitive skills appropriate for young children will play a key role in understanding early mental development and the adaptive success to which it is related, particularly for young children facing social and economic disadvantage. Specifically, in the evaluation of the efficacy of compensatory education efforts such as Head Start and the readiness for school of children from diverse backgrounds, it is important to distinguish fluid cognition from psychometrically defined general intelligence. (Published Online April 5 2006) Key Words: cognition; cognition-emotion reciprocity; developmental disorders; emotion; fluid cognition; Flynn effect; general intelligence; limbic system; neuroscience; phenylketonuria; prefrontal cortex; psychometrics; schizophrenia. (shrink)
We tentatively propose two guiding principles for the construction of theories of physics, which should be satisfied by a possible future theory of quantum gravity. These principles are inspired by those that led Einstein to his theory of general relativity, viz. his principle of general covariance and his equivalence principle, as well as by the two mysterious dogmas of Bohr's interpretation of quantum mechanics, i.e. his doctrine of classical concepts and his principle of complementarity. An appropriate mathematical language (...) for combining these ideas is topos theory, a framework earlier proposed for physics by Isham and collaborators. Our "Principle of general tovariance" states that any mathematical structure appearing in the laws of physics must be definable in an arbitrary topos (with natural numbers object) and must be preserved under so-called geometric morphisms. This principle identifies geometric logic as the mathematical language of physics and restricts the constructions and theorems to those valid in intuitionism: neither Aristotle's principle of the excluded third nor Zermelo's Axiom of Choice may be invoked. Subsequently, our "Equivalence principle" states that any algebra of observables (initially defined in the topos Sets) is empirically equivalent to a commutative one in some other topos. (shrink)
The paper presents an interpretation of the thinking behind the early Wittgenstein's "general form of the proposition." It argues that a central role is played by the assumption that all domains of discourse are governed by the same laws of logic. The interpretation is presented partly through a comparison with ideas presented recently by Michael Potter and Peter Sullivan; the paper argues that the above assumption explains more of the key characteristics of the "general form of the (...) proposition" than Potter and Sullivan suppose, including, in particular, its claim that the bases from which all other propositions are derived must be elementary propositions. (shrink)
While Hermann Lotze's philosophy was widely received all over the world, his views on abstraction and Platonic ideas are of particular interest because they were to a large extent adopted by one of the most eminent philosophers of the twentieth century, namely Edmund Husserl. In this paper these views are examined in three distinct aspects. The first of these aspects is to be found in Lotze's thesis that there is a mental process, prior to abstraction, whereby "first universals" are (...) apprehended. The second one lies in his view that there is yet a higher level of apprehension, as found in the process of abstraction itself. According to Lotze, abstraction is not to be identified with the mere removal of particular features, but rather the replacement of these with first universals, resulting in "general images" and ultimately concepts. In addition to Lotze's analysis of the cognition of universals, there is finally a third thesis (an ontological one) which is examined in this paper, namely that the universals are Platonic Ideas in the sense that they have "validity" (Geltung) independently of their corresponding particulars and also of the mind which grasps them. The three claims in question are examined here in detail. Also, an attempt is made to point out some of the connections between Lotze and Husserl on the topic under discussion. (shrink)
eaders of Kant’s Critique of Judgment (1790) have understandably been stumped trying to decipher Kant’s views on the relation between beauty and art.1 At §43 Kant ends his discussion of “free natural” beauties such as flowers and birds of paradise and begins to formulate a theory of fine art, according to which fine art has as its purpose the expression of “aesthetic ideas.” This theory of fine art, perhaps because it is saddled with examples of second-rate art (including a (...) poem by “the great king” Frederick) and is sketchier than the theory of beauty, has not been given the attention accorded the four “moments”. However, Kant’s theory of fine art is not as “unsophisticated” and “unenlightening” as one commentator thinks.2 It is rough and unfinished, but even so, it lays claim to being, along with Aristotle’s account of the “philosophical” implications of literature, one of the great pre-Hegelian statements on the capacity of art to express ideas. At least, the fact that the Critique of Judgment contains such a theory should stand as a warning to those who blame Kant for “neutering” the capacity of art to have any practical effect by reducing art to a contrivance for producing an enemic “disinterested” pleasure.3 On the contrary: Kant himself may in fact have thought his theory of fine art the capstone of his aesthetics. For at §51 he writes, “We may in general call beauty (whether natural or artistic) the expression of aesthetic ideas.” And here is where the puzzle begins, for it is not at all clear how or why beauty should even apply to the expression of aesthetic ideas — let alone apply in a way such that “we may in general call beauty … the expression of aesthetic ideas.”. (shrink)
Antinomicity is not necessarily dependent on negation; there is a more general conception of antinomicity based on the fundamental idea of opposition. To study this fact is indispensable to show first that truth and falsity are independent of assertion and negation. Then it can be seen that antinomies can be found everywhere, and that some single categories are in intrinsic opposition with themselves while others are opposed to one another in pairs. An antinomic ‘manifesto’ concludes the work.
I discuss the ontological assumptions and implications of General Relativity. I maintain that General Relativity is a theory about gravitational fields, not about space-time. The latter is a more basic ontological category, that emerges from physical relations among all existents. I also argue that there are no physical singularities in space-time. Singular space-time models do not belong to the ontology of the world: they are not things but concepts, i.e. defective solutions of Einstein’s field equations. I briefly discuss (...) the actual implication of the so-called singularity theorems in General Relativity and some problems related to ontological assumptions of Quantum Gravity. (shrink)
Descartes claims in the Third Meditation that ideas of sense might be materially false. While an accurate interpretation of this claim has the potential of providing some valuable insights into Descartes's theory of ideas in general and his understanding of the epistemic status of sensations in particular, the explanation Descartes provides of the material falsity of ideas is itself obscure and misleading, making accurate interpretation difficult. In this paper an interpretation of material falsity is offered which (...) identifies the fault of materially false ideas in the logical incoherence of their objective content. The implications of this interpretation are also discussed. (shrink)
I argue that Reid adopts a form of Meinongianism about fictional objects because of, not in spite of, his common sense philosophy. According to 'the way of ideas', thoughts take representational states as their immediate intentional objects. In contrast, Reid endorses a direct theory of conception and a heady thesis of first-person privileged access to the contents of our thoughts. He claims that thoughts about centaurs are thoughts of non-existent objects, not thoughts about mental intermediaries, adverbial states or (...) class='Hi'>general concepts. In part this is because of the common sense semantics he adopts for fictional-object terms. I show that it is reasonable for Reid to endorse Meinongianism, given his epistemological priorities, for he took the way of ideas to imply that his view about first-person privileged access to our mental contents was false. (shrink)
The doctrine of abstract ideas contains Locke’s views on the nature of generality and how we think in general terms-the nature of universals, of general concepts, and how we classify. While Reid rejects abstract ideas, he accepts Locke’s insight that we have an ability to abstract. In this paper, I show how Reid preserves Locke’s insight, while providing a more versatile and forward-looking account of universals and concepts than Locke was able to give.Reid replaces abstract (...) class='Hi'>ideas with what he calls “general conceptions.” But general conceptions are really three different things. First, they are universals---non-mental intrinsically general objects of acts of abstraction and conception. I show how Reid is able to make the claim that there are universals without being committed to holding that universals really exist. This claim, together with his type/token distinction, enables Reid to better explain how we have knowledge of attributes and use general terms meaningfully. The general features of our experience are not ideas and are not produced by the faculty of abstraction---but that faculty enables us to distinguish them.In the second sense, a general conception is an act of mind which takes universals as objects. Thinking in general tenns is not the manipulation of abstract ideas---it is engaging in acts of conceiving. Such acts are made possible by general conceptions in the third sense, namely, general concepts. While Reid does not distinguish this sense explicitly, I argue that he takes general concepts to be dispositions or abilities to distinguish general features of objects and to use the general terms of language as other users do. So rather than producing mental entities---abstract ideas---that act as standards to help us classify, abstraction makes possible the development of abilities to use general terms and classify objects. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to present in a uniform way the commutator theory for k-deductive system of arbitrary positive dimension k. We are interested in the logical perspective of the research — an emphasis is put on an analysis of the interconnections holding between the commutator and logic. This research thus qualifies as belonging to abstract algebraic logic, an area of universal algebra that explores to a large extent the methods provided by the general theory of deductive (...) systems. In the paper the new term ‘commutator formula’ is introduced. The paper is concerned with the meanings of the above term in the models provided by the commutator theory and clarifies contexts in which these meanings occur. The work is presented in an abstracted form: main ideas are outlined but proofs are deferred to the second part of the paper. (shrink)
This paper advances the Hunt–Vitell General Theory of Marketing Ethics as a framework for enriching current understanding of both long-term marketing relationships in general, and principal-agent associations specifically. Under economic models of agency theory, manufacturer-distributor relationships are conceptualized as principal-agent associations where both parties are assumed be motivated exclusively by short-term financial self-interest within the logical constraints of zero-sum game conditions. As a general model of ethical decision making and behavior in marketing, the Hunt–Vitell theory illustrates how (...) ethical decisions are predicated not only upon estimations of potential benefits or outcomes (using teleological criteria), but also deontological evaluations which invoke norms and values. Furthermore, the recent ideas advanced in "relationship marketing" perspectives suggest that distribution channel associations premised upon non-zero-sum or symbiotic assumptions may be more effective and more jointly profitable. Based upon the Hunt–Vitell model, propositions are formulated that complement the understanding of agency theory within the context of marketing channel relationships, and thus, may represent a basis for more effective agency selection and interaction in marketing practice. (shrink)
1 The epistemology of Otto Hölder This special issue is devoted to the philosophical ideas developed by Otto Hölder (1859-1937), a mathematician who made important contributions to analytic functions and group theory. Hölder’s substantial work on the foundations of mathematics and the general philosophical conception outlined in this work are, however, still largely unknown. Up to the present, philosophical interest in Hölder’s work has been limited to his axiomatic formulation of a theory of..
The essays in this book are meant to serve as an introduction to those ideas of Ayn Rand, which are of particular relevance to business people. Rand was known as a spirited defender of the laissez-faire free enterprise system. It is less commonly known that Rand was also deeply committed to the centrality of the enterprise of philosophy for both public and private life. The essays in this book try to bridge the gap between these two aspects of Rand’s (...) thought. The results of the review of the book are mostly positive. The review attempts to separate the different themes in the book such as the importance of philosophy in general, the importance of philosophy for business, the philosophical defense of the free enterprise system and then to evaluate the evidence and arguments presented by the essayists for each claim. (shrink)
There is a virtual consensus among commentators on Descartes that the causal principle by which he relates the objective reality of his ideas to the formal reality of their causes isindefensible. In particular, Descartes’ claim that this principle follows from the general principle which states that the cause must contain at least as much reality as the effect has been examined and rejected as logically implausible. I challenge this view by showing that there is a logically plausible derivation (...) of the causal principle of ideas from the general causal principle. This result has important implications due to the crucial role the causal principle of ideas plays in Descartes’ first a posteriori argument for the existence of God. (shrink)
This paper argues that efforts to understand historically remote patterns of thought are driven away from their original meaning if the investigation focuses on reconstruction of concepts , instead of cognitive ‘complexes’. My paper draws on research by Jan Assmann, Jean-Jacques Glassner, Keimpe Algra, Alex Purves, Nicholas Wyatt, and others on the cultures of Ancient Greece, Israel, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Etruria through comparative analyses of the semantic fields of spatial and temporal terms, and how these terms are shaped by their (...) relation to the sphere of the sacred. It shows that there are three super-ordinate timeframes - the cyclical, the linear and the static - each of which is composed of lower-order cycles (days, lunar months, and seasons). These timeframes reflect their cultures’ ideas about the nature, scope and power of the gods, and structure the common point-of-view about the present, the past and eternity. There are also super-ordinate spatial frames which reflect their cultures’ ideas about the heavens and which structure both the sacred precinct and the profane field of action and exchange. Close analysis of texts that use words such as eternity, forever, past, present, and future, for example, do not reveal that there is anything like a general abstract concept of time in virtue of which some thing or event can be said to be in time or to have its own time. Archaic patterns of thought do not differ from our “ modern ” patterns in having different concepts, but in not having anything like concepts at all. (shrink)
Formulation of a general model of evolution is presented which is based upon the recognition of the ?biosocial? entity, that is the biosphere and human society, as a component?system. It can be demonstrated that the interactions of the components (moleculas, cells, organisms, ecosystems in the biological realms and people, artifacts and ideas in the societies) have replicative organization. We suggest an explanation for the spontaneous emergence of replicative function and organization, a process called autogenesis. During autogenesis, hierarchical levels (...) of replicative organization emerge and compartmentalization and convergence of replicative information occurs. Questions of the origin and evolution of life are discussed. The replicative paradigm can also be applied to the processes of cultural evolution, in which complex replicative networks of people, ideas, and man?made artifacts show all stages and phenomena of autogenesis. Finally, the present state of evolution of the whole global biosocial system is discussed. (shrink)
Universal Logic is not a new logic, but a general theory of logics, considered as mathematical structures. The name was introduced about ten years ago, but the subject is as old as the beginning of modern logic: Alfred Tarski and other Polish logicians such as Adolf Lindenbaum developed a general theory of logics at the end of the 1920s based on consequence operations and logical matrices. The subject was revived after the flowering of thousands of new logics during (...) the last thirty years: there was a need for a systematic theory of logics to put some order in this chaotic multiplicity. This book contains recent works on universal logic by first-class researchers from all around the world. The book is full of new and challenging ideas that will guide the future of this exciting subject. It will be of interest for people who want to better understand what logic is. Tools and concepts are provided here for those who want to study classes of already existing logics or want to design and build new ones. (shrink)
The relationship between geopolitical position and general social theory is examined by a detailed reading of three important texts, Coleman’s Foundations of Social Theory, Bourdieu’s Logic of Practice, and Giddens’s Constitution of Society. Effects of metropolitan position are traced in theoretical strategies, conceptions of time and history, models of agency, ideas of modernity, and other central features of their theorizing. Four textual moves are identified that together constitute the northernness of general social theory: claiming universality, reading from (...) the center, gestures of exclusion, and grand erasure. Some alternative paths for theory, embodying different relations with the global South, are briefly indicated. (shrink)
THIS BOOK HAS TWO GENERAL THEMES. ONE IS THE AVAILABILITY OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS. IT IS ARGUED THAT A WHOLE RANGE OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS ARE AVAILABLE TO HUMAN BEINGS OUTSIDE A CONTEXT OF ACTUAL RELIGIOUS OR THEISTIC BELIEF. ADMISSION OF THESE IDEAS INTO ONE’S CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK DOES NOT COMMIT ONE TO RELIGIOUS BELIEF, BUT IT DOES EXPOSE THE UNINTELLIGIBILITY OF WHAT MIGHT BE CALLED THE ’IMMANENTIST’ VIEW OF THE WORLD. THE OTHER THEME OF THE BOOK IS THAT (...) OF MORALITY. THE AUTHOR ATTEMPTS TO SHOW THAT AN ADEQUATE ANALYSIS OF THE STRUCTURE OF HUMAN SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS REVEALS UNIVERSALLY APPLICABLE PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY. IN THIS SENSE MORALITY DOES NOT STAND IN NEED OF ’TRANSCENDENTAL’ SUPPORT. (EDITED). (shrink)
For almost 50 years, the Council of Europe through a series of documents has been helping to build up a set of rules, principles, and strategies related to culture, environment, ethics, and sustainable development. At the moment, one of the most important aims of the Council of Europe’s agenda deals with the elaboration of the General Principles for the Protection of the Environment and Sustainable Development, as raised in document CO-DBP (2003)2 related to the environmental subject. The intention of (...) the Council of Europe is to encourage national authorities to implement these General Principles into their national environmental policies. These principles should have an important effect, especially in those countries which are new members of the European Union. The primary target of this paper is the study of these principles and the setting of their entailed implications in order to establish a relation between values and policy making. Quite often, the conclusions adopted by the agreements generated within the framework of the European Union are controversial. Therefore, a study aiming to lay the foundations of these principles will make the exchange of ideas easier, providing a wider and more detailed scope in the European environmental policy. (shrink)
Draft. Berkeley denied the existence of abstract ideas and any faculty of abstraction. At the same time, however, he embraced innate ideas and a faculty of pure intellect. This paper attempts to reconcile the tension between these commitments by offering an interpretation of Berkeley's Platonism.
Assuming the increasingly popular background independent substantivalist interpretation of general relativity (GR), in this paper I show that the possibility of spacetime point permutations implies that the locational properties of spacetime points, and structural properties of spacetime are categorical. Categorical properties, however, are often deemed implausible by dispositional monists (Bird 2007; Mumford 2004) due to their quiddistic nature, as their primitive identity entails the unacceptable possibility of properties changing their causal role across possible worlds. The question of whether such (...) properties, or instances thereof are plausible is not addressed in this paper, however I demonstrate that despite locational and structural properties being categorical, they are not quiddistic (at least no more so than powers), and thus a metaphysics of science including both dispositional and categorical properties is admissible for the anti-quidditist. I conclude that although dispositional monism is incompatible with background independent substantivalist models of general relativity, this does not wholly undermine the position. (shrink)
John Earman's recent proposal that a substantive version of general covariance consists in the requirement that diffeomorphism invariance be a gauge symmetry is critically assessed. I argue that such a principle does not serve to differentiate general relativity from pre-relativistic theories. A model-theoretic characterization of two formulations of specially-relativistic theories is suggested. Diffeomorphisms are symmetries of only one such style of formulation and, I argue, Earman's proposal does not provide a reason to deny diffeomorphisms the status of gauge (...) transformations relative to this formulation. Carlo Rovelli's distinction between "passive" and "active" diffeomorphism invariance is also clarified. (shrink)
In this paper I show that Einstein made essential use of aim-oriented empiricism in scientific practice in developing special and general relativity. I conclude by considering to what extent Einstein came explicitly to advocate aim-oriented empiricism in his later years.
I argue that Berkeley's distinctive idealism/immaterialism can't support his view that objects of sense, immediately or mediately perceived, are causally inert. (The Passivity of Ideas thesis or PI) Neither appeal to ordinary perception, nor traditional arguments, for example, that causal connections are necessary, and we can't perceive such connections, are helpful. More likely it is theological concerns,e.g., how to have second causes if God upholds by continuously creating the world, that's in the background. This puts Berkeley closer to Malebranche (...) than to Hume. -/- As far the what I call the "first strategy;" defending the passivity of ideas by ordinary introspection, I refer to the work of the French psychologist Albert Michotte,(1940) and those now extending his experiments, to show that (1) there is an immediate and quite robust visual impression of causality, (admitted in fact by Berkeley, Malebranche and Hume) and (2) of more importance, the impression isn't due to projecting into nature expectations gained from experienced regularities. (shrink)
Hume introduced important innovations concerning the theory of ideas. The two most important are the distinction between impressions and ideas, and the use he made of the principles of association in explaining mental phenomena. Hume divided the perceptions of the mind into two classes. The members of one class, impressions, he held to have a greater degree of force and vivacity than the members of the other class, ideas. He also supposed that ideas are causally dependent (...) copies of impressions. And, unlike Locke and others, Hume makes positive use of the principle of association, both of the association of ideas, and, in a more limited way, of the association of impressions. Such associations are central to his explanations of causal reasoning, belief, the indirect passions (pride and humility, love and hatred), and sympathy. These views about impressions and ideas and the principles of association form the core of Hume’s science of human nature. Relying on them, he attempts a rigorously empirical investigation of human nature. The resulting system is a remarkable but complex achievement. (shrink)
Some argue, following Bertrand Russell, that because general truths are not entailed by particular truths, general facts must be posited to exist in addition to particular facts. I argue on the contrary that because general truths (globally) supervene on particular truths, general facts are not needed in addition to particular facts; indeed, if one accepts the Humean denial of necessary connections between distinct existents, one can further conclude that there are no general facts. When entailment (...) and supervenience do not coincide it is only failure of supervenience, not failure of entailment, that carries ontological import. (shrink)
The very idea of a general philosophy of science relies on the assumption that there is this thing called science—as opposed to the various individual sciences. In this programmatic piece I make a case for the claim that general philosophy of science is the philosophy of science in general or science as such. Part of my narrative makes use of history, for two reasons. First, general philosophy of science is itself characterised by an intellectual tradition which (...) aimed to develop a coherent philosophical view of science, qua a part of culture with distinctive epistemic features and a distinctive relation to reality. But, second, this tradition went through some important conceptual shifts which re-oriented it and made it more sensitive to the actual development of science itself. The historical narrative focuses on three such moments: the defining moment, associated with Aristotle, and two major conceptual turns, related to Kant and Duhem. The pressures on the very idea of a general philosophy of science that followed the collapse of the macro-models of science that became popular in the 1960s, the pressures that lay all of the emphasis on fragmentation and not on integration, can be dealt with by a new synthesis within general philosophy of science of the constitutive and the historical, in light of the intellectual tradition that has defined it. (shrink)
Ideas play at least two roles in Locke's theory of the understanding. They are constituents of ‘propositions,’ and some of them ‘represent’ the qualities and sorts of surrounding bodies. I argue that each role involves a distinct kind of intentional directedness. The same idea will in general be an ‘idea of’ two different objects, in different senses of the expression. Identifying Locke's scheme of twofold ‘ofness’ reveals a common structure to his accounts of simple ideas and complex (...)ideas of substances. A consequence is a distinction among substance sorts parallel to one of his distinctions between primary and secondary qualities. (shrink)
Starting from the familiar observation that no straightforward treatment of pure quotation can be compositional in the standard (homomorphism) sense, we introduce general compositionality, which can be described as compositionality that takes linguistic context into account. A formal notion of linguistic context type is developed, allowing the context type of a complex expression to be distinct from those of its constituents. We formulate natural conditions under which an ordinary meaning assignment can be non-trivially extended to one that is sensitive (...) to context types and satisfies general compositionality. As our main example we work out a Fregean treatment of pure quotation, but we also indicate that the method applies to other kinds of context, e.g. intensional contexts. (shrink)